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Newsletter: The Sports Report: Dallas evens series with win over Clippers

Clippers' Kawhi Leonard drives between Dallas Mavericks' Kristaps Porzingis and Maxi Kleber.
Clippers’ Kawhi Leonard (2) drives between Dallas Mavericks’ Kristaps Porzingis (6) and Maxi Kleber (42) during the second half.
(Ashley Landis / Associated Press)

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

Andrew Greif on the Clippers: The second game of the Clippers’ postseason began Wednesday with an irreplaceable player missing from their lineup.

It turned ominous when they missed nine of their first 10 shots.

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It was over when they missed multiple opportunities to complete their comeback and assert control over the game, and series.

The Clippers’ 127-114 loss to Dallas in Game 2 of their now-even first-round series wasn’t the result of falling behind 15-2 within the first quarter’s first five minutes, though that opening stretch – which came only two days after the Clippers opened Game 1 on an 18-2 run – certainly did not help. By the end of that quarter, the Clippers had mostly gotten themselves out of that hole.

But in a theme that repeated throughout the night, each time the Western Conference’s second seed quickly dug itself another every time it was given a chance to threaten Dallas’ hold.

It happened early in the second quarter, when a four-point deficit ballooned to 15 in less than three minutes.

It happened late in the third, when a two-point game became 13 in 82 seconds.

Most devastating to the Clippers’ comeback hopes, it continued in the fourth even when Mavericks star Luka Doncic went to the bench with his fifth foul with Dallas leading by 13 with 11:37 remaining. Despite a lineup featuring superstars Paul George and Kawhi Leonard, the Clippers were behind by 18 three minutes later.

Clippers-Mavericks schedule

Game 1: Clippers 118, Dallas 110

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Game 2: Dallas 127, Clippers 114

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

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

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

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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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DODGERS

Jorge Castillo on the Dodgers: Tony Gonsolin, arguably the Dodgers’ best pitcher this season, didn’t make the trip to Seattle with the team Tuesday night. He watched the club continue an odd four-game, home-and-home series Wednesday against the Mariners from back in Los Angeles because he was optioned after tossing six scoreless innings Tuesday. He can’t return for 10 days unless he’s recalled to replace an injured player. That’s the rule.

Wednesday offered further proof that he belongs on the pitching staff, in some capacity, not at the team’s alternate training site at USC.

Julio Urías followed Gonsolin’s stellar outing by posting the shortest start for a Dodger this season in a 6-4 loss at T-Mobile Park that snapped the team’s seven-game winning streak. The left-hander logged just 12/3 innings. He allowed one run on four hits. He threw 52 pitches. The five outs he secured came via strikeouts, but seven of 10 hitters he faced batted with a runner in scoring position.

“I feel, obviously, a little frustrated,” Urías said in Spanish.

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ANGELS

Maria Torres on the Angels: Members of the Angels front office didn’t expect the rotation to carry the team into the postseason. They built the 2020 squad with an offense-first formula, hoping a retooled lineup could outslug their rivals.

Nearly a month into the season, the Angels aren’t getting help from either unit.

While the offense has struggled more than the Angels expected, the rotation has been even worse. Before Patrick Sandoval gave up five runs in four innings during Wednesday’s 7-2 loss to the San Francisco Giants, Angels starters had combined for a 5.27 ERA. The league-average ERA was 4.45.

“I’m not banging on the pitching, but we just have to pitch more consistently to really get where we want to be,” manager Joe Maddon said in a postgame videoconference. “That’s the part of the game right now that we have to get straightened out more than anything.”

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The Angels are scrambling. After taking their sixth defeat in seven games, the Angels are 8-17. They have only 35 games remaining in this 60-game season to correct course.

In an attempt to slow their demise, Julio Teheran was bumped from the rotation. Jose Suarez, 22, will start in the veteran’s place Thursday.

Meanwhile, Teheran will pitch out of the bullpen until he’s “back throwing like he’s capable,” Maddon said.

LAKERS

Tania Ganguli on the Lakers: Milwaukee Bucks wing Wesley Matthews caught himself as he started to say his team’s loss Tuesday was the biggest upset of the day. It occurred to him mid-sentence that the Lakers, the other top seeded team in the bubble, had also lost Tuesday, a phenomenon that has only occurred twice in the last 20 years.

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“It’s crazy to think about, but if you think about everything going on in the world right now, not that crazy anymore,” Matthews said. “What advantage you might have had from being the one seed and all that kind of stuff, it’s a fair game now.”

He had just finished practice at the convention center of the Coronado Springs Resort at Disney World, and the Lakers were about to start a light day of practice down the hall. The Lakers had dropped the first game of their best-of-seven series against the Portland Trail Blazers the night before and set to work figuring out how to recover.

