One moment, Victor Oladipo was going up for a defensive rebound without any member of the opposing team in the vicinity. Russell Westbrook had happened. At this point, with Westbrook still averaging it comfortably and only a few weeks remaining, Westbrook is overwhelmingly expected to get it.
Rudy Gobert’s Jazz are now just a half-game ahead of the Clippers in the West. The Utah Jazz have been one of the great successes of the 2016-17 season. Tabbed as a very likely playoff team heading into the season, the Jazz have met the upper bounds of those expectations and entered Saturday’s game at the Los Angeles Clippers in fourth place in the West, or 1 1/2 games up on their opponents for homecourt advantage in the first round of the playoffs.
A statue of Shaquille O’Neal was unveiled at Staples Center Friday, and many Lakers greats showed up for the ceremony — including former nemesis Kobe Bryant. However, even while O’Neal entertained the crowd with his familiar lightheartedness, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar stole the show with some well-aimed barbs. This zinger was the showstopper: “Some people thought the odds of Kobe Bryant showing up today were the same as Shaq sinking a free throw.” Bryant and O’Neal, of course, infamously did not get along even while leading the Lakers to three straight championships between 2000 and 2002. However, they have mostly healed their relationship over time, and Bryant complimented his former teammate Friday.