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The Sports Report: Clippers escape with Game 1 win over Mavericks

Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard draws a foul from Dallas Mavericks forward Dorian Finney-Smith during the second quarter.
Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard, right, draws a foul from Dallas Mavericks forward Dorian Finney-Smith during the second quarter.
(Associated Press)

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

Andrew Greif on the Clippers: When the postseason the Clippers feared might be lost finally arrived Tuesday, 300 days after the regular season began, Rivers claimed relief. The feeling lasted mere minutes, however. Then Game 1 of their series against Dallas went sideways and the opportunity they’d waited months for nearly slipped away in a 118-110 victory.

Kawhi Leonard scored 29 points with 12 rebounds to lead the Clippers and Paul George added 27 points to help overcome 42 points by Luka Doncic, the most in NBA history by a player making his playoff debut.

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Leading 18-2 less than four minutes into the first quarter, the Clippers looked like the team on a mission they have said they are. But as their starters departed and Patrick Beverley, the spark-plug guard who guarded Doncic at the point of attack early on, drew three quick fouls, their early pressure dissipated and their advantage crumbled. Over the next 13 minutes, Dallas outscored the Clippers 48-14 to build a 14-point lead.

Even in an arena without fans, the Clippers’ bench was quieter than normal.

It took a 19-7 Clippers run before halftime to salvage the half, even if they entered the third quarter still trailing by three with George also saddled with three fouls.

Through it all, the Clippers were steadied by a player who has struggled to find consistency since joining in February: Marcus Morris Sr. He finished with 19 points but perhaps his most impactful moment came three minutes into the third quarter when his contact on a driving Doncic after the whistle led to a verbal disagreement. Their exchange quickly drew the attention of teammates, including 7-foot-3 Mavericks star Kristaps Porzingis, who entered the fray and quickly was whistled for a second technical foul after some pushing. Porzingis finished with 14 points and six rebounds.

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Clippers-Mavericks schedule

Game 1: Clippers 118, Dallas 110

Game 2, Wednesday, 6 p.m., Fox Sports PT, TNT, KEIB 1150

Game 3, Friday, 6 p.m., Fox Sports PT, TNT, KEIB 1150

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Game 4, Sunday, 12:30 p.m., ABC, KEIB 1150

Game 5*, Tuesday Aug. 25, TBD, Fox Sports PT

Game 6*, Thursday Aug. 27, TBD, Fox Sports PT, ESPN

Game 7*, Saturday Aug. 29, TBD, Fox Sports PT, TNT

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*-if necessary

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LAKERS

Tania Ganguli on the Lakers: LeBron James smiled slightly at a question about the Portland Trail Blazers’ momentum coming into their first-round series with the Lakers.

James wasn’t amused at the query. He was just being distracted by teammate Anthony Davis standing directly in front of him, peering over the video screen James was facing.

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“I’m not smiling at your question. Anthony is behind [it],” James explained, before answering. “When he does silly stuff I call him Anthony.”

Davis poked his head around the side, looking expectantly at James, who said he’d meet him in the meal room. Davis walked off as James’ demeanor turned solemn again.

He agreed with the premise of the question, about how much Portland has been tested in rallying to reach the playoffs. He said he welcomed the challenge. But in this playoff run, he really has no idea what to expect.

“It’s probably going to be one of — probably the toughest one,” James said. “It’s the toughest championship run for me personally. From the circumstances of just being in here.”

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Lakers-Trail Blazers schedule

Game 1, Tonight, 6 p.m., Spectrum Sportsnet, TNT, 710 ESPN

Game 2, Thursday, 6 p.m., Spectrum Sportsnet, ESPN, 710 ESPN

Game 3, Saturday, 5:30 p.m., ABC, 710 ESPN

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Game 4, Monday, 6 p.m., Spectrum Sportsnet, TNT, 710 ESPN

Game 5*, Wednesday Aug. 26, TBD

Game 6*, Friday Aug. 28, TBD

Game 7*, Sunday Aug. 30, TBD

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*-if necessary

DODGERS

Jorge Castillo on the Dodgers: The two brothers emerged from their dugouts at 6:15 p.m. Monday, met halfway, and chatted as the Dodger Stadium grounds crew finished the preparations for their first big-league game against each other.

Corey and Kyle Seager posed for a few photos, smiles wide, and embraced before returning to their respective sides for the upcoming clash. The Dodgers versus the Seattle Mariners. On one side, Corey, the youngest of the three Seager brothers and Dodgers shortstop. On the other, Kyle, the oldest sibling and Mariners third baseman.

