The Lakers have many strengths, but each team can counteract those. There are, however, some things that can be done against any team, still in the playoffs, that would give the Lakers an edge over the competition. These are the top five things the Lakers need to do, in every game, to win the Championship.
1. Feed the Bigs
The Lakers are going to be taller than pretty much every other team they come across. They certainly won't be as athletic or fast, so they need to use their size. Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol are both 7 ft and Jordan Hill comes in at just under that. Think back to last night, as tough as it may be. When the Lakers got the ball inside the paint, they were up. When they tried to shoot jumpers, like at the end, they lose.
Granted, it's been tough for Bynum recently because he's been double teamed in nearly every game, which is why Pau needs to be more aggressive in the paint. If this happens, the Lakers will be unstoppable.
2. Bench Production
The Lakers bench has been horrible all year. By "horrible" I mean the team has been getting very little production out of them and when they do, it's completely unpredictable. The bench needs to step up. Steve Blake has had some clutch performances in the post-season, but he's also had some not-so-great games.
Recently, within the last two games, Ramon Sessions has completely stepped up to be the point guard we knew he could. He's driving to the basket, making shots and creating them for his teammates. Unfortunately, it took him awhile to get to this place. While he isn't a bench player, he certainly helps the bench out when he's in the game, particularly when Blake comes in for Kobe.
3. Up the Intensity
They need to come out and play every game like it's game 7. The Lakers are notorious for getting a lead, then letting it go in the third. Whereas teams like the Nuggets and Thunder keep the intensity up for the whole game. This is something that can't be taught, and Lakers fans everywhere need to just hope their team is as passionate about winning as the fans are. Most of the time, unfortunately, it doesn't seem that way.
I always get very excited when someone irritates Pau Gasol early in the game because more often than not, he begins to play angrily, and his production skyrockets. Thankfully Metta World Peace is back because Kobe Bryant was the only man playing this intensely; at least now there are two.
4. Take Smart Shots
The Lakers need this pounded in their heads: Just because you are open, doesn't mean you should take the shot. Look around and make sure someone isn't darting to the basket. With someone in the paint, you not only have a better chance at making the shot, you have a 3 point chance with a possible foul.
Conversley, looking at Pau Gasol's last minute pass last night, don't be afraid to shoot. Pau had a wide open look at the basket and he wouldn't shoot the ball. Instead he kicked it out and the pass was stolen.
If you have a good, easy look, then take it. Otherwise, look around because Bynum could be standing right under the hoop.
5. Get Rebounds
This is so huge in any series the Lakers will face. They are not the fastest guys on the court (with the exception of Sessions) so they need every chance available. With their height, this shouldn't be a problem, yet it somehow is. Last night, the Lakers were grabbing a ton of offensive boards, which is why they were able to maintain the lead for so long. With their height and strength, out-rebounding the other team should not be a problem. If they get the rebounds, they control the ball and have a better chance at winning.