NBA Western Conference Power Shift: L.A. Lakers No Longer Team To Beat

The Los Angeles Lakers are the two-time defending Champions. 

They are also on pace for a solid 60-win season. 

They are loaded with talent across the board and have MVP contenders Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol leading the team.  But they are not the team to beat in the West, not even close.

Through the first 29 games in the season, the Lakers have a 21-8 record after last night’s loss to the undermanned Milwaukee Bucks team.  Although it is a respectable record, they have only played five games against teams with a record over .500 and have lost three out of those five games.

The Lakers have been undermanned without center Andrew Bynum who just recently returned to the lineup.  That is no excuse, especially when you have a player like Lamar Odom to step into the starting lineup and have a solid bench. 

The truth is, the Lakers are not playing the type of basketball that would lead people to crown them as the best team in the Western Conference.

While the Lakers have looked less then impressive, two other teams have climbed up the charts and are showing everyone in the NBA they are better than the LA. 

The Dallas Mavericks and San Antonio Spurs are both playing superb basketball, and both are doing it in a new way. 

While the Spurs have been known for their strong defense, they are actually winning games with offense this year. 

They have the fourth best offense in the league scoring over 106 points per game, while their defense is yielding over 97 points per game, good for 15th in the league. 

On the other hand, the Mavericks are giving up slightly over 93 points per game, good for 6th in the league, while their offense is just 16th in the league with slightly under 100 points per game.

As far as quality of opponents, both Texas teams have shown their dominance of lesser teams as well as st...

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