The Sports Report: Clippers advance to second round of NBA playoffs

Kawhi Leonardshoots against Dorian Finney-Smith.
(Kevin C. Cox / Getty Images)
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Howdy, I’m your host, Houston Mitchell. Let’s get right to the news.

Andrew Greif on the Clippers: By the time Kawhi Leonard entered the fourth quarter of Sunday’s Game 6 with 9 minutes and 27 seconds remaining, it wasn’t clear whether the Clippers’ opportunity to close out Dallas was over. They led, 88-82, but the gradual disappearance of their 23-point lead from the third quarter, thanks to the superb play of Dallas guard Luka Doncic, rekindled unpleasant thoughts of their 21-point collapse from Game 3.

For the second time in five days, the Clippers turned to Leonard, a two-time most valuable player of the NBA Finals, for stability. Within five possessions, he’d scored eight straight points. A 111-97 victory – which secures the franchise’s first appearance in the postseason’s second round since 2015 – was soon in hand.

Leonard finished with 33 points, 14 rebounds, seven assists and five steals. He made nine of his 10 shots after halftime and his rebounds and steals tied season-highs.

“You can tell he was the one guy that’s used to close out a series,” Rivers said. “He was calm. He got us in place.”


In a series featuring 16 technical fouls, a two-day stoppage, and a stunning showing that burnishes Doncic’s reputation as one of the game’s best young players, Leonard led with metronomic consistency. He averaged 32.8 points, made 74% of his shots between eight and 16 feet and provided the steadiness that comes from the experience of winning two championships.

Dating to last season, Leonard has now scored at least 20 points in 14 consecutive playoff games.

“I always say, just playing even keel out there,” Leonard said. “… You know, you’ve just got to keep fighting. This is playoff basketball and everything is not going to go your way. You’re going to have downs and ups.”


Helene Elliott: Clippers showcase their resilience and growth in playoff series win over Mavericks

Clippers-Mavericks schedule

Game 1: Clippers 118, Dallas 110
Game 2: Dallas 127, Clippers 114
Game 3: Clippers 130, Dallas 122
Game 4: Dallas 135, Clippers 133 (OT)
Game 5: Clippers 154, Dallas 111
Game 6: Clippers 111, Dallas 97

Lakers-Trail Blazers schedule


Game 1: Portland 100, Lakers 93
Game 2: Lakers 111, Portland 88
Game 3: Lakers 116, Portland 108
Game 4: Lakers 135, Portland 115
Game 5: Lakers 131, Portland 122

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Jorge Castillo on the Dodgers: The Dodgers defeated the Texas Rangers 7-2 Sunday to take a three-game series from a floundering club poised to sell players before Monday’s trade deadline. The result extended the Dodgers’ unbeaten series streak to 12 to begin the season. They’re the only team in the majors without a series loss in 2020.

Winning the next one they play at Globe Life Field could be far more important. Major League Baseball is considering staging the postseason in bubbles to avoid a COVID-19 outbreak. One possibility is holding the American League playoffs in Southern California’s three big league ballparks and the National League side in Texas’ two stadiums. Globe Life Field, a domed behemoth that opened this year, could host the World Series.

The Dodgers, owners of the best record in baseball, wouldn’t receive much of a reward for finishing as the National League top seed and MLB decides to hold the playoffs in bubbles. Even if they play at Dodger Stadium in October, home-field advantage would be negligible without fans in attendance. The likelier scenario is they play neutral-site games in Arlington’s Globe Life Field and Houston’s Minute Maid Park. The first round will be a three-game series against the eighth seed wherever the games are played.

The Dodgers (26-10) got acquainted with the potential surroundings this weekend and one thing stood out: Globe Life Field is big. Really big. Teams have combined to hit about 1.5 home runs per game at the stadium this season — half the number hit per game at Rangers’ old home across the street in 2019.


Jeff Miller on the Chargers: For the second consecutive training camp, the Chargers watched Derwin James hobble off the field with a member of the team’s medical staff.


The standout safety suffered a reported meniscus injury Sunday in the second half of a scrimmage in Costa Mesa and did not return. The NFL Network reported that James is “likely to miss significant time.”

He was scheduled to undergo further testing in an attempt to determine the severity.

Last August, James was hurt on the same field in a joint practice with the New Orleans Saints.

He suffered a foot injury on that occasion and ended up needing surgery. James missed 11 games before returning in early December, by which time the Chargers had lost seven times en route to a 5-11 finish.

After remaining down briefly Sunday, he limped to the sideline before heading to the medical tent. James tossed his gloves aside in frustration before disappearing from view.

Rookie Alohi Gilman, a sixth-round pick out of Notre Dame in April, has been backing up James in practice.


Mike DiGiovanna on the Angels: The Angels, far out of contention in a year they hoped to snap their five-year playoff drought, continued to sell off assets Sunday, trading veteran catcher Jason Castro to the San Diego Padres for reliever Gerardo Reyes, according to multiple reports.


