Caught in the Web: Lakers prepare for New Year's Eve game against Philadelphia 76ers
--The Times' Jim Peltz explains why Lakers center Andrew Bynum feels healthy and effective enough to start tonight against the Philadelphia 76ers
--The Orange County Register's Janis Carr provides the latest vote totals for the 2011 NBA All-Star game.
--The Philadelphia Inquirer's Katie Fagan details how Evan Turner has contributed during Andre Iguodala's absence.
US Weekly reports Lamar Odom and Khloe Kardashian will have their own reality T.V. spinoff show.
--ESPN Los Angeles' Brian Kamenetzky remains conflicted about Odom's reality show spinoff with Khloe.
--The son of former Laker Nick Van Exel is being charged with murder.
--The Daily Breeze's Elliott Teaford highlights Lamar Odom's contributions.
--Lakers.com's Mike Trudell details Thursday's practice.
--Forum Blue and Gold's Darius Soriano breaks down Bynum's performance against New Orleans.
--Silver Screen and Roll's C.A. Clark wonders if Odom will remain a perfect sixth man.
Tweet of the Day: "What up world!! How many people went out and got they Rim Reaper shake from Millions of Milkshakes!!!" -- ShannonBrown (Lakers guard Shannon Brown)
Reader Comment of the Day:Why do other teams like San Antonio, Utah, and Boston play to their full potential and we don't? Interesting question. My theory - Boston is fresh from the nightmare of coming so close to winning game 7 only to fall to the hated Lakers. They're convinced that if only they had homecourt advantage, they'd have won that O'Brien. They upgraded personnel and KG is finally healthy again (until yesterday, that is).
Boston is fixated with getting back into the finals and having another shot at us. With the East stacked as it is, they know they have to put the foot to the pedal the rest of the way. San Antonio had fallen short last year. They too feel that this is THEIR year since they've beefed up their front court to better match the Lakers. With Parker, Ginobli, and Duncan healthy, with Splitter and Dejuan Blair fitting in... the Spurs have a great combination of willy veteran leadership and youthful energy. With Duncan's steady decline, there's a sense of urgency for the Spurs. As for Utah... well Utah is Utah. They've got a great system with Jerry Sloan and they are for the most part a consistent team, perhaps lacking a few pieces but they'll fight tooth and nail anyway.
Our Lakers know they've got the talent. They've played more games than anyone in the western conference and it's too easy to claim they're worn out. The great start to the season further compounded the belief that sheer talent will be enough. Given the weak teams they were served with, they started taking the feet of the gas pedal. When Drew's prolonged absence put a strain on them, they start cutting corners and taking a few things for granted. Bad habits begin to form and yet, they shrug it off as "hey, it's just an off night". But consecutive off nights become a pattern of behavior and mediocrity becomes a shared mental model for this team. The first step is to recognize that the bad habits have gotta go...
That's what I'm hoping the Lakers would do - recognize they have a problem and make sure everyone is on the same page with regards to what needs to be done. I doubt the Lakers have totally turned things around - good habits take time to redevelop, but it sounds like they're headed in the right direction." -- Seely_Iggy
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Photo: Lakers center Pau Gasol drives to the basket past Philadelphia center Spencer Hawes during the first half of the Lakers' 93-81 victory in mid-December. Credit: Barbara Johnston / U.S. Presswire