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Examining how the Clippers stack up in playoffs and in L.A.

With the Clippers set to tip off against the Houston Rockets in Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinals on Monday, Eric Pincus takes a look at how the team has fared this season and whether they have a chance at winning over more Los Angeles-area sports fans.

Why didn't the 56-26 Clippers go into the 2015 playoffs as a favorite in the Western Conference?

The Clippers have been generally viewed as pretender more than contender, likely because of their track record. After strong annual regular seasons, the Clippers came up flat last postseason in a second-round loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder.

The team previous fell in the first round to the Memphis Grizzlies in 2013 and in the second to the Spurs in 2012. Until the Clippers show they can get to the Western Conference Finals and beyond, there’s some natural skepticism that they’re capable of the feat.

After beating the San Antonio Spurs, the NBA's defending champions, in a thrilling seven-game series, are the Clippers now a legitimate...

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Lakers players miss 339 games to injury during dismal season

The Lakers won just 21 games through a difficult 2014-15 season.

Injuries were a major factor, starting with Steven Nash (back) in training camp and ending with rookie Jordan Clarkson hobbled with an ankle injury.

The Lakers saw players sit for 339 games because of injury and 355 in total.

Kobe Bryant missed 39 games with a shoulder injury. Before he was lost for the season, the all-star guard rested for eight games -- not included in the injury tally.

Nash was waived late in the season, after missing 73 games.

Rookie Julius Randle broke his leg on opening night, leaving him out of commission for the following 81 games.

Nick Young was injured for 39 games with ankle, thumb and knee injuries.

Wayne Ellington lost one game due to a concussion, eight because of a separated shoulder and another eight after the tragic death of his father.

Ronnie Price was suspended for a game, lost one with a broken nose and the flu, an additional two with the same broken nose and a sore right elbow, followed...

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Mitch Kupchak not named executive of the year, but does tie for 10th

After the Lakers finished the 2014-15 season with a 21-61 record, it's no surprise that General Manager Mitch Kupchak was not named executive of the year by the NBA.

On Friday, the award went to Bob Myers, general manager of the Golden State Warriors.

Kupchak did, however, receive a single second-place vote, tying him in 10th place with Dell Demps (New Orleans Pelicans), Flip Saunders (Minnesota Timberwolves), John Hammond (Milwaukee Bucks) and Sam Hinkie (Philadelphia 76ers).

David Griffin (Cleveland Cavaliers) came in second behind Myers.

The voting was done by a panel of basketball executives throughout the NBA.  The last executive with the Lakers to take home the honor was Jerry West for the 1994-95 season.

Even if it was a solitary vote, Kupchak's peers did rank him ahead of 16 other executives for his work this past season, including Doc Rivers of the Clippers (who didn't receive any votes), R.C. Buford of the San Antonio Spurs, Chris Wallace of the Memphis Grizzlies and Masai Ujiri...

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Jordan Clarkson finishes seventh in NBA rookie of the year voting

Lakers guard Jordan Clarkson came in seventh in the voting for this season's NBA rookie of the year award.

On Thursday, the league announced Andrew Wiggins of the Minnesota Timberwolves as the winner of the award with 110 of 130 first-place votes.

Nikola Mirotic (Chicago Bulls) came in second, followed by Nerlens Noel (Philadelphia 76ers) and Elfrid Payton (Orlando Magic). Payton received a total of 51 first-, second- or third-place votes to place fourth overall.

Marcus Smart (Boston Celtics) received one second-place vote, along with three for third. Jusuf Nurkic (Denver Nuggets) earned a single second-place vote and finished sixth.

Clarkson placed right behind Nurkic with a pair of third-place votes.

Taken with the 46th pick in the 2014 NBA draft, Clarkson averaged 11.9 points, 3.5 assists and 3.2 rebounds a game this season, including 15.8 points, 5.0 assists and 4.2 rebounds a night in 38 starts.

Wiggins was the top pick in the draft, Smart sixth, Payton 10th and Nurkic 16th. Noel...

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Former Lakers guard Javaris Crittenton pleads guilty to manslaughter

On Wednesday, former Lakers guard Javaris Crittenton pleaded guilty to manslaughter.

In an Atlanta courtroom, Crittenton acknowledged his responsibility for the 2011 fatal shooting of Julian Jones, a mother of four, taking a deal for 23 years in prison.

The Georgia Tech guard, who was drafted by the Lakers in 2007 with the 19th overall pick, was part of the deal that brought Pau Gasol to the Lakers in 2008.

Through 22 appearances through the 2007-08 season, the 6-foot-5 guard averaged 3.3 points a game.  He played 35 games with the Grizzlies before another trade sent him to the Washington Wizards.

Crittenton was later suspended for much of the 2009-10 season after a locker room gun incident with then-teammate Gilbert Arenas.

Eventually Crittenton was released by the Wizards.  After a preseason stint with the Charlotte Bobcats (now Hornets), the guard briefly played in China and in the NBA Development League.

On Wednesday, Crittenton avoided a murder charge by agreeing to the prison term...

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Lakers rookie Jabari Brown named to 'All-NBA D-League Third Team'

Lakers rookie guard Jabari Brown was named to the both the "All-NBA D-League Third Team" and the "NBA D-League All-Rookie Second Team" for his time with the D-Fenders before his March call-up.

Through 39 games with the D-Fenders, including 25 starts, Brown averaged 25.7 points while shooting 45.7% from the field and 39.2% from three-point range.

He made 19 appearances (five starts) with the Lakers, averaging 11.9 points on 41.2% and 37.1% shooting, respectively.

After his exit meeting with General Manager Mitch Kupchak and Coach Byron Scott, Brown acknowledged it was difficult waiting for his chance to play in the NBA.

"Things aren't always gonna go easy," he said.  "Everybody's road is different.  There are guys that go top 10 and there are guys drafted in the second round.  You've got to play to stay."

Brown is under contract with the Lakers next season at $845,059, but his salary isn't guaranteed.

In July, he'll play with the Lakers' summer-league squad in Las Vegas.

"I'm excited about...

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