No chance Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers reach the postseason? Well, if they keep winning the games they should (against the teams below them) and stop folding every time they face some sort of challenge, than maybe being only two games behind the Houston Rockets will be easier to bridge than what it looks like.
Kobe Bryant wasn’t shooting well for a very long time, but he’s been on a tear over the last four games, as the Lakers won three of four, and Bryant is averaging 35 points while shooting 59.5% from the field. Not quite LeBron James during February, but very close to it.
I’ve been in attack mode since the break. It’s go time. We’re getting a little closer, and we’re starting to get in more of a striking distance where you start watching the playoff race. We’ve had enough time together where we’ve turned a corner and we’re making improvement instead of continually taking steps back. I think that improvement has been a long time coming, but it’s only the beginning. We really need to continue to improve.
No more passing Bryant, although he did finish with 5 assists in the 116-94 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves, as the Lakers move to only one game below .500. He has taken at least 21 shots in the last four games, which means he’s probably going to stay in this kind of mode for the rest of the season.
I just think, maybe a week or two ago that wall was there. Now he’s getting past that. He understands the importance of the rest of these games and his role on this team. He’s just going out there pretty much leading by example.
Bryant didn’t take it easy in the early going like he has going up to the All-Star break and a couple of games following the break. Bryant began the game with a poster dunk of Nikola Pekovic, and simply kept going from there. The problem is that while Bryant has had these spurts of scoring sprees this season, his team doesn’t always follow, and after so many years in the league and so many mileage on his legs (Bryant is playing 38.1 minutes per game this season, not missing a game), they don’t last forever.
Another issue is who the Lakers are beating – Since beating the Brooklyn Nets on February 5th, the Lakers are 6-4. All six teams they’ve beaten except for the tired Boston Celtics won’t be making the postseason. All four teams they have lost to are postseason teams, possibly title teams. Which pushes us to look at the remaining schedule for the Lakers: In the 23 remaining games, 11 are at home. The Lakers are 19-11 at home this season, but 10-19 on the road.
And who are they playing? Out of the 23 games, 12 are against playoff bound teams, including playing the Houston Rockets on their last game of the season in what might turn out to be a playoff deciding game. If the Lakers win only 11 games by the end of the season, projecting seven at home and four on the road, they won’t be making the final 8.