Lakers' Kobe Bryant keeping his temper in check, Byron Scott says

Lakers' Kobe Bryant keeping his temper in check, Byron Scott says
Lakers guard Kobe Bryant is all smiles after scoring against the Pacers off an assist from teammate Carlos Boozer in the first half Sunday. (Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times)

Byron Scott swears it's true.

Kobe Bryant has been a model teammate despite the losses piling up at the Lakers' feet.

"He really hasn't blown up, to be honest with you. He's been really good with his teammates, been encouraging at times," Scott told The Times on Sunday. "But at times, just like you know he will, and great players do, he's going to get on some players' butts."

Wait a sec. What about that rant at practice last month, the one where Bryant said teammates were "soft like Charmin" and yelled at Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak to get him better players to practice against?


"His blowup, to me, in the '80s that's a normal practice," Scott said. "That's how we used to go at each other. And it was fun."

Beyond that, Scott said Bryant's temperament had been "very good."

"He doesn't let thing fester in the locker room," Scott said. "We both have to be patient. Neither one of us is very patient but we both understand that we have to be through this whole process. I think we lean on each other a lot. The relationship that I have with him has really kept me going."

Bryant's disposition came into question again Friday night when he yelled at Jeremy Lin to foul Mike Conley late in the game against Memphis. When Lin didn't do it, Bryant angrily ran out to the three-point line and fouled Conley with 12.6 seconds left and the Lakers down one.

Scott took charge, telling Bryant in a timeout afterward that he'd wanted Lin to wait until there were 10 seconds left.

"Our relationship has grown," Scott said. "Our communication has always been good. I think it's even better now because of the fact we see each other every day and we talk about the game and talk about the future."

The future. When the past isn't so great, it only makes sense to look at ways to fix it.

The Lakers (11-23) continue to linger near bottom-five territory in the NBA, almost low enough to potentially keep the draft pick they owe Phoenix for the Steve Nash trade.

After beating Indiana on Sunday, 88-87, the Lakers hold the sixth-worst record. They keep the pick only if they get one of the top five selections in the draft lottery.

The Lakers currently have enough salary-cap space to sign one maximum-contract free agent in July. They are projected to have room for another max player in the summer of 2016.

The young ones

Rookies Jordan Clarkson and Tarik Black went wild in a Development League game Saturday night. Then they returned to the Lakers for Sunday's game and were the only two who didn't play.

Clarkson had 35 points and 11 assists in the L.A. D-Fenders' 174-169 loss to the Reno Bighorns. Black had 23 points and 12 rebounds.

Full disclosure: Development League stats are often misleading because of the glaring lack of defense in games.

Twitter: Mike_Bresnahan