Griffin scores 39, Clippers beat Lakers 118-111 (Yahoo Sports)

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 31: Blake Griffin #32 of the Los Angeles Clippers dunks against the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center on October 31, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

Blake Griffin used a banking analogy to describe his dominant performance against the Lakers on Friday night. Griffin scored 39 points and went 11 for 12 from the free throw line, powering the Los Angeles Clippers to a gritty 118-111 victory over the winless Lakers in the first meeting of the season between the Staples Center co-tenants. The two-time defending Pacific Division champions have won eight of nine against the Lakers (0-3) since the start of the 2012-13 campaign, including victories by margins of 36, 48 and 23 points in the final three meetings last season. Chris Paul had 12 points, 10 assists and two steals for the Clippers.


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What We’ve Learned About 2014-15 Los Angeles Lakers so Far

Could the season have started any worse for the Los Angeles Lakers?

Three games in, and the Lakers are on pace for an 0-82 run—and given how they’ve performed thus far, that’s not much of an exaggeration.

There is little to no sign of improvement. The injuries continue to pile up, and L.A. is having a hard time just staying competitive against its Western Conference counterparts.

All signs point to yet another long and frustrating season in Laker Land. Let’s take a look at what the first week of real basketball has unearthed about the team.

Note: All statistics as of October 30

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Charles Barkley tells TNT to quit showing the Lakers

Charles Barkley stepped into the broadcast booth for TNT last night to call Cavs-Knicks.  And as you might expect, Sir Charles wasn’t your typical game analyst.  He spent a bit of time talking about LeBron’s return to Cleveland and the nerves at hand, the eastern conference as a whole, and other issues around the association.
One of which was the sucktitude of the Los Angeles Lakers.  Barkley spoke for a lot of NBA fans outside Los Angeles by pleading with his network to stop showing the Lakers…

Right now the 0-2 Lakers are scheduled for 8 TNT appearances and 27 total national television appearances!  Good Lord!
While this is just plain awful, it’s a good kind of awful and not just awful awful.  If the Lakers are going to be intentionally playing crappy basketball and end up tanking, there could be some kind of American Horror Story: Freak Show element that draws viewers in this year.
(H/T SB Nation)
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Cavaliers vs. Bulls, Clippers vs. Lakers: Quick Hits for Prime-Time NBA Action

Nationally televised NBA action tips off Friday night at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN when the Chicago Bulls face their Eastern Conference foe, the Cleveland Cavaliers. Following that, a matchup of two teams on opposite ends of the playoff spectrum takes place when the Los Angeles Lakers play host to the Los Angeles Clippers.

There will be a definitive, resonating aura coming from the stands of the United Center when Derrick Rose plays his first home game in more than a year. He is a man on a mission, trying to resurrect a Bulls team that fared well without him for two seasons. He looks to carry momentum he picked up from a win over the Knicks, where he sat out the majority of the second half and scored 13 points, to go with five assists and two steals. 

In the nightcap, Kobe Bryant will have to shoulder more of the burden after rookie forward Julius Randle broke his right leg on a drive to the hoop. Randle is likely done for the year. It wasn’t a great debut for this year’s Lakers squad overall, as the team was out-rebounded and lacked any sort of ball movement. Carlos Boozer was the lone bright spot for Byron Scott’s team, chipping in 17 points and seven rebounds on more than 50 percent shooting.

 

Quick Hits for Cavaliers vs. Bulls

Chicago will be looking to put its stamp on this budding rivalry and send the Cavaliers to an 0-2 start. LeBron James is coming off a disastrous outing against the New York Knicks. James and company fought their way back in the game after going down by as much as nine points late in the fourth quarter. The King was turnover-prone and looked out of sync but made several nice plays, including a nice dish to longtime Cavalier Anderson Varejao. 

Fresh off their shellacking of New York, the Bulls showed everyone just how potent their offense can be this year. The team was firing on all cylinders and received a combined 43 points and 19 rebounds from Pau Gasol and Taj Gibson. The defense held New York to just 36 percent shooting overall. The Bulls played without key wing Jimmy Butler, who sat out the game with a sprained left thumb. His status for Friday’s game is up in the air. 

The Bulls seemed fine without Butler, holding Carmelo Anthony to 14 points on less than 50 percent shooting. They also have a great one-two punch in the backcourt with electrifying point guard Aaron Brooks heading up the second unit. Chicago’s depth, both in the frontcourt and backcourt, will prove pivotal in defending the big trio of James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love.

Irving will look to test the defense of Rose, as James looks to get his aggressiveness back. Expect a more channeled James and for Irving to get better looks at the basket in this hotly contested matchup.

The Cavaliers will upset the Bulls in Chicago for two reasons. James will eat Mike Dunleavy alive, and the backcourt of Irving and Dion Waiters will thrive. The pair combined for 32 points and nine assists against the Knicks. The Bulls are not ready to handle that type of backcourt yet. Kevin Love will have an off night going against Gibson and Noah, who will make him work for every point. 