Castro, who will be a free agent after the season, was in the lineup and batting eighth for Sunday’s 2-1 loss to the Seattle Mariners but was scratched shortly before first pitch when it became apparent a deal was imminent.

Reyes, 27, is a hard-throwing right-hander whose fastball averaged 97 mph in 2019, when he went 4-0 with a 7.62 ERA in 27 games for the Padres, striking out 38 and walking 11 in 26 innings.

Reyes also has a nasty slider that averages 87.8 mph, but he has had trouble finding the strike zone consistently. He has not pitched in the major leagues this season.

The Angels lost to Seattle on Sunday, 2-1.


Brittney Sykes scored 15 points, Chelsea Gray had 14 — including back-to-back baskets in the final minute — and the Sparks beat the Atlanta Dream 84-79 on Sunday night to win their ninth consecutive game and clinch a spot in the WNBA playoffs.

Los Angeles is the third team to seal a playoff berth, joining the WNBA-leading Seattle and Las Vegas.

Nneka Ogwumike left in the first half and did not return for the Sparks due to a back injury. Kristine Anigwe started the second half in Ogwumike’s place and finished with nine points and six rebounds. Candace Parker had just nine points on 4-of-11 shooting but added 10 rebounds and seven assists.



Jordan Morris scored two goals less than a minute apart early in the second half, and Seattle rolled past LAFC 3-1 on Sunday night in the Sounders first home match in five months.

Playing in an eerily empty CenturyLink Field, Morris scored 59 seconds apart in the opening moments of the second half as Seattle gained a bit of revenge after LAFC’s 4-1 thumping of the Sounders during the MLS is Back tournament in Florida.

In the past, two goals that close together would have sent Seattle’s home crowd into a frenzy. But it was instead met with a murmur of piped-in crowd noise as the stadium is expected to remain empty for the rest of the MLS season due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

It was a decidedly un-Seattle atmosphere for the Sounders’ first home match since March 7. Instead of the normal, with nearly 40,000 fans in attendance, some of the lower bowl seats were replaced by tarps with advertisements.

Diego Rossi scored in the 60th minute but LAFC lost consecutive matches for the first time since the 2018 season. It was the first match for LAFC since learning league MVP Carlos Vela is out indefinitely with a left knee injury.


First round (all games in Orlando, Fla.)
All times Pacific



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

Game 1: Denver 135, Utah 125 (OT)
Game 2: Utah 124, Denver 105
Game 3: Utah 124, Denver 87
Game 4: Utah 129, Denver 127
Game 5: Denver 117, Utah 107
Game 6: Denver 119, Utah 107
Game 7*: Tuesday, 5:30 p.m., ABC

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

Game 1: Houston 123, Oklahoma City 108
Game 2: Houston 111, Oklahoma City 98
Game 3: Oklahoma City 119, Houston 107
Game 4: Oklahoma City 117, Houston 114
Game 5: Houston 114, Oklahoma City 80
Game 6: Tonight, 6 p.m., TNT
Game 7*: Wednesday, 6 p.m., ESPN


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

Game 1: Orlando 122, Milwaukee 110
Game 2: Milwaukee 111, Orlando 96
Game 3: Milwaukee 121, Orlando 107
Game 4: Milwaukee 121, Orlando 106
Game 5: Milwaukee 118, Orlando 104



No. 1 Milwaukee vs. No. 5 Miami

Game 1: Today, 3:30 p.m., TNT
Game 2: Wednesday, 3:30 p.m., ESPN
Game 3: Friday, TBD
Game 4: Sunday, TBD
Game 5*: Tuesday, Sept. 8, TBD
Game 6*: Thursday, Sept. 10, TBD
Game 7*: Saturday, Sept. 12, TBD

No. 2 Toronto vs. No. 3 Boston Celtics

Game 1: Boston 112, Toronto 94
Game 2: Tuesday, 2:30 p.m., ESPN
Game 3: Thursday, TBD
Game 4: Saturday, TBD
Game 5:* Monday, Sept. 7, TBD
Game 6*: Wed., Sept. 9, TBD
Game 7*: Fri., Sept. 11, TBD

* – If necessary


All Times Pacific
Second round
Eastern Conference, all game in Toronto

No. 1 Philadelphia Flyers vs. No. 6 New York Islanders

Game 1: NY Islanders 4, Philadelphia 0
Game 2: Philadelphia 4, NY Islanders 3 (OT)
Game 3: NY Islanders 3, Philadelphia 1
Game 4: NY Islanders 3, Philadelphia 2
Game 5: Tuesday, 4 p.m., NBCSN
Game 6*: Thursday, TBD
Game 7*: Saturday TBD

No. 2 Tampa Bay Lightning vs. No. 4 Boston Bruins

Game 1: Boston 3, Tampa Bay 2
Game 2: Tampa Bay 4, Boston 3 (OT)
Game 3: Tampa Bay 7, Boston 1
Game 4: Tampa Bay 3, Boston 1
Game 5: Today, 4 p.m., NBCSN
Game 6*: Wednesday, TBD, NBCSN
Game 7*: Thursday, TBD

