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Lakers facing different circumstances than at the end of last season

60456183Taped on the marker board in the Lakers' locker room are the NBA standings. On the TV in the same room there's usually another NBA game that players gaze at in between interviews, treatments and pregame shooting routines. They serve as the perfect illustration for what's made this team so much different compared to last season's.

The Lakers (53-20) have gone 15-1 since the All-Star break, remain only four games behind the San Antonio Spurs and enter Thursday's game against the Dallas Mavericks with a one-game lead for the second spot. At this point last season, the Lakers battled month-long inconsistencies, worrying more about maintaining health than improving their play, considering they had longly secured the top spot in the Western Conference.

"There wasn't really any pressure as far as our conference," Lakers forward Pau Gasol acknowledged. "It was more about Cleveland and the other side. It was different. Kobe [Bryant] was also banged up and couldn't finish some of those games. It was out of the normal scenario. This year there is pressure on the standings and there's a team right behind us and a team we're trying to catch in front of us. We have to react."

Both Kobe Bryant and Derek Fisher remain skeptical in feeding that storyline. Fisher said the Lakers follow the NBA standings simply because it's in their inclination to do so both as competitors wanting to sharpen their preparation and as fans hoping to satisfy their hoops fix. Fisher, after all, walked right past the television screen showing Memphis' upset Sunday over San Antonio with very little reaction. Meanwhile, Bryant argued the team's fixation should stay on remaining sharp instead of becoming consumed with other teams' results. Bryant, after all, maintained the same even-keeled demeanor after the the Lakers' 102-84 victory Sunday over New Orleans as he did when the Lakers lost three consecutive games, including one to Cleveland, before the All-Star break. But Lakers Coach Phil Jackson is mindful that the standings race helped spur an urgency that may not have been there if the Lakers could've afforded coasting.

"It's about having to get the season going," said Jackson, who increased practice times this season when he thought the Lakers dropped too far in the standings. "It's about the way we got it going or else we're just going to labor along in third, fourth place. The idea is to get to second place and find a way to hold onto it so we can have the best seeding we can have in the playoffs. We thought the Spurs had too big of a lead at that particular time. They may have too big a lead and it looks far-fetched. But still we have to play for it. That's what we play for and that's what you do with this game is keep pushing the envelope and see how far you can get."

60455352There's no doubt the Lakers are trying to embrace the pressure in keeping up with the Western Conference contenders, let alone the Eastern Conference. The Lakers have pulled even with Chicago for the NBA's second-best record, something that could give the Lakers home-court advantage in three consecutive NBA Finals appearances.

"There's a lot of motivation," guard Shannon Brown said. "We know their situation. We know they're trying to get home court. They've been playing well all year. If we can catch them and get home court, that'll be the best thing."

But they're by no means breaking down all the possible scenarios that have to work out in their favor. After all, the following scenarios can be rather confusing. The Spurs have eight games left, including seven against teams with winning records and one of them being the Lakers at Staples Center on April 12. The Spurs also enter Tuesday night's game against Portland with a three-game losing streak and won't have the services of both Tim Duncan (sprained ankle), Tony Parker (bruised knee) and Manu Ginobili (bruised thigh). The Orange County Register's Kevin Ding explains in great detail why the Lakers would likely hold the tiebreaker over Dallas, even if it took the regular-season series lead, pointing out the Lakers' securing the Pacific Division still gives them a strategic advantage. The Mavericks' nine remaining games only feature three playoff teams, including their game with the Lakers. Meanwhile, the Lakers' matchup Thursday with Dallas concludes the final contest of a seven-game homestand, Five of their remaining games feature playoff opponents and two include games against the Utah Jazz, a team on the playoff fringes that always gives the Lakers a fight.

The Lakers are playing at their best thanks to various tactical changes as well.

The Lakers post All-Star play has featured Andrew Bynum playing a large role in the team's limiting teams to under 100 points in 13 of 16 games, Ron Artest is improving compared to his season-average in both points and field-goal percentage, Bryant scoring at least 30 points in the past three games and the team appearing more interested.

"We're playing much better basketball right now at this stage than we were last year, obviously," Bryant said.

