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The Sports Report: LeBron leads Lakers past Clippers

APTOPIX Lakers Clippers Basketball
LeBron Jame shoots as Marcus Morris defends.
(Associated Press)

Howdy, I’m your host, Houston Mitchell. Let’s get right to the news.

Time after time in Sunday’s fourth quarter, the 6-foot-8 LeBron James handled the ball near the top of the three-point arc while hunting a particular matchup — getting slim Clippers guard Lou Williams switched onto him in a pick-and-roll.

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With 2:50 to play, and the Lakers leading the Clippers by seven, James got the mismatch he wanted. Williams moved his feet, but James was soon by him, dribbling into the paint, dropping off an assist for a reverse dunk by teammate Anthony Davis.

The Lakers claimed their 13th victory in their last 15 games, and their first over the Clippers in three tries this season, by picking their rivals apart in the second half of a 112-103 victory.

Davis scored 11 of his 30 points in the second half, James added 28 points, nine assists and seven rebounds and Avery Bradley scored a season-high 24 points to hold off the Clippers, who remain one spot behind the first-place Lakers in the Western Conference standings.

The Lakers (49-13) trailed by four at halftime but never trailed for the final 14 minutes to continue their impressive weekend — they beat league-leading Milwaukee by 10 Friday — and end the Clippers’ six-game winning streak.

Paul George scored a game-high 31 points for the Clippers (43-20) and Kawhi Leonard scored 27 points.

Read more Lakers-Clippers

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INDIAN WELLS CANCELED

Organizers of the BNP Paribas Open tennis tournament on Sunday canceled this year’s event at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden, citing the public health emergency declared by the Riverside County Public Health Department following a recently confirmed local case of the coronavirus.

“As a result, the 2020 BNP Paribas Open will not take place at this time due to concerns surrounding the coronavirus and the safety of the participants and attendees at the event,” organizers said in a statement. “This is following the guidance of medical professionals, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and State of California.”

Main draw play was to have begun on Wednesday. Many players arrived early to practice and get a feel for the courts and the hot, dry desert air.

In elaborating on the cancellation, the statement also quoted Dr. David Agus, USC professor of medicine and bioengineering. “There is too great a risk, at this time, to the public health of the Riverside County area in holding a large gathering of this size,” Agus said. “It is not in the public interest of fans, players and neighboring areas for this tournament to proceed. We all have to join together to protect the community from the coronavirus outbreak.”

L.A. MARATHON

He stayed with the lead pack and then, by the point the hilly, unforgiving terrain was coldly claiming its victims, he instead somehow felt better.

Bayelign Teshager rode that sensation to victory Sunday in the 35th Los Angeles Marathon. Maybe he didn’t know any better; this was his debut at the distance.

“As the race progressed, I became more energized,” the Ethiopian said through an interpreter. “After the 35-kilometer mark [roughly 22 miles], I was sure I was going to win. So that gave me even more energy.”

He won by pulling away from Kenya’s John Langat over the final mile and a half, turning a two-man shootout into a solo flight to the finish.

Teshager posted a time of two hours, eight minutes and 26 seconds. Langat came in 17 seconds behind him.

Margaret Muriuki of Kenya handily won the women’s race, finishing in 2:29:27. Ethiopia’s Almaz Negede was runner-up three minutes back.

Starting at Dodger Stadium and ending near the Santa Monica Pier, the race wound throughout Los Angeles and attracted more than 26,000 entrants. The weather was sunny and runner friendly.

LAFC

Carlos Vela scored his 50th MLS goal on a beautiful free kick in the 38th minute, and Los Angeles FC rallied from three one-goal deficits to salvage a 3-3 draw with the Philadelphia Union on Sunday night.

Eddie Segura scored the final tying goal in the 71st minute for LAFC (1-0-1). Diego Rossi also scored for Los Angeles, but defensive inconsistency meant the club failed to start 2-0-0 for the first time in its three-season history.

Brenden Aaronson put Philadelphia ahead for the third time in the 69th minute, but Segura banged home a loose ball in the box for his second career MLS goal.

Jakob Glesnes got his first MLS goal and Sergio Santos also scored as the Union (0-1-1) earned their first point of the season despite blowing three leads. Philadelphia also hit LAFC’s crossbar with two shots.

DODGERS

Meet Zach McKinstry, a super-utility type the Dodgers value in the same bucket as Chris Taylor and Kiké Hernández. He’s played second base, third base, shortstop, left field and right field in the Cactus League after reporting to spring training with six gloves broken in. He said he was told he’ll get some time in center field soon. On Sunday, he went one for two as the Dodgers’ designated hitter against the Texas Rangers to push his batting average to .375 with two home runs, a triple and a double.

“He’s really performed himself into being a real guy as far as being on the roster and being one of the prospects,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “You really pull for guys like that. He’s a baseball player — and I use that adjective a lot. He can play anywhere on the diamond, he’s an intelligent player. He conducts really good at-bats. He’s guy that I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw him some time this year.”

