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Kobe lifts Lakers to win, back into playoff picture (with help of Utah loss)

Apr 10, 2013, 2:43 AM EDT

New Orleans Hornets v Los Angeles Lakers Getty Images

To say the Lakers had to beat the Hornets on Tuesday is to state the obvious — they need to win just about every game from here on out to get the eight seed and make the playoffs.

But the one they really have to have now is Wednesday night in Portland.

The Lakers stumbled and bumbled but then Kobe Bryant took over with 23 fourth quarter points and lifted the Lakers to a 104-96 win over New Orleans..

Great players lifted Oklahoma City over Utah earlier in the evening — Kevin Durant had 21 points and 12 rebounds, Russell Westbrook 25 points including a final bucket on a steal and breakaway dunk that was the dagger. OKC won 90-80 and are now half a game back of San Antonio for the top spot in the West.

With the Lakers win and the Jazz’s loss Los Angeles moves half a game ahead and into the eighth and final playoff spot — and now Los Angeles control’s its own destiny. Win out and they get in the postseason.

But it’s not going to be easy — they have Portland on the second night of a back-to-back Wednesday night. While the Trail Blazers have struggled lately they have long played the Lakers tough in the Rose Garden. And they should be motivated to play spoiler. Win and the Lakers are one game up with three to play. Lose in Portland and the Lakers and Jazz are tied — and Utah has the tiebreaker. Tough spot. And the way the Lakers won this certainly didn’t alleviate any concerns about would happen to them if they make the playoffs — they still are not a great team, they just have a great player.

At least on Tuesday enough things went the Lakers way. Starting with a Utah loss.

The Jazz were going to be overmatched against the Thunder on the best of days. But add on that the Thunder were frustrated and looking for a little redemption after an ugly defensive performance against the Knicks Sunday. OKC cranked up the pressure and he Jazz shot 39.5 percent for the game and were just 7-of-25 from the 3-point line and despite that size up front had only six offensive rebounds.

The Thunder also did in the Jazz defense by moving the ball much better than they did against the Knicks. That led to a lot of easy buckets for the Thunder, who pulled away and held off the Jazz runs.

The Lakers held off the Hornets charges mostly because their stars stepped up. Kobe had 30, Gasol had 22 points and 11 boards as he went right at Anthony Davis all game. The Lakers finally started to give Gasol touches in the post (which may have been more Kobe’s orders rather than Mike D’Antoni’s) and it worked, creating mismatches to exploit.

Eric Gordon kept the Hornets in it with a 13 point second quarter (22 for the game), but it just wasn’t enough when Kobe flipped the switch. The Lakers couldn’t pull away — it was a tie game 80-80 as the Hornets made their runs, but the Lakers kept staving them off one Kobe jumper at a time. Plus Kobe had a strong defensive game against Gordon.

Los Angeles got what it wanted through all of this — they are in the playoffs as of right now. They control their own destiny. But they were inconsistent against the Hornets, a team that couldn’t exploit those lapses — the Lakers defense was hit and miss all night. Do that against the playoff teams left on the Lakers schedule — Golden State, San Antonio and Dallas — and those lapses will be much more costly.

But for now, the Lakers got what they needed. For a night.

  1. dannymac17 - Apr 10, 2013 at 3:27 AM

    Get ready for those

    “We are gonna be a dangerous team”

    posts from lakerluvr, dirtydouche, and every other delusional Lakers fan

    • spthegr8 - Apr 10, 2013 at 2:52 PM

      Only way we are gonna be dangerous IF we make it in, is if they all start carrying FULLY LOADED AUTOMATIC WEAPONS!!!!!

      Signed,

      A delusional Laker Fan!!!!

    • ekreyszig - Apr 10, 2013 at 3:42 PM

      The Lakers have not been good during the regular season, but they (as a franchise) do not measure their success by regular season wins either. As a fan I hope they can start winning when it counts the most. This last game was not a pretty win, but a win is a win at the end of the day.

    • Foul Dwimmerlaik - Apr 11, 2013 at 4:04 AM

      Yes, they are a dangerous team… against themselves.

      One has to figure out which team will show up in Lakers uniform. It’s their inconsistencies that pulls them down. They have shown that they can beat great teams and yet lose against teams that they are expected to beat.