That's because last season presented a much different story. The Lakers were 5-6 in their last 11 games, 17-11 since the All-Star break and compiled only a 22-18 record against playoff teams. They went 7-6 without Bynum (strained left Achilles' tendon), while Bryant missed four of the last five games to rest assorted injuries, including his fractured right index finger, sore right knee and sprained left ankle. There was also Bryant's 21 of 70 clip in the last three games before sitting out the final two, Artest remaining an offensive liability and the bench remaining a liability, period.

"We're healthier this year," Artest said. "Kobe was really struggling last year, but he did what he had to do. This year he's going to have a great playoffs."

The Lakers' 15-1 mark since the All-Star break perfectly coincides with how the Lakers' finished in the last month in four of their past five title runs in the last decade, including the 1999-2000 team (20-4), 2000-2001 team (18-7), 2001-2002 team (18-7) and the 2008-2009 team (17-5). It also could establish a nearly identical path to the Lakers closing out the 2000-2001 season with an eight-game winning streak. Even if Artest argues this current stretch "gives us a good sense of how we're going to be" because "everybody is playing hard," the Lakers have made very little of their recent success.

"We feel good about the way we're playing, but there's not a sense of accomplishment for winning a lot of regular season games at this point," Fisher said. "We obviously love winning more than losing, but I don't think we're patting ourselves on the back necessarily for having a good stretch right now. However we finish this season, it's for naught if we don't go into the postseason we need to go into it and win a title."

That's because last season's 6-7 mark in the last 13 games of the 2009-10 season bore very little resemblance to how everything turned out in the postseason. This wasn't a case of the Lakers flipping on the switch. Oklahoma City woke them up in a competitive first-round series. Bryant's knee drain helped him become more dominant. Bynum's knee drain helped him at least remain on the court. And Gasol, Fisher and Artest all produced timely contributions.'s John Schuhmann also explains in great detail that post-All Star break success can mean very little. He mentions that the team with the better post All-Star break record won just eight of the 15 playoff series in 2010. That's why the Lakers would prefer dwelling on the various nuances, such as improving the bench's consistency, lamenting blown leads and ensuring everyone else maintains their high output. Thankfully they have the standings race to help push the Lakers along, even if they don't want it to define their season.

"We're not worried about skipping steps," Bryant said. "We're worried about our execution. That's all we did then and that's all we'll do now."

-- Mark Medina

Top photo: Lakers guard Kobe Bryant has his shot challenged by New Orleans center Emeka Okafor in the game Sunday night at Staples Center. Credit: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times

Bottom photo: Lakers guard Kobe Bryant has his driving layup challenged by Hornets center Emeka Okafor in the first half Sunday evening at Staples Center. Credit: Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press

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That's one of the things that makes Kobe a champion...he doesnt focus on other teams, but on his game & his team. His attitude (and that of Phil) has trickled down to others on the team, which helps explain the horrific SPANKING they put on the Spurs in San Anton' earlier this month. If the Lakers play anywhere NEAR that level in the playoffs, home court edge will be irrelevant vs the Spurs, although chasing them down in the race for best record would most likely seal the deal.

The genius of Phil Jackson (and Laker management) was clearly shown in the willingness to PAMPER Bynum during the fall & let him take his sweet time in returning to form. Drew had to suck it up & play through pain in last year's playoffs...this season he hasnt even had his knee drained yet, though that remains an option during the playoffs if necessary.

As a longtime Laker fan, it is especially gratifying (and not at all surprising) to see the aging Celtics circling the drain after Doc Rivers made such a big deal about getting home-court advantage. Even as the season started it sounded totally presumptuous of him to expect the AGING trio of Allen/Garnett/Pierce to have the best record AND still be fresh in May & June.

The only reason Boston peaked in May & June last year was because they COASTED the second-half of the season, barely going .500 after the All-Star break. The ill-advised Perkins trade has also badly hurt the team's chemistry, which is apparent to anyone who has watched them meltdown in the 4th-quarter of recent games vs the Pacers, Bobcats & Grizz. Even the Love-less T-Wolves erased a 25-point deficit & nearly beat the badly fading Celts.

Add to that the fact that Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau was the architect of the Celt's lockdown defense that helped them win the 2008 title & Boston is dead-in-the-water. Even if they beat the chemistry-challenged Heat, the Celts will NOT beat the Bulls...Chicago & Miami are the FUTURE of the Eastern Conference & Boston is clearly the PAST.

Lakers>Bulls in 6 games for the 3-PEAT.

island priest,

DUDE!!!! It is a Monday! PUT THE PIPE DOWN!!!

