The Sports Report: Tiger Woods breaks both legs in car accident
Howdy, I’m your host, Houston Mitchell. Let’s get right to the news.
Bill Plaschke on Tiger Woods: Twisted metal on a February morning. Wreckage of a vehicle wedged amid the brush. Somber official statement about a fallen superstar.
Go beyond the scoreboard
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When the news of Tiger Woods’ single-car crash scrolled across my phone Tuesday, my heart leaped to my throat as memories flooded my brain.
Oh no. Not again. Not another Kobe Bryant.
One day before the first anniversary of Bryant’s memorial service, the Bryant tragedy actually was repeating itself? Another aging local athletic hero who finally had found peace was going to leave us too soon? How much grief could one sports landscape take?
It turns out, our worst fears were not realized. For once in these past horrendous 13 months, a bullet was dodged. Woods escaped with his life. We escaped from our grief.
Woods’ apparently speeding SUV tumbled several times and wound up in a gully off Hawthorne Boulevard in the Palos Verdes Peninsula. He was extricated from the car and rushed to Harbor-UCLA Medical Center in Torrance. But he survived.
His injuries reportedly included a shattered ankle and two leg fractures, and he apparently spent the afternoon in surgery. But he survived.
Considering he hasn’t played this year after undergoing his fifth back surgical procedure in December — after only playing nine times in 2020 — the 45-year-old Woods may never play competitive golf again. But he survived.
He surely never will have a chance to win the three majors required to catch Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18 major championships, and might be stuck forever in a tie with Sam Snead for a record 82 tournament wins. But he survived.
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Andrew Greif on the Clippers: By his own admission, Tyronn Lue didn’t devote much time while coaching Cleveland to three consecutive NBA Finals appearances to deep analytical dives. He began taking a closer look at the numbers after his firing, seeing the way the league as a whole was going. With the Clippers, part of his postgame routine involves a review with the team’s vice president of basketball research and analytics, Jud Winton.
As much stock as Lue now puts in the numbers, he remains just as strong a believer in the eye test. Ranking second in half-court offense entering Tuesday’s matchup against Washington suggested an attack running on all cylinders. The context that one number omitted, he said, was a dip in the team’s paint touches, a metric he prizes above almost any other and one that had made the offense indeed so dangerous before a stretch of injuries recently hit the roster.
“The numbers, analytic-wise, can say one thing,” he said before tipoff, “but as far as me looking at it, it’s something that we got to get better at, of getting into the paint and creating for one another.”
The numbers during a 135-116 win Tuesday suggested exactly the leap forward Lue wanted. And the eye test showed a team that stopped its worrisome late-game slide by getting back to what had built its 24-point lead in the first place.
Twenty of the Clippers’ 36 first-quarter points were scored in the paint, two off their season high for any quarter. When center Ivica Zubac screened star Wizards guard Bradley Beal at the midcourt logo, newly named all-star Paul George had a direct path toward the rim, reaching it for a layup and 51-29 lead in only a few dribbles – just one of his 11 baskets on a night when he scored 30 points to go with Kawhi Leonard’s team-high 32.
On the next Clippers possession, George again drove through a defense that has allowed the fewest field-goal attempts in the restricted area this season, a decision that led to two free throws.
“When we do that, we’re a different team,” Lue said. “And I thought Kawhi and PG really set a tone early in doing that.”
HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
Eric Sondheimer on high schools: The California Department of Public Health released its weekly coronavirus report Tuesday, and those counties where the adjusted daily case rate had reached 14.0 or less per 100,000 are cleared to allow outdoor sports to begin Friday under the state youth sports update released last week.
Counties reaching the threshold in Southern California include Los Angeles (12.3), Orange (11.9) and San Luis Obispo (9.4). Counties not reaching the threshold are Ventura (16.9), San Bernardino (15.2), Riverside (16.6) and Santa Barbara (16.9). Last week, Los Angeles was at 20.0 and Orange County at 20.7, so improvement has been swift and gives hope to other counties. The next chance to reach the threshold is Tuesday, March 2.
Now it’s up to individual schools, districts and counties to decide what sports to allow. For football and water polo, weekly testing of athletes and coaches is required, with results made available within 24 hours of playing in a game.
A Los Angeles County Department of Public Health spokesman said in a statement: “The [LACDPH] uses the available science and current data to guide the reopening of sectors, in consultation with the Board of Supervisors. We will consult with the Board of Supervisors to assess the state recommendations and the timing of adopting changes to the County Health Officer Order that would allow (contact) youth sports to resume.”
