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The Sports Report: Lakers lose Game 1 to Portland

Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (23) lies on the court after committing a foul during the second half.
LeBron James lies on the court after committing a foul during the second half.
(Ashley Landis / Associated Press)

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

Tania Ganguli on the Lakers: After a seven-year wait to even see the playoffs, the Lakers will have to wait at least two more days before their first playoff win of this decade.

Not 28 points from Anthony Davis, not holding the best offense in the bubble to just 100 points, not even a historic triple double by LeBron James who became the first player in NBA history to score at least 20 points, 17 rebounds and 16 assists in a playoff game could pull the Lakers to victory.

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Instead, they could only watch as Portland star Damian Lillard danced on the court in front of them while the game was still tightly contested, a testament to his own poise and calm in a tense moment – the kind of poise that allowed him to make three late three-pointers, all from at least 30 feet away.

“We had a couple breakdowns,” LeBron James said. “… Can’t make mistakes in the postseason. I believe we made some mistakes defensively. We played hard. There were some mistakes that we made especially going down the stretch.”

It was James’ 24th triple double and he became only the fourth Laker in the past 30 years to accomplish the feat, joining Magic Johnson, Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum. On Tuesday afternoon, the Milwaukee Bucks, the top seed in the East, lost to the Orlando Magic, making this the first season since the 2002-03 when both No. 8 seeds have taken Game 1 of their first-round series.

“It’s one game,” Lakers Coach Frank Vogel said. “We’re very confident in our group still. The time was used the right way but there’s no simulation like what they’ve been in and now we’re in the playoff environment. I was pleased with our competitive spirit. We didn’t make shots. You now what I mean? I think we can shoot the ball better than we saw tonight.”

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They said all week that this Portland Trail Blazers team was not a typical eight seed, but rather one filled with playoff experience and poised veterans. This win didn’t take a Herculean effort from Lillard like so many of theirs have, though Lillard did score 34 points, with his teammate CJ McCollum adding 21.

“I think our confidence has grown each game,” Lillard said. “It hasn’t always just been a crazy scoring run. We’ve had to come up with stops, we’ve had to make the extra pass, different guys have had to make big shots. …We’ve seen so many different guys come in and make game-changing plays and such important games, it’s made us more comfortable with each other when the game gets tight. We don’t lose trust when the game is more on the line.”

Lakers-Trail Blazers schedule

Portland 100, Lakers 93

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

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

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

Game 5*, Wednesday Aug. 26, TBD

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Game 6*, Friday Aug. 28, TBD

Game 7*, Sunday Aug. 30, TBD

*-if necessary

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DODGERS

Jack Harris on the Dodgers: After a night of haymakers in a game with combined 20 runs, the Dodgers’ 2-1 win over the Seattle Mariners on Tuesday at Dodger Stadium was a battle of soft jabs and ducked blows.

There was no score after five innings, and the score was tied 1-1 at the seventh-inning stretch. Starters Tony Gonsolin and Marco Gonzales were in command. And Corey Seager’s game-winning RBI single didn’t come until the eighth.

Nonetheless, the Dodgers extended their winning streak to seven games and their edge atop the National League West to four, the largest margin of any division leader in baseball. At 18-7, they’re off to their best 25-game start since 1983. And once again, it was a late rally that keyed the victory.

After Austin Barnes walked with one out in the eighth, he was able to steal second with a shifted Mariners infield playing deep. That set up Seager’s go-ahead single, as the shortstop beat the shift with a full-count, two-out grounder to right field.

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———

Jorge Castillo on the unwritten rules of baseball: Last week, as Dodgers manager Dave Roberts recalled it, he relayed a take sign to Mookie Betts. The Dodgers were pounding the San Diego Padres in the fifth inning. The count was 3-and-0. A runner was at second base. Luis Perdomo was on the mound at Dodger Stadium, struggling to keep the home team from increasing a seven-run lead. Betts followed orders and took the pitch for a strike. He blasted the next pitch for his third home run of the game.

The Padres were on the opposite side of a similar situation in the eighth inning against the Texas Rangers on Monday. But Fernando Tatis Jr., their superstar 21-year-old shortstop, missed the take sign. Instead, he hammered a 3-0 pitch for a grand slam to expand the Padres’ lead from seven to 11 runs. The Rangers, angry, responded by throwing a pitch behind the next batter, Manny Machado.

After the game, Rangers manager Chris Woodward voiced his displeasure with Tatis swinging at a 3-0 pitch with that lead. On Tuesday, he was suspended for one game. Ian Gibaut, who threw the fastball behind Machado, was given a three-game ban that he is appealing.

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The episode launched another debate about baseball’s unwritten rules. It also unearthed a reality long overdue in 2020: That chapter in the rulebook is slowly being erased.

