Howard, Kobe expected to sit out Wednesday vs. Clippers

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It’s the preseason, you pay for your tickets and you take your chances. Sometimes you might not get to see LeBron James or whoever you paid to see.

If you bought tickets to the Lakers vs. Clippers game Wednesday night in L.A. hoping to see a little Los Angeles rivalry, well, sorry. You lose. This game will look nothing like the one that matters between these teams on Nov. 2.

Both Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard are expected to sit out for the Lakers.

Bryant has a sore foot that has kept him out of practice the past couple days and there is no chance the Lakers are going to push that for a preseason game. Lakers.com reporter Mike Trudell says Kobe almost certainly is out. Smart money says he sits out until the season opener a week from Tuesday. Now, if you think he’ll miss a regular season game, I’d like to know what Kobe you have been watching the past three seasons.

Howard’s back is reportedly a little sore after his first game action since April, so he is likely out also, reports Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times. The Lakers have a final preseason game against the Kings in San Diego on Thursday and Bresnahan bets he plays in that one, but the Lakers are not going to push him back-to-back in the preseason. Nor should they.

The Lakers are 0-6 in the preseason and the odds of them being any better than 1-7 when it all is over are slim. And that matters not at all. It’s the preseason. If the Lakers start 0-6 when the games matter, then we’ll talk.

Dwyane Wade says Bulls’ showers had no hot water in Boston

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The Bulls suffered a rough loss in Boston last night.

It didn’t get better afterward.

K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune:

Celtics general manager Danny Ainge – who played for Boston in the 80s – pleaded ignorance to any nefarious plumbing:

I think the idea that teams plot to shut off the visitor’s hot water is often overstated. Arenas have complex infrastructure, and things can go wrong on their own. Sometimes, the home team loses hot water, but that never gets remembered.

But reasonable excuses don’t make a cold shower in the moment any more tolerable.

Robin Lopez pushes short floater over backboard (video)

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Robin Lopez had reason to be upset from the Bulls’ Game 5 loss to the Celtics last night.

This miss was all on him.

Dwyane Wade plays the laziest defense you’ll ever see (video)

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Dwyane Wade (26 points, 11 rebounds, eight assists) was the Bulls’ best player in their Game 5 loss to the Celtics last night.

But the 35-year-old guard clearly didn’t go all out on every possession.

Players can justify not closing out by claiming they were prioritizing rebounding position. Wade clearly has no such excuse.

Video Breakdown: Clippers use JJ Redick in split cut to fool Jazz at 3-point line

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The Los Angeles Clippers dropped Game 5 to the Utah Jazz on Tuesday night, and find themselves down 3-2 as they head back to Salt Lake City for Game 6. The Clippers have had to deal with Utah’s formidable defense, so much so that they’ve built in counters to Jazz defenders overplaying shooters like JJ Redick.

One example of this countering method could be found in Game 3, when the Clippers ran a split cut for Redick. Instead of fighting endlessly around screens for a 3-point shot as you might expect, LA took the easy route and simply cut Redick to the basket for an easy layup as a means to take advantage of an overeager defender.

We’ve talked about the Split Cut here on NBA Playbook before. The Los Angeles Lakers used it earlier in the season to beat the Golden State Warriors, the team that uses the split cut perhaps the most out of any team in the NBA.

Other teams, including the Portland Trail Blazers, have adapted the Warriors’ use of the split cut as a counter for their own offense this season, which is a testament to just how useful it is.

If you need a reminder, a split cut all about a screener coming up to screen, then cutting toward the basket before his screen action fully takes place. It’s about timing, and catching defenders off guard when they go to set up their recover positions for screens.

For a full breakdown on the split cut and how the Clippers used it, watch the video above.