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LAst Night's Action: Lakers Are Officially in the Playoffs

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LA Lakers defeat San Antonio Spurs 102-95. The Lakers started out strong in the first quarter shooting 64%, but the mileage from the road trip started to show in the second half. What was once an 18 point lead dwindled away to just two points with two minutes left in the game. But the Lakers withstood everything the Spurs threw at them giving them a crucial road win. The Lakers have yet to lose to the same opponent twice, and the win gives them their 20th Pacific Division title. They are the first Western Conference team to clinch a playoff spot, and with the Spurs now 8 1/2 games out of first place look to have firm control of the best record in the West.

USC Trojans defeat Cal Golden Bears 79-75. The last time these two teams met, the Bears squeaked by with an overtime win. The game was all it was advertised to be. While the Bears never held the lead in the game, they made it very interesting down the stretch with three-point shooting from Jerome Randle. Taj Gibson had 21 points and 16 rebounds for the Trojans, but it was Daniel Hackett's clutch free-throw shooting down the stretch which sealed the win for the Trojans.

UCLA Bruins defeat Washington State Cougars. The Bruins shut down the Cougars for most of the first half jumping out to an 18 point lead. The Cougars would cut the deficit by halftime after going on a 13-4 run. But Washington State was just outmatched by UCLA with only Aron Baynes scoring in double digits with 22 points. The Bruins will face the Trojans Friday night.

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Notable Notes

  • 16 years ago Thursday, the Dodgers made the worst trade ever: starting pitcher Pedro Martinez for second baseman Delino DeShields. On Thursday word got out that the could be interested in signing Pedro Martinez although they say the likelihood is very small because of the high asking price. This is one case where the Dominican Republic team being ousted of the World Baseball Classic hurts. The WBC was supposed to be a showcase of Martinez's rehabilitation and what he's got. At 37 and coming off of a variety of arm injuries over the last couple of seasons, he would only be yet another reclamation project for the Dodgers.
  • Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon called out Manny Ramirez in April's issue of Esquire calling him a cancer. While Manny certainly didn't endear himself to those dreadful Bostonians, I find it a little tasteless for Papelbon to use those words when fellow pitcher Jon Lester and third baseman Mike Lowell both have cancer that's in remission. Even at that, Papelbon just needs to shut the fuck up about Manny and try to figure out how to win games this season. By the way Manny's spring debut with the Dodgers was postponed due to a tight hamstring. [insert spooky ominous music]
  • In the Big East Tournament the game between Syracuse and Connecticut just refused to end. A last second three pointer by Syracuse's Eric Devendorf that was initially called good to give the Orange the win was called off after replay. From there the Orange would never have a lead in any of the overtimes until the sixth overtime when Andy Rautins made a three pointer in Syracuse's first possession. The ending was fairly anticlimactic as the Huskies couldn't get a good shot off. Syracuse would go on to win 127-117 (6OT). Just watch the highlights below and see if that doesn't tire you out some.

Tonight's Action

USC Trojans at UCLA Bruins (at Staples Center) - 8:30 pm FSWest, AM 570 KLAC (UCLA Radio), AM 710 KSPN (USC Radio)

LA Kings at Vancouver Canucks - 7:00 pm AM 1150 KTLK.