Around The World (Wide Web): No Kobe? No Problem

Ryan Cole —  April 15, 2013

From Bill Plashke, LA Times: On the first night of the rest of their season, the Lakers without Kobe Bryant looked like Steve Blake’s bright purple low-cut sneakers. They were ungodly ugly, but delightfully fun. It’s impossible to imagine them taking more than a few steps before splitting apart at their bubble gum seams, but it’s going to be interesting to watch. “Hey, you’re talking about them, right?” said a smiling Blake. He was referring to the shoes, but he could have been talking about the team, which defeated somnolent San Antonio, 91-86, Sunday to move within a breath of the playoffs. It was their first game without Bryant, who underwent season-ending surgery Saturday to repair a torn Achilles’ tendon. It was a game marked by one question with two answers.

From Drew Garrison, Silver Screen & Roll: One. That’s the number of games the Los Angeles Lakers need to win in order to make the playoffs. Now seven games over .500 after spending the majority of the season cleaning the gutters at the bottom of the Western Conference, they’ve managed to push themselves back into a potential playoff run. Of course, with Kobe Bryant going down the entire narrative, focus, team, and outlook has changed. The potential of the Lakers being a force led by Bryant going into the playoffs has become smoke against the sky as the fire is now just a pile of smoldering ashes.

From Kurt Helin, Pro Basketball Talk: Maybe it was every Laker knowing they had to step up their game with Kobe Bryant sidelined. Maybe it was the desperation of a Lakers team trying to salvage something from a train wreck season, playing much harder than a Spurs team Gregg Popovich described as “floating” through the game. Maybe it was the law of averages — eventually somebody had to hit a shot after a rough first three-quarters of the game. It just happened to be the Lakers. Whatever the reason the Lakers found the stroke from three when it mattered — the Lakers hit 5-of-9 threes in the fourth — and finished with a 91-86 win over San Antonio that makes the playoffs likely for them — their magic number is now one.

From Ramona Shelburne, ESPN LA: On the first day of training camp last fall, Kobe Bryant made one thing crystal clear: This was still his team. For better or worse, in sickness and in health, and for as long as he was putting on that No. 24 jersey, the Los Angeles Lakers were going to be Kobe Bryant’s team. The pecking order might change. Dwight Howard was going to be elevated above Pau Gasol in the offense. Steve Nash would have the ball in his hands more than Bryant. (That was the plan anyway.) But when it came down to it, at the end of the game, or when they looked in the mirror, Kobe would have the ball in his hands. There was no contingency plan. There was no reason for one. This was just how it was going to be.

From Stanley Lee, Lakers Nation: On Sunday night, the Lakers would host the formidable Spurs, still without point guard Steve Nash and in their first game without superstar Kobe Bryant. Coming off of a win Friday that practically defines the term Pyrrhic victory, L.A. will be without Kobe for the remainder of the season. Bryant, who led the Lakers in many categories and has been practically willing his team into the playoffs, suffered a torn Achilles against the Warriors and will be greatly missed in the playoff push. Meanwhile, the Lakers still nurse a one game lead over the Utah Jazz for the final playoff spot, but must win because the Jazz have the tiebreak. With Bryant gone, all eyes shift to Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol, fellow stars who absolutely need to step up.

Ryan Cole

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49 responses to Around The World (Wide Web): No Kobe? No Problem

  1. This is my first time posting on FB & G, and I would just like to say that as a fan from Indonesia, this forum is just pure beastly. Full of information, highly intelectual discussions, and laker talk in general.
    Therefore I would like to say that, with or without Kobe, the Lakers have a bigger chance vs SA then against OKC in the first round. I am not jumping to this conclusion from yesterday’s game, but taking account of the whole season and SA’s current situation.

    Dwight can handle his fair share of Duncan and Splitter but not so much Perkins and Ibaka. (Those two always seems to bother him)
    And since this is the key matchup for the upcoming first round series, I think it is safe to say that we have more chance in the first round if Dwight matches better with these guys.

