Los Angeles Lakers: Is Everyone Overreacting or Is It Time to Worry?

After this weekend’s All-Star festivities, Kobe Bryant and his Los Angeles Lakers resume the final stretch toward the NBA playoffs. But is it time to worry about their title hopes? 

Or will Kobe translate his All-Star game MVP performance into the Lakers getting back into championship form?

The way LA has played this season, many fans and faithful feel the team is in real trouble, that they must make a trade or else risk not even getting out of the Western Conference.

Look. There is no denying that the Lakers have been up and down this year. At times, they’ve played spirited hoop, while in many other games LA appears to phone in the effort (see Cleveland Cavaliers game as the latest example.)

But some of the up-and-down play of the Lakers can be attributed to injuries and lack of cohesion. 

LA began another NBA season without their starting center, Andrew Bynum, who missed 20-plus games to begin the year. His absence created an extra minute drain on LA’s frontcourt, especially Pau Gasol who, for the rest of the year so far, appears to be worn out and tired. 

Kobe Bryant also started the season recovering from offseason knee surgery. He seemed to finally regain some lift and return to complete form midseason.

And Ron Artest, at the center of much of the trade speculation, hasn’t played to the level of last year. He’s lost some of that eye-of-the-tiger, never-won-a-ring hunger. Ron Ron’s been having fun off the court and maybe not brought it in on it. 

But Artest will. This guy is another warrior, and when the time comes, he’ll be ready. Nothing’s changed with Artest physically. He hasn’t lost anything from last year. He’s vital for a playoff run, with his defense on the best threes in the league.

Also, what everyone forgets with all the doom and gloom surrounding the Lakers is that ...

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