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As The NBA World Turns

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The NBA returns to Los Angeles tonight with the city's beloved Lakers and its ignored Clippers taking to the court to start their regular seasons. The Lakers are in Denver to take on Carmelo Anthony, the Nuggets and Kobe Bryant's bad memories, while the Clippers venture north to take on Jesus Shuttleworth and the Sonics. In a fitting tribute to the never-ending soap opera that is "the Association," LAist breaks down the rocky relationships that will likely determine the fate of LA's hoopsters this year.

KOBE & PHIL
When we last saw Kobe Bryant and Phil Jackson together they weren't exactly on the same page -- the Zen Master was on page 325 of "The Idiot's Guide To Being The NBA's Greatest Coach," while Kobe was on page 23 of "Chicken Soup For The Accused Rapist's Soul." But what a difference a year without Shaq makes. Kobe now says he loves Phil and Phil swears he's removed the hatchet from Kobe's back and buried it deep beneath the Staples Center. If that's true, the Lakers are headed to the playoffs. If it's not? Well, you can always root for the Clippers.

KWAME & KWAME'S PSYCHE
The Lakers most high profile addition on the court this offseason had to be Kwame Brown, the former #1 overall draft pick whose career highlights in Washington basically consisted of two things -- being dubbed a failure by Michael Jordan and being kicked off the team during the playoffs last year. If the Lakers are going to contend for anything this year, then Kwame needs to finally develop into the player people thought he could be. But in order to do that, he's going to have to get over that minor detail that he's terrible and he knows it.