Los Angeles Lakers: Take Out the Panic Button But Don’t Push It Yet

I've heard of kicking a dog while it's down but I've also heard that's it's best to let a sleeping dog lie.

So which one is it with the 2009-10 Lakers?

I can't really tell you as of right now but I do know that we're about to find out.

Regardless of how lousy the defending champions looked in their Game 4 loss on Saturday night I feel like it's my duty to put things into perspective.

For starters, the Lakers led for all but the last 11:18 of Game 3 and trailed by two points with 13 seconds left.

So it's not as if they were blown out by the Thunder in both games.

I should also remind those Lakers fans currently surveying the contents of their medicine cabinets that teams that have gone up 2-0 in seven-game series have gone on to win those series 92 percent of the time.

Can you honestly tell me that the Lakers looked worse on Saturday night than they did in their losses to the Rockets in last year's Conference Semi-Finals?

And we all know how last season ended.

Sure there is an elephant in the room this time around. Kobe Bryant has not looked like the same player for the past month. Some of that can be attributed to wear-and-tear but that's a disservice to the job that the Thunder have done defending him.

Thabo Sefolosha, Jeff Green, and Kevin Durant have all taken turns guarding the reigning Finals MVP and as a whole have been rather successful. Most noticeably was the job that Durant did in the fourth quarter of Game 3.

But let's not confuse great defense with greatly exaggerated reports of his (basketball) death.

Anybody who watched Tayshaun Prince guard Bryant in the 2004 NBA Finals knows that he has always had difficulty scoring from the outside against long-armed defenders—and The 'Durantula' certainly fits that description.

The problem is that those seem to be the only types of shots that Bryant is ...

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