The Los Angeles Lakers came into the 2010-2011 as two-time defending champions, and they were looking to become the first team to three-peat since the early 2000s. The Lakers began the season winning games and they were playing as a cohesive unit. The team chemistry was incredible, and they were looking like title favorites despite the absence of Andrew Bynum. Although a myriad of other teams improved their rosters in the off-season, the Lakers made small changes to their squad and while keeping their nucleus intact.
Despite the hype surrounding the Boston Celtics and Miami Heat, the Lakers were playing like the best team and they were well on their way to a 60+ win season. However, Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom were beginning to feel fatigued after playing extended minutes due to Bynum’s injury. As the season progressed the Lakers began to play lackadaisically and it seemed as though they were not interested during regular season games.
While some teams get anxious and amped up to play an upper echelon team, the Lakers were not entirely focused and did not seem to care when playing in a marquee game. Heading into the All-Star break, the Lakers lost three straight games and they were struggling to keep hold of the second seed in the West.
However, the weekend break helped the Lakers regroup and reestablish their season goals; once the All-Star break concluded in Los Angeles, the Lakers caught fire and raised their effort to another gear. The Lakers are currently 16-2 since the All-Star break and their seemingly impossible chance of claiming the top seed in the West is very plausible at this point.
The 2011 Playoffs are just around the corner, and the Lakers are beginning to look like the heavy favorite, not only in the Western Conference, but also in the entire league.