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Lakers to Go to Santa Barbara Today

Knowing that the National Basketball Assn. championship series will not start until Tuesday, the Lakers have decided to head to their Santa Barbara retreat earlier than originally planned.

While awaiting the winner of the Chicago-Detroit series, the Lakers will practice Wednesday through Friday at Westmont College before returning to Los Angeles on Saturday.

Should the Pistons win the Eastern Conference finals, the Lakers will fly to Detroit Sunday afternoon. Should the Bulls win, the Lakers would have the home-court advantage and play the first two games in the Forum.

“I look at this as a good opportunity for us,” Coach Pat Riley said after Tuesday’s practice in the Forum. “We had a long layoff in ’82 and nine days in ’87. I think the players can use it to their advantage. It’s a time to plan, prepare, replenish and hone.”

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