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Kobe Bryant has missed the last seven games with an inflamed shin, but has played pretty decently without the NBA superstar.
The Lakers have gone 5-2 in Bryant's absence, including splitting a pair of games with the Western Conference-leading San Antonio Spurs.
Kobe has put up great numbers this season, averaging 28.1 points, 4.6 assists and 5.4 rebounds per game this season. The obvious need the Lakers need to fill is the scoring void left when Bryant is out.
Three Lakers have stepped their scoring up as Bryant has been on the sidelines. They are Andrew Bynum, Pau Gasol and the biggest jump in scoring is Metta World Peace.
Bynum has upped his average from 18.7 PPG to 23.1, Gasol has seen his PPG average go from 17.4 to 21.1 and World Peace has seen a huge jump from a dismal 7.4 PPG to 16.2 PPG.
Of those three, World Peace is the least reliable as far as being able to count on the continued numbers boost during postseason play.
Kobe has said he wants to return before the playoffs start, which would be a good thing for the Lakers, as getting the team running fluidly with Bryant back in will be crucial to LA's playoff run.
Lakers' likely playoff scenario without Kobe: A first-round loss
Lakers' likely playoff scenario with Kobe: Loss in Western Conference Final