Play it forward: April 12-18 on your sports calendar

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

MONDAY

NBA: Clippers vs. Dallas, Staples Center, 7:30 p.m., Prime Ticket:

How about that final round of the Masters yesterday …

TUESDAY

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MLB: Dodgers vs. Arizona, Dodger Stadium, 1:10 p.m., Prime Ticket:

Clayton Kershaw has the ball for Home Opener No. 49 at Dodger Stadium, while season No. 61 begins for Vin Scully in the press box. And try out the return of spicy Picante dog. There was apparently a Facebook.com page set up for fans who demanded its comeback. And it worked. And by the way, they’ve picked Larry King to exclaim “It’s time for Dodger baseball!” before the cereominial first pitch by … you won’t want to know.


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MLB: Angels at New York Yankees, 10 a.m., FSW:

The Angels’ first roadie runs right into the Yankees’ home opener. Where they’ll be giving out World Series championship rings — including one to the guy who won the World Series MVP award, but happens to be in the DH spot for the Anaheim guys on this day. That’s not going to be a little awkward, right? They’re already holding up the “Matsuiland” sign in Angels Stadium whenever he comes to bat — and they’ve got it trademarked (linked here). The happiest place on Earth, apparently.

NBA: Lakers vs. Sacramento, Staples Center, 7:30 p.m., FSW:

Prior to this, ESPN’s “E:60″ has a story on how Kobe Bryant can’t figure why the people from his “hometown” of Philadelphia still don’t like him. Yeah, that’s been keeping us up at night as well.

WEDNESDAY

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NBA: Lakers vs. Clippers, Staples Center, 7:30 p.m., Channel 9, FSW:

Two tail-chasing stories of one city. And it’s the best of times/worst of times scenario. Yet, the regular season can’t end fast enough for either. During the Lakers’ loss last week in Denver, Phil Jackson was asked about how the team was adjusting to playing without a rested Kobe Bryant: “We have some young guys who are still learning how to read the offense. …” Added TNT analyst Reggie Miller: “Phil, you’ve got five games left until the playoffs. If they don’t know the offense by now they’re never going to know it.” Expect Adam Morrison to go off for six points tonight.

MLB: Dodgers vs. Arizona, Dodger Stadium, 7 p.m., Prime Ticket:

Chad Billingsley, 4-0 in the month of April last year, 1-4 in the month of April in ’08, has a 1-0 record already.

MLB: Angels at New York Yankees, 10 a.m., FSW:

Joel Pineiro only walked 27 batters last season in 32 games last season for St. Louis. He walked three in his Angels’ debut last week against Minnesota.

THURSDAY

NHL playoffs: Western Conference quarterfinals, Game 1: Kings at Vancouver, 7 p.m., TV TBA (Game 2 is Saturday in Vancouver):

A poll on the Kings’ website asked: What will make you feel as thought this season has been a success? Half of the 2,100-plus voters responded to: “It has already been a success.” We can appreciate setting the bar low for the playoffs, a place the Kings haven’t been since 2002. Going in as a sixth seed against the third-seeded Canucks, who beat them three out of four times this year – and the Kings’ only win was 12 days ago with Jonathan Bernier in the nets.

MLB: Dodgers vs. Arizona, Dodger Stadium, 7 p.m., Prime Ticket:

At this point, we expect the D’backs’ Mark Reynolds to have eight homers — and 18 Ks.

MLB: Angels at New York Yankees, 4 p.m., FSW:

The Angels somehow avoid seeing CC Sabathia. See, good things can happen in NYC.

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FRIDAY

MLB: Dodgers vs. San Francisco, Dodger Stadium, 7 p.m., Channel 9:

Check the spelling of “San Francisco” across the front of Giants’ left fielder Eugenio Velez’s jersey. Last week in Houston, it said … see for yourself, sicko.

MLB: Angels at Toronto, 4 p.m., FSW:

With the exchange rate, the Angels have even more losses to start the season than they thought. Jered Weaver tries to fix that.

SATURDAY

MLB: Dodgers vs. San Francisco, Dodger Stadium, 1:10 p.m., Channel 11:

Two-time reigning NL Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum (2-0 with 17 Ks and a 1.29 ERA in his first two starts so far) is scheduled to make a matinee appearance here. Unless it rains.

MLB: Angels at Toronto, 10 a.m., FSW:

You let Vernon Wells go too low in your fantasy draft again, right?

NBA playoffs: Game 1, series TBA, noon, Channel 7; Game 1, series TBA, 2:30 p.m., 5 p.m., 7:30 p.m., ESPN:

LeBron James probably won’t be in street clothes any longer.

MLS: Galaxy vs. Real Salt Lake, Home Depot Center, 7:30 p.m.:

The only obstacle between David Beckham bringing a Major League Kickball title to L.A. was playing an opponent in the MLS Cup that barely made the playoffs and had a losing record in the regular season. As if it mattered. The Salt Lakers were the Real deal, beating the Galaxy on penalty kicks and taking the title. If there’s any chance at redemption, it won’t come here. This is just the regular season. And Becks isn’t any where near the pitch.

SUNDAY

Auto racing: Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, 1:15 p.m. (12:30 p.m. prerace ceremony), Versus:

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In Esquire magazine’s online vote for “Sexiest Woman Alive,” Danica Patrick easily won her first-round matchup, against Erin Andrews, in the sports bracket. Meaning DP, an ninth seed, faces in round two …. USC football coach Lane Kiffin? (linked here). Not Kiffin’s wife? While you try to figure that one out, Patrick figures to show off her figure back in Long Beach, still with only one win since joining the IRL in 2005, cruising in the No. 7 GoDaddy.com Honda/Dallara in event No. 4 of the season.

NBA playoffs: Game 1, series TBA, noon, Channel 7; Game 1, series TBA, 2:30 p.m., 5 p.m., 7:30 p.m., TNT:

The league has usually put the Lakers, at home, in the early Sunday slot to launch its playoff run, depending on Staples Center access. Logic says it happens again — especially since the NHL has locked the Kings up for a Monday Game 3 in their series against the Canucks.

MLB: Dodgers vs. San Francisco, Dodger Stadium, 1:10 p.m., Prime Ticket:

Just a couple of days ago, the Giants’ Edgar Renteria was leading the NL with a sickening .688 batting average (11 for 16, 5 RBIs), a 1.000 slugging percentage and a 1.737 OPS. Then he went 0-for-5 in one game, and his average dropped 164 points, and he was 76 points behind new leader Martin Prado of the Braves.

MLB: Angels at Toronto, 10 a.m., Channel 13:

The Angels made it through their annual north-of-the-boarder trip and didn’t have to face Roy Halladay? Oh, right.

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