The Lakers’ 96-92 loss to the Hawks tonight already would have been a disappointment – with the Jazz falling 110-87 to the Thunder, the game presented a golden opportunity to put a bit of distance between L.A. and Utah for the West’s eighth seed – but the Lakers couldn’t get the job done. A big reason for this: Kobe Bryant’s off night. Kobe scored 31, but shot just 11-for-33 in the process – none of those misses hurting more than a potential game-tying jumper in the final seconds.
But the fact that the shot missed and the Lakers wound up losing isn’t what hurt the most – both literally and figuratively – about the play. No, what will really trouble the Lakers going forward is what happened to Kobe when he came down after his shot. The Hawks’ Dahntay Jones was draped all over him – so much so that when Kobe landed, it was on Jones’ foot. And as is often the case for hard landings on unexpected surfaces, this one did not go well:
The good news for the Lakers? X-rays came back negative. The bad news for the Lakers? Everything else:
X-Rays on Kobe’s ankle were negative, but it’s a “severe sprain” & he’s out “indefinitely.”
— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) March 14, 2013
“Indefinitely” is vague, of course, but it’s a little less encouraging than, say, “day to day.” And any time an injury of any sort is described as “severe,” that’s, uh, not good. Hopefully for the Lakers’ sake, Kobe can defy nature in yet another way, and return to action soon. As much as the Lakers have looked like they’ll eventually overwhelm the Jazz (at least) and claim a playoff spot for themselves, they need Kobe to do that. They were just starting to get on track, and this was the last thing they needed. As for Kobe’s opinion of the whole thing:
#dangerousplay that should have been called. Period.
— Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) March 14, 2013
Dahntay Jones, meanwhile, had a more sympathetic view of Dahntay Jones:
Tape doesn’t lie. Ankle was turned on the floor after the leg kick out that knocked him off balance. I would never try to hurt the man
— Dahntay (@dahntay1) March 14, 2013
And to be honest, we have no idea why Jones would intentionally hurt Kobe either, so we’ll err on the side of caution and chalk this one up to an unfortunate accident. An accident that, if Kobe ends up missing an extended period, will significantly alter the course of the 2012-13 NBA season. Or at least the first round of the 2013 playoffs.
Video via Eye on Basketball