From what I can gather, there are two schools of thought on the current state of the Lakers here in Los Angeles. On one side, there are those who are convinced the Lakers can flip a switch and return to the form that has made them the favorites in the West. Then there are those who think this Lakers team is flawed on several fronts: Kobe's injured, Bynum's injured, Fisher's too old, Lamar's too inconsistent, and Artest has yet to find his groove.
Regardless of which camp you belong to, the question is, who's going to beat the Lakers in the West? The only game I watched live this year was the Lakers-Mavericks. Los Angeles beat Dallas by about 50. Still, that was before Dallas got Caron Butler and got rid of Josh Howard. Denver appears ready to implode. Utah can't win in Los Angeles. Portland with no Brandon Roy has no chance. San Antonio is too old, Oklahoma City is too young. Phoenix is a hot team. But can any of these clubs beat the Lakers in a seven-game series?