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Lakers would beat Clippers in the playoffs

Why the Clippers are a threat to the Lakers: If the Lakers think it's difficult keeping pace with the Clippers' speed, multiply that up to seven games. The Lakers may have the experience, but they can't match the team's energy, Chris Paul's pick-and-rolls and the lobs thrown to Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan.

Besides, it remains to be seen whether the Lakers will truly form into a consistent identity with Mike Brown's offense. Kobe Bryant's league-leading 30.2 points per game remains the team's only constant, while Andrew Bynum's adapting to double teams, Pau Gasol is trying to increase his aggressiveness, Metta World Peace remains in flux with his bench role and the Lakers' three-point shooting leaves a lot to be desired. The Lakers have shown glimpses of this coming together, but it remains to be seen if they can replicate that on a consistent basis.

Why the Lakers are a threat to the Clippers: If the Lakers' 96-91 victory Wednesday over the Clippers taught us anything, it's this. The Clippers remain way too consumed with playing with emotion than under control. Overall, it's a good thing the Clippers bring more toughness, but the Lakers' equally matched that with measured physical play. That will prove crucial in a possible seven-game series that would inevitably feature heightened animosity.

It's also safe to presume that the Lakers' currently scattered offense will appear way more organized by April. By then, Bynum will be more suited playing through double teams, Gasol will adjust better to his third spot in the team's pecking order and Brown will have a more consistent rotation. Add in Bryant's prolific play. Count on Metta World Peace and Matt Barnes to match the Clippers' chippy play. And assume the Lakers will sustain their strong defensive awareness.

Verdict: The Clippers may have the buzz, but the Lakers have the rings. It will be a competitive and exhausting seven-game series, but the Lakers' experience will prevail.

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--Mark Medina

E-mail the Lakers blog at [email protected]

 
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