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Extra! Extra! (12.12)

December 12, 2006 |  9:06 am

Things continue to look up for the purple and gold.  They lead the Pacific, grade out well in all sorts of fun statistical categories, and top Steve Kerr's Yahoo! Power Rankings.  Now they learn that their first big road test in what seems like forever, a matchup against T-Mac, Yao, Shane Battier, and the Houston Rockets tonight, will include all of those things... except T-Mac.  McGrady will sit with a bad back.  Yes, you can feel the tension emanating from Houston fans all the way from here.  And Jeff Van Gundy's office, since it might just be Bonzi Time now.  For the Lakers, this two game jaunt through Texas is just the beginning of a long stretch of roadies- 22 of the next 32, to be exact.  A time to see if all the lessons learned in the home heavy schedule can be translated to togetherness- "oneness," if you will- on the road.  No question Andrew Bynum's mom will be watching (as will ours, at least for tomorrow's ESPN game). 

Vlad Rad's hand is an issue, and so is his grasp of the triangle.  But like Randy Newman, he loves L.A.  (so still, does Robert Horry).  You know who else might dig our 75 degree Decembers?  Allen Iverson.  One L.A. team should find out