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LAst Night's Action: Lakers are Number 1

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LA Lakers defeat Sacramento Kings 124-101. No tacos for the fans, but joy still rang out with the Lakers clinching the #1 seed in the Western Conference for the first time since the 1999-2000 season. If anyone predicted this 57-25 season after the chaos of last summer that simmered through training camp, they are liars. It's amazing what the emergence of Andrew Bynum, Lamar Odom, the bench and the Pau Gasol heist can do to a team. The Lakers now face either the Denver Nuggets or the Dallas Mavericks in the first round.

LA Dodgers defeat Pittsburgh Pirates 11-2. The pregame ceremony was nice, but having Chaka Khan singing the national anthem was probably the highlight of the ceremony. When I saw the lineup being announced, I really liked what I saw. So when the Dodgers reeled off eight runs in the fourth and fifth innings I wasn't all that surprised. Jeff Kent hit the Earl Weaver, James Loney got a single to extend his hitting streak to all 14 games this season, Andruw Jones had some good at-bats and Russell Martin hit a lead-off homer in the eighth inning. If I were Torre, I would keep this lineup intact for a while now.

LA Angels over Texas Rangers 7-4. Gary Matthews Jr. hit a bases clearing double in the sixth innings to break 4-4 tie leading the Angels to victory. The Rangers meanwhile are just the Rangers. I guess they are still recovering from President Bush owning them. Sidebar: is this what America will go through after Bush leaves the White House?

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Anaheim Ducks defeat Dallas Stars 4-2. The Ducks stepped on the Stars' necks and didn't let up. They came out on fire scoring three goals in the first period and played smarter hockey. Well until the third period when they had 10 of their 18 penalty minutes. Nonetheless goalie Jean-Sebastian Giguere had a busy night fending off 31 of 33 shots on goal. Stars' Marty Turco was less effective only saving 11 of 15 shots. The Ducks are now trailing the series 2-1.

New Orleans Hornets defeat LA Clippers 114-92. The Clippers played a great first half leading by two points at the half. Unfortunately there was another half to play, but what more is to be expected when only half the team is healthy. And the Clippers have one more left. I don't know what more to say.

Notable Notes

Nomar Garciaparra is back. He will be with the Dodgers starting with Friday night's game at Atlanta. The Dodgers will keep Blake DeWitt who has done a good job thus far, especially for a player who has never played AAA ball. In order to make room for Nomar, the Dodgers will send a pitcher down.

The NFL schedule has been released! Let the hype begin.

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USC head football coach Pete Carroll named Mark Sanchez the starting quarterback. Gee that was a shock.

Tonight's Action

Pittsburgh Pirates at LA Dodgers. Like I said earlier, I really hope Tuesday night's lineup makes another appearance. Brad Penny starts for the Dodgers while the Pirates send out Paul Maholm. 7:10 pm FSN Prime Ticket, AM 790 KABC.

Kansas City Royals at LA Angels. The Royals are a complete surprise to me. They have gotten good pitching which helps their offensive deficiencies. Gil Meche goes against the Angels' Jered Weaver. 7:05 pm KCOP 13, AM 830 KLAA.

LA Clippers at Houston Rockets. The bloodbath will come to an end. 5:30 pm FSN Prime Ticket, AM 710 KSPN.

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AP Photo by Chris Carlson