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The Sports Report: Will Anthony Davis play for Lakers in Game 5 vs. Suns?

Lakers forward Anthony Davis holds is nose after getting hit against the Phoenix Suns in Game 3 on Thursday.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

Howdy, I’m your host, Austin Knoblauch, filling in for Houston Mitchell, who’s on vacation (probably practicing his version of a Trevor Bauer strikeout celebration). Let’s get right to the news.

Dan Woike on the Lakers: As the Lakers left Los Angeles for Phoenix ahead of Game 5 on Tuesday night, they boarded their flight unsure whether Anthony Davis would be able to play in the biggest game of the playoff series.

Davis, who will be listed as questionable after an MRI examination confirmed a strained groin, is hanging on to the hope that he’ll improve between now and tipoff, but the Lakers have to be prepared for the possibility that Davis is going to miss at least one of the remaining games in the first round.

“We’re going to treat it overnight, do everything we can to get it feeling better and we’ll see where he’s at tomorrow,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel said Monday.

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Lakers forward Anthony Davis, left, tries to work past Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton.
Lakers forward Anthony Davis, left, tries to work past Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton during the Lakers’ loss in Game 4 on Sunday.
(Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)

Even if Davis is able to play, he’ll be in some diminished capacity. That’s bad news for the Lakers and their scuffling offense, one that’s been among the NBA’s worst this postseason.

While they’ve won twice on the backs of their primary shot creators — LeBron James, Dennis Schroder and Davis — they’re only scoring 105 points per 100 possessions. The good news is that Phoenix has been among the four teams that have been less efficient offensively during the playoffs.

The hope is the Lakers can draw on experience from earlier in the season when the team was forced to play without Davis. Following the All-Star break, the Lakers won four straight games with Davis sidelined before James suffered an ankle injury.

More: LeBron James’ load gets heavier with Anthony Davis’ health in doubt

More: Even without Anthony Davis, Lakers remain confident they can beat Suns

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DODGERS

Chris Taylor hits a 14th-pitch, bases-clearing double in the sixth inning to help propel the Dodgers to a 9-4 win.
Chris Taylor hits a 14th-pitch, bases-clearing double in the sixth inning to help propel the Dodgers to a 9-4 win over the St. Louis Cardinals on Monday.
(Ashley Landis / Associated Press)

Mike DiGiovanna on the Dodgers: It was an epic showdown, all right, just not the one most anticipated.

What began as a marquee pitching matchup between former Southern California prep stars Trevor Bauer of the Dodgers and Jack Flaherty of the St. Louis Cardinals gave way to a battle royale between Dodgers left fielder Chris Taylor and Cardinals reliever Genesis Cabrera.

The utility man and the hard-throwing left-hander stared each other down for 14 pitches Monday night, the tension rising throughout a grueling at-bat that came with two outs, the bases loaded and the score tied in the bottom of the sixth inning, before Cabrera finally blinked.

After fouling off a total of eight two-strike pitches — six fastballs ranging from 97 to 99mph, an 82-mph curve and a 90-mph changeup — Taylor lashed a 97-mph fastball into the right-center-field gap for a three-run double to push the Dodgers toward a 9-4 victory before 18,071 at Dodger Stadium.

“That was a huge at-bat, the difference in the game,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “He just wasn’t gonna be denied. The guy is throwing 97-98 mph with a breaking ball and changeup. C.T. was just relentless in that at-bat. It was probably the best one we’ve had this year.”

TENNIS

Naomi Osaka serves during her first-round win over Patricia Maria Tig at the French Open on Sunday.
(Christophe Ena / Associated Press)

Helene Elliott on Naomi Osaka withdrawing from the French Open: Tennis star Naomi Osaka, whose declaration last week that she would skip news conferences at the French Open in order to protect her mental health stirred impassioned debates over whether athletes’ customary post-competition media obligations harmed their emotional well-being, said Monday she would withdraw from the prestigious tournament in Paris.

