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Steve Ballmer in L.A., Lynx Playoffs Begin Thursday,

It's pretty quiet around the NBA, but the Wolves will be back in the spotlight this weekend.

Jeff Gross

The Clippers held a rally at Staples Center to introduce their new owner, Steve Ballmer. The fans and players, not to mention Ballmer himself, were pretty excited, which makes sense when you get out from under the ownership of Donald Sterling. Ballmer did a lot of high fiving and promised an energetic style of ownership, which will be a breath of fresh air.

On the other hand, it was a celebration of a super-rich guy acquiring a new toy. So that's a little odd. Still, congratulations to Clippers fans for not having to root in spite of Sterling. A relief, no doubt.

The Lynx open their playoffs at home against San Antonio on Thursday night. They will play a best of three series for the right to move on to the Western Conference Finals. We'll have more on the matchup on Thursday, but the Lynx won four of the five meetings this year, losing only a meaningless game at the end of the year.

The U.S. Men's team has friendlies scheduled on Wednesday against the Dominican Republic and Friday against Puerto Rico, both at Madison Square Garden in New York. Either between those games or after the game on Friday, they will cut four of the 16 players on the squad, in order to get down to the required 12 before heading to Europe on Saturday.

Expect Zach to bring us an Andrew Wiggins piece in the next couple of days, our team-by-team previews of the NBA to start this week if we get ourselves together, more Lynx stuff, and of course we'll have the trade(s) when they happen. So we'll try to keep you occupied.

Today in history

43 BC: Octavian "elected" Consul by the Roman Senate
1399: King Richard II surrenders to his cousin Henry
1692: Five people hung for witchcraft in Salem, MA
1939: Louis Daguerre's photographic process is revealed in Paris
1895: John Wesley Hardin is killed in El Paso
1919: Afghanistan declares independence from UK
1951: Eddie Gaedel gets his only plate appearance for St. Louis Browns

Today's musical birthday is Nathaniel Hale, aka Nate Dogg, born in 1969 (d. 2011)

What's up?