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Maybe the Lakers are just pacing themselves

April 19, 2011|JERRY CROWE

Other teams charge excitedly into the NBA playoffs, senses sharpened and attention focused....

The Lakers saunter....

It's no wonder fans boo....

Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol run as if "they have pianos on their back," ABC's Jeff Van Gundy noted. "They are in the habit of consistently being in a lope versus a sprint." ...

Maybe they honor the cliche: The playoffs are a marathon....

Before Sunday, Lakers tormentor Chris Paul had scored as many as 30 points in a game only once this season....

Increased parity produced an opening weekend of NBA playoff games that ranked among the most intriguing in recent memory....

Dwight Howard's anointment Monday as NBA defensive player of the year reminds that Blake Griffin will soon be announced as rookie of the year -- a first for a Clipper....

For The Record
Los Angeles Times Thursday, April 21, 2011 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 4 News Desk 1 inches; 58 words Type of Material: Correction
Blake Griffin: In the April 19 Sports section, columnist Jerry Crowe said Blake Griffin would soon be announced as the NBA's rookie of the year -- a first for a Clipper. In fact, Griffin would be the first Los Angeles Clipper. Terry Cummings won the award after the 1982-83 season as a member of the San Diego Clippers.

The only Laker to win the award was Elgin Baylor....

A recent mention of Wes Unseld reminded reader Steve Powell of San Diego that Unseld and Wilt Chamberlain are the only players in NBA history who were voted most valuable player and rookie of the year in the same season....

Fred Lynn and Ichiro Suzuki were rookie MVPs in baseball....

Prediction: Barring an early and unlikely meltdown by Jonathan Quick & Co., Staples Center will be far louder for Game 3 of the Kings-San Jose Sharks series Tuesday than it was for the Lakers playoff opener Sunday....

Hockey is dangerous enough without players stomping on opponents with their skates, a shortsighted act that rightly drew a suspension for Bobby Ryan of the Ducks....

Don Mattingly, we've now learned, is experienced enough to know not to take the bat out of Matt Kemp's hands....

Attendance may be lagging at Dodger Stadium, but not like this: USA Today reports that six major league teams, including the St. Louis Cardinals and New York Yankees, have set records this month for lowest attendance at their current ballparks. ...

A game of oneupmanship between Jered Weaver and Dan Haren is fun to watch and a boon to the Angels....

Linebacker Clay Matthews of the Green Bay Packers, a USC walk-on not too long ago, wears the NFL's eighth-most popular jersey, according to sales at NFLShop.com....

The top five: Troy Polamalu, Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, Peyton Manning and Tim Tebow....

Defending BCS champion Auburn drew 53,209 to its spring game Saturday, almost 40,000 fewer than rival Alabama....

Before Alabama's game at Tuscaloosa, a statue of Crimson Tide Coach Nick Saban was unveiled outside Bryant-Denny Stadium....

"Unsinkable," detailing Thousand Oaks teenager Abby Sunderland's rescue-shortened attempt to become the youngest person to solo-sail around the world, hits bookstores Tuesday....

Evander Holyfield, Deacon Jones and Billy Kilmer are among the celebrities scheduled to participate in the fourth annual "Evening with the Stars" benefit fundraiser Thursday night at Trump National Golf Course in Rancho Palos Verdes....

Information: (310) 897-5043 or freedomcommunity.com ....

Kevin Na's 12-over-par comedy of errors last week in Texas -- the worst score in PGA Tour history on a par-four hole -- has drawn nearly 700,000 views on YouTube....

Na, an instant folk hero, was ready to sign for a 15 on the hole but added a stroke after watching a video replay....

Bruce Jenkins of the San Francisco Chronicle, incredulous that Robert Redford reportedly will play overweight, cigar-chomping Branch Rickey in a film about Jackie Robinson: "And starring as Pee Wee Reese, the fabulous David Hasselhoff." ...

No word on who will play Robinson....

Before this month, when 68-year-old Jim Calhoun helped cut down the nets for Connecticut, the last coach to win an NCAA basketball title after his 64th birthday was John Wooden....

USC's annual "Swim with Mike" benefit swim-a-thon, which provides college scholarships for physically challenged athletes, raised a record $1.45 million this year....

Pete Rose Jr., coaching in the Chicago White Sox organization, tells the Chicago Tribune he's just a regular guy: "The only difference is my dad has more hits than anyone else's dad."

--

jerome.crowe@latimes.com

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