What we know about today’s NBA on MLK Day and beyond:
== If things fall as they seem they might, LeBron James will pass Kobe Bryant on the NBA’s all-time scoring list by the end of this week.
As the L.A. Times’ Bill Plaschke wrote Monday:
A man wearing a Lakers jersey will pass Kobe Bryant on the all-time scoring list. James will officially plant his purple and gold flag by scoring his 33,644th point, moving him past Bryant and into third place on the scoring list.
At which point, all Laker hell will break loose.
Said Bryant, who is 81 points ahead of James at the moment:
“When LeBron came to Los Angeles, he is now a Laker, he is part of our brotherhood, part of our fraternity, and we should embrace him that way,” he said.
Kind of seems like the appro response for an MLK Day story?
== The annual MLK Day slate involves 28 of the 30 teams, including the Lakers. The only two not asked to play on the holiday (including the Clippers) go Tuesday instead. The TNT schedule Monday includes New Orleans at Memphis (2 p.m.) and Golden State at Portland (7 p.m.)
== Sunday’s Grammy Awards at Staples Center keeps the Lakers and Clipper on the road.
== Anthony Davis is supposed to be ready to come back.
== Kawhi Leonard is the Western Conference Player of the Week (Jan. 13-19) after the Clippers went 3-0 last week and he averaged 38 points, 5 assists and 4.7 rebounds.
== The anticipation of Zion Williamson’s first NBA game Wednesday has caused ESPN to alter its schedule.
== The NBA plants its first regular-season game in Paris: Charlotte vs. Milwaukee, Friday at noon, NBA TV.
How the week unfolds for the Lakers (34-8, still No. 2 behind Milwaukee in the ESPN NBA Power Rankings)
= At Boston, Monday at 4:30 p.m., TNT, Spectrum SportsNet
= At New York, Wednesday at 4:30 p.m., Spectrum SportsNet
= At Brooklyn, Thursday at 5 p.m., TNT, Spectrum SportsNet
= At Philadelphia, Saturday at 5:30 p.m., Channel 7
How the week unfolds for the Clippers (30-13, up from No. 5 to No. 3 in the NBA Power Rankings with Paul George close to returning)
= At Dallas, Tuesday at 5:30 p.m., Prime Ticket
= At Atlanta, Wednesday at 4:30 p.m., Prime Ticket
= At Miami, Friday at 5 p.m., ESPN, Prime Ticket
= At Orlando, Sunday at 3 p.m., Prime Ticket
The latest we seem to know about the college basketball season:
== Baylor (15-1) remains atop the ESPN College Basketball Power Rankings, which came out before the AP Top 25 poll also raised the Bears into the No. 1 spot, for the first time. That means seven teams have been at the top position this season.
The last undefeated major team, San Diego State (19-0), is No. 3 in the power rankings and No. 4 in the AP Top 25. Gonzaga (20-1) fell to No. 2 in the AP Top 25 through no fault of its own.
Oregon (15-4) dropped from No. 8 to No. 13 in the power rankings and to No. 12 in the Top 25 after losing a head-scratcher at Washington State. The Ducks host USC and UCLA this week. The only other Pac 12 schools in the Top 25 are Arizona (13-5, at No. 22, up four spots) and Colorado (14-4, at No. 23, down three spots). USC received four total votes, behind Stanford’s 28 votes.
How the week plays out for USC (15-3, 4-1 and tied with Stanford for the lead in the Pac-12, the team it just defeated in OT)
= At Oregon, Thursday at 8 p.m., ESPNU
= At Oregon State, Saturday at 2 p.m., Pac 12 Network
How the week plays out for UCLA (9-9, 2-3 and just 1-2 on the road)
= At Oregon State, Thursday at 8 p.m., FS1
= At Oregon, Sunday at 2 p.m., Channel 11
How the week plays out for Cal State Northridge (7-13, 2-2 and 5-3 at home as the Matadors are only 2 1/2 games out of first in the Big West)
= At UC Santa Barbara, Wednesday at 7 p.m.
= At Cal State Fullerton, Saturday at 7:30 p.m.
How the week plays out for Long Beach State (6-14, 1-3 and 1-8 on the road, sitting last in the Big West)
= Vs. UC Irvine, Walter Pyramid, Wednesday at 7 p.m., ESPN3
How the week plays out for Loyola Marymount (7-12, 1-4 in the West Coast Conference)
= Vs. Portland, Gersten Pavilion, Thursday at 7 p.m.
= Vs. Saint Mary’s, Gersten Pavilion, Saturday at 6 p.m.
How the week plays out for Pepperdine (9-10, 2-3 in the WCC)
= At Santa Clara, Thursday at 7 p.m.
= Vs. Portland, Firestone Fieldhouse, Saturday at 5 p.m.
