A lot of people made fun of us for talking the Clippers up, but what can you say? When you’re younger, more athletic, things just come easier. That’s just the way it is and as much as we love the game, as much as we love Kobe and Pau and the accolades they’ve won in the past, if you can’t see the Clippers are poised to take that crown than you are losing it. Or you just have more faith in the Lakers’ front office than we do. The Clippers let their big brother hang around for a while, and then in the second half they turned it up to a level the old heads couldn’t keep up with. 114-95, the Clippers ended up winning with Chauncey Billups (23 points) and Chris Paul (17 points, nine assists, five steals) doing the most damage, dominating the Laker guards at times … The Clippers came into Staples Center as visitors and left as champs of the city, even if it was only a preseason game. Bryant scored as easily as he always has, 22 (with seven turnovers), and the two Laker big men combined for 31 and 19. But the Lakers supporting cast struggled (sound familiar?), and Metta World Peace shot 0-for-8 off the bench. When you’re counting on three players to do everything for you, especially against a younger, quicker team, you’re basically calling for a problem. Paul didn’t dominate, but he turned heads as a new Clipper, everyone except for his coach. Vinny Del Negro isn’t ready to give up his spot yet, and says he’s here to stick around. He also points out he expects CP3 to lose a few pounds. We’re not experts on star-to-coach relationships, but asking your point guard publicly to lose a few pounds doesn’t seem like the best course of action … Pau Gasol was asked by our friends over at Lakers Nation about Kobe’s recent divorce. Check out his response here … Josh Smith might’ve only scored 11 compared to Boris Diaw‘s 12, but to us he’s the anti-Diaw: Showing up to camp in shape, and looking skinnier than ever. Diaw doesn’t look like he’s in great shape, and that’s being kind. Charlotte won by only two 79-77 over Atlanta, and Portland blew out Utah by 20 behind 17 from Wesley Matthews … As for the L.A. battle, as good as Jordan is, we swear we’ve never seen him make a shot, like ever, outside of the paint. In fact, he’s the only player in the NBA to score 500 or more points and not score one point outside of the paint. For someone 7-1 with an insane wingspan and the leap of a prehistoric animal, that’s just awful. There’s seriously no way to defend that … And Kobe says he wants to stay a Laker forever. There’s nothing like playing in one place your whole career, as far as your legacy goes, and we think Kobe understands that. He might pressure management to make moves, but we doubt he’ll try to demand a trade … The Mavs signed long-time bad boy Sean Williams. Do you anticipate him doin’ anything for them this year? Hopefully he sticks in the league for once … One of our all-time favorite players, Shammond Williams, gave a serious Q&A where he discusses North Carolina ties and going back to coach for Roy Williams. While he never became more than a decent role player in the NBA, Williams was a beast at UNC for those extremely talented, but flawed, late ’90s North Carolina teams … By the way, have any of you been checking out NBA TV’s Open Court? They had it on the other night and the guys were talking about their second sports. Reggie Miller said he’s all world in baseball and could play in the majors right now. Steve Smith said he was great in horseshoes, and then Kenny Smith tried to say he was big time in golden gloves growing up. At that, everyone got up, and walked out saying “That’s it. That’s it. We’re calling it off!” Hilarious show … Mark Cuban expects an openly gay player soon. Are you ready? … Chuck Hayes failed his physical and his Sacramento contract will be voided. We feel for him. He’s one of the good guys in the league, if only because he does the little things that never get rewarded. In this instance, the reward came ($21 million), and then was taken away because of a heart issue. Kings general manager Geoff Petrie said that informing Hayes his deal had been voided was “one of the most heartbreaking moments of my professional or personal life.” … Dennis Rodman decided to paint his face while he was in Asia. C’mon man. They should’ve had him in The Hangover Part II. Stu and Rodman would’ve gotten along great … And Arron Afflalo is returning to Denver a very rich man. $43 million strong are the reports out of ESPN. So that’s now $110 million spent to keep the core of a team together that lost in the first round last year. We love Afflalo and Nene, but sometimes we can’t figure organizations out. One thing we can say for Afflalo: He’s going to be a coveted fantasy player this season. With half of Denver’s roster dominating in China, he’ll take more shots than LMFAO … We’re out like Rodman’s face.
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