Kobe’s Temper Rises as Lakers Melt Under Heat

With all the talk of a diminished Western Conference, the Lakers went soft. They’ve allowed their foes to gain confidence. Titles aren’t handed out at the start of the season and clearly the Western Conference title is still up for grabs. Tell the rejuvenated Spurs they don’t have a chance at representing the West in the Finals. They’ve only lost four games. Tell the Mavericks their offense just isn’t going to get it done, it isn’t like they haven’t been playing great ball of late.

Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant (24) talks with teammates Matt Barnes, left to right, Ron Artest, Pau Gasol and Shannon Brown during the fourth quarter against the Chicago Bulls at the United Center in Chicago on December 10, 2010. The Bulls won 88-84.  UPI/Brian Kersey Photo via Newscom

If the Lakers think they can air-mail the season and flip the switch in the playoffs, Dr. Jerry Buss may not have to pay for another championship parade out-of-pocket. He’s already saved some money by trading Sasha Vujacic, I’m sure he wouldn’t mind saving another million bucks.

Obviously, the Lakers loss to the Heat doesn’t make or break their season. It doesn’t even make them any less likely to win the title in June. It’s just one game in December.

Any more just-one-games and the Lakers might find themselves taking an early vacation. Doing the same thing they’ve done that’s won them the title two years in a row is just not going to get it done in 2011.

Bryant knows it, Phil Jackson alluded to it and it’s what Fisher has been preaching all along.

“We could be playing Minnesota –Yeah, I said it — and I’d still be concerned,” Bryant said.

Well, better late than never.

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