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February 2007

As always, it's best to start off any Lakers practice report with an injury update. Luke and Kwame both ran today. says in Walton's current state, he's not ready to play him (see previous parenthetical). Kwame wasn't available postpractice for comment, having headed in for treatment, or lunch, or something. Point is, he wasn't around. But you'll hear in the audio that he's making progress. Andrew Bynum still is riddled with flulike symptoms (otherwise known as the flu), and was excused from practice. Finally, Mo Evans, who collided with Utah's Matt Harpring in Monday's win experienced some swelling in his right knee. He went to see the doctor and had 60cc's of clear fluid drained from the joint. No word on if, like tonsils, he got to take it home. And while I'm no House, I'm pretty sure clear is good. Evans is considered day to day.

A threegame win streak is great and everything. But if it's all the same, the Lakers will continue to assume they could use a little extra help, which makes the news of impending cavalry rather sweet. Kwame Brown and Luke Walton are both expected back sometime next week, with the latter holding an outside chance for Friday against Sacto. In the eyes of Tony Meija, Billy's Boy could be the difference between the Lakers remaining just inside his top 10 or jumping even higher. No word as to whether Walton's presence would propel the Lakers past 6 for Tim Legler. But if you ask Steve Kerr, , the Lakers

Here it is, the grand finale of our recent interview with Lakers GM Mitch Charles Woodson Jersey Ebay Kupchak. The teaser and Part I covered everything from how an endless string of injuries may (or in this case, may not) affect the team's trade deadline action to the hypothetical ability to keep big men Andrew Bynum, Kwame Brown and Chris Mihm in the fold down the road. In our final installment, Kupchak discusses, among other topics, his own playing days, how that NBA experience shaped his GM tenure and ManuGate. Here's what he had to say.

Brian Kamenetzky: With Kobe this year, so much has been written and said about the changing perception of him and his play. Whether you want to call it an evolution or a maturation or whatever, he's playing and speaking differently this year than in years past. Is this something you could see coming? Have you seen something like this before? Is there someone you can compare it to?

Mitch Kupchak: Off the top of my head, no. But once again, due to an unfortunate circumstance, we were able to have Phil Jackson return last year. I think their growth together has really made Phil a better coach and I also feel it's made Kobe a better ballplayer. We were very happy with Rudy Tomjanovich, and I think Kobe would have continued to grow as a player and a person under Rudy, but we'll never know. But we could have made the wrong choice when Rudy stepped down. I think we made the right choice. Because they do have a special bond, the two of them right now, and they're good for each other.

We'll keep switching up the "Know Thy Enemy" moniker if change continues bringing about Laker wins. Or we run out of titles, admit defeat and go back to the original name, whichever comes first.

At any rate, tonight's dudes come from Utah, and like the music they're named for, are currently bebopping along like a MilesTraneMingusBudBlakey quintet. With only one February loss to their names (against Portland, proving those cats can throw everyone's mojo sideways), the squad few media types (including either K Brother) pegged for '06'07 success have the Northwest division locked up like Bobby Brown. And while the Lakers remain snakebit when it comes to injury, they can't catch a break when it comes to an opponent's health. There's a good shot Mehmet Okur and Andrei Kirilenko will be back in uni, putting the Jazz at full strength for tonight's rumble.

Unless you're Forest Whitaker, Helen Mirren or another one of these Hollywood big shots, Academy Award Sunday meant watching other people win everything. But Laker fans didn't need to get handed a gold statue, because they got their 10285 win against the Golden State Warriors before the ceremony even began. As per usual, Kobe Bryant got his, notching 11 Charles Woodson Jersey of his 26 before the opening dozen minutes expired. And should No. 24 decide down the stretch to do some hardcore stumping for an MVP award, he can skip a NorCal campaign stop, since the people have Nike Charles Woodson Jersey already pledged their vote. But the afternoon featured more than just a repeat episode of "The Kobe Bryant Hour." Keeping in harmony with the "Oscar" theme, Mo Evans provided one heck of a "best supporting" performance, racking a careerhigh 26 points in his second consecutive start at small forward. Need any proof of how hard he worked for those points (even if a little luck was involved)? His black and blue hips don't lie. Actually, a lotta folks were working their butts off, which may explain the lack of success on Golden State's part when it came to adding some points to the box score.

Yes, I know the game was in Oakland, but I couldn't think of anything as (and I use this word loosely) witty for that city. So you get said RiceARoni reference, and no complaining. The point is, the Lakers went into the mausoleum known as Oracle Arena on Sunday Charles Woodson Black Jersey and put their nowstandard beatdown on the Warriors, 10285. After a slow start, the Lakers used a massive 337 first half run to get some distance between themselves and Golden State, led by Kobe Bryant and Mo Evans, who justified his position in the starting lineup with a careerhigh 26 points. In the second half, the Warriors occasionally looked kind of like they might want to try and sort of maybe get back into the game . but not really. As he did against the Celtics on Friday, Phil Jackson treated his rotation like a kindergarten tball game, letting everyone have a chance to play. And again, Shammond Williams provided quality minutes with seven points and three boards.