Under the Radar on the Road to the Three-Peat
Los Angeles Lakers' Kobe Bryant (L) and Pau Gasol of Spain (R) fight for a rebound with Toronto Raptors' Julian Wright during their NBA basketball game in Los Angeles, California November 5, 2010. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)

This 2010-2011 model of the Lake Show is thorough; thoroughly efficient and entertaining. Pau Gasol has been in ‘attack mode’ from the start, consistently using his skills in the post, instead of settling for jumpers. Ron Artest looks more comfortable in his role, and the lost weight has actually made him a quicker defender. Shannon Brown kept his word, after stating in his comments, during last season’s exit interviews, that his focus in the offseason would be on improving all areas of his game. As a result, Brown is showing that he’s become more than just a dunker. Lamar Odom looks like he finally understands that he is a nightly matchup problem, when his desire matches his immense talent.

Fisher’s vocal leadership, and a batch of solid newcomers (who seem to have picked up the system nicely, I might add), make this a stacked deck. And, Bynum still has yet to return.

For every fan excited, and increasingly more confident, about the possibility of a third straight title, there are probably 20 non-fans waiting to see if L.A. will win, just for the opportunity to make the kinds of divisive comments that they’ve made in the past.

You’re familiar with those myths. They’re so overused that you can fill in the blanks… “____ only won that ring because of ____.” To let them tell it, one player, alone, was responsible for bringing titles 12, 13, and 14 to Staples Center. That antiquated line of thinking deserves an antiquated reply: Hogwash. Teams win championships, and a combined effort is the definitive proof that no one man is capable of doing it on his own.

It’s wonderful to see the cohesion. Those who aren’t Lakers fans have this misperception that we just want to see Kobe go for 80 every game, at the expense of the rest of the team, as if that’s what makes him great, and the team fun to watch.

Wrong. We marvel at the singular excellence of number 24, but when all five cogs in the machine, at any point in the game, are in sync, it’s a beautiful thing. The fact that we, along with every dude in an opposing jersey, know exactly where the ball is going in the clutch, just adds to our excitement and their dismay.

As it stands now, the Lakers are 9 – 2. If they keep this up, the City of Los Angeles might seriously have to consider re-naming Figueroa, “Championship Way.”

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