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

Lakers Today... Lakers Tomorrow... Lakers Forever.


"Diandra, you enquired about mud and hobbit ages. Well it's a combined age of about 30 between the 2."

Um, I didn't inquire about their age. I inquired bout everyone who is acting like an annoying troll and not putting forth anything interesting to the blog except for excessive bickering which is a pain to scroll past.


I'm speaking more to that when Phil receives a question like "what do you do differently when it comes to the playoffs?" he has to fill that question with some sort of response that will appease everyone. The question is pointed in a way that if he responds with what I think the real answer is, he'll come off as rigid and unprepared. If he says he has some new things to throw out there, everyone is happy.

Most players and coaches do a great job of talking without saying anything. Phil has preferences about who he would like to face in the playoffs but he knows better than to answer questions about it.

There's more urgency when it comes to the playoffs and every play and decision is going to be under the media microscope but when it comes down to it, it's still basketball and teams are still trying to do whatever it takes to win just like they did for the first 82 games.

@ Jon K- I was going to chime in with face eating cats, but your delivery was better anyway! I laughed for more than a moment.
@ Island Priest - I think we should all start to refer to ourselves in the third person. Hogan thinks that would be funny. Hogan also agrees that Kobe can shoot us out of some games, but he wins us a lot more than he looses. Come on man, would you want to face Kobe if he was on another team. I wouldn't. Why do you think we have so many trolls lurking around here...
@ S Perkens - Personally challenging people on the internet behind your keyboard? Pretty tough!

Here's hoping for home court. It is a huge advantage obviously. I can live with the Spurs being ahead of us but that's about it....

"The only reason Boston peaked in May & June last year was because they COASTED the second-half of the season, barely going .500 after the All-Star break. Posted by: Verballistic | March 28, 2011 at 11:17 PM "

I hadn't really thought about it much but what's the difference between what they did last year and what they're doing now?

Lamar Odom on him winning the NBA 6th Man Award for 2010-20111 season.

"For guys like Kobe [Bryant] and Derek [Fisher], guys I've learned from, it's a compliment to them if something like that was to happen."

A great testament that the Kobe's influence on Odom's play goes far deeper than he gets credit for.

I'm a huge fan of momentum. Last year was the exception to the rule. In most cases a team needs to be playing well and winning games to make it very far in the playoffs. There is plenty of time off in between playoff games so as to not worry about energy. That's what used to drive me crazy about Shaq. "I'll be reday for the playoffs", "I make my free throws when they count". Be ready now! They all count! What are we paying you for man! I like the engergy of Kobe lead teams much better....

I just watched the Lakers Classic Kobe's 62 against Dallas. Here are a few of my thoughts from the game:

-Del Harris looks the same as he did when he coached Kobe during his rookie year.

-DJ Mbenga sighting.

-Laron Profit looks very similar to Kobe. I'm not talking about his game. I'm talking about their body structures. If you put Kobe's face on Laron's body or vice versa, you wouldn't be able to tell the difference. [Laron Profit was one of my favorites coming off the bench. Sucks he got a season ending injury that year and was waived. I wish him the best.]

-Andrew Bynum (a healthy Andrew Bynum) didn't check into the game until 5 minutes left in the 4th quarter. He sat most of the game farthest down the bench.

-Kobe gave Dirk a black eye when he flailed his arms after being fouled. I believe this sort of action was a precursor for Kobe being suspended after he gave Ginobli a black eye doing a similar play.

-Before the crowd was chanting "M-V-P", they were chanting "Ko-Be."

Other thoughts:
I know a lot of people gripe about the Smush Parker days, but I never thought he was that bad of a player. He did have his tantrums and other attitude problems but I think people, including Kobe, expected too much from him. [Hell, who didn't Kobe throw under the bus?] For being undrafted and signed from the summer league only to receive a minimum, Smush did overachieve. He would have been a decent back-up. It's not his fault management couldn't sign better players.

p.s. I am planning to repost this.


you are hereby issued two citations for speeding and recklace driving for introducing and perpetuating "The Dog and Cat Show"

Do dogs chase cats???

