NBA Matchup: Charlotte Bobcats @ Los Angeles Lakers

Charlotte Bobcats at Los Angeles Lakers Fri. March 4, 2011 10:30 p.m. EST

The two-time NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers are on a roll and getting hot at just the right time. Heading into the NBA All-Star break, Kobe Bryant and company were really starting to struggle as they had lost three straight to three teams they should have beaten in the Orlando Magic, Charlotte Bobcats and arguably the worst team in the league in the Cleveland Cavaliers.

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Fortunately, the All-Star break may have been just what the doctored ordered for the defending champs as they got out to fresh start in the final stretch of the NBA regular season. With five straight wins, three of which against playoff teams, the Lakers have started to make the rest of the league pay attention as they have flipped the preverbal switch.

It is uncertain whether or not the Los Angeles Lakers have what it takes to pull the three-peat in Phil Jackson’s farewell season, but things are definitely looking up right now as Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, Ron Artest and Andrew Bynum are all starting to fire on all cylinders. Even though this team says that there is no “switch” that they pull in the second half of the NBA regular season, the results beg to differ as they are playing

Kobe Bryant of the Lakers
Image via Wikipediaas well as any team in the league right now.

On Friday night at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, the defending champs will be tested once again as they will go head-to-head against the Charlotte Bobcats. Despite the Bobcats being arguably one of the worst teams in the league this season and recently trading away arguably their best all-around player in forward Gerald Wallace, Charlotte is one of two teams (Boston Celtics being the other) in the league that have a winning record over the Los Angeles Lakers all-time.

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With that being said and the fact that the Bobcats recently beat the Lakers in Charlotte, Stephen Jackson and company might have a legitimate of pulling off the upset once again. In my opinion though, the Lakers are playing at an extremely high level right now and seem to be back to championship form.

As of right now, the Los Angeles Lakers are favored to come out on top in this matchup with a -12.5 point spread. This spread is way too high in my opinion as the Charlotte Bobcats will almost certainly give the Los Angeles Lakers a run for their money on Friday night.

Ultimately, the Lakers should win their sixth straight as I don’t see them losing that many games before the NBA playoffs, but there is a possibility of an upset here considering the past between these two teams.

So if your betting the spread, taking the Charlotte Bobcats at +12.5 would be a wise decision as a blowout of this magnitude is unlikely.

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Kobe Bryant leads West to victory over East in 2011 All-Star game

The only elite team in the NBA that seemed to be struggling coming into the All-Star break this past weekend was the two-time defending NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers. With three straight losses to the Orlando Magic, Charlotte Bobcats and arguably the worst team in the league in the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Lakers obviously had problems, but fortunately this weekend they had an opportunity to put their problems behind them as they hosted the 2011 NBA All-Star game.

Coming into this All-Star game, five-time NBA champion Kobe Bryant knew that this would most likely be his last time playing this game on his home floor at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. Not only did the Black Mamba want to put on a show for the hometown Lakers fans, but he also came into this game with the knowledge that he could tie NBA legend Bob Pettit with his fourth NBA All-Star MVP award.

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Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers drives t...
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Just like Michael Jordan did back in the day, Kobe Bryant uses anything he can as motivation and he did just that this past Sunday as he was on fire from start to finish. Along with tying Bob Pettit with a fourth MVP award in the All-Star game, Kobe also came just five points shy of tying Lakers legend Wilt Chamberlain for most points scored in an All-Star game by finishing with a game-high 37.

Even though Kobe Bryant could have easily broken Wilt’s record of 42 points, he became a distributor in the closing minutes by letting the league’s leading scorer Kevin Durant (Oklahoma City Thunder) take over. Durant finished with 32 points and proved that he is now amongst the elite in the West and might get the torch from Kobe when he decides to call it quits.

LeBron James led the way for the Eastern Conference All-Stars with just the second triple-double in All-Star game history. Michael Jordan did it back in 1997, but LeBron James was near unstoppable in the fourth quarter as he got the East back into this game while finishing with a team-high 29 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists.

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Despite LeBron’s valiant effort in the fourth, it just wasn’t enough to overcome the West as they ended up beating the East 148-143. Along with Kobe finishing with 37 points and 14 rebounds for the West, fellow Lakers teammate Pau Gasol had a pretty big impact off the bench with 17 points.

