After third straight loss, Lakers trying to stop the tailspin


The Lakers are reeling.

And they know that.

They lost their third consecutive game, this time a physical, trash-talking, technical-filled defeat to the Orlando Magic on Sunday at Amway Arena.

The Lakers had not lost three consecutive games since they acquired Pau Gasol on Feb. 1, 2008.

They are finding that the road to winning back-to-back championships is filled with potholes.

They are 4-5 in their last nine games.

They have lost four straight road games, and their lead over the Dallas Mavericks for the best record in the Western Conference has been whittled down to three games.

“We have to keep believing in the ultimate goal,” Derek Fisher said. “That’s what helps you stay focused through adversity is realizing that you’re still on the path to where you want to go.

“When you’re popping that Champagne, these are the times that you remember. This is what brings the tears.”

The Lakers just didn’t look sharp against the Magic.

The Lakers had three players score in double figures, the Magic had five.

The Lakers didn’t get a lot of help from their bench, with a combined 16 points.

“We haven’t lost three in a row in a couple of years,” Kobe Bryant said. “The important thing is to still have that sense of urgency. We don’t want to sit here and feel like things will turn itself around. You’ve got to get concerned. If you’re not concerned, try to make yourself concerned. Put your foot on the gas.”

The Lakers dropped to 17-13 on the road, and they have eight more games away from Staples Center this month in places including Phoenix, San Antonio, Oklahoma City and Houston, teams looking to improve their playoff positioning.

After losing in overtime at Miami on Thursday and getting drilled by Charlotte last Friday, Bryant was upset enough to have words with his teammates during Saturday’s practice as they prepared to play the Magic.

“I’ve cursed them out and we came out and played a lot harder,” Bryant said. “We just lost. I can live with that, because if we play with this kind of effort, it’s going to be tough to beat us in a playoff series.”

For now, though, the Lakers have to play through this.

They have 18 regular-season games left.

They are 46-18, three games behind the Cleveland Cavaliers for the best record in the NBA and two ahead of Orlando for the second-best record in the NBA.

The idea is for the Lakers to stay the course and see where it takes them.

“We have no choice but to keep going,” Fisher said. “That’s what our job is. Everybody knows what our goal is and our purpose is and what we’re doing. We have almost the same roster except that we added Ron [Artest], and he came here specifically to win a championship. So we keep moving forward, keep going.”