Bryant scored a season-high 47 points on Wednesday night, moving the Lakers a full game ahead of the Utah Jazz for the eighth and final playoff spot. “We’ve got no breathing room at all,” Bryant said after the game. “I’m still on edge. We’ve got to win three more games and we’re in.”
Bryant stuffed the stat sheet in addition to his scoring output against the Trailblazers, adding eight rebounds, five assists, four blocks and three steals to his line. While Bryant’s best performance of the season was crucial for the Lakers’ victory, Pau Gasol and Dwight Howard had nice games in their own right on Wednesday night. Bryant, Gasol and Howard combined to score 90 of the Lakers’ 113 total points.
While the Lakers are fighting for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference and an eventual date with either the San Antonio Spurs or Oklahoma City Thunder, their lineup is still considerably dangerous. The fact that Bryant, Gasol and Howard combined for 90 points is incredible — and that came in a game that they desperately needed to have. Throw in the fact that Steve Nash also did not play and you can understand why they could be a team that nobody wants to meet in the playoffs.
The Lakers will close out the 2012-13 regular season at home in L.A. with three consecutive home games. We will see if the Lakers can lock up that final playoff spot at the Staples Center and pick up a little momentum prior to the start of the 2013 NBA Playoffs.
Follow Paul Seaver on Twitter: @PaulSeaverRS