It’s playoff time for the Lakers. This whirlwind season flew by with plenty of drama to go around. From Andrew Bynum’s on and off-court shenanigans, the loss of the beloved Derek Fisher, the tension between Mike Brown and the team, and the recent elbow of Metta World Peace, these Lakers certainly know how to keep things interesting. But despite all the drama and chaos the Lakers find themselves 16 wins away from an NBA title.
Kobe was so close to the scoring title this season, just .17 points shy of Kevin Durant’s 28.03 season average. But Bryant made the smart decision sitting out against Sacramento. We all know Kobe can go off and score 38 points on any given night. While fans naturally want him to rack up as many trophies and honors as possible during his career, his main goal is to win the Larry O’Brien trophy and bring the championship parade back to the streets of Los Angeles. So he is going to need all the rest he can get for these playoffs. After all, knocking out Oklahoma City will be a much sweeter victory for Kobe. Kevin Durant can have his scoring title, but he better watch out for Bryant if the two face each other later. We all know the Black Mamba won’t forget that Durant just barely beat him for the title.
While the Lakers certainly had a roller-coaster ride of a season, in the end they have stayed on the path for success. Despite the trade rumors, which may have taken a toll on Pau Gasol’s attitude on the court, he powered through and has shown the Lakers why they need him. His quiet leadership and drama-free personality is necessary for a team that’s often full of drama. Moreover, when he is pounding the paint the Lakers play at their best. They need more of that for these playoffs.
The addition of Ramon Sessions has done wonders for the team. With each game he continues to grow and mesh with his teammates. The offense runs much smoother, and his consistent play and nearly 12 points per game is what they need.
Metta World Peace will certainly be missed in the first round of the playoffs. His most unfortunate elbow to James Harden has received heavy, heavy scrutiny from the media. But whom he hurt the most from his accidental elbow is the Lakers. World Peace seemed to be finally finding his rhythm when he received his seven game suspension. His defensive presence cannot be made up for. Regardless, the Lakers will pull together in World Peace’s absence and when he returns, World Peace should be ready to rock and roll for the second round of the playoffs.
So Sunday it starts. Will the Lakers fizzle out in the second round of the playoffs like last season? Fans sure hope not, but you really never know with these Lakers. When things seem to be going well, a blowout lose has never been too far away. But the regular season is over. Kobe certainly knows how to turn it up in the playoffs, along with Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum. They know what it takes to compete for an NBA title; they have been there before.
Can they do it again this season?
Only time will tell, but all they need is 16 wins. Just 16.