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Confident Kobe: “It’s not a question of if we make the playoffs”

Feb 21, 2013, 8:45 PM EST

Boston Celtics v Los Angeles Lakers Getty Images

Kobe Bryant has never lacked for confidence.

And although his Lakers are three games below .500 and 3.5 games back of the eight-seed Houston Rockets, Kobe is sure the Lakers can make the playoffs. And has no doubt that once there they can do damage. Basically because Kobe has no doubt.

From an interview with Sports Illustrated.

“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….

“But I’m not talking about just me. Us as a group. We will make the playoffs. And we will compete. And part of the reason I have that confidence is the Miami game [a 107-97 loss in Miami on Feb. 10]. We had control of the game. That was no fluke. We were playing very, very well. We were reading the defense, making the extra pass. OK, they have two great players [LeBron James and Dwayne Wade] who scored eight straight buckets and took control of the game. But we were right there. We can do it.”

The Lakers can make the playoffs, and it’s easy to picture that after the way Dwight Howard played and the Lakers as a team against the Celtics Wednesday. But they have not been consistent about that kind of play all season. And that’s the real challenge — the Lakers have started to find a flow an identity, but they can’t afford more setbacks. Or injured shoulders.

The Rockets remain on pace to win 44 games. Just to match that the Lakers would need to go 18-9 the rest of the way — and the Lakers have been on that pace lately, winning six of their last nine. During that stretch it has looked as if they are starting to figure out who they are and what they have to do as a group. They are starting to find an identity.

But they are going to need a sustained level of success we have not seen from them this season. It’s not impossible, but it’s not easy either.

That never stopped Kobe. He’s confident.

  1. reasonablemindsays - Feb 21, 2013 at 8:52 PM

    Kobe has a right to be confident. The Rockets just got much worse after trading away solid rotation players in Patterson, Douglas, and Morris. Yes, Robinson will be a good player for the future, but losing all of these solid rotation players will hurt them a lot in the short term.

    • dewangibson - Feb 21, 2013 at 9:26 PM

      The Rockets looked pretty damn good without the three rotation players last night. And Robinson only has to do one thing, rebound all the shots Harden and Lin jack up.

      If the Rockets and Lakers were tied for the 8th spot, I might go with L.A. But 3.5 games is a lot to make up with only 20-odd games left. Then you consider that the Lakers are 9-18 on the road…well, the draft lottery is May 21.

      • reasonablemindsays - Feb 21, 2013 at 9:52 PM

        The Rockets got a combined 76 points from Lin and Harden. That’s a rare occurrence.

        Also, keep in mind the last game of the season will be Rockets v Lakers in LA (which should be an awesome game). If the Lakers can out play the Rockets by a couple games before then, they can seal their playoff bid by winning the last game.

  2. monkeyhateclean - Feb 21, 2013 at 9:15 PM

    Here we have an aging, ineffectual Bryant who doesn’t even realize how badly he hurts his team’s success when he jacks up 30 shots a night.

    Nothing in the NBA will ever be more entertaining that to watch this self-absorbed clown’s salary drag the Lakers to the bottom, while the Clipper ascend to the West Coast throne and maintain it for the next 300-500 years. Because that’s how long it will take for the Lakers to get out from under the terrible contracts they have committed to losers like Kobe, and Dwight and Ron Artest. True losers.

    • reasonablemindsays - Feb 21, 2013 at 9:25 PM

      300-500 years? Now that would be quite the dynasty, considering the NBA has only been around for 67 years and the LA Clippers have only 15 playoff wins in their history.

    • cosanostra71 - Feb 21, 2013 at 9:59 PM

      Is your team that bad, or are you just that negative that you find more pleasure in rooting against another team than you do rooting for your own?

    • itsonlyaspeedbump - Feb 21, 2013 at 10:18 PM

      Dude, I root against Kobe as often as I can, but there is no way I would ever refer to him as a “loser.”

      • stoutfiles - Feb 22, 2013 at 12:23 AM

        He’s been a loser ever since he cheated on his wife. Congrats that he can put a ball in a basket and get paid millions for it, but he has no morals.

      • loungefly74 - Feb 22, 2013 at 7:57 AM

        oh…in that case, i apologize on behalf of all Kobe fans. i didn’t realize the morals of a basketball player were so detrimental to your personal life.

        (in other news)…man protests new tom cruise movie due to actor not paying his monthly Scientology fees…

    • spthegr8 - Feb 22, 2013 at 11:14 AM

      @All Laker Fan’s
      Do yourself a favor today. DON’T FEED THE “TROLLS”!!!!

