Road Map to a Repeat: How the LA Lakers Can Defeat Each Future Opponent

The Los Angeles Lakers hold a 3-0 lead over the Jazz in their Western Conference Semifinals series, and a win Monday night would complete a sweep and a Western Conference Finals date with Phoenix. The Lakers' task will not be simple, because the Jazz will draw off of the energy of their home crowd, and the return of forward Andrei Kirilenko will surely provide an emotional boost. Los Angeles must also contain Deron Williams and try to prevent him from having the type of game which inspires and motivates the rest of his teammates. Although Williams and his considerable talent stand as an obstacle for the Lakers, they have found a clear formula for defeating Utah, which is centered on the huge size disparity in the paint. The Jazz have found no answer for Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum, and Lamar Odom in the paint, and that will likely doom Utah, but what's next for Los Angeles? I have compiled a slide show of each of the Lakers' potential opponents after Utah, and what Los Angeles must do to defeat them in the course of a seven game series. Likewise, the Atlanta Hawks have fell behind three games in their series against the Orlando Magic, but for all practical purposes, the Magic won that series when they defeated the Hawks by 43 points in the opening game. The Magic have exposed the Hawks as pretenders, and even though Atlanta may win a game or two, it's hard to picture them winning this series. I was tempted to travel the same path with the Boston Celtics, especially after their 29-point loss at home, but they rebounded behind Rajon Rondo on Sunday to even the series 2-2. I'm sure there will be those who disagree, and please feel free to voice your opinions and let me know where I may have erred in my logic. Please enjoy!Begin Slideshow


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