Western Conference, all games in Edmonton


No. 1 Vegas Golden Knights vs. No. 5 Vancouver Canucks

Game 1: Vegas 5, Vancouver 0
Game 2: Vancouver 5, Vegas 2
Game 3: Vegas 3, Vancouver 0
Game 4: Vegas 5, Vancouver 3
Game 5: Tuesday, 6:45 p.m., NBCSN
Game 6*: Thursday, TBD
Game 7*: Friday, TBD

No. 2 Colorado Avalanche vs. No. 3 Dallas Stars

Game 1: Dallas 5, Colorado 3
Game 2: Dallas 5, Colorado 2
Game 3: Colorado 6, Dallas 4
Game 4: Dallas 5, Colorado 4
Game 5: Tonight, 6:45 p.m., NBCSN
Game 6*: Wednesday, TBD, NBCSN
Game 7*: Friday, TBD

*-if necessary


All times Pacific.

Seattle at Angels, 1 p.m., FSW, KLAA 830


1881 — The first U.S. men’s single tennis championships begin at the Newport Casino, in Newport, Rhode Island.

1895 — The first professional football game is played at Latrobe, Pa., between Latrobe and Jeannette, Pa. Latrobe pays $10 to quarterback John Brallier for expenses.

1934 — The Chicago Bears and the College All-Stars played to a 0-0 tie before 79,432 in the first game of this series.

1950 — Brooklyn’s Gil Hodges ties a major league record by hitting Boston Brave pitching for four homers in the Dodgers’ 19-3 rout. Hodges also added a single for 17 total bases.


1955 — Nashua, ridden by Eddie Arcaro, goes wire-to-wire to defeat Swaps, ridden by Bill Shoemaker in a match race at Washington Park. Nashua’s victory avenges his second-place finish, behind Swaps, in the 1955 Kentucky Derby.

1977 — John McEnroe plays his first U.S. Open match and receives his first Open code of conduct penalty in a 6-1, 6-3 first-round win over fellow 18-year-old Eliot Teltscher.

1979 — Sixteen-year-old Tracy Austin defeats 14-year-old Andrea Jaeger, 6-2, 6-2, in the second round of the U.S. Open Earlier in the day, John Lloyd defeats Paul McNamee, 5-7, 6-7, 7-5, 7-6, 7-6, in the longest match by games at the Open since the introduction of the tie-break. The two play 63 of a maximum 65 games in three hours and 56 minutes.

1984 — Pinklon Thomas wins a 12-round decision over Tim Witherspoon in Las Vegas to win the WBC heavyweight title.

1985 — Angel Cordero Jr., 42, becomes the third rider in history behind Bill Shoemaker and Laffit Pincay Jr. to have his mounts earn $100 million, while riding at Belmont Park.

1991 — Houston quarterback David Klingler sets an NCAA record with six touchdown passes in the second quarter as the Cougars pound Louisiana Tech 73-3.


1996 — Oklahoma State becomes the first Division I-A team to win a regular-season overtime game, avoiding an embarrassing loss to Division I-AA Southwest Missouri State, when David Thompson’s 13-yard touchdown run gives the Cowboys a 23-20 win.

1997 — Eddie George rushes for 216 yards, the second best opening-day NFL performance, in helping Tennessee past Oakland 24-21 in overtime.

1999 — The U.S. Open loses two-time defending champion Patrick Rafter because of injury. Rafter, bothered by a right shoulder injury, retires after Cedric Pioline breaks his serve in the opening game of the fifth set. It’s the first time a defending champion — man or woman — loses in the first round in the history of this Grand Slam tournament going back to 1881.

2001 — Pitcher Danny Almonte who dominated the Little League World Series with his 70 mph fastballs is ruled ineligible after government records experts determine he actually is 14, and that birth certificates showing he was two years younger are false. The finding nullifies all the victories by his Bronx, N.Y., team, the Rolando Paulino Little League All-Stars.

2007 — Jeremy Wariner leads an American sweep of the medals in the 400 meters at the track and field world championships. Wariner wins in a personal best 43.45 seconds, with LaShawn Merritt taking silver and Angelo Taylor getting bronze. It’s the first medal sweep for any country in the men’s 400 at the world championships.

2007 — Exactly 28 years to the day, No. 3 Novak Djokovic and Radek Stepanek tie the U.S. Open record for most games played (63 of a maximum 65) in a match. Djokovic outlasts Stepanek 6-7 (4), 7-6 (5), 5-7, 7-5, 7-6 (2), in the four-hour, 44-minute match.


2018 — Aaron Donald of the Los Angeles Rams becomes the NFL’s highest-paid defensive player. The All-Pro defensive tackle agrees to a six-year, $135 million deal, which surpasses Von Miller’s contract in Denver as the new benchmark for defenders.

And finally

Highlights of Sunday’s Clippers-Mavericks game. Watch them here.

Until next time...

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