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Old 02-21-13, 05:59 PM
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Kobe Guarantees Lakers Will Make Playoffs

Kobe Guarantees Lakers Will Make Playoffs
Feb 21, 2013 3:19 PM EST

Kobe Bryant thinks the Los Angeles Lakers will finish the second half of the season strong and qualify for the postseason.

“It's not a question of if we make the playoffs,” Bryant said after a 1-for-8 shooting night against Phoenix on Feb. 12. “We will. And when we get there, I have no fear of anyone -- Oklahoma City, San Antonio, Denver ... whoever. I have zero nervousness about that.”

The Lakers are 3.5 games out of the final spot in the Western Conference, with a tough schedule the rest of the way.

Bryant said there is a strong belief in the Lakers’ locker room that the playoffs are not out of reach.

“I'm not talking about just me,” he said. “Us as a group. We will make the playoffs. And we will compete. And part of the reason I have that confidence is the Miami game [a 107-97 loss in Miami on Feb. 10]. We had control of the game. That was no fluke. We were playing very, very well. We were reading the defense, making the extra pass. OK, they have two great players [LeBron James and Dwayne Wade] who scored eight straight buckets and took control of the game. But we were right there. We can do it."

Via Jack McCallum/Sports Illustrated
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