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Lakers and Ducks Get Lopsided Yet Ho-Hum Wins

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Photo by =Manny= via the LAist Featured Photos pool on Flickr
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After a night where two of the three best teams in the NBA Western Conference matched up and featured a ferocious dunk, somehow Tuesday night was a bit of a breather on the excitement meter in Southern California. Hell, only the last two championship winning teams in Southern California played.

It was surprising how easily the Lakers dispatched the Charlotte Bobcats 106-73 keeping the Bobcats at three wins on the season - the worst in the NBA. Even when the Lakers were winning titles, they always had troubles with the Bobcats who won eight of the previous 11 matchups. Granted Charlotte is an awful team, but you never know especially with the Lakers. Just take a look at their game against a short-handed Milwaukee Bucks team last week.

But Kobe Bryant exploded out of the gate with 18 first quarter points, equaling the Bobcats’ output in the first 12 minutes. While that usually means the rest of the Lakers would use Kobe as a crutch, Andrew Bynum did his job with 10 second quarter points of his own en route to the Lakers 60-36 halftime lead.

The third quarter was a bit of a snooze for the Lakers who shockingly - horror of horrors! - allowed the Bobcats to come within 13 points. But with Kobe on the bench for the entire fourth quarter, the Lakers just squashed any hopes for the Bobcats.

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And that assemblage of talent that Michael Jordan put together was as impressive as his decision not to get a prenup all those years ago. And to help out his former team the Washington Wizards, Jordan’s Bobcats are now the butt of all jokes in the NBA right now. How nice of Jordan.

Down in Phoenix, it could have been easy for the Coyotes to be complete jokes. The Coyotes haven’t had an owner in a couple of seasons and have been talked about moving to Winnipeg, Ontario and now even Seattle, yet they made the playoffs two years in a row. And the Ducks could have just ditched the season after falling into the cellar, but they kept at it and have won five of the last six games before the All Star break.

Speaking of the break, the Ducks last played a game one week ago. In the first period against the Phoenix Coyotes, it really did look that way. Ryan Whitney got the lone goal in that period for the Coyotes, and for those first 20 minutes it looked like the Ducks reverted back to their awful ways.

But Anthony Cogliano, with a huge assist from Coyotes’ netminder Mike Smith, scored a natural hat trick in the second period to help lift the team to a 4-1 victory. The first goal came after Smith mishandled the puck in the trapezoid behind the net. The second was simply a bad goal allowed by Smith. Granted it was from a weird angle from the left circle, but the fact that no one was screening Smith on the play it was inexcusable. After the third goal, Smith was jettisoned from the game with Cogliano basking in his first career hat trick. Teemu Selanne bagged an empty-netter at the end of the game.

Now we all remember just how awful the Ducks were for a good stretch of the season. They have now started to make that Sisyphean climb from out of the cellar of the Western Conference and are now 10 points away from a playoff spot. Realizing that the five teams in front of them are Minnesota, Colorado, Dallas, Calgary and Phoenix, and perhaps if Corey Perry makes another late season run and Jonas Hiller stays healthy and plays at a Vezina level the Ducks can play on past the 82.

TONIGHT’S ACTION
LA Clippers at Utah Jazz. 7:30 p.m. FS Prime Ticket, AM 980 KFWB.
Dallas Stars at Anaheim Ducks. 7:30 p.m. KDOC, AM 830 KLAA.
Columbus Blue Jackets at LA Kings. 7:30 p.m. FSWest, AM 1150 KTLK.