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Blake Griffin #32 of the Los Angeles Clippers dunks during a 107-102 win over the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center on January 4, 2013 in Los Angeles, California.
Despite having assembled an All-Star team built to win the NBA Finals, the Lakers last night lost to by their local rival.
The high-flying Clippers lead by as much as 18 points in a game that was more of a blowout than the 107-102 final would imply.
Chris Paul finished with 30 points. He scored the last eight Clippers points of the game, finishing off the struggling Lakers in the final minutes.
To add insult to injury, at one point the Clippers had four former Lakers on the court (Lamar Odom, Matt Barnes, Caron Butler, and Ronny Turiaf), with Paul as their point guard. Clipper television announcers commented that the team had four-and-a-half former Lakers playing, referencing the controversial Paul trade to the Lakers that was squashed by NBA commissioner David Stern.
''Right now we're just focused on being one of the best teams in the league, not just the city,'' Odom told reporters after the game at Staples Center. ''Focus can't be just to be better than one team. Now we're trying to be great.''
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the NBA's all-time leading scorer, was honored Friday with a statue more than twice his legendary size outside of Staples Center in downtown L.A.
The 16-foot bronze statue immortalizes Abdul-Jabbar's iconic skyhook, naturally, and greets fans as they enter the main entrance near Chick Hearn Drive and Figueroa Street. It was placed close to former teammate Magic Johnson's statue.
As other NBA greats and celebrities looked on, Abdul-Jabbar, 65, gave a heartfelt and at times emotional speech where he expressed gratitude for a career that included six titles with the Milwaukee Bucks and the L.A. Lakers.
"Having lived my life and had the experiences I've had, I can understand now what a man like Lou Gehrig means when he considers himself the luckiest man on the face of the earth," the 7-foot-2 center, nicknamed "The Captain", said to the crowd outside of the stadium before the Lakers squared off against the Phoenix Suns.
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Former coach of the Los Angeles Lakers Phil Jackson during a news conference at the Lakers training facility on May 11, 2011 in El Segundo, California.
Phil Jackson back with the Los Angeles Lakers?
A day after the surprise announcement of coach Mike Brown's termination from the Los Angeles Lakers comes a juicy (albeit unconfirmed and unnamed) whisper from a team insider who says the return of the franchise's winningest coach to the struggling (albeit stacked) team looks good.
The L.A. Times is reporting that "one person in the organization [is] calling it a '95%' chance [Jackson] will return for a third tour with the team."
But should he? With 11 championship rings as a coach he certainly has nothing else to prove. And who needs the headache of trying to live up to the bloated expectations that comes with not just coaching the Lakers, but these Lakers who, when healthy, should beat any team it faces.
The "Zen Master" retired after the disappointing 2010-11 season that came to an end when the Dallas Mavericks swept his final Lakers team in the playoffs.
About 750,000 Southern Californian cable households can breathe a sigh of relief as the Lakers will now be shown in the homes of those who have Charter Cable and Verizon FIOS.
Time Warner Cable announced Friday that the two TV providers have agreed to their terms to carry the recenetly launched Time Warner Cable SportsNet and Spanish-language sports channel Time Warner Cable Deportes which broadcasts Lakers and Sparks basketball games as well as L.A. Galaxy soccer matches.
The announcement came just four days before the Lakers' NBA season tips off.
"We are proud of Charter’s robust selection of sports programming," said Allan Singer, Charter’s Senior Vice President of Programming in a statement. "Charter is the first provider of this brand new programming in our service areas, and we know that the addition of these networks especially pleases our customers in Southern California.”
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Lakers fans may have to leave their homes to watch their team play since it may not air via cable or dish any time soon this season.
Time Warner Cable SportsNet took a shot from Cox Cable Wednesday when it was accused of charging the most expensive prices in the U.S. for broadcasting Laker games. Currently Laker games are blacked out from San Diego to Fresno (and from Hawaii to Nevada) until carriers such as DirecTV and Cox reach agreements with TWC SportsNet.
"The price for the Lakers is one of the highest wholesale prices that we have seen, especially when you consider it on a 'per game' basis: only 53 of the of the Lakers' 82 regular season games will be exclusively available on TWC SportsNet," Cox wrote to its customers yesterday afternoon.
But late Wednesday night TWC SportsNet, who paid $3.6 billion to have the rights to the Lakers for the next 20 years, fired back arguing that they do not have the most expensive rates for others to broadcast the games.