by Marcel Mutoni@marcel_mutoni

As the 2-time defending champs continue their season-long struggle to regain their dominant form, frustration has understandably begun to creep into their locker room. Most of it has to do with the aggravating lack of motivation from the team on a nightly basis.

Defensively, the Lakers can’t seem to stop anyone, and when things don’t go well on the offensive end (read: the post players are foolishly ignored), Kobe Bryant will tend to try and take over. This has not worked out well.

Last night, in a blowout loss to the Memphis Grizzlies at home, Bean lit up for 17 third quarter points en route to a game-high 28 … and the Grizzlies’ lead increased dramatically. Afterward, Phil Jackson let the media know that this was not in the game plan.

The LA Times has the quotes:

“I just felt like we had no energy,” Bryant said. ” … So I tried to generate some of that and just get us started, but we weren’t able to carry it through.” The problem? Bryant took 12 of the team’s 22 shots in the third.

“We get behind early on in the third quarter on some stupid plays — poor passing, poor transition defense — and then Kobe has to screw up the game and start energizing the team by going one-on-one,” Jackson said. “That takes the rest of the guys out and as a consequence, that didn’t bring us back in.”

The Lakers turned the ball over 20 times, part of why Memphis had 28 fast-break points.

The few fans that remained inside the Staples Center late in the fourth quarter booed the team off the floor, and Kobe suggested that the media needs to start ripping the team more in their stories (an inevitability that didn’t need Bryant’s prodding.)

The Lakers’ issues are all correctable, and it’s still early enough in the season for them to make the necessary adjustments. One just has to wonder how long it’ll take for the team to finally start playing up to their potential.