Originally written on Fox Sports  |  Last updated 11/18/14
B3dda74a597af56dad10416054824d31_kobebryantphotobehinddad
(Eds: With AP Photos.) By TIM DAHLBERG AP Sports Columnist Kobe Bryant hit his only shot that really mattered, then celebrated by slapping hands with Justin Timberlake. In the closing seconds of a Game 7 playoff win, the stars were aligning in Los Angeles once again, just like old times. Except this was a first-round playoff series against a seriously less talented opponent. And these aren't anything like old times. The Lakers used to swagger through the playoffs with an attitude, mostly because Bryant would always seem to find a way to make them win. Now they go to Oklahoma City uncertain and unsure, and even Bryant may not have anything left in his bag of tricks to use against the Thunder. He got them past the Denver Nuggets by finally getting Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol to play hard. That worked for one night, but the Lakers won't be long for these playoffs if Bryant is forced to babysit his teammates every game. He was smiling after the win at the Staples Center, happ...
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

LeGarrette Blount apologizes to former teammates, fans

Pilar Sanders posts audio of children saying Deion is abusive

Kobe Bryant dishes on trash talk with Dwight Howard

Raiders owner Mark Davis: 'We want to stay here in Oakland'

Terrance Knighton: Broncos fans are ‘high-maintenance'

Ex-NFL player delivers own baby on North Carolina farm

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

USC players not happy about Josh Shaw reinstatement

FSU student: Books stopped bullets from hitting me

Jets-Bills game could be moved to Detroit, Toronto, New Jersey

Michael Vick wants to play at least two more years

NHL's Jack Johnson is bankrupt, parents mostly responsible

Michael Phelps' self-proclaimed girlfriend was born a man

Lauren Hill surprises Devon Still with gift after practice

Raiders fans take out ad calling for Hue Jackson return

Eagles broadcaster has Cowboys turkey for Thanksgiving

Nick Young on his swag: 'I’m like Michael Jackson, Prince'

Le'Veon Bell adds Steelers o-line to award candidacy picture

Ranking the NBA's most exciting rookies

Steve Smith drops fantastic line about playing in prime-time

Five NFL teams we still have no clue about

Ten NFL coaches who would be fired if season ended today

ESPNU reporter makes tasteless 'joke' about FSU shooting

WATCH: Jason Kidd returns to chorus of boos in Brooklyn

James Harden wears ridiculous shirt; Twitter reacts

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

LeGarrette Blount issues apology

Phelps' alleged GF born a man?

Bears considered benching Cutler?

Can Cardinals win a Super Bowl with Drew Stanton?

Steeler: Blount's release a blessing

WATCH: Carter moved by tribute

Giancarlo Stanton and the cost of becoming a boss

Report: Sandoval headed to Red Sox

VIDEO: HBO's 'Under The Lights' is a must watch

Brady: Belichick not as he seems

The NFL Chick gloriously interviews for the Gators head coach job

NBA's first openly gay player to retire

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.