Kobe Bryant struggled for the second night in a row, but this time LA wasn’t playing one of the worst teams in the NBA, and Dwight Howard wasn’t getting to the free throw line every minute. After a 4-for-14 clunker against Orlando, Kobe shot a woeful 11-of-33 against Atlanta, and then suffered a left ankle injury in the final seconds that will keep him out “indefinitely” according to Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Bryant took a baseline jumper and came down on the ankle of Dahntay Jones, and lay on the court writhing in pain. It looked bad. LA lost, 96-92.
Bryant brought the Lakers back with one of his typical heroic performances, torching Atlanta for 20 in the third quarter after a horrendous first half (1-of-8, 2 points).
But all anyone will be talking about Thursday is his ankle injury, which could end LA’s hopes of sneaking into the playoffs. With Utah getting blown out by Oklahoma, the Lakers will maintain a 1/2 game lead over the Jazz for the 8th spot.
Assuming Kobe’s out for four games (eight days), he’ll miss Indiana (likely loss), Sacramento (winnable), Phoenix (winnable) and Washington (winnable). Talk about catching a break – the Lakers are in the midst of a fortunate stretch where they only play five games in the next 13 days, and have a 3-day stretch next week with no games.