It's hard to remember Kobe as an immature kid because of just how much he's grown up over the past few years. I look at Lebron and think jesus christ, what a moron. But then I think about Kobe at 25-26. Granteed, he was no where NEAR as big as a douche as Lebron. (the decision, saying they will win 8 championships, ugh give me a break)

I guess I can see how people have grown to hate Kobe. That and he's crushed so many peoples dreams of their team winning some bling bling

who owns whom?

i'm enjoying the puppet show.

i also enjoy Kobe's game. i only go back to Wilt, West, Baylor and Goodrich.

i also enjoy people who overestimate themselves taking titles they don't understand, but i mostly like them in fiction.

Bay to LA, you mean you haven't noticed that things change in the playoffs? no, Phil DOESN'T alway give 100% towards winning games in the regular/practice season. indeed, he DOES use the season to work out things for the playoffs. he DOES try to win as many games as possible, but he won't go to every length to win a game, if he has the oppotunity to demonstrate a principle that needs to be understood(time outs, rotations, "holding people accountable") or if the team is working out how to execute a strategy, something that can take a few weeks. he'll keep them working on it, even if they drop a game or two because of it.

you say Phil's being vague. he's a pretty straight shooter most of the time. he says he won't tell, if he won't tell and he speaks his message regardless of what people want to hear(yes, he'll ignore a question entirely if it allows him to spoon feed the message he wants to impart). well, that's what a head coach does...the thing is, he's not lying when he says that there are wrinkles he won't show until later. do you think that the team doesn't actually work on a plan and then execute it? how do you think they win at all?

i only go back to Wilt, West, Baylor and Goodrich.

...and Happy Hairston!

I just spent 5 minutes scrolling through the crap that the trolls left in and amongst the 120 or so posts ....what the hay is that ... If you hate. ..... Go hate in some other place... I love reading,but for Petes sake .... I love the the lakers... If you don't then go down to your local hardware store, buy some wood, build a bridge and get over it... 29 other teams would love fisher on their team... I know I do...

The "40 year old virgin" never learns. *sigh*

As Hobbit said, let it go! just let it go!


Celtics facing the Knicks in the 1st round......that would be fun to watch!



The Spurs are falling apart.

The Mavs are chasing us down.

The Thunder are 9-1 in their last 10.

The Hornets are done.

The Blazers are hurting.

The Grizzlies are moving on up (Shane Battier trade?).

The Nuggets are first round fodder.

The Western Conference Playoff picture is beginning to come into focus.


Posted by: Don't Blame Del Harris! | March 28, 2011 at 06:46 AM


I think SA was running FROM the Lakers rather than away in the standings. Keeping yourself safe from an opponent doesn't always mean one needs to run backward or AWAY. By keeping a seemingly insurmountable lead over the Lakers, SA fooled itself into title contention. In essence, they were staying ahead of the bully, rather than hiding from him.

The Spurs were running at full bore/high rev for too long, and now the speed wobble has taken over. Hold on tight Spurs fans, it's going to be a bumpy ride!

The Boston Spurs (or San Antonio Celtics) are in similar disarray due to prolonged redlining. It's only a matter of time now...

No retreat. No defeat. All 3-peat!



Island Priest,

Unless you bought a book by JRR Tolkien, you have NEVER owned a hobbit.

However, I suggest that you keep hitting the pipe. Smoke more! SMOKE
MORE! Blow out what few braincells you have left and then you'll forget
about basketball.


I'm speaking more to that when Phil receives a question like "what do you do differently when it comes to the playoffs?" he has to fill that question with some sort of response that will appease everyone. The question is pointed in a way that if he responds with what I think the real answer is, he'll come off as rigid and unprepared. If he says he has some new things to throw out there, everyone is happy.

Most players and coaches do a great job of talking without saying anything. Phil has preferences about who he would like to face in the playoffs but he knows better than to answer questions about it.

There's more urgency when it comes to the playoffs and every play and decision is going to be under the media microscope but when it comes down to it, it's still basketball and teams are still trying to do whatever it takes to win just like they did for the first 82 games.

Posted by: Bay to LA | March 28, 2011 at 11:51 PM

As I have always said (which gets under people's skin for some reason), I'll defer to Phil Jackson. I think you are wrong about the playoffs resembling the 82-game mess (other than the fact that it is still basketball and not some other sport) and I also think you are wrong that Phil Jackson needs to "appease" anyone if they ask him specifics about what will be done differently in the playoffs that he didn't do in the practice season. So let's "agree to disagree" on this topic. :)

Good morning crue!

