Critical Keys for LA Lakers Heading into the Postseason

There are three keys for the Los Angeles Lakers heading into the postseason—the key to the house, the key to the car and the key to the city. 

A thrilling overtime win over the Houston Rockets allowed the Lakers to clinch the seventh seed in the postseason, setting up an imminent date with Greg Popovich's San Antonio Spurs. The win on the final day of the season also boosted the Lakers out of a certain matchup with the Oklahoma City Thunder, an admittedly more difficult task. 

Back to the three keys. Without any one of the three, the Lakers are not up for the ride they so desire entering the postseason. 

Allow me to explain. 


Key to the House

In order for L.A. to have any success, it will need to be right at home in the painted area. Hence the key to the house. Establishing two of the top five NBA big men—Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol—will be the primary focal point on the offensive and defensive ends of the floor. 

Dwight has looked stronger as the season has progressed and can make his presence felt most by being a long, shot-altering center underneath his own basket. Fortunately for the Lakers, Howard's talent and athleticism at his position can compensate some for the defense's lack of athleticism at the guard position. 

In a battle with the San Antonio Spurs' Tim Duncan just two games ago, Dwight fared well and played with high intensity. 


Howard's strength is his calling card, and he needs to be a bully near the rim, just as he was against Duncan. 

Pau's length is not to be ignored either. The seven-foot Spanish center is one of the NBA's most adept scorers for his size. He has the unique ability to pass with touch and finish both at the rim and from the floor. However, Pau's best use may be facilitating the offensive flow of the game from as close to...

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