Kobe’s Injury Opens Door For Jazz, Mavs

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HANG TIME SOUTHWEST – The reports on Kobe Bryant‘s ankle injury are ominous. The team is calling it a “severe sprain” and has deemed the Los Angeles Lakers’ superstar “out indefinitely.”

Yet why does it feel like Kobe will show up at Indiana Friday night and tough it out in a walking boot if he must?

No one can write off Kobe until he’s actually scratched from the lineup, but Wednesday’s incident in the final seconds of a painful 96-92 loss as Kobe missed a baseline fadeaway to tie and then landed on the controversial feet of Hawks defender Dahntay Jones just might keep him out.

For how long will be the question that decides the Lakers’ fate.

They relied heavily on Kobe’s magic recently to rally past New Orleans and then Toronto to finally barge into the final playoff spot. Without No. 24, L.A.’s chances to remain at No. 8 seem bleak at best, opening the postseason door to the two teams below them in the Western Conference standings: the cratering Utah Jazz and the suddenly surging Dallas Mavericks.

Just 10 days ago, coming off the sting of a 33-point humiliation at Houston that left Dallas at 26-33 and in 11th place, Mavs coach Rick Carlisle sternly said:  “I understand if you look at the standings right now it doesn’t look good. But a lot can happen in a month-and-a-half. We got to make a stand.

“If you want to write us off,” he said, “go ahead.”

Since then, the Mavs are 4-0, the Jazz are 1-5 and the previously streaking Lakers are left to cross their fingers for a quick Kobe return.

Still, it’s not like this will be a playoff waltz for Dallas, a chronically inconsistent team sitting in 1oth place and three games under .500 (30-33). Yet the Mavs are just one game back of both Utah and L.A. in the loss column. They’ve played two fewer games than the Jazz, who are 2-8 in their last 10 and haven’t received a spark from the return of Mo Williams. Dallas also has played three fewer games than the Lakers, who dropped to 12-21 on the road (which is where they’ll play half of their remaining 16 games).

Dallas begins a brutal stretch tonight at San Antonio (8 p.m. ET, TNT), the first of a dozen games against 10 current playoff teams, including at the Lakers (April 2). Eight of the 12 are at home and that includes a six-game homestand from March 20-30 against five current playoff teams (four from the East) plus the Jazz on March 24. The Mavs, however, are a pedestrian 17-12 at home and just 4-3 since Feb. 1.

But if Kobe is out for a matter of weeks — and that’s still to be seen — and the Jazz can’t get back in tune, it might not take 48 or 46 or even 44 wins to get in.

Utah’s next four games leading into the showdown at Dallas could determine its direction. The Jazz play the next two at home against Memphis (Saturday) and New York (Monday) and then hit the road for Houston (Wednesday) and San Antonio (March 22). The Jazz are 10-24 on the road, so playing 10 of their final 17 at home is advantageous, although they’re just 2-2 in their last four.

So much now rides on the healing powers of Kobe’s severely sprained left ankle.

A breakdown of the Lakers, Jazz and Mavs down the stretch:

No. 8 LAKERS

Record: 34-32 (16 games left)

Home/Road games remaining: 8/8

Games against current playoff teams: 8

Toughest stretch: March 25 – April 7 (at Golden State, at Minnesota, at Milwaukee, at Sacramento, vs. Dallas, vs. Memphis, at L.A. Clippers)

No. 9 JAZZ

Record: 33-32 (17 games left)

Home/Road games remaining: 10/7

Games against current playoff teams: 9

Toughest stretch: Saturday – March 24 (vs. Memphis, vs. New York, at Houston, at San Antonio, at Dallas)

No. 10 MAVERICKS

Record: 30-33 (19 games left)

Home/Road games remaining: 12/7

Games against current playoff teams: 12

Toughest stretch: Sunday – April 4 (vs. Oklahoma City, at Atlanta, vs. Brooklyn, vs. Boston, vs. Utah, vs. L.A. Clippers, vs. Indiana, vs. Chicago, at L.A. Lakers, at Denver)

47 Comments

  1. Nader says:

    Francisco,you are exposing yourself and how clueless you are ,you can hate Kobe as much as you want ,but you can not take anything from the best player and closer that ever played the game .

