Can the 2-11 Lakers beat the 15-0 Golden State Warriors on Tuesday night?
“I’ve seen stranger things happen," said Kobe Bryant after the Lakers’ Sunday night loss to the Portland Trail Blazers. “We’ve been playing like [a bad team], we might go up there and play like gangbusters. You never know.”
With a win in Oakland, the Warriors can set the record for best start in NBA history.
Bryant gave credit to -- and ribbed -- his former teammate, Luke Walton, who has coached the Warriors this season while Coach Steve Kerr recovers from a back injury.
“I used to tease him all the time. I told him he was the next Phil [Jackson] because he was an average player with a messed-up back. If this is not Phil, I mean, ‘You’re a hippie,’” Bryant said of Walton.
“Honestly, he had a really brilliant mind in understanding flow, tempo and spacing -- and how to manage a team the right way,” Bryant said. “I couldn’t be happier for him. He looked very comfortable in that role.”
Walton’s 15 wins are officially credited to Kerr’s coaching record.
Bryant and Walton won two titles together, under the coaching of Jackson. Walton struggled to stay healthy through his later years with the Lakers because of recurring issues with his back.
“I think Phil saw a lot of himself in Luke, honestly,” Bryant said. “Luke was part of the coaching staff meetings. Phil kind of brought him along, and I think he still does. If you’re going to have a mentor, Phil is a pretty good one.”
The Lakers are the prohibitive underdog on Tuesday, even as Bryant correctly notes that his team has at least a chance -- even if it’s a very, very small one.
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