Letters from the Road

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Three of the West’s Bests—the Lakers, the Clippers and the Thunder—are in the middle of grueling road trips, but they’re all going slightly differently, and most likely will continue as such, so let’s give them the old once over.

Road Trips Thus Far:

Lakers. They’re 2-2 on their present 6-game road course, and with the Knicks tonight (on ESPN) followed by the Raptors on Sunday, it would be hard to imagine LAL doing any worse than .500.

But with last night’s victory in Boston needing overtime to be settled—and add to that the fact it’s the second back-to-back of this little trip—the Lake Show could have some fatigue issues before they finally come home.

Or this impressive victory against the Boston Celtics, in their building, putting an end to their 5-game winning streak, could be just the right kind of rallying cry this team needs to be cured of their road woes for good. We shall see.

Clippers. The other team in LA is 2-1 on their roadie, but the Clips have Philly tonight, so that record could level off. Yet whatever record they have, when it’s all said and done, LAC will never be able to replace what they’ve already lost: Chauncey Billups: For the rest of the season. Ouch.

On the bright side, however, the Clippers had a good-looking victory in Orlando. They emerged victorious despite Dwight Howard’s 33&14, partially because of Chris Paul’s 29/7/8, but mostly from quality from the whole team equally propelling them to a 107-102 road win.

Plus, the second half of LAC’s only back-to-back involves playing the Bobcats tomorrow after they square off against the 76ers this evening. Then it’s the Mavs on Monday night, and with Dallas finally getting their act together, that game should feel like the Playoffs.

Thunder. OKC is 2-2 like the Lakers, but they still have the hardest path to travel. They play the Jazz tonight (the other end of ESPN’s double header), and it’ll be their second back-to-back of this fiasco, and their 5th game in 7 days. Whew.

The first loss I’ll cut them a break, for Tony Parker had 42 points and 9 dimes, but last night in Sacramento was nothing other than a bad loss; it could have been exhaustion, and I hope it was, because they can’t quit now, because they play the Jazz tonight.

It’s not all doom and gloom for the Thunder. They get three much-needed days off when this is all over. And OKC finally won a game in which Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant go over 30 points: It happened last Tuesday versus the Warriors. They needed all the points they could get too, because Monta Ellis dropped 48 right on top of them.

Random Knowledge Overflow. Kevin Love (T-Wolves) not only leads the NBA in minutes per game, but he also finds himself in the top five in both scoring and rebounding.

Serge Ibaka (OKC) had 10 blocks last night playing the Kings, and it’s the second time he’s done it this season; the other occurrence happened while playing the Mavericks on the first day of this very month.

The Houston Rockets won their last two games in as many days, and they’re starters scored only 78 points; the Rockets bench was responsible for the other 123 points, as the reserves outscored the starting five two games in a row. (Both games were on the road, as well, against Portland and Phoenix.)

On the Docket. There are 26 games in the next three days, so get busy watching, or get busy dying.

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