Great article on how important this playoff run is for Kobe and the Lakers.
Fox Sports: Here’s what passes for adversity in Lakerland:
The team has failed, not once, not twice, but three times over the course of the 2008-09 season to post an eight-game winning streak.
Sure, a healthy-again Andrew Bynum — the Lakers’ other seven-footer — scored 22 the other night. But don’t be fooled by that. They still can’t beat Portland in Portland.
Even worse, there’s Jordan Farmar. What of his demotion to third-string point guard status? Say it ain’t so. Has Phil lost faith in him? Perish the thought.
Pretty soon, I hope. In the absence of authentic hardship, artificial obstacles were invented. The dearth of compelling storylines resulted in counterfeit ones. Curiously enough, the real angle has remained virtually ignored. Until now. The only way to judge this particular Lakers vintage is in the postseason. The line of demarcation separating success and disappointment could not be more clear. Anything short of a championship is failure, a resounding one at that.
You can’t say this about many teams. But it certainly applies here, to this Lakers team, to their championship coach, and their star, the reigning MVP. Kobe Bryant has been proclaimed Michael Jordan’s rightful heir — a title he sought — so many times that people have actually started believing it.