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When the Lakers signed Karl Malone this off-season, i said to myself: "now there´s a guy that will lead by example, that will take no crap from nobody, that will be a terror in the low-post and take the enforcer role".
And his play hasn´t disapointed me one bit.

But he is (was, for he hasn´t played in a long time) the sole Laker, IMO, who played with a "warrior" attitude: the you-won´t-score-on-me-i´ma-kick-your-***-from-the-paint kind of way.

I may be wrong, but the Lakers seemed like a bunch of marshmellows out there: - Payton has the will (and the mouth), but has lost the body;
- Devean is silent; in his nature and in his game;
- Shaq, the self-proclaimed MDP ever, conceded more points in the paint than i could count;
- Kobe tries to take over the game and sulks when he can´t...

Our bench is a bunch of jump-shooters, even at PF (sorry, Brian34Cook ;) ), and Grant and Slava can´t seem to guard a chair.

Sampson seems to like to mix it up, and Fox will return eventually, but that doesn´t affect my line of thinking... the Lakers must tighten up.
Shaq, Kobe, Payton can score almost at will... but our problem ain´t at the offensive end...

Where´s the defense?
Our backcourt of Payton and Kobe should be able to stop ANYBODY.
Shaq and Malone should be able to play patty-cake in the paint and in the glass.

Even with our subs out there, the defensive assignments seem forgotten, and there´s no offensive rebounding and defensive boxing out whatsoever.

IMO, the Lakers need an attitude make-over. We are losing too many games to teams we should have no problem with.

I envision the time when Fox will again scream "you will fold! you will fold!" to the opposite bench and Shaq will fight for every rebound like his life depended on it, a time where Kobe will run (not drive) through the lane and Malone will set the nastiests picks imaginable (forget the elbows).

Can it be done?

For i believe it´s the only way this aged team will be able to reach the ring...
 
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