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News

LAst Night's Action: Kobe Triple-Doubles the Kings

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LA Lakers defeat Sacramento Kings 112-100. The Kings were resilient, and the Lakers were on the second game of a back-to-back. But in the end the Kings couldn’t overcome Kobe Bryant’s 17th career triple-double.

Bryant carried the team in the first half with 21 points, six rebounds and eight assists to go along with Pau Gasol’s 12 points as the Lakers surged to a 62-53 lead despite trailing for the first half of the second quarter. But the Lakers pushed the lead to by as much as 20 points in the third quarter, and while the Kings hung around getting to within eight points late in the fourth quarter Derek Fisher denied them with seven straight points.

Bryant ended with 30 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds, the tenth coming after Luther Head missed a three-pointer. The ball landed right in the middle of the paint and was surrounded by Bryant and three of his teammates. They all seemed to go after it for a split second, but the other three knew better.

So on the Lakers go undefeated and have a pretty soft schedule for the remainder of the month.

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LA Clippers defeat Oklahoma City Thunder 107-92. Who needs Baron Davis and Randy Foye? While on Sunday they struggled against the Dallas Mavericks with Eric Gordon playing point, Head Coach Vinny Del Negro decided to have Eric Bledsoe run the offense. That combined with their fast pace frustrated the Thunder all night long.

At the end of the first quarter into the second quarter, the Clippers went on a 15-2 run to take a 36-23 lead. For some reason they eventually took the foot off the accelerator after leading by 19 and allowed the Thunder to go on a 12-0 run in two minutes to get to within seven points. The Clippers went into the half with a ten-point lead with Bledsoe scoring 10 points and five assists helping the Clippers to 50% shooting while allowing 35% shooting for the Thunder.

But early in this season the Clippers’ Achilles heel has been the third quarter. They scoffed at that scoring 27 points and just went to town against the Thunder. Kevin Durant scored 16 points shooting only 6-for-24. Their most efficient player was Serge Ibaka coming off the bench with 14 points in 20 minutes and 5-for-6 shooting.

As a team the Clippers shot 53% from the field at 50% from behind the arc, but their one deficiency was their 56% free-throw shooting. Gordon led all scorers with 27 points while Bledsoe added 17 points and eight dishes. Blake Griffin had 18 points and nine rebounds while Ryan Gomes added 12 points and seven boards.

Anaheim Ducks defeat Tampa Bay Lightning 3-2 (OT). Where was this team against the lowly New Jersey Devils and the San Jose Sharks? Granted the Ducks’ lineup skewed towards the young players, so it only makes sense that 40-year old Teemu Selanne would be the one to propel the Ducks to victory.

He got the Ducks on the board in the first period with a shot from the left circle on a power-play opportunity with bodies in front of the net. That came from an extraordinary first period where the Ducks held the Lightning to only two shots-on-goal without a goal - only the third time this season they were held scoreless after one.

The Bolts tied the game early in the second period when Blair Jones received the puck from Ryan Malone who was behind the net and shot the puck past Jonas Hiller on a bang-bang play. They would take the lead 21 seconds in the third period when Steven Stamkos received a great cross-ice pass across the crease and lasered it past Hiller.

In his first NHL game Kyle Palmieri, thanks to a fortuitous deflection off of Lightning defenseman Mattias Ohlund’s skate, tied the game late in the third period on a beautiful pass by Bobby Ryan for his first career goal. And in overtime a charging Selanne went behind the net, passed a laser to Ryan Getzlaf who put it past goalie Dan Ellis for the win.

Jonas Hiller saved 32 shots for the Ducks in the win while Dan Ellis saved 27 for the Lightning. The Lightning head up the 5 and face the Western Conference leading Kings Thursday night.

NOTABLE NOTES

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King Omen? First some happiness before I get into some sad news. The Los Angeles Kings for the first time since 1990-’91 lead the Western Conference at the end of October with an 8-3-0 record. While that isn’t necessarily an indicator of who will play in the Stanley Cup Finals - although seven of the last 12 Stanley Cup Champions topped their conference in October - it almost guarantees a spot in the playoffs. Only twice in the past 24 seasons a team has missed the playoffs after leading in October - the Philadelphia Flyers in 1993-’94 in the Eastern Conference and the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1988-’89 in the Campbell Conference.

The last 12 Stanley Cup Champions are a combined 94-23-17 in October of their championship year. However this season six points separate the top 12 teams in both conferences, so the Kings can’t - and won’t if Head Coach Terry Murray has anything to say about it - let up.

They get their first test in November Thursday night as the leaders of the Eastern Conference Tampa Bay Lightning visit the STAPLES Center. The Kings will get back Norris Trophy finalist defenseman Drew Doughty for the game after suffering from a concussion on a hit by Carolina Panthers’ Erik Cole on Oct. 20. I guess Doughty wasn’t bullshitting me Saturday night when he told me he was almost certain he would be back in the lineup on Thursday. So let’s hope we hear more of this Thursday night:

Note that the “Puck Daddy” hockey blog on Yahoo! Sports named this as the fourth best goal celebration in the Western Conference.

Sparky Anderson in a Hospice. Hall of Fame manager Sparky Anderson has been placed in hospice care at his Thousand Oaks home for complications from dementia. No further details were released.

The 76-year old won the World Series with the “Big Red Machine” Cincinnati Reds in 1975-’76 and the Detroit Tigers in 1984. He was also the first manager to win more than 100 games in both the American and National Leagues. He won 2,194 games in his 26 seasons as skipper and was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2000 by the Veterans Committee after his retirement after the 1995 season.

Anderson, born in South Dakota, graduated from Dorsey High School and was a batboy for USC. He signed with the Brooklyn Dodgers in the 1950s and played for the Pacific Coast League’s Los Angeles Angels for a spell. He also did some broadcasting for Angels’ broadcasts.

Mississippi State Mourns. Defensive end redshirt sophomore Nick Bell, 20, in a span of a little more than month went from starting for the Bulldogs, being diagnosed with brain cancer and passing away on Tuesday.

“This is a tragedy for Nick’s family, our football program, our community and everyone who had the privilege to meet and be around Nick Bell,” Head Coach Dan Mullen said. “Nick was a son and a brother to our football family and I know he will continue to look over us from heaven.”

Bell complained of headaches in practice in late September and was diagnosed with cancer. On Oct. 1 he had surgery to remove the growth from his brain. There was optimism in his recovery after the surgery, and he returned to campus to visit his teammates on the sidelines of their game against the University of Alabama-Birmingham on Oct. 23.

His condition worsened quickly and was rushed to the hospital on Sunday where he had emergency surgery Monday when it was discovered the cancer had already spread aggressively throughout his body.

On Monday about 50 Bulldog players and coaches took a bus to the UAB Hospital to visit Bell and say their final goodbyes. Mullen called a team meeting on Tuesday to tell his players and staff that Bell had passed away.

The Bulldogs had an optional practice later that day where most of the players participated. As Mullen told AP, “It kind of felt good to sweat out some of the feelings and emotions that were inside.” Counselors were made available to students and staff.

The 6-foot-3 defensive end played in four games, starting two including his final game against Georgia on Sept. 25. He made seven tackles including two for a loss. He also played in all 12 games as a redshirt freshman in 2009 when he made 16 tackles.

The Bulldogs have a bye this week and will travel to face Alabama on Nov. 13.

TONIGHT’S ACTION

Tampa Bay Lightning(16 pts., 7-2-2) at LA Kings (16 pts., 8-3-0). 7:30 pm FSWest, AM 1150 KTLK.