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The Los Angeles Lakers are strong contenders in the Western Division this season.

Shocked! Amazed! I am completely ecstatic! I am sure Laker fans are in agreement with me. The Lakers are making a come back and in a huge way. As a Laker fan, I am astonished with the complete turn around that Lakers have made as a team. They are no longer a one man show. I can only imagine the presumption that the other teams in the League now have about the Lakers.

All I have to say is… Be afraid, be very afraid.

Where did it stem from? By their defeats, frustration, miscommunication, and anger — all being the products of last season. Which very well may be the active ingredients in creating passion and desire. As our MVP Kobe Bryant would say, “the will to burst through and achieve victory.”

This time last year, as fans, were frustrated, pissed off and completely hopeless. Speaking for me, as Laker fan, much needed changes needed to be made for next season to be bearable to watch. I lacked complete comprehension of the Lakers management decisions. Especially in regards to the Bynum and Kidd trade, which contributed to Kobe’s mixed emotions about remaining in the Purple and Gold uniform and speaking boisterous about is feelings. Leaving Lakers fans doubtful about the future of their beloved team.

The Lakers Nation dropped to their knees and began praying for miracles at the end of last season, and we were heard. Blessed with Derek Fisher, returning to his #2 Laker uniform where he is meant to be and remain. Fisher’s presence brings a solid consociation within the team. His leadership, experience, consistency and being the skilled point guard that not only we love but also the team captain that Kobe Bryant and Phil Jackson trust. Fisher was the light at the end of the tunnel that was needed to refocus the team.

I will admit it. I was for the Kidd trade for Bynum. I will shamefully confess, as a fan I wanted to win and at that moment in time last season, Kidd looked like the best bet and would have redeem my hope. I know I wasn’t alone. All I have to say now is, there is a reason I don’t get paid the big bucks. I have a stronger belief and trust in the Lakers management and will bit my tongue just a few seconds longer before I start trash talking.

I have a whole new profound respect for Andrew Bynum. What maturity he displayed during the off-season with all the rumors and outspoken dissatisfaction of his performance last season. He absorbed it as a real man. No whining, no crying, not even one excuse was made by him. However, he did respond and answered with an exorbitant display of his talent and ability the moment he stepped on the court this season. Bynum is a monster, aggressive, dominating and essential to the Los Angeles Lakers.

The Lakers are beginning to look like a team once again. Players are making season and career highs. The team matured tremendously. I knew we had extremely talented players, but in the past some of them were lacking confidence in themselves and I believed somewhat intimated by Kobe. Last season, I notice that when Kobe was not on the court the team would play decent even to the point of getting us back up when we were behind. However, when Kobe got back on the court, the confidence dropped and the game laid in Kobe’s hands. This season they seem to trust each other and themselves a lot more and it shows.

The Lakers management strongly delivered this with some wise trade decisions this season taking on small forward, Trevor Ariza. Laker fans are very pleased with his performance and consistent hustle he makes on the court. We definitely need what he provides as a player, which is quickness, a strong defender, an effective offensive player, topped off with experience. Ariza was a deal in a half for Maurice Evans and Brian Cook.

Management also made a smart move by drafting Javaris Crittenton. Whom is destined for stardom. He knew the Triangle, offensively he is quick, and gouts the ball where it needed to be to get the shot. This made him extremely valuable. So much so, when we included him in a package deal with Kwame Brown and various players for Pau Gasol from the Memphis Grizzlies. We all know that Crittenton was the only one of worth for the Grizzles in that trade deal. I was sad to seem him go but I know he will get the much deserved and needed playing time with his new team.

Our second unit is fierce with players such as Jordan Farmar, who has been incredible with his great decisions on plays. Making an instant impact right off the bench, he is only teasing us with what is to come. He has not even reached his full potential.

Ronny Turiaf, with his aggressiveness and strong defensive, not to mention the tremendous amount of energy he brings to the game of basketball.

Lamar Odom being a key factor, almost achieving a double-double every game, is a rebound monster, and not to mention that he can get up and down the court faster then most of the smaller guys.

Sasha “The Machine” Vujacic is consistent and reliable, especially during the nine game road trip. He’s fierce making steals and constant 3 point shots that are delivered in the needed times.

Walton demonstrates beautiful movement with the ball. Watching him pass to his teammates is pure entertainment.

Confidence and trust amongst in each other is established and showing immensely on the court. The Lakers are delivering exciting games and establishing themselves as a team to beat.

Gasol arrival couldn’t been at a more perfect time with Andrew Bynum being injured with a dislocated knee and Ariza with a foot injury. Gasol fulfilled the void that has been missing from our team. He blended in so nicely with our boys, instant chemistry amongst them. Being graceful around the rim and he definitely makes his presence known.