Bronxlakerfan: I agree with your post regarding the Bulls. Justa - we miss you!

Deng is definitely the #2. I also really like Noah. He has great energy and a crzy kind of defensive presence - reminds me of Rodman except not as great a rebounder. But Noah does cause havoc in the post.

The other factor with the Bulls is Coach Thib. He drew up the Greenies defensive schemes for their winning run. And given his current personnel, I think they will transition to a higher playoff level when the time comes.

But I also expect them to be utilizing the "hide from the ref" elbows, punches, hooks, etc. which helped the Greenies in their effort.

It will be great to watch the EC playoffs from afar as they battle it out. If it ends up being the Bulls and Greenies in the ECF - that will be a great series.

Back to the mighty fine LAKERS! I think the team definitely follows the games WAY MORE than they let on to the news hounds. Kobe just says he doesn't care because he thinks that's more of a soundbite than yes, I totally watch the games and standings. The way he answers now make for no additional questions asked. Same thing with his injuries. He shuts down the media so they don't continue to bother him. I totally get that and agree.

They can watch all the games they want, but at the end of the day, if they don't take care of their own games (and home court), there won't be a HCA for us. This year, the WC has at least been a little more interesting - keeps our guys focused.

Cheers all - PLG

I don't see the Bulls getting past the Lakers if the two meet in the Finals. As has been stated in this blog...they have great defense but an anemic offense that will really show against an equally good defensive team such as the Lakers. Miami matches up pretty well against us just because of the fact they have two legit superstars, and Boston of course because they are Boston. In fact, getting to the finals may be the hardest road. The prospect of seeing a healthy Lakers squad with all its pieces in place for the playoffs is exciting.


While Derrick Rose's offense has been excellent, he believes Chicago's defense is what makes the team a title contender.

“If you want to win, to separate yourself from all other teams in the NBA, you’ll do it,’’ Rose said. “We just try to come in and work hard every day, especially on the defensive side.’’

Before Monday’s games, the Bulls ranked first in opponents’ field-goal shooting (42.8 percent), opponents’ three-point shooting (32.7 percent) and second in points allowed (91.1 a game) and rebounds per game (44.4) and fifth in blocks per game (5.72).

“The commitment was made early on in September, with guys coming in early to be in great shape,’’ coach Tom Thibodeau said. “The challenge for us was to see how quickly we could get everyone on the same page and tie it together. The fact that we were able to add some guys who had done it before helped move us along quickly.’’

Chicago's defense resembles the one Thibodeau helped create while an assistant with the Celtics.

“It’s definitely weird,’’ Rose said. “He’ll say something about them, how good they are. We’re kind of the same team. We both over-help on the defensive side. Usually people do that in college. That’s not normal NBA defense. Most NBA teams leave you out on an island. We help everywhere, and we depend on each other.’’


I've been watching the Bulls lately. They lay everything out there every night much like the 2008 Celtics did. IF they reach the Finals, we will be ready for them, but they won't be quite as ready for us should we be fortunate enough to reach that destination. I see them like the Thunder last season with Rose being better than Westbrook and the same solid interior defense. Can Boozer give the Bulls what Durant gives OKC? I just can't see them being any better than they already are, while I know we have a couple of gears left. Don't count out the Heat to come out of the East. Superstars know that extra gear in the playoffs.

Good morning, great losses last night that helped us. I too like Kobe's attitude of our Lake Show focusing on "them" first. The energy we have right now going into the playoffs keeps building and I hope continues. Things have definitely gotten interesting but again we need to focus on ourselves and let the chips fall wherever they may.


>>>We agree on one thing !!!! Life is too short to keep arguing with you Fisher
>>>loving know nothings !!!!!

Let's see. Who was the point guard whose team lost the championships last season because he can't shoot for sh*t so the opposing team just backed off and dared him to shoot?

Was that Fisher?

Oh. No. That's right. That was Rondo.

Look to your own house for PG problems, S Perkins.

And by the way... shouldn't you now be cheering for Oklahoma City? Or changing your name to N. Krstic?

>>>The key players in order of importance are pau, bynum, lo and then kobe.

Island Priest? What island might that be? Maybe Jamaica? And what religion? Maybe Rastafarianism? I think you've been smoking too much of the sacred herbs of your religion and it has clouded your judgement.


