Tonight's nationally televised game against LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers probably means more to Kobe Bryant and the Lakers than they're letting on. . . .
The Lakers were embarrassed on Christmas Day, though not as shamefully as their foam-finger-throwing fans. . . .
Among the five players who've scored at least 28,000 points in their NBA careers -- Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Karl Malone, Michael Jordan, Wilt Chamberlain and, as of this week, Shaquille O'Neal -- only Jordan didn't score any for the Lakers. . . .
When rookie Mark Sanchez hit a rough patch this season, a New York tabloid headline dubbed him Broadway Schmo. . . .
Lately, he's The Sanchise again. . . .
The NFL playoffs, with only one of eight games decided by less than a touchdown, have been a bit of a dud so far. . . .
His two electrifying bursts Saturday reminded fans why Reggie Bush was so highly regarded coming out of USC. . . .
Next month's Super Bowl in South Florida will be played at Sun Life Stadium, known previously as Joe Robbie Stadium, Pro Player Park, Pro Player Stadium, Dolphins Stadium, Dolphin Stadium and, until this week, Land Shark Stadium. . . .
Jose Offerman was not known as a hothead during his time in Southern California, even when he made a Los Angeles Dodgers franchise-record 42 errors in 1992. . . .
At a memorial service for Angels and USC announcer RoryMarkas, Armie Anabo said of her late boyfriend, "When we first started dating I said, 'I am amazed that you remember the names and stats but don't remember what I told you just yesterday.' " . . .
As former Clippers teammate Elton Brand could tell Chris Kaman, players from teams with records below .500 face long odds of locking down spots in the NBA All-Star game. . . .
Judging by Tuesday's 5-1 loss to the San Jose Sharks, Jonathan Quick and the Kings still have a ways to go to be counted among the NHL's elite. . . .
Teen sailor Abby Sunderland of Thousand Oaks, set to launch her unassisted, nonstop solo navigation of the planet Saturday after postponing it a week, was wise to sit out this week's string of Southern California storms -- but she'll probably face worse in the months ahead. . . .
On this date in 1975, at the NHL All-Star game in Montreal, Robin Herman of the New York Times and Marcel St. Cyr of Montreal radio station CKLM became the first female reporters to enter a male professional sports locker room. . . .
Finally, rightfully, women heard the cliches for themselves. . . .
Gubernatorial candidate Zach Wamp, running down a list of Tennessee's virtues last week during a statewide debate: "A high quality of life, low taxes, no state income tax, mountains, rivers, people go to work. We even got rid of Lane Kiffin." . . .
Longtime Southland boxing promoter and publicist Don Fraser is recuperating at home in Toluca Lake after bladder surgery. . . .
The late F.X. Toole, a cut man whose short stories inspired the Hilary Swank-starring, Oscar-winning film "Million Dollar Baby," was named the winner this week of the Boxing Writers Assn. of America's A.J. Liebling Award -- named for the author of "The Sweet Science" and "The Neutral Corner." . . .
Toole (real name: Jerry Boyd) died in 2002, two years before Clint Eastwood's movie was released. . . .
Happy 70th birthday to the Golden Bear, Jack Nicklaus, whose record of 18 major championships was thought to be Tiger Woods' one true obsession -- until we learned otherwise. . . .
Joe Torre once got Bruce Springsteen to perform at one of his Safe at Home benefits in New York, but convincing the reclusive Sandy Koufax to sit with him for a public question-and-answer session at another Safe at Home event Feb. 27 at Nokia Theatre is an even greater coup for the Dodgers manager. . . .
Tickets: (800) 745-3000. . . .
A first-round match at the Australian Open was stopped for 40 minutes this week after a ball boy wet his pants. . . .
Only a few minutes after USC's historic blowout victory Saturday in Westwood, Fox ran an ad in which UCLA Coach Ben Howland says, "Our players really have a great experience every time they step on the floor at Pauley Pavilion." . . .
Well, maybe not every time.