The Los Angeles Times from Los Angeles, California on April 12, 2008 · Page 49
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The Los Angeles Times from Los Angeles, California · Page 49

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Saturday, April 12, 2008
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Ad prices exclude government fees and taxes, any finance charges, $55 dealer document charge and any emission testing charge.Vehicle pictures are for illustration purposes only. 1500 North Sepulveda Blvd. in Manhattan Beach (866)230-8955 www.ManhattanBeachToyota.com SALE HOURS: Mon.-Sat. 8:30-9:00, Sun. 9:00-9:00 SERVICE HOURS: Mon.-Sat. 7:00-6:00 On approved credit throughTFS. Factory rebate available in lieu of special finance rates. Offer expires 4/30/08. 0.0% for 36 Mos. 1.9% for 48 Mos. 2.9% for 60 Mos. or FACTORY REBATE ALL NEW 2008TUNDRAs $ 3 , 000 $ 3 , 000 Tyler Hansbrough, North Carolina’s junior center, and Candace Parker, Tennessee’s junior forward, were named winners of the 2008 John R. Wooden Award as college basketball’s male and female players of the year at a ceremony hosted by the Los Angeles Athletic Club on Friday night. Parker led Tennessee to its second straight national title Tuesday and then was made the No. 1 overall pick by the Sparks in the WNBA draft Wednesday. Parker also won the Wooden Award last year. She averaged 20.6 points and 8.8 rebounds a game and finished her career with 44 consecutive double-doubles. She is also expected to play for the U.S. Olympic team in Beijing in August. Hansbrough led the Tar Heels to the Final Four. He averaged 22.6 points and 10.6 rebounds a game and shot 54% from the field. Voting was conducted through the weekend of the NCAA Elite Eight. Players had to maintain a 2.0 grade-point average to be eligible. Joining Hansbrough in the top five of the men’s voting were UCLA freshman Kevin Love, Kansas State freshman Michael Beasley, Davidson sophomore Stephen Curry and Texas sophomore D.J. Augustin. Also making the Wooden All-America team were Chris Douglas-Roberts and Derrick Rose of Memphis, Luke Harangody of Notre Dame, Chris Lofton of Tennessee and Brandon Rush of Kansas. The other four women’s finalists were Courtney Paris of Oklahoma, Candice Wiggins of Stanford, Sylvia Fowles of Louisiana State and Maya Moore of Connecticut. Tennessee Coach Pat Summitt received the John R. Wooden Award Legends of Coaching honor. She is the first female coach to be honored. — Diane Pucin Hansbrough, Parker win Wooden Awards Nikki Caldwell, a Tennessee assistant women’s basketball coach who helped guide the Lady Vols to their second con- secutivenational championship this week, met with UCLA officials Friday in Dallas to discuss the Bruins’ head coaching job, she said. “I had an opportunity to sit down for a little while and share my passion and dedication and my commitment to taking UCLA to that next level,” she said by phone. “It’s a gold mine.” Kathy Olivier, who coached the Bruins for 15 seasons, resigned last month after the team finished a disappointing 16-15 and tied for fourth in the Pacific 10 Conference. Yet the Bruins posted one of the biggest upsets in the program’s history when they knocked off then-No. 2 Stanford this season only to be beaten by Pepperdine (10-18) and San Diego (7-7 in the West Coast Conference). Olivier was 232-208 overall, but 117-123 during the last six seasons and led UCLA to only one 20-win season since 1998-99. Caldwell, who completed her sixth season as an assistant under Tennessee Coach Pat Summitt with Tuesday night’s title win, said she met with UCLA Athletic Director Dan Guerrero and Associated Athletic Director Petrina Long to discuss the job. When asked whether Caldwell would be hired, Marc Dellins, UCLA’s sports information director, would say only that it is the school’s policy to not discuss possible candidates to protect their privacy. Aformer standout guard at Tennessee from 1990to ’94, Caldwell began her coaching career as a graduate assistant at her alma mater during the 1998-99 season, then worked as an assistant at Virginia from 1999to2002. Summitt hired her in the spring of 2002. Caldwell has an overall record of 286-63 as an assistant coach and 118-13 as a player. She is known for her ability to recruit high-profile players and design game plans. Summittcredited Caldwell for much of the team’s success at the recent Final Four. When the Lady Vols defeated Louisiana State with a last-second basket in Sunday’s semifinal, Summitt said it was Caldwell who persuaded her to let 6-foot-4 forward Candace Parker dribble the ball up the floor and create the game-winning play. Caldwell also helped design the stifling defense that shut down high-scoring Stanford in Tuesday’s NCAA final. “She’s one of the best Xs and O’s coaches out there and agreat recruiter,” said Parker, the WNBA’s No. 1 overall draft pick who was introduced to the Los Angeles media Friday. Caldwell said she has been in contact with athletic officials from Memphis, which also is looking for a new head coach. But she said she would prefer to coach in Westwood, citing the school’s academics, its