You raised the question as to what the Bulls can expect from Boozer in the playoffs. I'd be surprised if they get much more than what Utah got from him. Boozer is undersized at PF and always struggles against size. I think Luol Deng is more suited to the task of being Rose's wingman. Boozer leaves me cold.

Good morning PLG!! The fact that you agree with me about something lets me know I'm on the right track! :)

>>> For being undrafted and signed from the summer league only to receive a
>>>minimum, Smush did overachieve. He would have been a decent back-up.
>>>It's not his fault management couldn't sign better players.

I'd agree. Smush would have been a reasonable backup NBA point guard. Thrusting him onto a high profile team (any team with Kobe is high profile) merely put into bold print how inadequate he is as an NBA starter. Would have been the same case if Shannon Brown or Sun Yue had been asked to start with that squad.

But I wouldn't say Kobe ever threw Smush under the bus. The only player he ever specifically referred to was Bynum, when he suggested to a fan that they should "trade his ass away" to get Jason Kidd. But in those days, Bynum wasn't playing like he was now. Kobe would never have asked for a defensive stud and double-double threat to be traded away.

But I will point out that when paired with Smush and other weak players, Dwyane Wade missed the playoffs despite having Shaq on his team. And on that team, Smush wasn't even good enough to get minutes over Ricky Davis and Chris Quinn, so Wade had more than Kobe but couldn't drag them to a title.

So all in all, you'd have to agree that Smush wasn't a very good player, and that he never contributed as much as a Derek Fisher (or even a Shannon Brown or Jordan Farmar) to a team.

No more going back to Smush, it is a blast from the past. Pure bad luck mojo. It is like revisiting the Dark Age during the Middle Age or the Potato Famine in Ireland. In the case of the Lakers, it was a victory famine and Kobe ranting years. LMAO!

So now the Lakers lead everybody but San Antonio.

And San Antonio is hurting with Ginobili and Duncan out (and Parker day to day). Two weeks ago, most pundits were saying the Lakers had no chance to catch the Spurs for the best record in the west. Now it's not looking so implausible... especially with the Lakers playing the Spurs on the last game of the season. If the Lakers are even 1 game back at that point (and the Spurs lead is now only 3 games), then they will decide their own fate.

And Boston is reeling with Rondo with jammed fingers and a pair of broken O'Neals

And Boston and San Antonio play each other on Thursday, so one of them is going to take another hit to their record.

At this point, I'm starting to wonder if the young Bulls can actually pull it off and come out of the East and shock Boston and Miami (and Orlando). More likely would be Miami coming from a lower seed to reach the finals. Both Wade and LeBron have experience getting to the finals, which is more than anyone but Thibodeau has for Chicago.

OTOH, San Antonio could be going through what the Lakers went through at the end of last season, with some non-season-ending injuries hampering them. If Duncan, Ginobili, and Parker all can get back to mostly healthy for the playoffs, I think they're still the hardest opponent the Lakers will face in the playofs.

Whatever the case, I think if the Lakers win out at this point, they could get the top seed and carry this wave of momentum into another title.

Oh, and by the way. If the Lakers make it back to the #1 overall seed in the NBA, then all this talk of Derrick Rose or Dwight Howard as MVP should cease and the press should do what's right and give the award to the Mamba.

If Rose manages to get his team back to the top seed in the east, then maybe he's still in the conversation. But Howard's magic aren't even a top 3 seed, so he shouldn't be in the discussion. Or if he should, then Kevin Love and Blake Griffin should be as well.

Lakernation rise and shine!

I see there's still plenty of talk about dogs and cats.. Maybe there's only one true way to end this debate.

If ur caught in an island and had a choice of which to eat which one would u choose? Probably the dog I heard their meat is more tender and makes for a great aphrodisiac.

Okay now that was totally out of line.. Sorry! (Stop reading now if ur eating).. But I heard you can still walk through remote countryside villages in some parts of asia and see dogs hanging in restaurants marinated and skewered like little chickens at ur local koo koo roo. I aint lyin!

Lakers may be leading now but it is still dicey with regards to ultimate results. Lakers has to continue winning in the next 10 games to maintain the edge against all Eastern teams except SA here in the West. From now on, Lakers should take care of the switch, put it in a lock box to protect it from trolls then place it in the legendary Chickie baby's refrigerator together with jiggling jellos and eggs. lol!

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