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Arts and Entertainment

Lakers Nation Needs a Chill Pill

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Some Lakers fans have lost their damned minds.

Listening to ESPN Radio 710 AM, whose local broadcasters seem to only talk about Lakers non-stop, some callers actually think the Lakers are better without Kobe Bryant. Now I might have contributed to this nonsense on Saturday when at Portland, a place where the Lakers hadn’t won since February 23, 2005, I tweeted, “So I think Kobe was the reason the #lakers haven’t won in Portland for so lonng.”

Har-dee-har-har. I also tweeted that maybe former Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy was the reason that the Clippers won any game. I also predicted the Colts to beat the Saints 49-31, though as a consolation prize I did guess correctly the amount of points the Saints would score.

Even the thought of Kobe being an obstacle to the Lakers winning the NBA Champion is an absurdity on par with Creationism as a scientific theory. It should be mocked and ridiculed endlessly.

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Regardless of your feelings for him, Kobe is one of the greatest players in the NBA. Just watching him play and some of the shots he makes leaves people’s jaws hanging on the ground.

Saying the Lakers don’t need Kobe is like saying the Chicago Bulls didn’t need Michael Jordan in the 1990s, the Lakers didn’t need Magic Johnson in the 1980s or the Boston Celtics didn’t need Bill Russell in the 1950s and 1960s.

So the Lakers won their last three games without Kobe and Andrew Bynum. All it shows is the team can play very well without two of their best scoring options and how deep the team is. This bodes well down the stretch when Kobe or Bynum get into foul trouble or hit a cold streak.

This down time also gives Kobe the chance to recuperate from his smorgasbord of injuries. As Kobe Bryant said in an interview on 710 before the season started, injuries are the biggest obstacle to repeating as NBA Champions. This rest will allow him to operate as close to full strength when it truly matters in June.

Staying on the subject of ridiculous fan blathering, another trend I’ve seen amongst Lakers fans is their obsession with the team getting a top notch point guard before the trading deadline next Thursday.

First of all aside from Aaron Brooks of Houston and Ty Lawson of Denver, the Lakers don’t have many matchup problems against point guards from teams they could potentially face in the playoffs. True some point guards like Tony Parker of San Antonio and Deron Williams of Utah are tough to guard, but look how the Lakers fared against those two teams with Kobe and Bynum out.

Also there are no point guards out there on the trade market that will give the Lakers any value. The name that’s coming up is Kirk Hinrich of the Chicago Bulls, but he’s making $9.5 million this season with $9 million and $8 million in the next two seasons. All this for a player who has averaged 13.5 points, 5.9 assists and 3.4 rebounds in his career? I think “albatross” is a better word to describe this contract rather than “value.”

It’s easy to look over at Cleveland and their gaudy 13 game winning streak and think the Lakers have huge deficiencies. The sky is falling because the Lakers are two games behind the Cavaliers for the best record in the NBA.

And the prospect of Amare Stoudemire getting traded to the Cavs has some Lakers fans on bright flashing red terror alert. While it might sound daunting it still doesn’t address the main issue the Cavs had in the playoffs last season: defending the pick-and-roll. All this will do is clog the lane even more and could possibly hurt them offensively if they decide to play Shaquille O’Neal and Stoudemire at the same time - everyone saw how well that worked out for Phoenix.

Every Lakers fan needs to take a breath and realize that NBA titles are not handed out in February. The Cavs went down this same exact road last season, and it got them nothing but an exit by the Orlando Magic in the Eastern Conference Finals.

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Enough with all this nonsense. Just remember that come June the Lakers will be holding the Larry O’Brien trophy over their heads once they beat the Atlanta Hawks in the NBA Finals and we’ll be having another parade down Figueroa Street.

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