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Get Out Your #2 Pencils

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Just what do we know about this season’s Lakers after nine games? We know they can win with Kobe dragging one leg behind him (although he looked better Friday night against Toronto, to the point that Phil Jackson benched him for “imposing his will” on the game and ignoring teammates). We know that young guys like Andrew Bynum, Jordan Farmar and Ronny Turiaf can take on more than maybe we thought. We know Luke Walton is developing into quite a player.

But while the Lakers have jumped out to a nice little 6-3 record, the teams they have done it against have a combined record of 29-43. So we really don’t know that much.

This week, the Lakers better sharpen those #2 pencils because it’s test time – they take on four teams with a combined record of 19-11, including three division leaders. It starts tonight with the Chicago Bulls (tune in to ESPN to hear the guys who just flew into town this morning national guys or check out the local broadcast on Fox Sports), followed by the Clippers Tuesday, the surprising Utah Jazz Friday and the New Jersey Nets next Sunday.

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The Lakers have gotten away with some stuff in the first nine games — namely turnovers — that they won’t this week. So far this season the Lakers have turned the ball over on 20.3% of their possessions (only one NBA team has turned the ball over more) and if they do that tonight against Chicago, or the rest of the week, the Lakers will pay the price.

It’s a real test, the first big test on the schedule for Los Angeles this season. By the time we go to bed next Sunday night, we’ll know a lot more about this team. And just like any big test that is a little scary.

AP photo by Jeff Lewis