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Young Team Grows During Early Season

Times Staff Writer

The Lakers complete the first full month of the NBA season tonight, and although the 8-6 record they take into Milwaukee is below the 11-3 mark they had last season at this time, and the second-fewest wins they’ve had in November since 1994, they have a good sense about where and who they are as a team.

“It’s important for us to continue to improve, and we feel we’re doing that,” Kobe Bryant said after practice Monday. “We competed hard against some of the top teams, and we beat the teams we should beat.

“We’re right where we want to be. We’re a young team, we work hard and play well together.”

What they haven’t done is put together any kind of streak. The Lakers have not won more than two in a row, or lost more than two in a row. They still have periods of hesitancy in running the offense, or knowing where they should be on defense.

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That, Lamar Odom said, “takes time. We have had positive things happen to us. But we’re still gaining a chemistry.... You see teams that win championships, the focal points of those teams are together two to six years; sometimes eight to 10 years. So we still have to be patient.”

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Coach Rudy Tomjanovich won’t look past the Milwaukee game, but said the team’s brief trip, which ends Wednesday night in Chicago, would be a good chance to iron out some of the troubles the Lakers have had winning back-to-back games.

“They’re always a factor, even when teams play them in the same city. We’ve seen that with the Clippers,” Tomjanovich said. “I would think that a team that has the youth that we do, once we get where we’re hitting on all cylinders, should be a pretty good back-to-back team.”

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TONIGHT

vs. Milwaukee, 5, Ch. 9

Site -- Bradley Center.

Radio -- KLAC (570), KWKW (1330).

Records -- Lakers 8-6, Bucks 4-7.

Record vs. Bucks -- 1-0.

Update -- The Lakers try to sweep the season series after beating the Bucks, 100-96, last Wednesday in a game in which Kobe Bryant held Michael Redd to six points on one-for-eight shooting.


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