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.

The Cougar is a TLN Staff contributor, you can contact him at TheCougar@TheLakersNation.com.

  • zgum

    very nice….one team… one family…..

    …lets go Lakers!!!!!

  • ricky

    where’s chris mihm?

  • Kobester

    How about Ira Newble too?

  • http://myspace.com/sonicussj Whatsa

    [Comment ID #34411 Will Be Quoted Here]

    ROFL, I was gonna say the same thing.

    AND COBY KARL! We have to compliment him for dissing his dad.

    Ira Newble came too late, but I’m sure he’s still part of the family.

  • Kobester

    And the other Coby? Coby Karl? :))

  • migs

    you forgot coby karl man. cold. real cold. -_-

  • migs

    lol i forgot mihm and newble. damn im cold.

  • Thomas

    Lets foucus on players that actually contributed this year…jking. But no this is a very close Laker team and if they could win three championships with Kobe and Shaq going at it all the time I can only imagine what the Lakers will do this year with how close they are. All we have to do now is go a get it…

  • http://www.themonstore.com derrick

    great write up, it’s nice to read great stuff about our team chemistry. go lakers!

  • domz

    GO LAKERS!!!

    WE ALL HERE IN TLN ARE ALSO PART OF THE FAMILY!!!

    BEAT HOUSTON/UTAH!!!

  • vida8

    Amen to that ..

  • Ignard

    This team is gonna be insane for a long while baring any serious injuries, man we are set Lakers fans.

  • butthole

    What are you talking about? Vlad played amazing defense on carmelo anthony, held him to his lowest playoff field goal percentage ever. Vlad has picked his D up

  • Kobe 4 Life Nikkas

    omg!!! i love being a laker fan i wanna be part of the family :(.. actually we are.. cuz were the PURPLE AND GOLD!!! GO LAKERS!!!

  • http://swishtheball.net kobe-drew-pau-l.o.-fish

    now the lakers need better doctors and athletic trainers, i mean trevor and andrew were expected a while ago

  • Swiggle

    I really wish I knew what Lamar was yelling at all the players when they circle around him. I love that thing they do before the games now. It gets me so pumped up. I have been watching the Lakers my whole life. I have missed maybe 5 or 6 games in the last 13 years, and I’m 24. When I really started getting in to watching every game our starting line-up was Nick Van Exel, Eddie Jones, Cedric Ceballos, Elden Campbell, and Vlade Divac. I’ve been hooked ever since and I can honestly say without a shadow of a doubt that this is BY FAR my favorite group of players top to bottom that they’ve ever had. Keep these guys together, and win as many championships as possible.

  • RD

    let me finish it for him…

    Chris Mihm – Injuries have bugged him for 2 seasons now, but we still know what he used to be capable of in the 04-05 season. He used to be our starting center!

    Coby Karl – To the D-League and back. To the D-League and back. To the D-League and back. Coby hasn’t left that much of a mark yet, and maybe never will, but his dunk against the Hawks was pretty memorable. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dRRNHs3g9e4

    Ira NEWble – Ummm…. he’s still new. If he sticks with us for cheap next year, maybe I’ll have something to say about him.

  • DCLAKER

    Basically this is a family,think about,THE LOVE(for the team),THE ARGUMENTS(who should leave,trades,etc.),REUNIONS(DEREK FISHER),and other things that you would see in a (DIS)FUNCTIONAL family.

    WE’RECRAZYASHELL.com,but we’re winners(and the NO.#! SITE FOR THE LAKERS)

  • HiYo2o

    The Purple and Gold family but you also forgot about the TheLakersNation fans! I just noticed on the NBA.com site they listed the Olympics Tournament preview and it looks like Kobe(U.S.A.) might go up against Pau Gasol(Spain) in the Olympics a little fun rivalry. =]

  • PeanutButterSpread

    Rumor: Andrew Bynum is OKAY, at least, according to MVN’s Laker Library’s Ed Ziti:

    “In Laker news, about two weeks ago, I was in Los Angeles at a local watering hole having a drink, when I had a chance meeting with an old friend with deep ties within the Laker organization. The subject of Andrew Bynum came up and I was commenting on how good it would be to have him back on the Lakers for the play offs. Anyway, he turns around and says to me, “Andrew is fine, the Lakers are holding him back as a precaution.” Then he mentioned that he’ll definitely be back and that was the end of the conversation. Now that the first round is over for the Lakers, and the Rockets have extended their series with Utah, it gives the Lakers a couple of more days to rest and heal. I was under the impression that Andrew was done, especially after Phil Jackson’s “remote chance” comment, but might the Lakers be saving Andrew as a secret weapon?”

    http://mvn.com/nba-lakers/

  • DCLAKER

    I had a feeling that was the case.Let’s just hope it’s true.People(The Laker HATERZ IN Washington,DC)are already talkin’ about The Lakers CAN’T BOSTON if Bynum doesn’t come back……I pause………then I laugh(Vegeta style{DRAGONBALL Z})”YOU FOOLS” we already lost to Boston with Bynum(THOSE DAMN ‘BOOTY’ SHORTS WAS THE DOWNFALL)but NOW WE HAVE …..PAU!PAU!PAU! Gasol and LO has elevated his game……..the HATERZ become veeeeeeery silent at this point….I laugh again(sinister Vegeta style)…THEN I BLAST THEM INTO THE 3RD DI….. sorry LAKERNATION,I got carried away BUT SO WILL BOSTON(if they make out the 1st round,GO HAWKS)!

    LAKERZILLAISCOMIN’.com,BYNUM IS BACK(he’s just on hold)!!!

  • Michael_23

    I’d take Chris Mihm or DJ Mbenga anytime over Kwame Brown.

    Even Coby Karl.

    And Kwame is a former #1 pick.

  • http://swishtheball.net kobe-drew-pau-l.o.-fish

    [Comment ID #34477 Will Be Quoted Here]
    yeah, but if andy does come back he won’t help, c’mon he hasn’t played since jan. 13

  • monmon

    Vic the Brick is also family; the funky uncle.

  • http://sports.groups.yahoo.com/group/KobeBryantsAngels Lolita