Despite his heroics in the first half of last night’s game in Philly, Kobe Bryant could not pull out a win for the Lakers. While claiming that he still believes they can challenge for an NBA title, Bryant conceded that his team would have to play unblemished ball to do so. (Right. Good luck with that.) From the Daily News: “Kobe Bryant said Monday he believes the Lakers have the makings of a championship contender. A trade isn’t necessary to transform them from ordinary to something special if they play to or above their potential the rest of the way. ‘We can (contend),’ Bryant said. ‘We have to play very solid, near-perfect basketball, particularly with our second unit, which we have in the past. We’re capable of contending. Our margin is just not as great as some of the other teams.’ Lakers coach Mike Brown agreed. ‘That’s Mitch’s job, to continue to find ways to improve the team,’ Brown said, referring to Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak. ‘His track record speaks for itself. He’s more than capable of doing that. Having said that, if we don’t do anything to this team, I’m excited about this roster. I think this roster can contend for a championship. I do agree with what Kobe says. We’re an injury away, like we are now, from having to rely on rookies to help get us through and that’s a tough situation when you start talking about championships. But, with other guys around them (rookie guards Andrew Goudelock and Darius Morris), I do feel we’re capable of accomplishing that goal, yes.’”