2010 NBA Playoffs: The Time Is Now for Kobe Bryant and the LA Lakers

In the midst of all the concerns about injuries, chemistry, playing time, and Kobe Bryant's shot selection, the Los Angeles Lakers still managed to finish with the best record in the Western Conference to capture the No. 1 seed going into the playoffs.

The Lakers have the opportunity to render their various detractors obsolete once they take the court against the Oklahoma city Thunder on Sunday, even though there are some predicting the Lakers to fail in that endeavour.

The Lakers are an inherently better team that the Thunder, and the inside trio of Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum, and Lamar Odom is likely too much for Oklahoma City to overcome.

Some people choose to base their postseason reasoning on the regular season, but that logic fails to consider the various factors associated with the playoffs not found in the first 82 games.

The most important element is experience, and somehow it has become the most under-valued factor when discussing the potential fate of a playoff team.

The pace of the game slows down in the postseason. A premium is placed on focus and concentration, and the experience of being in those situations is something the Lakers are familiar with. 

The majority of the Lakers' problems in the regular season derived from inconsistency, which is a byproduct of a lack of focus, but this is something easily correctable for Los Angeles.

The Lakers are well-versed in the importance of the postseason, and a player like Bryant lives to excel on the game's ultimate stage—and there is little doubt that he will be prepared for this year's battle.

In the same vein as Michael Jordan, Bryant is a player who thrives under the pressure of the postseason, and his career has been defined by the ability to recognize the urgency of the moment.

Even when Bryant was playing sidekick to Shaquille O'Neal, it was his play which proved to be the diff...

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