Lakers fans ponder what next in season of ''Alice''

Sat Feb 9, 2013 3:59pm EST
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By Mark Lamport-Stokes

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Friday's come-from-behind victory over the lowly Charlotte Bobcats was the latest chapter in an 'Alice in Wonderland'-style season for the Los Angeles Lakers where very little has turned out to be what it seems.

Ace closer Kobe Bryant, held scoreless by Charlotte in the first half, finished with 20 points on six-of-15 shooting and eight assists as the Lakers overcame a 20-point deficit in the third quarter to win 100-93.

Once again, though, Lakers fans were left to wonder what would happen next in a bitterly disappointing campaign which began with lofty expectations after the off-season acquisitions of Dwight Howard and Steve Nash.

With that duo linking up with fellow All-Stars Bryant and Pau Gasol, many pundits instantly installed the Los Angeles franchise as the main threat this season to the NBA champion Miami Heat, and Lakers fans licked their lips in anticipation.

However, Bryant and company have since limped their way to a bitterly disappointing 24-27 record to sit 10th in the 15-team Western Conference, outside the top eight playoff spots.

They have not been helped by an ageing line-up, along with a spate of injuries and three different head coaches this season, and Bryant expressed his frustration after Friday's desperate win against the (11-38) Bobcats, the NBA's worst team.

"We have to play the right way," Bryant told reporters after saying he had been "irritated" by the team's all-round display in Charlotte. "When we have shots available, we take them.

"If we don't, move the ball on. It can't be about individual touches. If we lose the game, everybody points the finger at me for not shooting the ball. And that's fine.   Continued...

Los Angeles Lakers shooting guard Kobe Bryant (24) reacts after a play against the Charlotte Bobcats during the second half of their NBA basketball game in Charlotte, North Carolina February 8, 2013. REUTERS/Chris Keane