The game against the Hawks the other night was a mess. Two banged-up teams on the end of a back-to-back and by the time it was over, the Lakers were a whole lot gimpier. That plus another loss at a point in the season where eighth-place teams can’t afford to be losing. If they come out with a game like that tonight, the Indiana Pacers will eat them alive. Believe it.
At the moment, Kobe Bryant’s availability is uncertain. There is a common way of thinking when it comes to Kobe’s injuries. He is able to play through extraordinary pain, his ability to compartmentalize is legendary. We are spoiled as fans because we have come to expect it and count on it. The same goes for his teammates. They’re talking a good game right now about stepping into the breach. Let’s hope they deliver – a gimpy right elbow and sprained left ankle are just the latest in Mamba’s long parade of hurts and at some point, the candles will simply fail to light.
Dave McMenamin for ESPN examines Kobe’s ankle and the issue of being undercut by Dahntay Jones.
The Great Mambino for Silver Screen & Roll also weighs in on the Dahntay brouhaha.
Brian Kamenetzky from the Land O’Lakers looks at the consequences of the injury, going forward.
Kevin Ding for the OCRegister reports on Kobe’s non-stop treatment plan plus a question of degrees.
At TrueHoop, Henry Abbott riffed on the play that injured Kobe and how players have incentive to walk the line between fair and foul when playing defense.
Jeff Miller for the OCRegister on the Lakers’ uphill battle and lessened leverage.
Adrian Wojnarowski for Yahoo Sports writes about Kobe’s race against the clock.
Eric Freeman for Ball Don’t Lie on a day that was all about Kobe’s ankle and the league ruling.
Finally for a change of pace, Kelly Dwyer for Ball Don’t Lie brings news of the insurance policy that will kick in if Andrew Bynum misses the remainder of the season for the 76ers.
Eric Pincus for the LATimes looks at the Heat’s run as they try to break the Lakers’ all-time winning streak of 33.
Mark Medina for the Long Beach Press-Telegram writes about Brian Shaw, still associate head coach for the Pacers and patiently biding his time.
May of 2011 was a dark time for the Lakers. The team had been bounced in the second round, ending Phil Jackson’s last stand. Brian Shaw had generally been considered the front-runner to take over Jackson’s spot but barely got a proforma sniff. He learned about Mike Brown’s hiring through the media and was just one member of a mass forced exodus. Much has been written about that strange chapter and much more will be written once Kobe’s days as a player are done – it’s just too fascinating to ignore, in a repelling kind of way.
There will always be questions about what a Shaw-coached team might have accomplished. The lockout-shortened season was rough all over. It’s hard to imagine however, that his familiarity with the team would have been a detriment. The collision of new faces and a new system seemed unending, a slow-motion chain reaction that continued through another second-round exit. And then it started up again in the fall as old wounds were reopened and another curious coaching interview took place.
Tonight, Kobe Bryant may or may not be in uniform. Brian Shaw will be sitting in his customary spot next to Frank Vogel. The Pacers are currently in second place in the east with New York close behind. The Lakers have been pushing hard lately to get into the hunt and now have to push harder just to stay in. And per usual, nobody’s pushed harder than Bryant. Tonight another episode as the Lakers world turns.