Don’t Worry About the Lakers

Peter Dennis, Staff Writer

The facts don’t look good. We’ve lost the first game in both of the playoff series’ we’ve played in. We barely got past the seventh seed. Our star players aren’t playing to their potential. We’re currently in a series against the greatest shooting power forward ever, and arguably the greatest mid-range shooter ever. And yet, the Los Angeles Lakers are going to win the NBA Finals. Here’s why.

Kobe rips out a savage dunk over New Orleans' Emeka Okafor in Game 5. The Lakers won the game 106-90 and the series 3-2. Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

1. Kobe.

This is the man who just had his 81st playoff game in which he scored 30+ points. That’s right. Eight tens and one more. Count ‘em. Take that Lebron. When Kobe had to deal with talks of “oh he’s too old to carry the Lakers to the championship again” he pulled out this gem one time (see right) to quell the haters. This was vintage Kobe, the number 8 wearing Kobe, the “afroed” Kobe coming out. And if that guy is playing, there is just no chance for anyone else.

2. The rest of the competition.

Despite losing the first games of our first two series’, there should be no problem steamrolling the rest of the competition. This isn’t the lowly Eastern Conference, where someone below .500 (cough Indiana cough) makes the playoffs. Take the Spurs Grizzlies series. The stinking 8th seed knocked off the number one team in the NBA. That series is exemplary of how competitive the Western Conference is. This also gives another reason to why the Lakers will have an easy time. With the Spurs out of the running, the Lakers have one less team to worry about. Once the Lakers beat the Mavs, (Which they will. I mean come on, Dirk is carrying that team on his back so hard. Dirk’s great, he’s a baller, but there’s only so much one man can do. Chris Paul couldn’t carry the Hornets and Darren Collison couldn’t get the Pacers past the Bulls. One man teams just don’t work.) they should have no problem with the Thunder. Because there’s just no way that Durant and Westbrook are going to take anything from the Griz. The Griz had their fun, they beat the Spurs and stole Game 1 from the Thunder. But c’mon. They’re the Grizzlies! The Lakers beat the Thunder last year and this years’ Lakers are better than last years’ Lakers (which by the way, won the whole shebang). Which leads me to my third and final point.

3. Their personnel.

With Bynum finally somewhat healthy, Gasol can now move to his more natural power forward position, where he will thrive. Kobe is Kobe, and their additions in the off season will now pay off. Barnes has been in the playoffs and knows how to deal. Artest, while terrible throughout the playoffs last year, came through in the clutch. Now he has experience and will take that with him. And then there is Odom. Odom is just a boss. One of the most consistent players in the league. This man can do just about everything. This years’ playoffs, he is averaging 12.4 points per game, 6.8 rebounds per game, 2 assists per game and is shooting 46.2% from the field off the bench. This star cast versus the Mavericks? Not even a competition. A revived Tyson Chandler couldn’t even carry Bynum’s gym bag. Kidd is ancient, and while he can still hit the open three, it’s only a set shot. Do you really think the Lakers are going to leave him open to take the only jump shot he has been able to make for the past 10 years? Yeah right.  They don’t even have their $10 million man, Caron Butler. Okay, Terry is decent, but with Kobe (just for your information, Kobe is 8-time All-Defensive First Team) guarding him, he doesn’t stand a chance.

So, come June time, the Lakers will win the lovely Larry O’Brien Trophy, add a 17th banner to The Forum’s rafters (tying the hated Celtics for the most ever for a team), give Kobe his 6th ring (tying Michael Jordan), present the Zen Master Phil Jackson with his 12th as a lovely going away present and be popping champagne at Staples.