“I think the unwritten rules have changed, should change,” Roberts said before the Dodgers faced the Seattle Mariners on Tuesday. “And each passing day we’ve got to continue to break some of those rules, and that’s a good thing.”

Roberts had Woodward on his staff as the Dodgers’ third base coach from 2016-20`18. He also comes from a time when players strictly adhered to ambiguous unwritten rules but he said he saw both sides to the argument. At what point do you hit the brakes on scoring? Is there a difference between Tatis homering on a 3-0 pitch or waiting to club the next one as Betts did? Does that warrant enough rage to throw behind a hitter?

ANGELS

Maria Torres on the Angels: A 25-year-old’s spotty command in the ninth inning of the Angels’ 8-2 loss to the San Francisco Giants sparked controversy Tuesday afternoon.

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Giants reliever Shaun Anderson threw two of his first six pitches near the head of Angels star Mike Trout. The fastballs each clocked in at 95 mph. After the second one nearly took off Trout’s helmet, Trout made a gesture toward Anderson as though asking, “What gives?” and turned to plate umpire John Libka for backup.

Players in the Angels dugout expressed discontent.

As Trout drew a walk and eventually scored the Angels’ final run on a groundout by Shohei Ohtani, fans following the game on Twitter questioned whether Anderson was exacting revenge on the Angels. Reliever Jacob Barnes had hit Giants third baseman Evan Longoria in the back with a 95-mph fastball in the fifth inning.

Angels manager Joe Maddon didn’t think Anderson meant Trout harm.

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“That’s just a young man that’s not ready to be here. That’s all that is,” Maddon said. “There’s nothing malicious about it. I’ve been around it before. … It could even been that he was intimidated by Mike being in the batter’s box. That’s not an excuse for him. I’m telling you that’s what I saw.”

CLIPPERS

Andrew Greif on the Clippers: For as long as Montrezl Harrell has been in the NBA, he has worn customized clothes. Considering the occasion Monday — his first Clippers game in 160 days — only a statement piece would do.

On his feet, the 6-foot-7, fifth-year center wore a pair of Reebok Question sneakers featuring the picture and name of Breonna Taylor.

There was another woman Harrell wanted remembered, too. While teammates emerged for the layup line before Game 1 of a first-round playoff series against Dallas wearing NBA-approved, Nike warmup shirts, Harrell donned a black T-shirt that included her picture, close to his heart.

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Printed in a cursive font, the shirt’s message was the same Harrell has posted to social media for weeks since the death of his grandmother: “RIP Ma.”

“My grandmother was the one introduced me to the game of basketball,” Harrell said. “One of my biggest supporters, biggest fans, one of my best friends. Only way to put it. There’s no other way to explain the things she done for me. She was my entire world.”

Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle noted before Game 1, a 118-110 Clippers victory, that Harrell “has an effect on their team with his energy and effort.” But Harrell would not be a finalist for the league’s top reserve, and in position to command a significant pay raise when he becomes an unrestricted free agent following this season, without the influence of his father’s mother, he said.

Clippers-Mavericks schedule

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Game 1: Clippers 118, Dallas 110

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

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

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

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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

*-if necessary

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LAFC

Kevin Baxter on the LAFC: Tom Penn, who helped guide LAFC into existence then oversaw its climb to the top of the Major League Soccer standings, is stepping down as club president after nearly six years.

Penn, who will remain a consultant for LAFC, will become CEO of Co.Protect, a Los Angeles-based business venture he recently co-founded to provide branded COVID-19 protective equipment to MLS and other leagues, companies and municipal organizations, the club said.

Larry Freedman, LAFC’s chief business officer, and John Thorrington, the team’s general manager and executive vice president of soccer operations, will share the interim role of president.

CHARGERS

Jeff Miller on the Chargers: The Chargers avoided a potential distraction when they re-signed one of their Pro Bowl defensive ends this month.

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That move, however, led to another potential distraction regarding their other Pro Bowl defensive end.

Melvin Ingram attended the team’s second padded practice of training camp Tuesday in Costa Mesa but again did not participate in drills.

“We’ve talked a little bit and all I have to say is I’m going to support him,” said Joey Bosa, the Chargers’ other defensive star. “He’s going to make the best decision for him and his family. I have faith in him that he’s going to make the right decisions.”

TODAY’S LOCAL MAJOR SPORTS SCHEDULE

All times Pacific.

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Clippers vs. Dallas, 6 p.m., Fox Sports PT, TNT, KEIB 1150

Dodgers at Seattle, 6:30 p.m., Sportsnet LA, AM 570

Angels at San Francisco, 6:45 p.m., FSW, ESPN, KLAA 830

THIS DAY IN SPORTS

It was a mighty mite day for the St. Louis Browns when 3-feet, 7-inch Eddie Gaedel pinch-hit on this date in 1951 in the second game of a doubleheader against the Detroit Tigers.

