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Kobe vs. Arenas: points will fly

Want fireworks? Just stick Gilbert Arenas and Kobe Bryant on the same basketball court and watch the points pile up.

Bryant's Los Angeles Lakers travel to the Verizon Center on Saturday night to face Arenas and the Washington Wizards in a rematch of one of the most entertaining games in recent NBA history as the two stars combined for 105 points.

On Dec. 17, Arenas set a Wizards franchise record with 60 points -- including 16 in overtime -- as Washington won, 147-141, at Staples Center despite Bryant's 45 points, eight rebounds and 10 assists.

Arenas became just the second player to score at least 60 against the Lakers, behind only the 65 by Wilt Chamberlain when he was with the Philadelphia 76ers in 1966.

The scoring outburst by the two All-Star Game starters wasn't a fluke, either. The last four times the Wizards and Lakers have met, Arenas and Bryant have combined for 78.3 points per game.

Bryant has twice put up triple-doubles against the Wizards with 36 points, 10 rebounds and 14 assists on Dec. 17, 2004 in a 120-116 Washington win during one of the three matchups that has gone to OT.

On Feb. 28, 2004, Bryant had 25 points, 14 rebounds and 10 assists in the Lakers' 122-110 triumph.

Arenas, who spent his first two seasons with Golden State, has averaged 28.4 points, 5.6 rebounds, 5.1 assists and a steal in 11 previous games against Bryant, seven of them wins by Arenas' squads. He's shooting 43.6 percent from the field and 81.7 percent from the foul line.

Against Arenas, Bryant averages 31.3 points, 7.3 assists, 6.6 rebounds and 1.3 steals while shooting 48.3 percent from the floor and 80.4 percent from the charity stripe. Bryant has scored 41 points or more four times and has been held below 20 just twice.

The average score of a game featuring Bryant and Arenas is 110-104, pretty remarkable considering only 10 NBA teams -- two of them are the Wizards (107.4 ppg) and Lakers (104.8) -- average at least 100 per game this season.

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Kids get together

The two most exciting young players in the NHL go head-to-head for the sixth time in their short careers Saturday at Pittsburgh's Mellon Arena.

Washington left wing Alexander Ovechkin, the 21-year-old first overall pick in the 2004 draft, goes against Pittsburgh center Sidney Crosby, the 19-year-old top choice in the 2005 draft.

So far, the edge goes to Sid the Kid even though it was Ovechkin who captured the Calder Trophy last season while outscoring Crosby, 106 points to 102.

Pittsburgh has won four of the previous five meetings, including a 5-4 shootout victory Dec. 11 when each player had two points.

Crosby has four goals, seven assists, 11 points and a plus-5 rating against Washington; Ovechkin's totals are three goals, five assists, eight points and a plus-4 rating. Each player has put up at least one point in all five matchups.

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Hot stove tip

Think big, as in second round at the latest, if you hope to land Cleveland Indians outfielder Grady Sizemore.

With 53 doubles, 11 triples, 28 homers and 22 steals last season, he joined Hall of Famer Chuck Klein as the only men to pile up 50 doubles, 10 triples, 20 homers and 20 stolen bases in a year. In 1932 with the Philadelphia Phillies, Klein had 50 doubles, 15 triples, 38 homers and 20 steals.

Not only that, but last season Sizemore also led the big leagues in runs (134) and pitches seen (3,019). All despite the fact his Tribe finished 78-84.

e-mail: tborrelli@buffnews.com

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