Although Kobe Bryant's season is over, Dwight Howard thinks the Los Angeles Lakers' fun has just begun.

The Lakers are still digesting the news they'll be without their top scorer and team leader for the rest of the season after Bryant tore his Achilles tendon last week.

The rest of Los Angeles' roster rallied for a win over powerful San Antonio on Sunday night, putting the Lakers on the brink of a playoff berth.

Howard radiated optimism afterward, seeing Bryant's absence as an opportunity "to do something special." The All-Star center still thinks the Lakers are championship contenders if they can squeak into the playoffs.

But everybody must assume part of Bryant's enormous responsibilities. Howard knows he must score more often, and Pau Gasol plans to assume more leadership.