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Continued: Zgoda: Five questions for the NBA playoffs

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  • Last update: April 20, 2013 - 3:32 PM

So what’s past is past, right?

Or is it?

3. Is Mike D’Antoni being wrong going to make everything right?

The once-mighty Los Angeles Lakers barely made it into the playoffs, and now without the great Kobe Bryant they must face 58-victory San Antonio.

But don’t necessarily count the Lakers out, not if Dwight Howard decides to put on his big-boy pants for the playoffs, not if Steve Nash can come back from injury.

And not if Mike D’Antoni is sincere about his recent admission that he was wrong earlier this season when he concluded big men Howard and Pau Gasol can’t play together.

The Lakers finished the season 8-2 and beat out Utah for the West’s eighth and final playoff spot, and Gasol starred alongside Howard down the stretch after missing six weeks because of a foot injury.

His play caused Nash to tell reporters Friday, “This is the Pau that I was begging for a chance to play with.”

It also has put him back in favor with D’Antoni after falling into the coach’s disfavor early in the season.

“I’ve come to realize that we can play with the two big guys,” D’Antoni told reporters earlier this week. “I was a little skeptical at first. I think with both of them being close to 100 percent, yeah, they can play together easily. I kind of had a preconceived notion that probably wasn’t right.”

4. With apologies to the Fabulous Thunderbirds, are the flashy L.A. Clippers “tuff enuff?”

The Clippers won the Pacific Division for the first time in history and swept the hometown rival Lakers for the first time since Donald Sterling bought the franchise in 1981.

But as loaded and high-flying as they are with Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan, Jamal Crawford, Matt Barnes and, heck, even former Timberwolves big man Ryan Hollins, do the 56-victory Clippers have enough substance with their style to go deep in the playoffs?

It’s a particularly important question given their first-round rematch with Memphis, a team they beat in seven games in last season’s first round.

In contrast, the Grizzlies are all about muscle and moxie and short on style points.

TNT analyst Charles Barkley, of course, has an opinion.

“That team has got no toughness,” Barkley said. “They’re not a legitimate contender.”

5. A playoff pick-’em: Russell Westbrook, hero or goat?

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Pittsburgh - LP: F. Liriano 0 FINAL
Cincinnati - WP: J. Cueto 4
Tampa Bay - LP: J. Odorizzi 0 FINAL
Baltimore - WP: M. Gonzalez 3
Chicago Cubs - LP: J. Hammel 0 FINAL
NY Yankees - WP: M. Tanaka 3
St. Louis - LP: J. Kelly 1 FINAL
Milwaukee - WP: W. Peralta 5
NY Mets - WP: D. Gee 5 FINAL
Arizona - LP: B. McCarthy 2
Atlanta - WP: J. Teheran 1 FINAL
Philadelphia - LP: C. Lee 0
Chicago Cubs 0 Top 9th Inning
NY Yankees 2
Cleveland 3 Bottom 8th Inning
Detroit 2
Washington - WP: D. Storen 6 FINAL
Miami - LP: M. Dunn 3
Seattle 2 Bottom 7th Inning
Texas 0
Boston 1 Top 6th Inning
Chicago WSox 1
Kansas City 2 Bottom 6th Inning
Houston 4
Toronto 0 Postponed
Minnesota 0
Oakland - T. Milone 9:05 PM
LA Angels - T. Skaggs
Colorado - J. De La Rosa 9:10 PM
San Diego - A. Cashner
Los Angeles - P. Maholm 9:15 PM
San Francisco - R. Vogelsong
Chicago 86 FINAL
Charlotte 91
Indiana 101 FINAL
Orlando 86
Atlanta 100 4th Qtr 4:56
Milwaukee 91
Dallas 78 4th Qtr 11:11
Memphis 75
Detroit 97 4th Qtr 8:50
Oklahoma City 88
Houston 92 4th Qtr 4:35
New Orleans 97
LA Lakers 110 4th Qtr 1:16
San Antonio 96
Brooklyn 77 4th Qtr 5:50
Cleveland 102
Philadelphia 87 4th Qtr 10:59
Miami 69
Utah 100 4th Qtr 4:05
Minnesota 94
Washington 108 4th Qtr 5:31
Boston 88
Toronto 81 4th Qtr 7:43
New York 78
Golden State 9:30 PM
Denver
LA Clippers 9:30 PM
Portland
Phoenix 9:30 PM
Sacramento
Montreal 4 1st OT 18:09
Tampa Bay 4
Columbus 3 3rd Prd 7:47
Pittsburgh 4
Dallas 9:00 PM
Anaheim
Philadelphia 1 FINAL
Red Bull New York 2
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