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The Sports Report: Lakers say they are ready to rebound in Game 4

LeBron James passes the ball against Jimmy Butler and Kendrick Nunn during the first half in Game 3.
(Associated Press)

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

Tania Ganguli on the Lakers: During the non-bubble regular season, the Lakers prided themselves on their ability to bounce back.

They almost never lost back-to-back games. In pre-pandemic times they only have two losing streaks. The first was a four-game losing streak in December that included losses to the Milwaukee Bucks and Clippers and caused apocalyptic predictions about their future. The other was a two-game losing streak in January, but those two games were split by the tragic death of Kobe Bryant.

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For most of the season, one loss was always followed by a win.

That has also been true in the playoffs.

“We’re able to take a loss and understand why we lost,” LeBron James said. “Understand things that we should have done better and things that we can apply to the next game to be better. We’re right back at that moment once again with the opportunity to be better than we were in the game before.

“Look forward to the opportunity tomorrow night.”

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On Tuesday, the Lakers will face this scenario once again. They lost to the Miami Heat on Sunday in Game 3 of the NBA Finals, at a time when so many had written off the Heat. They will have a chance to fix what ailed them Sunday night and take a 3-1 lead in the series – which would be almost as foolproof as a 3-0 lead.

“It sucks just because you know if you played well and had done your job, then you possibly could have won the game,” Anthony Davis said. “It always sucks when you lose, and especially when you don’t play well. You know, you look at tape and you try to figure out ways to be better to get prepared for next game.”

Davis in particular did not have the kind of game the Lakers expect from their two superstars. He committed two fouls in the first quarter and spent about five minutes of it on the bench. His early foul trouble led to cautiousness on his part, especially defensively, and he never found a rhythm offensively.

Davis scored at least 25 points in all the Lakers’ previous playoff losses. On Sunday, he scored only 15. Being in the bubble didn’t afford a chance to get away, but he didn’t want one.

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“I want to see my coaches, I want to see my teammates, because I know they’re going to tell me how to get better for next game; prepare me the right way so I don’t have a repeat of last night,” Davis said. “I want to be able to see these guys and talk to them and figure out the game plan for tomorrow night.”

————

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NBA FINALS
All times Pacific
Lakers vs. Miami

Game 1: Lakers 116, Miami 98
Game 2: Lakers 124, Miami 114
Game 3: Miami 115, Lakers 104
Game 4: Tonight, 6 p.m., ABC
Game 5: Friday, Oct. 9, 6 p.m., ABC
Game 6*: Sunday, Oct. 11, 4:30 p.m., ABC
Game 7*: Tuesday, Oct. 13, 6 p.m., ABC

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*-if necessary

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DODGERS

Jorge Castillo on the Dodgers: The Dodgers hold an edge over the San Diego Padres at a majority of positions heading into the National League Division Series, with the outfield and the bench leaning most heavily in their favor. However, the Padres hold an edge in the infield behind Fernando Tatis Jr. and Manny Machado, and their bullpen is coming off strong performances while the Dodgers’ closer role is in question. A comparison (click here for the full comparison).

Dodgers-Padres schedule
All times Pacific
All game at Arlington, Texas
Dodgers are home team for Games 1, 2 and 5

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Game 1: Tonight, 6:30 p.m., FS1
Game 2: Wednesday, 6:30 p.m., FS1
Game 3: Thursday, 6 p.m., MLB Network
Game 4*: Friday, 6 p.m., FS1
Game 5*: Saturday, 6 p.m., FS1

*-if necessary

CLIPPERS

Andrew Greif on Doc Rivers: Within hours of learning last week that he would not return for an eighth season with the Clippers, Doc Rivers heard from his agent that three teams wanted to speak with him, that day, about their coaching openings.

“I said, ‘I’m good right now, I need a day,’” Rivers said. “… I love coaching. I absolutely love it. But I was not going to just coach anybody, I can tell you that. I was ready to take a break and it just depended on the team that was available and if I thought that that team in my opinion was ready to win.”

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Within days, Rivers found a suitor that fit his criteria.

