2010 NBA Playoffs: Can the Thunder Upset the Lakers? Not This Year

Sometimes it's hard for me to view the Los Angeles Lakers with an objective eye because my internal loyalties will always lie with the purple and gold. But based on this season, my subjectivity has been lost in a sea of reality.

Try as I may, there is no way to reconcile the obvious flaws which are inherent with this year's version of the Lakers, and the prospects of Los Angeles repeating their feat of 2009 have greatly diminished.

Issues abound. The most glaring concern for the Lakers is their inability to defend the point guard position, and if you add inconsistency and a nagging injury to Kobe Bryant, all the ingredients for a recipe of disaster are present.

These problems will definitely affect the Lakers if they hope to reprise their glory of last season and none should be ignored, but could they prevent the Lakers from even advancing past the first round of the postseason?

Los Angeles' first round opponent will be the Oklahoma City Thunder and although the Lakers hold a 3-1 edge in the regular season series, popular sentiment has the young Thunder as a possible playoff darkhorse.

To think of the Thunder as postseason participants in any measure is an accomplishment in itself, but to give them more than a fighting chance against the defending NBA champion is exploring the realms of impossibility.

To be fair, the Thunder are a team built to be a relevant NBA contender for years to come, and except for a strong inside presence, they possess all the qualities of a bonafide legacy in the making.

Kevin Durant is a legitimate MVP contender and his ability to score from any place on the court gives Oklahoma City the type of talent which can only be matched by a handful of teams.

Durant's name has ascended to the air inhabited by players like Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, and Dwyane Wade, and all signs say his residency in that neighborhood is permanent.

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