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First, things first: I enjoyed the Lakers win in Portland as much or more than any Lakers fan. It was kind of cathartic. And because of the circumstances for that win, I am now on the bandwagon for having Kobe as the sixth man, coming in off the bench. What do you want in a bench player? A guy who can light up the scoreboard and just comes in and changes the tempo and feel of a game. Does that describe anyone better than Kobe? Clearly, this is the direction Phil needs to go.

I kid, I kid. My quick 2¢: The win in Portland and the team’s play may have had something to do with the locker room mood after the Denver loss. The Lakers, more than any time this season, seemed clearly stunned by that outcome, it hit them in a way other losses have not. It seemed to make them think about how they are doing things, going about the games. At least that seemed to be the feeling. Whether or not that translates into anything beyond a win against a banged-up Portland team remains to be seen, but the feeling was there. And there is plenty of time to right the ship, if the will is there. As a fan, that remains my hope.

While Kobe has been taking nights off, sitting with his feet up in the back of the bus, I’ve been busy at my new project, which launched today: Pro Basketball Talk. Please click the link, come on by and check out my new digs. There’s a great group of bloggers there working with me, and I’m excited about what we can do with the site.

I again can’t thank everyone who reads and comments at this site for all they have given me the last five years. I have loved talking basketball with all of you, I’m a smarter and better basketball fan for it. I see and think of things differently.  This blog will always be close to my heart, and I’ll still be around commenting this year. And celebrating (I hope).

Now you may resume arguing about Derek Fisher.

—Kurt