Harrison says Bryant to blame for Game 1 loss

Updated: May 11, 2004, 2:50 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

The Los Angeles Lakers' problem: Kobe Bryant.

At least that's how Philip Harrison, Shaquille O'Neal's stepfather, sees it.

The blunt-spoken man, whom Shaq considers his father, told columnist David Flores of the San Antonio Express-News that the team should have worked the ball more to his stepson in the Lakers' 88-78 loss to the Spurs in Game 1.

But Harrison thinks the real offensive problem is Bryant. "Kobe Bryant could be one of the best players that ever played the game if he learned how to play team basketball," Harrison told the paper. "The game is played inside out, not outside in. You play team basketball, no problem.

"You have to establish the inside game first. Shaquille is the most dominant player to ever play the game. You have to pass him the ball. Let's stop the drama and just play ball."

Bryant scored 31 points on 10-of-26 shooting in Game 1. O'Neal scored 19 on 8-of-14 shooting.

O'Neal and Bryant publicly feuded in October. Shaq called the Lakers "my team," adding that Bryant needed to be more of a team player.

Bryant then ripped into O'Neal during a telephone interview with ESPN, calling him "childlike," "unprofessional," "selfish," "fat" and "jealous."

They settled into an uneasy truce before the start of the regular season, but are not close, according to Harrison.

"They just work together and that's all," he told the paper.

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