Just as we began to flip the page to find out what happens in the next chapter of the Los Angeles Lakers storybook season, the unthinkable happened. Franchise cornerstone Kobe Bryant tore his achilles just games before the post season; (Bryant is expected to sit out 6 to 9 weeks) Tragic. During the months of February and March, the Lakers had managed to crawl themselves back into the middle of the pack in the Western Conference standings. As of today they stand in 8th place, just one and a half game ahead of the Utah Jazz. A month ago, I said the Lakers would not make the post season because of their inability to keep everyone healthy and the lack of chemistry they displayed. However, I also stated that if they did get hot enough to obtain the 8th seed they would be a dangerous team to play against. My assumptions were based on the idea that number 24 would be playing but after Friday nights tragedy, it does not look like that is going to happen.
The good news is that the season is not over if L.A. decides it isn’t. They will play their final game of the season versus the Houston Rockets. At this point both Houston and Los Angeles could use another victory. Houston battles Golden State for the coveted 6 seed as both teams share the same record at (45-35) and Los Angeles leads Utah by just a game and half in efforts to secure the 8 seed. Utah has two games left. The best thing the Lakers can do is win their game against the Rockets and pray the Jazz at least split their last two 1-1.
Although many analysts have weighed in on how Kobe’s absence will impact this years team negatively, I have good reason to think otherwise. Let me give you something to chew on. Maybe Kobe’s injury proves to be the beginning of a turning point for the Lakers much like how Louisville rallied to win the title after Kevin Ware’s horrific leg injury. Hmm pretty good right? It’s highly unlikely, impossible in many ways but it was worth a try. Realistically I see the Lakers winning Wednesday night (at home), Utah choking under pressure and LA securing the 8 seed. From there the Lakers go on to entertain Oklahoma City crowds much how like the Harlem Globetrotters (Thunder) absolutely embarrass the Washington Generals (Lakers) in every game. The Thunder sweep them in four games and in the end we still find ourselves talking Lakerball all summer long. Despite their entire 2012-2013 season debacle. That’s just my prediction.
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