June 7, 2004
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA: Practice Day
Q. How would you describe your relationship with Karl Malone and what has it meant to you?
KOBE BRYANT: My relationship with Karl is very close. We're practically neighbors. We talk a lot about basketball, a lot about stuff off the court. He's been like a brother to me all year.
Q. Shaq was kind of saying that he thinks it was more you guys, what you did or did not do, as to why you lost the game yesterday than Detroit taking you out of some things and just beating you guys. Do you agree with that assessment, and if so, what you guys have done this year, you've had to lose a game to motivate you to step it up and why do you think that is?
KOBE BRYANT: You know, we weren't in sync, we were not in rhythm at the start of the game. I don't know if it was the days off or whatever, but we just weren't in rhythm. You probably can blame it on the thong Shaq had. It kind of traumatized everybody in the locker room. But we'll be all right. We'll bounce back the next game.
Q. Detroit has gotten a lot of credit for their defense, how good was their defense and how do you compare it to like a San Antonio?
KOBE BRYANT: San Antonio was more aggressive defensively on the ball, funneling everything to the baseline. But Detroit, they play a different style of defense. Still effective, nonetheless, but different schools of thought in some ways.
Q. How was Detroit allowed to set the pace of the game and how do you change things for Game 2?
KOBE BRYANT: They did a good job controlling the tempo. I think Chauncey did a good job making sure they maintained their rhythm and played the way Larry Brown wanted them to play. I think we allowed them to dictate too much, so we had to take them out of their sets a little bit and rush them a little bit and not just sitting in their pockets and getting whatever shot they want.
Q. What else are they doing on defense? Are they pushing you either way or are they double-teaming when you come off pick-and-roll or is it just straight-up stuff?
KOBE BRYANT: You know, they show off a pick-and-roll when I come off the down screens, they make sure they chase and corral me with either the opposite guard, opposite forward. It's basically defense that they do. Only difference between them and San Antonio, San Antonio used to funnel me to the baseline to try to keep me out of the middle. Detroit, they kind of go either way and just corral me.
Q. Most of the game it looked like you guys were having trouble running a play.
KOBE BRYANT: Well, that's kind of been all year. Phil has been harping on us on running the triangle all year. We made some adjustments and I think we'll do better next game.
Q. I know you said last night that you were looking forward to the challenge to Tayshaun, it looked like you were starting to measure them up a little bit. I know you hit the rain-dropper on him one time, were you starting to measure them up a little bit and it seemed like there was a defensive change on you?
KOBE BRYANT: Yeah, just sizing them up. I've never played against somebody that long before. He does a good job utilizing his length. I'm excited about that. It's going to be fun.
Q. But were you starting to feel him out a little bit?
KOBE BRYANT: Yeah.
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