Phil Jackson Calls Out Kobe Bryant: Is the End Near for the Los Angeles Lakers?

After the Lakers suffered an embarrassing 104-85 loss to the 14-19 Memphis Grizzlies, Phil Jackson did something that is quite un-Phil Jackson-ish.

In the postgame press conference, he openly criticized Kobe Bryant for trying too hard to take the game over.

"Kobe had to screw up the game and start energizing the team by going one-on-one," Jackson said. "That takes the rest of the guys out and as a consequence, that didn't bring us back in."

That is something that sounds like it would come out of Stan Van Gundy's mouth.

Later, after the Internet freaked out and the world seemed to think that Phil Jackson was blaming the loss on Kobe Bryant's selfish play in the third quarter of that game, Jackson clarified the comments.

As it turns out, Jackson meant the term "screw up the game" to be some formation of "crank up the game", meaning he was just trying to define what it was Kobe was trying to do in the third quarter.

Jackson was trying to explain why Bryant took 12 of the Lakers' 22 shots in the third quarter, something that led to the Lakers' downfall to a much less talented team.

Call it a mix-up of words, a Freudian slip, whatever you want, but it is impossible to deny that the Lakers are a struggling team right now. They have lost four of their last six games, each by at least 15 points.

Winning one game against San Antonio, or their Christmas Day game against the Heat, would have at least kept doubters quiet for a while, but losing both of them, along with games to Memphis and Milwaukee, has ratcheted up the whispers to shouts.

At 23-11, the Lakers are still a mortal lock for the playoffs, but the real question is if their struggles are going to carry over into the playoffs, and if Bryant has begun to lose his luster.

One of their biggest problems has been Pau Gasol's drop off in production.

Emerging as an early season MVP candidate,...

About the Author