LOS ANGELES (AP) -- 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 NBA 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 points in 33 minutes Sunday, despite a bloody and swollen nose from an accidental hit. Bryant was examined by a doctor Monday and his nose isn't broken, a team spokesman said.
O'Neal leads the NBA in scoring with a 30.7 point average, and Bryant is next at 28.5. O'Neal handled everyone Orlando threw at him while scoring a season-high 38 points, 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.
The Lakers' quick start comes on top of their unprecedented 15-1 playoff record last season, which gives them 29 wins in their last 30 games. They've won 14 consecutive regular-season games dating to last season.
While the Lakers' record is perfect, they are not.
O'Neal's free-throw shooting has dipped the last two games after he got off to a strong start; forward Rick Fox is in a shooting slump; Lindsey Hunter and Samaki Walker are still finding their way in the triangle offense.
But the Lakers' bench has begun to provide a lift. Robert Horry and Devean George scored 10 points each Sunday as part of a 31-point effort from the reserves.
"I'm getting comfortable knowing that my shots are coming and knowing what shots are acceptable to take. Now I'm taking them," George said.
He was particularly impressive guarding Orlando star Tracy McGrady, who was held to a modest 22 points after scoring 44 Friday.
Perhaps the Lakers' greatest strength -- besides O'Neal -- is their ability to win when everything is not right.
"We're beating the teams we're supposed to beat," O'Neal said. "We want to stay dominant at home. A lot of guys are talking about 73-9 or 72-10 (records). As long as we get good position in the playoffs -- if we don't win the whole thing, then nothing matters."
One place where the Lakers are not battle-tested is the road.
They barely won their only road game, 105-101 at Utah on Nov. 2. They next play Thursday at Houston, then Friday at Phoenix, before returning home to play Sacramento on Sunday.
The Lakers haven't lost a regular-season game since April 1, when the New York Knicks beat them 79-78 at Staples Center. Their last road loss came at Phoenix on March 26.
"Until a team plays a perfect game, they're not going to be beaten," said Orlando's Horace Grant, who helped the Lakers win the NBA title last season.
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