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NBA: Lakers need Bryant and Howard on the same page

This same question keeps being asked in every NBA city in the U.S. – will the Los Angeles Lakers make the playoffs. The answer is a tough one, as this season has been nothing but a rollercoaster ride for players, coaches and management.

After 62 games of the regular season, the Lakers are 31-31 and cannot get much more mediocre than their record indicates. Nevertheless, the team is only trialing the Utah Jazz by 1 ½ games in the Western Conference race for the eighth and last playoff berth. Of course, if they were to get that spot and the season ended today, the Lakers would face none other than the league’s No. 1 team San Antonio in the first round of the postseason.

Los Angeles has won 7 of its past 10 and is now starting to play more fluidly on offense. However, if the Lakers want to make the playoffs and give a good showing in the postseason, they must rely on stars Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard to get them there. That means very simply that the Lakers will only go as far as Howard and Bryant can take them.

The two superstars have had to learn to play with one another on the court and share the spotlight both on and off the court. This has caused far more bad than good this season, but the talented team is sticking around with just 20 games to play in the regular season.

Over their last 20 games, the team has seemed to but both their on court and off court troubles behind them to focus on one thing, making the postseason.

It has seemed as though all season when the team plays bad it is because Howard and Bryant are not on the same page, and when the team finds success, it is because both stars are setting aside their pride and egos and playing for the better of the team.

When Howard was traded in the offseason to the Lakers, Bryant quickly declared the team was his, which was looking back, the worst comment he could have made. No one will argue that the Miami Heat is LeBron James’ team however, the team is as much Dwayne Wade’s and Chris Bosh’s as it is James’. The best thing that could happen to Howard and Bryant is to take a page from the way the big three in Miami handle things.

The two stars have shown glimpses of how they can dominate when they work together, complement one another on the court and set aside their differences. Against New Orleans, the Lakers were down by as much as 25 points, when the two stars started to work together. At the end of the game, the Lakers were victories and Bryant had 42 points and 12 assists, while Howard had 20 points, 15 boards, 4 blocked shots and 3 steals.

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