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Extra! Extra! (1.21)

January 21, 2007 | 10:16 am

Halfway through the season they're not yet an elite team, but if they're not careful, the purple and West_on_walton gold will guarantee themselves a date with one come the first round of the playoffs. Saturday night's 113-103 loss to the Hornets in OKC is another in a disturbingly robust collection of clunkers that are costing the Lakers position in the Western Conference. The Lakers rang in the season's midpoint with an unfocused, unsuccessful effort, especially on the defensive end, allowing the league's weakest offensive team to go ABA on them. David West, in only his second game back from elbow surgery, pushed the Lakers around, and Rasual Butler did damage on both ends for the Hornets. Kobe, who had a rough go of it, described the game as a learning experience (hasn't the point been driven home by now?). If that's the case, the box score shows plenty of room for educational lessons, save a career high 23 from Mo Evans.  At least it's good to know that our sideline celebs trump theirs.   

Halfway through, the Lakers are surprising many but because four is not one, we feel there's room for improvement--although not necessarily much from Kobe Bryant. If nothing else, 24 has Byron Scott's support

Chris Webber to Detroit?  No great loss to L.A.

Did you miss the D-League showcase?  Kudos to Brian Chase of Your Los Angeles D-Fenders!

There are good numbers and bad in the team stats as well as individual