The combination of Kobe Bryant and Kevin Durant was just too much for the East to handle in this one. They may have threatened to steal this game from the West in the closing minutes as LeBron just barreled his way to the basket on every single possession, but ultimately the West had the game in hand and came out on top.

LeBron was almost able to eclipse Kobe in the running for All-Star game MVP, but being that this game was in Los Angeles and Kobe had just dunked on LeBron late in the game, there was no way the Black Mamba wasn’t coming home without the hardware.

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NBA Matchup: Los Angeles Lakers @ Boston Celtics

Los Angeles Lakers at Boston Celtics Thurs. Feb. 10, 2011 8 p.m. EST

As one of the few heated NBA rivalries to stand the test of time, the two-time defending NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers and the defending Eastern Conference champion Boston Celtics always give each other a run for their money every time they go head-to-head during the NBA regular season.

A few weeks ago, the Lakers and the Celtics faced off for the first time since Game 7 of the2010 NBA Finals. Obviously, Kevin Garnett and company still had a bitter taste in their mouths considering how close they came to get the best of the Lakers once again on the NBA’s biggest stage and winning yet another NBA title.

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Even though these two teams were considered to be equals on the basketball court heading into this showdown at the Staples Center, that wasn’t the consensus around the league once the final buzzer sounded at the end of the fourth quarter. The Lakers may have been in control in the first half with reigning NBA Finals MVP Kobe Bryant lighting up the scoreboard for 22 points heading into halftime, but the second half was a different story altogether.

Once the second half began, Paul Pierce really started to get hot in the third quarter and finished with a team-high 32 points. Pierce’s big third quarter was the turning point in this game as the Lakers were able to keep it close, but losing control after the Celtics’ leading scorer took over.

Boston Celtics forward Kevin Garnett shoots ov...
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Kobe Bryant tried to rally his boys back in the fourth quarter, like he had done countless times during his Hall of Fame caliber career, but the Black Mamba’s season-high 41 points turned out to be not enough to lead the defending champs to victory over their arch rivals.

On Thursday night, the Lakers will travel to Boston and enter an extremely hostile environment at the Garden. Even though Phil Jackson’s squad struggled to compete with the Celtics late in their last meeting, the Lakers will come into this game with a must win mentality as a loss to Boston could devastate this team’s confidence against the best of the best in the league.

Over the past few days, there have been a lot of trade rumors circulating around the Lakers as players like Ron Artest and Andrew Bynum appear to be on the block. The Lakers have recently been linked to superstar Carmelo Anthony and a trade with the Denver Nuggets, but it is all speculation at this point.

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If the Lakers do lose to the Celtics for the second time this season on Thursday night, the defending champs will almost certainly a make deal to improve their team and their chances of pulling off the three-peat in Phil Jackson’s farewell season.

Personally, I believe the Lakers still have some fight in them as all they need to do is starting playing up to their potential, but this team seems prone to quitting when the chips are down. A win over the Boston Celtics could be just what they need to get right back on track!

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Is Kobe Bryant back to form?

Staff Writer for Basketball Betting - A true Lakers Fan
Staff Writer: Ryan Ward

Over the past decade or so, it would be hard to argue that any one player in the NBA has been more dominant individually than the Los Angeles Lakers Kobe Bryant. With four NBA titles, an NBA MVP and the distinction as the best player in the world, Kobe has ruled the NBA in the same fashion that Michael Jordan did throughout the 90s with the Chicago Bulls.

Ever since the Los Angeles Lakers traded their face of the franchise in Shaquille O’Neal to the Miami Heat back in 2004, Kobe Bryant has had to single handedly lead this team back to dominant status in the NBA. Early on in the post-Shaq era, things really didn’t look good for the Lakers as they struggled to even make the playoffs and just didn’t have the right role players surrounding the Black Mamba in order for them to become a contender in the Western Conference.

Fortunately, after a lot of turmoil and trade demands, Kobe Bryant was finally able to get that key piece to the puzzle for the Lakers in Spanish import Pau Gasol. In perhaps the biggest “steal” trade in NBA history, the Lakers basically gave up nothing in return for arguably one of the best forwards in the game in Gasol. As a result, Los Angeles quickly turned into a superpower in the West once again and won the fourth NBA title of the past decade.

