Predicting How Far the Los Angeles Lakers Will Advance in the NBA Playoffs
The Los Angeles Lakers have proven that despite obvious flaws, they should still be considered favorites to come out of the Western Conference. Los Angeles' only true competition will come from the San Antonio Spurs who they would not meet until the Western Conference Finals, at which point health and talent would reign supreme.
Here is a preview of who the Lakers will meet and beat on their way there.
First Round vs. Denver Nuggets
It is tough to say the Lakers have played up to their potential against the Nuggets, but it is easy to say they have been the better team. Coming into this series, the Denver Nuggets had a plan. Then they were hit and the plan went out the window. The Lakers have made the plays to win in this series, and there is no reason to doubt they will continue to execute.
The size and talent difference between the Nuggets and Lakers is substantial. However, outside of one big first quarter in Game 1, Denver and Los Angeles have been evenly matched. At some point expect the Lakers to finish the Nuggets off with minimum to little resistance from Denver.
Second Round vs. Dallas Mavericks
It will surprise some to see the Mavericks here instead of the Oklahoma City Thunder, but it should not. The Lakers will defeat a Mavs team that may not lack in size but suffers from old age. The Lakers will also have revenge as an added motivating factor.
Los Angeles will not have to worry about J.J. Barea exposing their inadequate point guard play nor will they have to worry about Tyson Chandler’s shot-blocking. That combined with a healthy Kobe and strong Bynum will get the Lakers back to the Western Conference Finals.
The End, Western Conference Finals vs. San Antonio Spurs
This is where the facade comes to an end. Tony Parker will embarrass Ramon Sessions and Los Angeles’ average three-point defense will be evident as well. Kobe Bryant at this stage of his career is good enough to win one game for the Lakers but not a series, and sadly he is the Lakers' only hope.
The Spurs have been able to rebound well all season, and Duncan will play stout defense on Gasol. This hinders the Lakers' advantage.
L.A.'s strength all season has been their post play, but Andrew Bynum will be its only viable presence in the post. Bynum will again become visibly frustrated at the lack of perimeter defense, as Parker continuously makes his way into the paint. The big man's offense will be affected by his the Lakers' poor defense, and the Spurs will walk away victorious.