Tough road ahead for Lakers

The next true test begins this week as L.A. navigates a gauntlet of playoff-bound teams

Updated: January 17, 2011, 11:23 AM ET
By Dave McMenamin | ESPNLosAngeles.com

LOS ANGELES -- Don't get me wrong, it's never a good sign for the state of the Lakers to see them lose to the Clippers.

But the loss to their L.A. rival won't be nearly as disheartening as it would be if the Lakers struggle with the rest of their schedule to close out January.

Although the Clippers have gone 10-3 in their past 13 games with Sunday's win, they're six games behind Portland for the eighth seed in the Western Conference. Meanwhile, the Lakers are five games behind ...

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