NBA: Kobe Bryant May Be Looking At the Boston Celtics Too Soon

The Los Angeles Lakers' Kobe Bryant recently referred to the Boston Celtics as the Lakers’ most daunting obstacle standing in the way of a possible three-peat.

In the first meeting between these two teams on Jan. 30, the Celtics proved Bryant's point with a convincing 109-96 victory in LA. Perhaps this is why Bryant and the Lakers considered last night’s rematch as something far more significant than a regular season game.

While the Boston faithful were riveted by Ray Allen’s quest to surpass the three-point record set by legendary sharpshooter Reggie Miller, the Lakers were focused on another matter altogether by reestablishing their supremacy as the team to beat.

The Lakers exacted their revenge against a shorthanded Boston team and major media outlets tagged their victory as a signature win, but are the Boston Celtics really the most daunting obstacle facing the defending champions?

While Boston is a formidable challenge for the Lakers, they are not the most daunting.

The teams the Lakers should be most concerned about are those that can truly exploit their weakness at the point guard position. Not that Boston can’t, but as long as Rajon Rondo refuses to take wide-open jump shots and allows the Lakers to pack it in like they are going on a lengthy sabbatical, the advantage will shift to the Lakers in any series.

The Lakers have 16 losses on the season, and in every game they were outplayed at the point guard position. Teams with point guards who have the ability to score present the biggest challenge for the Lakers' backcourt, triggering a defensive domino effect. When the opposing team is able to exploit this weakness, either by dribble penetration to the basketball or for pull-up jump shots, it forces the Lakers into the uncomfortable position of providing help, which leads to the kick-out pass for open shots.

Here are the numbers highlighting LA's diffic...

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