“I slept good last night,” Kyle Kuzma said. “It’s just basketball at the end of the day. Obviously it’s playoffs, it’s high pressure, but this is basketball, that’s kind of what I came up with over the last four months, this hiatus. You gotta just play the game, have fun and just play with a competitive spirit and a certain type of enthusiasm. When you do that, you go out there and after a game or you’re in bed you can say I did it all, gave all my effort, you can’t dwell on it.”

Lakers-Trail Blazers schedule

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Portland 100, Lakers 93

Game 2, Tonight, 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

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Game 5*, Wednesday Aug. 26, TBD

Game 6*, Friday Aug. 28, TBD

Game 7*, Sunday Aug. 30, TBD

*-if necessary

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USC FOOTBALL

Thuc Nhi Nguyen on USC football: Defensive lineman Jay Tufele will opt out of the Pac-12’s postponed spring football season and declare for the NFL draft, the rising redshirt junior announced on Twitter.

Tufele started all 13 games for the Trojans last season and finished with 41 tackles and 4.5 sacks. He earned All-Pac-12 first-team honors and was named the team’s defensive lineman of the year.

The Pac-12 postponed its fall sports seasons last week amid the coronavirus outbreak with hopes of restarting after Jan. 1. The conference — hoping for advancements in testing, a decrease in COVID-19 case numbers and more data on long-term effects of the illness — hasn’t announced plans for its delayed spring football season. The 2021 NFL draft is scheduled for April 29-May 1, and the 6-foot-3, 315-pound Tufele is the No. 2 defensive tackle prospect for this draft, according to Walter Football.

“Although it pains me to leave all the people who have become so instrumental in my life, know that I will carry all of you with me in my heart as I embark on the next phase of my journey,” Tufele said in a statement on social media, where he also thanked this family, academic advisors, coaches and teammates.

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RAMS

Gary Klein on the Rams: They were not college teammates at Florida State, but cornerback Jalen Ramsey and rookie running back Cam Akers — both former Seminoles standouts — are bonding as the Rams prepare for their Sept. 13 opener against the Dallas Cowboys.

Ramsey, the No. 5 pick in the 2016 NFL draft, provided Akers with a welcome-to-the-NFL moment Wednesday when he delivered a solid hit on the second-round pick. As players and coaches erupted with excitement, Ramsey and Akers reveled together in the aftermath of the collision.

Star defensive lineman Aaron Donald praised the play and the reaction.

“They’ve been going back and forth talking about, ‘I’m going to do this I’m going to do that,’ ” Donald said. “That’s good competition. That’s the type of stuff you love.”

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Coach Sean McVay welcomed the aggressive play.

“Jalen cares a lot about Cam,” he said. “It was a good, physical, smart … play. We like those. We just don’t want to take those shots from the side.

SPARKS

Candace Parker had 16 points, 12 rebounds and four assists to help the Sparks beat the Phoenix Mercury 83-74 for their fifth consecutive win.

Chelsea Gray and Brittney Sykes also scored 16 points for the Sparks (8-3). Gray had six rebounds and six assists and Parker made 8 of 10 free throws as she reached 5,500 career points.

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Parker scored 11 points in the first quarter as the Sparks raced to a 24-10 lead.

Taurasi finished with 19 points for Phoenix (6-6). Brittney Griner added 13 points.

GALAXY

Kevin Baxter on the Galaxy: The Galaxy have added help at two key positions, acquiring Colombian winger Yony González on loan from Portuguese club Benfica and signing free-agent goalkeeper Jonathan Klinsmann, son of former U.S. national team coach Jurgen Klinsmann.

Contract terms were not released by the Galaxy. González was signed using targeted allocation money, meaning his annual salary is in excess of $612,500, the maximum budget charge permitted under the MLS salary cap.

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NBA PLAYOFFS SCHEDULE

All times Pacific

WESTERN CONFERENCE

No. 3 Denver Nuggets vs. No. 6 Utah Jazz

Game 1: Nuggets 135, Jazz 125 (OT)
Game 2: Jazz 124, Nuggets 105
Game 3: Friday, Denver at Utah, 1 p.m., TNT
Game 4: Sunday, 6 p.m., TNT
Game 5*: Tuesday, TBD
Game 6*: Thu, Aug 27, TBD, ESPN
Game 7*: Sat, Aug 29, TBD, TNT

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No. 4 Houston Rockets vs. No. 5 Oklahoma City Thunder

Game 1: Rockets 123, Thunder 108
Game 2: Thursday, 12:30 p.m., ESPN
Game 3: Saturday, 3 p.m., ESPN
Game 4: Monday, 1 p.m., TNT
Game 5*: Wednesday, TBD, TBD
Game 6*: Fri, Aug 28, TBD, TBD
Game 7*: Sun, Aug 30, TBD, TBD