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Gaedel, who wore the number 1/8, was signed to a contract the day before by Browns’ owner Bill Veeck and batted for rookie Frank Saucier in the first inning of the nightcap.

Detroit’s Bob Cain walked Gaedel on four pitches and Gaedel was replaced at first base with a pinch-runner. AL President Will Harridge voided Gaedel’s contract after the game.

The Browns players didn’t mind Gaedel joining the team. Pitcher Ned Garver summed it up when he said, “If it will help me win my 15th game, it’s all right with me.”

After setting the record for the smallest person to play in a major league game, he returned to his home in Chicago, saying, “I felt like Babe Ruth.”

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More memorable games and outstanding sports performances on Aug. 19, through the years:

1909 — In first race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, 12,000 spectators watched Austrian engineer Louis Schwitzer win a five-mile race with an average speed of 57.4 mph. The track’s surface of crushed rock and tar broke up in a number of places and caused crashes that killed two drivers, two mechanics and two fans. The surface was later replaced with 3.2 million paving bricks, laid in a bed of sand and fixed in mortar, which earned it the nickname “The Brickyard.”

1921 — Ty Cobb, known as “The Georgia Peach,” collected his 3,000th hit when he singled off of Elmer Myers of the Boston Red Sox in the second game of a doubleheader at Detroit. Cobb, at age 34, was the youngest player to reach the 3,000-hit milestone. He would end his career with 4,191, the most in baseball history until Sept. 11, 1985, when Pete Rose surpassed it with a single to left-center off of San Diego’s Eric Show at Cincinnati.

1957 — Horace Stoneham, owner of the New York Giants, announced that the team’s board of directors had voted 8-1 in favor of moving the franchise to San Francisco. The Giants would start the 1958 season in Seals Stadium, a Pacific Coast League park. The vote came after Stoneham was approached by Brooklyn Dodgers owner Walter O’Malley and the two agreed to move their teams to the West Coast, ending an era of National League baseball in New York.

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1965 — Jim Maloney of the Cincinnati Reds pitched a 10-inning no-hitter when he beat the Chicago Cubs 1-0 in the first game of a doubleheader at Wrigley Field. Maloney, who had to pitch out of several jams, threw 187 pitches and walked 10, a big league record for walks in a no-hit game. Leo Cardenas’ home run off of Larry Jackson was the difference in the score.

1969 — Four years later, Ken Holtzman of the Cubs pitched a no-hitter when he shut out the Atlanta Braves 3-0 at Wrigley Field. Ron Santo’s three-run home run in the first inning off of Phil Niekro provided all the offense Holtzman needed. The 23-year-old left-hander became the first Cub since Don Cardwell held the St. Louis Cardinals hitless in 1960 to throw a no-hitter at Wrigley Field. He did it without striking out a batter, the third pitcher in baseball history to toss the gem without registering a strikeout.

1984 — Lee Trevino sank an 18-foot birdie putt on the 72nd hole and it gave him a three-under 69 and a 273 total that beat Gary Player and Lanny Wadkins by four strokes in the PGA Championship at Shoal Creek Country Club in Birmingham, Ala. It was Trevino’s sixth major tournament victory and his second PGA Championship but, alas, it turned out to be the last win of his career on the PGA tour.

1995 — Mike Tyson started his comeback after serving three years in prison on a rape conviction when he knocked out Peter McNeeley in the first round at the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas. McNeeley’s manager Vinnie Vecchione jumped into the ring to stop the fight after Tyson floored his boxer twice, the first time with just 10 seconds gone in the bout.

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2001 — Michael Schumacher, behind the wheel of a Ferrari, notched his fourth Formula One championship and matched Alain Prost’s series record of 51 victories when he won the Hungarian Grand Prix at Hungaroring track in Budapest. Schumacher, from Germany, led from start to finish with the exception of two pit stops. Teammate Rubens Barrichello of Brazil was second and the one-two finish ensured Ferrari of its third straight constructor’s title.

2014 — NBA referee Dick Bavetta, 74, announced his retirement after a 39-year career in which he never missed an assignment. Bavetta officiated a record 2,635 consecutive regular-season games after starting his NBA career on Dec. 2, 1975 at Madison Square Garden. In that game, Dave Cowens scored 25 points and grabbed 21 rebounds to lead the Boston Celtics past the New York Knicks in front of a crowd announced at 19,694. Bavetta also worked 270 playoff games, including 27 in the NBA Finals.

Sources: The Times, Associated Press

And finally

Mike Tyson vs. Peter McNeeley. 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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