When push comes to shove for the Lakers
A hard foul by Trevor Ariza sends Rudy Fernandez to the hospital, gets Ariza ejected . . . and Lamar Odom is suspended? . . .
“How ironic that Monday’s sports section had a front-page article on NHL fighting, yet it was the Lakers game that night that featured a violent hit from behind and a [multiplayer scrum],” notes reader Grace Breen of Manhattan Beach. “I’m just saying.” . . .
LeBron James brings them glamour, of course, but the Cleveland Cavaliers aren’t lacking in grit. . . .
For Ralph Lawler, the Clippers and their long-suffering fans, seat belts need fastening even when Zach Randolph & Co. are leading by 19 points in the fourth quarter. . . .
The Clippers are 0-6 since they beat the Boston Celtics. . . .
A tender Darren Collison might be hard-pressed to repeat his stellar play from last year’s Pacific 10 Conference tournament, but an encore performance might enable UCLA to successfully defend its title and earn a top-four seeding in the NCAA tournament. . . .
It’s now or never for Taj Gibson and USC to step it up. . . .
Here’s a sentence with a seemingly limitless shelf life: Stanford, coached by Tara VanDerveer, is seeded No. 1 in the Pac-10 women’s basketball tournament. . . .
This year’s event starts today at the Galen Center. . . .
If Matt Kemp hits 40 home runs and steals 40 bases, a feat he tells reporters is well within his grasp, the Dodgers center fielder would join a select but suspect group. . . .
Of the four players in the so-called 40/40 club -- charter member Jose Canseco, Barry Bonds, Alex Rodriguez and Alfonso Soriano -- only Soriano has not been linked to steroids. . . .
Vladimir Guerrero nearly made it in 2002, hitting 39 home runs and stealing 40 bases for the Montreal Expos. . . .
He has stolen 50 bases with the Angels -- in five seasons. . . .
Has Terrell Owens alienated anybody in Buffalo yet? . . .
No offense to the eight men who were enshrined last Saturday, among them the late Hank Gathers, but how could the inaugural class of the West Coast Conference’s Hall of Honor not include San Francisco’s Bill Russell, Santa Clara’s Steve Nash, Gonzaga’s John Stockton or Pepperdine’s Dennis Johnson? . . .
Or at least one of them? . . .
Florida Marlins farmhand Michael Stanton, a Sherman Oaks Notre Dame High grad recruited by USC football and baseball coaches before turning pro, was described by ESPN’s Peter Gammons as “the best prospect I’ve seen in three years.” . . .
Stanton, 19, is a 6-foot-5 outfielder. . . .
Noting that Indian Wells Tennis Garden ranks among his favorite places to watch tennis, veteran reporter Bud Collins tells USA Today, “It’s a beautifully designed venue . . . the weather is ideal, and the atmosphere friendly and festive.” . . .
Plus, as Collins also noted, it draws a great field every year. . . .
Three albums essential to jazz aficionado and all-time NBA scoring leader Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: John Coltrane’s “Africa/Brass”; Miles Davis’ “Miles Ahead,” and Thelonious Monk’s “The Thelonious Monk Orchestra at Town Hall.” . . .
Captain Dustin Brown and the Kings, already feeling good about themselves after sweeping a three-game homestand, showed up en masse Wednesday in Bellflower to build a playground, joining forces with about 300 others in a volunteer effort. . . .
Calling the Iditarod “barbaric,” director Margery Glickman of the Sled Dog Action Coalition e-mails to note that at least 137 dogs have died in Alaska’s most famous sports event. . . .
That might repulse even Michael Vick. . . .
Up for auction at Saturday’s Champions for Hope Gala at the California Science Center, honoring USC’s 1978 national champion football team and benefiting ALS research, will be items signed by Joe Montana, Magic Johnson and others, as well as one-of-a-kind prizes such as breakfast in San Francisco with Ronnie Lott before USC’s game at California on Oct. 3. . . .
Information: (310) 390-6802. . . .
Notes reader Dale Neal of Pacific Palisades, a linebacker on the 1968 Harvard team that included All-Ivy League offensive guard Tommy Lee Jones, “As you can imagine, he was tough as nails.” . . .
Please remember, as Bart Simpson of “The Simpsons” wrote on the chalkboard during the opening credits of a recent episode, “ ‘March Madness’ is not an excuse for missing school.”