"It's extremely, extremely frustrating," he said. "I don't know if we're too old and it takes us a long time to get started and lathered up. It seems like we got the Scooby-Doo syndrome where it takes you like five seconds.…"
"It seems like you've been watching a lot of cartoons lately," I said by way of interruption.
"Something has to keep me in a good mood," he said with a chuckle.
As for what ails the Lakers, he said turnovers — "and I've got to do a better job of that myself" — and transition defense are the two biggest culprits.
"Last year we got beat in the playoffs by transition points and this year it's still an Achilles' heel for us. I don't know if we're too slow of a team and we got to change things up a little bit and play a slower game. I don't know the answer."
"No," Bryant said. "Those issues are still there. With Steve and Pau there in the lineup we still didn't win a preseason game. Pau isn't the fastest guy in the world and neither is Steve.
"Actually, we're slow as hell. I'm one of the fastest guys on the team and I'm like 50."
Bryant said D'Antoni is "savvy and smart enough" to make adjustments, but it's not apparent he can do so without Nash in uniform.
"It doesn't make any sense," Bryant said.
Is the Lakers' supporting cast up to the task of complementing the play of Bryant and Howard? Bryant was 16 for 28 for 42 points, while everyone else was a combined 15 for 47.
"Not right now, but it's my job to be as perfect as I can be, and if they are not playing well I have to minimize my mistakes," said Bryant, who led the team with five turnovers.
Bryant sat patiently before his locker, his legs in ice until his timer went off sounding like a distress signal.
"That's apropos, no question," said Bryant. The Lakers' next assignment is in New York against a team that has not lost at home.
Twenty minutes after speaking to the media, Bryant sent word he wanted to talk to me again.
"I was thinking about it when I took my shower," he said, while going into details about how Batman was overmatched, but the valet inspired Batman in one of the "Dark Knight" movies.
The guy obviously has a lot of spare time on his hands.
"You see teams play that might be less talented but they are playing with conviction and belief," Bryant said. "You go through tough stretches and start to question whether you really are a championship team.
"We have to find that power of belief," he said. Maybe Batman's valet is better suited to get the Lakers going now than a coach who admits to having no answers.