From Eric Pincus, LA Times: The Lakers lost a winnable game on Wednesday, unable to take advantage of the short-handedAtlanta Hawks. After a victory on Tuesday in Orlando, the Lakers failed for the 13th time this season to win both games in a back-to-back set. So far this year, the Lakers have lost both games on back-to-back nights three times. In five cases they’ve redeemed a loss in the first game with win in the second. The Lakers have won only the first game of back-to-back contests five times. With 16 games left in the regular season, the Lakers still have three more opportunities to win on consecutive nights. They host the Sacramento Kings this Sunday followed by a visit to the Phoenix Suns on Monday.
From Kurt Helin, Pro Basketball Talk: Just when you thought the Lakers were past the injury bug that plagued their early season. Kobe Bryant is out indefinitely with severe ankle sprain suffered in the closing seconds of the Lakers loss in Atlanta Wednesday, according to Lakers reporter Mike Trudell. Kobe said after the game this was as bad a sprain as he had dealt with since the 2000 playoffs and he didn’t have a timeline for a return, Trudell tweeted. The good news is the X-rays were negative. But an ankle sprain could keep even Kobe and his ridiculous pain threshold on the bench for a week or two at a time the Lakers can’t afford to be without their MVP. The Thunder spanked the Jazz on Wednesday so the Lakers remain just half a game ahead of Utah for the eighth spot in the West and are 1.5 back of the seven-seed Rockets (who have eight of their next nine at home). The Lakers have 16 games left on the schedule.
From Ramneet Singh, Lakers Nation: The Los Angeles Lakers will have their star forward Pau Gasol in the lineup very shortly, and according to reports, the Spaniard will be inserted into the starting lineup. Gasol suffered a foot injury in a game against the Brooklyn Nets on Feb. 5 and he was initially ruled out for six to eight weeks. In Gasol’s absence, the team has played well and is currently the eight seed in the Western Conference standings. Although Gasol is ruled out for the team’s next game against the Indiana Pacers, he will be back on the court within a week.
From Kevin Ding, OC Register: This Lakers’ season has been so difficult in large part because of Dwight Howard’s back and shoulder, Steve Nash’s leg and Pau Gasol’s foot. Now Kobe Bryant’s ankle will dictate whether the Lakers’ recent feel-good mojo ever returns. Bryant severely sprained his left ankle as he missed a tying shot with 3.9 seconds left in the Lakers’ 96-92 loss to the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday night. An angry Bryant suggested that Atlanta’s Dahntay Jones made it a dangerous play by putting his foot under an airborne Bryant. The Lakers don’t know when Bryant will play again, and neither does Bryant, who said: “I can’t get my mind past the fact that I’ve got to wait a year to get revenge.” Bryant missed the 18-foot baseline jumper from one of his favorite spots, clinching a cold fourth quarter. Bryant’s right leg kicked out as he shot, and Jones’ right foot moved in after release; Bryant’s left foot hit Jones’ right foot on his way down before turning awkwardly on the floor. Bryant afterward called it as bad an ankle sprain as he has ever had.
From The Great Mambino, Silver Screen & Roll: Kobe Bryant sprained his ankle during the Los Angeles Lakers’ loss Wednesday night, generating a moment that was like pulling the emergency brake while going 100 miles per hour to the Lakers’ post All-Star break momentum. The Mamba had missed a potential game tying shot, a baseline leaner over the defending Dahntay Jones. The attempt was a bit too strong and clanged off the side of the rim, but it was immediately apparent that the Lakers had lost more than the game.