    • Petrus says:

      i hope that you said wasn`t a sarcasm ( if wasn`t i really appreciate), it`s dificult to see sarcasm in the internet. And i`m not trying to know everthing, i have 18, and i know i have a lot to learn about basketball (i`m a point guard too) and the NBA, what i said above is what i`ve saw this past years, if i forgot to write something please share with us.

  2. Nader says:

    Ye right Petrus you are not a Kobe hater.

    • Nader says:

      I’ve been wanted to say that for the longest, people who think they know everything are only annoying to those of us who really do.what you think about that Francisco And You too Petrus .

      • Francisco says:

        I AM EXPOSING EVIDENCE, WHAT REALLY HAD HAPPENED, IT HURTS YOUR PERCEPTION ABOUT KOBE. YOU HAVE BEEN MISSLEAD BY THE FACT HE HAS DONE 36 TIMES . BUT HE MISSED MORE THAN 2/3 TIMES,

  3. J-Short says:

    Tough injury once again for my Lakers, my man Kobe got hurt but I think that he will only miss one game two at the most. With that said the Jones play is what it is I just wish that players could settle it on the court like in the 80′s a nice rick mahorn or anthony mason elbow to jones would help send the mesage
    And this Francisco dude who posts these numbers fail to realize that if Kobe was so horrible in the closing minutes of games then why then after 17 years does “NBA” Coaches” send NBA players out to double team Kobe and try and keep the ball out of his hands, with all of his nunbers crunching does he numbers explain that? Kobe must still be considered one of the great players of the league to garner this type of respect. I just saying if numbers could explain that then I would be cool…

    • Francisco says:

      easy, double team him , he is going to take the last shot no matter what, with a very bad success rate

  4. Petrus says:

    hmm…the lakers will miss kobe, and for the haters or the fans of kobe and the lakers, I`M NOT A HATER OR A FAN, i`m going to see both sides of the coin. Ok, the lakers are struggling all the year, but that doesn`t mean they`re gonna miss the playoffs just because of bryant, there are other player like nash and howard (i wouldn`t put World Piece because TO ME, he`s not providing the help the lakers need, specially right now) that can (and will) put their heart and soul to do whatever it takes to take the lakers to the playoffs. The lakers still have hope to make the playoffs, but if they want that eight spot, they must fight for it, and right now, because the mavericks, jazz (maybe the trail blazers too) want that eight spot too. About kobe`s consistency…TO ME kobe is a great player (TO ME, he`s NOT even close of Jordan for ONE reason, DEFENSE, everyone that saw Jordan playing at his prime know what i`m talking about). Sometimes he may miss the shots that could win the game, that`s normal, everyone misses shots, but we have to give him credit for the 5 champs he brought to the lakers during theses years. I`m a Pacers (and ok a Celtics) fan, and TO ME, that eight spot in the western conference could be of anyone. This time of the year everyone below .500 is hunting for a playoff spot (or at least damage the teams above .500) and JUST THE TIME will tell which team will get that spot. Like Always, That`s My Opinion, everyone who wants to crush my words at least do it with education and reasonable terms, this is a DISCUSSION FORUM NOT A BATTLEFIELD

  5. Sonya Stephens says:

    Why don’t all the Kobe haters go jump in a lake far, far, away. Kobe has the most heart of all the players on the NBA and without khim the Lakers cannot win. He is not nor have ever been a criminal that sopposedly rape was all a set-up for money. that’s why she refused to testify. SternH8r please go jump infrom of a moving bus

  6. Nader says:

    Francisco, the more I read your posts ,the more ridiculous you sound .you will have better chance if you start posting on the bobcats site.

  7. Nader says:

    you Kobe haters go and find a life , the black mamba must have put you to bed early in his 17 years as the best player ever

  8. charles071623 says:

    Hey Francisco, you want the truth? Well, you can’t handle the truth!!!Stats doesn’t define a player being a game closer. It is defined on how he handle the pressure on those nail-biting situations. Closer are those players who thrives in pressure type situations. Now that’s the truth!

  9. alflex519 says:

    1: Kobe will not be sitting out.
    2:Refs missed a call, and he should have shot free throws.
    Why are refs not penalized for their mistakes, and players get fined, suspended, and what ever else they can do.
    Why can ‘t a replay review happen on missed calls like the do for other aspects.
    Anyways, Xrays Neg, lets roll purple and gold.