Along with Pau Gasol, the Lakers have also had some other additions to the team to take the pressure off of Kobe with players like Andrew Bynum, Lamar Odom, Ron Artest and the return of Derek Fisher.

Needless to say, the Lakers look like they will be one of the most dominant teams in the league for the foreseeable future.

Even though the Lakers being arguably the best team in the West and have clinched the top spot in the conference for the third straight season, a lot of people have started to question whether or not Kobe Bryant has lost a step in the process.

Over the past three seasons or so, the future hall of fame shooting guard has had to battle multiple injuries all over his body, but has still performed at an extremely high level. Despite being able to fight off these injuries for the last two years without missing any time on the floor, this season was a different story as his ailments turned out to be just too much.

As usual whenever a player of Kobe’s caliber is either in a slump or struggling with some part of his game, the media will have an absolute field day as they will be dissecting every aspect of the player’s life and ability to perform on the floor.

Obviously, Kobe Bryant is known stranger to controversy or media attention as he has dealt with it throughout his entire career, positive and negative, but this is the first time the people have started to say that he is looking old and possibly on the downside of his career.

Despite looking noticeably slower and in pain during the series with the up-and-coming Oklahoma City Thunder in the first round, Kobe Bryant did play well in the last two games and has been able to keep up that momentum in the current series with the Utah Jazz. As of right now, the defending NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers are up 3-0 on the Utah Jazz and are looking like the championship team of old with Kobe Bryant leading the way.

There is no doubt that he is still banged up and will be licking his wounds during the offseason, but he is a warrior and Ironman of the toughest kind. Yes, the Black Mamba is getting older, but no, I don’t see them on the downside of his career just yet as in my opinion he is back to form.

LeBron James wins NBA MVP award for the second straight season

Staff Writer for Basketball Betting - A true Lakers Fan
Staff Ward: Ryan Ward

Over the past three years or so, the debate has raged on about who is the best player in the NBA. With so many talented players in the league today the debate has been very heated as players like Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade, Kobe Bryant and LeBron James have all played at a very high level and could make a case as the league’s best player.

Not since the days of Michael Jordan with the Chicago Bulls have we had a definitive answer was talking about the best player in the league. It wasn’t even a question coming into an NBA season that Michael Jordan would be the obvious choice for NBA MVP and even though you could say the same about Kobe Bryant over last four years or so, but the black mamba still only has one MVP to his credit.

One of the Main reasons for Kobe Bryant not having multiple MVPs is the emergence of players like Steve Nash (two MVPs), Dirk Nowitzki (one MVP), Tim Duncan (two MVPs) and LeBron James (two MVPs). All four of these players have completely turned around their team and become the cornerstone of their franchise. Every single year these players are by far the best players on their squad and help guide their team into the playoffs and a shot of competing for an NBA title.

Over the last two seasons, the Cleveland Cavaliers have turned into arguably the best team in the league has LeBron James has taken it to an entirely different level with a dominant game on both sides the floor. Everyone always knew that LeBron could dominate on the offensive end with his high fly act and incredible athletic ability, but the last two years he has really outdone himself on the defensive end of the floor and become a well-rounded NBA player.

Not since the days of Oscar Robinson and Magic Johnson have we seen a guard/forward that could dominate in so many ways on the basketball floor. LeBron may not have the shooting touch like Kobe Bryant or be the on-ball defender like the Black Mamba, but King James is quickly turning into the most dominant player in the NBA today.

Last season the Cleveland Cavaliers dominated in the regular season and were able to take that dominance into the first two rounds the playoffs, but were knocked out by the Orlando Magic in the Eastern Conference finals. As a result of LeBron’s dominance in the regular season, he was awarded with his first MVP.

This season the Cleveland Cavaliers put on a similar performance in the regular season and went into the playoffs as the first overall seed in the league. As a result, LeBron James is one his second consecutive MVP award and has a solid shot of winning his first NBA title.

With another extremely successful NBA regular season in the books for the Cleveland Cavaliers, LeBron James and company want the face-off against the Boston Celtics in the second round of the playoffs after making quick work of the Chicago Bulls in the first round.

The Cleveland Cavaliers will definitely have their work cut out for them from here on out, but are still favored to go all the way and become NBA champs with all said and done.

