Pump Up Music: Old Crow Medicine Show -- "Wagon Wheel"
The Big Picture: Mike Dunleavy's firing influences everything about this game. It was a sign to the players that their franchise's owner can't get enough of himself. Let's face it: Dunleavy was a terrible coach and a middle of the road GM, and probably deserved to be let go earlier, but he was dumped with as little courtesy as possible. There's an argument to be made that Scott Skiles's Christmas Eve firing was more compassionate and mindful than this instance, in which Dunleavy found out he was fired via text message. From friends who saw it on TV.
If the owner's top executives are subject to such treatment, imagine what the players must be thinking.
Key to Victory: Eric Gordon is questionable, meaning the Clips are trading their shorter shooter for length in more minutes for Travis Outlaw and Rasual Butler. That might actually be a better matchup on paper for L.A. given Stephen Jackson's length. But even so, the Clips only have one clear one-on-one matchup advantage in Baron Davis over either of our points; the rest of the starting lineups are washes or Bobcats advantages, especially given the tenacious D our centers will bring against Chris Kaman.
Detail That May Interest .08% of You: The Clippers use a different lighting scheme at Staples Center than the Lakers do. The Lakers dim the lights on the crowd during play while the Clips keep the lights up on the whole place. (Note: This may have changed, but recent video evidence indicates it's still in effect.)