The Los Angeles Lakers held the Nuggets in Game 4 to complete a somewhat unexpected sweep. The Lakers have shown us something that they haven’t shown us in a long time. A sense of unity; caring for the person next to them more than themselves.
A beautiful bond. A Purple and Gold Family, each person with an important job to ensure the well-being of the family.
Kobe Bryant – The captain of this team. The leader on and off the court. The Most Valuable Player in the entire League. His clutch play in the 4th quarter sent the Nuggets on a fishing vacation with Kenny “The Jet” Smith. His uncanny ability to get his teammates involved for the entire game has become more and more evident with each passing challenge.
This was evident in Game 4, when the Lakers were up one with just over two minutes left in the game. He was doubled, and then kicked out to an open teammate. One pass later, Luke Walton hit the nail in the Nuggets’ coffin. This could not have been expected a year ago. My, oh my, how a year changes everything!
Kobe has completely changed. We have seen the maturation of one of the greatest players in the history of the NBA right through our eyes. It’s a pleasure to watch him develop. The Big Mamba, The Assassin has his opportunity at a ring so close he can taste it. And this time he has the rest of the team tasting it as well.
Derek Fisher – He is an amazing leader on and off the court. Possibly the best signing Mitch Kupchak ever made was bringing a true Laker back to Los Angeles. His heart and intensity have the Lakers where they are today. Add a career year to all of the other things he brings, the Smush Parker days seems like a distant memory.
Lamar Odom – He finally gets it. He understands his role on this team, and is now ready to play every single night. His rebounding has kept the Lakers afloat, even when Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol were sidelined with injuries. Odom has been a new player ever since the addition of Pau, and is finally the weapon that the Lakers’ fans have been waiting for.
Vladimar Radmonivic – He is a space cadet no more. He knows his role, and plays it very well. He has never been known for his defense. Anyone who watched the series with Denver knows that on-ball defense has never been a strong point. However, when his shot is on, the Lakers are unbeatable. Couple that with the great chemistry he has with Pau Gasol, he is an essential member to this team.
Pau Gasol – The gift from the Memphis Grizzlies. It’s amazing how much better the Lakers are with Pau Gasol as starting center, compared to Kwame “No Hands” Brown. No disrespect to Kwame Brown, but it has always amazed me that Kwame was the starting center for the Lakers, yet never did get off the bench in Memphis for the Grizzlies. Pau is the perfect fit for the triangle, as his unselfish approach has the Lakers flying high.
Jordan Farmar – The Lakers 6th man of the year has provided great minutes and leadership for the second unit. The work he put in in the off-season is evident, as he is better at all aspects of the game. He truly is the Lakers’ future.
The Machine – Sasha has been superb off the bench this season. He does not let anything rattle his confidence. He is a true cold blooded shooter. When he is on, the Lakers 2nd unit can be as good as their first.
Luke Walton – What can I say about Luke? He has had critics all year. Even though he will never admit it, he has really struggled with injuries this year. He is finally getting healthy and he is the Luke Walton that Lakers fans fell in love with.
Ronny Turiaf – The heart of this team. His constant energy has allowed the Lakers to at times play above themselves. He has done all the dirty work and deserves much credit for the Lakers’ success. He truly has a big heart.
D.J. Mbenga – Yes, D.J. has had an impact on the team this season. After signing with the Lakers no one expected much. At first he showed that he was a big time work in progress. He has worked really hard, and has provided good minutes for the Lakers in the postseason. He has been productive.
Andrew Bynum and Trevor Ariza – Oh, how the Lakers miss their presence. Bynum was quickly becoming one of the best centers in the NBA, and Trevor’s athleticism gave the Lakers weapons that are unmatched. With Ariza due back sometime next week, the Lakers will add another perimeter defender to help with the rest of their post season run.
Kobe Bryant said, “This is the closest team I have ever been a part of.” The Lakers are truly a family now. Something that couldn’t even been said for the Shaq and Kobe era. Purple and gold are running through their blood, as they remain focused on reaching the ultimate goal: The NBA Championship. Win or lose this team has developed relationships that will last a life time.