Kobe Bryant is a man of his word, and he'd like to keep it that way.
We're roughly two weeks removed from Kobe guaranteeing that the Los Angeles Lakers would clinch a playoff berth. Considered implausible at the time, the Lakers are 5-2 since his augury and have moved within 1.5 games of the Utah Jazz for the Western Conference's final postseason slot.
But Los Angeles isn't there yet.
Just 20 games are left to play for these Lakers and though the distance between them and a playoff berth has decreased, they're still on the outside looking in at the bubble.
Winners of 14 of their last 20, stepping off the gas is the last thing the Lakers can do. Their quest toward proving that the numbers can sometimes lie is a marathon that they also have to sprint through.
At the forefront of said footrace is Bryant. He has carried Los Angeles all season and despite his unconditional diligence, there's still work to be done and a precedent to be set.
Both of which need to be sustained as the Lakers finish out their turbulent crusade.
*All stats used in this article were compiled from Basketball-Reference, Synergy Sports and 82games.com unless otherwise noted.