How Will Lakers Fare in Kobe Bryant’s Final Games?
The end of the road has arrived for Kobe Bryant and his stay with the Los Angeles Lakers. With just four home games left on the schedule at the Staples Center, it’s just now hitting the legendary Laker that his career truly is coming to a close.
End of the Road
He’s remarked all season that he can’t wait for retirement, however, as his body is breaking down. The Black Mamba hasn’t been himself in a while, specifically dealing with shoulder and leg issues in his age-37 run.
That run won’t end with Bryant on the sidelines, though, at least not if its up to him. Per reports, Bryant has “vowed” to play the final eight games of the 2015-16 season.
That may be tough to swallow (L.A. just got obliterated by the Utah Jazz by 48 points on Monday night), and it might not even be possible (Bryant hasn’t finished a season healthy in three years). But it’s a plight The Black Mamba is up for.
It’s anyone’s guess if he’ll make it, but Bryant has suited up for 58 games this year, which is more than a meager combined 41 over the last two injury-ravaged campaigns.
So, with Bryant set to play in all eight games to close out the season, what can we expect of the Lakers in terms of the NBA betting world?
Probably not much.
L.A. has gone 4-12 without Bryant in the lineup this year, which tells us very little. Of course, they’re just 11-47 with him, so it’s fair to say they could have a few more wins if he just stayed away. This still isn’t a good team, though, so Bryant’s impact one way or the other shouldn’t sway you.
The Lakers are an ugly 15-59 on the year and own a disastrous 5-32 road record. They’re currently stuck in a four-game losing streak, one that seriously may not end as Bryant tries to wrap up an illustrious career.
Indeed, L.A.’s final eight games could be rather trying, as they face the Miami Heat on Wednesday, followed by dates with the Celtics, Clippers (twice), Rockets, Thunder, Pelicans and the Jazz again.
The only matchup that looks remotely easy is a showdown with the banged up Pellies. Sadly, it comes on the road.
In fact, Los Angeles has just four more home games to showcase their retiring hero, and he’ll have to try to shoot his Lakers into a win against the likes of Miami, Boston, the Clippers and Utah.
Anyone betting on the Lakers may want to consider two likely possibilities: don’t reach for a Lakers win on the road and bank on Bryant saving his best for last.
Bryant has to face a very tough Utah defense in his final game ever, and if Monday’s game (he shot a woeful 1-11) is any indication, it could go horribly wrong. Then again, Utah is a team Bryant had owned throughout his career, and it will be his last NBA game ever. If nothing else, betting big on Bryant and the Lakers for that game could prove to be rather nostalgic and maybe even profitable.
The rest of the way, especially given their rate of winning, the only other game that makes sense to bet on is the Lakers taking down the Pelicans. Even though it’s a road game, the Pelicans are just dreadful with Anthony Davis, Eric Gordon, Ryan Anderson and Tyreke Evans all on the shelf.
If you bet on Bryant and the Lakers in the Utah and New Orleans games, you have a reasonable chance of coming out on top. Putting down money on the Lakers for any of their six other games, however, may be asking for trouble.
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