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We hate to be the ones who have to point this out, but after all we've made fun of him for — with our personal favorite still being Chuck Klosterman's notion that the Lakers are like "an eighth-grade intramural team which happens to have one kid with a mustache" — it's worth noting that the man not only has scored 45 or more points for four straight games, but also has the Lakers in the No. 6 playoff spot. They have better records than Denver, Minnesota, Chicago and Philadelphia, and after last night's win over the Pacers, they're right on their tails too. (Oh, and he is not wearing the tights anymore.)

Wouldn't it be something, actually, if the Kobe's Lakers ended up with a better record than Shaq's Heat? (They actually did have a better record during the Christmas Day game.) Doesn't that kind of mess up the whole NBA storyline? What if the Lakers destroy them at the Staples Center this weekend? Is the whole debate reframed?

What we're trying to say here: Black Mamba, baby!

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