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31/12/2015

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LOS ANGELES -- Pau Gasol and Steve Nash watched the entire fourth quarter from the bench. Mario Addison Panthers Jersey . Kobe Bryant sat one row behind them in a black shirt and suit. The Lakers three veteran stars were spectators for one remarkable show put on by five Lakers reserves who werent ready to cede Los Angeles supremacy to their Staples Center rivals. Xavier Henry scored a career-high 22 points, Jordan Farmar added 16, and the Lakers surged past the Los Angeles Clippers in the final minutes for a 116-103 victory in both clubs season opener Tuesday night. By the time the Lakers reserves were done with Blake Griffin and Chris Paul, coach Doc Rivers Clippers debut was wrecked -- and so were many preconceptions about the Lakers prospects this season. The Lakers 76 bench points were the most in club history since March 1985. "Its not a bad thing to be the underdog sometimes," said Jodie Meeks, who scored nine of his 13 points in the fourth quarter. "No expectations. We go out there and play hard. Whats the worst that can happen? We lose, and people say were no good?" The Lakers 41-point fourth quarter was downright stunning, but the identities of the players responsible for this exciting, free-flowing opener were even more jaw-dropping. "Mike (DAntoni) did a great thing: He didnt bring his starters back in," Rivers said. "There was a point where I was thinking: Please bring them back in." A team that was 28th in the NBA in reserve scoring last season got outstanding bench play from a five-man unit, including three guys who werent even on the team last season: Wesley Johnson, two-time NBA champion Farmar, and Henry, the former first-round pick who burned out in Memphis and New Orleans. A new season is a chance for a fresh start, and Henry needs one just as much as the Lakers. He scored 12 points in the fourth quarter while leading a 28-8 run. "Were a deep team, and people dont think were that good," Henry said. "That always fuels us. People are saying were going to finish 12th or whatever, but we have a great group of guys who go out there and play hard. Were young. Were athletic. We get after it." The long-established hoops hierarchy in Los Angeles flipped earlier this year: The Clippers won a division title and became veteran championship contenders, while the Lakers lost their stars to injury or free agency and prepared for a long rebuilding process. At least in the opener, the Lakers flipped it again -- and embarrassed Rivers in the process. "We were not ready tonight," said Rivers, the longtime Celtics coach who hopes to push the Clippers into title contention. "(The Lakers) have heard for probably the last two months how good (the Clippers) were going to be ... so you knew that they were going to play like this was the world championship -- with that type of energy. And I thought we never matched it. Everything they did was harder than us and more physical than us. They destroyed us on the glass and destroyed us in turnovers. So it was a good lesson for us." Griffin scored 19 points and Paul had 15 points and 11 assists for the Clippers, who beat the Lakers four times last season on the way to their first Pacific Division title. DeAndre Jordan added 17 points and 11 rebounds. "Youve got to give it to them. They outplayed us," Griffin said. "They did a good job. They were ready. They turned up the heat in the fourth quarter, and we didnt respond." Gasol scored 11 of his 15 points in the first quarter, and Jordan Hill added 12 points and eight rebounds as the Lakers improved to 42-24 on opening night, the best winning percentage in NBA history. After the off-season losses of Dwight Howard and Metta World Peace, not much is expected from the Lakers. Yet they thrived for a night without Bryant, who missed a season opener for the first time since 2006. The fourth-leading scorer in NBA history hasnt returned to practice this fall after tearing his Achilles tendon late last season. The Clippers led 57-55 at halftime while hitting nearly 59 per cent of their shots. They pushed their lead to eight points in the third quarter, but the Lakers went ahead 86-83 with 9:06 to play on Meeks three-point play. "Oh, man, it seemed like it just happened so fast," Paul said. "Those guys executed their game plan, and when youre missing somebody like Kobe, you feed off that energy." NOTES: The evening began with a moment of silence for Bill Sharman, who died last week at 87. He coached the 1971-72 Lakers to their first championship in Los Angeles, winning an NBA-record 33 consecutive games along the way. ... The Clippers won their final seven games of the regular season last spring. ... Floyd Mayweather Jr., Diddy, Yasiel Puig, Tommy Lasorda and Flea attended the game. Kelvin Benjamin Panthers Jersey . -- Louis Oosthuizen was 12 and Charl Schwartzel was 10 when they played their first round of golf together. DeAngelo Williams Jersey . - The Arizona Cardinals under coach Bruce Arians do not play it safe.MARTINSVILLE, Va. - Being told he couldnt race last weekend because of an eye and vision problem will not make Denny Hamlin less likely to seek the help of medical staffs available at NASCAR tracks every weekend, he said Friday. Hamlin let Sam Hornish Jr. drive his car last weekend at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif., after he sought the assistance of the on-site medical team when his face swelled up and his vision blurred. Initially thought to be a sinus infection, it turned out to be a small piece of metal in his eye, Hamlin said at Martinsville Speedway. Hamlin said he doesnt blame the two doctors who examined him for failing to see the rusting metal, and it wasnt until he saw an optometrist that it was discovered, removed, and he started feeling better. "It took someone who was in the business of eyes to find it," he said. Hamlin has been cleared to return this weekend at Martinsville Speedway, where he has won four times, and he took umbrage at the notion that his reputation might have been tarnished when he missed the race. "People who think negatively of me or think that we side-stepped some sort of drug test or something is ridiculous," he said, adding that he was making an effort not to get angry at the suggestion that something untoward was afoot. "Im in one of the top-tthree cars in NASCAR. Mike Remmers Jersey. I would have to be an absolute moron — moron — to risk that." Dale Earnhardt Jr., who originally said he was concerned about Hamlins point of view about how he wound up being told he couldnt race, said his concern wasnt for the medical teams competency, but for his fellow driver. "I feel great about the process and what NASCAR has had in place for years," Earnhardt said. NASCAR travels with two registered nurses who have access to each drivers medical records each week, and tracks work with local doctors and hospitals to staff a full trauma unit when cars are on the track. Hamlin, 34, said hes frustrated by spending so much time answering medical questions. The Fontana race was where he sustained a broken back a year ago, and he rushed back into competition hoping to make the playoffs, but came up short. "I feel better than I ever have," he said. "Pilates has changed my life as far as my back is concerned. My back is no longer an issue — knock on wood. Everything — you hate getting attention for those reasons, but a lot of it is because we havent won a whole lot over these last year and a half. "Were going to change that this weekend." ___ Follow Hank on twitter at: http://twitter.com/hankkurzjr cheap nfl jerseys cheap jerseys cheap jerseys cheap jerseys cheap nfl jerseys wholesale jerseys ' ' '