OK, it might not be much of a secret anymore, because the Lakers are suddenly looking a lot like the team they were supposed to be when the season started. Last night's close win over a struggling Mavericks team brought Los Angeles to 11-4 in their past 15 games, and they're only 2½ games out of the last playoff spot in the Western Conference. That spot usually doesn't portend success, but it's a unique situation; this team and the one that started the season 17-25 have precious little in common.

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A .500 team?

In order to finally make it to .500, the Lakers will have to beat a tough Nuggets team on the road.


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