    So my question is; what are the chances of SA getting first seed and will Pop actually avoid the Lakers in the first place?
    Thank you and sorry if my first post goes against any rules in this forum.
    Love from Indonesia

  2. I don’t recall a single game all season where Nash had as much impact as Blake had last night.

  3. RC: It’s simple physiology, really. As the body ages, tendons and ligaments lose water content, making them more fragile and less elastic. This is where old-man knee ache comes from. It happens at different rates for different people, but it’s nonetheless inescapable.

    this is telling:

    The better, if still remote, comparison is Isiah Thomas, who at the age of 32 tore his Achilles (it was the same year as Wilkins’s injury). Thomas had played more seasons (13) and far more minutes (39,732 combined regular season and playoffs) than Wilkins, however. He never played in the NBA again.

    check out the entire article from :

    http://deadspin.com/how-an-achilles-tear-affects-nba-players-or-why-kobe-472944871

  4. doug collins resigned…can we call him up asap?

  5. Parrothead Phil April 15, 2013 at 3:48 pm

    @Batman Bill McDonald isn’t that bad…haha.

  6. David H excellent article.

  7. Everyone Please read the great article David shared with us from deadspin. It’s the reason I haven’t been able to write anything on Kobe yet. It’s the reason I haven’t slept well since Friday night. It’s also the reason I have called and am still calling for MDA to be fired effective imidiatley.

    http://deadspin.com/how-an-achilles-tear-affects-nba-players-or-why-kobe-472944871

  8. Spurs resting everyone against GS, so put any long-shot hope of the 6th seed to rest. For that matter, put any hope of the Spurs getting the #1 seed to rest. So… it’s crazy, but given that we now control our own destiny, tonight’s Hou at Phx game may be more important than Utah @ Minn. A Phoenix upset means we could get the Spurs with a win on Wed.

  9. Aaron, With you 100 percent. Anyone who has ever played a sport gets the relationship between over use and injury. To claim Kobe’s injury was simply a random event, independent of over use, is either uninformed or disingenuous. In the case of Laker management, it is the latter. To admit otherwise would admit culpability and that isn’t going to happen, is it? Kupchak, Buss et al all share blame with D’Antoni. It’s a shameful, disgusting abuse of an athlete for shor-term gains. Kobe and every other baller who has been run into the ground deserves better. A rhetorical question, but why is it that the Spurs organization seems to be the only one smart enough to protect their players (and thus their assets) by monitoring their minutes?

  10. Aaron

    To bad you didn’t hear my attack of Mike Daaa on Laker talk. Destroying both Nash and Kobe to save his reputation as a loser coach. I offered to buy billboards around town with Mr. Mumbles picture and “Fire this guy” on the boards.

    Hope Jimmy Boy is proud of his decision to diss Phil for the blow out of his backcourt and the heart of the franchise.

  11. David H and Aaron – thanks for the links.

    Of the players that never returned to play was Laron Profit whom tore his Achilles while with the Lakers, he and Kobe had gotten quite close at the time.

    Aaron I am with you on that campaign. Let’s get it started, after the Lakers season.

    I wrote this on the 28Mar2013, but I didn’t post it because I didn’t want to poison the waters. Now it seems prophetic.

    28mar2013-Older players break down when they have to play minutes like they did when they were in their 20′s. MDA and Brown are the reason that Kobe is falling apart this season. They relentlessly rode him and used his own competitive spirit and will to win to his own detriment. Everyone kept saying, make Kobe play defense, create shots for everyone, score, and rebound but no one stopped to think what damage this would cause in the long run for a player that has been in the league for 17 years.

    There’s a reason why Popovich doesn’t play his players extended minutes like that during the regular season. It’s worth it to play older players during the playoffs because they play a maximum of 21 games; as opposed to playing your older players to win regular season games. The whole purpose of a bench is to win those games during the season when the starters just can’t get enough energy or motivation to get up for games in Toronto, Minnesota, Milwaukee, New Orleans, Sacramento and Orlando.

