What in the world is going on with the Lakers right now? After closing out the month of December by winning six of seven games, Kobe Bryant & Co. are now 2-10 in the month of January and currently sitting in the No. 12 spot in the Western Conference playoff picture behind teams like the Jazz, Rockets, and Timberwolves. In fact, as hard as it is to believe this, the Lakers are only three games ahead of the Hornets in the Western Conference standings, and they are the worst team in the conference so far this season. It's pretty crazy when you consider that a lot of people out there picked the Lakers to go to the NBA Finals this season.

But, that's not the only bad news the Lakers are dealing with right now. In addition to their struggles on the court, they're also dealing with a new Los Angeles Times report that emerged last night that indicates that Kobe and Dwight Howard might not be getting along off the court. According to the report, Kobe asked Howard if he doesn't enjoy playing alongside of him during a team meeting yesterday, and Howard was "despondent" and refused to answer. Howard denied the report after he re-aggravated an injury to his right shoulder during last night's loss to the Grizzlies—"Whatever was said that [Kobe] said is not true," he told reporters—but it's clear that something isn't right with the Lakers right now. And, a rift between Kobe and Howard would certainly explain a few things.

So, what gives here? Have things really gotten that bad in L.A.? Or, is the whole Dwight-Howard-doesn't-like-playing-with-Kobe thing getting blown out of proportion? Either way, the Lakers better get it together…and get it together fast. If they want to make a real push to make the NBA Playoffs, they're running out of time.

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[via ESPN Los Angeles]