“I hate it for Kobe. I hate it for us. I hate it for L.A.”. These words by Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni perfectly describe the way most fans feel after Los Angeles G Kobe Bryant tore his Achilles tendon Friday night in a game against the Golden State Warriors.
This injury couldn’t have come at a worse time as the Lakers are vying for the eight and final spot in the playoffs with the Utah Jazz. Los Angeles currently holds their own destiny, but if they lose any of their remaining two games, their playoff hopes could be done.
Utah owns the tiebreak over the Lakers. The Jazz are only a game behind the Lakers for the eight seed, and they need to win out in order to have a chance at making the playoffs. If they do so, all they need is just one Lakers loss and they are into the 2013 NBA Playoffs.
The Lakers’ remaining opponents are the San Antonio Spurs and the Houston Rockets. L.A. just may end up losing both games as they face the second seeded Spurs with Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker, and Tim Duncan Sunday Night, and then finish out the season against the Rockets, who clinched a playoff spot last week, led by their young captains, James Harden, Jeremy Lin, and Chandler Parsons.
Fortunately, this isn’t the last that we will see of the Black Mamba. When asked whether or not this injury marks the end of his career, Kobe answered, “Are you kidding me?”. He also let himself out on a Facebook post, which can be seen here.
There are two questions that come about because of the Kobe injury. One is, are the Lakers going to make the playoffs. Probably not. Even though the Mamba promised the city that they will get a playoff berth, and the team is probably going to want to make it for him, there is no way they can come together as a team to win out and make the postseason. There is going to be conflict on who is going to lead the team. Would it be Dwight Howard, or Pau Gasol? How about Steve Nash or Metta World Peace? None of these guys would be able to step up because they are simply the supporting cast of a team built around Kobe Bryant.
The second question is, is this the last that we will see of the Black Mamba. My answer is no, the man said it himself. I mean in his Facebook post, he seems conflicted, but he only says the stuff he does because he was in the heat of the moment. He was extremely emotional after a heartbreaking injury and it is understandable why he was the way he was. No man wants to let an injury end their journey, and I wouldn’t expect any less of that from Kobe Bryant. His range of a return time could range anywhere from late October/early November to February, around the time of the All-Star break.
I won’t be expecting the Mamba to play the same caliber he was before the injury, but I do expect him to play with the same heart and intensityand passion for the game that he has his entire sixteen year NBA career.
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