  3. jhuck92 - Feb 21, 2013 at 9:24 PM

    Not just “Kobe,” “Confident Kobe:”

    Great title, Kurt!

  4. 2jaylee - Feb 21, 2013 at 9:27 PM

    I would love to be called a loser and still have 5 rings!!

  5. jessethegreat - Feb 21, 2013 at 9:39 PM

    Don’t underestimate any team Kobe is part of. IF he and Dwight are able to get on the same page and stay there for much of the last few weeks of the season, I have no doubt they will make the playoffs. It actually looks like they are starting to have some fun as a team.

  6. clevelandschronic2 - Feb 21, 2013 at 9:41 PM

    I sure hope hes right. My Cavs could really use the rights to swap the lal-mia pick. Top 15(i believe) if the lakers do make the playoffs.

  7. nomorsacbball - Feb 21, 2013 at 9:59 PM

    I wouldn’t mind seeing them make it. Because you know the whoopin that Okc would put on them would be so fun to watch.

  8. bucrightoff - Feb 21, 2013 at 10:05 PM

    Dug themselves too deep a hole. Schedule gets tougher and they still have not played well enough against the 8 teams ahead of them to believe they can make it up. And making the playoffs being the Lakers new goal for the season obviously speaks volume as to how disappointing a season it is.

  9. money2long - Feb 21, 2013 at 10:09 PM

    the mamba has spoken

    • mazblast - Feb 22, 2013 at 11:21 AM

      And the world yawns.

  10. losanginsight - Feb 21, 2013 at 10:14 PM

    What else would you expect a 5x
    (and counting) Champ to say.
    Go LAkeshow

  11. norcaldeportes - Feb 21, 2013 at 10:15 PM

    It’s not a matter of if they make the playoffs, it’s how fast they get bounced in the first round.

  12. nomorsacbball - Feb 21, 2013 at 10:25 PM

    yeah my team is that bad, and I probably won’t even have a team after this season. I don’t hate the Lakers, but after all their fans were hoisting up the championship banner before a game was ever played with this roster, it is pretty fun to watch what’s going on.

    • cosanostra71 - Feb 22, 2013 at 12:10 AM

      “all their fans were hoisting up the championship banner before a game was ever played”

      I think you’re referring to the Miami Heat.

  13. cobrawolf - Feb 21, 2013 at 10:27 PM

    I am in agreement with Kenny Smith, Lakers will not make the playoffs

  14. bucs24 - Feb 21, 2013 at 11:30 PM

    Keep wishing Kobe

  15. alqj24 - Feb 21, 2013 at 11:30 PM

    It’s funny how that one guy says Kobe is a “loser”. 5 championships defines losing. Also, you realize Dwight is on a 1 year deal? What “enormous contract” have they given him? Artest, I’ll give you that. He’s making $7M and I’d put him at $4M now at the most. Kobe’s net worth to the team exceeds the approximately $30M he’s paid. It sure kills the cap room though. However, that’ll be fixed come summer of 2014 as all contracts are off the books except Nash(partially guaranteed) and hopefully Howard.

    Anyways, I sure hope Lakers play with consistency and effort down the stretch. They can only control what happens with themselves and nothing else. I’m hoping for 1 of Houston, Utah, or even Golden State to just flop. With this in mind, GO LAKERS!

  16. thekingdave - Feb 21, 2013 at 11:44 PM

    Why single out the Rockets? It’s the end of February, they’re only a couple games behind Utah and Golden State, and they just got their signature win of the season. Don’t inflate the importance of P Pat and Morris.

  17. davidly - Feb 22, 2013 at 3:09 AM

    It’s possible for them to go the 18-9. The tough part is that it has to come from somebody other than Bryant, for up to now, when the team has more assists than he does shots, they are 21-10. Pretty impressive, relatively speaking.

    Either way, they gotta play that way if they want anything to build on for next season.

  18. baymac408 - Feb 22, 2013 at 3:46 AM

    Golden state to flop?? Calm down lil buddy!! You would need that for your wack flake show to do anything.. Ignorant laker fans half of the fan base is bandwagon.. I hope they learn a lesson money can’t buy chips.. Like the Yankees for example.. Kobe always whines and is on the rapid decline.. WARRIORS IS GOING UP.. Like the flames your season has been torched from

  19. rodge1 - Feb 22, 2013 at 7:59 AM

    I love that Laker fans have officially become the most delusional fan base. These are the same fans that insisted acquiring Nash & Howard would bring them to the Finals. Also the same fans that insisted Antawn Jamison is the only bench player they needed… Never did I see a Laker fan address the real problem: Kobe will never take a pay-cut to help his team build a winner…
    Thank you Kobe for being so selfish and keeping the Lakers out of the way!

