LeBron James Proves Kobe Bryant’s L.A. Lakers Still Aren’t Title Contenders

Some fans may still be hoping that the Los Angeles Lakers will turn things around and go on a magical title run this season, but LeBron James let them all know that such a thing will not happen in 2013.

His Miami Heat faced off against the Los Angeles Lakers in a highly anticipated showdown on Jan. 17, with the defending champions pulling off a 99-90 victory in an absolute dogfight of a game. Despite an underwhelming season, the Lakers were in the game up until the closing minutes of the fourth quarter. That is, they were until James went into overdrive.

The reigning MVP reminded everyone just why he has that status, grabbing a key rebound and sinking a key jumper in the final frame. James finished the night with 39 points, seven rebounds and eight assists, and in doing so exposed the many flaws of the Lakers.

Los Angeles may have a championship team on paper, but it is nowhere near a contending team yet.

First, let's have a look at the Miami Heat. They are headlined by their key trio of James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, and head coach Erik Spoelstra relies on them to carry the offense. This season, the team's Big Three is responsible for 62.6 percent of the offense.

When the deadly trio is not on the floor, Miami looks to a second unit laden with three-point shooters. Ray Allen, Mike Miller and Shane Battier are the faces of this crew, and Rashard Lewis makes an appearance every so often. Throw in a solid defensive point guard in Mario Chalmers, and the Heat are an excellent team on paper.

This is what the Los Angeles Lakers have in common with Miami. They have the talent, especially once Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol are factored into the mix, but look nothing like a championship team. After landing both Steve Nash and Dwight Howard over the offseason, the Lakers are 17-22 and three-and-a-half games out of the final playoff spot in the highly competitive Western Conference.

Article Source: Bleacher Report - Los Angeles Lakers