Kobe Bryant guaranteed that the Lakers would make it to the playoffs this week. Coming out of the All-Star break and following the death of Lakers owner, Dr. Jerry Buss, the Lakers have won in two in a row. Kobe’s teammates, Dwight Howard and Steve Nash are on board with his mission. As is the the team’s head coach, Mike D’Antoni:
“It’s not a question of if we make the playoffs. We will,” Bryant told Sports Illustrated. “And when we get there, I have no fear of anyone — Oklahoma City, San Antonio, Denver … whoever. I have zero nervousness about that.”
“Yeah, I guarantee it, too,” Nash said with smile. “What does it mean? Everyone guarantees something at some stage and everyone forgets. I feel the whole guarantee thing is … I don’t know. If I went and guaranteed it, would you guys care?”
“He has a lot to say about it, so that’s good,” D’Antoni said. “I don’t mind as long as we back it up. I don’t mind at all. I think you have to have that mindset and I think everybody does. I’m not a guarantee kind of guy, but I’ll let him do the talking since he’s got to do the walking. Kobe’s good enough. I’m with him all the way.”
“I’m not going to sit up here and say, ‘No, we’re not going to make it,’ ” Howard said. “We got to have faith, and if we don’t, we’re not going to make it, but I believe that we’re going to turn this around and we’re going to be great.”
No matter what your feelings are about the Lakers and their playoff aspirations, one thing everyone can agree on is that the team finally presenting a united front is a great thing. And while it will be an uphill battle for them to get there, it’s an absolute possibility. Golden State is sliding a bit and the Lakers are 3.5 games behind the Rockets for that eighth spot.