  10. kobe says:

    Stern H8r your r just stupid do u see the numbers kobe putting up at the age of 34, i doubt lebron can put the same numbers at the age of 34. have u not heard jordan jordan said he would take kobe over lebron. just go home and keep looking at kobe’s stats and tell me have they been going down

  11. ZULU says:

    Sad day for the Lakers when they ( plus us the fans) , are relegated to hoping to make the playoffs. Wish lady Buss would/could pull a coup de tat and toss her bother out. Bring her love interest (Phil) back as CEO of all things basketball, toss Dantoni out (he can,t win with or without great talent) , bring a Phil guy in to coach i.e. Brian Shaw. Give Kobe a star on the plaza outside Staples, hire a full -time Kobe butt kisser, name the locker room after him or something now. Soon as D. Howard starts playing better ball he gets a night off from the ball-handler -n – chief K.B. From The LOGO thru the end of the Jackson era. The Lakers played a beautiful TEAM game with lineups laden with awesome ‘individual ‘ talented basketballers. R.Paul should have been filibustering the fact that some NBA teams have Drones and the Lakers don’t………

  12. nba says:

    the mavs hopefully will make the playoffs

  13. Portland fan says:

    Don’t count the blazers out…the jazz and mavs are good teams…but against playoff teams (see the 30 point win against San Antonio) portland suddenly becomes the 96 Chicago bulls!! Go blazers!

  14. Patty says:

    KOBE, I HOPE YOU ARE LISTENING:

    DONOT COME BACK TOO SOON FROM THAT SEVERE SPRAN ANKLE INJURY. THE OWNERS OF LOS ANGELES LAKERS DO NOT DESERVE A SUPER, SUPER STAR LIKE YOUR SELF. YOU ARE THE BIGGEST TICKET IN LOS ANGELES AMONG THE SPORT WORLD. DO NOT RISK YOUR HEALTH.

    DAHNTAY JONES SHOULD BE SUSPENDED FOR A MONTH. JONES IS A CRIMINAL TRYING TO INFLICT PAIN ON KOBE BRYANT. JONES IS A DIRTY PLAYER.

    • Francisco says:

      WAKE UP PATTY, 36 FOR 115 IN THE LAST 24 SECONDS UP OR 2 DOWN, KOBE IS NOT A CLSER, SINCE 1997

    • TheStarMiddleschooler says:

      Patty you need to shut up with every post on Lakers… Kobe will nt Listen you YOU! hes doing Rehab shooting hoops with a wheelchair or crutches i bet…By the way…YOUR CAPS ARE ANNOYING

  15. jake s says:

    Without Kobe i don’t know. It could be anyone’s playoff spot. Lakers will miss him. The difficulty of Jazz and Mavs schedule makes it a toss up between the two. Gather all of the factors and i just don’t know who will secure that 8 seed. Who will lose less?

  16. Stern H8r says:

    How much you wanna bet that Kobe makes a “miraculous” recovery. I’m tired of this contrived Kobe magic story. He’ll sit out a game and then, because he is the most courageous player in NBA history, he’ll come back and be just fine. Give it a rest…you are not MJ and your career is in its death rattle. In the future, you will be lost between MJ and LBJ. You will appear higher in a Google search for unconvicted felons than for NBA players.

    • LOL says:

      Hate is a disease. Get help.

    • LakersWillWin says:

      lol wow… There’s the haters. They don’t come out for 40 12 games but they come out for that… Pretty lame

    • Hm says:

      If he really had a badly sprained ankle, he wouldn’t be able to walk around like he did. He’ll be fine and he might not even miss one game.

  17. Dwight needs to dominate like he did in Orlando, can the rest of the team keep it going with kobe injury?http://wp.me/p2g4xX-7k

    • Patty says:

      WHAT IS BEING DONE BY THIS CRIMINAL JONES FROM THE ATLANTA HAWKS WHO HURT KOBE???

      • Hm says:

        Need I remind you that Kobe was once a lot closer to becoming a real criminal?

        Also, compared to Kobe’s in-game antics (swinging elbows and feet) Jones is like an innocent kid.

