Does Kobe’s Injury Ruin Lakers Playoff Chances

 

When Kobe Bryan did not get back up after missing a jumper from the corner you could almost here all of Lakers nation collectively say “Uh-oh.”

There was just 13 seconds left to play in the fourth quarter.  Bryant was trying to lead his team to another comeback victory and put some more distance between themselves and the team that is closest to knocking them out of their number 8 seed playoff spot, the Utah Jazz.   The Lakers were down 94-92 against the Atlanta Hawks.

Bryant went for a jumper to tie the game.  He was covered by Dahntay Jones, who went to block the shot and came in close fouling Bryant.  Bryant, however, came down awkwardly on his ankle and didn’t get up.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=ihq0xxIlkaU

He laid there looking to be in pain for several moments before finally getting up an limping to the bench.  Bryant is now listed as out indefinitely with a severe sprain.  Adding insult to injury, the Lakers wold lose to the Hawks, 94-92

Bryant has went to Twitter to completely lay the blame of his injury on Jones.  Bryant can play the blame game and talk about revenge all he wants.

I just can’t get my mind past that I have to wait a year to get revenge

-Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant getting some redemption next season against Jones aside, the real question is how will Kobe’s absence impact the Lakers playoff chances.

The Lakers are barely clinging to the number 8 seed by .5 games.  They would have fell out of the spot on last nights loss if it wasn’t for the Oklahoma City Thunder destroying the Jazz, 110-87.  Without Bryant many assume that it is just a matter of time before the Lakers fall way behind in the playoff race.

It is important to note that the Lakers have their best games when Bryant scores less than 30 points, so this means that the Lakers loss may not have that big of an impact.  However, Bryant is a facilitator in those games, putting up huge assist numbers and playing a big leadership role.

Before we start making playoff predictions in regards to the Lakers, we should see them play without Bryant first.  The Lakers still have Steve Nash and Dwight Howard.  They are enormous talents that simply need to step up and make up for the lack of Kobe.  On top of that Pau Gasol is close to returning from injury.

The talent is still there.  If they can step up enough to make up for Bryant’s absence remains to be seen.

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