7. Los Angeles Lakers

Record: 25 - 16
Last Week's Rank: 6
Last Week's Results: L @ Detroit 85-88, (Tue); L @ Washington 101-106, (Wed); W @ Minnesota 105-102, (Fri); W vs. Boston 97-94, (Sun)
This Week: @ Memphis, Tuesday (3/13); @ New Orleans, Wednesday (3/14); vs. Minnesota, Friday (3/16); vs. Utah, Sunday (3/18)

There's no place like home. That saying pretty much sums up this season for the Lake Show. L.A. is 18-2 at home (tied for the league's best record); conversely they're toting a 7-14 tally on the road. Losses to bad teams like the Pistons and the Wizards made many question when Mitch Kupchak was going to finally begin engaging in serious talks for either a legit point guard or Dwight Howard. Then the Lakers bounced back with a close victory over the Timberwolves followed by another nail-biting W over the hated Celtics. Despite the up and down week, Kobe & Co. now lead the Pacific Division by a full game over the Clippers and are ranked third in the Western Conference. Forget Kobe's menacing mask, we think a pair of Dorothy's slippers is what this squad needs to remain a contender. —Ralph Warner