Lakers going to Time Warner

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Lakers signed a 20-year agreement with cable giant Time Warner starting with the 2012-13 season, the team announced today. They will leave their longtime homes with Channel 9 and Fox Sports Net. Time Warner will launch two new regional sports networks in HD to showcase Lakers games. You won’t have to have Time Warner as your cable company to get the new channels, however. They will be available on other cable and satellite outlets.

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Barnes close to returning?

ORLANDO, Fla. — Matt Barnes could return to the practice court Feb. 21, Lakers coach Phil Jackson said today. Jackson wasn’t immediately sure what Barnes might be able to do next week, but he was hopeful the backup forward could participate in some drills. Barnes has been sidelined since undergoing right knee surgery Jan. 11. He said via Twitter that he ran at full speed during Sunday’s workout. He did not join the team for its trip, saying behind in Southern California to continue his rehabilitation and recovery.

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Magic 89, Lakers 75

ORLANDO, Fla. — The Lakers capped today’s clunker by scoring 34 points in the second half. They shot 39.3 percent for the game (33 of 84), including 12.5 percent on 3s (2 of 16). Kobe Bryant scored only 17 points and sat out the final 3 minutes, 43 seconds. Andrew Bynum also scored 17. Next stop: Charlotte, the sixth stop on their seven-game trip. They are 4-1 so far. Dwight Howard scored 22 of his team-leading 31 points for Orlando in the second half. He made all nine of his shots. The Lakers scored only 34 points after halftime.

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Half: Magic 45, Lakers 41

ORLANDO, Fla. — Both teams played a little too quickly for their own good in the first half today, with the Lakers ditching their usual methodical offense in favor of hurried shots, hurried passes and scrambling defense. Lakers coach Phil Jackson wasn’t happy with Andrew Bynum’s defensive work and let him know about it during a timeout late in the half. What exactly were the referees watching when Jameer Nelson grabbed Kobe Bryant with 2 seconds left in the half, when Orlando had a foul to give? You expect indifferent work from Rodney Mott, but Danny Crawford is a real pro.

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Sunny, warm Florida

ORLANDO, Fla. — After some pretty cold days in Memphis, Boston and New York, the Lakers landed in central Florida and felt the warm embrace of the sun. They looked pretty tired as they trudged from the practice court to their bus this afternoon, however. The Lakers meet the Orlando Magic, the team they defeated in the 2009 Finals, on Sunday afternoon. Orlando has had a struggle recently. The Magic have lost nine of 18 games, including eight in a row against teams above .500. Said Orlando’s ever-quotable coach Stan Van Gundy: “If you just look at the results, the bottom line is we can’t beat a good team. that’s the bottom line.” The Lakers are 38-16, by the way.

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Lakers 113, Knicks 96

NEW YORK — The Lakers won their fourth consecutive game to start their seven-game trip. After a day of practice in Orlando on Saturday, they finish with games Sunday against the Magic, Monday against the Charlotte Bobcats and Wednesday against the Cleveland Cavaliers. Kobe Bryant scored 33 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in tonight’s victory over New York, topping his career average of 30.4 points at Madison Square Garden. Bryant didn’t play a minute in the fourth quarter as the Lakers won their eight in a row over the Knicks. They also are 2-0 while wearing their 1971-72 throwback uniforms.

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Half: Lakers 62, Knicks 48

NEW YORK — Kobe Bryant seemed bound and determined to present Phil Jackson with a victory tonight in his last visit to Madison Square Garden as coach of the Lakers. Bryant scored 19 points in the first quarter before finishing the half with 23 points, eight rebounds and two assists. The New York Knicks had no response. The Lakers trailed early, but led by as many as 17 points in the final minutes before halftime. Two seasons ago, Bryant set a Garden record with 61 points in a Lakers victory. He seemed headed that direction again after making seven of his first nine shots.

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Lakers 92, Celtics 86

BOSTON — The Lakers were too big, too strong and too determined when it mattered most while defeating the Boston Celtics for their third straight victory to start their seven-game trip. Kobe Bryant scored 23 points, including 20 in the second half. Pau Gasol scored 20 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, Andrew Bynum added 16 points and nine rebounds and Lamar Odom had 10 points and a team-leading 12 rebounds. The Lakers outrebounded the Celtics, 47-36, and had more points in the paint, 50-32. Ray Allen had 20 for Boston.

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Half: Celtics 53, Lakers 45

BOSTON — Andrew Bynum showed in the first half tonight exactly why the Lakers should not trade him for Carmelo Anthony. He and Pau Gasol each scored 12 points to keep the Lakers from getting blown out by the Boston Celtics. Bynum made 4 of 6 shots and 4 of 5 free throws and also grabbed three rebounds. The Lakers outscored the Celtics, 28-16, in the paint. They also had 10 second-chance points to only two for Boston. So why were they trailing? They weren’t as good as the Celtics on the perimeter. Ray Allen scored 12 of his 14 points in the first quarter, including a 3-pointer that gave him an NBA-record 2,561. Reggie Miller, who held the previous mark,was courtside as a TNT commentator. Allen and Miller embraced during the break after the first quarter.

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Distraction? What distraction?

BOSTON — The Lakers insisted after today’s practice that the trade rumors about an Andrew Bynum-for-Carmelo Anthony deal would not be a distraction. But it already was one. After all, hardly anybody asked anything about the Lakers’ game Thursday night against the hated Boston Celtics. The usual questions about matchups and rematches and all that stuff never got asked. Bynum said he considered it nothing more than a rumor. Anthony told the Denver Post pretty much the same thing. Kobe Bryant had the best zinger, saying, “I don’t talk about unknowns. We might as well talk about UFOs, too.”

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