The Lakers missed Kobe Bryant's physical presence, but they sensed his influence permeate the locker room. Before Saturday's practice, Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak shared with the team a 30-second video on his cell phone that showed Bryant outlining how the Lakers could win their 17th NBA championship without their star because of a torn left Achilles tendon that will sideline him at least six to nine months. "It was classic Kobe with the way he inspired us," Lakers reserve guard Darius Morris recalled. "Mitch brought a video of him right before he went into surgery just telling us we know we have to do. Just go out there and get it done. " The Lakers took that first step with a 91-86 victory Sunday over the San Antonio Spurs. The Lakers (44-37) hold a one-game lead over the Utah Jazz (43-38) for the Western Conference's playoff spot. The only way the Lakers won't make the playoffs? Utah has to win at Memphis on Wednesday, while the Lakers lose their season finale later that night against the Houston Rockets at Staples Center. The Lakers will have a tough task in following on Bryant's pledge to win a title considering they will likely face the younger and quicker Oklahoma City Thunder in the first round. But the Lakers sounded at least inspired by Bryant's message, which Lakers forward Antawn Jamison contained plenty of expletives.
Kobe Bryant provides encouraging words for teammates
L.A. Daily News | Apr 16