T.J. SIMERS

It doesn't take much to make these Lakers happy

Two straight wins, including Sunday over the mighty Thunder, and suddenly Lakers' world is all sweetness and light. Of course, they're still six games under .500.

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Gush City.

Everyone loves everybody now. There were Lakers hugs all around, with fans at Staples Center on Sunday joining the party, getting rally towels and the feel of a playoff game.

Happy 79th birthday, Jerry Buss, as Gush City flattens Oklahoma City and holds the top-scoring team in the NBA below 100 points.

The Lakers not only bring back excitement to Staples but look as if they will never lose again while shooting guard Steve Nash sets sights on the NBA's scoring title.

"Kobe Johnson," meanwhile, puts on another show, more assists than shots, with the unselfish one now tweeting just as much as his namesake.

In a season filled with too many restarts to count, finally confirmation the Lakers might have something going.

How about the Lazarus Award for Mike D'Antoni for being comeback coach of the year?

Or the Lakers reaching the .500 mark again? Happy days are here again, as the world turns.

It was just a few days ago the local media had the Lakers and Dwight Howard pegged as goners.

Some media types quoted unnamed sources suggesting the Lakers were talking about trading Howard. There was no truth to it, as if that matters anymore, but it makes you wonder about these unnamed sources.

Others were hearing from unnamed Lakers insiders who said Howard was unhappy and had already decided not to return to L.A. next season.

When Howard announced after Sunday's win he was having fun, I asked, "So now that you are having fun does that mean you will be back with the Lakers next season?"

I thought it might be better to check with Howard rather than seek out unnamed Lakers insiders.

I got the big Howard smile in return.

"I'm sorry, I didn't hear your answer," I said, and I remember saying that to Jim McMahon once and he blew his nose on me and said, "There's an answer for you."

Howard showed more restraint and good humor.

"You're crazy," he said with a laugh, but then I reminded him it was well known around here that he was unhappy and he had already decided not to return.

"I have never said that," Howard said, after actually suggesting quite the contrary in an earlier interview here that he wanted to use L.A. as a platform to do bigger things in his life.

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