history of winning championships, the ability to recruit top players locally and even the Southern California weather. Caldwell said salary was not discussed but didn’t believe that would get in the way. She said she hopes to have an answer from UCLA officials sometime next week. “I hope it’s good news,” she said. dan.arritt@latimes.com UCLA interviews Lady Vols assistant Caldwell talks to Bruins about replacing Olivier as women’s basketball coach. By Dan Arritt Times Staff Writer The Clippers have had a chance to be spoilers. But it hasn’t worked out that way. They have lost four consecutive games and three to playoff- hunting teams. Their season ends with another trio of daunting road opponents — tonight against the Golden State Warriors, followed by the New Orleans Hornets and Houston Rockets. In their latest loss, Thursday’s manhandling by the Lakers, Elton Brand and Al Thornton combined to make 19 shots. The rest of the team converted only 11 of 46 shots. Still Brand sees potential in his team. In his fifth game of the season, he jumped out of the gate quickly with 15 points in the first quarter but tired as the game progressed. “It was good to go out there and play against one of the upper-echelon teams, fighting for No. 1 in the West,” he said. “I wish we had our full complement so we could really see where we are. “That’s what I was coming back for, expecting to have Corey Maggette , Chris Kaman , and then our bench could have fared a little better. It’s disappointing, but I’m glad I came back and just got to play with these guys a little bit.” Maggette, who sat out his second game because of a strained right hamstring, is probable against the Warriors. Guard Quinton Ross is doubtful after bumping his left leg against the Lakers. ——— Thursday marked the first time the Clippers were on TNT. Their analysts keyed in on Thornton, who earned Kenny Smith’s “My team is whack but I’m not,” Award. “No one knows who [Thornton] is, but he’s athletic and he hustles,” he said. Added Reggie Miller on Thornton’s odds of landing on the all-rookie team: “He got off to a slow start this year, but he’s come a long way. You’ve got to put [ Al ] Horford and [ Kevin ] Durant on there and I like [ Thaddeus ] Young . [Thornton] has played well, he’s played steady with all the injuries out and he does things for this Clipper team, outside and inside. I’d say he’d make the first team.” TONIGHT at Golden State, 7:30, Ch. 5 Site — Oracle Arena. Radio — 710. Records — Clippers 23-56, Warriors 47-32. Record vs. Warriors — 1-2. Update — The Warriors may be on the outside looking in on the playoff hunt after losing to the Denver Nuggets on Thursday. jonathan.abrams@latimes.com CLIPPERS REPORT Brand still glad for test on road of contenders By Jonathan Abrams Times Staff Writer award, but the Lakers were nonetheless relieved to eke out the victory, which looked like a breeze until it blew back at them forcefully. The Lakers took a stunning 63-33 lead on Bryant’s 19-footer with 3:53 left in the second quarter, but Peja Stojakovic’s three-pointer pulled the Hornets to within 96-95 with 3:57 left to play, turning a celebrating crowd into surprising silence. The Lakers, however, plowed ahead. Ronny Turiaf made two free throws and Derek Fisher hit a three-pointer from the left corner to put the Lakers back up, 101-95. They never led by fewer than five the rest of the way until Jannero Pargo’s three-pointer as time expired. Bryant finished with 29 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists. He made nine of 17 shots. Paul, who battled foul trouble at times, had 15 points, 17 assists and four steals. He made four of 13 shots. “I think it’s great for us in terms of taking significant steps,” Bryant said. “This was the first step. We want to take another one on Sunday [against San Antonio]. It just feels good to be No. 1, and that’s what we want to get.” Of the two, Bryant had the flashier play, a double-clutch reverse dunk in the fourth quarter that started shortly after he corralled a long rebound. The crowd jumped to its feet, remained standing during a Hornets timeout, and showered Bryant with “M-V-P” chants as the players returned to the court. “MVP nowadays is not an individual award,” Bryant said. “You really have to make your teammates better and elevate your ballclub. For me to be nominated in that race is a tremendous honorbecausethat’s really been one of the criticisms that people have had of me, is how well do I make my teammates better. From that standpoint, I feel like I’ve already won.” It took all of four minutes for tempers to appear, the first sign that the game wouldn’t be ascones-and-latte event. Vladimir Radmanovic was hit with a flagrant foul for shoving New Orleans center Tyson Chandler to the court, a retaliatory strike after Chandler lost his balance at the other end and pushed Radmanovic down. Less than a minute later, Chandler had to sit down after picking up his second personal foulleaving the Hornets’ middle exposed. Pau Gasol was practically unstoppable in the first quarter, when hehad 11 pointsand the Lakers tied their best first- quarter output this