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LAKERS REPORT

Nothing to Fear but Themselves

March 22, 1998|SCOTT HOWARD-COOPER

The Lakers came through a tough stretch in impressive fashion, winning eight of nine games with a schedule that included two contests against Seattle and one each against Indiana, San Antonio, Phoenix and Portland.

Now they must deal with themselves.

"Today we had a bit of a frivolous attitude," Coach Del Harris said of Saturday's practice, which came the morning after a victory over the SuperSonics. "Hopefully by tomorrow we'll have gotten all the celebrating out."

What might be a minor concern for some teams is a flashing red light for the Lakers, given their well-documented struggles against the downtrodden, and especially since the next three games are at Sacramento, at Denver and home to the Kings. That means they're either in great position to add to the winning--victories in 11 of the last 14 outings--or in a real bad position.

"We've got to avoid the feeling of accomplishment," Harris said. "We just made another step [with the win Friday]. That's why I don't like to emphasize any one game. Because it makes the next game seem anti-climactic.

"If anything, it makes the next game more important. It's hard for a young team to understand that.

"That's typical for a young team. A veteran team, they're more business like. Our guys are still on an emotional roller coaster. That's part of growing up--staying focused for the long haul. I don't expect a young team to be focused all 82 games. But I expect them to be focused the last 20."

TODAY

at Sacramento

* 2 p.m.

* Channel 9

Site--Arco Arena.

Radio--KLAC (570).

Records--Lakers 47-19, Kings 26-42.

Record vs. Kings--2-0.

Update--The monthlong layoff may have been repair time for Nick Van Exel's right knee, but it didn't do much for the left one. Only four games after returning from the extended rest, the soreness that shadowed him all season has returned. He sat out practice Saturday, but should play today in the opener of the back-to-back that concludes at Denver. As should Eddie Jones, sore from his Friday collision with Seattle's Jim McIlvaine. Additionally, Rick Fox is battling back spasms, but he still contributed 18 points and seven assists to the win over the SuperSonics.

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