LA Lakers Playoff Schedule: Kobe Bryant Has Toughest NBA Finals Path of Career

For Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers, only 15 wins separates them from another NBA championship after a dominating Game 1 performance against the Denver Nuggets.

However if Bryant and the Lakers can continue to roll over the Nuggets, which won't be easy by any stretch of the imagination, the road to the NBA Finals is a very difficult one for the Lakers.

In fact, this year's path to the finals could be the toughest one of Bryant's entire career.

Even if Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol are playing in the fashion they did on Sunday and even if Bryant takes over in the scoring department, it's going to be an uphill mountain to climb.

Having Kobe in the playoffs always gives the Lakers a chance, and the Lakers' length certainly presents matchup difficulties for any playoff opponent, but sometime during this postseason, their depth and perimeter shooting will be put to the test.

A potential second-round opponent in the Oklahoma City Thunder presents a huge challenge for the Lakers.

During the regular season, the Lakers only won one of three meetings against the Thunder, and that took a big comeback and a pair of overtimes to get the job done. 

The Russell Westbrook-Kevin Durant combination has been very difficult for the Lakers to stop, averaging a combined 52.7 PPG in the three meetings. Add to that that the Thunder have defensive presence's in the paint in Serge Ibaka and Kendrick Perkins, who've blocked nearly 6.5 shots per game against the Lakers and it becomes a tough matchup.

The Thunder have better depth and better young talent, plus would have home-court advantage, where the Thunder are 26-7 on the season (Lakers are 15-18 on the road).

If they find a way to get past Oklahoma City, the No. 1 seed San Antonio Spurs could be awaiting.

They are 28-5 at home and are the most unselfish team in the NBA.

Los Angeles also w...

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