The Lakers Rejuvinated for Another Title Run

1 Apr

 

Question: Is another 3-Peat in Kobe's near future? Answer coming soon.

By Kellen W. Hill

110-82. This is the score most Laker fans are accustomed to seeing over the past few years towards the end of the regular season when L.A. plays a conference opponent with something on the line. Jockeying for position in the Western conference is not something Laker fans are accustomed to as of late, after two years of number one seeds pretty much wrapped up in the west. This year however has kept Laker fans (and Kobe fans) on pins and needles.

With so much anticipation out east, the Lakers – according to the Lakers – are being overlooked. For much of the first quarter of the season the Lakers played with a championship prowess, even without their anchor on defense, Andrew Bynum, in the middle. During the month of December the fans in L.A. saw something they didn’t think would affect a veteran led team coming off of back-to-back championships, a lethargic mindset.

There were times the boys in purple and gold were zoned out on defense like “space cadets” (as head coach Phil Jackson once stated about  former Lakers’ streak shooter and below average defender, Vladamir Radmonovic). The defense was so bad the team lost to the worst team in the league – Cleveland. At the time Miami, San Antonio, Dallas, Oklahoma City, heck even their gym mates the Clippers were playing at a better level than the defending champs. Even the most decorated player in the game today, Kobe, was taking his team out of games by warped shooting expeditions.

Then came All-Star break in Los Angeles.

Blake jumped over the hood of a sedan. Kobe on the other hand dunked on LeBron and took over the game to earn his fourth MVP in the game.

Bynum over Chandler last night on his way to 18 points 13 rebounds 3 assists and 2 blocks

The Lakers have only lost one game since the break and avoided a major pitfall in trading for Carmelo Anthony, which would have moved Bynum to the Nuggets. Have you seen Bynum lately??? Better yet, did you see his performance last night against Dallas?

If you missed the game, you missed what has been the embodiment of the Lakers over the past month and a half…toughness.

It’s simple: Bynum, Artest and Barnes are doing their jobs; bringing toughness to a franchise that has lacked in that department for some time. We all know Kobe was the toughest player on the Lakers for years. By toughest I mean the most willing to stick his nose into a heated situation, even it meant getting two-pieced by Chris Childs and decapitated by Raja Bell. He has always been mentally tough but now he has muscle. I often refer to Kobe as Marlo  Stansfield (swift thinking organized crime boss from TV show The Wire) and his new muscle as Chris and Snoop (Marlo’s go to hitmen). I’ll even peg Bynum as Slim Charles (the tall silent assassin), especially after his foul on Michael Beasley last month.

There was something in the water at Staples last night that made fans and fans of opposing teams raise an eyebrow tothe physical nature of the Lakers. Matt Barnes made Ron Artest look like a choir boy while Steve Blake seemed like the second coming of Derek Fisher with his tenacity and in your face style of play. Three Lakers ejected and great team defense had the Lakers surging last night in their drubbing of the Mavs. A really good female friend of mine (who happens to be a Spurs fan) said the Lakers had a bunch of hoodlums on the squad. I was arguing with her that she was just mad L.A. was about to chase down her beloved Spurs for home-court advantage. Then it struck me…the Lakers have become a tad bit tougher.

Laker fans have to be excited about this new found bravado the purple and gold has. Those who are fans of opposing teams are quoting Arnez J from Def Comedy Jam when he talked about how his mother would beat him and he knew it was coming “Here we go again!” The late season push by the Lakers has fans and haters alike anticipating another parade at Staples.

But we shall wait and see. Stay Tuned.

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