    The Lakers burned out Kobe, Pau, Nash, MWP and Howard to win 36 regular season games and they still may not make the playoffs. Of the five mentioned, MWP was the healthiest all season until he broke down three games ago. Look at how the Lakers are playing Pau just back from an injury that required him to be out for six weeks. What happened to easing a player back into heavy minutes? Most teams have a limit on players when they come back but the Lakers just seem to throw them out there and make them play until the game is won or loss.

  12. Sorry Darius just delete my post above I accidentally clicked publish lol.

    If Phil was the coach and this happened to Kobe, would you blame Phil?

    If Phil was the coach, is there a difference when Kobe suffered this? we know the future?!

    Guys are blaming MDA because the injiry had already happened ang we knew already. We dont know the future, if MDA and Kobe knew that this will happen, then Kobe will sit out.

    Damn, this is like we are blaming Thibs when he let DRose play last year and got injured. Those Bulls were playing in the playoffs while these lakers were fighting to get in the playoffs.

    Part of it also is that you dont like MDA and you are blaming him of what happened.

    Regret comes last. Damn, there is no regret that comes first. We dont know what will happen? What I know is that if lakers lose in that game, we will only blame MDA for not putting Kobe back if he was sitting on the bench.

    Guys are blaming MDA because we already knew what happened. If we don’t know what will happen will you still blame him?

  13. So am I the only one who is going to publicly admit I am watching the Jazz/Minny game?

  14. @david h
    Thanks for making me feel worse. If Kobe’s injury really is that bad and would be near impossible to recover from, then MDA has to go.

  15. Nobody knows whether the injury would have happened to Kobe if he had played less minutes. Nobody knows if Kobe could have been controlled to play less. Nobody knows if our fate this year would have been different if we had made different decisions with coaching and in other areas. What we do know is what has happened. Those are facts. You can spin facts, and you can explain facts, but you can’t change them.

  16. mindcrime, you think that’s bad. I am watching Memph/Dallas because if Memph wins they are more likely to play hard against Utah.

  17. Suns leading double digits against Rockets.

    They need to keep up the good work…

  18. Seems to me if Houston wins and is assured of a playoffs spot they would rest guys on Weds. 8th is better then nothing for Lakers.

  19. even before the injury, MDA should be blasted for the way he’s running our team.
    7-8 player rotation (with oldies). i think thats unacceptable. he could have change his game plans earlier. on a side note, i think MDA is a good coach, but we need a better one. he still has his chance this playoffs to prove us wrong.

  20. Man, Rockets gonna lose. Thursday its 7th seed or GO HOME…

  21. Suns upset the Rockets as I was hoping.

    All the Lakers has to do is win on Wednesday and we’re in at 7th against the Spurs! I’d take San Antonio over OKC any day of the week.

    Conversely, if the Lakers lose Wednesday it could also possibly be the last game of our season.

    GO LAKERS!

  22. The Jazz play before the Lakers on Wednesday. We’ll know for sure by halftime (probably by the end of the 1st quarter) if we really need the win to make the playoffs.

    I agree with everybody else – I’d take the Spurs over the Thunder any day.

  23. winning takes care of everything

  24. Geez, this Wed. game is going to be a killer. I’ve lost too much hair already over this team..lol..Utah game was close for a bit but I was at work and only checking every half hour. Dang.

  25. can’t believe houston lost. as i understand it (correct me if I’m wrong):

    lakers win on wed, we’re the 7th and get SAS.
    lakers lose on wed and utah loses, we’re the 8th and get OKC.
    lakers lose on wed and utah wins, the season is over and utah opens at OKC.

    an incredible turn of events!

  26. key is it looks like Memph should be motivated to win, after beating Dallas, because they should still be alive for HCA. Would really prefer playoffs are clinched by the time they play houston..would be too much for this faint heart if it was 7th or go home.

  27. Okc has clinched 1st and the Spurs have clinched 2nd.

  28. Vhanz this is completely wrong. If Utah loses and Lakers lose then they finish 8th and Rockets 7th.

    Math dude.

