UPDATED: MONDAY, 10 a.m.:
Highlights of the week ahead in sports, both here and afar:
THIS WEEK’S BEST BET
NBA: Lakers vs. Miami, Staples Center, Sunday at 12:30 p.m., Channel 7:
Have you been studying Lakers’ game film during the All-Star break? We’re not sure what genre it belongs in. And now, as things seem to be heating up at Staples Center, the Heat arrives for a nationally televised game. So on that note, we pose this question: Might The Artist Formerly Known as Ron Artest find it’s to his benefit, and ours, that he goes silent movie on everyone the rest of the way? No more publicly second-guessing about coach Mike Brown’s strategy on how to get the Lakers on track as the second half of this abbreviated season begins. Look at your stats: career-low numbers in points, rebounds, steals, shooting percentage, three-point percentage and all that while averaging 23 points a game. With World Peace as a starter, the team may be above .500, but he’s averaging 4.0 points and 35.7 percent at the free-throw line. And as Brown can tell anyone, the stats don’t back World Peace up as any remarkable defender right now, either.
Some have speculated that he could have some trade value right now as GM Mitch Kupchak tries to figure out how to fix things. But the 31-year-old World Peace is stuck in a five-year deal that brings him more than $14 million through 2013-14. Not even the Dallas Mavericks find that attractive. The last time the Lakers faced Miami, World Peace played 22 minutes off the bench, had seven points, one board and three assists. No wonder the Heat won 98-87 back on Jan. 19. LeBron James supposedly shook off flu-like symptoms with a cough and chest congestion to score 31 points with eight rebounds and eight assists. Shane Battier also did his usual job shutting down Kobe Bryant, who had 10 points through three quarters and finished with 24.
NASCAR: Daytona 500, 4 p.m., Channel 11:
Drive, Part II: If it rains again, we’re not sure when the Sprint Car season opener will get done. When today’s already delayed restart was rained out again, NASCAR pushed it back to under the lights and in primetime for the first time in its history. “We hope to have ‘Lady and gentlemen, start your engines,’ at 7:02 and then warm up and go to green flag,” NASCAR president Mike Helton said. “We believe this is a reasonable expectation.” More info at this link.
NHL: Kings at Nashville, 5 p.m., FSW:
The Help? You be the Kings need it. The league’s trade deadline lands today. Does GM Dean Lombardi have any more last-minute housecleaning? Shipping off Dustin Brown can’t be a good sign. No, the team that practices on Nash Street in El Segundo didn’t get Rick Nash, but now they’re in Nashville trying to make do with his former Blue Jackets teammate Jeff Carter, who is back with Michael Richards. If the rumors for why Carter and Richards were shipped out of Philly were true, perhaps there is a clear winner in the trade: all the bars around Staples Center. Seriously, John Carter (left) is the person the Kings should be hunting down. Immediately. Except he’s not out in the theatres until March 9. Until then, a Dustin Brown hat trick every now and then keeps it interesting.
NBA: Clippers vs. Minnesota, Staples Center, 7:30 p.m., Prime:
Wanderlust: Kevin Love, Blake Griffin and Chris Paul were just teammates a couple of days ago in Orlando. Ricky Rubio should have been there, too. Remember, it was Rubio’s 3-pointer, followed by Love’s 3-pointer, that tied and beat the Clippers last time at Staples, 101-98, on Jan. 20.
NHL: Kings at Minnesota, 4:30 p.m., NBC Sports Channel:
Something Wild: Minnesota 21-year-old goalie Matt Hackett throttled the Kings during his first NHL start back on Dec. 8 in a 4-2 win. He’s only been in two games since then, and lost both, including 4-1 at Dallas on Feb. 24.
NBA: Lakers vs. Minnesota, Staples Center, 7:30 p.m., FSW:
The Descendants: The Beach Boys are back in the studio around Hollywood tuning up for a 50th anniversary tour. Too bad Kevin Love can’t help Uncle Mike make one of the greatest rebounds in music history. By this time, maybe Kobe’s bloody nose will also stop.
College basketball: USC vs. Washington, Galen Center, 7:30 p.m.; UCLA vs. Washington State, Sports Arena, 7 p.m.:
The Vow: If the Bruins and Trojans can promise their followers that they’re game-ready for the Pac-12 Tournament next week, here’s a chance to prove it. Neither of these games are on TV — instead, Fox Sports West has a much more attractive Colorado at Oregon matchup.
NBA: Clippers at Sacramento, 7 p.m., Prime:
Moneyball: How can these Kings afford to keep a home in the state capital? This is the start of a six-game, nine-day road trip for the Clippers that will eventually take them down to Houston, up to Minnesota, over to New Jersey and back down to San Antonio.
Golf: PGA Honda Classic, first round, noon, Golf Channel:
Trees of Life: In Palm Beach Gardena, Fla., the tour leaves the West and goes East in preparation for The Masters in a month. Rory Sabatini won it last year. This year’s field includes Tiger Woods, who’ll be playing at the PGA National for the first time as a pro, as well as Rory McIlroy and Lee Westwood. NBC has the last two rounds Saturday and Sunday.
NBA: Lakers vs. Sacramento, Staples Center, 7:30 p.m., FSW:
Safe House: The Lakers’ home record continues to keep them in the race for the Pacific Division title. Especially when Denzel Washington is in his courtside seat.
NBA: Clippers at Phoenix, 7:30 p.m., Prime, ESPN:
Big Miracle: The Suns make the playoffs this year.
College basketball: UCLA vs. Washington, Sports Arena, 11 a.m., Channel 2; USC vs. Washington State, Galen Center, 3 p.m.:
Underworld Awakening: Seriously, an 11 a.m. tipoff? Just so CBS can cram it into a triple-header of college hoops today.
NHL: Kings vs. Ducks, Staples Center, 7:30 p.m., FSW:
Gone: By the time this game comes around, the Kings and Ducks could have changed positions in the Western Conference standings. Which sounded impossible just a couple of months ago. The Mighty Ducks’ coaching change — one that didn’t include Gordon Bombay — has finally worked its way out. The Kings have won three of four meetings this season, but two of them were by shootout, including the last game on Dec. 22 when coach Darryl Sutter made his debut behind the Kings’ bench. They’ve only got one more head-to-head battle, on March 16.
NBA: Clippers at Houston, 4 p.m., Prime:
Red Tails: The Rockets won three in a row heading into the All-Star break, but can’t get a break in the Southwest DIvision since San Antonio and Dallas are in their way.
MLB exhibition: Philadelphia vs. N.Y. Yankees, 10 a.m., MLB Network; Houston vs. Washington, 1 p.m., MLB Network:
Throw in Minnesota vs. Boston at 5 p.m. on tape, and the MLB Network comes through on the first day of exhibition baseball from Florida.
NASCAR: Sprint Cup Subway Fresh Fit 500, Phoenix International Speedway, Channel 11, 11:30 a.m.:
Iron Lady: Danica Patrick’s first real week on the NASCAR circuit wasn’t so bad. So far, at least. She won the pole for the Nationwide event at Daytona before finishing 38th on Saturday because of a crash knocked her into a wall on the 49th lap (below). Maybe it’s time for her to get a dragon tattoo. Fontana used to be the second stop on the circuit after Daytona, but now, it’s nearby suburban Phoenix, sponsored by a sub shop where you might see Michael Strahan doing his own tire drills and Apolo Ohno skating over cars at the finish line. Fontana eventually lands on March 25. If it keeps raining in Daytona, Fontana may be the first stop.