Kobe Bryant tells young Lakers teammates to take responsibility

Kobe Bryant tells young Lakers teammates to take responsibility
Kobe Bryant offers a subtle tap to teammate Anthony Brown as he leaves the court during second half of the Lakers' 112-93 loss to the Sacramento Kings on Jan. 20. (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

Add Kobe Bryant to the list of those unhappy with the Lakers' 9-37 record.

After the Lakers' sixth consecutive loss Saturday, falling 121-103 in Portland, Bryant pleaded with his young teammates to take responsibility and turn things around.


"His message was basically 'You've got to compete every night,' " Coach Byron Scott said. "The biggest thing I got from all the comments that he made was 'Don't blame it on anybody else. Don't blame it on the schemes, or you're not getting your minutes, or your touches.' "

Rookie forward Larry Nance Jr. said the message was well received.

"It was a very heartfelt, passionate speech to us," Nance said. "Everybody kind of took away the same message — nine and 37 is not all right. We've got to do what we can to change that. I think that started today."

Said second-year guard Jordan Clarkson: "A lot of guys are frustrated. You've got to want to change it. I think that's one of the big messages. If you want to carry this franchise, you need to find a way to change it. ... Some guys shut down. Some guys come here and work. It's a two-way street.

Added veteran forward Brandon Bass: "[Bryant] didn't like some of the things that he was seeing, and he just addressed it. I was cool with it."

Scott liked the energy his team brought to practice Monday.

"I think guys ... took it the right way," he said. "I think they understand that they have to work harder."

Nance returns

The Lakers ended practice Monday with a full-court scrimmage, highlighted by Nance's sky-high dunk attempt on Tarik Black.

The play gave notice that the rookie forward is ready for action.

"He went up over Tarik. That right there told me he's OK," Scott said. "I probably put him back in the starting lineup. I think he's all right to play tomorrow."

Nance has sat out four games because of right knee soreness, an issue dating to a torn ligament suffered in 2014 while playing at the University of Wyoming.

"I feel 100% right now" Nance said. "When you tear your ACL, your muscles [atrophy]. Part of your rehab is to build those up as strong as they can get. Rehabbing in six months, and trying to prepare for my senior season so I could get to this point, didn't really leave me that much time to rehab like I wanted to."

Nance played three minutes before leaving because of a sore knee Jan. 16 when the Lakers played Utah. In his 11 previous games, Nance averaged 9.6 points and 7.4 rebounds.


Second-year forward Julius Randle started in Nance's place.

"Larry is just one of those guys who plays the game the right way," Scott said of the 23-year-old. "He really seems to get it. ... As young as he is, we miss having him on the floor."

The Lakers selected Nance with the 27th overall selection in the 2015 draft. Scott called Nance a steal in the draft.


Forward Ryan Kelly sat out practice because of a stomach ailment and Bass sat out to nurse a sore foot. Bryant was also given the day off to rest.



When: Tuesday, 7:30 p.m. PST.

Where: Staples Center.

On the air: TV: TWC SportsNet, TWC Deportes; Radio: 710, 1330.

Records: Lakers 9-37; Mavericks 25-21.

Record vs. Mavericks: 0-2.

Update: Who holds the longest current winning streak against the Lakers? Somewhat surprisingly, it's Dallas. The Lakers have lost nine consecutive games to the Mavericks, including two this season by an average of nine points. After a solid start, Dallas has stumbled in recent weeks, stuck in a 4-6 rut and struggling to stay near a top-four spot in the Western Conference. Houston beat Dallas, 115-104, without Dwight Howard on Sunday.

Pincus is a Times correspondent.

Twitter: @EricPincus