The Los Angeles Lakers have won three of their last four games and now sit at 13-9, but they're still just barely visible in the Western Conference playoff picture, only a game ahead of ninth-place Houston. They're not likely to land a top playoff seed in the West this spring.
Surprisingly, Kobe Bryant is OK with that.
"Because of the changes in the players and so forth, you just can't come out of the gates and fight for a 1 seed or a 2 seed," Bryant told the L.A. Times. "That's just not realistic. But we want to build and get better and go into the playoffs with momentum."
The Lakers earned the No. 2 seed in the West last year with a record of 59-23, but were swiftly eliminated in the second round of the playoffs against Dallas. This year, they're faced with less depth than in past seasons after losing Lamar Odom and Shannon Brown, which has made the condensed post-lockout season difficult.
This year, Bryant says, the Lakers plan to focus their efforts on making a playoff push come late spring. "If you figure things out going into the postseason and you get a good rhythm, that's what you want, especially in a short season," he said.