A Los Angeles Lakers’ Repeat May Be a Matter Of Destiny

No one said repeating as NBA champions would be a simple task for the Los Angeles Lakers, and the young Oklahoma City Thunder gave the men from Tinseltown all they could handle during a grueling, six-game, Western Conference first-round series.

But, the Lakers finally managed to dispatch of the Thunder due to great defense, superior play by Pau Gasol and Kobe Bryant, timely baskets by Shannon Brown, and of course a little luck.

Gasol's tip-in off of an errant Bryant jumper clinched the game and the series for the Lakers, but the real contest was likely won when the Thunder had fought back and took a lead with around three minutes left in the game.

This was the type of situation most observers expected the Lakers to crumple under, but instead there was Lamar Odom grabbing crucial rebounds, and there was Ron Artest playing tight defense on Kevin Durant, which was Artest's trademark in this series.

Instead of bowing under the pressure and the roars that filled Ford Center, the Lakers played with poise and composure, and never lost sight of their goal of ending the series on this night.

The Lakers never allowed themselves to be swept up in the moment when the Thunder made their run, and this enabled them to be in a position to win the game at the end.

Of course people will say Gasol's tip-in was a matter of being in the right place at the right time, and I tend to agree, but everyone knows a little luck is needed when competing for a NBA championship.

The road to the title is perilous and many tight games are decided by how the ball bounces in the final seconds. The ball just didn't bounce the right way for the Thunder on this occasion.

So the Lakers are afforded the opportunity to survive and advance, and a title defense that many had described as dead on arrival has began to take a decidedly different look.

The mighty Western Conference has been defined by upse...

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