Reporting from Portland, Ore. — A smile eased across his face moments before Andrew Bynum began discussing the Lakers' current state.
The young center was standing inside the visitors locker room Wednesday night in Oakland after yet another Lakers' defeat, this time by the Golden State Warriors. Bynum had a bemused look on his face when he was asked to explain how the Lakers looked so invincible one day and so vulnerable the next.
Bynum looked down from his 7-foot frame at the reporters gathered around him in a semicircle and chuckled.
The Lakers started 17-1 after the All-Star break, appearing to be a team intent demolishing the competition, putting fear in opponents as they geared up for a playoff run they hope will earn them a third straight NBA championship.
Now the Lakers have lost three consecutive games, looking uninspired, playing as if they want the regular season over.
"When you put negative energy out, it's going to come back to you," Bynum said. "And that's what happens. It goes all the way down to line, from the coaching staff to the players to the missed free throws. We came in at halftime [of the Warriors game] and the video guy, he put on the [wrong] game… against Golden State.
"Collectively, the energy is just bad right now. That's crazy, right? That just goes to show you how big energy is. You've got to come in here [with] everyone focused …[on] one goal, which is to win the championship.… When it's not like that, things go awry."
This was Bynum unfiltered, leaving no one out, even Lakers video coordinator Patrick O'Keefe, who quickly realized he had an edit of the first game between the Lakers and Warriors back in October and made the change.
The Lakers took Thursday off, preferring to rest their bodies and minds before playing the Trail Blazers in Portland on Friday night.
Bynum said the Lakers are "doing everything wrong," are "not really focused" and are not "locked in."
Lakers Coach Phil Jackson admitted that he was "bothered" by the losing streak. He suggested that there might be some "complacency" setting in with the Lakers.
"We are complacent," Bynum said. "I just think we're going out there and playing kind of stupid basketball."
The playoffs begin the weekend after this one.
Bynum was asked whether the Lakers have become content to wait until then to turn it back around.
"Are we relaxing? It's like torturing yourself," Bynum said. "I don't know if we want to keep doing that. That's really what it is. It's hard nights. You don't sleep well because you lose. It's all bad.
"We know that come playoff time everything is going to be fine. When I say that, I mean that there's not going to be anybody out there not playing their hardest basketball."
Bynum was told he implied that hasn't been the case in the Lakers' recent losses.
"We're not playing the smartest," Bynum said. "People are going hard."