Prediction: Cavaliers 90, Bulls 87

 

Quick Hits for Clippers vs. Lakers

The Lakers were hoping to surprise people and churn out a competitive campaign this season, but things took a turn for the worse when Randle went down. With Nick Young still sidelined, the team needs Bryant now more than ever. Kobe and backcourt teammate Jeremy Lin were atrocious shooting the ball, combining to go 7-of-22. The Lakers were done in from the get-go after giving up a 31-point first quarter to Houston on Wednesday night. 

The new talk-of-the-town Clippers, led by Doc Rivers, started off this year strong with a victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder—a team they may face in the Western Conference playoffs. The Clippers won a back-and-forth affair, stalling a late Thunder comeback in the final frame. Blake Griffin iced the game with a pair of late free throws. However, they will need to shore up a defense that allowed the Thunder, without their top two stars, to shoot 43 percent. 

When Chris Paul and Griffin are firing on all cylinders, the Clippers are a tough team to stop. Boozer, Jordan Hill and Ed Davis are going to have a difficult time keeping the All-Star Griffin in check. Lin doesn’t get a break either, as he goes against one of the best in Paul.

If the Clippers get their outside shooting going, the Lakers will be in for a rough night. Bryant can only do so much, and he will likely see a variety of defenders, but when The Mamba is on, he’s on. 

Let’s be honest: Unless Bryant receives help from turnover-prone Lin, where do we see this Lakers team going?

Bryant is still working his way into game shape in a crowded Western Conference. He may be able to will his team to victory on most nights, but this won’t be one of them. Scott is also trying to implement an offense that shot just 32 percent from the field against the Rockets. Until Bryant finds his groove, I have to pick against The Mamba here. 

Prediction: Clippers 110, Lakers 94

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Kobe mentally prepared for Lakers frustration

Kobe Bryant has turned to the wisdom of past mentors to deal with this rough start.

      
 

 

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Suns rout Lakers 119-99 despite Kobe’s 31 points (Yahoo Sports)

PHOENIX, AZ - OCTOBER 29: Goran Dragic #1 of the Phoenix Suns shoots against the Los Angeles Lakers on October 29, 2014 at U.S. Airways Center in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Barry Gossage/NBAE via Getty Images)

The shots were falling from all over the court for the Phoenix Suns in their home opener Wednesday night. Kobe Bryant was a one-man show for the Los Angeles Lakers. The result was a 119-99 Suns blowout. Isaiah Thomas scored 23 points in his Phoenix debut, Marcus Morris matched his career high with five 3-pointers and the Suns dominated the night despite Bryant’s 31 points.


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Los Angeles Lakers vs. Phoenix Suns: Live Score, Highlights and Reaction

The Los Angeles Lakers will look to bounce back from an ugly opening-night loss when they travel to US Airways Center to take on the Phoenix Suns Wednesday night.

The Lakers were not only hammered by the Houston Rockets on Tuesday, but they also lost Julius Randle for the season after the rookie forward broke his leg, per Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times.

The Suns are looking to build upon a strong 2013-14 campaign which saw them win 48 games and finish one game out of the playoffs. Phoenix was expected to be one of the worst teams in the league, but it proved to be a pleasant surprise behind impressive backcourt play and solid depth.

The Suns are also aiming for their seventh straight home win over Los Angeles, a feat they haven’t accomplished since 1994.

Catch the action at 10 p.m. ET on either TWC Sportsnet or Fox Sports Arizona.

Be sure to keep it right here as Bleacher Report provides you with live coverage throughout the game.

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Lakers’ Randle has surgery, likely out for year (Yahoo Sports)

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 28: Julius Randle #30 of the Los Angeles Lakers sits against the basket as he is tended to after breaking his leg in the second half against the Houston Rockets at Staples Center on October 28, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. The Rockets won 108-90. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

Los Angeles Lakers rookie forward Julius Randle is expected to miss the rest of the season after undergoing surgery on his broken right leg. The seventh overall pick out of Kentucky broke his leg in the fourth quarter of his NBA debut in Los Angeles’ season-opening loss to the Houston Rockets on Tuesday. Randle was strapped to a wheeled stretcher and taken off the Staples Center court after colliding with two Rockets and landing awkwardly with 6:46 to play. Before Wednesday’s game at Phoenix, the Lakers announced that Randle’s injury was just as serious as it appeared.


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Kevin Ding Grades Kobe Bryant’s Los Angeles Lakers Season Debut

Kobe Bryant made his highly anticipated return to the court on Tuesday in the Los Angeles LakersNBA season-opening loss to the Houston Rockets. How did the five-time NBA champion look in his first action of the year?

Kevin Ding joins Stephen Nelson to grade the Black Mamba’s performance in the video above.

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Lakers rookie Randle breaks leg during opener

Julius Randle was carted off the court with teammates offering support in the fourth quarter.

      
 

 

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