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Lakers’ Bryant can still get it done when it counts

Though injury (and age?) may limit him this spring, Kobe Bryant is still capable of elevating his game — and the Lakers. . . .

Bryant’s play Tuesday night brought to mind the Elvis Costello lyric, “Don’t bury me ‘cause I’m not dead yet.”. . .

A memorial outside Staples Center is a fitting tribute, but shouldn’t a statue of Chick Hearn be perched “high above the western sideline” at the Forum?. . .

The only thing wrong with a Hearn statue: It’s silent. . . .

Ron Artest must spend a lot of time with his barber. . . .

Reggie Morris, Russell Westbrook’s coach at Lawndale Leuzinger High, tells ESPN the Magazine’s Ric Bucher, “When you get a kid like Russell, who’s not afraid of anyone, he’s usually a gang member.”. . .

Westbrook’s father, Russell Sr., is a former gangbanger who was determined to keep his son on the straight and narrow. . . .

Dwyane Wade needs help in Miami. . . .

Ben Roethlisberger will have oodles of free time to party hearty next fall — and plenty of incentive to refrain. . . .

Maybe his “Drink Like a Champion” T-shirt should be retired. . . .

As long as Anze Kopitar, Drew Doughty and Jack Johnson remain in the fold, the Kings probably won’t experience another eight-year playoff drought anytime soon. . . .

Pete Rozelle was a visionary, but not even the late NFL commissioner foresaw the incredible interest in the draft, reportedly asking ESPN when it first proposed televising the event in 1980, “You think anybody would really want to watch?”. . .

This week, it moves to primetime. . . .

ESPN’s Ron Jaworski, predicting great success for former Notre Dame quarterback Jimmy Clausen, tells USA Today, “He’s LeBron James. He’s Michael Jordan. With the game on the line, he wants to make the difference.”. . .

Poor starts such as Chad Billingsley’s the other day only exacerbate the Dodgers’ bullpen woes, of course. . . .

Slumping Chone Figgins has picked up where he left off last fall, when he hit less than .100 for the Angels during the playoffs before signing with the Seattle Mariners. . . .

Eric Gagne: Career over. . . .

Tim Tebow must rank among the most polarizing NFL prospects of all time, and yet the ex-Florida quarterback is probably the most marketable player in this year’s draft. . . .

Matt Leinart and the Arizona Cardinals, based on the cumulative 2009 records of their 2010 opponents, will face the NFL’s least challenging schedule this fall. . . .

Like Jim Brown and Sandy Koufax and Barry Sanders before her, Lorena Ochoa is exiting the stage too soon. . . .

Mariano Rivera of the New York Yankees is the last active major league player wearing No. 42, which was retired throughout baseball in 1997 in honor of Jackie Robinson. . . .

Speaking of Robinson, Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano was named for the groundbreaking former Dodger. . . .

Cristobal Arreola, fighting for the International Boxing Federation heavyweight title Saturday against Tomasz Adamek at Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario, credits Corona for making him a heavyweight. . . .

Not the city, the beer. . . .

“Any mention of Jewish basketball players has to include Julius Erving,” reader Michael Axelrod e-mails. “Not that he was Jewish, of course, but because, when reading of his exploits at Massachusetts, so many assumed he was.”. . .

Attention, Roger Federer, et al: Winners at Wimbledon this summer will earn a record $1.54 million. . . .

Congratulations to USC’s “Swim with Mike” fundraiser, which for the third time in four years will raise more than $1 million to fund scholarships for physically challenged athletes. . . .

Center fielder Kevin Pillar of Cal State Dominguez Hills has strung together a 43-game hitting streak, the third-longest in NCAA Division II history and six shy of a Division II record. . . .

Tom and Jo Lasorda’s recent 60th wedding anniversary reminded ex-Dodgers publicist Steve Brener that Lasorda borrowed $500 from the late Buzzie Bavasi to get married. . . .

Each year thereafter, Brener notes, Bavasi remembered the anniversary by sending flowers to Jo, with a note attached. . . .

“Sorry,” it read.

jerome.crowe@latimes.com


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