Monday , Feb , 13 , 2006 C.Y. Ellis

Lakers are struggling

(Sports Network) – The Los Angeles Lakers have lost five of their last six
games overall and have dropped to .500 (25-25) on the season. They trail the
division-leading Phoenix Suns by eight games in the Pacific.

The Lakers and Utah Jazz both try and get back on the winning track, as the
clubs square off on Monday at the Staples Center. It is the fourth and final
meeting of the season between the clubs. The teams split a pair of contests at
the Delta Center, while the Jazz beat the Lakers, 98-94, on January 1st at the
Staples Center.

Utah has won two straight and three of the last four meetings against the
Lakers. The Jazz have won two of their last three at the Lakers.

The Lakers play the second of a five-game homestand. Chucky Atkins scored 18
points and burned his old team by making a free throw with three seconds left,
to boost the Memphis Grizzlies to a 100-99 victory over the Lakers on Saturday
at the Staples Center.

Kobe Bryant tallied 26 points, but couldn’t get off a last-second shot, as Los
Angeles has lost eight of its last 12 contests overall. Smush Parker ended
with 20 points, while Kwame Brown tied a season-best with 18 points and pulled
down eight rebounds in defeat.

The Lakers are 12-9 as the host this season. They will host the Atlanta Hawks
on Wednesday in their final contest before the All-Star break. LA will also
play Portland and Sacramento on the current stand.

Bryant has scored more than 20 points in 30 straight games. He is averaging
36.8 points per contest in his last 10 outings. The All-Star guard leads the
league in scoring (35.2 ppg).

The Lakers have allowed 100 or more points in 10 of their last 12 contests.