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October 28, 2008|JERRY CROWE

That's quite the super group "Guitar Hero" has assembled for its new commercial, "lead vocalist" Kobe Bryant channeling Tom Cruise from the famous lip-synching scene in "Risky Business" and Alex Rodriguez, Michael Phelps and Tony Hawk providing energetic backup on guitars and drums. . . .

Bryant seems more at home rocking than he did rapping. . . .

Lakers fans are hoping that, starting tonight, Bryant breaks out his Michael Jordan impersonation and carries the Lakers to an NBA championship. . . .

All the pieces are in place. . . .

If you thought it was absurd that Monday night's game in Philadelphia continued as long as it did despite the cold and rain, consider this: The 2009 World Series is scheduled to start a year from tonight and end in November. ...

Major league teams from Florida have never lost a playoff series.

The Florida Marlins won World Series titles in their only two postseason appearances and the Tampa Bay Rays, having reached the Series in their playoff debut, are still hanging tough against the Philadelphia Phillies. ...

If it worked for the American League-champion Rays, it might work for the long-suffering Clippers too -- change your name, change your fortunes. . . .

Before the season, the once-downtrodden team formerly known as the Devil Rays was listed as a 200-1 shot to win the World Series. . . .

Baron Davis and the new-look Clippers are 75-1 shots to win the NBA title, according to BoDogLife.com, and the over-under line on the number of games they'll win during the regular season is 33 1/2 . . . .

The over-under victory total for the Lakers is 54 1/2 . . . .

Would you believe USC vs. Ohio State in the Rose Bowl?. . . .

USC's Stafon Johnson could play 10 years in the NFL and not make a more memorable block than the one he made Saturday night against Arizona safety Nate Ness, buying time for Mark Sanchez to pass for the winning touchdown and catapulting his childhood friend ascot over tea kettle. . . .

Damning with faint praise, ABC commentator and former UCLA quarterback David Norrie said during Saturday's telecast that erratic Bruins quarterback Kevin Craft was "at his best when he doesn't have to think much." . . .

Or pass much, the former Bruin might have added. . . .

The score of Sunday's Dallas Cowboys victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers must have brought a smile to the face of UCLA fans. . . .

For the Bruins faithful, 13-9 has a nice ring to it. . . .

A rift with Jerry Jones denied Jimmy Johnson a chance to win a third consecutive Super Bowl with Troy Aikman and the early 1990s Cowboys, but it looks as if only a monumental collapse would deny Jimmie Johnson a third consecutive NASCAR Sprint Cup championship. . . .

After Sunday's race, Carl Edwards said, "Jimmie's magic." . . .

A new magic Johnson?. . . .

The Lakers have not opened a season against the Clippers, nor the Clippers against the Lakers, since Nov. 6, 1992, when Byron Scott, James Worthy, Vlade Divac and the Lakers walked out of the Sports Arena with an overtime victory over Danny Manning, Ron Harper and the Clippers. . . .

Both teams made the playoffs the next spring. . . .

In two years as co-owner of the Sparks, Carla Christofferson has not yet landed a WNBA championship, but last week on her honeymoon the former Miss North Dakota boated a 140-pound marlin off Cabo San Lucas. . . .

It was interesting to note that Midnight Lute, named for former Arizona basketball coach Lute Olson, won the Breeders' Cup Sprint on Saturday, two days after Olson made the surprising announcement that he was retiring. . . .

Olson was given the mocking moniker by former Nevada Las Vegas coach Jerry Tarkanian, who explained in his book, "Runnin' Rebel," that Olson had a knack for swooping in late on recruits: "You'd go to bed, and a recruit was coming with you. You'd wake up, and he was going to Arizona. I gave him the nickname . . . because he got so many players at the end, right at midnight." . . .

The novelty of throwback uniforms has worn off. . . .

After Sarah Palin dropped the ceremonial first puck at the Philadelphia Flyers' opener Oct. 11, the Flyers lost their first six games, and when the vice presidential candidate dropped the puck before Friday's Kings-St. Louis game at St. Louis, Blues goaltender Manny Legace suffered a hip injury when he slipped on the carpet Palin used to walk onto the ice. . . .

Republicans hope she brings better luck to John McCain.

--

jerome.crowe@latimes.com

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