If L.A. County defied the state recommendations to allow outdoor sports, the outcry in the community presumably would be loud and intense.
Most sports competition has been on hold for 11 months. Cross-country began Jan. 25 and girls’ tennis started Monday. Now others are to follow, such as baseball, softball, lacrosse, golf and swimming. Soccer is allowed to start Saturday in Orange and Los Angeles counties.
“It’s throwing us into a frenzy. It’s awesome,” said West Hills Chaminade athletic director Todd Borowski, who must construct new schedules and determine how he will share his athletic facilities six days a week for competitions and practices while implementing safety protocols.
Jorge Castillo on the Dodgers: The Dodgers held their first full-squad workout as the defending World Series champions in relative silence at Camelback Ranch on Tuesday.
Music played from speakers above Field 1. Bats cracked and mitts popped. Players and coaches went through stretches and batting practice while officials milled around, but the throngs of spectators were missing. It was a different vibe from usual, another change resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The day began with a socially distanced team meeting. Manager Dave Roberts congratulated the players — most of them were together for the first time since they beat the Tampa Bay Rays in Game 6 of the World Series — on winning the championship.
He talked about getting back to work to accomplish the goal again before his address eventually ventured into another notable absence this spring: Tommy Lasorda, who died of a heart attack Jan. 7 at age 93. He had spent 71 seasons with the Dodgers, dating back to the organization’s time in Brooklyn, as a player, scout, coach, manager, interim general manager and advisor.
“It’s going to be different,” Roberts said. “It’s going to be strange. I always enjoyed our interactions and seeing him once you start playing games. Seeing him make his way to the dugout, talking to coaches, talking to players, and just seeing that No. 2 Dodger jersey around.”
THIS DATE IN SPORTS
1960 — Bill Cleary’s four goals lead the United States to a 9-1 victory over West Germany in the hockey championship round of the Winter Olympics in Squaw Valley, Calif.
1967 — Wilt Chamberlain of Philadelphia shoots 18-for-18 from the field against the Baltimore Bullets, an NBA record for field goals in a game without a miss.
1978 — Kevin Porter of the New Jersey Nets sets an NBA record with 29 assists in a 126-112 victory over the Houston Rockets.
1980 — The United States hockey team wins the gold medal with a 4-2 victory over Finland at the Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, N.Y.
1985 — Jim Kelly of the Houston Gamblers passes for a USFL-record 574 yards and five touchdowns in a 34-33 comeback-win over the Los Angeles Express. Kelly completes 35 of 54 passes, including three for touchdowns in the final 10 minutes.
1988 — An unprecedented winner of the 90-and 70-meter individual events, Matti Nykanen becomes the Winter Olympics’ first triple gold medalist in Nordic skiing when Finland wins the new 90-meter team ski jumping event.
1993 — Steve Yzerman of the Detroit Red Wings scores his 1,000th career point with two goals and two assists in a 10-7 loss to Buffalo Sabres.
1994 — Lipscomb’s John Pierce becomes college basketball’s career scoring leader with 33 points in his regular-season finale, a 119-102 win over Cumberland. Pierce’s 4,110 points break former roommate Phil Hutcheson’s record of 4,106.
2002 — Svetlana Feofanova breaks the pole vault indoor world record for the fourth time this month, clearing 15 feet, 6 1/2 inches at the Gaz de France meet.
2002 — Canada beats the United States 5-2 for the gold medal in men’s hockey at the Winter Olympics. It’s the seventh time Canada has won the gold in its national sport, but the first since 1952.
2006 — Julia Mancuso earns a stunning victory in the giant slalom to salvage a disappointing Olympics for the U.S. women in their final Alpine event of the Turin Games. Mancuso gives the American women their first Olympic Alpine medal since Picabo Street’s gold in the super-G at the 1998 Nagano Games.
2012 — Missy Parkin becomes the first woman to reach the match play finals in the 69th U.S Open at Brunswick Zone-Carolier. Shafer, a 25-year Professional Bowlers Association Tour veteran, completes the 26-game qualifying portion of the U.S. Open with a total of 5,825 pins - averaging at a 224.04 pace.
2018 — Ester Ledecka wins the second leg of an unheard-of Olympic double, taking the gold medal in snowboarding’s parallel giant slalom to go with her surprise skiing victory in the Alpine super-G earlier in the games. The Czech star is the first to win gold medals in both sports.
2018 — The United States wins the Olympic gold medal in men’s curling in a decisive upset of Sweden. John Shuster skips the United States to a 10-7 victory for only the second curling medal in U.S. history.
The 1980 U.S. hockey team’s journey to a gold medal. Watch it here.
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