Kobe and Gasol are magnetic. Tell me you all weren’t squealing like I was the these recent past games when Kobe and Gasol entertained the crowd with their remarkable passing and knowledge of where one another are on the court while achieving the famous back door baskets without a hesitation, making it look so effortless. They are smoother then Cool Whip.

Kobe Bryant has evolved into a well rounded player and has rightfully claimed his thrown… as best player in the NBA. There is no need to even debate the issue. He leaves me in amazement. He has me screaming to the top of my lungs and yelling for more, until he leaves me in abundance satisfaction as he leads us to victory time and time again. He is truly a legend that has made history.

What a comforting sight it is to see Kobe smiling once again and having fun on his playground. Pure enjoyment and a thrill to see him take control while dominating the court with his will to pull through, as he would say… to win.

It is his will that invades each arena he enters, leaving the crowd with no choice but to surrender as they chant “MVP! MVP! MVP!” Leaving the Laker Nation beaming with immense pride knowing he bleeds Purple and Gold.

Lakers just ended a ten game winning streak that ended in a lost to Portland last week. They reestablished with the win against Dallas this past Sunday and a big win last night in Sacramento, defeating the Kings.

I can’t forget to mention, that the Lakers made NBA history this season being the first team to have 7-2 road trip. All this excitement and success has been obtained while having three key players Bynum, Ariza and Radmanovic out due to injuries. If we have caused this much damage lacking main weapons, I can only say it is looking really scary for the rest of the League.

The Lakers are on a powerful come back and should be thought as a serious contender for this seasons NBA Championship.

Necole Key is a TLN Staff contributor, you can contact her at Necole@theLakersNation.com.

  • xtro

    Now. I would love to see Ron Artest giving screens to Kobe or getting an assist from Kobe next season.

  • Michael_23

    Guys, Arco center had a larger MVP chant than Staples Center …

    We gotta match that.

  • True Lakers Fan

    Great Read Neicole Keep up the good work go Lakers When theres a will there is a way 08 Champs!

  • kelvlam

    I think the only thing lacking in Lakers is the scary-fierce-intimidation against the opponents. I know all the teams are scare.. but it could be kicked up a knot ;-)

    Until Lakers get into the Spurs-strong-defense level, we should all just cross our fingers. Cause we don’t wanna see the breakdown like the one in Blazers game… ending the winning streak… :-(

    Kobe got fire in him for sure! Remember what he did in training camp, as newspaper reported before, he just stood up and said “I want to win a Championship!” :-)

  • miguel

    Top That & Support Lakers & Kobe Bryant For M.V.P.!!
    Every Game. Go Lakers!!

  • DCLAKER

    Can’t wait ’til PG/AB/LO step on the court together,LAKEZILLA’S COMING REAL SOON!!!

  • dan

    I applaud you for admitting you were one of thousands that got the Andrew Bynum thing wrong. I wonder where the others are hiding now.

    I never doubted bynum’s talent and hated the proposed trade for Kidd last season. Thank goodness it didn’t go through.

  • David

    [Comment ID #28554 Will Be Quoted Here]

    I was at the game but it didn’t feel like a laker road game, I felt like I was at staples center. Half the crowd was wearing Lakers gear.

  • mplakers

    NECOLE GOOD ARTICLE. ONLY A COUPLE OF THINGS…..

    1) DON’T CALL IT A “COMEBACK” THEY’VE BEEN HERE FOR YEARS.

    NOW THE CELTICS, AFTER 20 OR SO YEARS OF MEDIOCRITY…THAT’S A COMEBACK.

    2) PROOFREAD PLEASE…LOT’S OF MISSPELLED WORDS AND MISCONSTRUED PHRASES. ALTHOUGH, I DON’T THINK MANY PEOPLE HERE CARE BUT, IF YOU CARE ABOUT YOUR CRAFT….

    OTHER THAN THAT, VERY GOOD READ FOR A FIRST(???) ARTICLE.

    GOOO LAKKKEERRRRSSSS.

  • ab4sure

    Great Read and honestly written. I like the fact that you didn’t sugar coat this past summer debacle. The FO did have a plan and did not give into the pressure of trading Bynum for kidd or JO. I would say though maybe there were a few people on their knees praying but the majority were biatching and moaning. Frankly building a team takes time and the last three yrs. people couldn’t see but the players we have are bearing fruit. Especially Bynum, who like you said didn’t complain or whine(believe it or not some are giving kobe credit for his development even though last yr. Bynum planned a summer training program with a goal to become an all star in his 4th yr… He is right on progress to do that). Also you must have played some basketball to understand last year that the team was doing well with kobe on the bench. Few people noticed that. Now Kobe is playing more with the team and by doing so will help both the lakers and kobe get what they want.

