The Artest experiment, Clips can survive minus Griffin and more
Who was the evil NBA schedule maker who thought it would be funny to have the Clippers play the Lakers on opening night? It's one thing to be viewed as the "other team" in town, but it's another to be present on the night the Lakers are given their championship rings and unveil their most recent championship banner at Staples Center, which is also the Clippers' home -- although you'd never know it by looking up at the rafters.
Having the Lakers try on their championship rings for the first time in front of the Clippers seems as wrong as
That's probably why Clippers coach
"We're in the locker room doing stretches and yoga," Dunleavy said. "You have a choice to sit out there or come back in, and we don't want to sit out there."
When the Clippers finally got on the court, however, they were far more competitive than most thought they would be on a night that was more a celebration of the Lakers' championship than the beginning of the new season. While the Lakers won 99-92 (
Here are six storylines to watch for both the Lakers and Clippers following their season opener.
On Tuesday, Artest had 10 points, five rebounds and four assists, and he connected on only 3-of-10 shots in 42 minutes. It looked at times as if Artest was more focused on fitting in and finding open teammates than finding his shot, which isn't a bad thing considering most of the questions surrounding Artest in the preseason were if he would be happy simply being a role player. If the only outrageous thing he does this season is cut the Lakers' logo and assorted designs into his hair, this marriage might work.
So how did all of this affect Odom? Not much, as he scored 16 points, grabbed 13 rebounds and blocked two shots. The Hollywood lifestyle of this team (half the roster has personal publicists) will constantly come up this season, but if the Lakers can somehow block that out and ignore the new $1.2 million nightclub built above the court (yes, seriously), they will be fine.
"His teammates are going to find him, and when you have a player like Kobe, who draws players, he's going to find Andrew," coach
"I think we're great now," Dunleavy said of his relationship with Davis. "The main thing with Baron is his conditioning is so much better this year. He's down probably 20 pounds from last year. That lends himself to being a better defender and better able to push the ball and be in attack mode, and that's what we want him to do. He's at his best when he's a bully and using his size and strength on people."
"I don't think this will be a setback for Blake," Dunleavy said. "He's the most advanced rookie I've ever had as far as knowing his stuff mentally and IQ-wise. When we came in the first day, he knew all the plays and that's why he was able to play the way he was in the preseason. There should be no question what he's capable of doing when he comes back."
"I don't believe in curses or magic," Dunleavy said. "The bottom line is that we've had some bad luck that we've got to get through, and we have a better opportunity to get through it with our roster this season."