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Are The Lakers Going To Miss The Playoffs If Kobe Bryant Is Hobbled By A Severe Ankle Sprain?

Submitted by on March 15, 2013 – 10:50 amNo Comment

The Los Angeles Lakers 2012-13 season may have gone down the tubes on Wednesday night thanks to a jump shot that Kobe Bryant took. On the Lakers final meaningful offensive possession of the game during a game against the Atlanta Hawks, Kobe tried to hit a mid-range jumper that would have tied up the game and likely sent it to overtime. But, he missed the shot. And, to make matters even worse, he landed on Dahntay Jones‘ foot on the way down and rolled his ankle, which resulted in Kobe suffering a severe ankle sprain that will reportedly keep him on the sidelines “indefinitely.” If Kobe’s reputation for playing through pain tells us anything, it’s that “indefinitely” could be only a day or two. But, if he does have to miss an extended period of time, are the Lakers in danger of missing the NBA Playoffs this season?

The truth is that, even with Kobe in the lineup, the Lakers could miss the playoffs this season. At the moment, they would be an eighth seed in the playoffs. But, the Utah Jazz are right behind them and teams like the Dallas Mavericks and Portland Trail Blazers still have a fighter’s chance to catch them as well. But, the good thing for the Lakers is that they have a pretty soft schedule coming up. After a matchup with the Indiana Pacers tonight, they’ve got games against the Sacramento Kings, Phoenix Suns, and Washington Wizards on the schedule next week. Then, they’ll close out March with a road trip that features games against the Golden State Warriors, Minnesota Timberwolves, Milwaukee Bucks, and Sacramento Kings. Ideally, Kobe will be back in the lineup and his ankle will be healed—at least, partially healed—by then. But, even if he isn’t at full strength yet, those are all winnable games and games that they need to win if they ant to make the playoffs.

All of that said, the Lakers need to treat each and every game that they’ve got left on their schedule as a “must-win” game. The old “one game at a time” cliche is, well, a cliche. But, that’s the exact mindset that they must have if they want to clinch a playoff berth. Even without Kobe in the lineup for a short stretch, they can do it. They just need to make sure that they win the games that they’re supposed to win. Otherwise, the 2012-13 season will go down as a failure. And, the Lakers won’t have anyone but themselves to blame for it.

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