Are the Cleveland Cavaliers NBA Finals bound?

Staff Writer for Basketball Betting - A true Lakers Fan
Staff Writer: Ryan Ward

All season long the defending NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers have been the favorite to repeat and basically dominate the league once again. This isn’t a bad prediction as Lakers have been arguably the best team in the league the last two seasons and will head into the playoffs for the third straight year as a number one seed in the Western Conference.

Despite everybody going for Kobe Bryant and company this year, the Cleveland Cavaliers have been arguably the best team in the league throughout the regular season and as another plus, they have beaten the defending champs twice this season in convincing fashion.

Obviously the playoffs or another beast altogether and the Cleveland Cavaliers to be the first team to admit to that as they went into the playoffs last season as the favorite to win it all and were absolutely dominated by the Orlando Magic in the Eastern Conference finals.

Even though the Cavs really didn’t stand a chance against Dwight Howard and company last season in the playoffs, this year might be another story altogether as Cleveland has done all he can do in the off-season and during the season to upgrade their roster in order to compete with the likes of the Orlando Magic when the time comes.

The one move to the Cleveland Cavaliers made in the off-season was making a trade to bring in future Hall of fame center Shaquille O’Neal to help defend Dwight Howard in the paint come playoff time. Long with Shaq, the Cavs also made another deal during regular season before the NBA trade deadline on February 18th to bring in versatile All-Star caliber forward Antawn Jamison from the Washington Wizards.

Not only was the trade to bring in Jamison an absolute steal as they gave up virtually nothing to bring in an All-Star caliber player, but they lost improve their chances of re-signing LeBron James in the off-season and creating a dynasty in Cleveland for the first time in the franchise’s history.

Even though LeBron James is future the Cleveland Cavaliers is very much up in the air, an NBA title this season would definitely improve their chances of locking him up for the next five years or so and keeping him in Cleveland Cavaliers uniform.

Until July 1st this summer when LeBron James officially becomes a free agent, the Cleveland Cavaliers will attempt to make franchise history by getting to their second NBA Finals appearance and win their first NBA title.

The Eastern Conference playoffs may not be filled with as many talented teams like we see in the Western Conference, but the Cleveland Cavaliers will definitely have their work cut out for them as they will have to compete with the Orlando Magic, Boston Celtics and the Atlanta Hawks at one point or another in order to advance to the NBA Finals.
As of right now, I believe the Cleveland Cavaliers are the favorites to come out of the East and will advance to the NBA Finals.

Can they beat the Los Angeles Lakers in a seven game series?

Remains to be seen, but if these two teams do end up facing off it might be one of the most entertaining NBA Finals series in recent memory.

Kobe Bryant finishes off the Toronto Raptors with his sixth game-winning shot of the season

Staff Writer for Basketball Betting - A true Lakers Fan

Staff Writer:  Ryan Ward

No team in the NBA this season has been as exciting to watch in late game situations then the defending NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers who have won six games in dramatic fashion this season.

Even though we have seen some spectacular finishes by the defending champs the season they have begun to struggle at times and came into their game against the Toronto Raptors with a three game losing streak. This losing streak was the first time that the Los Angeles Lakers have lost three in a row since acquiring Pau Gasol from the Memphis Grizzlies back in 2008. Very impressive to say the least that Kobe Bryant and company have and let themselves get into a slump over the last 2 1/2 seasons despite playing in two consecutive NBA Finals.

The one thing that has happen to the Los Angeles Lakers this season has been different from seasons past has been that they have dealt with injuries to multiple players not just Andrew Bynum who has suffered knee injuries over the last two years.

This time around it has been Ron Artest, Pau Gasol, Kobe Bryant and Andrew Bynum who have been in and out of the lineup, but even though this would devastate most teams looking to compete for an NBA title, the Lakers have been able to hold their own played quite well in the absence of their superstars.

Obviously these injuries have happened at different times of the season and the Lakers haven’t had to deal with more than one missing superstar the time, but they did have to play without Kobe Bryant for five games and basically the entire month of February.

Most people believe that Los Angeles can’t win without Kobe Bryant and the lineup, but the Lakers fared quite well without the Black Mamba by winning four of the five games Kobe sat out with an injured ankle.

This was impressive to say the least as even the one loss they had was against the Boston Celtics which could have very well been one if Derek Fisher had made the last second shot.