Read more Dodgers

Julio Urías’ second spring training start takes a scary turn

ANGELS

Angels pitcher Andrew Heaney’s main goal this season is to end the Angels’ five-year playoff drought and pitch in a postseason game for the first time in his career.

But he’ll take the opening-day start the Angels rewarded him this week.

“I’ve worked really hard to put myself in that position,” he said Sunday after the Angels announced he would start the March 26 season opener in Houston.

The naming of a team’s opening-day starter is widely regarded as a ceremonial gesture. The season schedule does not usually allow for teams to adhere to a rotational order that clearly appoints a No. 1 pitcher on the staff.

But the assignment holds significance for the 28-year-old Heaney. Should he complete spring training without incident, it will mark only the second time that he has been on the active roster for MLB’s opening day.

Read more Angels

Matt Andriese shows off his efficiency as Angels lose and tie in split-squad games

DUCKS

Kevin Fiala scored his second goal of the game with 59 seconds remaining in overtime and the Minnesota Wild beat the Ducks 5-4 on Sunday night.

Alex Galchenyuk, Victor Rask, and Mats Zucarello also scored, and the Wild reclaimed the first wild card in the Western Conference. Minnesota has won eight of its last 11 games and seven of eight on the road.

Jakob Silfverberg had two goals and an assist, Christian Djoos and Danton Heinen also scored, but the Ducks fell short of matching a season-high three-game win streak. Ryan Miller made 25 saves.

AUTO RACING

Joey Logano raced to his second NASCAR Cup Series win in three weeks, holding off Kevin Harvick over the final two laps after an overtime restart Sunday at Phoenix Raceway.

Also the winner two weeks ago in Las Vegas for Team Penske, Logano has 25 Cup victories. He overcame several tough moments during an entertaining race, including a pit-road penalty for an uncontrolled tire and a broken jack during another stop.

A late caution triggered the two-lap overtime shootout with Logano, Harvick and Kyle Busch all in a decent position to win. Logano had a good restart at the mile oval and was able to hold off Harvick. Busch was third, Kyle Larson finished fourth and Clint Bowyer was fifth.

U.S. SOCCER

Julie Ertz scored on a header in the 87th minute and the United States extended its unbeaten streak to 30 games with a 1-0 win over Spain in the SheBelieves Cup on Sunday at a sold-out Red Bull Arena.

Christen Press sent a crossing pass from the left flank on a free kick and Ertz, running at full speed, nodded it past Sandra Panos. The Spanish goalkeeper got a hand on the shot but could not prevent it from going into the net.

U.S. goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher made three saves in her second shutout of the tournament. She blanked England 2-0 on Wednesday.

The win gave the United States six points and put it in position to win the four-team tournament with a tie against winless Japan on Wednesday in Frisco, Texas.

WOMEN IN SPORTS

Game Changers is a nine-month project that originated with Sammy Jo Hester, whose job as Times sports photo editor gives her a daily window into the delta between men’s and women’s sports coverage. A climber, a surfer, a runner herself, the 28-year-old Hester is constantly looking for fresh ways to tell the story of the women whose performative brilliance too often goes uncaptured by the pen or camera lens.

She found those messengers in Times photographer Christina House and columnist Helene Elliott. House shot 23 of the 32 women whose advocacy and athleticism are celebrated in these pages. Elliott wrote 10 of the profiles that appear on our website.

Hester, House and Elliott — together with a team of about 30 writers, editors, designers and developers — have assembled a formidable lineup, through whom much of the history of the modern female athlete can be told.

Click here to begin your online journey.

TODAY’S LOCAL MAJOR SPORTS SCHEDULE

Colorado at Kings, 7:30 p.m., ESPN+, FSW

Dodgers vs. San Diego (exhibition), 1 p.m., Sportsnet LA, AM 570

Angels vs. Cleveland (exhibition), 1 p.m., FSW, AM 830

BORN ON THIS DATE

1912: Baseball player Arky Vaughan (d. 1952)

1942: Baseball player Bert Campaneris

1943: Chess master Bobby Fischer (d. 2008)

1950: Race car driver Danny Sullivan

1950: Golfer Andy North

1964: Hockey player Phil Housley

1965: Baseball player Benito Santiago

1965: Football player Brian Bosworth

1967: Speedskater Eric Flaim

1969: Basketball player Mahmoud Abdul Rauf

1981: Football player Antonio Bryant

DIED ON THIS DATE

2005: Football player Glenn Davis, 80

AND FINALLY

Bo Jackson carries Brian Bosworth into the end zone. Watch it here.

Until next time...
That concludes today’s newsletter. If you have any feedback, ideas for improvement or things you’d like to see, email me at houston.mitchell@latimes.com, and follow me on Twitter at @latimeshouston. To get this newsletter in your inbox, click here.


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