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Lakers' Week 12 in review

The Lakers finally broke out of their extended slump midway through Week 12.

Injuries have derailed the Lakers' season but the team got some rare good news when an MRI on Pau Gasol's toe showed a manageable strained tendon.

Listed as a game-time decision, Gasol was able to play on Tuesday against the Cleveland Cavaliers, but the Lakers still lost a close one, 120-118.

After the game, Nick Young acknowledged that "it's hard to be a Lakers fan," given the team' struggles.

Kobe Bryant (knee), Steve Nash (back), Steve Blake (elbow), Jordan Farmar (hamstring) and Xavier Henry (knee) remained sidelined.

Henry's comeback was slowed after he experienced knee soreness, knocking him out at least another week.

To put the year in perspective, the team's lineup of Kendall Marshall, Jodie Meeks, Wesley Johnson, Robert Sacre and Gasol became their second-most-used starting group of the season.  Arguably, only Gasol and Johnson were predicted to be starters before the season began -- and that's iffy on Johnson.

Young was a flashpoint of controversy after getting into a scuffle in a 121-114 loss to the Phoenix Suns, earning a one-game suspension for throwing punches after a hard foul.

In an interview, Magic Johnson took an opportunity to blast Lakers owner/executive Jim Buss.

In perhaps the low point of the season, the Lakers plummeted to 14th place in Western Conference.

Young said he felt his teammates didn't support him in the Phoenix tussle but the players held a team meeting to clear the air.

Nonetheless, the Lakers would have to face the Celtics in Boston on Friday without a suspended Young.

Before the game, the Lakers called up Manny Harris from the NBA Development League on a 10-day contract.  Coach Mike D'Antoni said the D-Fender guard would be thrown right into the fire.

With a late surge, the Lakers rallied to beat the Celtics, 107-104.

In his spare time while visiting the city, Bryant chose to audit classes at Boston College.

Despite the team's losing record and dimmed chances at making the playoffs, Bryant said he'll return this season, once healthy.

The Lakers' rotation continued to evolve as rookie Ryan Kelly was named the starter for the team's Sunday visit to the Toronto Raptors.

Kelly rewarded D'Antoni's decision, helping the Lakers to a 112-106 win.

Recently signed point guard Kendall Marshall continued to put up huge assist numbers as starter.

Luke Walton, who won two titles with the Lakers, is at a career crossroads as he coaches with the D-Fenders and does broadcast work for Time Warner Cable SportsNet -- while also staying in shape in the hope he'll get one last chance as a player in the NBA.

Finally, former Lakers hero Robert Horry was involved in a car crash.

Email Eric Pincus at eric.pincus@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter @EricPincus.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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