To say that the Lakers' season has been a roller coaster ride would be an understatement, and with a 7-2 record over their last nine games amidst a strong push for a spot in the Western Conference playoff picture, the purple and gold faithful have reason to hope that the car keeps climbing up. However, one of the biggest pleasant surprises seems to have hit a slump, as ESPN Los Angeles' Ramona Shelburne notes that Earl Clark has only reached double figure scoring once in the team's last seven games. We have a few links to share out of Los Angeles tonight, and you can find them below:
- Chauncey Billups opens up about the adjustments that he's had to make with the Clippers, from moving to shooting guard and returning from an achilles injury (Broderick Turner of the LA Times).
- Although he's had his share of struggles from the free throw line, Dwight Howard is too valuable in other areas of the game to be kept off the court during crunch time, opines Janis Carr of the OC Register.
- Howard tells Eric Pincus of the LA Times about what he's learned by playing alongside Kobe Bryant, particularly about getting over his fear of missing shots and improving off the court habits. "I think this is a blessing for me, to experience the stuff that I've experienced this year. It's just going to make me a better man and a better player…Just from watching Kobe — this has been great for me. I wouldn't have it any other way."
- Defending the three point line has been a glaring concern for the Clippers, who may find themselves unable to advance in the playoffs if things don't change, writes Arash Markazi of ESPN Los Angeles.
- Mary Schmitt Boyer of The Plain Dealer notes the importance of the Lakers making the playoffs for the Cavaliers, as Cleveland will have the option of swapping Miami's first round pick with the Lakers' if it falls out of the lottery.