LOS ANGELES -- The last time the Golden State Warriors visited Staples Center they suffered a surprising 20-point thumping by the Los Angeles Lakers. Since then, the Warriors have reeled off nine wins in a row.The Warriors and the Lakers meet Friday for the second time in three days and the third time this month.On Wednesday, the Warriors (13-2) delivered some payback in a 149-106 rout at Oracle Arena of the short-handed Lakers, who played without starting point guard DAngelo Russell -- out two weeks with a sore left knee -- and forward Julius Randle (hip pointer). It was the most points scored by an NBA team this season.I dont think a team Ive been on has ever scored 150 points in a game, said Warriors shooting guard Klay Thompson, according to the East Bay Times. But I can settle for 149.Stephen Curry (31), Kevin Durant (28) and Thompson (26) combined for 85 points. The Warriors, who recorded a franchise-record 47 assists, scored 80 points in the first half.It was a beautiful exhibition that (the Warriors) put on, Lakers coach Luke Walton said. As painful as this one was, thats the beauty of the NBA. You always have another chance to redeem yourself one or two days later.That was the message: Let it go and be ready for Friday.The Lakers will need a much better effort defensively if they expect to slow the high-octane Warriors, who are leading the league at 119.2 points and 31.9 assists per game. Golden State also is tops in field-goal shooting, connecting on 50.2 percent compared to 46.8 percent (fourth) for Los Angeles.Offense has been one of the strengths for the Lakers (8-8), but their defense has lagged. The Lakers, who have lost three of their last four, with Wednesdays 111-109 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder being their lone conquest, are allowing 112.1 points (27th) while scoring 109.6 (fourth). They are third in 3-point shooting at 39 percent.However, opponents are hitting 48.5 percent of their shots from the floor.The Lakers, though, are the only team to hold Golden State under 100 points this season. That occurred during their 117-97 romp on Nov. 4.Much of the Lakers production this season has come from their bench, which is leading the NBA in scoring at 52.1 points per game. In 12 of the teams 16 games, the leading scorer has been one of the reserves. Lou Williams has led the way in eight contests.Williams (43.2 percent) and Nick Young (40 percent), one of the leagues early surprises, pace the Lakers 3-point shooting.The Lakers have won the last two meetings against the Warriors at home. Both have been double-digit triumphs. Walton is a major reason for Los Angeles improved play this season.You can tell Luke Walton has come over there and changed the culture a bit, Durant told the Orange County Register. Ive been on a team like that. Youre young and just want to go out there and have fun with the game with no expectations. Youre just playing. Cheap Chargers Jerseys . With Parker having a quiet game for once, Nicolas Batum and Boris Diaw provided the scoring as France won its first major basketball title by beating Lithuania 80-66 on Sunday. It was a victory that ended a decade of frustration for Parker and a talented French generation, which lost the final against Spain two years ago and took bronze in 2005. Wholesale Chargers Jerseys . -- Anaheim Ducks captain and leading scorer Ryan Getzlaf has been scratched from Sunday nights game against the Vancouver Canucks because of an upper-body injury. http://www.cheapchargersjerseysauthentic.com/ . Toronto has dropped games to Indiana and Miami since a five-game winning streak and closed out a three-game road trip at 1-2. PARIS -- There is no such thing as the beginning of an end. An end is just an end. However short, the period until that finality remains one of possibilities, as Wayne Rooney will prove.Taking their cue from interim manager Gareth Southgates decision to drop Rooney from Englands starting XI for its 2018 World Cup qualifying match against Slovenia on Tuesday, some observers are now prematurely digging the 30-year-olds footballing grave, predicting that his time is running out.It doesnt take a genius to argue that age, the wear-and-tear of nearly 700 appearances for clubs and country and the displacement of older players by younger ones will, in the not unforeseeable future, combine to permanently sideline Rooney. Like weathermen who predict rain, those now pointing to that writing on the wall are bound to be right, eventually.But there are compelling footballing and sentimental reasons to both hope and believe that between now and the inevitable, Rooney will still surprise.First, the football.It has for several seasons been clear to all, including Rooney, that he no longer has the scything speed that made him such a bulldog forward in his younger days and that he is increasingly struggling with footballs ever-quicker tempo, notably in Englands Premier League.But by recognizing and accepting a variety of retooled roles for himself in the England and United midfields and on their benches, Rooney has shown intelligence, pragmatism, adaptability and no shortage of guts. Embarking on what is, essentially, a second career further down the pitch was never going to smooth. It hasnt been made any easier by the unsettling managerial churn at both United and England.On off-days, Rooney looks ponderous and a brake on, not a creator of, attacking momentum for his teams, unable to play box-to-box for extended periods or create enough goal-scoring chances for others.But on good days, which he still has, Rooneys sweet passes, industry, tactical brains and leadership make him an undeniable asset. Even though Southgate and, at United, Jose Mourinho may no longer think first of Rooney, his enduring value is proven by the fact they still want him on their benches when not in their starting lineups.There is no shame in that. That the all-time top scorer and most-capped outfield player for England and soon-to be top scorer for United (he is just three goals shy of Bobby Charltons record off 249) is willing to play cameo roles is the mark of a player who puts the team before himself.ddddddddddddy sharing his experience with younger players and imposing his maturity on the dressing room, qualities that Southgate described as gold dust, and by shielding teammates from some of the intense media spotlight that so often unsettles the England team, Rooney can still chip in to its effort to qualify for the World Cup in Russia and shake off the disaster of being knocked out of the European Championship by Iceland this June.There is no embarrassment, Rooney said. Ill be ready to come off the bench if needed.On the sentimental side, Rooney stands as an example of how football can help polish rough kids from rough neighborhoods, of how the game offers opportunity for youngsters to better themselves and isnt solely defined by the corrupt officials who have soiled the sports reputation, at FIFA and elsewhere.The kid from a grim suburb of Liverpool, as thrilling as he was to watch with the ball at his feet, long disappointed as a person. His temper was short, his moods often foul, and the headlines he generated often bad. He stomped on Ricardo Carvalho (2006 World Cup, red card) and vented to pitch-side cameras (2010 World Cup; West Ham vs. Man United in 2011, two-match ban). His stock fell so low that the town of Edenbridge in Englands southeast burned a 30-foot effigy of Rooney in 2010, giving him the ears of cartoon ogre Shrek.In short, a very different character from the poised elder statesman who accepted Southgates decision to bench him against Slovenia with apparent good grace and insisted this was not the beginning of the end that some described it as.I understand this is part of football. It is something which you have to go through and I am big enough to deal with it, he said. I have said before that I will not stop playing for England and then think of going to Dubai for a few days in the international break. I will turn up when called upon and be ready.The fan of boxing may be down, but he is not out.---John Leicester is an international sports columnist for The Associated Press. Write to him at jleicester(at)ap.org or follow him at http://twitter.com/johnleicester. See his work at http://bigstory.ap.org/content/john-leicester ' ' '