By Mike Baldwin and Mike Sherman, The Oklahoman, mbaldwin@opubco.com, msherman@opubco.com Modified: April 17, 2010 at 12:05 am •  Published: April 17, 2010
Advertisement
;

Why the Lakers are unbeatable ...

1. The ultimate closer: The NBA polled players on who they feared most to beat them with a last-second shot. Kobe Bryant received more than twice as many votes as any player. Using the last-second parameters established by Elias, Bryant lead the NBA with 20 game-winning shots since 2000-01.

2. Monsters in the paint: When 7-footer Andrew Bynum is healthy the Lakers, 7-footer Pau Gasol moves to power forward and the Lakers can get easy baskets against almost anyone. And sixth man Lamar Odom (6-10) creates even more mismatches.

3. Lords of the rings and experience: Kobe Bryant, owner of four championship rings, has a 175-0 edge on Kevin Durant, Jeff Green and Russell Westbrook combined in career playoff games. Phil Jackson, owner of 12 rings (two as a player), has a 300-0 advantage on Scott Brooks. But Brooks has a ring, won as a reserve with the 1994 Houston Rockets.

... and why they are vulnerable

1. Have you seen Kobe's finger?: Bryant's crooked right index finger will need surgery when the season ends and he's battled a swollen knee, sitting out four of the last five games. Said TNT analyst Doug Collins: “It sounds like (Kobe's) having problems with that leg, getting lift on his jump shot. He hasn't shot the ball well the last three games.” Bynum missed the last 13 games, and though he's back, Jackson isn't sure how much his center will play.

2. Like a Fish out of water:Point guard Derek Fisher's struggles against young, quick point guards could force defensive concessions. If he's getting beat off the dribble, OKC's pick-and-roll game and Durant's wing jumpers open up.