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West Coast sports roundup: Lakers stun Clippers in NBA opener, Seahawks dodge a bullet
- Updated: November 4, 2013
The final week of October brought the start of the NBA season, the end of the Major League Baseball season and another wild week of NFL action during its halfway point. There was also that day where adults make excuses to dress up in ridiculous costumes and make fools of themselves. One pair of national broadcasters, however, took it to a new level of awesomeness (more on that in a moment).
The Los Angeles Lakers, surrounded by low expectations entering a transitional year, took it to their cross-town rivals on Tuesday night, beating the new-look, Doc Rivers-led Los Angeles Clippers at Staples Center.
In the nation’s capital, San Diego Chargers’ coaching staff came under intense fire for its playcalling in the waning regulation minutes of the Bolts’ narrow loss to the Washington Redskins in overtime, 30-24.
There’s plenty to get to, so let’s take around the sports world and see how things went out West last week:
Lakers shock Clippers, who responded by beating up Warriors
The Lakers and Clippers opened their season on Tuesday night as the Lakers prevailed on their home floor with a convincing 116-103 win.
The Lakers’ bench, which has been dismal in recent years, came through in a big way as the Lakers’ reserves poured in 76 points. The Lakers exposed the Clippers’ porous defense and held them to 38 percent from the 3-point line. It was an encouraging development as this year’s Lakers’ squad, which will likely use a deep rotation. Every one of the team’s young players will have chance to contribute and make an impact on a team with few egos and a lot to prove.
The Clippers responded by defeating the Golden State Warriors at home, 126-115, on a TNT nationally-televised game that showcased two of the best teams in the Western Conference. For the Clippers, it was a bounce-back effort that was the NBA equivalent to awakening a sleeping giant.
Rivers won’t let the Clips be anything but a serious contender this season.
Seahawks’ defense disappears, then shows up to hang on
The Seattle Seahawks came into the 2013 season as one of the consensus best teams in the NFL. Over the past two weeks, two ugly wins put a blemish on their reputation on the defensive side of the ball. Going into Sunday’s game, they were the third-ranked defense in points allowed and first in creating turnovers.
In a narrow 27-24 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Seattle allowed 205 rushing yards and saw rookie running back Mike James go off for a career-high 158 yards on the ground. Also, they failed to force any turnovers and gave up 24 first downs and lost the time of possession battle, 36:37-30:12.
It was the second straight game in which the ‘Hawks escaped a major upset, this one is more damning due to the fact that they showed their ability to stink at the ‘Link.
PTI’s Tony Kornheiser and Mike Wilbon nail Tiger Woods, Lindsey Vonn costumes
Halloween came and went on Thursday, but not before Tony Kornheiser and Mike Wilbon of ESPN’s Pardon the Interruption put together the best mainstream costumes we saw all week long.
They coordinated a Tiger Woods and Lindsey Vonn ensemble that was so spot on and hilarious, that only the picture could do it justice:
Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon as Lindsay Vonn and Tiger Woods. Amazing. (working link) pic.twitter.com/zKhmfaaZ6f
— Phillip Barnett (@imsohideouss) October 31, 2013
Even Vonn managed to eek out a response in less than 140 characters with Tiger retweeting it:
— Tiger Woods (@TigerWoods) November 1, 2013
Portland Trail Blazers down tired Spurs
In another Western Conference upset, the Portland Trail Blazers defeated the San Antonio Spurs on Saturday night, 115-105. Nicolas Batum, LaMarcus Aldridge and Damian Lillard were in synch and led Blazers’ effort. Batum in particular put together a triple double of 11 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists.
The feat, which was the third of his career, didn’t come without some controversy, however. Batum did this to get his final three points:
Being the pro’s pro that he is, Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich said he had no problem with it, even though it was somewhat of an amateur move.
Portland shot 56 percent from the field and 40 percent from the 3-point line. They showed their youth in committing 16 turnovers but managed to stifle San Antonio enough to sneak by. The game was proof that if they can find some consistency, the Blazers will have the potential to surprise everyone.
The caveat here is that the Spurs were on the second leg of a back-to-back.
Chargers blow comeback attempt behind questionable playcalling
Bolts head coach Mike McCoy and offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt will have a week’s worth of questions to answer on the late-game playcalling.
With the Chargers down three points with 21 seconds remaining and 1st-and-goal from the 1-yard line, the play sequence was as following:
- Danny Woodhead ran up the middle for no gain on 1st-and-goal
- Quarterback Philip Rivers missed Antonio Gates on a fade route in the right corner of the end zone on 2nd-and-goal
- Rivers and Keenan Allen missed on a quick pass to the right on third down, resulting in the Chargers kicking a field goal
The worst news of it all for the Chargers is that at 4-3 going in, this was a game they had to have to keep their already slim playoff chances alive with the schedule entering a brutal stretch.
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