(NEW YORK) — The Los Angeles Lakers on paper looked like they would be one of the contenders to win an NBA title in 2012, but that has not yet been the case on the court.
Sitting at 9-13, the Lakers have lost five of their last six games. Los Angeles will take on the Knicks on Thursday night and Kobe Bryant was asked about the biggest problem his team is having this year.
“Our transition defense has been our Achilles heal,” Bryant told ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith in an interview on Wednesday. “Teams are really taking advantage of us, makes and misses. Pushing the ball up the court and getting the easy opportunities.”
The Lakers added Steve Nash and Dwight Howard to their roster in the summer and fired head coach Mike Brown in October, before bringing in former Knicks head coach Mike D’Antoni. D’Antoni has yet to find a way to make it work, with Nash still sidelined from a broken fibula.
“This is the challenge. When people say, ‘You can’t do it’, count us out,” said Bryant. “Then you bounce back and respond to the challenge and shut everybody up, that’s part of sports.”
Bryant admitted that this is one of the toughest challenges he’s endured during his NBA career with all the talent around, but not a good record to show for it.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Madison Park, Keith Allen and Andreas Preuss, CNN