Monday , Mar , 20 , 2006 C.Y. Ellis

Lakers better be careful

(Sports Network) – The Los Angeles Lakers are back to being a .500 team
(34-34). They are tied with the Sacramento Kings for No. 7 in the Western
Conference playoff race.

New Orleans/Oklahoma City is one game out of the playoff hunt, while the Utah
Jazz trail the Kings and Lakers by two games.

On Monday, the Lakers and Boston Celtics meet for the final time in the
2005-06 campaign, as the teams square off at TD Banknorth Garden.

On February 26th, Paul Pierce scored 39 points and made the winning free throw
with 3.2 seconds left to catapult Boston to a 112-111 victory over the Lakers
at the Staples Center. The Celtics have won two straight and five of the last
nine meetings in this series. The Lakers have lost three of their last four at
the Celtics.

Los Angeles attempts to halt a two-game losing streak as it wraps up a three-
game road trip against the Celtics. On Sunday, Ronald Murray made 1-of-2 free
throws with 3.4 seconds left and scored 13 of his 21 points during the
deciding fourth quarter, as the Cleveland Cavaliers knocked off the Lakers,
96-95, at Quicken Loans Arena.

Kobe Bryant scored a game-high 38 points, grabbed six boards and dished out
five assists in the loss to Cleveland for the Lakers, while Lamar Odom
contributed 25 points, eight rebounds and nine assists in defeat.

The Lakers, who have lost four of their last five games overall, are just
16-21 on the road this season.

Bryant, who leads the league in scoring (34.7 ppg), has scored over 20 points
in 48 straight contests. He is averaging 33.3 points and 5.0 assists in his
last 10 outings.

After Monday’s game, the Lakers return home to host Sacramento, Milwaukee, New
Orleans/Oklahoma City and San Antonio. The Lakers are 18-13 as the host this

The Lakers are scheduled to play 10 of their final 14 games this season at