  2. biggame28 - Apr 10, 2013 at 5:46 AM

    league won’t let LA miss the playoffs.

    • slowclyde86 - Apr 10, 2013 at 12:42 PM

      Yawn…Wait, I take that back. Stern IS meeting regularly with officials to dictate every game ensuring the Lakers make it. It’s almost too easy. No chance that would ever come out with so many people necessarily involved. Please stop the nonsense.

  3. phillyphil005 - Apr 10, 2013 at 6:37 AM

    After watching that fourth quarter last night, I tend to agree.

    • money2long - Apr 10, 2013 at 10:40 AM

      the league helped kobe hit shot after shot in the 4th?

      • asimonetti88 - Apr 10, 2013 at 11:19 AM

        Yes, the NBA has given Kobe the power of “toon physics”, similar to the concept they pioneered in the late 90s under the codename “Space Jam”. They are confident that with these abilities, David Stern’s favorite team the Los Angeles Lakers will make the playoffs.

      • Foul Dwimmerlaik - Apr 11, 2013 at 4:08 AM

        Yup. They used some special hydraulics beneath the ring stand so that it can move in a subtle way to ensure that kobe’s shot is accommodated.

        Great engineering genius at work it seems…

  4. rgledz - Apr 10, 2013 at 7:59 AM

    Game changes in the 4th. The comish has one of those buttons like in the Buffalo Wild Wings commercials to let the refs know it’s winning time for the Lakers. Gotta. get ‘em in the playoffs!

  5. loungefly74 - Apr 10, 2013 at 8:18 AM

    Lakers may be having a bad season…but they find a way to keep my interest high. Go Lakers!

    • eboneseagles - Apr 10, 2013 at 9:41 AM

      Yeah by being possibly the biggest bust of a team in NBA history.

      • bucrightoff - Apr 10, 2013 at 11:37 AM

        I like how you got thumb downed a lot, probably by Laker fans. Well if this isn’t the biggest bust in NBA history, what is Laker fans? I can’t think of anyone even close.

      • asimonetti88 - Apr 10, 2013 at 11:44 AM

        Or maybe it’s because people find them interesting because they have one of the most entertaining players in the NBA.

      • aboogy123456 - Apr 10, 2013 at 1:18 PM

        you haters need to stick to your guns. Do you think the lakers are bad or good?? If they are the biggest bust in history, then aren’t you saying that they have a lot of talent on their team and they are just underperforming?? I keep hearing from you clowns how they are not talented enough, too old, and generally suck, which is fine, but then they wouldn’t be a bust would they? They would just be performing to your expectations. I’m sorry I may just not understand buc and ebon’s comments, but they seem illogical to me, please clarify.

      • bucrightoff - Apr 10, 2013 at 1:34 PM

        Talent is exactly that: Talent. Great teams are not made up of a bunch of star individuals (like the Lakers). So being talented is nice, but can you put it together? The Lakers haven’t for a myriad of reasons, and no, injuries is not the only one.

        Basically, no one can dispute that Lakers are one of the top 3 teams in terms of its talent. Yet here they are, the 15th best team in the league based on record. Talent is not greatness, its talent.

      • aboogy123456 - Apr 10, 2013 at 1:43 PM

        ok thanks. Gave a thumbs up for clarifying.

      • spthegr8 - Apr 10, 2013 at 2:07 PM

        Anybody remember that song the ” Freaks come out @ night”??? I was thinking about remaking it and calling it ” The “TROLLS” come out for Laker post”??? Cuz GOOD LAWD there is ALOT of y’all!!!!

      • spthegr8 - Apr 10, 2013 at 2:13 PM

        @ebone
        You are 1000% right. Prob the biggest BUST of a season with a team with such HIGH expectations!! & that’s just being real!! My Laker bias a side!!

  6. ocgunslinger - Apr 10, 2013 at 8:31 AM

    “they still are not a great team, they just have a great player.” Best description of this year’s Lakers team that I have come across.

  7. aboogy123456 - Apr 10, 2013 at 8:47 AM

    I really hope pau stays next year. When him, kobe, and Howard play this well together they are so fun to watch. Big game tonight though, lakers haven’t been good on back to backs so they need to focus.

