How Much Gas Will Be Left in Kobe Bryant’s Tank If L.A. Lakers Make Playoffs?

Kobe Bryant may have the mental fortitude to shoulder a tremendous responsibility and a demanding workload to carry the Los Angeles Lakers through the season's final stretch.

But his body isn't immune to feeling the culminating effects of fatigue that will leave the Mamba gasping for breath if the Lakers can defy the odds and sneak into the postseason.

There really is no good decision that coach Mike D'Antoni can make.

Not with his club facing tremendous odds in its quest to shake off months of frustrations and salvage one of the final playoff berths in the Western Conference.

The Lakers sit a half-game behind the Utah Jazz for the eighth seed. But since the Jazz hold the all powerful tiebreaker with L.A., the Lakers need more than a few things to fall in their favor over the next week.

Hoping to leave as little to chance as possible, D'Antoni is leaning on the 34-year-old Bryant to make those postseason dreams a reality. And leaning heavily at that.


A major workload is nothing new for Bryant. He's already tied for the fifth-most minutes per game this season, logging 38.4 of them a night.

But lately, the minutes are piling up at a ludicrous rate even by Mamba standards. Over his last four games (three of them Lakers wins), Bryant has averaged an astounding 46.1 minutes (via He's also played at least 47 minutes in three of the four games, somewhat of a head-scratching stat considering two of those games were decided by double figures.

D'Antoni knows this is a troubling trend. "We're playing a little bit with fire," he said (according to Ramona Shelburne of "Normally this wouldn't happen, but we put ourselves in a hole and Kobe is our best bet going forward to win games."

There's no debating D'Antoni's last point. Bryant has been the lone constant floating through a frustrating rive...

About the Author