  29. Yeah I know ken, thats why 7th seed or GO HOME because I don’t really want 8th seed because of OKC. LOL

    I tried to ignore that 8th seed since OKC already locked up the #1 seed.

  30. Phoenix putting another twist in the tale of this season. Winning game #82 takes on more significance than it has since 2004 when Kobe hit those 3s to win the Division in Portland.

  31. One. More. Game.

  32. Interesting that a year later it could come down to Metta vs Harding!

    Weird year for sure.

  33. Wednesday’s game vs the Rockets literally could be an all or nothing, Simply amazing, but what a way to end a season. A win and they are in 7th place, a loss (& Jazz win), they’re on vacation. Taking place in L. A. w/o Kobe. The Hollywood script says the outcome comes down to free throws by Dwight Howard…can’t wait!

  34. Everyone,

    Read the deadspin article… slow down in writing Kobe off for a return. Several points about the article:

    1) Extremely small sample size. There are only 11 people who returned from the surgery (and it’s likely that many of those not returning were borderline players as it was). And none of them were Kobe. I know the article makes that point at the end… but really, I feel it needs to be emphasized. None of those players were Kobe. Kobe’s coming back. Period. I wouldn’t be surprised if we see him by October, and neither should you.

    2) The deadspin article’s main arguments are that age and minutes logged are two main factors working against Kobe returning as productive… yet the article does not reference convincing evidence from the research paper to support these arguments. The author instead assumes that these factors are important because the reader automatically assumes they are. While one of the research paper’s authors suggests that people of Kobe’s age are typically unable to return, I wonder what the sample of people “Kobe’s age” was in their review. Maybe four of the players were older than 32? Are we about to arrive at a conclusion based on four examples? That would not be a scientific conclusion, rest assured.

    3) Sports medicine has improved since the early 90s. The article does not discuss if these improvements have increased the chances of a productive return for players undergoing the surgery. Without this information, I am unconvinced that mid-90s apples are comparable to mid-10s apples.

    The article is nice in that it helps translate an academic paper for the reader; but I feel that it also takes advantage of the reader’s lack of scientific grounding to emphasize points that sell a story perhaps unsupportable by the evidence.

    Can’t wait for Wednesday.

  35. If Lakers win against Houston on Weds they get the 7th seed. Why is that? Because the season series will be tied 2-2.

  36. Anonymous:

    LAL wins the tiebreak by virtue of a superior record against Western Conference opponents (I think)

  37. http://espn.go.com/blog/los-angeles/lakers/post/_/id/36454/dwight-howard-visits-kobe-bryant-at-hospital

    Saturday afternoon Howard visited Bryant at the hospital before and after he’d had surgery. And it won’t be the last time.

    “I know how he feels,” Howard told ESPNLosAngeles.com. “It hurts. I just wanted to be there.”

    Bryant mentioned the meeting on his Twitter feed after the Los Angeles Lakers outlasted the San Antonio Spurs on Sunday night.

    “D12 was a beast,” Bryant tweeted. “He stopped by the hospital twice yesterday to check on big bro. that’s luv #countond12″

  38. If Memphis wins over Utah and Clippers lose both of their remaining games would Memphis gain 4th seed and earn Home court vs Clippers? Fthat would be the case I. Lkie the chances of the Lakers making the playoffs. Utah is a bad road team. But then again, Lakers need not put their faith on the outcome of the Utah-Memphis game and just have to win vs Houston and face the Spurs in the second round.

  39. Spartacus,

    If Memph wins and clips lose one of two, then memph gets home court advantage. (in a weird quirk they are still called the 5th seed). So even if the Clips win tonight they cannot clinch home court before the Utah/Memph game. That was why I was watching the Memph//Dallas game, as Memph needed to win to insure this scenario.

    Bottom line. Memph will have something to play for, and if somehow the clips lose to Portland tonight (highly unlikely) they will be even more motivated.