  8. omniusprime - Apr 10, 2013 at 9:03 AM

    Kobe was monster last night in the 4th quarter when it was needed, he deserves the MVP this year for being by far the MVP of the Lakers and the one who pushed such an underperforming team into a playoff spot. Kudos to MWP for coming back a mere 12 days after surgery to play important minutes, eat your hearts out Bulls fans and their total sissy Rose.

    While the Lakers may not be the best team around because of so many injuries, the worst coach in the NBA as well as the worst owner, they are playing much better and that bodes well for the future. Hopefully a future without the most incompetent coach in the NBA, Dumbtoni, and the most decrepit point guard in the league in Ancient Trash Nash as well as Steve Flake.

    Pau played well early on before Kobe took over. Pau and Howard played well together and I hope Gasol is resigned for the future.

    Thanks Dr. Buss!!! Fire Dumbtoni!!! Trade Trash Nash and Steve Flake!!! Kobe is the Greatest!!!

    • eboneseagles - Apr 10, 2013 at 9:44 AM

      I guess you were the only team with injuries, right? It’s pathetic how you want Nash gone when I’m sure just 6 months ago you were ecstatic they acquired him.

      • asimonetti88 - Apr 10, 2013 at 11:22 AM

        Injuries have ravaged two potential playoff teams in the Timberwolves and Lakers. Hopefully they are both healthier next season.

      • thesecondlakerzealot - Apr 10, 2013 at 12:50 PM

        Classic idiot “LAKER” fan. Steve Nash was the best option and although he has been injured he’s not going anywhere. Nor should he. The injuries excuse is valid, only because the LAKERS have had the most combined injuries in the league. That will hurt any team, especially one that is on the older side.

  9. lakerluver - Apr 10, 2013 at 9:12 AM

    @biggame, if the league was so intent on the LAKERS being successful, CP3 would be their starting pg instead of Nash. You do recall that little rescinded trade, right?

    • dannymac17 - Apr 10, 2013 at 12:05 PM

      i also remember what they were offering NO. which was basically nothing. So good for stern.

      • asimonetti88 - Apr 10, 2013 at 1:39 PM

        Regardless of what your or my opinions on what the Lakers were offering are, the only opinions that mattered were those of the GMs of the Lakers, Hornets and Rockets, and they had all agreed on the terms of the deal. There have been bad trades before. If the NBA didn’t step in to stop Ted Stepien back in the day, I don’t see why they should have stepped in on the Lakers/Hornets/Rockets trade.

  10. paulhargis53 - Apr 10, 2013 at 9:27 AM

    Its so comical to see lakers fans reduced to cheering a ” big win” over a really bad team. That they needed Kobe to asplode in the 4th speaks volumes.

    Then you got numbnuts up there , blaming injuries, a bad coach, a car was coming, the lakers were on gool, ANY excuse for this team being old and bad.They aren’t in the playoffs yet. I hope they make it, a first round sweep would be awesome!!

    WHERE’S OUR DRAFT PICKS!! GOOD RIDDANCE DR.BUSS!! R.I.P LAKERLUVER!! DUST OFF OUR TROPHIES!!!

    By the way lakerslurper, your days are numbered on this site,especially with a loss tonight. Better post your behind off the next week or so!!!
    #toldyouso

    • aboogy123456 - Apr 10, 2013 at 9:30 AM

      Paul you are a fan of the game. So who cares if the lakers suck so much and won’t win the championship? Kobe is in his second to last season, I just want to see as many games as I can before he retires. We are lucky to be watching one of the all time greats let’s just enjoy it while we can, it’s better than pay per view.

      • bigrele - Apr 10, 2013 at 12:55 PM

        Yeah just like you enjoyed watching the Lakers play 4 desperate quarters & blow out the Hornets last night too huh? Haha lol, I watched the game & certainly didn’t see the blow out you so boldly claimed it was going to be, how’d that crow taste? Did u fry or bake it?

      • money2long - Apr 10, 2013 at 1:33 PM

        o my goodness. could you imagine if the NBA struck a pay per view deal and started showing the big regular season games (like thunder v heat, knicks v lakers, etc) on pay per view? they’d generate even more revenue if this was conducted as separate fees additionally on top of whatever they make from their tv deals. it would be tempting not to want to pay 90 bucks to get the chance to watch a december showdown between new york and miami. it’s real lucky we get to see these on tv. everything, even through the finals.

