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LAst Night's Action: Lakers Get By Suns

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LA Lakers defeat Phoenix Suns 102-96. After leading by seven points at the half, the Lakers extended their lead to 15 points. Treating the paint as if it were filled with landmines, the Lakers clanged jump shot after jump shot while Steve Nash then kicked it in full gear for the Suns who went on an 11-2 run to end the third period to bring the game within four. The Suns would eventually take the lead just under three minutes into the fourth quarter, but the Lakers then decided that attacking the paint might be a good idea. After not going to the charity stripe at all in the third quarter, the Lakers were awarded with ten shots at the free throw line. Two of those came via technical fouls when Suns coach Alvin Gentry went crazy when a flagrant foul was not called on Pau Gasol when he fouled Louis Amundson. Kobe Bryant had a double-double with 21 points and 10 rebounds while the Suns Amare Stoudemire led all scorers with 29 points and 16 rebounds. Ron Artest got his shot going getting 15 points while Lamar Odom had four points on 2-for-8 shooting.

LA Kings defeat Dallas Stars 2-1 (SO). Five rounds of the shootout went by with neither team scoring a goal. After Jamie Benn missed in the Stars half of the sixth round, that set the stage for Jarret Stoll to get one past Marty Turco to give the Kings the two points for the win. Jonathan Bernier, called up yesterday from the Manchester Monarchs of the AHL to replace Jonathan Quick who was tending to his wife Jaclyn as she gave birth to their first child, made his fifth NHL start and first since October 14, 2007. The Stars tested him in the first two periods getting 11 shots off in the first period and 10 shots in the second. Brenier saved all 21 of those shots while the Kings took advantage of a power play at the end of the first period with Fredrik Modin giving the Kings a 1-0 advantage. It was his fifth goal of the season and third in his last four games. Brandon Morrow tied the game up in the third period. The Kings now are 6-0-1 in their last seven meetings against Dallas since March 22, 2008 and are tied with the Phoenix Coyotes for fourth place in the Western Conference with identical 40-22-5 records.

Nashville Predators defeat Anaheim Ducks 1-0. The Ducks needing as many points to help vault them into the playoffs have now gone 0-4-1 since the Olympic break. Basically out of 10 possible points they could have by now, they have only gotten one point. Predators goalie Pekka Rinne stood on his head to block all 31 shots on goal, but the Predators penalty killing was stout not allowing a shot on goal during the 50 seconds the Ducks had a power play opportunity. Shea Weber had the only goal in the game during a 5-on-3 advantage at the end of the first period.

Charlotte Bobcats defeat LA Clippers 106-98. With Gerald Wallace out with a sprained ankle, the Clippers still sunk on the road losing six straight games and all three since Mike Dunleavy was fired. This despite the fact the Clippers shot 57.5% for the game, but the 23 turnovers which led to 32 Bobcats points essentially did the Clips in. Baron Davis led the Clippers with 24 points while Drew Gooden and Travis Outlaw had 16 points.

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California Golden Bears defeat UCLA Bruins 85-72. With that UCLA’s season is over. Bruin fans, you can now show your faces again. Oh wait. They might get an NIT invitation. Nevermind.

Notable Notes

  • It’s amazing how quickly the tide has turned for the Oregon Ducks. After making their first Rose Bowl since 1995 and completely stinking up the game, they have descended into the Pac-10’s answer of the Oakland Raiders. Everyone on national television witnessed running back LaGarrette Blount’s punch against Boise State’s defensive end Byron Hout in the first game of the season. The guy who bailed him out in the backfield LaMichael James just pled guilty to a harassment charge after allegedly grabbing his ex-girlfriend by the throat outside his apartment and pushing her to the ground on February 15. And of course the Ducks quarterback Jeremiah Masoli is pled guilty to a felony burglary charge for stealing laptops and a guitar with ex-wide receiver Garrett Embry from a frat house and has been suspended for the 2010 season.
    But that’s not all folks! Kicker Rob Beard pled guilty to a misdemeanor harassment charge for his role in a January 24th street fight. Defensive end Matt Simms was charged with assault and summarily dismissed for hitting a man whom he thought attacked Beard.

    And what’s a dysfunctional team without a DUI charge? Linebacker Kiko Alonso filled that role who was then suspended for all of the 2010 season.

    This all leads to one question: can the Oregon Ducks handle success? If this is how they show it, perhaps they, and all of the Pac-10 for that matter, would be better served if the Ducks merely contended for Emerald Nut Bowls.

  • The mare that captured the hearts of the public during the Breeder’s Cup Classic late last year will make her Santa Anita debut on Saturday. The six-year old Zenyatta will be racing the $250,000 Grade I Santa Margarita Handicap and is a rare 1-9 favorite. The racing world hopes a Zenyatta victory in the Santa Margarita will lead to the “Race for the Ages” against Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra in the $5 million Apple Blossom Handicap at Oaklawn Park on April 9. The highlights from the HRTV broadcast of the race will be shown on the 3:00 pm version of SportsCenter on ESPN.
  • The Kings will be host the first “Family Fun Day” this Sunday as part of the Kings-Nashville Predators game scheduled at noon at the Staples Center. Anze Kopitar bobbleheads will be distributed to the first 10,000 fans and the Kings will be celebrating their mascot Bailey’s birthday. Bailey and several other NHL mascots will be on hand for a pregame autograph session and will take on a youth hockey team during the second intermission. After the game kids can take the ice and take a shot on net with a suggested donation of $5 with proceeds going to Kings Care Foundation. More information can be found LAKings.com/familyfunday.

Tonight’s Action

LA Clippers at San Antonio Spurs. 5:30 pm FS Prime Ticket, AM 980 KFWB.