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Kobe-less Lakers out to prove doubters wrong

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10:38 AM ET 12.21 | Might as well make a banner and hang it at the Lakers' training facility: 10-9 without Kobe Bryant. It's not quite rallying-cry material, but the Lakers were just here two months ago, facing a long chunk of time without Bryant. They didn't do too badly. "I think they're excited about disproving people like they did the first time, and we'll do it again," Coach Mike D'Antoni said Friday. The stakes have changed, though. Steve Blake is out until at least late January because of a torn ligament in his elbow. Jordan Farmar is out until next week because of a torn hamstring. Xavier Henry will be the point guard Friday against Minnesota. He averages 0.6 assists per game in his career. He's had a good season at shooting guard but who's his backup if he falters at the point? "Uh, yeah, that's a good question," D'Antoni said dryly. It will be a committee of Nick Young, Jodie Meeks and maybe Kendall Marshall, who was signed Friday by the Lakers. "Should be fun," D'Antoni said.

Los Angeles Times

Kobe Bryant, Getty Images Kobe Bryant, Getty Images
December 21, 2013  10:40 AM ET

I thought they had a chance to win but not like they did. They played very well last night.

December 21, 2013  10:42 AM ET
QUOTE(#1):

I thought they had a chance to win but not like they did. They played very well last night.

You picked Minnesota to win.

#KeepingItRealzzz

December 21, 2013  10:43 AM ET

Xavier Henry (21 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 steals), Nick Young (25 points, 4 assists and 3 rebvounds) , Pau Gasol (21 points, 13 rebounds, 8 assists, 2 blocks and a steal) and Jodie Meeks (17 points, 4 assists and 3 rebounds) all played good ball.

December 21, 2013  10:43 AM ET

Big Pau getting his Point Guard on last night with 8 assists. Big man was close to a tripple double.

December 21, 2013  10:44 AM ET
QUOTE(#2):

You picked Minnesota to win.#KeepingItRealzzz

Yeah, I did. 116-111.

Still thought they had a chance to win, just wasn't 100% sold.

December 21, 2013  10:44 AM ET
QUOTE(#4):

Big Pau getting his Point Guard on last night with 8 assists. Big man was close to a tripple double.

*triple

December 21, 2013  10:44 AM ET
QUOTE(#2):

You picked Minnesota to win.#KeepingItRealzzz

It's early trying to win the battle of the internet, no?

December 21, 2013  10:45 AM ET
QUOTE(#5):

Yeah, I did. 116-111.Still thought they had a chance to win, just wasn't 100% sold.

Lakers are making their fans proud. It's a great story.

December 21, 2013  10:46 AM ET
QUOTE(#7):

It's early trying to win the battle of the internet, no?

You win.

December 21, 2013  10:47 AM ET

They have traditionally played relatively well without Kobe. Nobody expects them to compete for the title but they will be in the mix for a 7/8 seed in the playoffs.

December 21, 2013  10:48 AM ET

Hang it up Mamba

December 21, 2013  10:49 AM ET
QUOTE(#10):

Nobody expects them to compete for the title but they will be in the mix for a 7/8 seed in the playoffs.

They have a lot of rejects/misfits that are trying to prove themselves. Guys like Henry, Meeks, Young, Johnson, Kaman and Hill.

December 21, 2013  10:51 AM ET
QUOTE(#11):

Hang it up Mamba

And miss out on $50 million? Don't know many players who will do that.

December 21, 2013  10:52 AM ET
QUOTE(#11):

Hang it up Mamba

I think if he comes back and gets hurt again (this season or next) he may just hang it up. I've always said I don't think he'll complete the extension he just signed.

December 21, 2013  10:54 AM ET

To me, it's not that surprising they ran the offense through Gasol. He's always been a great passer for a big man. That's his biggest strength. That and his rebounding.

December 21, 2013  10:58 AM ET
QUOTE(#15):

To me, it's not that surprising they ran the offense through Gasol. He's always been a great passer for a big man. That's his biggest strength. That and his rebounding.

Gasol and Duncan may be the two best passing big men.

December 21, 2013  11:26 AM ET
QUOTE(#12):

They have a lot of rejects/misfits that are trying to prove themselves. Guys like Henry, Meeks, Young, Johnson, Kaman and Hill.

the only issue I can see though is
so what if they play well this year?

- none of those guys even have contracts past this year
and it is unlikely even 1/3 of them will be back next year
cause they will want $$ if they do well and you likely won't pay them as you want bigger fish

kind of a catch 22

December 21, 2013  11:52 AM ET
QUOTE(#6):

*triple

Troll.

December 21, 2013  11:54 AM ET
QUOTE(#2):

You picked Minnesota to win.#KeepingItRealzzz

LOL

 
December 21, 2013  11:56 AM ET
QUOTE(#17):

the only issue I can see though is so what if they play well this year?- none of those guys even have contracts past this yearand it is unlikely even 1/3 of them will be back next yearcause they will want $$ if they do well and you likely won't pay them as you want bigger fishkind of a catch 22

Not many premium free agents and if they trade Gasol around the deadline? Can't afford a max player if they bring back some contracts past this season.

I could see them giving some of the youngsters 1 or 2 year deals and just riding it out till Kobe retires when they target the next batch of free agents.

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