After a 109-99 loss to the Houston Rockets Wednesday night, the Los Angeles Lakers have four losses in a row for the first time since April 2007. Kobe Bryant has averaged 32 points per game during the streak, but it has not been enough. Phil Jackson has never coached a team to a title after losing four straight.
Of course, it is way too early in the season to make that kind of condemnation. A disgruntled Bryant told reporters after Wednesday night's game that the Lakers are "fine," and in a sense, he is right: Los Angeles has plenty of time to find its rhythm before the big playoff push. Critics have quickly forgotten the team's 8-0 and 13-2 start, which likely tell us more about the strengths of that team than this streak does about their vulnerabilities.
Still, Bryant is going a bit far to insist that he is entirely unburdened. There are reasons for concern in the Lakers' camp. In fact, there are at least five of them. Read on for more on each.