Portland Trail Blazers v Los Angeles Lakers

Lakers first take on Howard, Rockets on Nov. 7; open against Clippers


The first showdown between Dwight Howard and his new friends on the Rockets and his old team the Lakers may happen before Kobe Bryant returns from Achilles surgery.

The Lakers will face the Rockets first on Nov. 7 in Houston, something first reported by Adrian Wojnarowski at Yahoo Sports and confirmed by Kevin Ding of the Orange County Register on Sulia. The full NBA schedule for next season should come out in the next several days, but some games are starting to leak out.

Kobe is aiming to be back from his Achilles tendon surgery for the start of the season — which will be Oct. 29 for the Lakers against the Clippers, first game of a back-to-back with Golden State — but it could be later into November or even early December when Kobe returns.

He should be good by Christmas, when the Lakers are scheduled to host the Heat.

The Lakers other games against the Rockets will be Feb. 19 (in Los Angeles), Jan. 8 (Houston) and April 8 (Los Angeles).

Report: Wizards signing Ryan Hollins

Blake Griffin, Ryan Hollins
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Nene hurt his calf. Drew Gooden is banged up. Martell Webster is out for the season.

Those are three players the Wizards expected to play power forward this season.

So, Washington – which has lost four straight – will bring in another big man: Ryan Hollins.

Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports:

The Wizards have a full roster of 15 players. They don’t qualify for a hardship exemption, which a team gets if four players have missed three straight games and will continue to be out. Only Webster and Alan Anderson definitely fit that bill. Gooden, who has missed five straight, might. But it’s unclear both how many of those absences were due to injury and when he’ll return.

So, Washington will have to waive someone to sign Hollins now. It’ll probably be Webster, whose $5,845,250 2016-17 salary is just $2.5 million guaranteed. If he’s out for the year and the Wizards plan to drop him by the summer to clear cap space, why not just do it now?

Hollins is more center than power forward and doesn’t appear to fit well with Marcin Gortat. But at this point, Washington just needs big bodies. Hollins – a nine-year veteran who plays decent interior defense, lacks offensive skill and rebounds poorly for his 7-foot frame – is at least that.

Dwight Howard crushes Kristaps Porzingis with dunk (video)

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Sometimes – as Kristaps Porzingis sees against Dwight Howard – it’s more flattering just to play James Harden-level defense.

Marc Gasol heads ball into basket after drawing foul (video)

Marc Gasol
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This was not Marc Gasol‘s first attempt to head in the ball after a whistle, but this time, he converted.

Here was his January try: