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Disgruntled Laker fans, it’s time to come back home.

I know a lot of you went astray in the frustrating aftermath of the Shaq/Kobe split, when there wasn’t enough money to keep their enormous egos on the same court. The Kobe vs. The World teams for a couple years provided some cheap thrills but didn’t win your heart.

Then many of you had a little affair with the Clippers last spring, but you are forgiven for that. They were new and sexy, what with Sam Cassell’s bald head and all, but apparently they were not built to last.

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Now your Lakers are back and, frankly, playing their most exciting basketball since Shaq, Kobe and Phil first got together. They are 23-11, and 6-2 against the other top six teams in the West.

There’s a lot to like. Kobe is still here, but he and his game have matured and suddenly the Lakers are the best passing team in basketball. Plus you can watch this young team blossom before your eyes: Andrew Bynum, the kid in a man’s body who is realizing just how good he can be; Ronny Turiaf going from open-heart surgery 18 months ago to playing key minutes now; Sasha Vujacic waking from his extended nap to hitting game-winning threes.

So far this season the ride has been fun and unexpected, and there are going to be a lot more exciting games ahead like the clutch win against Dallas Sunday or the overtime win up in Sacramento last Thursday. And that’s just the first part of the journey. If you get back on the bandwagon now good seats are still available. No questions will be asked. You can start tonight (vs. the new and improved Memphis Grizzlies, 5 p.m. on KCAL 9).

AP Photo by Jeff Lewis