Lakers forward Metta World Peace fouls Clippers power forward Blake Griffin… (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles…)
The Lakers played a short week before hitting the All-Star break. A solid win over the Phoenix Suns was followed by a loss to the Clippers.
Kobe Bryant scored just four points with eight turnovers and yet the Lakers managed a 91-85 victory over Phoenix. The Clippers blasted the Lakers 125-101.
Given their position in the standings, the Lakers have gotten needed help with the Houston Rockets and Portland Trail Blazers playing inconsistently. The Blazers have lost five straight but the Lakers need to catch at least two teams to make the playoffs.
The week was not without its controversy.
Dwight Howard dismissed comments made by his father that Kobe Bryant should keep quiet about his son's shoulder injury and that Coach Mike D'Antoni should silence Bryant.
Howard possesses the unused power to shut down the circus surrounding his upcoming free-agent status with a little white lie and/or empty promise.
Regardless, the Lakers center said he was told by General Manager Mitch Kupchak that he would not be traded.
Pau Gasol, out with a torn plantar fascia (foot), said he won't need surgery, although he'll still be out for nearly two months.
The Lakers had another scare when Earl Clark went to have an MRI on his sore right foot. Fortunately for the team, the results came back negative and Clark was cleared to play.
While the Lakers are short-handed with injury and struggling, D'Antoni said he's not pushing for roster additions.
D'Antoni also remarked that every Lakers player knows his role; he just may not accept what's asked of him. He also said he supported Howard's decision to play in the All-Star game despite the iffy shoulder.
As the week came to a close, Bryant was questioning his teammates' commitment.
In another development, Lakers owner Jerry Buss was hospitalized with an undisclosed form of cancer. Bryant said Buss' "Showtime" Lakers inspired him as a child in Italy.
Dirk Nowitzki said Bryant is the "No. 1 player" over the last 15 years. Michael Jordan said he'd pick Bryant over LeBron James based on the Laker guard's five championship rings.
Former Lakers coach Mike Brown said Howard is "definitely not 100%."
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