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HOUSTON – Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers turned their attention Monday from bad basketball and trade talk to more somber matters.
The death of longtime owner Jerry Buss was a blow for a franchise in the midst of a difficult season. They are 25-29 and currently out of the playoff race. Pau Gasol is hurt and Dwight Howard is unhappy, leading to speculation he could be dealt before Thursday's trade deadline even though the Lakers have said otherwise.
Yet Bryant spoke confidently of a turnaround Sunday after the All-Star game, hours before Buss' death at 80. Bryant says, "We just have to continue to improve and we'll do much better in the second half."
It starts Tuesday, with the Lakers looking to get back on track, the Miami Heat in command in the East and LeBron James in command of everyone.