L.A. Lakers: Are Kobe and the Lakers Breaking Down or Preparing to Break Out?

If the Los Angeles Lakers were out to prove that they are a lot more vulnerable than some people think heading into the postseason, then their current five-game losing streak certainly accomplished that goal.

Before a home loss to the Denver Nuggets, the Lakers were cruising. They owned a nine-game winning streak that was part of a 17-1 record since the All-Star break.

There are theories as to why the two-time defending NBA champions have lost those five games and their focus on the eve of their historic three-peat chase. Two of the most common theories? Fatigue and age.

The Lakers are one of the oldest teams in the postseason, with center Andrew Bynum being the only starter who has yet to crack the 30-year mark—the NBA is increasingly becoming a young man's league.

Older, more experienced teams—the Lakers, San Antonio Spurs and Boston Celtics—are being cast aside in favor of fresher, younger and more energetic teams like Chicago, Miami, Oklahoma City and Portland.

Consequently, age would seem like an issue when it comes to the grind of a seven-game series in the postseason. On the other hand, however, once the pace of the game slows down, that age begins to manifest as experience.

The Celtics and the Lakers both entered the 2010 postseason playing some of their worst basketball of the season, and Los Angeles in particular had lost seven out of their last 11 regular season games.

It's no coincidence that the two oldest teams in the NBA just happened to meet in the 2010 NBA Finals. Although the Lakers and Celtics had talented players, they could also rely on deeper degrees of playoff experience than any other team.

Having experienced situations under the pressure of the playoffs may cause different reactions from a veteran team, as opposed to a team who has yet to face adversity in the postseason.

The Lakers were able ...

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