    • aboogy123456 - Feb 22, 2013 at 8:29 AM

      you laker haters have become delusional. Stop hating kobe for not taking a pay cut, why should it matter how much he’s getting paid? Are you paying him? If they were paying him $15 mill a year they’d still be over the luxury tax, so why does it matter to you? Is kobe’s salary going to force them to get rid of pau, or make it so they can’t sign dwight to a max deal?

  20. rodge1 - Feb 22, 2013 at 8:39 AM

    @aboogy123456

    I’m not hating on Kobe for not taking a pay cut. In fact it’s the opposite of hating… I’m very happy Kobe doesn’t take a pay cut or the Lakers would have more room to sign better players around him. That’s the last thing I want.

  21. rodge1 - Feb 22, 2013 at 8:45 AM

    LeBron & D Wade took pay cuts for their team to have the flexibility to sign better role players around them…. I wonder how that worked out for the Heat

    • spthegr8 - Feb 22, 2013 at 10:53 AM

      @rodge
      Im glad you can look into your crystal ball and inform all of us on the future like that. That explains your level of “EXPERTISE” on the subject. Your a “TROLL” with magical power’s!!! GTFOH!!!!

  22. phillylawhopeful - Feb 22, 2013 at 8:51 AM

    They’ll need to win 59-62% of their games (42 or 43 wins) from here on out to have a realistic chance at making it, unless Utah, Golden State, or Houston completely fall apart. Their remaining slate is pretty soft:

    -15 of their remaining 27 games are against teams under .500
    -7 out of the 12 against teams above .500 are in LA, 3 against teams right above them in the playoff hunt

    Figure they win 80% of their home games against sub-.500 teams (5 wins, 1 loss) and half of their home games against .500 or better teams (3 wins, 3 losses). That’s 8-4 at home (34-33). They win 60% of away games against sub .500 teams (4 wins, 3 losses), and a third of games against better than .500 teams (2 wins, 4 losses). That puts them at 40-42. So, to make it, they need to convert 2 or 3 of those home games against better clubs or pick up some road wins against better teams.

    In short, it’s definitely possible for them to do it. Certainly, it’s not absurd like a lot of people say.

    And, I hope, with every fiber of my being, Kobe is sitting on his fine Italian leather sofa watching from home come April.

  23. omniusprime - Feb 22, 2013 at 9:07 AM

    It’s good to see Kobe be confident about getting into the playoffs and doing some damage. Unfortunately if the Lakers make the playoffs the only team they’ll damage is the Lakers. If the Lakers make the playoffs then Dumbtoni may be asked to hang around another season so he can destroy the Lakers even more so than he already has. I hope the Lakers don’t make the playoffs so Dumbtoni gets offed in the off season.

    A shame no trade to get rid of Trash Nash and Steve Flake, the two worst point guards in the NBA. A shame the Lakers couldn’t trade those two grossly incompetent fools for Kyrie Irving, the point guard the Lakers should be looking for.

    Fire Dumbtoni!!! Trade Trash Nash and Steve Flake!!! Thanks Dr. Jerry Buss, Rest in Peace!!!

  24. rodge1 - Feb 22, 2013 at 12:17 PM

    @spthegr8

    No crystal ball here, but I did watch the finals on tv last year just like Kobe did!!!!!!

    • spthegr8 - Feb 22, 2013 at 3:45 PM

      @rodge
      I see you have some SICK obsession with Kobe huh??? If I can steal a phrase from Richard Sherman. ” You Mad Bro”?????

  25. packhawk04 - Feb 22, 2013 at 1:04 PM

    Lakers have to start figuring out what they are going to do after the season. Even if they make the playoffs, i think we can all agree that they wont go far. Lakers fans and management shouldnt stand for it either. Before the year they had the missing pieces for a championship. Now theyre reduced to trying to convince themselves theyll make the playoffs.

    • aboogy123456 - Feb 22, 2013 at 1:51 PM

      What do you mean you think we can all agree? Before this season started many people agreed that they have a championship caliber roster, but the problem is they haven’t been playing well and they may not make the playoffs. If they do make the playoffs, that means that they are playing well in order to get there in the first place, and I think if you mix that with the talent they have, they are very dangerous and have the potential to beat anybody. Despite how they haven’t looked good, you are talking about a team with Dwight Howard and Kobe on it.

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