Lakers enduring rough stretch

The Lakers may still have the best record in the NBA, but some of their stars are struggling while others are ailing.

Updated: December 26, 2003, 3:37 PM ET
By By Terry Brown | NBA Insider
Phil Jackson doesn't want to hear about things getting better once Karl Malone is back from his knee injury. He doesn't want to talk about Kobe Bryant having a cold. And he could care less about anything you have to say about Gary Payton or Shaquille O'Neal.

"We're not a very good team right now," Phil Jackson said in the L.A. Daily News. "We just hit a slump in which we're not a very good basketball club. It's not about being able to compete or competing. It's about not being capable of competing because we're not good enough to compete right now."

The Los Angeles Lakers, yes, those Los Angeles Lakers, may still have the best record in the NBA, but they've also lost two games in a row, four of their last six and were five points away from losing another two, which would have made it six losses in a month that they had only 11 games total to play with only four on the road.