2013 NBA Playoffs: What Are L.A. Lakers Fighting For Now Sans Kobe Bryant?

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April 12, 2013; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers shooting guard Kobe Bryant (24) is checked by trainer Gary Vitti after he hurt his left knee after being fouled by Golden State Warriors small forward Harrison Barnes (40) in the first half of the game at the Staples Center. Lakers won 118-116. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

The L.A. Lakers just suffered one of the worst days in franchise history. With the team fighting for its playoff lives, legendary shooting guard Kobe Bryant suffered a career threatening tear to his Achilles’ tendon.

Moments earlier in the game on Friday (April 12) night game against Golden State, Kobe had shaken off a major fall which resulted in severe knee pain. At many junctures during the game, Bryant looked as though he was just fighting to remain standing, and he proved once again that he’ll play through just about anything.

But a torn Achilles was too much, even for Bryant, obviously. He struggled to walk off the court and headed directly back to the locker room with 3:08 remaining in the game and the Lakers down by two.

The team would rally around Dwight Howard and win the game. Though the officiating was highly criticized, as Howard attempted 22 free throws (hitting 14), the win kept L.A.’s playoff hopes alive.

But what good will making the playoffs be if they are without their best player? Kobe is going to be out six to nine months, and in the meantime, the Lakers are not even a playoff caliber team.

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Tags: 2013 NBA Playoffs Kobe Bryant Los Angeles Lakers Oklahoma City Thunder Orlando Magic