The 58-year-old coach who ranks 11th on the NBA’s victories list agreed to lead the Philadelphia 76ers, a franchise whose arc this season — star duo, title expectations but a disappointing, early postseason exit that led to a coach’s ouster — mirrored the Clippers’ own.

The Clippers termed the ouster a mutual decision by Rivers and Steve Ballmer. The owner was displeased that the team’s performance was not keeping pace with upgrades in other departments and wanted a coach innovative enough to get the most out of the roster, from its stars to its young players, according to people with knowledge of the situation. Tyronn Lue, an assistant under Rivers who coached LeBron James and Cleveland to the 2016 NBA title, is a leading contender to land the job but the team is not expected to rush its hire.

“Steve and I had a lot of talks about the direction of the team and finally we decided that me staying there, that it was just time to take a step away,” Rivers said.

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CHARGERS

Jeff Miller on the Chargers: With injured running back Austin Ekeler expected to miss at least a month, Lynn said the Chargers will continue to rely on Josh Kelley despite the rookie fumbling the last two weeks.

“He’s got to be able to leave things in the past and learn from it,” Lynn said. “He’s pretty upset right now. But … I know his background. I know his patterns. He’s overcome a lot in his life. … He’ll bounce back because we need him. We don’t have nobody else. We need him.”

Ekeler suffered a hamstring injury late in the first quarter Sunday and struggled getting onto a cart to be taken to the locker room. Kelley and Justin Jackson are the only running backs on the active roster. Darius Bradwell and Troymaine Pope are on the practice squad.

NFL

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has warned the league’s 32 teams of penalties, including potential forfeits of games, for violations of COVID-19 protocols that force changes in the regular-season schedule.

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In a memo sent to the teams Monday after a conference call involving NFL and club executives, Goodell reiterated the need to adhere fully to all of the league’s health and safety guidelines.

“Protocol violations that result in virus spread requiring adjustments to the schedule or otherwise impacting other teams will result in additional financial and competitive discipline, including the adjustment or loss of draft choices or even the forfeit of a game,” Goodell wrote in the memo obtained by the Associated Press.

“Simply put, compliance is mandatory. Now is the time to recommit ourselves to our protocols and best practices for the duration of the season.”

MLB PLAYOFFS

All times Pacific
NL Division Series

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Atlanta Braves vs. Miami Marlins
all games at Houston
Atlanta is home team in Games 1, 2, and 5

Game 1: Today, 11 a.m., FS1
Game 2: Wednesday, 11 a.m., MLB Network
Game 3: Thursday, 11 a.m., FS1
Game 4*: Friday, 11 a.m., FS1
Game 5*: Saturday, 1 p.m., FS1

AL Division Series

Houston Astros vs. Oakland A’s
all games at Los Angeles
Oakland is home team in Games 1, 2, and 5

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Game 1: Houston 10, Oakland 5
Game 2: Tuesday, 1:30 p.m., TBS
Game 3: Wednesday, 12:30 p.m., TBS
Game 4*: Thursday, 12:30 p.m., TBS
Game 5*: Friday, 12:30 p.m., TBS

Tampa Bay Rays vs. New York Yankees
all games at San Diego
Tampa Bay is home team in Games 1, 2, and 5

Game 1: New York 9, Tampa Bay 3
Game 2: Tuesday, 5 p.m., TBS
Game 3: Wednesday, 4 p.m., TBS
Game 4*: Thursday, 4 p.m., TBS
Game 5*: Friday, 4 p.m., TBS

*-if necessary

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WNBA FINALS

All times Pacific
All games at Bradenton, Fla.

No. 1 Las Vegas Aces vs. No. 2 Seattle Storm

Game 1: Seattle 93, Las Vegas 80
Game 2: Seattle 104, Las Vegas 91
Game 3: Today, 4 p.m., ESPN
Game 4*: Thursday, Oct. 8, 4 p.m., ESPN2
Game 5*: Sunday, Oct. 11, noon, ABC

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*-if necessary

TODAY’S LOCAL MAJOR SPORTS SCHEDULE

All times Pacific.

