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I've posed this question before, but I think it bears repeating: Are the Kings gearing up to overtake the Lakers next year the way the Bulls overtook the Pistons, and the Pistons overtook the Celtics and Lakers? Or are the Kings gearing up to be a stepping-stone for the Lakers' next title the way the Knicks were for the Chicago Bulls?

I'm leaning toward the latter, and here is why:

1. How the Lakers won: The officiating travesties of Games 5 and 6 aside (which canceled each other out, in my opinion), the series came down the way it should have: seven games. The Lakers' superior poise and focus shined through, and the best team won, regardless of what Rick Adelman and Lakers haters say.

Sacramento will be more battle-tested next season, but so will LA. Plus, the Lakers will have the added motivation of all of the haters giving the officials credit for the series win this year. Two seasons ago, everyone said the only reason LA won Shaquille O'Neal's and Kobe Bryant's first title was because of the injury to David Robinson. Remember what LA did to a healthy Admiral, Tim Duncan and rest of the Spurs during last year's playoffs?

2. The Maloof brothers have some serious financial issues to consider: Do they risk the luxury tax penalty by keeping the team intact for one more run at a title, or do they let a key player (such as Doug Christie) walk in the hopes that Bobby Jackson and Hedo Turkoglu can pick up the slack and get the Kings over the hump? If they let Christie go, forget about it. Kobe will have a field day on the perimeter and run LA right past the Kings.

3. Even if they keep the team together, who is to say that it will be enough? Kobe is 23, people . . . only 23! We haven't seen his best. And don't forget about Devean George. He is only going into his fourth season, and he has solidified himself as a key contributor. Playing against Kobe in practice every day either will break a guy down or make him that much better. George is getting better.

It took Scottie Pippen three years of going against Michael Jordan in practice before he emerged as an All-Star in his fourth season. I'm not saying George will be an All-Star next year, but I wouldn't be surprised if he is. He could be the three in LA's Big Three next season.

Remember how everyone thought the Knicks would knock off the Bulls the year after taking them seven games in the playoffs? I know Phil Jackson does, and I know he'll have LA ready the way Chicago was ready for the Knicks en route to their three-peat. If the Diesel is anywhere close to 100 percent, LA will four-peat.
 

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I agree that the Lakers will be better than the Kings next year-but I disagree about some things.

For your No. 1- I think the reason the Lakers beat the Spurs is because everyone on their team improved-not because of what people said about the Spurs.

#2. I think Christie's D is overrated-Kobe always plays well against the Kings (when he is healthy). So getting rid of him wouldn't hurt them too much.

#3. I don't think George will be back, and if he does come back-Fox will still get a lot of minutes-reducing George's effectiveness.
 

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Hmm i dont know whats gonna happen.The kings didnt really change their roster and the five starters are still there and healthy.They were number 1 seed.(that got them far haha)

About Christie who cares about him either way.When he guarded kobe, kobe still got 30 points(member game 7).Noone could guard kobe good anyway.He does what he wants when he wants.Weve all learned that about him already.It wont affect the kings or the lakers if christie stays or goes cause he sucks.

Next point: The kings will be ready for the lakers and know how to win a few games against them.Now they just have to win the series(Good Luck).Webber and every other player like dissapears at the end of the game(vladie always has foul problems) and only bibby stays in the game, hes not always so clutch.That whole series could of been a fluke for him.If he plays like that next year.Who cares as long as kobe and shaq are healthy and we have some help from the bench the lakers have a chance for 4.


Next:Kobe at 23.Why do I only see him getting better then ever before.Hes already a crazy mutant who does crazy things.He kills teams in the 4th.Mr Clutch.Hes working out as I type this probably.I dont think Kobe will have a bad season unless he gets injured or loses all his motivation to win.
BUT HELLO ITS KOBE !

Last:Gerge ya he was scared of the kings and hid the whole series.Then with the nets playing like a college basketball team or worse finally in game 4 he made a few baskets that helped us.
he probably will leave cause he thinks hes got enpugh rings and wants to play more.I want him to stay to cause he showed some skill in the finals.But hes got to step up and not be afraid of the kings.the kings are just another basketball team that wants the lakers trophy, but play harder then most.
The allstars are far away for him if he still gets scared of playing basketball.

he needs to get a pep talk from kobe and kobe needs to show him how to play and not be afraid of the ball.

Bottomline:Lakers will 4 peat if they are all healthy ,bench gives them something and shaq and kobe stay motivated to win and dont screw up in the conference finals and cruise through again.
 

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One more thing the reason the lakers beat the spurs.Well shaq rebounded a couple and helped.But um Kobe is your answer.Not what they said about them.Maybe the spurs also should learn the game consists of 4 quarters not 3 in the play offs.They dissapeared that quarter and won one game.Wow!Kobe took advantage and killed the spurs cause hes Mr.Fourth Quarter!
 

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Well I can't say what's going to happen next season cause the Kings played pretty damn well this year but yea, ultimately I think the Lakers will take it again. For one, Kobe's still so young, Shaq's hella dominating, and they've got the best coach. In general though, I just think the Lakers have a lot more poise than the Kings and can catch up in the fourth even if they're down against any team. With the Kings on their tails, they'll be motivated. This year they may not have been as prepared because they just rolled through the playoffs the year before.

As for the Kings, they should be improved too. Mike Bibby totally emerged this year in the playoffs and I think we haven't seen the best of C-Web yet.
 

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LOL.

That's some pretty wishful thinking you guys have there.

Devean Geroge? Please. It kills me. But I suppose compare to Lakers' supporting cast, George does look good.

If the Lakers need to use the "officiating conspiracy" as motivation, they're in seriously trouble. Fact is. If Peja was healthy, there wouldn't need to be a game seven. Or even a game six for that matter.

And what poise?? Horry, Fisher, George, Shaw, Walker, and Hunter sunk it up from the field in the final conference game. Only Fox, Kobe, and Shaq came to play. And Kobe, as is his usual self, unnecessarily fouled Bibby for the tying basket in regulation. Kobe is good on the offensive end, but in defense, he has a habit of committing silly fouls in key moments. He'd run over picks, touch fouls, go for steal and misses, you name it. If you watch enough Laker games, you know what I mean.
 
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