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Ready or not, Lakers arrive in China

Ready or not, Lakers arrive in China
Kobe Bryant (yellow shirt) had plenty of hands to shake during a visit to China last year. (Associated Press)

BEIJING -- The Lakers' next practice will be at the MasterCard Center, which sounds like it could be in New York, Chicago or Los Angeles.

It's in the Chinese capital, though, the first step of the Lakers' NBA-mandated weeklong trip away from home.

The time change is 15 hours, their charter flight out of LAX was almost 13 hours, and, good morning, they'll be on the court at 9 a.m. Sunday local time in an effort to force themselves to acclimate to the time change.

Immediately after that, they'll head to the Great Wall for some culture and plenty of photo ops, akin to their team visit to the Tower Bridge in London three years ago, the Lakers' last trip outside the U.S.

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They'll eventually play a game Tuesday against Golden State and then head for Shanghai for a rematch at Mercedes-Benz Arena on Friday.

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Then they'll return home and be a little more than a week away from the start of the real games, Oct. 29 against the Clippers.

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