kobe bryant

It was Kobe Bryant’s 1,443rd game as a Los Angeles Laker. And there he was on Wednesday night, soaking his 34-year-old feet in ice water, feet that helped carry the Lakers to a 108-102 victory over the New Orleans Hornets at the New Orleans Arena, one that left the 31-31 Lakers 2½ games out the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

Because the Lakers remain in danger of missing the playoffs for only the second time during Kobe’s 17th season in Los Angeles, Kobe’s drive to get them into the postseason has become one of the NBA’s most interesting sidebars.

To say the least, it has been a wild ride. The Lakers are playing for their second head coach this season. And their legendary owner Jerry Buss died of cancer at a time he felt he had put together a team, with the acquisition of guys like Dwight Howard and Steve Nash joining folks like Kobe and Pau Gasol, good enough to win a 17th NBA championship.

Let’s say this much. Bryant is doing his best in what seems to be a lost cause.

– Reported by Peter Finney of the New Orleans Times-Picayune