L.A. Lakers' Unhappy Ending: Why Kobe Bryant and L.A. Will Not 3-Peat
With the Los Angeles Lakers riding a three game losing streak, many are wondering should we sound the alarm in L.A. The Lakers have struggled at times this season and many are pushing the panic button on the defending champs. Have we seen Kobe Bryant hoist his final Larry O'Brien trophy? Back- to- back sounds nice but a 3-peat is out of the question. Here are 5 reasons why the Lakers will not 3-peat...
5) Ron Artest
After last season we were happy for Ron Artest. He had a very unproductive first year with the Lakers but destroyed all of those memories with his stellar playoff contributions. With a championship Artest had his moment in the sun, and it was exciting to see him finally fit in with a team. Yes, Ron's days of being a distraction were over and L.A. loved him...
Fast forward to 2011 and it seems we are back to 2010, still wondering whether Artest will ultimately help or hurt the Lakers. His play has been sub-par once again this season while he has also pulled the odd off court behavior out of his bag. The constant distractions and on court nightmares will be too detrimental for the champs.
4) Father Time
Father time has caught up to the Los Angeles Lakers. The miles don't lie. Derek Fisher and Kobe Bryant have been running the Lake-show since 1996 when they came to the Lakers as rookies. Fisher will turn 37 this year while Bryant will see his 33rd birthday in 2011.
3) Lakers Defense
The Lakers defense has not been impressive this year. With their huge advantage in the front court, we are not used to the team being out-rebounded and outscored. The team's defense has been anything but consistent this season, while the Laker's defensive stopper, Ron Artest, has not had his usual success. Come playoff time the Lakers will need key stops they won't be able to deliver.
2) San Antonio Spurs
Back in 2003 when the Lakers were gearing up to take their fourth straight title, a familiar foe was looking to stop their dominance. The Lakers were the favorites to win another championship but came up short thanks to a Western Conference Semi-Finals defeat at the hands of the San Antonio Spurs.
San Antonio somehow continues to stay relevant. Despite Duncan playing past his prime in recent years, the Spurs have still managed to put together successful seasons. San Antonio knows how to win. Their veteran leadership and outstanding coaching from Pop make them the greatest title contender. If we indeed see the matchup we hope for in the Western Conference Finals, expect the Spurs to emerge victorious over the Lakers.
1) Kobe Is No Longer "Kobe"
Kobe Bryant's decline as the best player in the league will ultimately be the biggest factor in the Lakers missing a 3-peat. We have come to know Kobe as the spectacular player that takes over games and wills his team to victory. However, this year Kobe's star has diminished. Rather than Kobe being the clutch superstar we are accustomed to, we have seen the Lakers look miserable at times this season. Usually we can depend on Kobe to bail his team out, yet the magic has not been there this year. Kobe has obviously lost a step and that can only mean defeat for the Los Angeles Lakers.