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Lakers Try To Stay Warm

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The Lakers are halfway through the “Coldest places in North America during the dead of winter” road trip to the Midwest and East. So far: four games, two wins.

Not a stellar outcome, but not bad considering they have two starters (Luke Walton and Kwame Brown) watching games in street clothes, plus had to play one without Kobe Bryant (for an infraction far less serious than what LeBron James got away with without a suspension, but that’s a rant for another day).

Last Saturday’s win against Washington was the trip highpoint so far -- not because of the fun first-half Kobe vs. Gilbert Arenas shootout but because it may have been the Lakers’ best defensive game of the season. Smush Parker did a great job forcing Washington’s Mr. Everything Arenas to his weaker right side and the result was a 9 for 29 shooting night and a Laker win. The problem with Smush and the entire Laker squad this season is their attention span on defense is about that of a second-grader in need of Ritalin. So we’ll see what happens the rest of this week.

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Tonight the Lakers are in the one warm spot on the trip, Atlanta (got up to a balmy 46 today for the high) to take on the athletic but young-and-we-play-like-it Hawks. The game starts at 4, unless you want to watch it on KCAL 9 in which case it starts at 5:30 (got to make those advertisers happy). Something to look for: if the Atlanta youngsters like Joe Smith and Josh Childress are taking their shots near the basket the Lakers could be in trouble, if thy have to take jump shots the Lakers win handily.