Lakers vs. Miami, 6 p.m., ABC

San Diego vs. Dodgers, 6:30 p.m., FS1

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THIS DATE IN SPORTS

1928 — Leo Diegel wins the PGA championship, beating Al Espinosa 6 and 5.

1956 — Oklahoma blanks Kansas 66-0 to set a modern college football winning streak of 32 straight. The Sooners had the previous record of 31 set 1948-50. The victory is also a conference record of 54 straight wins.

1973 — Washington’s Chris Rowland ties an NCAA record with four touchdown passes in the fourth quarter, but still loses to California, 54-49.

1976 — Roland Erickson of the Minnesota North Stars has four assists in his first NHL game, a 6-5 loss to the New York Rangers.

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1980 — Marvin Hagler wins the world middleweight title, beating Alan Minter in three rounds at Wembley Arena in London.

1985 — San Francisco’s Joe Montana passes for 429 yards and five touchdowns and sets an NFL record with 57 passes attempted and no interceptions in a 38-17 win over the Atlanta Falcons.

1990 — Stacey Robinson sets an NCAA quarterback rushing record with 308 yards and scores five touchdowns to lead Northern Illinois to a 73-18 victory over Fresno State.

1993 — Michael Jordan announces his retirement after nine seasons in the NBA.

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1993 — The Florida Panthers, in their first NHL game, play to a 4-4 tie with the Chicago Blackhawks.

1995 — The Colorado Avalanche edge the Detroit Red Wings 3-2 in the first NHL regular-season game in Denver in 13 years.

2000 — Marty McSorley is found guilty of assault with a weapon for his two-fisted stick attack on an opponent by a Canadian court. McSorley is convicted for the Feb. 21 blow that sent Vancouver Canucks forward Donald Brashear sprawling to the ice.

2001 — Maurice Hicks of North Carolina A&T rushes for a record 416 yards and four touchdowns, but it isn’t enough as Morgan State prevails 52-42. Hicks breaks the Division I-AA single-game rushing record of 409 yards set by Charles Roberts of Sacramento State in a 1999 game against Idaho State.

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2001 — Middle Tennessee State beats Idaho 70-58 as the teams set a Division I record for total points scored in a game. The teams also gain a combined 1,445 yards of offense.

2003 — Indianapolis, led by Peyton Manning, becomes the first team in NFL history to win after trailing by 21 or more points with less than 4 minutes left in regulation. Mike Vanderjagt’s 29-yard field goal with 3:47 left in the extra period gives the Colts a 38-35 victory over Tampa Bay.

2010 — Roy Halladay pitches the second no-hitter in postseason history, leading the Philadelphia Phillies over the Cincinnati Reds 4-0 in Game 1 of the NL division series.

2013 — Tiger Woods beats Richard Sterne, 1 up, to give the Americans the 18 points they need to win the Presidents Cup for the fifth straight time. It’s the third straight Presidents Cup that Woods wins the cup-clinching match.

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2013 — Matt Prater kicks a 28-yard field goal as time expires and Peyton Manning and Denver overcome the first 500-yard passing game in Dallas history for a 51-48 victory over the Cowboys. Tony Romo throws for 506 yards and five touchdowns for Dallas, but he is intercepted by Danny Trevanthan inside the Dallas 30 to set up Prater’s winning kick. It’s the second-highest scoring game in regulation since the NFL-AFL merger in 1970. Manning finishes with 414 yards and four scores for Denver.

2017 — The Vegas Golden Knights defeat the Dallas Stars 2-1 in franchise’s inaugural season opener. James Neal scores both of the Knight goals in the third period and goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury stops 45 of 46 shots for the win.

2018 — A few seconds after Conor McGregor taps Khabib Nurmagomedov’s arm and submits to the champion’s choke, Nurmagomedov climbs the cage and leaps at the men in McGregor’s corner, setting off a prolonged brawl inside and outside the octagon.

And finally

Lou Johnson homers in Game 7 of the 1965 World Series. 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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