Lakers, Clippers Tip Off NBA Season Tomorrow

The Lakers start the season on the wings of good news with the reduction of Andrew Bynum’s suspension from five to four games, and with the likelihood that Kobe Bryant will be playing when the the buzzer sounds. That may not really be good news, though, as all those, you know, doctors, say he should be giving his torn ligament a chance to heal. By playing tomorrow, and presumably thereafter, Kobe might be risking the meat of the season.

Mike Brown, the coach who is definitely NOT Phil Jackson, is apparently starting the

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Second Coming of Dell Harris Era by inserting Devin Ebanks as the staring small forward, and moving Matt Barnes to the position of Kobe’s backup, and removing Jason Kapono from the rotation. All mistakes. Making Steve Blake the starting point guard is not as bad a move, but while Blake should be getting most of the PG minutes, I would keep Derek Fisher the starter. As I write this, a couple of roster cuts are still needed. I’d expect Luke Walton to suffer an injury while sitting at home, and probably the same for Andrew Goudelock.

The Lakers will tip off 3-1/2 to 4 point underdawgs to the Bulls, and given that there will be no Andrew

Bynum, a questionable Kobe, Steve Blake, Devin Ebanks and Josh McRoberts all STARTING, and that Derrick Rose will have a field day against the defenseless Laker back court defense, the game will not be that close. Bulls by 9.

The Clippers start the season with only five active players who started last season as Clippers (a sixth, Eric Bledsoe, is on the roster but injured and inactive). Normally, this fact could only be a good thing, and certainly adding the likes of Chris Paul, Chauncey Billups, Caron Butler, and even Reggie Evans, are definite improvements, but losing the 7-foot presence of Chris Kaman and the shooting talent and imminent stardom of Eric Gordon, are definite minuses. These two guys will lead New Orleans to the playoffs, regardless of the loss of Paul.

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I see the five-team Pacific Division quickly dividing itself into three sub-divisions, with the Clippers and Lakers at the top, Phoenix and Sacramento at the bottom, and Golden State in the middle. The Clippers start the season playing at Golden State, and the game should be entertaining and enlightening. For Golden State, it will also feature the debut of the last ever PAC-10 scoring leader, Klay Thompson, son of former Laker and long-time LA-area broadcaster Mychal Thompson. The line has the Clippers by 5-1/2, but I’d say a 15 point win is more likely.

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