Tomorrow's game at home vs Portland could be a 1st round matchup...or not.
Phil could let Kobe play, knowing that homecourt advantage is on the line should they have a rematch with the Magic in the finals. Should they win over Portland, this would slightly increase their chances of facing them in the 1st round, however, it is still more likely that we would end up playing the Spurs even if we beat Portland.
Here are the current standings for the 6-8th seeds in the West.
Lets look at the Projected Standings should we beat Portland:
Both Portland and San Antonio would probably be tied record-wise at 50-32. In this case Portland, would win the tie-breaker since they won the season series, sweeping the Spurs 3-0. The tie breaker gives Portland a huge advantage in the standings, making it more likely that they would avoid facing the Lakers in the 1st round. Keep in mind that these projections are not perfect since Portland and San Antonio each have a critical game left. For the Blazers, it is at home vs the Thunder and for the Spurs it is on the road vs the Mavs.
Now the second option for Phil is to let Kobe rest, which would increase the chances of a Portland win and thus a 1st round matchup with the Spurs. However, Portland might still lose anyway, considering their struggles in LA.
The Blazers could be a potentially menacing matchup in the 1st round considering our struggles in the Rose Garden, which is why some of you might want Kobe to sit out, but as stated previously, chances are we face the Spurs since the Blazers have the tiebreaker over them.
In my opinion, Kobe should sit out the remaining games in the regular season including Sunday's game vs Portland. We want him to be as close to 100% healthy as possible and chances are that the team will take care of the job without him considering the remaining games after Sunday's game are against the Kings and Clippers.