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The Credits: "The Fifth Element"

The Lakers received bad news several hours before their game against the Philadelphia 76ers: Coach Mike Brown was to be suspended one game as punishment for his tantrum during Saturday's Utah Jazz game, and Assistant Coach John Kuester would be in charge for the night. Happy Monday, Lakers! Then the game happened, a 95-90 loss, leaving the Lakers at 1-2 halfway through their road trip.

All was not lost, however, as there were a couple of bright spots in the meltdown. First, Kobe Bryant passed Shaquille O'Neal to reach #5 on the NBA's all time scorers list, behind only Wilt Chamberlain, Michael Jordan, Karl Malone and Kareem Abdul Jabbar. Kobe now has 28,601 points, and he did it in his hometown, something he really wanted to do. Even former teammate/frenemy Shaq offered his congratulations on such an accomplishment. No doubt Kobe has had a career for the ages, and he's still not done. We are all witnesses. The other bright spot? Andrew Bynum's second career 20/20 game. Other than that, I got nothin'.

The Lakers' current Grammys road trip is far from their longest at six games. They played nine games away from home in '07-'08 and went 7-2; in '09-'10, they played eight and went 5-3. By any measure, the 2008 trip was their most successful, not just by record, but because they left pregnant with Kwame Brown and came home with a baby brother for Kobe named Pau Gasol. That said, don't expect this trip to end on the same high, even if the Lakers end up going 3-3. Even Pau Gasol acknowledges that change could be a'comin' sometime soon with the trade deadline set for March 15, a short five weeks away.

But let's not get ahead of ourselves. Next up: the 13-10 Boston Celtics. Maybe we can arrange for Tom Brady and Wes Welker to suit up for them and spot us two points to start the game.

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