The result was a 11-9 victory for the Dodgers, extending their winning streak to six games, and an unforgettable night for the Seagers.

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Both brothers homered, becoming the first siblings to hit home runs in the same game since Felipe and Cesar Crespo homered for the San Diego Padres and San Francisco Giants in June 2001. Corey Seager went 2 for 4 with a home run, a walk, and three RBI. Kyle Seager finished 3 for 4 with a home run, a walk, and a stolen base.

ANGELS

Maria Torres on the Angels: During any other summer, the Angels’ first-round draft pick would be working out with his fellow draftees in Arizona, getting accustomed to playing professional baseball for the first time in his life.

But this isn’t any other summer. Reid Detmers, the left-handed starter the Angels selected with the 10th overall pick in the June draft, isn’t at the Angels’ spring training complex. He’s spending his days at Long Beach State and pitching every fifth day to teams composed of fellow Angels minor leaguers. He’s learning a new system, often without the typical one-on-one instruction he savored at Louisville.

And Detmers is doing it all a short distance from Angel Stadium.

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The Angels, meanwhile, are attempting to turn around a 8-15 start. They will need to overcome an uneven performance from their starting rotation to do so. Dylan Bundy (1.57 ERA) and Patrick Sandoval (3.94 ERA) were the only pitchers in the rotation with sub-4.50 earned-run averages following Griffin Canning’s 4 2/3-inning, three-run performance Monday in a 7-6 win over the San Francisco Giants.

Could Detmers be part of the solution?

“It’s not out of the question that he may be able to help us this year,” manager Joe Maddon said.

CHARGERS

Jeff Miller on the Chargers: Defensive end Melvin Ingram was again present at practice but did not participate for reasons related to his contract.

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On Friday, coach Anthony Lynn said it was “company business” that was keeping Ingram from working out with his teammates. Lynn refused to elaborate then and did so again Monday.

“I’m just gonna leave it at that because I don’t have to talk about it right now, you know what I mean?” he said. “Gotta lot of other things I gotta get done, and I don’t really want to spend a lot of time talking about that.”

Lynn explained that Ingram has been involved in meetings and walk-throughs. Uchenna Nwosu replaced Ingram on the first-team defense Monday.

———

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Dylan Hernández: No fans? No Philip Rivers? Social distancing? Chargers open camp to weird vibe

RAMS

Gary Klein on the Rams: The Rams conducted meetings, conditioning drills and walk-throughs for two weeks. In the last few days, they transitioned to more up-tempo training camp workouts in helmets.

On Tuesday, they will conduct their practice in shoulder pads in preparation for the Sept. 13 opener against the Dallas Cowboys at SoFi Stadium.

And they will do so with only a few starting positions undecided.

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The COVID-19 pandemic forced the NFL to mandate virtual offseason programs. The preseason was canceled. That left draft picks and other new additions in a more pronounced catch-up mode than players experienced during previous seasons.

But new defensive coordinator Brandon Staley said this week that coaches will have “plenty of time” to evaluate players.

“This process is exactly how it happens in college football,” Staley said. “You don’t have preseason games to evaluate your players. You have practice to evaluate your players.”

But barring injury, starting positions at the outset are expected to be filled by the most experienced players, even if that is only a season or two of NFL service time.

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KINGS

Jack Harris on the Kings: The Kings agreed to terms with a new coach for their minor league affiliate Monday, tabbing 39-year-old John Wroblewski to take over the Reign ahead of what figures to be a key season in the franchise’s rebuild.

Wroblewski joins the Kings’ American Hockey League affiliate after a successful tenure with USA Hockey’s renowned National Team Development Program, where he coached more than a half-dozen eventual first-round NHL draft picks, including 2019 No. 1 overall selection Jack Hughes, and highly regarded Kings prospect Alex Turcotte and Ducks prospect Trevor Zegras.

Wroblewski’s task in Southern California will be similar, with the Kings’ set to welcome a tidal wave of up-and-coming talent to the professional ranks next season.

“He’s been around the younger kids and star players in the [NTDP] and had an ability to coach them in that,” Kings general manager Rob Blake said. “We fully understand what we’re going to assemble in Ontario and eventually develop those prospects into the next Kings players.”

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TODAY’S LOCAL MAJOR SPORTS SCHEDULE

All times Pacific.

