LA Lakers Must Start Hot While Waiting for Kobe Bryant’s Return

Improbable torridity must become a state of existence for the Los Angeles Lakers.  

Did you expect them to beat the Los Angeles Clippers on opening night, without Kobe Bryant and with a severely limited Steve Nash? You didn't. Admit it. 

Did you expect them to roll into Oracle Arena, this time without Nash entirely and still no Kobe, and outshoot the Golden State Warriors, the gold standard for potent offenses? You didn't. And they didn't.

Constructed the way they are and coping with injuries, the Lakers should be 0-2. Games against two stacked Pacific Division rivals should have ended in losses. One did; the other didn't. They're an unlikely 1-1, which, at this stage, constitutes a hot start—one that must make the jump to blistering.

Kobe is gone. Not missing or done, just gone. No one, including Kobe himself, knows when he'll be back, either.

"I don't, I don't," he admitted to Yahoo! Sports' Marc J. Spears. "How can I? I don't even know if I will be able to push it hard tomorrow. I have no idea."

Want of an idea won't stop the regular season. More games are coming, and to keep their playoff hopes alive, the Lakers have to infringe upon the will of the waiting game. 

"I think the bottom line, even though there are some bumps and bruises here and there, is Kobe will lead you to victories," head coach Mike D'Antoni told "The Herd with Colin Cowherd" on ESPN radio, via ESPN Los Angeles' Dave McMenamin.

To play for something with him, to win with him, the Lakers must first brave the odds without him.


Uncertainty Springs Almost Eternal

Previously, I gave the Lakers 10 games without Kobe. That's it. If he missed any more time, their postseason chances would go up in flames. I'm not yet ready to distance myself from that gun-jumping, though I am cautiously optimistic I was flat-out wr...

About the Author