Can Lakers Survive Without Kobe?
"I was just hoping it wasn't what I knew it was," Bryant said in post-game interviews.
That was then - now its time to move forward. The Los Angeles Lakers have only one thing on their mind - and that's the playoffs. Currently sitting in the 8th spot, 1 game ahead of the Utah Jazz, the Lakers will move on with the team they have. Still awaiting the return of two-time MVP Steve Nash, the Lakers are forced to start Steve Blake and Jodie Meeks in their backcourt with Metta World Peace, Pau Gasol and Dwight Howard filling out the starting five.
Can that team defeat either the San Antonio Spurs or Oklahoma City? Definitely not. Is it worth it for Mike D'Antoni to push his players to the limit when they have no realistic shot in winning at that level? Well, that is of course assuming that Nash is unhealthy for the remainder of the season as well - because with a healthy Steve Nash, this Lakers team will easily spread the floor with their big men holding fort on the block.
But, seriously. What's next for the Lakers? Can the expect to defeat the Spurs and Rockets in their final two games without Kobe? Can Dwight and Gasol lead a team on their own?
Can Jodie Meeks, Antawn Jamison and Earl Clark carry the load with a spread offense? Will Steve Blake run a consistent show at the point under a point guard's dream coach in D'Antoni? Can Blake still carry a team like that? Who will back up Blake at the point? Darius Morris? If and when Nash returns, will he be close to 100% healthy?
The Lakers have more questions now than answers - and that is perfectly normal under the circumstances - but tomorrow isn't going to wait for them. If they don't find answers quickly, they'll be enjoying the 2013 NBA Plaoyoffs from their respective sofas.