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The Sports Report: Let's give Frank Vogel a chance

The Sports Report: Let's give Frank Vogel a chance
Frank Vogel (John Raoux / Associated Press)

Hello everyone. My name is Houston Mitchell, and I take one weekend off for Mother’s Day and the Lakers decide to do something crazy.

Lakers

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I was all set to write a scathing newsletter, wondering how the Lakers, the marquee franchise of the NBA (yes, I’m looking at you, Celtics fans), could hire Frank Vogel to be their new coach. Talk about boring. Hum-drum. Routine. Yawn. And then I heard some wise words and it changed my thinking. And those wise words came from noted philosopher Shaquille “The Big Aristotle” O’Neal.

“Give him a chance,” O’Neal told Broderick Turner on Sunday. “That’s the least people can do. He did a good job in Indiana, right? So give him a chance to see if he does a good job with the Lakers.”

And then Robert Horry chimed in to say, “Give the man a chance, because there really is no right coach out there. There is no Phil Jackson walking through that door. There is no Pat Riley walking through that door. So nobody is ever going to be happy with what coach they get. Vogel might be the perfect coach. Who knows?”

And they are right. In the rush to condemn the Lakers for the bungled way they handled to coaching search, it becomes too easy to sweep Vogel up in the outrage. We have to give him some time, see if he is the right man for the job. Welcome him with open arms and give him a chance.

It really comes down to who the Lakers acquire to play for them in the offseason. If they get a big name, then a lot of this anxiety over the team will go away. So let’s not add to the anxiety by burying the coach before he has had a chance.

But if he loses the first game, all bets are off.

Here’s our Vogel coverage:

Bill Plaschke: Frank Vogel’s hiring by Lakers prompts a question: Are they kidding?

Tania Ganguli: Jason Kidd was there for Lonzo Ball’s debut; now he’ll be his mentor….

Ganguli and Turner: Frank Vogel will coach Lakers; Jason Kidd to be an assistant.

And make sure you subscribe to our Lakers newsletter for more in-depth coverage delivered for free via email. Click here to subscribe.

Dodgers

Hyun-Jin Ryu made it look easy on Sunday, holding the Washington Nationals to one hit in eight innings of a 6-0 victory by the Dodgers. (Of course, subscribers to our Dodgers newsletter wouldn’t be too surprised, because the writer of said newsletter pegged him as the team’s true ace. I need to meet that writer one day.)

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Ryu had a no-hitter until there was one out in the eighth, when Gerardo Parra doubled to left-center.

Ryu is now 5-1 with a 1.72 ERA and increased his consecutive scoreless innings streak to 24, which isn’t far enough along to make Orel Hershiser fans nervous, but is still impressive.

“I think there’s a lot of layers,” manager Dave Roberts said of Ryu’s dominance. “He’s just so confident. He’s very sound in his delivery. The game plans have been on point. I can’t say enough about what he’s done, giving guys days off in the bullpen and putting us in position to win every time he takes the mound.

“He’s off to a tremendous start. To watch him work as a technician … it was masterful, it really was. Everything he wanted to do with a hitter — how you script a plan for how you attack a hitter and keep him off balance and miss bats in the strike zone — he did.”

Soccer

The U.S. women’s team played a tuneup match against South Africa on Sunday in Santa Clara. Our Kevin Baxter was there and here’s what he saw:

“While the crowd was rewarded with the second two-goal game of Sam Mewis’ national team career, for much of the day it had little else to cheer from a U.S. team that didn’t really come alive until the final half-hour.

“Which could mean something or could mean nothing at all, said Carli Lloyd, who has been through this World Cup countdown three times before.

“Each cycle we’ve been through, we’ve sort of been at a different stage,” Lloyd said. “There’s no real telling until we get over there. There’s some things that we can take away and learn. But we just have to continue to dig deep and just get better individually and collectively.

“There’s no reason to panic.”

“But there is a lot to learn and there were some obvious lessons to be taken out of Sunday’s performance. South Africa, ranked 49th in the world, the second highest-ranking for a World Cup qualifier, stayed compact and kept as many as nine players behind the ball, absorbing pressure and frustrating a U.S. that struggled for a response.

“The top-ranked Americans controlled the ball 70% of the time and had a 19-5 edge in shots against an opponent that, aside from the rare counterattack, rarely showed any interest in trying to score.

“It’s a strategy the U.S. has seen before -- Sweden used it to eliminate the U.S. in the quarterfinals of the last Olympics — and the Americans can count on seeing it again in France, especially in their first two group-play matches against Thailand and Chile.

