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It’s official — Kobe Bryant returns to Lakers Friday

Apr 20, 2012, 2:13 PM EDT

Kobe Bryant AP

We were expecting this, but now it is official — Kobe Bryant is back for the Los Angeles Lakers Friday night when they take on the San Antonio Spurs.

Kobe missed seven games, but he took part in the Friday morning team shootaround and said he would play. For a guy who was second in the league in total minutes played when he was forced to sit, this gave his body a chance to heal up before the grind of the playoffs.

It could have been good for the Lakers as well — they went 5-2 with Kobe out. They played better defense, they ran their offense from the inside out, they got Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol a lot of touches. This is still Kobe’s team, but Gasol and Bynum are the matchup nightmares for every team. If the Lakers can keep those two involved while still getting Kobe looks in his spots, they become very dangerous. A lot of that falls to Ramon Sessions — the point guard is the guy who must keep the offense from becoming to predictably Kobecentric.

Having Kobe back does not make the game against the Spurs a playoff preview, even though these two teams could well meet in the second round. These are two veteran teams that know each other well, there are no secrets going to be revealed in a game now. Both coaches may try out some sets they want to come back to during the playoffs, but no messages are going to be sent Friday night.

Still, it will be fun to see what happens to the Lakers with Kobe back.

  1. gavin1978 - Apr 20, 2012 at 3:09 PM

    I hate u Kobe , I hsve nothing but hatred towards you and your team.

    • hoytdadd64 - Apr 20, 2012 at 3:54 PM

      When you are as successful as Kobe and the entire Lakers organization (past and present) this kind of hatred is expected. Living in PA I feel the same way about the Pittsburgh Steelers, but I respect them (the organization not the fans). Being a Tar Heel fan I feel the same way about Duke, but I respect them and coach K 100%. Growing up in a Boston Celtic household I choose to become a Laker fan, but I completely respect Doc Rivers and the Celtic history. It’s sports and rivals can bread a certain level of hatred, but hopefully that is also accompanied with some respect.

  2. detroitcityryda - Apr 20, 2012 at 3:17 PM

    La leakers

  3. lakerade - Apr 20, 2012 at 4:32 PM

    And there was much rejoicing

  4. lakerluver - Apr 20, 2012 at 6:09 PM

    The LAKERS have as good of a chance as anyone to win it all this season

    • savvybynature - Apr 21, 2012 at 12:15 AM

      Really? Cuz the Spurs just whooped them for the second time in a row by more than 20 points, and this time they had Kobe. Bynum had 2 rebounds.

      Lakers are a threat, but there are definitely teams with a better chance of winning it all.

  5. pxeeks - Apr 20, 2012 at 7:38 PM

    Maybe the Knicks could win a playoff series with a Kobe…

  6. gavin1978 - Apr 20, 2012 at 7:42 PM

    Pxeeks you can stick Kobe were the sun don’t shine. And other dude stop writing pages as a post go write a sports column in your local newspaper

  7. gavin1978 - Apr 20, 2012 at 7:44 PM

    Andre Iguana or whatever his name is, is a waste of money for your 76ers go get a cheese steak

  8. pxeeks - Apr 20, 2012 at 7:49 PM

    Wow Gavin I sense some frustration. Kobe is a fake Philly guy. I do love cheesteaks thank you. And Iggy I agree needs to go.

  9. gavin1978 - Apr 20, 2012 at 10:10 PM

    Lakers Fakers

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