So what the Lakers proven they could play without their best player, the true test is going to be whether they could play with them after getting used to play without them and last Tuesday night against the Toronto Raptors Kobe Bryant proved why they need him after he hit his sixth game-winning shot of the season with 1.9 seconds remaining on the clock to beat the Toronto Raptors 109-107.

It seems to matter how much you doubt them, but no matter how hurt you think he might be, Kobe Bryant continues to prove over and over again that he is the best closer in basketball today. He still is a ways to go before he can be compared with the likes of Michael Jordan in late game situations, but he is as close as it comes to MJ games online and someone is needed to take the last shot!

Kobe Bryant extends Lakers contract until 2013-14 season

Staff Writer for Basketball Betting - A true Lakers Fan

Staff Writer:  Ryan Ward

This summer will showcase arguably the most talented free agent market in the history of the NBA as some of the biggest names in the league will be available to the highest bidder starting with MVP candidate LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Along with LeBron James, there are plenty of other big name free agents that will be available this summer that could drastically change the look of the NBA and franchises like the New York Knicks, Miami Heat and the Los Angeles Clippers.

All three of these teams, which are in big markets, have the most money to spend when these big name free agents become available and will almost certainly do everything within their power to convince them to play for their franchise.

In all likelihood, all of these big name players like LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Amare Stoudemire and Chris Bosh will most likely reason sign with their current squads as the Cavs, Heat, Suns and Raptors will be devastated if they lose arguably the best players this summer.

One name that hasn’t got much attention this year, but could’ve been a free agent just like any of these other big names, was the defending NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers Kobe Bryant.

Apparently, Kobe could have terminated the last year of his contract after this season and with only a couple weeks left in the NBA regular season the black mamba still had not inked a contract extension that would keep them in a Lakers uniform for the foreseeable future.

Earlier in the year, Pau Gasol signed a deal that would keep him in LA for at least three seasons which is nothing but good news for the Los Angeles Lakers and Kobe Bryant, but for some reason the reigning NBA Finals MVP still wasn’t ready to agree to terms with Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak.

Fortunately, the two sides did not want to head into the NBA off-season without agreeing to some sort of deal and as of April 2nd Kobe Bryant officially signed a three-year contract extension which will keep him in Los Angeles with the Lakers until 2013-14 NBA season.

Reportedly, this deal between Los Angeles Lakers and Kobe Bryant is extremely lucrative as arguably the best player in the league today will be making about $90 million over the next three seasons. If that weren’t impressive enough, Kobe is already set to make about $25 million over the next two seasons which makes him a very rich man.

As of right now, the Los Angeles Lakers are still fighting for a chance at repeating as NBA champions as they will head into the NBA playoffs as the number one overall seed in the Western Conference.

It has not been an easy road for Kobe Bryant and company recently as they have struggled from time to time and will have to play without starting center Andrew Bynum who was out with an Achilles injury.

Needless to say, sixth man Lamar Odom will step into the starting lineup and try and help the Lakers get back to the NBA finals in which they might be headed towards a battle against LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Will Kobe Bryant enter free agency this summer?

Staff Writer for Basketball Betting - A true Lakers Fan
Staff Writer: Ryan Ward

Coming into this season, the defending NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers looked better than ever with basically the same championship caliber team intact, the one key addition was defensive minded small forward Ron Artest who has given the Lakers the much needed toughness they’ve been looking for over the past couple of seasons as they have gone from perennial playoff team to perennial title contenders.

Originally, the Lakers wanted to re-sign up and coming youngster Trevor Ariza as he was a key piece to the puzzle for the Lakers in the championship run last year, but the Houston Rockets offered more money and more of an opportunity to get playing time and a chance to be a superstar in this league.

Despite the loss of Ariza, the Lakers have played brilliantly in the first half of the NBA regular season and look like they can make a run for another NBA championship as they are just running the table in the Western Conference.

Of course the Lakers will have to deal with the likes of the Denver Nuggets, Dallas Mavericks and the Utah Jazz, but it would be hard to argue that they are still not the best all around team in the NBA today led by superstar reigning NBA finals MVP Kobe Bryant.

