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Wednesday’s Morning Mashup: Lakers’ struggles ‘baffling,’ ‘extremely frustrating’ to Kobe Bryant

12.12.12 at 7:52 am ET

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NBA: Mavericks at Celtics, 8 p.m. (ESPN; WEEI-FM)
NBA: Spurs at Jazz, 10:30 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Savannah State at Ohio State, 7 p.m. (Big Ten Network)
College basketball: Green Bay at Wisconsin, 9 p.m. (Big Ten Network)


‘™¦ Mike Brown is just a memory for the Lakers, but the team’s losing ways have continued under new coach Mike D’Antoni. The Lakers are 4-8 under D’Antoni and 9-12 overall following Tuesday night’s 100-94 loss to the lowly Cavaliers in Cleveland.

“This is one of the most challenging stretches of my 17 years, and the most baffling, too,” Kobe Bryant said. “We have the talent and personnel to do it, but we’re not, and it’s baffling. It’s extremely frustrating. It doesn’t make any sense. We’re still finding ways to lose games.”

Said D’Antoni: “The state that we’re in, that’s inexcusable, and we’ve got to figure it out.”

Lakers legend Magic Johnson said D’Antoni’s style doesn’t appear to be a good fit with the current lineup. Pau Gasol, who has missed five straight games with tendinitis in his knees, has been criticized for not adapting, but Johnson said the 7-foot Spaniard shouldn’t have to change.

“You can’t run with these guys,” Johnson said. “There’s one guy who can get up and down the court, and that’s Kobe. You’ve got to take that ball inside. That’s how you win games.”

Ultimately, though, it’s the team’s defense that is getting the most blame.

“We can score points but the defense is breaking down,” Johnson said. “We have to correct our defense. Every night guys have to come with passion and urgency.”

Following Tuesday’s loss, Los Angeles Times columnist T.J. Simers, who takes pleasure in antagonizing coaches at press conferences, got under the skin of D’Antoni by accusing him of not focusing enough on defense. Responded D’Antoni: “You’re starting to piss me off because you’re saying something that’s not factually correct.”

‘™¦ One week after he called Jets management “idiots,” wide receiver Braylon Edwards was claimed by New York off waivers from the Seahawks.

Tweeted Edwards: It feels great to be going home. Thanks to all of jet nation that continuously supported me and pushed for me. I’€™m back and it’€™s go time.

Edwards, who played for the Jets in 2009 and 2010 before leaving as a free agent, previously had criticized the team in an attempt to defend quarterback Mark Sanchez, tweeting:

Don’€™t blame Sanchez. I played there. Blame the idiots calling shots. Mark is a beast and will [prove] it when given a proper chance.

Edwards later tweeted: I would like to apologize to the Jets family and my fans for my emotional outburst. Mark is a friend and former teammate, who I wholeheartedly support. Nonetheless, I have disrespected and insulted an administration that I have the utmost respect for.

‘™¦ Running back Rashard Mendenhall‘s fall from grace in Pittsburgh continued on Tuesday when he was suspended for conduct detrimental to the team. According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Mendenhall did not show up for Sunday’s game vs. the Chargers after being told he would not be active.

“What’s happened, happened,” Mendenhall’s agent, Mike McCartney, told the Post-Gazette. “When I spoke to Rashard, I know he is very excited next Monday to rejoin his teammates. He’s going to come back with great energy to do everything he can to help the Pittsburgh Steelers win football games.”

Mendenhall, who rushed for more than 1,000 yards in 2009 and 2010 and was on target again last season before tearing the ACL in his right knee in the regular-season finale, has struggled to regain his form. He returned on Oct. 4 and played well, recording 101 total yards and catching a 13-yard touchdown pass in a 16-14 victory over the Eagles, but he strained his right Achilles four days later against the Titans and lost his starting spot. He was demoted to third-string following a fumble against the Browns on Nov. 25 and has not dressed for the last two games.

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On Dec. 12, 1975, the Red Sox traded Roger Moret to the Braves for which pitcher, known in part for the fact that he caught Hank Aaron‘s 715th home run ball in the bullpen in 1974?

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “He’s the Bill Belichick of basketball because of his execution of what he draws up in the timeouts, in practice. We go over it time and time again. And there’s a big emphasis on doing things the right way, whether it’s defensively doing our coverages or offensively, the little things. Setting screens, making sure you make the proper cut, just being focused on every single possession is so critical, like it is in football. That’s why I say he is the Bill Belichick of basketball.” — Celtics guard Jason Terry, on Doc Rivers

STAT OF THE DAY: 107-2 — The score of a girls high school basketball game in Indiana on Tuesday night, as Bloomington South routed Arlington

‘NET RESULTS: Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel appeared on the “Late Show With David Letterman” on Monday and revealed the “Top 10 Perks of Winning the Heisman Trophy.”


SOOTHING SOUNDS: Dionne Warwick was born on this day in 1940.

Read More: braylon edwards, kobe bryant, Mike D'Antoni, Rashard Mendenhall