    Also the Lakers didn’t waste there best bargaining chip kwame brown and his large salary. They could have wasted it on kidd or JO but used it to get Pau. The motto is sale high buy low and the FO did just that with getting Pau and Ariza. Kwame’s expiring deal was high and Memphis were desperate for it. I do miss Critt though because he has the tools for the tri and never got the minutes here. But good for him he will get them in Memphis and has recently been producing.

  • GoBeach!

    We will RISE! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !

  • http://twoo2.skyblog.com 2spotz

    [Comment ID #28567 Will Be Quoted Here]
    man what are u talking about aint nothing wrong with this article.

  • http://twoo2.skyblog.com 2spotz

    W

  • DCLAKER

    Yeah! I was one that wanted JO for Bynum or LO(not both) and yes I backed once I saw his workout strategy in the summer and backed off. I not afraid or ashamed to make bad judgement calls plus I like when people prove me wrong so it doesn’t hurt my feelings plus I’m not getting paid or losing any sleep over it,it’s just my opinion,that’s all. Right now,all I’m worried about is this team as we know it and the STRONG POSSIBILITY OF A LONG STRING OF CHAMPIONSHIPS. KOBEBETTERGETMVP.com,HE DAMN SURE BETTER BE!!!

  • ab4sure

    [Comment ID #28567 Will Be Quoted Here]

    I would call it a comeback since the lakers only had 34 wins just three years ago and 42 last yr.. this year they are pushing 60!!! And this article was well written and easy to read… errors??? i didn’t notice.

  • kushking

    [Comment ID #28567 Will Be Quoted Here]

    stop being a bitter steve nash wannabee.stop critizing a wonderful article. just be happy there something good to read about the lakes. to much hateration leads to bad things

  • mplakers

    kushking,

    hateration?….lol…i like that but, there’s none here…suggestion yes, hate no. bitterness like nash?? i didn’t think that what i wrote had that kind of tone. really????

    ab4sure,

    34 wins with an injured kobe, lamar, and caron all taking turns plus rudy tomjanovich leaving because of health issues. 45 wins and pushing the suns to 7 games in the first round, and 42 games with a team with no chemistry and no clear leadership and still make it to the playoffs…..other teams would all have been deep in the lottery picks with those kind of issues…like i said DON’T CALL IT A COMEBACK, THEY’VE BEEN HERE FOR YEARS. unlike you’re favorite shower buddy …..dwade who’s going through some deep deep crap right now at miami. the lakers always find a way to stay competetive and still rebuild.

    and read and read and read the article, find the errors…it should be fun for you. kind of like where’s waldo….run along now little kiddy.

  • ab4sure

    [Comment ID #28595 Will Be Quoted Here]

    They haven’t been a fringe team in yrs. Going from 34 wins in the bottom third of the league to probably in the top three in the league is a great comeback. BTW… use alittle class in criticizing spelling errors… on second thought that is not possible with you.

  • roscoe

    Guy wasn’t criticizing for the sake of being mean. It’s called constructive criticism.

    There were a couple grammatical errors such as:

    “Ariza was a deal in a half for Maurice Evans and Brian Cook.”

    It’s deal and a half. But pretty good article.

  • http://www.lakers.com Billy Kupchak

    [Comment ID #28567 Will Be Quoted Here]

    shut up about the proofreading when you’re making errors yourself!

    WTF is LOT’S!?! you moron!

  • mplakers

    BILLY KUPCHECK YOUR NUTS,

    hare’s the diferense. mines is a comments and hers weres a artikcel. wen righters rite an artikcel i bleeve dat dey shuld prufreed be4 publish ing it. yeah? wat do u think silly billy??? and which one of mitch’s whores did you come out of?

    look at roscoe’s comment. that’s all that was trying to be done. constructive criticism.

    AB4IDIOT

    where in my comment did i not display class in criticism other than when i talk about you and your boyfriend dwade, who’s probably teabagging you as i write this. how’s that for class?

  • mplakers

    the missing word there is w h o r e

  • http://swishtheball.net kobe bryant

    [Comment ID #28550 Will Be Quoted Here]artest would be perfect

  • http://swishtheball.net andrew bynum

    [Comment ID #28609 Will Be Quoted Here]now artest is who we need

  • LEADERFISH

    [Comment ID #28607 Will Be Quoted Here]

    Dude you talk too much about guy on guy sex. Are you a homosexual? This is not a gay house to visit. I see it all the time from you. You talk about nutz and gay sex it gets disgusting. The lakernation should ban you because talking like that lowers the conversation here.

