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Mon, 31 Oct 2011 12:50 PM EDT

The LA Lakers, swept from the playoffs and thoroughly embarrassed by the Dallas Mavericks in the Western Conference semifinals last season, have a myriad of questions facing them if and when the 2011-12 season finally begins.

Pau Gasol doesn’t believe he’s one of them. While he’s aware of the criticism he received and takes responsibility for his disappointing play, Gasol is determined to move on. NFL betting lines

It is hard to believe for many observers why so many people in and outside of LA have abandoned this team. It is not unusual in the NBA for a team to have a sharp drop in productivity and performance after 2 back to back championship runs. It was the nature o the loss to Dallas that surprised some who want to use it as a barometer of things to come. There has always been a significant “Laker Hater” crowd that will never cheer for teams in LA or New York. Dallas was just a better team and it was finally time for Dallas to emerge from numerous years of defeat in big games. Football odds

As for the team, Gasol is equally optimistic. Lakers coach Mike Brown told a small group of reporters at the team’s practice facility in El Segundo he doesn’t believe significant changes are required for the Lakers to regain championship form. “I don’t know if you need to change the identity too much,” Brown said. “I don’t know if you need to change the culture too much, because this was already obviously a winning culture here.”

Gasol agreed, but knows the team has to perform at a higher level. “It’s not that we have to change who we are. We are who we are, and I think we’re perfectly fine with that. We just have to make sure we work as hard as anybody in the league, or the hardest. (We have to) want it as bad as anybody, or the (most), and that’s it,” he said. “Those three things are the basics of success, as being champions and becoming champions.” It’s important, Gasol says, to keep last season in perspective.

A team that made the playoffs last year and was competing for an opportunity to win 3 consecutive championships is now being counted out by some observers. The expectations of some NBA followers are unrealistic and not rooted in sports history…

One key to success this year will be putting 2010-11 in its proper place, not allowing the failure of that campaign to bleed into a new season.

The mark of a great team is the ability to rebound from defeat and maintain the confidence and the bravado necessary to beat the teams you should. The great Laker team with Magic and Kareem could do that. The Celtic team with Larry Bird could do it. The Piston team with Isaiah Thomas did it. Time will tell if this team under Derek Rose will be able to equal the performance of those teams.

The Laker team has Kobe and Gasol. They have players that have tasted championship success and the bitterness of defeat. This is often the ingredients for revival and a return to greatness

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