The LakeShow: Los Angeles Answers Our Prayers

On Sunday, the Los Angeles Lakers (26-6) faced one of their toughest challenges of the season to date, in the 23-10 Dallas Mavericks, good for second place in the Western Conference.

Over the past few weeks I, as well as Los Angeles fans and analysts alike, have worried about the recent performance put forth by the Lakers and the lack of aggressiveness in the first half.

The Mavericks posed as the first major example to prove whether or not the Lakers were just in a short slump because of the loss of Ron Artest (12.1 PPG), or if Los Angeles has a lot of problems to evaluate before the playoffs.

My largest concern of late has been the lack of bench contribution by the Lakers supporting cast, and the large amounts of minutes that the starters have been playing in Los Angeles. This may too be a factor of the loss of Artest, who constantly relieves Kobe of defensive pressure, but only time will tell the answer.

Without a bench, the Lakers will not only fall short of their championship goal in 2010, but may risk injury to their glorified starting five.

Dallas was the first test for the Kobe Crew since Bryant saved the Lakers against the dismal Sacramento Kings (14-19). If you want more from that game, read “Lakers-Kings: Kobe Bryant Saves Lackluster Los Angeles.”

After losing their previous meeting with the Mavericks, scoring a season low of 80 points in Los Angeles, the Lakers (104.09 PPG) began Sunday’s game with an aggressive offensive attack; exactly what we’ve been waiting for.

Their performance in the first half would change the mindset of many doubters like me.

The early run was produced by strong performances by Lamar Odom, Pau Gasol, and Kobe Bryant. Bryant was getting everyone involved in the first, the exact role that Lakers fans expect from him. Kobe is a player that makes everyone around him better and instead of shooting himself out of an early slump, Bry...

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