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A lot of work ahead for the Lakers
1 Feb, 2011

It looks like Phil Jackson had new worry to add to his list. That being the Los Angeles Lakers struggling against some NBA teams on the bottom, let alone the top teams.
The Lakers will have another chance against the Houston Rockets on Tuesday night, after a loss against them on at the NBA finals rematch. This will be a big opportunity for the Lakers to fight their way back up.
A hopeful game for the team was against the leader of the Eastern Conference, Boston, on Sunday, but the game ended in a loss of 109-96. Kobe Bryant was leading the team scores with 41 points, but the team still ended up gaining their fourth loss in seven games.
"We need to elevate our level and need to get better if we're to defend our throne," said Bryant, who has totaled 79 points in his last two games. "There's no other option but that."
Los Angeles is now 1-5 against top contenders Boston, Miami, Chicago, San Antonio and Dallas, but it also has struggles against the some teams that should be beatable.
Sacramanto was one of them, along with Milwaukee and Indiana at Staples Center, equaling the number of lost games at Staples with all of 2009-10.
"It's probably more of a disappointment to me that we haven't taken care of the teams that we should take care of," Jackson said. "The inconsistency is what bothers me the most. ... (But) we have two years of pretty good records in the playoffs, don't we? That's what makes me optimistic."
A busy upcoming schedule may also be part of Jackson's worries.
After the game with the Rockets (22-27), Los Angeles will be hosting San Antonio on Thursday before embarking on a seven-game road trip while the Grammys take place at Staples Center.
Houston rallied for a 109-99 home win over the Lakers on Dec. 1, closing the game on a 25-8 run.
The Lakers also had trouble against the Rockets in their Oct. 26 season opener, ending the game was and impressive a 27-foot 3-pointer from Steve Blake with 19 seconds remaining to win 112-110.
Bryant scored 27 points in each game for Los Angeles, which has won eight of the last 10 in the series.
Houston's Kevin Maring totaled 48 points in this season's first two meetings with the Lakers, but finished with 10 points while shooting 4 of 13 from the field in Saturday's 108-95 loss to the Spurs.
"I just lost the rhythm," said Martin, who averages a team-best 23.0 points. "I don't know how I lost it, but I just lost the rhythm."
Martin has alternated good and bad outings in his last six games. He's averaged 31.0 points on 50.0-percent shooting in three of those games, but 12.0 while shooting 28.6 percent in the other three.
The Rockets have lost four of six overall and six of nine away from Houston.