EASTERN CONFERENCE

No. 1 Milwaukee Bucks vs. No. 8 Orlando Magic

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Game 1: Magic 122, Bucks 110
Game 2: Thursday, 3 p.m., ESPN
Game 3: Saturday, 10 a.m., TNT
Game 4: Monday, 10:30 a.m., NBATV
Game 5*: Wednesday, TBD, TBD
Game 6*: Fri, Aug 28, TBD, TBD
Game 7*: Sun, Aug 30, TBD, TBD

No. 2 Toronto Raptors vs. No. 7 Brooklyn Nets

Game 1: Raptors 134, Nets 110
Game 2: Raptors 104, Nets 99
Game 3: Friday, 10:30 a.m., NBATV
Game 4: Sunday, 3:30 p.m., TNT
Game 5*: Tuesday, TBD, TBD
Game 6*: Thu, Aug 27, TBD, ESPN
Game 7*: Sat, Aug 29, TBD, TNT

No. 3 Boston Celtics vs. No. 6 Philadelphia 76ers

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Game 1: Celtics 109, 76ers 101
Game 2: Celtics 128, 76ers 101
Game 3: Friday, 3:30 p.m., TNT
Game 4: Sunday, 10 a.m., ABC
Game 5*: Tuesday, TBD, TBD
Game 6*: Thu, Aug 27, TBD, ESPN
Game 7*: Sun, Aug 29, TBD, TNT

No. 4 Indiana Pacers vs. No. 5 Miami Heat

Game 1: Heat 113, Pacers 101
Game 2: Thursday, 10 a.m., ESPN
Game 3: Saturday, 12:30 p.m., TNT
Game 4: Monday, 3:30 p.m., TNT
Game 5*: Wednesday, TBD, TBD
Game 6*: Fri, Aug 28, TBD, TBD
Game 7*: Sun, Aug 30, TBD, TBD

* – If Necessary

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NHL PLAYOFFS SCHEDULE

EASTERN CONFERENCE

No. 1 Philadelphia Flyers vs. No. 8 Montreal Canadiens

Game 1: Flyers 2, Canadiens 1
Game 2: Canadiens 5, Flyers 0
Game 3: Flyers 1, Canadiens 0
Game 4: Flyers 2, Canadiens 0
Game 5: Canadiens 5, Flyers 3
Game 6: Friday, 4 p.m., NBCSN
Game 7*: Sunday, TBD

No. 2 Tampa Bay Lightning vs. No. 7 Columbus Blue Jackets

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Game 1: Lightning 3, Blue Jackets 2 (5OT)
Game 2: Blue Jackets 3, Lightning 1
Game 3: Lightning 3, Blue Jackets 2
Game 4: Lightning 2, Blue Jackets 1
Game 5: Lightning 5, Blue Jackets 4 (OT)

No. 3 Washington Capitals vs. No. 6 New York Islanders

Game 1: Islanders 4, Capitals 2
Game 2: Islanders 5, Capitals 2
Game 3: Islanders 2, Capitals 1 (OT)
Game 4: Capitals 3, Islanders 2
Game 5: Thursday, 5 p.m., NBCSN
*Game 6: Saturday, TBD
*Game 7: Sunday, TBD

No. 4 Boston Bruins vs. No. 5 Carolina Hurricanes

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Game 1: Bruins 4, Hurricanes 3 (2OT)
Game 2: Hurricanes 3, Bruins 2
Game 3: Bruins 3, Hurricanes 1
Game 4: Bruins 4, Hurricanes 3
Game 5: Bruins 2, Hurricanes 1

WESTERN CONFERENCE

No. 1 Vegas Golden Knights vs. No. 8 Chicago Blackhawks (8)

Game 1: Golden Knights 4, Blackhawks 1
Game 2: Golden Knights 4, Blackhawks 3 (OT)
Game 3: Golden Knights 2, Blackhawks 1
Game 4: Blackhawks 3, Golden Knights 1
Game 5: Golden Knights 4, Blackhawks 3

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No. 2 Colorado Avalanche vs. No. 7 Arizona Coyotes

Game 1: Avalanche 3, Coyotes 0
Game 2: Avalanche 3, Coyotes 2
Game 3: Coyotes 4, Avalanche 2
Game 4: Avalanche 7, Coyotes 1
Game 5: Avalanche 7, Coyotes 1

No. 3 Dallas Stars vs. No. 6 Calgary Flames

Game 1: Flames 3, Stars 2
Game 2: Stars 5, Flames 4
Game 3: Flames 2, Stars 0
Game 4: Stars 5, Flames 4 (OT)
Game 5: Stars 2, Flames 1
Game 6: Thursday, 7:30 p.m., NBCSN
*Game 7: Saturday, TBD