  18. BJ says:

    Its over for the Lakers now. time to rebuild. Kobe retire with some self respect, Nash retire with some self respect. Gasol retire with some self respect. Management go find some young gifted talent and start to rebuild and look at coming back in 3 to 5 years.

  19. 16going417 says:

    It’s not Kobe’s injury that opens the door. It is the weak play of the Lakers that opens the door. That has been their problem the entire year. They were down by 25 against the Hornets and had to come back. I believe they were down by 18 against Toronto and had to take it to over time to come back and win. How does a team as talented as the Lakers are supposed to be get so far behind teams they should be better than?

    Then against Atlanta, a team without significant players, Kobe shoots 11 for 33, Metta is 9 for 19, Nash is 4 for 14 and Howard only has 9 attempts???? Pathetic…..

    They do not play the right way. They get behind and think they can play hard in the 3rd and 4th QTR. Sorry, but that is not championship style basketball and looks like it will not be good enough to make the playoffs either.

  20. LOLLLLLLL says:

    MAVS will make it count on that…

  21. Francisco says:

    they will have a better chance now without THE FAKE CLOSER(36 OUT OF 115) IN LAST 24 SECONDS UP OR DOWN 2 SINCE 1997 FOR A 31.3% .BALL DO NOT LIE. carmelo is the best with 47.7 then chris paul 45.2, shawn marion 40, brandon roy 40………..lebron 33.3

    • LakersWillWin says:

      This guy is the most ridiculous poster I have ever seen. You pay more attention to these stats than others. That’s just sad man. Give it a rest

    • TheStarMiddleschooler says:

      Francisco…Stats dont mean anything….Linsanity….D-Mo….Dame Lillard….and its Ball Dont Lie….Dont insult Rasheed

      • Hm says:

        “Stats don’t mean anything.”
        Standard reply from Kobe fans when confronted with stats that shatter their illusions.

    • J-Short says:

      Man with all of the stats and all, say you put all of carmelo, cp3, lbj, and say wade with 5 seconds left and you ne ed a basket why do i get the feeling that they all will give the ball to Kobe even with your low late game shooting percentage? Also of all of the players you mentioned why does a 17 year vet has NBA coaches double teaming this guy and trying to get the ball out of his hands in the clutch? He must be pretty respected even with the low shooting percentage I dont know I am not a pro ball player I just look at the eye test as they say.

      • Francisco says:

        the eye is misleading, you are rigth , many people and players have that image, in the 1500 most scientist believe the earth was flat,Kobe takes all shots at the end in lakerland so he has made more thatn everybody else, but if you shoot 45% in your career and only 31% at the end , YOU ARE NOT CLUTCH.

  22. Game Time says:

    Utah doesn’t need to make the playoffs. That team has no heart and will be destroyed by the Spurs or OKC. Mavs are too old and inconsistent to pose any threat. For a while I thought it would be funny if the Lakers missed the playoffs but in reality playoffs won’t be as entertaining. Hope Lakers maintain their spot or somehow miraculously get to 6th so we can see a battle for LA in the playoffs.

    • TheStarMiddleschooler says:

      With the First pick in the 2013 NBA draft the Los Angleles Lakers select…

  23. caloyski says:

    THE MAVS WILL ENTER THE PLAYOFFS PROVIDED THEIR BIG 3 ARE HEALTHY IN THE NEXT 19 GAMES

    • TheStarMiddleschooler says:

      what big 3? you mean Carter? carter only?! yep only star i see

      • Hm says:

        So you don’t think Dirk is a star? He’s only the best European NBA player of all time.

      • E-SY says:

        In his prime Carter was a one-man-big-three… but those days are over. The Mavs have nothing special on their roster, they might get the 8 spot finally and then they lose 4-0 in round 1.
        Will be no different if the Jazz or Lakers clinch the 8th spot though…

  24. W/E says:

    No, THIS IS GREAT for the lakers,they will be a better team now, this is a HUGE opportunity for steve nash and Dwight Howard to work as a team at last and get the lakers going without Kobe getting in the way jacking up shoots.

    • TheStarMiddleschooler says:

      this isnt great, go onto youtube and look up Nash and Dwight excanging heating words…. They arnt a good team,…