    I agree that Utah is a bad road team and Memph is a very strong team overall, but you never know what will happen. Utah has been stubbornly strong since Mo williams came back, and HCA while a motivation would still require the Clips to lose later that night. So I am not counting on a Utah loss just yet.

  40. Memphis is 5th seed because Clips are Division winners and cannot be listed lower than 4th, though their record would make them an away team.

    In theory, a Division winner could have a worse record than any of the other 7 teams and would never be the home team, regardless who they play – and they would still be listed as the 4th team.

  41. Rockets scare me. They are a scoring machine, and we are missing our best scorer. But we either beat them, or we either get swept in the 1st round or not make the playoffs at all.

  42. Craig W, remember when that actually happened in 2006? The WC standings from that year look bizarre: http://espn.go.com/nba/standings/_/year/2006. Denver was the 3-seed, even though they had a worse record than the 7th-seeded Lakers. After that travesty the NBA changed the rules so that division winners were guaranteed only a top-4 seed instead of top-3.

  43. Would love to see the Spurs in the first round rather than OKC! OKC would run the Lakers out of the gym especially with all the TOs that would result from a rusty Nash (if he even plays). Only problem is that Houston has something to play for Wednesday – the 6th seed. They won the season seris with Golden State so if GS loses Wednesday night @ Portland the Rockets get the 6th seed.

    I’m a bit surprised that more people aren’t on board with at least considering using the amnesty on Kobe. Even the Lakers cannot pay the repeaters luxury tax so they must get under the cap for a season. Next season would be ideal for that purpose because if Kobe comes back even fairly early next season they still have no chance at a title. The Lakers would likely be the same or even worse next season even wtih Kobe because I doubt Jamison resigns for the minimum and Nash/Metta/Pau will be another year older. Most importantly, the Lakers own their 2014 1st round draft pick. If they Lakers are going to have to “tank” for a season, they better not fork over their lottery pick to PHX!

    By using amnesty on Kobe, they would set themselves up in 2014-2015 with no one on the books except Dwight, Nash (who they will probably waive and use stretch provision) and a likely lottery pick. They could sign Kobe outright (no need for Bird rights) and sign another Max level player.

  44. We should expect Houston to bring their A-game tomorrow as it’s a no-brainer that anyone would prefer to face the Spurs than the Thunder. Being in the Air Force, I’m a fan of the USAF Academy grad Popovich as a coach, but I am not sold on the theory that the Popovich school of minute-management is a true formula for injury prevention. Sure it gets his players rest but over the years Ginobli, Parker and Duncan have had their fair share of injuries. With all due respect Kobe is wired differently than any athlete in any sport. This may be a double-edge sword as it may have contributed to this injury but likewise it has made him the GOAT. I’m confident he’ll be back and come back strong. He may be back before Bynum. :)

  45. The Laker front office needs to make their business decisions based on facts…not hope. When the time comes (and it’s quickly approaching) we’ll see what Jim Buss is made of.

  46. Kobe brings in the Lakers far more than his salary each year. He will bring in a lot of cash if he is sitting on the sideline in street-clothes. Amnesty is simply not an option. It doesn’t make monetary sense if you look at the ancillary income. It doesn’t make sense if you look at the money some other team would make by signing Kobe, even if injured. It doesn’t make sense to the NBA when you look at the Laker draw on TV. It doesn’t make sense, even if you assume Kobe would wait through the year to sign with the Lakers – he wouldn’t; and he would consider amnesty a slap in his face.

  47. Kobe is on board for something like $30 million in salary plus $80 million in luxury tax. That’s $110 million dollars in 1 year!!!!

  48. i agree with Craig W., it will be a bad impression for the organization to throw their best player out. not just on-court but off the court. he’s the face of this franchise for no reason, he’s the best laker for no reason. you should not, and i mean, you should NEVER let go of your franchise player, especially if he’s injured, knowing that the injury he suffered came from a game which he showed his passion for the game. Kobe deserves all the money he’s getting, he’s not just any random player out there, he’s Kobe Bryant. the best of this era.