Monday at Utah, 6 p.m. PST, Channel 9 -- Karl Malone and Shaquille O'Neal sat out Malone's Salt Lake City homecoming Jan. 24, when the Lakers won, 93-86, and the brain surgeons who run Jazz promotions had a Malone sound-alike make a fake phone call to the team's mascot over the public address system that insulted Malone.
Wednesday at Boston, 4 p.m. PST (Channel 9, 5:30) -- Remember when this game meant something? Remember how you thought all day about how the Lakers would battle the Celtics, the referees and the goblins inside Boston Garden? Now it's just another game, one the Lakers probably will win big. Pity.
Friday at Minnesota, 5 p.m. PST (Channel 9, 6) -- Here's the real competition on this four-game trip. The Timberwolves have emerged as a force. Adding Sam Cassell (averaging 20.7 points) and Latrell Sprewell (17.6 points) bolstered the roster. The Timberwolves have won their first two against the Lakers, 106-90 and 97-84.
Saturday at Chicago, 5:30 p.m. PST, Channel 9 -- Oddly enough, given the Bulls' standing as league punching bag, the Lakers have lost two in a row at Chicago. However, the Lakers won easily Nov. 21 at Staples Center. There's not much to like, or fear, about the lottery-destined Bulls.
-- Elliott Teaford