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The Sports Report: Lakers fall to Washington Wizards

Wizards forward Rui Hachimura in action against Anthony Davis during the first half.
(Associated Press)

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

Broderick Turner on the Lakers: Anthony Davis sat on the Lakers’ bench for a few seconds after they had lost to the Washington Wizards, his head down and his hands crossed.

When the Lakers forward eventually got up, the sting of a 116-107 defeat resonated with Davis as he walked back to the locker room at Washington’s Capital One Arena.

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It was his fourth game back after missing 30 with a strained right calf, and it was his best game on the four-game trip.

But Davis’ 26 points weren’t enough to prevent a defeat that gave the Lakers a 1-3 record on the trip.

Davis’ 10-for-20 shooting, two-for-five on three-pointers, five rebounds, three steals and one blocked shot couldn’t stop the Lakers from dropping their fifth game in seven outings.

“Just that we let it get away,” Davis said about his thoughts after the game. “I think our second quarter kind of just killed us. We didn’t play with any pace. Our defense was pretty poor and then coming out in the third quarter, kind of the same thing. I think our effort wasn’t there in the third quarter as well.”

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A Black LAPD officer wants LeBron James to listen to his view of policing and race

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CLIPPERS

Dylan Hernández on the Clippers: He’s still the guy who hit the side of the backboard.

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Doesn’t matter how many points Paul George has scored this month or how many rebounds he’s pulled down.

Until the Clippers take down the Lakers in a postseason series, George will be the player who spectacularly misfired a corner three-pointer on one of the worst nights in franchise history.

And they’re still the team that blew a three-games-to-one lead.

Doesn’t matter the Clippers remain in third place in the Western Conference after 109-101 loss to the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday or how many games they’re ahead of the Lakers.

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Until they reach the NBA Finals, the Clippers will be, well, the Clippers.

On its own, their track record presents formidable obstacles. The team’s health is threatening to make it insurmountable.

Which made coach Tyronn Lue’s pregame update on the sidelined Kawhi Leonard particularly disconcerting.

Basically, there was no update.

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Asked when Leonard could return, Lue replied, “I’m not sure.”

DODGERS

Mike DiGiovanna on the Dodgers: The release was almost cathartic, the frustration of a brutal homestand filled with blown leads and late-inning losses and the tension of another tight game dissipating with every clutch two-out hit by the Dodgers in the eighth inning Wednesday.

First came the tack-on runs, a Chris Taylor run-scoring triple and an AJ Pollock RBI single that turned a two-run lead into a four-run cushion. Then came the “jug runs,” as manager Dave Roberts calls them, baseball-speak for “going for the jugular,” two-run singles by Matt Beaty and Mookie Betts.

By the time the inning was over, the Dodgers sent 11 men to the plate and scored six runs for an eventual 8-0 victory over Cincinnati, a taut pitchers’ duel between Dodgers left-hander Clayton Kershaw and Reds right-hander Sonny Gray ending with a position player on the mound for the Reds.

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“There was a little exhale, I think, guys kind of let loose,” Roberts said after the Dodgers snapped a three-game losing streak. “I love the handshakes and the air high-fives from second base. We haven’t had a whole lot of those this past week.”

The Dodgers had lost seven of nine, three to the National League West-rival San Diego Padres, and through the seventh inning Wednesday, they were batting .183 (15 for 82) with runners in scoring position in their last 10-plus games. They had not scored a run after the seventh inning since April 17.

ANGELS

Jack Harris on the Angels: Alex Cobb got an arm around the shoulder when he returned to the dugout. Chris Rodriguez got pats on the head.

Such was the contrast between the Angels’ starting pitcher and bulk reliever on Wednesday night. Cobb looked shaky over just two innings, getting a quick hook after yielding three runs. But Rodriguez was stellar, pitching 3 1/3 scoreless innings of relief on a night the Angels’ bullpen lifted the team to 4-3 win over the Texas Rangers.

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At first, it looked like the Angels (12-11) might roll to a rubber-match win at Globe Life Field. They scored four runs in the top of the first on two-RBI singles from Anthony Rendon and José Iglesias, then escaped a jam in the bottom of the inning with Cobb giving up only one run.

But after Cobb got in trouble again in the second, surrendering two more runs while failing to fool the Rangers lineup, Angels manager Joe Maddon took a gamble. He handed the game over to the bullpen, asking the relievers to protect a one-run lead over the final seven innings.

“Alex was not going to go much more deeply into the game,” Maddon said. “I went up to him after the second and said, ‘I don’t think it’s going to get a whole lot better.’ He agreed with me.

KINGS vs. DUCKS

Cam Fowler scored with 1:01 remaining and the Ducks ended a five-game losing streak by defeating the Kings 3-2 on Wednesday night.

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Sam Carrick and Sam Steel also scored and John Gibson made 28 saves for the Ducks.

Gabriel Vilardi and Adrian Kempe had a goal for the Kings, who have lost three of four. Cal Petersen made 19 saves.

Fowler scored on a wrist shot at 18:59 of the third period to cap a rally after falling behind 2-0 in the second.

The Ducks scored twice in a 3:42 span late in the second tie the score. Carrick beat Petersen between his legs to get Anaheim on the board at 12:53, and Steel made it 2-all at 16:35 after being set up by Rickard Rakell’s clever pass from behind the net.

