Saturday, January 12, 2013

Are the Lakers seriously going to miss the playoffs?

Shhh, I'm kind of rooting for Kobe at the moment.
On Monday I wrote about how surprised I was by the LA Lakers struggles this year.  Since then it has gotten much much worse.  Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol are hurt, their 3rd best big man, center Jordan Hill, is reportedly out for the season, and they have dropped 6 straight games to fall to 15-21.  At this point there's a distinct possibility that the preseason title favorites won't even make the playoffs.

Despite the Celtics recent hot streak, you'd be hard pressed to find anyone who thinks they are going to catch Miami for the top seed in the East.  Well, Boston is the same distance behind the Heat (5 games) as the Lakers are from the 8th and final playoff spot in the West.  Portland currently holds that position with a 20-16 record.  If the Blazers keep winning at the same rate (55.6%), the Lakers would have to finish with roughly 46 wins to pass them.  In order to get there LA must go 31-15 (67.4%) the rest of the way; not impossible, but certainly a lofty task.

Having said all that, I have to admit something I'm not supposed to say as a Celtics fan: I sort of admire Kobe Bryant right now.  The guy is a warrior.  He's in his 17th year in the league, still making impossible shots, leading the NBA in scoring (30.0 PPG) at 34 years old.  So what if he doesn't play defense anymore.  And as much fun as it is to see the Lakers struggle, I hope they do rally and grab the 8th playoff spot.  Since I'm no longer afraid of them, I think it's safe to say the playoffs won't be as entertaining without them.  If LA's other team (the Clippers) can hang on to the #1 seed, we'd get to see a first round matchup in which every game was played in the same building; essentially 7 home contests from the Lakers.


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