  • mplakers

    LEADERFISH SAID:
    Dude you talk too much about guy on guy sex. Are you a homosexual? This is not a gay house to visit. I see it all the time from you. You talk about nutz and gay sex it gets disgusting. The lakernation should ban you because talking like that lowers the conversation here.

    no i am not homosexual. are you ab4sure and dwade’s threesome partner?

  • LEADERFISH

    MPlakers, you have to stop filling your mind with sick thoughts. Sounds like they control you.

  • David

    First of all the article did have some grammatical errors, but it was a nice article, just proofread it next time and everyone stop hating on eath other, you are all so annoying.

  • Lakers4Life

    LOL. Proof reading is like what we expected out of Kwame. If you are getting paid or responsible for doing a job. We expect you to be at your best and earn every minute of your job. Maybe the fault is not of the writer, but the people who hired the writer .. hmmm?

  • LEADERFISH

    I don’t think people get paid to write articles here so I wouldn’t be slamming the writer. It was a great article.

  • nyla

    Chill out a little. haha

  • Michael_23

    I hate this Lebron vs Kobe for MVP thing on ESPN. There should be no question, Kobe is #1 in the vote. Look at the teams Lakers face 4 times in this season, in fact look at next week. Houston, Dallas, New Orleans, and Utah.

    And Cavs next week face Pacers, Wizards, teams under .500. Oh and he got 50 against … the NY Knicks and people are saying he’s MVP. Please … Cavs are what … #3 seed in the weak eastern conference and Lakers are tied with #1 with the Spurs in the difficult Western conference. Ca mon now …

    Kobe is focused on the NBA and the Lakers and basketball only. Lebron yes, he likes the spotlight in the NBA but he likes making commercials, hanging with Jay Z, the media, he likes all that. Kobe thinking championship, championship, and championship. Lebron is thinking endorsements, deals, popularity, and $$$.

  • DCLAKER

    In 2 years he’ll be a Brooklyn Net if he doesn’t win in Clev.,mark my words. That’s the reason he’s hangin’ with Jay-Z and the reason he wore a Yankees baseball cap to the Clev.Indians playoff game,talk about loyalty to your hometown,I love Syracuse but I would neeeeeeeeever sport a Orangemen cap to a Big East tournament or any game at the MCI center,I don’t give a f!@# if it’s regular season,HELL TO THE NAH,NO WAY,THAT’S STRAIGHT SUICIDE THERE! LBJ,I respect him a lot,2nd best player in the NBA,I just think he won’t win in Clev.,matter of fact, F!@# Clev. TOO,THIS IS LAKERNATION!!!

  • DCLAKER

    Somebody in the Shoutbox just asked a good question,IS SUN YUE GOING TO BE LAKER NEXT SEASON,’cause dude is a straight BEAST. I see why they compare him to “MAGIC AKA THE G.O.A.T.”. If Yue comes to the Lakers next season,IT WILL BE A SLAUGHTER,almost unfair that they have RULE FOR LIKE THE NEXT 7-10YRS. I just need more information about his status,YOUTUBE HIGHLIGHTS GOT ME HYPED UP!!!

  • http://myspace.com/nugge7 The Nugget

    [Comment ID #28654 Will Be Quoted Here]

    I’d take him over Coby Karl after watching those highlights.

  • Dave

    Can we get some of this great artwork at the top of these posts as desktop wallpaper. Nice job. Really love some of them.

  • http://MYSPACE KOBE_FOR_DEMOCRATIC_ELECTION

    LAKRES HAVE A 4 GAME ROAD TRIP THAT INCLUDES NEW ORLEAN, HOUSTON, DALLAS, AND UTAH…VERY VERY CRUCIAL GAMES DESPITE THE WEST COAST LOADS!!!!!!!!!!!!

    http://WWW.GETANDEWBYNUMBACK.COM

  • DCLAKER

    HEY NUGGET,this would be like Stern in Oct or Nov. giving us the title before the season starts and I haven’t even mentioned the FREE AGENTS that will beat up a homeless guy just be a Laker(free agency is gonna be better than the Draft).

  • MILO

    woh craes abuot gramra!!!

  • DCLAKER

    After the PARADE(GET IT),who thinks JJ Reddick would be better as a Laker ’cause Orlando is trippin’ by not puttin him in the line up,at least he would’ve gotten some playin’ time in LA. This guy’s one of the best shooters of All Time(College or Pro)and I can’t believe he hasn’t been gettin’any time there,UNBELIEVABLE!?!? Can’t help it,YOUTUBE’S GOT HOOKED. JJWANTSTOBEALAKER.com,some will this down but I DON’T GIVE A…….

  • Michael

    Any news on Andrew Bynum’s rehab?