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The loss left the Kings eight points behind St. Louis for the final playoff spot in the West Division despite getting two goals on special teams.

NFL

Chuck Schilken on the NFL Draft: The 2021 NFL draft is going to be quite different from last year’s edition.

That is, this year’s draft is returning to normal ... or at least much closer to normal than the 2020 safer-at-home (or in Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones’ case, safer-inside-a-$250-million-yacht) version of the annual event.

Sure, it was fun to peek into New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick’s kitchen and see whatever it was the teenagers at Tennessee Titans coach Mike Vrabel’s house were up to during last year’s remote draft.

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But there were no festivities. No war rooms. No opportunities for fans to boo Roger Goodell (the commissioner performed his duties from the friendly confines of his own basement).

All of that is returning this year, although with certain COVID-19 protocols still in place, as the NFL takes its biggest offseason event to Cleveland.

Here’s everything you need to know to watch and enjoy the 2021 NFL draft.

When is the 2021 NFL draft?

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It’s this week!

Thursday: First round, 5 p.m. PDT

Friday: Second and third rounds, 4 p.m. PDT

Saturday: Fourth through seventh rounds, 9 a.m. PDT

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How can I watch?

The event will be broadcast on NFL Network, ABC, ESPN and ESPN Deportes. It will be streamed on the NFL and ESPN apps and on fubo TV.

If you can’t watch, or if you want to enhance your viewing experience, you can follow the first round of the draft with our live blog at https://www.latimes.com/sports. Our Pro Football Hall of Fame honoree Sam Farmer will provide instant analysis for every pick.

Read more details here

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UCLA SOFTBALL

Thuc Nhi Nguyen on UCLA softball: Before she faced Maya Brady in the close-knit California softball circuit, Delanie Wisz knew plenty about the talented prospect. Brady was going to UCLA, where she committed as a freshman at Oaks Christian. She was also Tom Brady’s niece. She must be really good, Wisz thought to herself before playing Brady in high school.

Brady proved her future UCLA teammate right on a single play, bare-handing a high chopper to shortstop and gunning the runner out at first in a feat that is fresh in Wisz’s mind even years later. It showed Wisz who Maya Brady was.

“Regardless of her last name, she’s a great player on her own,” the UCLA infielder said.

Brady has embraced her famous last name and is starting to cast her own shadow alongside her famous uncle. Maya is not just “Tom Brady’s niece.” Try calling her Softball America freshman of the year, UCLA’s power-hitting left-hander or a do-it-all defensive spark plug. All apply to the budding star.

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THIS DATE IN SPORTS

1901 — His Eminence, ridden by Jimmy Winkfield, wins the Kentucky Derby by 1 1/2 lengths over Sannazarro in the only Derby ever raced in April.

1961 — ABC’s “Wide World of Sports,” debuts.

1970 — Lakers guard Jerry West hits a 60-foot desperation shot at the buzzer to tie Game 3 of the NBA Finals against the New York Knicks. The Knicks outscore the Lakers 9-6 in the overtime for a 111-108 win.

1985 — Tony Tubbs captures the WBA heavyweight title with a unanimous 15-round decision over Greg Page in Buffalo, N.Y.

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1986 — Roger Clemens set a major league record by striking out 20 batters as the Boston Red Sox defeated the Seattle Mariners 3-1.

1988 — The Baltimore Orioles end their 21-game losing streak by winning their first game of the season, 9-0 over the Chicago White Sox.

1990 — Pat Riley becomes the winningest coach in NBA playoff history as the Lakers beat the Houston Rockets 104-100. Riley’s 100th victory put him ahead of Red Auerbach.

1998 — For the first time in the 124-year history of the Kentucky Derby, a redraw is ordered during the post-position draw. Churchill Downs officials allowed ESPN to control the announcing of the draw. Commentator Chris Lincoln called the No. 15 pill twice while picking the draft order for post positions.

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2000 — Lennox Lewis knocks down Michael Grant three times in the first round and knocks him out at 2:53 of the second at Madison Square Garden in New York to retain his WBC and IBF heavyweight titles. The combined weight of 497 pounds made it the heaviest title fight ever.

2003 — Indiana outscores Boston 5-0 in overtime for a 93-88 victory, cutting the Celtics’ first-round series lead to 3-2. It’s the first overtime shutout in NBA playoff history.

2007 — Phoenix guard Steve Nash has 23 assists, one shy of the NBA playoff record, to help Phoenix to a 113-100 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers.

2010 — The NCAA’s Board of Directors approve a 68-team format for the men’s basketball tournament beginning next season. It’s the first expansion since 2001 when the tourney went from 64 to 65 teams.

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2013 — NBA veteran center Jason Collins becomes the first male pro athlete in the major four American sports leagues to come out as gay. Collins writes a first-person account posted on Sports Illustrated’s website. The 34-year-old free agent played for six NBA teams in 12 seasons.

2014 — Clippers owner Donald Sterling is banned for life by the NBA in response to racist comments he made in an audio recording. The Clippers’ owner is also fined $2.5 million, the maximum amount allowed under the NBA Constitution.

And finally

Jerry West makes a 60-foot buzzer beater in the playoffs. Watch it here.

Bonus: The opening of ABC’s “Wide World of Sports” in 1974. 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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