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It's Going To Be a Fun NBA Season in LA

Photo by Paul!!! via Flickr
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Never have preseason NBA games been this entertaining. A livelier Lakers team made things interesting as the Clippers swept the two preseason games with a 108-103 victory on the red-and-blue floor.

But before getting into the game, let’s talk about this afternoon. While I was gallivanting with the Kings today, this press release fell into my inbox:

Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant, who suffered a right wrist injury in Monday night’s game against the Clippers, was examined today by Dr. Steven Shin of the Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic and underwent an MRI exam. Results show that Bryant has a torn lunotriquetral ligament. Bryant will not play in tonight’s game against the Clippers and his status is day-to-day.

Let the panic ensue.

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Kobe obviously didn’t play in this second preseason game, but I’m not going to guess whether he’s going to play Christmas afternoon or not. It’s a foolish game to play, like taking TCU and laying the 10 points against Louisiana Tech in the Holiday Poinsettia Bowl.

After the way the Lakers played Monday night, things looked quite bleak for the Lakers in this game after that bit of news hit. Thankfully I was insulated and didn’t hear the collective gasps of horror on sports radio this afternoon. I could only imagine the panic and bridge jumping going on in Laker Land.

However all fears were not realized. In fact the Lakers were more energetic on the floor during the first half sans Kobe thanks to 67% shooting in that first quarter. Andrew Bynum scored 17 of his 26 points in that first half leading the Lakers to as much as an 11-point lead in the first 24 minutes. Perhaps he realized this was his last game experience for five games? Perhaps he wanted to prove to people he really did work out over the summer? Regardless the Clippers had no answer for Bynum in the first half.

The Clippers had some plays. There was Blake Griffin driving to the bucket and getting a hard foul by Josh McRoberts in the paint only to see McRoberts landing prone on the floor. There was the typical Chris Paul driving to the basket in the final five seconds remaining in the quarter weaving through traffic for the easy layup to cut the halftime deficit to 36-33. They ended the first half on a 10-2 run to cut the Lakers lead to 56-53.

But in the third quarter, yet again, Lakers turnovers sunk them. After coughing up the ball nine times in the third quarter on Monday, they outdid themselves with 10. While the raining threes killed the Lakers on Monday, this time it was Griffin trying to atone for his relatively down game on Monday accompanied by DeAndre Jordan in the paint with Caron Butler’s open jumpers supplementing it all.

Perhaps most amazing about Griffin was in the fourth quarter with Troy Murphy guarding him, Griffin took over. He had his tongue out a la Michael Jordan. He was dancing with the ball a la Kobe. He went coast to coast like the great point guards of the league. While the Lakers kept things close with free throws and the three-point shooting from Steve Blake and Metta World Peace, Griffin went on a run of nine consecutive points looking like nothing seen before. Well at least nothing seen before in a Clippers uniform.

What’s really scary about this Clippers team is the potential seen on the court. This team has been together for about a week now, and they’re already playing like this. It really makes one wonder if they are close to their peak or if they can get much better. If it’s the latter, oh me oh my. (But I still don’t like their depth at forward or center even though they tried to address that with the signing of Reggie Evans.)

As for the Lakers they tried the best they could, and the best they could wasn’t good enough. The Lakers needed 20 points from Steve Blake and 10 points from World Peace to keep things close. They Lakers are in trouble if they have to rely on those two for consistent scoring.

And for the first time in forever, I actually cannot wait for the NBA season to start. Color me shocked.

In other basketball news, LMU lost on the road to the Morgan State Golden Bears 69-45.

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Anaheim Ducks at LA Kings. 7:00 p.m. FSWest, AM 1150 KTLK (Kings Radio), AM 830 KLAA (Ducks Radio).

College Basketball
Cal State Northridge Matadors at Washington Huskies. 7:00 p.m.
Portland State Vikings at Cal State Fullerton Titans. 7:05 p.m.
Kansas Jayhawks at USC Trojans. 8:00 p.m. FS Prime Ticket, AM 710 KSPN.
Long Beach State 49ers at Xavier Musketeers. 8:00 p.m. ESPNU.