Found March 05, 2013 on
Los Angeles Lakers
Golden State Warriors
Oklahoma City Thunder
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Looking at the Los Angeles Lakers’ recent success, Kobe Bryant seems to be a man of his word. After his “playoff-guarantee” a few weeks ago, Bryant has led the underachieving Lakers back to the .500 mark for the first time since Dec. 28 when they were 15-15.
Already having one his most efficient seasons of his career, Kobe has elevated his game to an even higher level. In the last five games Bryant has averaged about 35 points, seven rebounds and six assists per game while shooting 57-percent from the field and even 50-percent from three-point range.
The inspired play of Bryant and company has the Lakers at 4-1 since the “guarantee”, only dropping a road game to the Denver Nuggets. Bryant’s individual statistics show his efficiency, but what they don’t show is this newfound bounce in his step. Bryant is finishing at the rim like no other 34-year-old in the league.
“I don’t know where he’s getting his young legs from,” says Lakers head coach Mike D’Antoni. “His belief in himself is huge. He’s been doing it for years.”
Steve Nash has also noticed how well the Black Mamba is doing now.
“From the start of the year, his legs have looked great,” Nash said. “There may have been a time where he was a little more explosive, but he’s explosive enough to do 95-percent of the things he’s always done, and the 5 percent of those things are unnecessary. He can do other things well that he couldn’t do before. He’s as every bit of good as he’s ever been.”
I wonder how Atlanta Hawks forward Josh Smith, who was posterized on Sunday night, feels about Kobe’s “young legs”. Bryant scored 34 points, including the go-ahead layup over Smith with nine seconds remaining to defeat Atlanta, 99-98.
He scored 11 points in the fourth quarter, leading Los Angeles to its fifth victory in six games. After the game, Bryant said the Lakers were “starting to get into a groove.” Bryant will need to keep his teammates in that groove if they want to avoid missing the post-season for the first time since the 2004-05 season.
The Lakers are currently the ninth seed and are within striking distance of the Golden State Warriors, Utah Jazz and Houston Rockets for one of the final three playoff spots.
With 22 games remaining in the regular season, 11 of those games are versus playoff teams and the final game of the season is against current seventh-seeded Rockets. The way this Western conference shapes up down the stretch will be interesting.
Tonight’s road match-up with the Oklahoma City Thunder could be a first-round preview and a test to evaluate if the “new” Lakers are contenders. On Jan. 27, the most recent meeting between the teams, Bryant scored 21 points and had a season-high-tying 14 assists in a 105-96 home victory. He’s averaging 33.3 points over his last six games versus the Thunder.
The huge uncertainty is the Lakers’ team ability to play team defense. They will have their hands full trying to slow down Kevin Durant, as he’s averaged 37.7 points in the last three meetings versus Los Angeles this season.
Oklahoma City is one of the NBA’s best home teams at 26-4, and the Lakers have lost five straight at Chesapeake Energy Arena. A victory seems unlikely, but if they can compete and keep it close they should be able to continue the momentum they have built.
We have all seen the Nike ad #CountOnKobe and this is just another chance for Bryant to add to his legacy of coming through in the clutch. His “guarantee” is just another tactic to keep his competitive juices flowing.
Great competitors find ways to motivate themselves and their teams. If history serves correct, the Lakers will be a playoff-team and one of the most dangerous seven or eight seeds of all-time.
Once they can also count on Nash, Pau Gasol and Dwight Howard, this team’s full potential will be realized.
The post Lakers Can Count On Kobe Bryant For Playoff-Berth appeared first on FootBasket.
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Not sure what made the Hornets forget to guard Kobe Bryant, but with less than 30 seconds left in a two point ball game, Kobe squeezes through the New Orleans Hornet defenders for an easy dunk. Bryant scored 42-points in the L.A. Lakers 108-102 victory.
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The Big Leagues The Lakers guard posterizes Josh Smith, then hits game-winner for good measure.
Since Kobe Bryant and his Lakers are playing right now against the OKC Thunder, I might as well post this look I missed from him during the NBA All Star Weekend.I like to keep my material fresh and up-to-date, but umm, YOLO(On this post). At the 2013 NBA Celebrity All-Star game, Kobe wore a chic printed $595 Givenchy Cotton Modal Airplane Scarf. The vintage military design of this...
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The New Orleans Hornets blew a 25-point lead and lost to the Los Angeles Lakers 108-102 Wednesday. After committing supremely idiotic plays like this one, you can’t help but say they deserved to lose.
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Here is a look at the press release that offers $5 million to Kobe Bryant to entice him to defend not only his reputation but also his victory from 1997. “We at Sex.com feel it is important for the sport of basketball that Kobe and Lebron face-off in the dunk contest and we want to be part of this historic event. The NBA’s best players used to enter...
Solanus de la Serna (Credit: AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
For the desperate Los Angeles Lakers, every game is key from here on out as they continue their pursuit of a playoff berth. However, Tuesday’s matchup vs. the Oklahoma City Thunder carries additional pressure as the Lakers will try to prove that they can hang tough with the League’s best in their first game at .500 in...
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