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It's a Slump

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There have been plenty of excuses: Luke Walton and Kwame Brown are out with injuries; Kobe Bryant had to miss a game because he can’t control his arms; Lamar Odom is not 100% from his knee problems; it was a long eight-game road trip to cold places; Mercury was retrograde so the stars were lined up against the Lakers.

Maybe it’s because all the Laker players can do is “play video games and watch porn,” which is what coach Phil Jackson accused them of last week.

None of it changes the fact that the Lakers have just three wins in their last 10 games. Their defense has been spotty (at best) and the smooth team offense that has bailed them out in the past has gone MIA. Lamar Odom is shooting just 39.6% since coming back off the injured reserve list, Smush Parker is putting up five three-point shots a game, but making just 30% of them. Brian Cook, Maurice Evans, it seems everyone but Kobe has hit a shooting slump at once.

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If they are going to bust out of it, there might not be a better time than starting tonight -- that’s when the New York Knicks are in town. The Knicks are bad but beat the Lakers by four points a couple weeks ago -- a game when Kobe was suspended (for a non-foul) and Odom’s knee was even wobblier. The game’s on television (7:30 on Fox Sports) but it will be tough to chose between the watching game, some people soon to be serving lattes again and a bunch of dogs for your valuable viewing time.

After the Knicks comes another chance to avenge a recently loss, this time against Cleveland (who the Lakers tied with just 3:30 left in the game then completely collapsed). Then comes the All Star break and a chance to rest (or get drunk and hang out with groupies in Las Vegas, whichever you prefer). Next week comes Portland, Boston (losers of 18 in a row) and Golden State. The Lakers could easily go 4-1 in the next five and look like a playoff team again.

That is, if the guys can put down the video games and lay off the porn for a couple days.

AP Photo by Paul Sancya