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April 24, 2012 | By Mark Medina
                                        Kobe Bryant feels James Harden's pain. Bryant suffered a concussion after Dwyane Wade delivered a hard foul as the Lakers guard drove into the lane during the 2012 NBA All-Star game. Harden suffered a concussion after Lakers forward Metta World Peace struck him with an elbow to his head during the Lakers' 120-114 double overtime victory Sunday against the Oklahoma City Thunder.
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April 5, 2014 | By Ben Bolch
Referee Dick Bavetta is such great fun whether he's holding a ball as part of a skit with a team mascot, racing Charles Barkley or casually yukking it up with a superstar that you wish he could work another 2,633 consecutive games. The 74-year-old has not missed a game since making his NBA debut on Dec. 2, 1975, giving the league nearly 39 seasons of uninterrupted service. It's an amazing streak that is a tribute to Bavetta's health, determination and logistical wherewithal, the veteran referee having somehow conquered badly rerouted flights and closed airports to make every scheduled appearance.
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July 27, 2012 | By Melissa Rohlin
The Beard has a new home, far away from James Harden's face.  It now resides on an unknown fan's arm, in the form of meticulously crafted black ink. Yes, someone got James Harden's face, which is mostly covered in hair, tattooed on his arm. Harden quickly became a fan favorite after helping the Oklahoma City Thunder reach the NBA Finals by averaging 16.8 points, 4.1 rebounds and 3.7 assists. Harden was voted the league's sixth man of the year last season. Harden is currently with the U.S. basketball team in London.
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February 26, 2014 | By Ben Bolch
Mr. Smiley Face came to town, providing DeAndre Jordan and the Clippers a chance to do their usual thing against the Houston Rockets. Have a nice day. Dwight Howard actually didn't look happy for most of the Rockets' 101-93 loss Wednesday night at Staples Center, perhaps mindful that he was not the best defensive player on the floor. That title went to Jordan, a 6-foot-11, 265-pound block of granite with an equally massive accelerator. He was citius , altius , fortius without needing a passport to Sochi.
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January 17, 2009 | David Wharton
Coach Ben Howland studied tape of USC's upset victory over Arizona State, paying attention to the way the Trojans limited Sun Devils star James Harden to four points. The coach had this warning: Don't expect more of the same when No. 16 Arizona State plays No. 9 UCLA at Pauley Pavilion today. "He's not going to have another game like that," Howland said. "This guy's a great player. This guy is a lottery pick in the NBA."
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February 15, 2014 | By Ben Bolch
NEW ORLEANS - The kids are taking over the place. You can't toss a string of beads in the French Quarter this weekend without hitting a wide-eyed NBA All-Star. The festivities have become one extended Rising Stars Challenge between the six players making their All-Star game debuts Sunday at the Smoothie King Center and the five back for a second appearance. At 20, Anthony Davis can't even enjoy one of those oversized fruity alcoholic drinks so popular on Bourbon Street. Generation Next includes first-timers Stephen Curry, Damian Lillard, DeMar DeRozan, John Wall, Paul Millsap and Davis in addition to second-time participants Joakim Noah, Roy Hibbert, Paul George, Kyrie Irving and James Harden.
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January 8, 2014 | By Mike Bresnahan
HOUSTON - The Lakers didn't look like themselves for 21/2 quarters, not necessarily a bad thing right now. They hung with the Houston Rockets, even led by 11 points, until reality checked into the game on James Harden's alley-oop lob to Dwight Howard for a dunk. Yep, him again. Howard and the Rockets rallied to beat the Lakers, 113-99, Wednesday at Toyota Center. Lakers fans won't want to hear it, but Howard wasn't having any of the "What if?" talk, pretending to fall asleep when asked about his former team.
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November 8, 2013 | By Broderick Turner
When: 5 PST. Where: Toyota Center. On the air: TV: Prime Ticket; Radio: 980, 1220. Records: Clippers 3-3, Rockets 4-2. Record vs. Rockets: 1-0. Update: Through six games, Chris Paul is averaging 22.5 points and a league-leading 12.5 assists. The Clippers, after losing their last two games and failing to score 100 points in either one, were second in the NBA in scoring before Friday's games, averaging 110.5 points per game. Houston averages 107.5 points, fourth-best in the league before Friday.
