When most "experts" discuss the keys to the Lakers winning their fourth consecutive title, they point to a healthy Shaq, determined Kobe, and the need for the role players to knock down open jumpers. Here at 3-L, however, we know the real key - Derek Fisher's defense. With the possibility of the Lakers facing lightning quick Point Guards like Steve Nash, Mike Bibby, and Tony Parker, the Lakers success will depend, to a large extent, on Fisher's ability to prevent penetration into the lane.
While Fisher is fearless, tough, and willing to guard anybody, he has lost a step after repeated ankle surgeries. In a recent three game stretch against Minnesota, Chicago, and Detroit, Fisher allowed Troy Hudsen, Jamal Crawford, and Chauncey Billups to average 26 points and 7 assists per game while shooting 56% from the floor. The Lakers dropped two of those three games in blowout losses. Keep an eye on how well Fisher can stay in front of Nash, Bibby, and Parker when the playoffs begin, it just may determine who takes home the title this year.
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|Number Crunching||The Hero||3-L Member Quotes|
Mark Madsen is now contributing more to the Lakers than just enthusastic towel waving and jiggy dance moves. Mad Dog started nine of twelve games between February 23rd and March 17th, and the Lakers had more success when he was on the floor. Though he's not a scorer, Madsen provides the hustle, grit, and tenacity that the Lakers need from the PF spot.
As a Starter
Off the Bench
|Kobe Bryant. Held Gary Payton to 6 points on 3-15 shooting in a 98-94 victory in Milwaukee. When Kobe is on the prowl, the Glove don't get no love. Kobe also hit two free throws with 4.9 seconds left to ice the game.||
"I'm planning my third trip to left coast to see the Lakers play Dallas,Phoenix,and the hated Kings. I'll be leaving april 5th and coming back to N.Y. on the 14th. I'm hoping we can get at least the 5th seed locked by then, otherwise we may end up with the Spurs in the first round , which isn't so bad because after Duncan who REALLY scares you on that team? Take it easy and let's get ready for another run, ending with another trophy and parade. "CUATRO"
|Shaquille O'Neal. Shaq was a mere 3-11 shooting in a 99-116 loss to the Bulls on 3/11. Not only was he out of sync offensively, he let Eddy Curry score 20 on him. After the game Shaq said, "I'm going to take the blame for that game. I had a slow night."|
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