Rewind to November 2. It was right after the New York Knicks obliterated the Miami Heat’s “stout” defense. South Beach fans were scratching their heads and the Big Apple was screaming for joy soon after a natural disaster had left them with so much pain and despair.

It was an emotional outing that left fans of each franchise with feelings resonating on both the best and worst side of success.

The Knicks had finally found their way and the Heat were on a wild tumble to the bottom of the Eastern Conference just a season removed from the best year of basketball that LeBron James has ever had.

Spring forward to the present. Miami has won four straight games, three of which were against postseason contenders from both the Eastern and Western conferences. The Phoenix Suns are in a mess of their own standards therefore it would just be easier to cast them out of that conversation.

Still, after a virtual collapse against the Knicks the Heat have recovered quite convincingly and are looking like a former championship squad primed to repeat. The Los Angeles Lakers, on the other hand, seem to be headed in an entirely different direction.

With such a deep roster to hang over the heads of every Lakers’ antagonist, the star struck has been playing headless in the first slab of the season. The perceptually aimless influence of Mike Brown has even been tossed to the side for the vultures to feast. So now what? How strong will their early season that lacks rhythm and is heavy with blues weigh on their postseason contention?

Is the NBA Finals matchup that we have all been dreaming about since the 2003 NBA Draft at risk of never coming to fruition?

Unluckily for NBA ratings it is a very probable fate that Kobe Bryant and LeBron James will never face off in the NBA Finals. This season is their best bet and while the Heat are continuing to define themselves in the face of the growing ambition of almost every NBA franchise in the Eastern Conference the Lakers continue to backslide.

No one expected their journey to be completely easy but we are talking about an alignment of Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard, Pau Gasol, Steve Nash (AWOL) and Metta World Peace. It was a meticulous reassembling by the Basketball Gods that is not turning out as we all envisioned it would. The Lakers have lost to the Dirk-less Dallas Mavericks, the rookie -led Portland Trail Blazers and even the Utah Jazz which landed then fourth in the Pacific Division.

Hoping to dilute their early failures, the franchise has cut Mike Brown lose. Unfortunately that is not going to sugarcoat the fact that the best center in the league, arguably, only scored 13 PTS against the Clippers and ended the game with five fouls. LAC is one of the Lakers’ fiercest competitors on the way to the Western Conference Finals and Howard only shot 50% from the foul line.

If there is anywhere that he needs to step up, it is in his own territory against an incredibly stout frontcourt like the Clippers’ have with DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin.

Playing Kobe Bryant 40 minutes a game is not going to leave much to rival at the end of the season and leaning on Pau Gasol to become what he was in the 2010 NBA Playoffs is not going to cut it either. The Lakers need to find leadership outside of the retirement circle (Phil Jackson reference) and find a game plan that will keep them consistent until they are able to bang bodies in the postseason.

Otherwise, the Miami Heat will be thrust into a rematch of the 2012 NBA Finals and Kobe will be on his couch once against watching the formation of a dynasty in a conference that once belonged to him.Watch Miami Heat Live Stream Free Online Game Streaming

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