Updated: October 7, 2010, 2:33 PM ET

Lakers Have Something To Prove In Spain

By Dave McMenamin

BARCELONA -- When the NBA hands the Larry O'Brien trophy over to its title winner every June, it doesn't dub the team as "American champions" or "champions of the United States," it calls the team the "world champions."

Because of that distinction, the back-to-back world champion Los Angeles Lakers feel a twinge of extra pressure headed into Thursday's preseason game with the 2010 Euroleague champion, Regal FC Barcelona.

Normally, the outcomes of preseason games don't matter much. Remember, the 2008 Detroit Lions were a surprisingly delightful 4-0 in the preseason and a historically dismal 0-16 in the regular season. But the outcome of this game matters more than a little bit more for the Lakers for three reasons:

They want to win it for Pau Gasol in his homecoming game against his former team.

They want to win it for the NBA, to show that, even with an injured Andrew Bynum and a severely limited Kobe Bryant, the NBA produces a better champion than the Euroleague does and thus remains the premier basketball league in the world.

And they want to win it so they can salvage a Europe Live trip that got off to a dubious start with a sloppy 111-92 loss to the rebuilding Minnesota Timberwolves in London on Monday and not return to Los Angeles winless to start their march toward a three-peat title.

Click here to read the rest of McMenamin's dispatch from Spain at ESPN L.A.

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Chandler Gives Good First Impression

By Tim MacMahon

DALLAS -- It's probably premature to stir up a starting center controversy. After all, we've seen only one preseason game.

But Tyson Chandler looked pretty darn good in the Mavs' 97-94 loss Tuesday to John Wall's Wizards.

The Mavs made it a game with a 14-0 run during garbage time. The high-flying 7-footer was by far the home team's biggest bright spot when rotation players were on the court.

After two injury-marred seasons, Chandler is healthy again. He looked a lot like the dude who averaged a double-double for the Hornets in 2007-08 during his debut in a Mavs uniform. He finished with 10 points on 3-of-4 shooting (including one oooh-inducing alley-oop), nine rebounds and two blocked shots in 17 minutes.

"I loved Chandler [Tuesday], and I've loved him every day of training camp," coach Rick Carlisle said. "He's really bringing not only energy, but he's bringing some vocal leadership and personality to our team, which we need. He's a very, very welcome addition."

Click here to read the rest at ESPNDallas.com.


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