Los Angeles Lakers coach Byron Scott dismissed critics who said they were better without Kobe Bryant as "idiots".
Bryant sat out for rest on Wednesday and the Lakers defeated the Golden State Warriors, the league's hottest team - but they failed to fire against the Chicago Bulls on Christmas Day, going down 113-93 minus the 16-time All-Star.
Their victory over the Warriors developed a weird chorus of voices that considered whether the Lakers might be better off without Bryant.
There were moments in which the Lakers challenged the Bulls, but, try as they might, they could not contend with the talent of one of the NBA's best teams.
If there wasn't before, the world now had clear evidence that the Lakers were not better without Bryant.
Asked about the concept following the game, Lakers coach Byron Scott bristled at the notion of the team being better without one of the all-time greats.
"I just say those people are idiots," Scott said.
"He is one of the best to ever have played the game. When you take him off the team you are going to have nights where you struggle. And then you are going to have one night like we had last night [against the Warriors].
"We are a much better team when Kobe is on the basketball court."
Scott's words should not put a shock into anyone who has watched the Lakers, at any point this season.
At 36 years old, Bryant leads the Lakers in scoring, assists and steals. He is fourth in rebounding, behind big men Jordan Hill, Carlos Boozer and Ed Davis.
Questions come into play when you look deeper into Bryant's numbers.
Sure, he averages 24.6 points, but he takes 22.4 field-goal attempts per game.
Yes, he has more rebounds than any guard on the team, but he leads the Lakers in minutes, at 35.4 per contest.
And, finally, his 1.41 steals per game lead the team, but he turns it over at a clip of 3.5 per night.
So there are holes in Bryant's game but those flaws do not make the Lakers better off without him.