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Now that the Lakers are surviving in the Top 8 and hopefully growing, it’s evident that the Lakers have the talent and are good enough to be a true playoff contender. But, what’s clear is that the Lakers need to be a bit more harsh. Recall the days of Metta and Matt Barnes, perhaps?

This team just needs to be more ruthless.

Having turned around their adventure by changing the focus of being the underdog, LeBron James and the Lakers no longer can just do that. Now at 11-8, even after a lame display of 108-104, a home defeat to the Orlando Magic on Sunday, Los Angeles will go into most of its games, especially those at Staples Center, as a more clear favorite.

With Lebron having gotten used to his new teammates — and them to him — perhaps more quickly than looked likely following a terrible 0-3 (and 2-5) start, the Lakers will often be presented with opportunities to take over games in the way that serious contenders do.

That’s what happened against Orlando, but instead of building upon an early lead and grinding the Magic down, the Lakers got sloppy and complacent and showed they don’t yet know how to be a bully. Didn’t help that Lebron decided to take a ridiculous step-back 3, tied at 103.