      • asimonetti88 - Apr 10, 2013 at 1:41 PM

        I enjoyed watching the Lakers game last night (the parts I saw- I was also watching the Angels’ home opener). They won the game and at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if you win by 1 point or 30, a win counts the same.

  11. eboneseagles - Apr 10, 2013 at 9:48 AM

    I don’t even get how people find this battle for the 8th seed interesting, whoever gets in is getting swept and embarassed.

  12. paulhargis53 - Apr 10, 2013 at 10:04 AM

    aboogy: You’re correct, I am. And you’re right about Kobe. Please just ignore me when I go off on lakerslurper and his cadre of idiots. I don’t mean to generalize every laker fan…..but boy are there a lot of irritating ones. I most likely leave when lakerluver stops posting, he’s losing our bet…..he leaves pbt forever..

    • asimonetti88 - Apr 10, 2013 at 11:23 AM

      “I most likely leave”

      And nothing of value was lost…

  13. chrismt79 - Apr 10, 2013 at 11:15 AM

    Obnoxius/Lakeloser have to be two of the worst fans I’ve seen on these, or any other boards. You blast your team and it’s moves when they don’t seem to pan out (sub .500 with all that talent lol). Point fingers at everyone not named Kobe, who is your team’s biggest problem. Cry about not being able to buy your next Chip. And have the same redundant excuses of why with a defensive player of the year (nearly two with MWP), two MVP’s, and one of the best big men in the game, could not conjure up a winning season. I mean if you used the least bit of common sense and logic, and maybe some actual facts, you wouldn’t have to make up so many excuses for your trigger happy leader, and the ultimate waste of a perfectly good cast of players, because of his refusal to play defensive consistently and move the ball on a regular basis. When you have the ball 90% of the time, you shouldn’t get praise for 5+ assists. That what you Should be doing if you were as good of a player as your ego thinks you are. Perhaps watching some Lebron footage would have helped your season?

  14. lakerluver - Apr 10, 2013 at 11:33 AM

    Yeah, little paulie’s a fan of the sport like I’m a fan of synchronized swimming. You give him too much credit, aboog. If you notice he doesn’t even comment on his favorite team the Celtics anymore. I guess he’s accepted the fact that they stink. His sole purpose for being here now is to troll LAKER stories and to stalk me, LAKERLUVER. That is not indicative of a fan of the sport.

  15. lakerluver - Apr 10, 2013 at 12:01 PM

    I am interested to know how trolls like little paulie and some of you other numbskulls are going to occupy the time in your meaningless lives once the LAKERS season finally comes to an end….On second thought, maybe I don’t want to know. Dolts.

    • dannymac17 - Apr 10, 2013 at 12:07 PM

      I want to know what your parents think considering you are probably 35 and drive a yellow Dodge Neon with “Go Lakers” in print on the side still living with them.

      • spthegr8 - Apr 10, 2013 at 2:48 PM

        @danny
        LLS!!! Good one…..ZIIIIIIIIING!!!!

    • bucrightoff - Apr 10, 2013 at 12:13 PM

      Probably by not living in the past like most Laker fans will once its over. I know, 16 rings, which means so little and shows how pathetic you all are.

  16. thesecondlakerzealot - Apr 10, 2013 at 12:46 PM

    @dannymac17 and @bucrightoff
    I have read comments on most laker articles on this site since the start of the season, and although I am an actual LAKER fan, I will admit that this site posts more than enough about the LAKERS, but judging from your usernames you are a butthurt magic/ florida sports fan. Get over it. Dwight wanted out and got traded to the LAKERS. This season has been riddled with injuries. That is not an excuse. Its a fact. However, that does not excuse the total inability of the Laker role players to play any type of perimeter D.
    Now, why is it that you feel the need to comment on every LAKER article? Does it make you feel better about yourself? Also, the fact that most every LAKER “haters” seems to believe the NBA is “rigged” to help the LAKERS reach the playoffs is absurd. If you think that why watch the NBA? I am sure you could find another sport that does not “rig” games for prominent franchises.

