"We haven't lost in weeks," said head coach Mike D'Antoni. "And if you look at the Western Conference, we're in as good a shape as almost anyone. I'm not counting us out until the season is over."
The presumed Western Conference champion, the Oklahoma City Thunder, is on the brink of elimination thanks to Russell Westbrook's injury, the Spurs are as old as the Lakers, the Warriors are inexperienced and star guard Steph Curry is battling injury, and the Memphis Grizzlies are led by Pau Gasol's little brother.
"I like our position," said Lakers point guard Steve Nash. "I'm getting healthier every day and Kobe should be able to walk in a few weeks. We can do this."
It's one of Jack Nicholson's greatest performances yet.
"Guy, guys. Gather around and listen up," said D'Antoni, squatting down in front of his players while holding his iPhone. "'"Pau, get ur ass on the block and don't move till u get it.' Want to know who said that? Kobe. Kobe said it on Twitter. Now, Pau, get out there and do it, okay?"
D'Antoni then called his team back before player resumed.
"Oh, and guys?" he said. "I forgot. Hashtag: realtalk."
"My man rg3 you do it i do it. It a bet dog," read part of Bryant's post, written just days after surgery to repair a torn Achilles. "My thrwing arm iz not hurt i just wil b more of a packet qb. never been mor motvated to win Supr bowel."
Bryant then went on to write several hundred barely lucid words about spiders that he claims are living inside his eyelids, saying eyelashes are "jus spider hands sticking out ur face. LOL. No lol: FEAR. I'd fight a bear b4 a damn spidr. Eylid spidrs!!! When u blink its them biting yor eyes."
Several minutes later, Bryant took to Twitter and tried to order a sandwich: "Hello. Turkey on rye plz .. no eyelid spiders on the side .., nEver them."
Is it the Israel-Palestine thing?
"Before our shoot-around this morning, Kobe cut out his left ankle using trainer's tape scissors. No anesthetic," said head coach Mike D'Antoni. "It was pretty amazing to see. His will to win is unparalleled."
With the ankle bone and the surrounding tissue cut away, Bryant then reattached his left foot to the bottom of his fibula using a shoelace for stitches. He then stood up and addressed his teammates.
"Look at this!" Kobe commanded, holding the chunk of bone and flesh that was his ankle. "This was my ankle. It was not committed to winning. It tried to stop me from achieving my goal of winning a championship. So I cut it out. Let that be a lesson to all of you."
"I was really inspired," said forward Pau Gasol, while vomiting. "Also, I'm scared for my life. Playing with a psychopath is both inspirational and terrifying."
"I think they deserved it," said Howard. "I like them when I was here, but I have since realized they are some of the worst fans in the NBA, if not in all of sports. They rarely fill the seats and there is no atmosphere in this arena. They suck and that's why I booed them."
Magic fans admit they had hoped Howard would give them a warm welcome, but say weren't surprised by the negative reception.
"Look, I can understand the hard feelings," said a season ticket holder. "It is what it is. But I will still always remember Dwight's time here fondly."
Howard didn't stop at booing and heckling the Magic fans. He also held up signs with messages including "YOUR TEAM SUCKS," "OVERRATED" and "ORLANDUDS." When he exited the game, he wore a t-shirt featuring a picture of the Amway Arena crowd alongside pictures of an equal sign and a pile of steaming feces.
"Well, it's officially over now," said a despondent Kobe Bryant in the postgame locker room. "Our season is done. Over. Official time of death: tonight."
Los Angeles' defeat saw the team fall to 30-31 on the season and 2.5 games out of the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. The season-ending loss is especially disappointing to the team because just two days earlier they had saved their season with a victory over the Hawks giving them their 30th season-saving win of the season.
"I thought we were back. I thought we were a legitimate threat," said point guard Steve Nash. "I mean, 30 season-saving wins in a season is a lot. But, no. Now it's all over. It all fell apart so fast."
More like the MEAN Factory, am I right?