Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers catches a pass from Steve Nash #10 in front of Eric Gordon #10 of the New Orleans Hornets at Staples Center on January 29, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. Bryant regularly wears a sleeve on his right arm to prevent injuries to his elbow.
The Los Angeles Lakers came upon a hurdle, tripped, and scraped their knees on Tuesday night in Oklahoma City. However, the race is far from finished for the injured and stumbling Lakers.
Unfortunately, there is no timeout in the race for the playoffs, and injuries suffered by Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard, and Metta World Peace cannot be properly attended to until the Lakers reach the finish line and see if they qualify for the next heat—the playoffs.
After Tuesday’s painful fall against the Thunder, the Lakers must get up, ignore the pain, and get back in the race on Wednesday against New Orleans.
The Lakers did not settle into their hotel rooms until Wednesday at 4 a.m. local time, so fatigue and travel may be a factor come Wednesday night, but those excuses are only cited if the Lakers are unable to catch their feet.
The Hornets are not a good team.
The Hornets are engaged in a three-way battle with Phoenix and Sacramento to finish last in the Western Conference. New Orleans has only won two of its last 10 games, and the Hornets’ overall record is a dismal 21-40 ahead of Wednesday’s game against the Lakers.
However, the Lakers are scraped-up and leaking blood at the moment.
Between Kobe Bryant’s injured elbow, Dwight Howard’s shoulder injury, and Metta World Peace’s ankle injury, the Lakers are a hobbled group limping into New Orleans. On a positive note, all three players promised they would play on Wednesday, and that bodes well for LA’s chances.
The Lakers have beaten the Hornets twice this season, and luckily, they have two more games against the Western Conference bottom dwellers.
“At this point, it’s just about getting wins,” Bryant said after the loss against the Thunder. “I’m going to keep playing (through injury). This is a critical part of the season.”
The Lakers do not get much of a breather, as Wednesday’s game in New Orleans is followed by a flight back to Los Angeles and a Friday night date with the Toronto Raptors.
With only 21 games remaining over a six-week span, the Lakers do not have much of an opportunity to pause and assess damages. On Wednesday, they need to prove that they are back on their feet in the race for the playoffs. A loss to the Hornets at this vital moment would be unacceptable under any circumstances.
Tip-off for Los Angeles Lakers at New Orleans Hornets is at 5 p.m. PT.