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LAKERS ENJOY FAST START

The Lakers admit they're not playing like a team off to a 6-0 start, which makes them more encouraged about winning a third consecutive championship.

Coach Phil Jackson was among the many who had predicted a slow start. Among the reasons: Shaquille O'Neal's extra pounds and recovery from toe surgery; offseason operations on Derek Fisher and Mark Madsen; and several new players on the roster.

But the Lakers have shrugged it all off to record the third-best start in franchise history, and are five victories away from tying their best-ever start of 11-0 in 1997-98.

They beat the Orlando Magic 108-95 Sunday night.

"We feel very confident because we didn't play good. We didn't execute our offense as well as we should have, but that's going to come," Kobe Bryant said. "There's a lot of things execution-wise that we have to get in sync."

Bryant scored 28 in 33 minutes Sunday, despite a bloody and swollen nose from an accidental hit. Bryant was examined by a doctor Monday and his nose was not broken.

O'Neal leads the NBA in scoring with a 30.7 point average. Bryant is next at 28.5. O'Neal handled everyone Orlando threw at him while scoring a season-high 38, grabbing 18 rebounds and blocking four shots. "Shaq's unstoppable and he's not even in shape," Magic coach Doc Rivers said.

"I'm still the baddest bad-feet big man ever," O'Neal said, smiling.

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