Their celebration was muted.
Their accomplishment was expected.
Their work is not done. Far from it, in fact.
The Lakers know they have issues to resolve before taking the court for the second round of the NBA playoffs. They defeated the Utah Jazz in five games in the opening round, sealing the deal with a victory in Game 5 on Monday night.
First and foremost, the Lakers must avoid the sort of lapses that led to squandering double-digit leads in four of the five games.
They must work to get center Andrew Bynum's game back in gear after five forgettable games against the Jazz.
They must get more from their backups after five unremarkable games from the so-called Bench Mob.
Finally, they must get rested and recovered after five spirited games against a Utah team that was anything but a typical No. 8-seeded club.
The Lakers began their self-improvement kick by taking Tuesday off.
There was no practice, no video session, no nothing while awaiting their next opponent. They will play the winner of the series between Houston and Portland.
Houston leads the series, 3-2, following Portland's 88-77 victory Tuesday night.
"We've got to give a better effort," Kobe Bryant said late Monday night when asked about the Lakers' penchant for giving up big leads.
"The second unit comes in there and we've got to give a better effort defensively.
"We have a week here. We'll have a spirited conversation with the group and see if we can't correct that for the next series."
The Lakers built a 22-point lead in the third quarter, but settled for a 107-96 victory Monday in Game 5. They led by as many as 24 points before winning, 108-94, in Game 4, the only game they won without blowing a big lead.
In Game 1, they held a 22-point lead before winning, 113-100. In Game 2, they led by 20 before winning, 119-109.
"We're happy that we got the win, but I don't think we're happy about how we won, so we have to pay attention and stay focused on closing games out," Trevor Ariza said when asked about the Lakers' lack of a killer instinct.
Added Sasha Vujacic: "We're going to be OK for the next round. It was a good learning experience. We keep saying it's a learning experience, but we have to take of that (blowing big leads) and play a little smarter."
Coach Phil Jackson plans to return Bynum to the starting lineup, shifting Lamar Odom to the bench.
They swapped places for Games 4 and 5 of the Utah series because Jackson wanted Odom to check Mehmet Okur on the perimeter.
Odom was superb in the first round; Bynum was not. Odom averaged 17.8 points and 11 rebounds; Bynum averaged five points and three rebounds. Odom played confidently and without pause; Bynum was in foul trouble far too often.
"He just got back, he just got back," Bryant said of Bynum, who has played nine games since returning from a 32-game layoff because of a right knee injury. "He'll get a week here or so to kind of prepare and get him in practice, get him in good rhythm and he'll be fine."
No question, the Lakers will need the 7-foot Bynum in the next round.
If they play against the Rockets, they will need him to help check Houston's 7-foot-6 Yao Ming. If they play Portland, he'll have to guard either the 7-foot-1 Joel Przybilla or the 7-foot Greg Oden.
Jackson believes returning Odom to the bench will improve the spark the Lakers require from the Bench Mob. With the versatile Odom as a starter in Game 5, the Lakers' backups were outscored by their Utah counterparts, 40-12.
The Bench Mob played Game 5 without Luke Walton, who has a partially torn ligament in his left ankle. He said he was rooting for Portland to extend its series, so he could get more time to recover and then play in the second round.
Walton had his best game of the series in Game 4, scoring nine points with five rebounds and three assists. He was hurt in the third quarter, and finished the game in pain. An MRI exam Monday revealed the extent of the injury.