Lakers vs. Portland, 6 p.m., Spectrum Sportsnet, TNT, 710 ESPN

Seattle at Dodgers, 4 p.m., Sportsnet LA, AM 570

San Francisco at Angels, 1 p.m., FSW, ESPN, KLAA 830

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THIS DATE IN SPORTS

Tony Conigliaro of the Boston Red Sox was carried unconscious off the field on this date in 1967 after he was beaned with a fastball from the Angels’ Jack Hamilton at Fenway Park. Conigliaro, a starter for the American League All-Star team, suffered a fractured left cheekbone and a severe concussion. He also sustained scalp cuts and a badly bruised eye.

The Red Sox fans booed Hamilton but the Boston players were not mad at him or the Angels. “There are no ill feelings,” said manager Dick Williams. “We know Hamilton didn’t throw at him. It was just one of those things.”

Hamilton, who was downcast and greatly concerned about the accident, agreed with Williams. “I wasn’t even trying to brush him back. It was a high fast ball. He may have frozen on the pitch.”

The 22-year-old right fielder not only missed the remainder of the season but all of the 1968 season. At the time he had hit more than 100 home runs.

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A look at memorable games and outstanding sports performances on Aug. 18, through the years:

1958 — Floyd Patterson scored a technical knockout over Roy Harris in the 12th round at Wrigley Field in Los Angeles and retained his world heavyweight title. Harris, from Cut and Shoot, Texas, knocked Patterson down early in the fight, but the champion gathered himself and out-boxed the 25-year-old who claimed that he had been weakened by eating a high-protein diet during his training for the fight.

1960 — Lew Burdette of the Milwaukee Braves pitched a no-hitter that beat the Philadelphia Phillies 1-0 at County Stadium in Milwaukee. Although Burdette, 33, faced the minimum of 27 batters, he lost a perfect game when he hit Tony Gonzalez with a pitch in the fifth inning. Gonzalez was erased when Lee Walls grounded into a double play.

1977 — The Dodgers’ Don Sutton pitched his fifth one-hitter that tied a National League record. Sutton gave up a two-out single in the eighth inning to Marc Hill of the San Francisco Giants in 7-0 win at Dodger Stadium. Sutton struck out seven and walked four, and got run support from home runs by Davey Lopes and Reggie Smith.

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1994 — South Africa participated for the first time in 36 years in the opening ceremonies of the Commonwealth Games at Centennial Stadium in Victoria, Canada. South Africa had been banned from the Games since 1958 because of the country’s apartheid policies. Namibia participated in the games for the first time after it gained its independence from South Africa in 1990. South Africa won 11 medals including two gold and four silver.

2000 — Tiger Woods tied the 36-hole scoring record in the PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Ky., with a five-under par 67 and took a one-stroke lead over Scott Dunlap. Woods, at 11-under par 133, tied the mark in relation to par that was set by Mark O’Meara and Ernie Els in 1995. Woods went on to win the tournament and became the first player to take three majors in a calendar year since Ben Hogan in 1953.

2000 — Darin Erstad of the Angels made a spectacular diving catch in left-center field on a sinking line drive by Yankees catcher Jorge Posada in the 10th inning that saved the winning run from scoring at Yankee Stadium. In the next inning, Erstad followed up the catch with a home run to right field that gave the Angels a 9-8 lead and eventually the win after New York went out in order to end the game.

2004 — Paul Hamm of the United States made one of the biggest comebacks in Olympics gymnastics history when he won the men’s all-around gold medal at the Summer Games in Athens, Greece. Hamm moved up from fourth to first place in the final rotation when he finished on top in the parallel bars and high bar after a disastrous landing in the vault sent him stumbling off the mat. He earned scores of 9.837’s in his last two events.

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2013 — For the first time, the European women’s team won the Solheim Cup, played at the Colorado Golf Club in Parker, Colo. Caroline Hedwall of Sweden was the first player in the 23-year history of the event to win all five of her matches against the Americans. She finished with a 1-up victory over Michelle Wie in the singles final that gave Europe the 14 points it needed to take the Cup home.

2016 — Usain Bolt of Jamaica completed an unprecedented third consecutive sweep of the 100- and 200-meter sprints, and raised his status as the most illustrious male sprinter in Olympic history at the Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro. After he had won the 100, Bolt sprinted to victory in the 200-meter dash in 19.78 seconds, defeating Andre de Grasse of Canada, for his eighth Olympic gold medal.

SOURCES: The Times, Associated Press

And finally

Paul Hamm’s unexpected comeback to win the all-around. Watch it here.

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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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