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July 1, 2013
Writers from around the Tribune Co. will predict whether free agent Dwight Howard will re-sign with the Lakers or move on to another team. Feel free to join the conversation with a comment of your own. Ben Bolch, Los Angeles Times If Dwight Howard truly intends to base his decision on basketball reasons - a phrase the Lakers have already grown to detest - then there's only one destination that makes sense, at least for next season: Houston....
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February 18, 2014 | By Mike Bresnahan
When: 7:30. Where: Staples Center. On the air: TV: ESPN, TWC SportsNet, TWC Deportes; Radio: 710, 1330. Records: Lakers 18-35, Rockets 36-17. Record vs. Rockets: 1-1. Update: The Lakers won in Houston, 99-98, on Steve Blake's last-second three-pointer in November but lost there last month, 113-99, with James Harden scoring 38 points for the Rockets. Harden and Dwight Howard represented the Rockets in last weekend's All-Star game, but small forward Chandler Parsons is quietly having a good season (17 points, 5.6 rebounds and 3.7 assists a game)
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February 16, 2014 | By Eric Pincus
Shawne Williams' 10-day contract with the Lakers expires Sunday, leaving him a free agent on his 28th birthday. The 6-foot-9 forward signed with the Lakers on Feb. 6 for $69,998. Because Williams is on a minimum contract, the NBA will reimburse the Lakers $17,981 with $52,017 of Williams' salary counting against the team's salary cap and luxury tax. Williams was originally picked up by the Lakers in the off-season, signing a non-guaranteed contract.  Before his contract locked in for the entire season, the team waived him Jan. 7. In 36 games this season, Williams averaged 5.6 points and 4.6 rebounds while shooting 38% from the field.
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February 15, 2014 | By Ben Bolch
NEW ORLEANS - The kids are taking over the place. You can't toss a string of beads in the French Quarter this weekend without hitting a wide-eyed NBA All-Star. The festivities have become one extended Rising Stars Challenge between the six players making their All-Star game debuts Sunday at the Smoothie King Center and the five back for a second appearance. At 20, Anthony Davis can't even enjoy one of those oversized fruity alcoholic drinks so popular on Bourbon Street. Generation Next includes first-timers Stephen Curry, Damian Lillard, DeMar DeRozan, John Wall, Paul Millsap and Davis in addition to second-time participants Joakim Noah, Roy Hibbert, Paul George, Kyrie Irving and James Harden.
SPORTS
February 14, 2014 | By Eric Pincus
James Harden will start in the backcourt for the Western Conference All-Star team, replacing Kobe Bryant, who will sit out the game Sunday with a knee injury. West coach Scott Brooks (Oklahoma City Thunder) made his selection on Friday, picking his former guard Harden, who spent three seasons with the Thunder before a 2012 trade to the Houston Rockets. Bryant was injured on Dec. 17 in Memphis, suffering a fracture of his lateral tibial plateau in his left knee. After missing the start of the season while recovering from an Achilles tear, Bryant got through just six games before suffering another injury.
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February 2, 2014
John Wall scored 15 of his 17 points in the second half and the Washington Wizards took advantage of a rare off game from hometown star Kevin Durant in a 96-81 victory over the Thunder on Saturday night that stopped Oklahoma City's 10-game winning streak. Two days after being selected to the All-Star game for the first time, Wall also had 15 assists and six steals and went seven for 11 from the field after halftime, more than making up for an 0-for-7 first half. Durant had 26 points on eight-for-21 shooting, including 0 for 6 from three-point range, along with five turnovers.
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January 25, 2014 | By Ben Bolch
Nothing meaningful happened to the Lakers last week, unless you count its possibly marking the moment Kobe Bryant found humility. The standoffish superstar who likes to scoff at 3-0 series deficits, his team's sub-.500 record and the folly of a payroll-gobbling contract in what could be his final two NBA seasons finally discovered something that made him quiver: Being an All-Star when he doesn't deserve it. Bryant has played only six...
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January 23, 2014 | By Mike Bresnahan
MIAMI - Thanks for the All-Star votes, Kobe Bryant wanted his fans to know, but, uh, don't expect him to play in the game. When Bryant was announced Thursday as a starter in the Feb. 16 game, he said it was "always a tremendous honor" but had no desire to play in New Orleans that weekend. "No, I don't think so," he said flatly. How come? "With all due respect to the fans who voted me in, and I certainly appreciate that ... but you've got to do the right thing as well.
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