Thursday, April 11, 2013

Lakers Riding Kobe’s Back in Hopes of Making Playoffs

Article written by Dave Thomas - Guest Poster
There was a time back in the day when the Los Angeles Lakers simply coasted into the Western Conference playoffs. As both Laker fans and those who follow the NBA know now, those days have passed.

Scratching and clawing their way to try and get the eighth and last seed in the upcoming conference playoffs, the Lakers won Wednesday evening in a building and city for that matter that has not been overly friendly to them.

Autographed Kobe Bryant Photograph - 16x20 Professional Print Dunkin'In their 113-106 over the Portland Trail Blazers at the Rose Garden, the Lakers won for just the fifth time in their last 19 trips to the Pacific Northwest. As has been the case for much of the season, future Hall-of-Famer Kobe Bryant put the team on his back, posting a season-best 47 points before all was said and done.

The win moved Los Angeles a full game ahead of Utah in the race for the final playoff spot with three games remaining for the Lakers (Golden State, San Antonio, Houston). Yes, three teams that have already locked up Western Conference postseason spots.

Something else that has become all too common over the years, there were dozens and dozens of Lakers fans in enemy territory rooting on the Purple and Gold, even throwing out “MVP” chants for Bryant each time he touched the ball.

While other Lakers did have an impact on the game - Pau Gasol (23 points) and Dwight Howard (20 points) - most notably, it was reliable number 24 who carried the load as he has so often in recent years, especially the 2012-13 campaign.

Even though Bryant is a mere 34 years old, Lakers TV analyst Stu Lantz made a key point that has been brought up countless times over the years. Bryant may physically be 34, but the wear and tear on his body of playing nearly two decades in the league makes him a much older man.

Still, you literally have to cut Bryant’s knees off to get him to miss a game. A severely sprained ankle hobbled him a few weeks back, but he battled back from that to miss limited playing time, determined to carry his team into the playoffs which begin April 20.

Even if the Lakers do make it to postseason action, their fate could be determined rather quickly, given that either conference favorites San Antonio and Oklahoma would be their first-round opponent. The odds of the Lakers potentially getting swept out of the first-round could be rather high.

In the meantime, the Lakers and Jazz will battle over this last week of regular season play to see who can sneak their way into the playoffs.

While they say that one man can’t often times carry a team by himself, one Kobe Bryant is out to prove that theory wrong.

About the Author: With 23 years’ writing experience, Dave Thomas covers a variety of business topics for different sites, including VoIP for business.

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