There has been a lot of buzz flying around the NBA this season about what free agent superstar will be going where this summer when big names like the Toronto Raptors’ Chris bosh, Phoenix Suns’ Amare Stoudemire, Miami Heat’s Dwyane Wade and most notably the Cleveland Cavaliers LeBron James all make decisions on which team they will signed with this off-season.

Over the past couple of seasons, teams like the New York Knicks, Cleveland Cavaliers and the Miami Heat have all been trying to clear cap space in order to able to sign these superstar players to huge contracts for the long-term. Unfortunately for the Miami Heat and the Cleveland Cavaliers, the New York Knicks the best of them in this race for clearing cap space as they have the most money to deal with in the summer free agent market comes around.
Even though players like Dwyane Wade and LeBron James are the two players in which people keep their eye on more than any, Kobe Bryant is still yet to sign an extension with the Los Angeles Lakers which is leading people to believe that he might be holding out until this summer to see what these big name free agents will signed for in order to force the Lakers to sign him for the biggest deal this summer.

Obviously at this point in time, Kobe couldn’t really go anywhere else in the NBA where he would be better off, the only thing he might gain from going elsewhere would be a huge paycheck, but he would lose the chance of be on to win or compete for a title over the next five years which might be the last five years he played in the NBA.

Despite everyone believing that Kobe will ultimately signed with the Los Angeles Lakers, especially if they win another NBA title this season, you never know what can happen in this league especially when large amounts of money are involved like it will be this summer.

The one team that will probably make a big play for Kobe Bryant is the New York Knicks who always wanted to have another big name star play at Madison Square Garden, but I believe Kobe holding out is only to raise his price tagged the Lakers as he would be foolish to go anywhere else before ending his Hall of Fame career in the NBA.

Is Kevin Durant a legitimate MVP candidate?

Staff Writer for Basketball Betting - A true Lakers Fan
Staff Writer: Ryan Ward

At the halfway point in every NBA regular season, the MVP talk starts the heat up as all the legitimate candidates for the NBA award start to narrow down to a small few. This season is no different as we have at least three players right now are playing at such high level that it looks to become a three man race in the second half of the season.

The first of these three players that are legitimate candidates for the MVP award this season could be champion Los Angeles Lakers Kobe Bryant who is arguably playing the best clutch basketball of his Hall of fame caliber career in the NBA.

Along with having arguably the best team in the Western Conference, Kobe Bryant has been held to lead his Lakers through his own injuries and the injuries of Pau Gasol, Ron Artest and Andrew Bynum. During the time without these key players for the Lakers, Kobe has altered his game to more the low post presence and instead of being a perimeter player and made the transition seamlessly.

Not only has Kobe five game-winning shots this season, which is extremely impressive to say the least, but please played through injuries like broken finger on his shooting hand, painful back spasms and the most recent was an ankle sprain that kept him out of five games and the All-Star game in front of a record 108,713 people at the billion-dollar Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

So with five game winners, the best record in the Western Conference and battling through injuries that no one dare try, I believe Kobe Bryant will be one of the players in contention for the MVP award at season’s end.
The second player I believe that should give some serious consideration for the MVP award this season is the Cleveland Cavaliers LeBron James.

Along with being arguably the best player in the league today with some unbelievable athletic ability that has never been seen in the NBA before, LeBron has outdone himself this season alongside Shaquille O’Neal as he’s played brilliantly in the first half of the NBA regular season by lighting up scoreboards with his point production, getting teammates involved with his passing ability and driving opposing defenses crazy.

As of right now, the Cleveland Cavaliers have the best record in the NBA and could quite possibly keep that for the rest of the season and go into the playoffs with home court advantage of who play a big part of they get to the NBA finals against the Los Angeles Lakers who they have beaten twice this season already.

At this point in time, LeBron is the front runner for the NBA MVP, but there is one more player that is quickly getting some serious consideration for the award as he’s come virtually out of nowhere this season and turned from a just a great score to one of the best leaders in the NBA today.

The Oklahoma City Thunder have been arguably the surprising team in the NBA this season as they have just been red hot coming into the second half of the regular season and look like a legitimate playoff team for the first time since moving to Seattle.

At 29 points per game, Kevin Durant has turned into one of the best scores in the league just behind LeBron James and 30 points a game. At just three years in the NBA, Durant has gone from college phenom to NBA superstar and quite possibly NBA MVP.