Los Angeles Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka, with all due respect to local football fans following the Rams' Super Bowl defeat, thinks his team has some similarities to the NFL champion New England Patriots.,"I think early on they were facing a ton of adversity," Pelinka said on a conference call with reporters Friday to discuss his team's NBA trade deadline deals.,The Clippers' deal opened a roster spot, and Pelinka said the team is evaluating "a handful" of players to fill it -- either now or closer to the March 1 deadline to add a player and have him be playoff eligible.,Continuing the Patriots' parallel, Pelinka compared Super Bowl MVP Julian Edelman to the players the Lakers added, noting how New England found its rhythm after the slot receiver returned from a four-game suspension, much the same way he hopes the Lakers find their stride now.,Pelinka confirmed a Los Angeles Times report that detailed Johnson's plan to meet the team in Philadelphia -- Pelinka said Johnson is attending a reunion celebrating Michigan State's 1979 NCAA championship as he makes his way west to east.

With four-time MVP LeBron James still sidelined by a left groin strain, Kyle Kuzma scored 32 points to help the Lakers beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 138-128 in overtime.,Ball bounced back with five points, two rebounds and an assist in overtime.,Walton was impressed with his second-year point guard's overall effort, especially late in the game.,"For him to do that against Westbrook �� I'm sure a player he watched growing up as one of the great point guards in our league — not only to score those points, but a couple of big assists to Zu coming down the lane, a big-time rebound.,FADING DEFENSE

The Thunder, among the best defensive teams in the league during the first half of the season, have allowed an average of 130.2 points in their past six games. read more

Nor is it likely to end well for a lot of Lakers, some of whom could be New Orleans-bound in a trade for Anthony Davis … or cut for salary cap space, like the eight of them who are on one-year deals, to bring in more free agents like Klay Thompson … or unemployed like Coach Luke Walton if Magic Johnson holds him responsible for any shortfall.,I don’t see a second-round loss going over well with Johnson, not after he read Walton the riot act seven games into the season, then, in as close as he felt like coming to reassuring everyone publicly, said Luke would, “finish this season unless something drastic happens, which it won’t.”,It’s still emerging with last week’s report by ESPN’s uber-connected Adrian Wojnarowski that Magic has wanted a new coach since he took over, but has yet to convince Jeanie Buss, who is “fiercely loyal” to Walton.,Despite his cachet, James hasn’t been a behind-the-scenes schemer … aside from all his player recruiting … although Riley, whom LeBron left high and dry, late revealed that LeBron hinted that he would like him to fire Coach Erik Spoelstra during LeBron’s first season in Miami without coming out and actually asking him to do it.,A recent report from ESPN’s uber-connected Adrian Wojnarowski indicated that Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson has wanted a new coach since he took over in February of 2017, but has yet to convince team owner Jeanie Buss, who is “fiercely loyal” to Luke Walton, left.

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — The Los Angeles Lakers lost LeBron James in the third quarter to a strained left groin then went out and beat the two-time defending champions without him Tuesday night, getting King James' 17 points, 13 rebounds and five assists before the injury in a surprising 127-101 rout of the Golden State Warriors.,Kuzma contributed 19 points with a pretty baseline 3 late, Ivica Zubac had 18 points and 11 rebounds and Rajon Rondo 15 points and 10 assists off the bench as the Lakers snapped an 11-game losing streak on the Warriors' home floor since a 118-115 overtime win Dec. 22, 2012.,HOUSTON (AP) — James Harden scored 41 points and the Rockets beat the Thunder for their seventh win in the last eight games.,Harden has scored 30 points or more in a career-high seven games in a row, marking the first time a player has done that since Russell Westbrook had eight consecutive 30-point games in November 2016.,Joe Ingles chipped in 15 points, seven rebounds, and five assists for the Jazz (17-18), who won for the fifth time in their last six home games while shooting 55 percent from the floor.

LeBron James prides himself in his durability, being available night after night, game after grueling game.,The Los Angeles Lakers lost LeBron in the third quarter to a strained left groin then went out and beat the two-time defending champions without him Tuesday night, getting King James' 17 points, 13 rebounds and five assists before the injury in a surprising 127-101 rout of the Golden State Warriors.,Stephen Curry made consecutive 3s shortly after James exited, and the Warriors got within 78-76 at the 2:48 mark of the third — but Kyle Kuzma and the persistent Lakers stayed at it every possession.,It was James' second straight Christmas game at Oracle Arena after playing here with the Cavaliers last year and losing 99-92.,Walton — a former Warriors top assistant and dear friend of Steve Kerr — got some time with his Hall of Fame dad, Bill, before the game and a few moments to catch up with Curry and share holiday greetings in the hallway after the two-time MVP's warmup routine.

The Los Angeles Lakers lost LeBron James in the third quarter to a strained left groin then went out and beat the two-time defending champions without him Tuesday night, getting King James' 17 points, 13 rebounds and five assists before the injury in a surprising 127-101 rout of the Golden State Warriors.James grabbed at his left groin area with 7:51 left in the third after slipping under the Warriors' basket while trying for a loose ball.,He tried to stretch it out, awkwardly walked toward the Lakers bench trying to loosen up before leaving on his own though gingerly out the tunnel for the locker room.Stephen Curry made consecutive 3s shortly after James exited, and the Warriors got within 78-76 at the 2:48 mark of the third - but Kyle Kuzma and the persistent Lakers stayed at it every possession.,Curry wound up with 15 points but the home fans had seen enough well before the final buzzer and headed out for the rest of Christmas.Kuzma contributed 19 points with a pretty baseline 3 late, Ivica Zubac had 18 points and 11 rebounds and Rajon Rondo 15 points and 10 assists off the bench as the Lakers snapped an 11-game losing streak on the Warriors' home floor since a 118-115 overtime win Dec. 22, 2012.,Lakers coach Luke Walton - a former Warriors top assistant and dear friend of Steve Kerr - got some time with his Hall of Fame dad, Bill, before the game and a few moments to catch up with Curry and share holiday greetings in the hallway after the two-time MVP's warmup routine.Kevin Durant, playing on a tender left ankle, had 21 points, seven rebounds and seven assists.,Andre Iguodala came off the bench and made his initial five shots and 7 of 9 by halftime on the way to a season-high 23 points while also handling some of the load defending James.Golden State shot just 9 for 36 from deep, Curry going 2 of 8 and Durant 3 for 8.

James had 22 points, 14 assists and 12 rebounds, and the Lakers beat the New Orleans Pelicans 112-104 on Friday night.,Davis had 30 points and 20 rebounds for the Pelicans, who lost their third straight game.,New Orleans shot 32.6 percent in the second half, leaving Gentry more concerned about his fifth loss in seven games than whether or not James tampered with Davis.,NOT TALKING

Davis took the opposite tact by brushing off James' comments after posting the second game in the NBA this season with at least 30 points, 20 rebounds and five assists.,Lakers: Zubac got the start with JaVale McGee missing his third straight game because of illness and scored eight of the Lakers' first 16 points. read more