“That was a memory that was kind of burned into my head,” U.S. coach Jill Ellis said of the Olympic debacle. “The game has just exponentially, tactically evolved. The things that teams throw at you now, the things that you have to adapt to, the things that you see.

“We’ve got to make sure that we have players that can break teams down.”

“It probably wouldn’t have mattered how the South Africans defended in the first 20 minutes since the U.S., playing for the first time since the 23-woman World Cup roster was chosen, couldn’t get on the same page, sending passes into open spaces as often as it sent them to teammates.

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“Those are all takeaways in terms of learning moments. Moments that you look at on film, moments that players experience,” Ellis said. “The first half looked sloppy. We were rusty.

“There’s a lot of good takeaways.”

NBA playoffs

Sunday’s NBA scores

at Toronto 92, Philadelphia 90 (Raptors win series, 4-3)

at Portland 100, Denver 96 (Trail Blazers win series, 4-3)

Western Conference Finals

All times Pacific

Tuesday, 6 p.m., Portland at Golden State, ESPN

Thursday, 6 p.m., Portland at Golden State, ESPN

Saturday, 6 p.m., Golden State at Portland, ESPN

Monday, May 20, 6 p.m., Golden State at Portland, ESPN

*Wed., May 22, 6 p.m., Portland at Golden State, ESPN

*Friday, May 24, 6 p.m., Golden State at Portland, ESPN

*Sunday, May 26, Portland at Golden State, ESPN

Eastern Conference Finals

All times Pacific

Wednesday, 5:30 p.m., Toronto at Milwaukee, TNT

Friday, 5:30 p.m., Toronto at Milwaukee, TNT

Sunday, 4 p.m., Milwaukee at Toronto, TNT

Tuesday, May 21, 5:30 p.m., Milwaukee at Toronto, TNT

*Thursday, May 23, 5:30 p.m., Toronto at Milwaukee, TNT

*Saturday, May 25, 5:30 p.m., Milwaukee at Toronto, TNT

*Monday, May 27, 5:30 p.m., Toronto at Milwaukee, TNT

*-if necessary

NHL playoffs

Western Conference Finals

All times Pacific

at San Jose 6, St. Louis 3

Tonight, 6 p.m., St. Louis at San Jose, NBCSN

Wednesday, 5 p.m., San Jose at St. Louis, NBCSN

Friday, 5 p.m., San Jose at St. Louis, NBCSN

*Sunday, Noon, St. Louis at San Jose, NBC

*Tuesday, May 21, 5 p.m., San Jose at St. Louis, NBCSN

*Thursday, May 23, 6 p.m., St. Louis at San Jose, NBCSN

Eastern Conference Finals

All times Pacific

at Boston 5, Carolina 2

at Boston 6, Carolina 2

Tuesday, 5 p.m., Boston at Carolina, NBCSN

Thursday, 5 p.m., Boston at Carolina, NBCSN

*Saturday, 4:15 p.m., Carolina at Boston, NBC

*Monday, May 20, 5 p.m., Boston at Carolina, NBCSN

*Wednesday, May 22, 5 p.m., Carolina at Boston, NBCSN

*if necessary

Other newsletters

We also have five other newsletters you can subscribe to for free. They are emailed to you and we don’t sell your name to other companies, so no spam from us. They are:

Our Dodgers newsletter, written by me. Subscribe here.

Lakers newsletter, written by Tania Ganguli. Subscribe here.

Horse racing newsletter, written by John Cherwa. Subscribe here.

Boxing/MMA newsletter, written by Lance Pugmire. Subscribe here.

Soccer newsletter, written by Kevin Baxter. Subscribe here.

Odds and ends

Rookie Griffin Canning burned by long ball in Angels’ loss to Orioles…. Peyton Manning understands hardships Tiger Woods overcame in comeback…. Can Tiger Woods break Jack Nicklaus’ majors record? Tom Brady weighs in…. Stanford turns back USC to win NCAA women's water polo title…. Bob Baffert’s Improbable the probable favorite heading into Preakness…. Harvard-Westlake’s Pete Crow-Armstrong has become a hitting machine

Today’s local major sports schedule

(All times Pacific)

Angels at Minnesota, 4:30 p.m., FSW, KLAA 830

Born on this date

1914: Boxer Joe Louis

1961: NBA player Dennis Rodman

1972: NHL player Darryl Sydor

And finally

Joe Louis vs. James J. Braddock for the heavyweight championship of the world. Watch it here.

That concludes the newsletter for today. If you have any feedback, ideas for improvement or things you’d like to see, please email us here. If you want to subscribe, click here.

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