words // Brandon Richard
Since the days of the Shaq/Kobe Dynasty, the Los Angeles Lakers have employed what has been commonly referred to as the "on-switch." The theory is that the Lakers (minus the Smush Parker Era) are so disinterested in the regular season, that they conserve their best basketball for the playoffs. With the amount of championships they have to their credit, it's a hard theory to argue against. However, with an aging Kobe and Derek Fisher, health woes and uncertain future with Head Coach Phil Jackson, many view the Lakers as being vulnerable this year.
They sure didn't seem vulnerable when they rolled off 16 wins in 17 games following the All-Star Break. However, heading into Friday night's game against the rival Portland Trail Blazers, the Lakers had lost three straight and squandered any hopes of landing the #1 seed out West. Now they're in a position where the Dallas Mavericks and Oklahoma City Thunder have a chance to overtake them for the #2 spot, but a win in Portland could give them a little breathing room.
The Blazers had other ideas though, as they were looking to make a statement before the playoffs as well. Kobe laced up the "Chaos" Zoom Kobe VI for the first time, but it was Portlan...