    • bucrightoff - Apr 10, 2013 at 2:27 PM

      Well for one I’m from Canada so nice try on that one. For another, I think, perhaps being conservative, I saw about 1,000,000 Laker fans talking about how they couldn’t wait for the Heat next June, way the hell back in August 2012. Well, to many of us who are fans of other teams or basketball in general, found such a proclamation absurd, noting the age, injury and chemistry issues that could present themselves. Those 1,000,000 Laker fans laughed at us and called us haters, jealous of the 16 rings, whatever other nonsensical excuse they could use. And now, here we are, the Lakers fighting tooth and nail for the 8 seed. Forgive us for being a little joyous that such a pompous, arrogant fan base is being served the biggest plate of crow in history.

      • dannymac17 - Apr 10, 2013 at 10:14 PM

        I am a Clippers fan. And you type just like lakerluvr capitalizing all LAKERS. You need to kick back.

  17. paulhargis53 - Apr 10, 2013 at 1:08 PM

    asimonnetti88: I’d stop now, just a freindly warning.

    • thesecondlakerzealot - Apr 10, 2013 at 1:14 PM

      Just a question, what will happen if your “friendly warning” is violated? Surely you are aware this is the internet…

  18. spthegr8 - Apr 10, 2013 at 2:03 PM

    ^^^^^lololololol^^^^^^^ Good one. MANE, the “TROLLS” are in RARE form today!!! & man is there ALOT of them!!!

  19. paulhargis53 - Apr 10, 2013 at 3:05 PM

    Anyone else notice that lakerluver morphed into the2ndlakerzealot?

    Dude, I knew you were pathetic, but, just wow.

    The capitalization of Lakers hives you away, and you hashtagged #thelakerzealot on previous postings!!

    You’re not getting out of our bet by changing your name. I find it humorous that you have accused me of using other names. then you pull this crap.

    The tick to being incognito is to not act like the person you actually are….if those 2 things didn’t give you away, your mindnumbingly stupid takes on basketball do.

    Youre a loser on here and at life….just disappear in both, you will not ne missed at all.

    • bigrele - Apr 10, 2013 at 3:15 PM

      Dude if you truly believe this lowlife lakerloser is going to actually honor yalls “bet” on an internet message board then ur the one obviously living in a fantasy world, c’mon hargis you should know better; like serious what are you going to actually do to him? Have him brought up on charges & arrested? lol, when the Lakers lose the 8th seed & Utah gets in I have no expectations any of these pathetic obnoxious loser laker posters will just disappear like a fart in the wind; they’ll resort their pitiful trolling to hating on all the other teams that are in the playoffs out of spite, that’s what sore losers do hahahahaaaaa………………

  20. paulhargis53 - Apr 10, 2013 at 3:27 PM

    if he diesnt, I will make sure everyone knows what he pulled. I got time to kill at work, ill make sure his time on here is a living hell. He’s detestable

    Although I will be in North Hollywood in early May if he’d like to discuss our differences in person.

    • dannymac17 - Apr 10, 2013 at 10:19 PM

      I am in LA right now. I told him he can catch me at the pub. But he won’t, because he is a troll.

      • thesecondlakerzealot - Apr 11, 2013 at 7:08 PM

        Not sure what part of LA your in but the word “pub” is not a commonly used term.

      • dannymac17 - Apr 11, 2013 at 10:08 PM

        Sounds like semantics to me you sissy lala.

        There are pubs all over LA county, you can call the a bar if you want to, but pub is actually the correct terms. Why don’t we meet up, ill buy you a pint (term for how much booze is in the cup) and then you can tell me all about the last 25 years of Lakers basketball

        I can tell you, but then you would tell me “look at the banners”

        but thanks for proving you are in fact LakerLuvr.

  21. spthegr8 - Apr 10, 2013 at 7:34 PM

    ^^^^^^now THAT’S what I’m talking about. Somebody who isn’t hiding behind there key board. Kudos too you phargis!!!

  22. lakerwoman - Apr 10, 2013 at 9:55 PM

    It’s really sickening that some of you can’t make a comment without calling people horrible names. Nothing tells more about a person than how he speaks about others.

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