season, taking a 39-20 lead. Gasol finished with 25 points. Lamar Odom had 13 points and 16 rebounds. “We didn’t talk about [winning] the conference outright, or anything else,” Coach Phil Jackson said. “We just talked about that there’s a long way to go, there’s still a lot of games. ... We still need to stay very focused about what we are doing.” mike.bresnahan@latimes.com Lakers hold on for win [ Lakers,from PageD1 ] GOING TO GREAT HEIGHTS: The Lakers’ Luke Walton (4) tries to block a shot by New Orleans’ Melvin Ely during the first half. Richard Hartog Los Angeles Times bounds, eight assists, nine for 17 from the floor) while Paul started slowly but wound up with 15 points and 17 assists. Feature angles notwithstanding, the most valuable player is a season-long award and usually isn’t evaluated on agame-to-game basis,but sentiment already seemed to be running toward Bryant. Aweek ago, a Times poll of 21 writers gave Bryant 10 first- place votes, Paul eight, Kevin Garnett two and LeBron James one. Another poll of 17 writers this weekend showed Bryant with 10 first-place votes, Paul with five and Garnett with two. Look at it this way as many voters must be: Paul is 22 and has many years to win MVPs. Bryant is in his 12th season, and it may be getting embarrassing to explain why the game’s best player has never come closer than two third- placefinishes. (In 2005-6, Bryant didn’t get asingle vote, which meant he finished behind New Orleans’ P.J. Brown, who got one 10th- place vote.) “I think that’s the most remarkable stat of all, that he’s been in the league 12 years and hasn’t won it,” said Hornets Coach Byron Scott of Bryant before the game. “I don’t think he’s been runner-up. I don’t think he’s come in third. I think it’s remarkable that he hasn’t and for the past five or six years, he’s been the best player in this game.” Scott, a star on the Show- time Lakers in the ’80s, was a mentor to Bryant as teammates in Byron’s second stint in L.A. in the 1996-97 season. Now Scott is this season’s presumptive coach of the year after taking the Hornets, who didn’t make the playoffs last season and weren’t expected to this season, this close to winning the West. “Focus, determination and alot of people telling us we couldn’t do it,” said Scott, explaining his secret. “That probably had a lot to do with it because we heard itfrom All- Star break on. “At All-Star break, we had the best record,but yeah, they’ll fall off, the pressure will get to them, the schedule will get to them when they go on this road trip in March. “There was always something and I think that motivated our guys to go out and prove people wrong.” Motivation helps a lot, especially when you’re good enough. To the utter amazement of all, Paul was not only ready for prime time in the West race in his third season, he was neck- and-neck in the MVP race with Bryant. The Hornets got Paul, whom they considered the top pick in the 2005 draft, with the fourth pick. However, not even Scott dreamed Paul would be this far within three years. “Not this soon,” said Scott. “Nah, never would have thought that he would be this good this soon and he’d be getting the type of praise he’s getting this early in his career. “But he deserves it,” Scott added. “He’s put in a lot of work. He’s been a tremendous leader to this team and the things we talked about this summer that he had to improve, he went out and improved them. “The thing that’s scary is, he’s 22 and he’s going to get better.” He’s good enough now. Ask the Lakers who had better gear up for next season when Paul is 23. mark.heisler@latimes.com Bryant’s MVP void may weigh on voters [ Heisler, from PageD1 ] ON LATIMES.COM CP vs. Kobe for MVP “I think it should have some importance, but I don’t think it should be all about this one game. But obviously when you’re playing against CP, who’s playing so great this year, and you have Kobe, who’s played so well this year ... there is some importance to that factor,” said Byron Scott. Read more from the Kamenetzky brothers at lakersblog.latimes.com/lakersblog/ Site — Staples Center. Radio — 570. Records — Avengers 2-4, Blaze 0-6. Record vs. Blaze (2007) — 1-1. Update — After starting the season with two victories, the Avengers have lost four games in a row, including a 67-54 defeat at Colorado last week. For the season, the Avengers have been outscored, 280-181. In 2007, the Avengers ended the regular season with a 47-37 loss to Utah and then defeated the Blaze in the playoffs, 64-42. —Lonnie White AVENGERS TONIGHT vs. Utah, 7:30, FSN Prime Site — Crew Stadium, Columbus, Ohio. Radio — 690 (Spanish) Records — Chivas 1-0-1; Crew 1-1-0. Record vs. Crew — 1-0-1 (last season). Update — Forward Ante Razov (left calf strain), forward Alecko Eskandarian (left groin strain), midfielder Raphael Wicky (back spasms) and defender Lawson Vaughn (left hamstring) all did not travel with Chivas. It’s unclear how much forward MaykelGalindo (groin strain) will play. — Jaime Cardenas CHIVAS USA TONIGHT at Columbus, 4:30 PDT, FSN Prime LASP_04-12-2008_D_9_D9_LA_1_K T Set:04-11-200823:45

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