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Oklahoma City wanted to show everyone that: We’re here and were not going to let our youth hurt us. How? Adding Kendrick Perkins, Nate Robinson and Nazr Mohammed in trades.
Then, it all turned around, something clicked inside the mind of Phil Jackson and the Lakers looked for the perfect time to pounce on the West.
For Kobe Bryant, you can argue that he turned it on during the All-Star game. The baseline jam in the first quarter, the dunk over LeBron James and the eventual MVP award was a spark for Bryant, who stated before the break that the Lakers just needed to clear their heads and refocus.
I’m guessing that was it.
Since the All-Star break, the Lakers have gone 18-1, and the wins have been dominant. Besides Bryant’s sudden burst, Andrew Bynum (12.7 PPG, 13 RPG and 1.5 BPG) seems to have hit his stride. He and Pau Gasol give Los Angeles a monstrous duo in the frontcourt, as well as having Lamar Odom off the bench helps.
With six games left, can Los Angeles overtake San Antonio and get that No. 1 seed and home-court throughout the Western Conference playoffs?
With Los Angeles on this winning streak, as well as San Antonio losing games and falling into bad luck with injuries to Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili, it’s very possible we might see the Lakers overtake San Antonio.
The bigger question: Can Kobe Bryant capture the MVP award for the second time in his career? It isn’t out the realm of possibility. While Bryant’s numbers don’t scream career best (25 PPG, 5 RPG, 5 APG and 1 SPG), he’s placed Los Angeles, on his shoulders, back into the race for the title.
While many people wrote the Lakers off, using age as a excuse not to pick them to come out the West, Bryant rallied the troops, took pressure off Pau Gasol and placed it firmly on his shoulders.
While I don’t think Bryant will win the MVP, he certainly increased his resume since the All-Star game.