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Lakers now have plenty to prove

In the midst of a tough trip, champions suddenly are being questioned

Updated: March 7, 2010, 2:10 AM ET
By Dave McMenamin | ESPNLosAngeles.com

ORLANDO, Fla. -- In 2008-09, both of the regular-season Finals rematches between the Lakers and Celtics were of the utmost importance to Los Angeles as it tried to establish it was a championship-caliber team.

When the Lakers return to Amway Arena on Sunday for the first time since winning the title against the Orlando Magic in June 2009, they'll be looking to prove the same thing all over again.

L.A. remains the defending champion in name, but it looks to be a far cry from the team ...

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