Kobe acknowledges Lakers’ underdog role vs Clippers
El Segundo, CA, United States (4E Sports) – Kobe Bryant thinks that the Los Angeles Clippers have a legitimate shot at the NBA title.
“They’re definitely one of the top contenders,” he said.
The 15-16 Los Angeles Lakers find themselves in unfamiliar territory going into Friday’s game against a Clippers team with a much better record at 25-8.
“I think they’re expected to blow us out,” Bryant said frankly before the Clips held the Lakers off for another win. “They expect the Clippers to come in and run all over us.”
The Lakers are reeling from two losses in their past three games, and the youth-infused Clippers have cooled a bit, too, losing on the road to Denver and Golden State on the heels of their 17-game win streak.
“They’ve dropped their last two games so they’re coming in with a lot of motivation,” said Bryant, referring to the Clippers’ losses to Denver and Golden State on the road.
One of the people touting the Clippers has been former Laker great and ABC/ESPN NBA analyst Magic Johnson, who compared the Clippers to his beloved “Showtime” Lakers teams of the 1980s during a recent telecast.
“I agree,” Bryant said. “They’re very spectacular and they’re fun to watch. There’s no question about it. They have higher jumpers than ‘Showtime’ did, though.”
Bryant pegged the Lakers as an “old damn team.” But his coach Mike D’Antoni, disagrees. “We’re a little slower and a little older, but we’re not slow and old,” said D’Antoni.
After the Clippers, the Lakers have a home game against Denver, a road back-to-back against Houston and San Antonio, then a home game against the Oklahoma City Thunder.
“It’s a big stretch for us,” Bryant said. “We got to turn things around. At this stage of the year going against some of these top teams, it’s a tough stretch but it’s a chance to see what we’re made of.”