Kobe Bryant guarantees the Lakers will make the playoffs

Kobe promises the Lakers will make the playoffs. (Getty Images)

Kobe Bryant has never lacked much for confidence. Most of the time that means in himself. But this time, he genuinely believes his maligned Lakers squad will make the playoffs.

And not only that, but once they get there, they will be a legitimate threat.

"It's not a question of if we make the playoffs. We will," Kobe told Sports Illustrated. "And when we get there, I have no fear of anyone -- Oklahoma City, San Antonio, Denver, whoever. I have zero nervousness about that."

Currently, the Lakers are ninth in the West, 3 1/2 games behind the Rockets for the final postseason slot.

At 26-29, the Lakers have played 55 of 82 games, meaning if they're going to get to the likely number of wins it'll require to make the playoffs -- about 45 -- they'll need to go 19-8 the rest of the way.

Possible, especially with the improvement the Lakers have shown recently. They've won six of their past nine games to partially dig out of a major hole.

One of the reasons Kobe is so confident is because of one of the Lakers' many moral victories this season, against the Heat.

"We will make the playoffs," he said. "And we will compete. And part of the reason I have that confidence is the Miami game. We had control of the game. That was no fluke. We were playing very, very well. We were reading the defense, making the extra pass.

"OK, they have two great players [LeBron James and Dwyane Wade] who scored eight straight buckets and took control of the game. But we were right there. We can do it."

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