STARTING POINTS: Clippers, Harden, Rookies big NBA winners

This is my daily morning blog to give you a jump start on what people, sports fans at least, might be talking about around the water cooler (do those still exist?):

POINT ONE: Hardwood highlights

A busy night in the NBA made for several points of interest (we’ll get to the Lakers later, I try to stay positive in the first point) not the least of which was the Clippers. Yes, the Lakers, more exciting and fun to watch little brother from across the hall at Staples Center opened with an impressive win over the Grizzlies. Not sure which unit for the Clippers is more exciting. Now one of the deepest teams in the league, the Clips showcased the usual array of dunks by DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin, but it was there bench mob of newcomer Jamal Crawford, speedy Eric Bledsoe and useful Lamar Odom that really dominated the game. SPeaking of dominating, what about James Harden of the Rockets. Now a starter (congrats for winning your NBA Fantasy League this year Harden Drafters) Harden showed it’s silly to waste time learning the offense. He just went on instinct and scored 37 points with 12 assists to lead the Rockets past the Pistons. Rookies also had an impact. The Hornets’ Anthony was impressive in his debut with a 21 points and seven rebounds, but it was Weber State product Damian Lillard of the Trail Blazers who burst onto the scene with 23 poitns and 11 assists in a win over the Lakers.

POINT TWO: Purple Haze

The Lakers got 33 from Dwight Howard, 30 from Kobe and still lost by 10 in Portland. I don’t have it right in front of me, but I think the last time the Lakers won in Portland, James K. Polk was president. The worse news is that Steve Nash injured his knee. The severity of Nash’s injury is unknown, nor is the severity of the funk the Lakers already find themselves in. With absolutely no analysis other than watching them on a TV across a busy newsroom, is it looks like the Lakers are playing with no energy, with the possible of exception of Jordan Hill. Pretend like it matters, guys.

POINT THREE: Trade dud-line

The NFL trade deadline is today, and as usual, I am expecting nothing interesting to happen. Why can’t there by interesting NFL trades? I don’t get it. How about this? Tony Romo for Philip Rivers straight up. Simple. Both QBs are talented. Rivers could thrive if pushed by unforgiving fans. Romo could thrive in front of a less rabid fan base. Everybody wins. But in the NFL, any trade will involve players you barely know. The Rams’ Steven Jackson isn’t going anywhere. Neither is Tebow. If you like your trade deadlines interesting, stick to the NBA and MLB.

POINT FOUR: Chief concerns

There are struggling NFL teams. There are inept NFL teams. Then, right underneath that group, is the Kansas City Chiefs. When Kansas City kicks off their eighth game of the season tonight against San Diego, they will be trying to do something they haven’t done all year — Lead. That’s right, the 1-6 Chiefs, at no time in quarters 1 through 4 have led any of their seven games at any point. Their lone win was a fluky victory over the Saints in which they never led, tied it to force OT and then won it in the extra time. No team has ever gone through the first seven games in a season without leading. My gut says, tonight’s the night. Chiefs score the first touchdown of the game, and parlay it into a 28-13 loss.

POINT FIVE: Gold stars

My prep gold stars of the day from Wednesday’s action go out to the following athletes: The Indio boys’ and girls’ cross country teams, the Palm Desert girls’ tennis team, La Quinta runner Megan Huebner and Shadow Hills volleyball. If you know any of these people, high-five them today. They deserve it.

Enjoy your Thursday.