Lakers guard Kobe Bryant gestures during the fourth quarter of the Lakers'… (Jacquelyn Martin / Associated…)
Reporting from Washington — Why, yes, the Lakers' season could get worse than a shoddy showing in Detroit.
The Lakers fumbled away a 21-point lead to the sorrowful Washington Wizards in a 106-101 loss Wednesday, and that was only the beginning.
Andrew Bynum admitted to "loafing around" on the court. Coach Mike Brown critiqued Kobe Bryant's shot selection. Bryant didn't seem overly thrilled by that.
Welcome to the Lakers' 2011-12 season.
A victory against Miami on Sunday was supposed to be a turning point, but the Lakers turned two thumbs down with lame losses to two downtrodden teams.
Bryant again couldn't find his shot against Washington, making nine of 31 attempts and finishing with 30 points.
"He took some difficult shots that allowed those guys to come up with long rebounds and push the ball down the floor and get some easy baskets," Brown said. "He was one of those guys that I did not think took great shots in the second half."
To which Bryant paused six seconds before replying, "OK," one of many single-word answers he offered to reporters' questions. He used zero words in a follow-up question on the topic, choosing instead to purse his lips.
Brown stuck up mightily for Bryant the previous day, saying the 33-year-old should be in the mix for the league most-valuable-player award. He criticized Bryant a day later.
"It's fine," Bryant finally said after another pause.
Brown aside, Bryant was so irritated with his own game that he briefly considered working on his shot on the Wizards' practice court inside Verizon Center. Instead, he left the arena after talking in an almost-empty locker room for several minutes with former teammates Ronny Turiaf and Laron Profit.
Bynum left almost 30 minutes earlier after taking six rebounds in 33 minutes. The undersized Wizards outrebounded the Lakers, 51-42, and took a staggering 17 offensive rebounds to the Lakers' nine.
"I was out there kind of loafing around, having a good time," Bynum said. "It caught up."
That didn't sit well with reserve forward Matt Barnes.
"That can't happen. He's an All-Star, he's one of our best players," Barnes said. "But it's not any one person. It's a collective effort. If he's tired, we have to pick him up. We've got people that are ready to play."
Wednesday's game recap was inexcusably messy for the Lakers. They held a seemingly safe 76-55 lead after Derek Fisher made two free throws with 7:23 left in the third quarter.
Then the Wizards went on a 32-7 run and led by four early in the fourth quarter after Roger Mason made consecutive three-pointers.
Three late plays worth mentioning: Bryant missed badly on a three-point attempt, Trevor Booker snared a huge offensive rebound after John Wall's miss, and Bynum dropped a rebound out of bounds after Wall missed a free throw.
Washington (9-29) had the NBA's second-worst record before Wednesday.
The Wizards were led by Booker (18 points, 17 rebounds) and Kevin Seraphin (14 points), along with the seldom-used Mason, who made four three-pointers.
"Guys had career nights against us because of the momentum that they had from the bad shot selection we took, the lack of ball movement and the turnovers," Brown said.
The Lakers (23-16) were plenty efficient down low on offense. Bynum had 19 points on six-for-eight shooting. Pau Gasol had 19 points on six-for-11 shooting.
Still, the Lakers fell to 6-14 on the road. There's an apparent need to stop loafing, in many ways.