Blueprint for Beating LA Lakers in the 2013 NBA Playoffs

The Los Angeles Lakers, a team with a reputation for being a perennial powerhouse, are now in a playoff race that can make or break this season. All the hype that was built in the offseason, all the major acquisitions, all the fanfare, can easily come to a screeching halt if LA doesn't produce in the postseason.

While the Lakers are constantly improving in various areas, as it has been made evident since the all-star break, there are other weaknesses that potential playoff opponents can easily pick at if given the chance.

Where the Lakers stand right now, they have three logical projections as to who they will face if they make it to the playoffs: the San Antonio Spurs (No. 1 seed, would face in first round if they keep the eighth seed), the Oklahoma City Thunder (No. 2 seed, would need to earn the seventh seed) and their crosstown rivals, the Los Angeles Clippers (No. 3 seed, would need to earn the sixth seed).

If these or any other teams want to know how to beat LA, this is the way to do it:

Hit Fast, Hit Hard

As much as the Lakers have improved defensively, their main Achilles heel continues to be giving up the easy shot in the post.

Dwight Howard, whose job is to guard the key, has a tendency to lack the assertiveness needed to ensure that security in the paint, especially when opposing teams take advantage of the always-opportunistic fast-break play.

Howard's defense has been rather questionable in the past few games. While he has had some stellar defensive performances in games against the Indiana Pacers and the Sacramento Kings, his most recent showing against the Phoenix Suns proved to be quite dismal. While he recorded 11 rebounds, he was one-and-done in the assist, blocks and steals category.

Regardless of the performance of their star center, the team as a whole has continuously shown a total lack of resiliency when giving up the ball to a fast break. If th...

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