The drama continues in LA but this year’s Laker story may really come to a sad ending.
Throughout this season, the Los Angeles Lakers have been in danger of not making the playoff cut, not with the early coaching challenges, their up-and-down play, the team’s chemistry issues and their long list of player injuries. The last time the team was in such dire straights was during the 2004-2005 season, when they failed to make the NBA playoffs. This was the year after Shaquille O’Neal and Phil Jackson left the team.
Despite all they had to go through this year, LA has put itself in a position to enter the postseason and potentially be the most dangerous 8th seed in the history of the NBA. Their chances almost went up in smoke when Kobe turned his ankle upon landing on the foot of the Atlanta Hawks’ Dahntay Jones last month on what could have been a game-tying buzzer-beater. Miraculously, Kobe returned and in his ultra-competitive Mamba mode, continued to carry the torch for the Lakers, scoring and facilitating for his teammates. Last Wednesday, against ROY top contender Damian Lilliard and his Portland Trailblazers, Kobe had 47 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists, 4 blocks and 3 steals. He shot 14/27 FGs, 18/18 FTs and played all 48 minutes of the hard-fought match. This is Kobe Bryant taking over the game in his effort to force the Lakers into the playoff picture.
Now unless you have been hiding under a rock somewhere, you know that last night, in Los Angeles’ two-point win over the Golden State Warriors, Kobe left the game after rupturing his Achilles tendon. This injury ends Kobe’s 2012-2013 season. And at 34 years of age, it may also be a very unfortunate career-ending development for one of the greatest ever to play the game.
*The Lakers’ last two games are against San Antonio and Houston. Currently 9th, Utah ends their season against Minnesota and Memphis. At the time of this writing, the Lakers have a one game lead over the Jazz, but Utah owns the tiebreaker should they finish with the same win-loss record.