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Lakers Getting Back in Shape

The Lakers are currently on a five-game winning streak which began on February 22 with a win over Atlanta 104-80. It was a dominating rout over the Hawks with Bryant making 20, and 5 assists. Brown had 15 and Gasol had a double-double, with 14 points and 10 rebounds.

The following day, the Lakers won over Portland in OT in probably the best showing of Ron Artest yet, with 24 points. Kobe scored 37, made 9 rebounds and 6 assists. Gasol had another double-double night, with 18 pts and 14 caroms.

Sidelight: Fisher, Pau and Lamar for 3 points at the beginning of overtime.

Two days after the win over the Trailblazers, the Lakers beat the "visiting" Clippers at the Staples Center, 108-95. The Lakers stifled the Clipper offense in the second half to win this one by 13 points. The third quarter was all Kobe who outscored the Clippers by himself, 18-17. And he did this inspite of an elbow injury. Pau had 22 points and 5 rebounds; Andrew Bynum had his double-double with 16 pts. and 15 rebounds.

Sidelight: Fisher, Kobe and Pau in the triangle.

Then the Lakers visited the Thunder, and again beat Westbrook-Durant and Co., by three, 90-87. Don't let the low score fool you, however. It was a night that showcased defense, with the Lakers getting the better of it against the Thunder. Kobe made 17 points allowing him to pass Elvin Hayes for 7th place in the all-time scoring list, while Pau and the Bynumite got respective double-doubles. The Spaniard had 18 points and 11 rebounds while Big Drew had 16 points and 10 rebounds. Not to be forgotten is Ron Artest who kept Kevin Durant 7 points below his average. Ron-ron also stole the ball from Durant that helped seal the victory.

Sidelight: Pau Gasol stops Kevin Durant by positioning himself well

Quite recently, the Timberwolves fell victim to the Lakers at Minnesota, 90-79. The media calls it a bad game with the Lakers proving a little better than the T'wolves at the end. Or to put it in another way, one of the worst teams in the NBA lost the game to an off-night Lakers. Michael Beasley was shackled by Ron-ron and Kevin Love -- who made his 47th straight double-double -- found it difficult to get past Gasol, Odom and Bynum. The T'wolves only made 34 points in the second half, while the Lakers won the battle of the boards, 53-39.

As of this writing, the Lakers are 43-19 (.693), good for first in the Pacific, third in the West (behind Dallas and the Spurs), and sixth overall. The Spurs lead the NBA (.817) at 49-11, followed by the Celtics, (.741) with 43-15. Nowitzki's Mavericks come next (.733) at 44-16, with Miami (.717), 43-17 and the Bulls (.707), 41-17, following close behind.

If the Lakers win against the Bobcats on Friday, they will have a string of wins behind them when they start on another arduous road trip March 6-12 against San Antonio (March 6), Atlanta (March Cool, Miami (March 10) and Dallas (March 12). They will be back at Staples on March 14 to face the Magic. Note that 4 of the 5 teams mentioned in this schedule have beaten the Lakers at least once before; the Spurs have beaten them twice.

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