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Lakers Fyi

Road isn't a dead zone

March 06, 2009|Mike Bresnahan

Kobe Bryant looked at a reporter and gently admonished him Thursday for acting like Stephen King.

After all, the Lakers don't seem too haunted by the specter of a ton of road games coming up after tonight's home game against Minnesota.

Ten of the Lakers' next 13 games will be away from Staples Center after tonight, which might make the team with the league's best road record at least mildly disquieted, no?

"Why, because we're terrified of going on the road?" Bryant said, smiling. "It's not like a concern where we're looking down the road and saying, 'Maybe we can break even on the road' or something like that. We don't think like that . . . so we're not too concerned about it, Stephen King."

The Lakers (49-12) are 21-8 on the road, though they haven't been so hot in other ZIP codes lately, losing to a determined Denver team and an undermanned Phoenix team in their last two efforts away from home.

They were able to beat an underwhelming Memphis team Tuesday at Staples Center, 99-89, but it wasn't impressive.

"We're playing well enough, I guess, right now," Derek Fisher said. "There's still weaknesses that we have and we want to shore up as the season winds down and we get into the postseason."


"Without Andrew [Bynum], his size and his presence defensively, as well as defensive rebounding and even some offensive rebounding, I think those are things that could be [weaknesses] if Lamar [Odom] is not having one of those monster 20-rebound games," Fisher said. "We still have some holes in that regard."

Bynum won't be back from a torn knee ligament until at least March 30, so the Lakers will have to find ways to contest more shots on defense and finish off defensive sequences by securing more rebounds.

After all, Portland, Houston and San Antonio will be waiting next week on the road.

"We have a lot of problems in the West, no doubt," Lakers Coach Phil Jackson said. "We have a three-game road trip that, the way we've been playing, we'll just be happy to win two of those games. We hope to get back on better footing [Friday] night."

No big deal?

Cleveland signed Joe Smith and Boston signed Stephon Marbury and Mikki Moore, but Jackson wasn't bothered that the Lakers didn't grab any free agents waived by other teams in time to be eligible for playoffs.

"They need extra players in Boston," Jackson said. "Cleveland needs extra players too. They lost Ben Wallace to a broken leg.

"Those teams really do need extra help."


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