Kobe Bryant, left, told Sports Illustrated the Lakers would make the playoffs,… (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles…)
Playoff guarantees? Sure. Why not?
The Lakers lined up alongside Kobe Bryant, or behind him, or something, when asked if they agreed with his optimistic belief that the playoffs would be part of their season.
Some guarantees were stronger than others, but hey, only Bryant could go old-school Joe Namath with this group.
“I’m not going to sit up here and say, ‘No, we’re not going to make it,’ ” Dwight Howard said. “We’ve got to have faith. If we don’t we’re not going to make it. I believe that we’re going to turn this around and we’re going to be great.”
Bryant told Sports Illustrated that “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.”
Steve Nash was slightly less vocal about it, though he supported Bryant’s belief.
“That’s great,” Nash said. “You love it when your best player has that confidence and that challenge. He’s put it out there for us to go get it now.”
Would Nash guarantee a playoff appearance as well?
“Yeah, I mean, whatever, I guarantee it,” he said with a shrug. “What does it mean? Everyone guarantees something at some stage and then everyone forgets.”
Coach Mike D’Antoni was less verbal than that.
“I’m not a guarantee kind of guy but I’ll let [Bryant] do the talking since he’s got to do the walking,” he said.
Not that Bryant didn’t have D’Antoni’s support.
“He’s got a lot to say about it, so that’s good. I don’t mind, as long as we back it up,” D’Antoni said. “I think it’s great. You have to have that mind-set and I think everybody does.”
The Lakers (26-29) began Friday 3½ games behind Houston for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
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