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No. 4 St. Louis Blues vs. No. 5 Vancouver Canucks

Game 1: Canucks 5, Blues 2
Game 2: Canucks 4, Blues 3 (OT)
Game 3: Blues 3, Canucks 2 (OT)
Game 4: Blues 3, Canucks 1
Game 5: Canucks 4, Blues 3
Game 6: Friday, 6:45 p.m., NBCSN
*Game 7: Sunday, TBD

*-if necessary

TODAY’S LOCAL MAJOR SPORTS SCHEDULE

All times Pacific.

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

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

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

THIS DATE IN SPORTS

Augusta National Golf Club invited former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and South Carolina financier and philanthropist Darla Moore on this date in 2012, to be the first female members of the club since it was founded in 1932 by Bobby Jones and Cliff Roberts.

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The club, the home of the Masters, had excluded women as members throughout its 80-year history. Rice, a competitive ice skater and serious tennis player, had taken up golf seven years earlier.

In an interview with Golf Digest, Rice said, “I don’t like anything that’s just an escape. To me, the best part of golf is, unlike my tennis game, I can actually get better.”

Augusta National admitted its first Black members in 1990. This year’s Masters is scheduled to be played on Nov. 12-15.

A look at memorable games and outstanding sports performances on Aug. 20, through the years:

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1944 — Robert Hamilton sank a 15-foot birdie putt on the 36th hole that beat heavily-favored Byron Nelson 1-up in the final round of the PGA Championship at Manito Golf and Country Club in Spokane, Wash. Nelson was low qualifiers with a two-round total of 138, but during the championship match, he missed makable short putts on nine greens. It was reported later that Hamilton displayed unsportsmanlike conduct when he tried to distract Nelson by coughing before he putted.

1945 — Tommy Brown of the Dodgers became the youngest player in the major leagues to hit a home run when he connected off of Preacher Roe in a 7-1 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates at Ebbets Field. Brown, at 17 years and 257 days, was playing in place of shortstop Pee Wee Reese, who had been called to military service. Brown’s home run came in the seventh inning and five days later he hit his second home run off of Adrian Zabala of the New York Giants. As a result, he was the youngest and the second youngest ever to hit a home run in a big league game.

1965 — Eddie Mathews of the Milwaukee Braves hit his 28th home run of the season in the eighth inning of a 4-3 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates. With the home run, Mathews and Henry Aaron passed Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig with 772 home runs while playing on the same team since 1954. Mathews would be traded to the Houston Astros in 1967 but not before he and Aaron would clout 863 home runs in their time with the Braves.

1989 — Howard Johnson, a utility player with the New York Mets, hit his 30th home run of the season in a 5-4 loss to the Dodgers, and the clout made him just the third player along with Bobby Bonds and Willie Mays to record 30 home runs and 30 stolen bases in multiple seasons. Johnson, known as HoJo, would end the year with 36 home runs and 41 steals.

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2003 — The U.S. women’s gymnastics team won the top prize in overall competition at the world championships at the Arrowhead Pond in Anaheim. It was the first ever gold medal for the Americans — men or women — at the international event. Team USA performed flawlessly on the balance beam and the floor exercise to seal its victory over defending champion Romania. Australia won the bronze medal and China finished fourth after an average performance in the floor exercise.

2006 — Tiger Woods won the PGA Championship and his 12th major tournament when he finished ahead of Shaun Micheel by five strokes at Medinah Country Club outside Chicago. Woods, who was tied for the lead after three rounds with Luke Donald of England, fired a four-under par 68 that gave him a 72-hole score of 18-under par 270 that included two birdie putts from 40 feet. He also was first player to win the PGA twice on the same course, having done so at Medinah in 1999.

2016 — The United States Olympic team bid adieu to the Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro after Allyson Felix and LaShawn Merritt anchored the women’s and men’s 1,600-meter relay teams, respectively, to gold-medal victories. The U.S. women’s basketball team, not to be left out, topped Spain, 101-72 for its sixth-straight title. American athletes would leave South America with a record 121 medals including 46 golds.

2018 — Alabama, the reigning national champion, was the second team to be ranked No. 1 in the preseason Associated Press Top 25 football poll for the third straight season. The preseason AP poll started in 1950 and since then only Oklahoma from 1985 to 1987 began its season as No. 1 in three straight years. The AP’s top five rounded out with Clemson at No. 2 followed by Georgia, Wisconsin and Ohio State.

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SOURCES: The Times, Associated Press

And finally

Tiger Woods wins the 2006 PGA Championship. 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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