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Without Kobe Bryant, Lakers have struggled through heavy schedule

With news that Kobe Bryant could be nearing a return, practicing for the first time with the team since he suffered a torn Achilles' tendon in April, the Lakers are facing a brighter future after a 4-7 start.

The team has lost four of five but will have a chance to regroup with four days off after Sunday's game at Staples Center against the Detroit Pistons.

Through Friday, the Lakers were the only team to have played 11 games -- most against strong competition.

The combined record of the 10 teams the Lakers have faced (with two battles against the New Orleans Pelicans) over three weeks is 54-38 (58.7%).

In comparison, the perfect 9-0 Indiana Pacers have played teams with a collective 30-48 record (38.5%).

The exact timeline for Bryant's return remains a mystery.  Will he be limited or the same Bryant who has won five NBA championships?

The good news for the Lakers is that the schedule will lighten, one of the few advantages of a very difficult start to the season.

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Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and Steve Nash listed on NBA All-Star ballot

Email Eric Pincus at eric.pincus@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter @EricPincus.

Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun
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