Play it forward: Jan. 18-24 on your sports calendar

Highlights of the week ahead in sports, both here and afar:


NBA: Clippers vs. New Jersey, Staples Center, 12:30 p.m., Prime Ticket; Lakers vs. Orlando, Staples Center, 7:30 p.m., TNT:
The NBA’s annual L.A. MLK Day doubleheader nets an appearance by the Nets (1-19 on the road this season, 0-15 against Western Conference teams) in the early afternoon and a magical NBA Finals rematch in the early evening. Given the choice, the national network takes the later, third in line after its done with Phoenix-Memphis and Dallas-Boston.

NHL: Kings vs. San Jose, Staples Center, 7:30 p.m., FSN West:
The weekly Sharks shooting proves this: After a 6-2 win at San Jose on Jan. 4, and a 2-1 loss in L.A. on Jan. 11, San Jose remains No. 1 in the Western Conference; the Kings are back to languishing near the No. 8 spot. Problem is, after this, no more meetings. The Kings’ 3-1-1 series lead, though, is still impressive.



Golf: PGA Tour: Bob Hope Classic, first round, Golf Channel, noon to 3 p.m. (Golf Channel has all five rounds, including the final round on Sunday, 1 to 4 p.m.):
Pat Perez won this last year at 33 under. But if anyone in the gallery recognizes him, it’ll be because he’s playing with Kurt Russell, Alice Cooper, Michael Bolton, Robby Krieger, Anthony Anderson, Dennis Quaid, Chirs O’Donnell, Jerry Ferrara or Kevin Nealon. Then again, there’s current and former athletes like Evan Longoria, Greg Maddux, Bo Jackson, Sterling Sharpe, Jason Taylor and Jeremy Roenick in the field as well. All the celebs that one tournament can hold before Pebble Beach, thanks to the legacy of the tournament’s namesake (but no more Chrysler sponsorship because, well, you know, the car company can’t afford to pay the bill). So whatever happened to George Lopez? Yeah, he’s not invited any more for some reason. But Yogi Berra is the honorary something or other. Yoo-hoo!

NBA: Clippers vs. Chicago, Staples Center, 7:30 p.m., Prime Ticket:
Blake Griffin is scheduled to undergo more season-ending surgery on his knee today. He must change his Facebook status to: Needs a hug from Donald Sterling. And please, someone check to make sure his heath care benefits have been paid up.



NBA: Lakers at Cleveland, 5 p.m., TNT:
Play it with puppets. Seriously. Then no one gets hurt. Instead, we have best in the West and the tops in the East required to play one more time against each other in the regular season, and this time, it’s in Cleveland because a) the Grammy Awards need some set-up time, and the Lakers have been booted for eight in a row on the road and b) they already met in L.A. on Christmas Day and, well, you remember how that went. Perhaps Kobe can entice Cavs fans to throw their foam fingers onto the court after LeBron and Shaq get whistled for fouling too hard.

NBA: Clippers at Denver, 7:30 p.m., TNT:
The Clippers, too, must get out of town for eight roadies in a row. With their luck, they’ll get hit up with roaming charges.

NHL: Kings vs. Buffalo, Staples Center, 7:30 p.m., FSN West:
The Kings get to stay at home. For one more night.

College basketball: UCLA vs. Washington, Pauley Pavilion, 7:30 p.m., Prime Ticket; USC vs. Washington State, Galen Center, 7:30 p.m.:
Lorenzo Romar’s Huskies, the pre-season pick to win the Pac-10, haven’t been all that dominant behind Quincy Pondexter and Isiah Thomas. Junior forward Justin Holiday (Campbell Hall) has been averaging about 14 minutes a game off the bench.


NBA: Lakers at New York, 5 p.m., Channel 9:
It was the Lakers’ last visit to face the Knicks — Feb. 2, 2009 — when Kobe Bryant lit up Madison Square Garden with a record 61-point night, then went for a night on the town with Spike Lee. For the Knicks, this is like making an appointment to get beat up again.



College basketball: UCLA vs. Washington State, Pauley Pavilion, 1 p.m., Prime Ticket; USC vs. Washington, Galen Center, 7:30 p.m., FSN West:
Cougars forward Klay Thompson leads the Pac-10 in scoring, but his dad, Mychal, the Lakers’ radio analyst, won’t get to see him play in L.A. since he’s on the road — like everyone else.

NHL: Kings at Detroit, 4 p.m., FSN West:
The Kings have their first of five away games in a row. Thanks, again, to the Grammy Awards needing Staples Center to practice their smooth moves.


NFL: AFC championship: N.Y. Jets at Indianapolis, Channel 2, noon; NFC championship: Minnesota at New Orleans, Channel 11, 3:30 p.m.
Mark Sanchez — not Carson Palmer, Tony Romo, Tom Brady, Ben Roethlesburger, Phillip Rivers, Eli Manning, Donovan McNabb, Kurt Warner or Aaron Rodgers — is still playing. Just make note of that, Pete Carroll.

NBA: Lakers at Toronto, 3 p.m., Channel 9:
Remember when Raptors rookie point guard DeMar DeRozan played at USC? We hardly do either.

NBA: Clippers at Washington, 10 a.m., Prime Ticket:
Gilbert Arenas will not be in attendance. Most likely. Because it’s too early in the day.

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