The Sports Report: LeBron James could return for the Lakers tonight

LeBron James watches from the sideline.
(Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)

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

Dan Woike on the Lakers: LeBron James participated fully in the Lakers’ practice on Monday, setting the stage for another return from ankle problems that have cost him 24 games this season.

After missing 20 games following a high ankle sprain he sustained against Atlanta on March 20, James returned and played twice before the injury became too painful for him to continue.

“The general plan is to take it one day at a time. Nothing more than that,” coach Frank Vogel said.

The Lakers host the New York Knicks on Tuesday and the Houston Rockets on Wednesday. The team listed him as “out” on its most recent injury report, but that could change before tipoff against the Knicks.


James declined to speak to reporters after practice, though he previously said that he wouldn’t rush a return until he felt healthy enough to play.

Vogel said James participated in the entirety of the team’s practice on Monday, which included a short scrimmage.

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Jack Harris on the Angels: The inning technically began with a soft pop out by Mike Trout.

It was the sound of Jared Walsh barreling up a baseball, however, that signaled the Angels rally was underway.


On a night Walsh went four-for-four with a walk – coming only a triple shy of the cycle – and made two key defensive plays, no moment was bigger than the powerful swing he took with one out in the sixth.

Walsh lined a home run over the wall in right, the first blow in what became a four-run rally that lifted the Angels to a come-from-behind 5-4 win over the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park.

“Pretty spectacular,” Angels manager Joe Maddon said of Walsh. “You can’t win that game without him out there tonight.”

When Walsh came to the plate in the sixth inning, the Angels were in a deep hole. They trailed the Astros 4-1. They were in the middle of a patchwork bullpen game. And they had found little success over the first five innings against Astros starter Luis Garcia.

Facing Walsh for the third time, Garcia got ahead in the count 1-2 with two curveballs. With the fourth pitch, Garcia fired a cutter in on Walsh’s hands. But the lefty was able to square it up and drive a bullet inside the right-field foul pole.

It snapped the lineup awake.


Clayton Kershaw
(Associated Press)

Mike DiGiovanna on the Dodgers: If the 162-game baseball season is a marathon, the Dodgers are nowhere near Heartbreak Hill. The defending World Series champions are 35 games into the six-month grind, six shy of the season’s quarter-point, so there’s plenty of time to recover from a brutal three-week stretch in which they’ve lost 15 of 20.

But in the eyes of veteran pitcher Clayton Kershaw, this is no time to keep calm and carry on.

“It doesn’t do anyone any good to think, ‘Oh, it’s a long season, it’s 162 games, and we’ll figure it out — we’re too good not to,’ ” Kershaw said over the weekend. “In my opinion, you figure it out right now.

“Don’t wait. Don’t get complacent with it. Last season taught us that a little bit. For me, personally, every game matters, whether it’s May or September. All the wins count the same.”


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Justin Faulk scored 46 seconds into overtime and the St. Louis Blues defeated the Kings 2-1 Monday night.

Tyler Bozak also scored and Jordan Binnington made 26 saves for the Blues, who are locked into the fourth seed in the West Division and will play Colorado or Vegas in the first round of the playoffs.

Faulk and David Perron sprung a 2-on-1 rush after Ryan O’Reilly won the opening faceoff in overtime, and Faulk won it with a wrist shot for his seventh goal.

Alex Iafallo scored, Calvin Petersen made 17 saves and the Kings wrapped up their home schedule with four straight losses.


Russell Westbrook
Russell Westbrook
(Associated Press)

Russell Westbrook has set the NBA record with his 182nd triple-double, surpassing the mark set by Oscar Robertson in 1974.

The 32-year-old Westbrook, in his 13th season overall and his first with the Washington Wizards, reached the milestone when he grabbed his 10th rebound with 8:29 left in Monday night’s game against the Atlanta Hawks. He was already into double figures in points and assists.

Westbrook began the night averaging 11.5 assists, tops in the NBA and the only player in double digits. He ranked sixth in rebounds with 11.6 per game and was averaging 22 points. He has recorded a triple-double in each of Washington’s last five games, three of them before the start of the fourth quarter.

Westbrook, the 2016-17 MVP and a nine-time All-Star, praised Robertson when he tied the record in Saturday’s overtime win at Indiana. He had 33 points, 19 rebounds and 15 assists, closing out the game with a blocked shot.

“I take a lot of pride in doing everything I can to impact winning,” Westbrook said. “To be in a conversation with Oscar, I just want to thank him because he set the stage. The things he was able to do back in the day has allowed me to do the things that I do today. So I’m appreciative of that, and I’m appreciative of his support as well.”


1892 — Azra, ridden by Alonzo Cayton, wins the first three-horse field in the Kentucky Derby, nipping Huron by a nose.

1918 — Exterminator, a 30-1 long shot ridden by Willie Knapp, loses the lead but regains it to win the Kentucky Derby by one length over Escoba.

1923 — Setting several Pacific Coast League records, Pete Schneider of Vernon hit five homers and a double to drive in 14 runs in a 35-11 romp over Salt Lake City.

1968 — The Montreal Canadiens win the Stanley Cup, completing a four-game sweep over the St. Louis Blues with a 3-2 victory.

1972 — The Boston Bruins win the Stanley Cup in six games with a 3-0 victory over the New York Rangers.

1992 — The Portland Trail Blazers win the highest-scoring playoff game in NBA history, 153-151 in double overtime against the Phoenix Suns in the Western Conference semifinals.

1994 — The Phoenix Suns, down 104-84 with 10 minutes left, come back to force overtime and beat Houston 124-117 for a 2-0 lead in the Western Conference semifinals. The Suns start the fourth quarter trailing by 18 and are down 20 with 10 minutes to go. Phoenix holds the Rockets to eight points in the quarter and Danny Ainge hits a three to tie the game at 1:08 and send the game into overtime.

2009 — Cleveland makes it an NBA-record eight straight wins by double digits with an 84-74 victory over Atlanta to advance to the Eastern Conference finals. The Cavaliers are the second team to sweep the first two rounds of the playoffs since the NBA expanded the first round to best-of-seven in 2003.

2016 — Max Scherzer strikes out 20 batters, matching the major league record for a nine-inning game as he pitches the Washington Nationals past the Detroit Tigers 3-2.

2018 — Top-ranked Rafael Nadal loses to Dominic Thiem 7-5, 6-3 in the Madrid Open quarterfinals, breaking the defending champion’s run of 21 straight wins on clay courts. Nadal hadn’t lost a single set on clay since falling to Thiem a year ago in the Italian Open quarterfinals. Nadal had come to this event fresh off winning his 11th titles at both Monte Carlo and Barcelona.

And finally

Max Scherzer strikes out 20. Watch it here.

Until next time...

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