For all NBA fans, this time of the year is full of excitement and dramatic finishes. For some teams, making it to mid- April is an accomplishment but of the Lakers, it is a championship or bust.
We all are a bit worried about the Lakers entering the playoffs, as they went 4-6 their last 10 games and don’t look as hungry than last year. This year’s version of the Lakers finished with a record of 57-25 and will face the Oklahoma City Thunder in the first round, who went 50-32 in the season. Although the Lakers won the series season 3 games to 1, the last meeting had the Thunder blow out the Lakers 91-75; the Lakers played horrible the entire game and finished shooting only 39%.
Some people are actually questioning the Lakers hunger and drive this year and believe the Thunder will push them to tell limit. We all have to admit the Lake Show of last year had much more drive than this year’s team, and the record shows it. However, can the young and inexperienced really beat the Lakers and the ever focused Kobe Bryant? I understand that the Lakers may lack focus, but the playoff atmosphere will definitely get them fired up and ready to defend their title, so look for a short first round series.
Our road gets rough after the first round, where the Lakers biggest threats will advance. After last year’s loss in the Conference Finals, the Denver Nuggets have been determined to beat the Lakers. This matchup may occur in the second round, and look for George Karl to return. Most people picked this showdown in the West Finals, but the Lakers may face a legitimate opponent early. The Houston Rockets looked tough last year, and if the Nuggets do advance and pass the Jazz, the Lakers will have their hands full.
No one can predict the matchup in the Conference Finals, it could be the Mavericks, Suns or even the title tested Spurs. Looking at the rosters, the Lakers clearly have more talent than any of those teams, but success will depend on effort and determination.
Hopefully our home town team (no not the Clippers) advances into the NBA Finals, and wins it all. In my eyes it is a toss up between two east teams the Cavaliers and the Magic, and the Lakers have a combine will total on 1 against them. The Cavaliers swept the Lakers in the season series and many people, aka Laker Haters, are choosing the Cavaliers to win it all. As for the Magic, they are no doubt under estimated and can beat the Cavaliers, we will all love to see LeBron lose and run off the court, so it is okay to root for the Magic.
Either way, if the Lakers do enter the NBA Finals, it would be much harder than last year. Even winning the west will be a dog fight, beating teams like Denver, Dallas and Phoenix will take a lot out of the Lakers.
As for me, I expect a Lakers and Magic rematch in the NBA Finals, with who else winning, the Lakers.
So my fellow NBA/Laker fans, the debate is on, so who do you have?
Follow Ramneet Singh on Twitter @RamneetKB24