The Lakers have the best record in the Western Conference -- tied with Phoenix, but since they've beaten Phoenix twice head to head, which is the first tiebreaker, they're in first place as of today.
Enjoy it while you can, if you're of the Laker Faith: Andrew Bynum's out for 8 weeks -- about a third of the season. If he gets back in mid-March, he has 17 games to round himself back into shape before the playoffs start.
The Lakers' title hopes were a little wishful even before this -- without Bynum they're going to have a hard time staying in the top half of the Western Conference. Now, they look like a bottom half seed, again, and even with a healthy Bynum, winning 4 series without home court advantage is probably beyond them. Winning one might be.
Enjoy it now. The Lakers are better than the Spurs, better than the Suns, better than the Mavericks, and at the top of the NBA.com and Fox Sports Power Rankings. I didn't expect to see that this year -- I half figured Kobe would be traded by now -- and by God, I'm going to enjoy it while it lasts. (Hell, the Celtics even lost 3 of their last four. This is a good week, and I will not look at the Ugliness to Come ... the Lakers play fourteen out of fifteen games on the road starting in late January, all without Andrew. I Will Not Look, And Maybe It Will Go Away.)
Congratulations to the New England Patriots. They're the only team I've seen as an adult I really thought had a real shot at going undefeated, and so they did. And now they get to play the San Diego Chargers in the AFC Championship game, and either the Packers or Giants (they hope) in the Super Bowl. In any event, the only teams I really thought had a shot at upending the Pats -- Dallas and Indianapolis -- are out. So There Is No Chance The Patriots Can Lose Now. No Chance. No Chance At All.
.... Pats fans, I'm doing my best to help out here. I know you appreciate it. No Chance They Can Lose. Period.
Sports is stupid and trivial, and all my SF readers tune out as soon as I start writing about it: through the keyboard I can actually feel eyes glazing over. But that's OK. Greatest thing about a blog, particularly one not selling ads -- all I have to write about is what interests me. If this intersects with what people want to read, then, to quote Jack Handy: "Hey, Progress."