The Los Angeles Lakers 2-11 win-loss tally puts them alone at the bottom of the Western Conference cellar. Byron Scott’s team has the league’s second-worst offense and third-worst defense, marks that combine to make the worst non- Philadelphia 76ers net rating in basketball.
The Golden State Warriors just tied an NBA record by winning their fifteenth consecutive game to open the season. Steve Kerr and Luke Walton’s team scores over five points per possession more than the league’s second-ranked team, and has its fifth-best defense, too. The Warriors’ net rating of +15.0 is more than six points higher than the San Antonio Spurs’ +8.9 – which is the second-highest outfit in basketball.
But not even the extremely disparate realities of these California rivals will keep Kobe Bryant from believing in the seemingly impossible. Ahead of Tuesday’s game between the Lakers and Warriors in Oakland, the future Hall of Famer expressed mild optimism that his team could pull off what would be the biggest upset of the season.
Here’s Bryant, courtesy of ESPN’s Baxter Holmes.
“I’ve seen stranger things happen,” Bryant said Sunday after his team’s 107-93loss to the Portland Trail Blazers at Staples Center here. “We’ve been playing like s—. We might go up there and we might play like gangbusters up there. You never know.”
Okay, so perhaps that’s a more tepid assessment of the Lakers’ chances than we made it seem. And it’s not like Bryant should openly admit to imminent defeat, either – that’s no way for any professional athlete to think, let alone one of the most notoriously competitive players in NBA history.
Next time, though, we recommend that Bryant opts for more platitudes while discussing Los Angeles’ hopes against an all-time great. After all, it’s not like Golden State needs extra motivation to embarrass the purple and gold on Tuesday night.