Kobe Bryant Says Lakers Will Definitively Make Playoffs

Despite an up-and-down season fraught with infighting and spoiled expectations, Kobe Bryant still believes the Los Angeles Lakers will make the playoffs.

And, in typically blunt fashion, he's not mincing words on the subject.

Per Jack McCallum of Sports Illustrated, Bryant said, "It's not a question of if we make the playoffs. We will. And when we get there, I have no fear of anyone—Oklahoma City, San Antonio, Denver—whoever. I have zero nervousness about that."

Well, there you have it—the Lakers are going to make the postseason. I guess we can all just go on about our business and check in again in May, when the Lakers will be involved in a best-of-seven series against one of the West's elite.

Then again, recent history and logic prevents the rest of us from being quite as confident as Bryant is.

Everyone else who's been watching the Lakers this year isn't so sure that the locker-room chasm between Dwight Howard (who an NBA assistant told McCallum was a "clown") and Bryant will suddenly cease to exist.

Similarly, most reasonable viewers don't expect the Lakers' persistent failures on defense and lack of a clear offensive plan to abruptly straighten out. There's just too much evidence that the issues with L.A.'s roster, coach and team identity are too deep-seeded and ingrained to disappear overnight.

But Bryant's convinced that everything will work itself out.

He wouldn't be as certain about the Lakers' playoff destiny if he wasn't. And really, nobody should be surprised that No. 24 feels this way. Confidence is a large part of just about every great athlete's mental makeup; Bryant may just have more than most.

For what it's worth, the Lakers' other big names are on board with Bryant's guarantee. Steve Nash was a little dismissive of the significance of a playoff promise but lauded his teammate's bravado.

"That's great. You lo...

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