HOUSTON Kobe Bryant spoke calmly and quietly, and he leaned casually against a wall in the locker room. He did not look like a guy who had just kicked somebody's ass, or planned to.
This, of course, was Bryant's threat, just a couple of days ago. He said he would "kick everybody's ass" in the Lakers locker room if things didn't change. He said Gasol needed to put "his big boy pants on." He challenged Dwight Howard to change the way he thinks about being sent to the foul line over and over again because opponents expect him to miss.
He took the Lakers to Houston Tuesday night, and he put up 31 shots and scored 39 points. Howard went 8-for-16 at the line. Gasol didn't play. And the Lakers committed 19 turnovers, gave up 21 offensive rebounds and let a guy named Greg Smith bang them for 21 points and nine boards.
The Lakers lost, 107-105. They are 8-10.
"We just gotta play a little better," Bryant said.
So what is this, some kind ...