Lakers play down rivalry angles ahead of opener against Clippers

first_img Trail Blazers, Grizzlies advance to NBA play-in game; Suns, Spurs see playoff dreams dashed EL SEGUNDO — Avery Bradley had just one slip-up as he tried to talk down the Lakers’ regular-season opener.He stressed – as all the Lakers have this week – that Tuesday night’s opener at Staples Center is just the first of 82 games, that no one night is more important than another. No, he insisted, he’s not out for a vendetta against the team that traded him away – at least not anymore.“I did at first,” he admitted. “But now I’m just worried about going out there and getting our first W, and moving onto the next game.”Bradley, who started last season with the Clippers, is among the laundry list of Lakers staffers with various motivations for starting the season with a win, not the least of which is to get off to a brisk start against an expected Western Conference contender. The Lakers as a team face Kawhi Leonard, who spurned them in free agency, and Danny Green will face his longtime teammate. LeBron James has a former coach, Ty Lue, on the opposing staff. There’s pride on the line, particularly as the Clippers have been taking subtle aim at the Lakers in their marketing and promotion for the upcoming season. How athletes protesting the national anthem has evolved over 17 years Rajon Rondo, on the otherhand, might be waylaid. The 33-year-old guard has been dealing with calf soreness, which is one reason he has not played since the team returned from China. The Lakers said he’s questionable against the Clippers.In general, Vogel has said he’s been concerned about the team’s conditioning since returning from the trip, but he didn’t have any other restrictions in mind.“Rajon is dealing with a sore calf, and aside from that, it’s just going to be a common sense thing based on (players’) wind,” Vogel said. “If we feel like the game is played at a high pace and guys need a sub, then we’ll adjust accordingly. But I’m planning on going in with the mindset that this is a midseason type of game, everybody’s ready to play midseason type of minutes.”Vogel also mentioned that Quinn Cook, who missed most of the preseason, is still dealing with calf soreness, but the Lakers said he would be available to play. Lakers practice early hoping to answer all questions Lakers, Clippers schedules set for first round of NBA playoffs center_img Trail Blazers beat Grizzlies in play-in, earn first-round series with the Lakers CARUSO PROBABLE, RONDO QUESTIONABLEThe Lakers got good news on Alex Caruso, who took a hard fall in the preseason finale at Golden State: The guard has a bone bruise in his pelvis, and the medical staff has graded him as probable to play in Tuesday’s opener.Related Articles AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREUCLA alum Kenny Clark signs four-year contract extension with PackersThe Lakers have attempted to stifle the storylines, sticking to certain tired cliches about how the Clippers offer no more motivation than anyone else. The spirit of the team’s media comments in the days leading up to the season can best be captured by Danny Green’s sentiment: “They’re gonna want to beat us because everybody’s trying to force this rivalry thing to happen.”Others have diffused it more diplomatically. James has talked about what an exciting time it is for all L.A. sports, not just basketball, while attempting to name every sports team in Southern California. Lakers coach Frank Vogel said he’s kept up a friendship with Clippers coach Doc Rivers, but mostly talking about where they live in their mutual home city. If he’s gotten exposure to the so-called rivalry, he didn’t speak to it.“They know we have two good teams here in town, but this is a situation where I’ve been welcomed by the (Laker) fans, and they’re excited about their team,” Vogel said. “The Laker fanbase is like a religion around here. It really matters to people, and people care.”Bradley echoed a similar sentiment, saying his short experience so far in a Lakers uniform has shown him the scope of the fanbase.“The history feels like when I played for the Celtics,” he said. “The entire atmosphere is just a different level. Not to take anything away from Clipper fans, but this history in this city that (the Lakers) have been able to create is amazing, and I’m just happy to be a part of this tradition now.” Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img read more

Five star KCCA a point away from retaining Uganda league title

first_imgKCCA striker Sserunkuma. PHOTO KCCA MEDIAKampala,Uganda | KCCA|  KCCA moved to within a point of retaining their Azam Uganda Premier League title following a commanding victory over Kirinya Jinja at Lugogo on Saturday.Derrick Nsibambi scored a brace in addition to further strikes from Sulaimon Akinyemi, Geoffrey Sserunkuma and Noel Nasassira in the 5-1 victory.Coach Mike Mutebi named youngsters Mustapha Kizza and Peter Magambo in a lineup that had Douglas Kisembo in goal while league leading striker Geoffrey Sserunkuma was partnered with in-form Derrick Nsibambi upfront.Victory consequently moved KCCA to 57 points, five ahead of nearest challengers. Villa who also won against Soana. With three games left, KCCA now require to only avoid defeat against Lweza in the next encounter on Tuesday to retain their crown.READ FULL STORY HEREShare on: WhatsApplast_img read more