Games of national interest this week include:
Oklahoma at Baylor, 6 p.m., ESPN
Butler at Villanova, 4 p.m., CBSSN
Wyoming at San Diego State, 8 p.m., CBSSN
Washington at Utah, 5 p.m., Pac-12 Network
Washington State at Colorado, 7 p.m., Pac-12 Network
Michigan State at Indiana, 5 p.m., FS1
Marquette at Butler, 6 p.m., FS1
Illinois at Michigan, 9 a.m., FS1
Villanova at Providence, 10 a.m., Channel 2
Kentucky at Texas Tech, 3 p.m., ESPN
Washington at Colorado, 6 p.m.
Arizona at Arizona State, 6:30 p.m., Pac-12 Network
Pacific at Gonzaga, 7 p.m.
Maryland at Indiana, 10 a.m., Channel 2
Michigan State at Minnesota, noon, Channel 11
San Diego State at UNLV, 1 p.m., CBSSN
Stanford at Cal, 3 p.m., ESPNU
Bill Walton’s schedule this week:
= Washington at Utah, Thursday at 5 p.m., Pac-12 Network
= Arizona at Arizona State, Saturday at 6:30 p.m., Pac-12 Network
What we know about the PGA Tour at this point, having seen it leave the Palm Spring Desert and head south
== The Farmers Insurance Open from Torrey Pines north of San Diego is the place where CBS starts its 2020 season, with a bunch of new folks in place. It’s also where Tiger Woods begins his 2020 campaign, just a few months removed as the playing captain of the Presidents’ Cup win in Australia and capturing his PGA Tour-tying 82nd career win in China last October.
CBS’ Nick Faldo and Jim Nantz were asked recently when Woods might fittingly win his record-breaking tournament to break the tie with Sam Sneed. Faldo suggested the Masters in April. Nantz would like to see it happen at Riviera Country Club in March, where Woods played in his first PGA Tour event as a 16-year-old amateur. “He’s never won at Riviera, so maybe he comes back 28 years later and wins it for the first time,” Nantz said. Oddly, neither seemed to jump at the chance to suggest it will happen at Torrey Pines, where Woods has won seven Farmers Opens, including four straight from 2005-08, and then won the 2008 U.S. Open on that course. He finished tied for 20th in 2019 at 10 under, moving up 28 spots on the leaderboard with a final round of 67, not able to catch winner Justin Rose.
The TV schedule
Thursday and Friday: Noon to 4 p.m., Golf Channel
Saturday and Sunday: Noon to 3 p.m., Channel 2
Coming up on the PGA Tour:
= Phoenix Open in Scottsdale, Jan. 30-Feb.2
= Pebble Beach ProAm, Feb. 6-9
= Genesis Invitational at Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, Feb. 13-16
U.S. Figure Skating Championships in Greensboro, N.C. start Monday and run through Sunday. Nathan Chen and Alysa Liu are the defending men’s and women’s champions.
The TV schedule:
Thursday: Pairs short program, 2 p.m., NBCSN; Ladies short program, 6 p.m., NBCSN
Friday: Rhythm dance, 2 p.m., NBCSN; Ladies Free Skate, 8 p.m., Channel 4 (delayed)
Saturday: Men’s short program, 11:30 a.m., Channel 4, Free dance and Pairs free skate, 5 p.m., NBCSN
Sunday: Men’s free skate, noon, Channel 4
The Baseball Hall of Fame Class of 2020 announced, Tuesday at 3 p.m., MLB Network expects to see Derek Jeter make it on his first year of eligibility. Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Curt Schilling remain eligible and are picking up support according to BBHOFtracker.com. Many are making a case for Larry Walker, Scott Rolen and even Jeff Kent. But not so much any more for Sammy Sosa. Mark McGwire is no longer eligible in this phase of voting and was bypassed on the Today’s Game Era ballot in 2017 – the one that voted in Harold Baines and Bud Selig for some reason.
== Both the Ducks and Kings have the entire week off and then comes the NHL All-Star Game/event at St. Louis (Saturday at 5 p.m., Channel 4)
== The NFL Pro Bowl happens in Orlando, Fla., on Sunday (noon, ESPN and Channel 7)
== College football’s Senior Bowl happens in Mobile, Ala. (Saturday, 11:30 a.m., NFL Network) and the Hula Bowl in Honolulu (Sunday, 7:30 p.m., CBSSN)
== Australian Open first round continues on ESPN and ESPN2 as Serena Williams seeks her eighth title at the event and 24th Grand Slam championship to equal the record held by Margaret Court.
== The Dodgers’ annual FanFest happens Saturday (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.) in Parking Lot P (outside of the Top Deck) and Parking Lot N (outside Right Field Reserve) because of current stadium construction. Parking is free with Sunset Gate A, Golden State Gate C and Downtown Gate E open at 9:30 a.m. Stadium Way Gate B and Academy Gate D are closed. More info: www.mlb.com/dodgers/tickets/events/fanfest. Coverage on SportsNet LA runs from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
== The annual NCAA Convention takes place at the Anaheim Convention Center on Wednesday through Saturday. The State of College Sports address happens Thursday afternoon. More info: www.NCAA.org/convention