Osaka, a four-time Grand Slam singles champion who represents Japan and lives in Los Angeles, also said in a statement on Twitter and Instagram that she had been suffering long bouts of depression since she won the U.S. Open in 2018 “and I have had a really hard time coping with that.” She expressed surprise that her decision to avoid news conferences had become a major topic of discussion and added, “I think now the best thing for the tournament, the other players and my well-being is that I withdraw so that everyone can go back to focusing on the tennis going on in Paris.”

Officials of tennis’ four Grand Slam tournaments — the Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon and the U.S. Open — had issued a statement that posed the possibility she would be fined in increasing amounts or defaulted from tournaments if she continued to defy regulations that require players to appear at post-match news conferences. She was fined $15,000 for skipping a news conference after her first-round victory over Patricia Maria Tig on Sunday, though she did a brief on-court TV interview afterward.

More: Naomi Osaka needs empathy and help, not condemnation, for showing strength

ANGELS

Angels manager Joe Maddon pulls starter Dylan Bundy from the game in the sixth inning.
Angels manager Joe Maddon pulls starter Dylan Bundy from the game in the sixth inning of the Angels’ loss to the San Francisco Giants on Monday.
(Thearon W. Henderson / Getty Images)

Jack Harris on the Angels: Dylan Bundy threw one two-seamer over the right half of the plate, another over the left half, and a slider straight down the middle.

All three had the same result, flying out of the park in what was another poor display from the Angels’ opening day starter, and another sound defeat for a ball club that became just the eighth in the majors to reach 30 losses this season.

The San Francisco Giants beat the Angels 6-1 on Monday, and it wasn’t hard to figure out why.

“He was bitten by the homer, no question,” Angels manager Joe Maddon said of Bundy. “That was the difference in the game.”

Bundy gave up three home runs in the Memorial Day matinee: a two-run blast to Evan Longoria in the fourth, and solo shots to LaMonte Wade Jr. in the fifth and Mauricio Dubón in the sixth.

“You got to throw everything on the edges [of the strike zone] nowadays,” Bundy said. “None of them were where I wanted them.”

After giving up just five home runs in his 11 starts last season, Bundy has now yielded a dozen in 10 starts this year — including seven in his past three outings.

SOCCER

Cruz Azul players celebrate after winning the Mexican soccer league championship.
Cruz Azul players celebrate after winning the Mexican soccer league championship at Azteca stadium in Mexico City on Sunday.
(Eduardo Verdugo / Associated Press)

Kate Linthicum on Cruz Azul’s Mexican league title: There was once a sports team so cursed that its very name became slang for “choke.”

The team was Cruz Azul, a professional soccer club based in Mexico City with a flair for losing critical matches in spectacular fashion — including six league finals since 1999. The repeated humiliations spawned a verb — cruzazulear — that the Mexican Academy of Letters defines as “losing a game when victory was practically assured.”

To be a fan of the club was to be the butt of a national joke: Die-hard supporters endured not only the heartbreak of loss but also relentless teasing.

Then on Sunday, after decades of disgrace, the unthinkable happened. With a second-half goal from Uruguayan forward Jonathan Rodríguez, Cruz Azul won the Mexican league championship — its first title in 24 years.

Fireworks boomed in Mexico City. Caravans of cars filled the streets, horns blaring. Fans draped in blue mobbed the iconic Angel of Independence monument, and videos circulated showing children, grown men and grandmothers in tears.

“The curse is over,” tweeted President Andrés Manuel López Obrador — no small thing given that his preferred sport is baseball.

Cesar Ramírez, a 38-year-old accountant, danced, sang and sobbed with strangers at the massive celebration downtown.

NBA PLAYOFFS SCHEDULE/RESULTS

FIRST ROUND
All times Pacific

WESTERN CONFERENCE

No. 1 Utah vs. No. 8 Memphis

Memphis 112, Utah 109
Utah 141, Memphis 129
Utah 121, Memphis 111
Utah 120, Memphis 113
Wednesday: at Utah, 6:30 p.m., NBATV
*Friday at Memphis, TBD, TBD
*Sunday: at Utah, TBD, TBD

No. 2 Phoenix vs. No. 7 Lakers

Phoenix 99, Lakers 90
Lakers 109, Phoenix 102
Lakers 109, Phoenix 95
Phoenix 100, Lakers 92
Today: at Phoenix, 7 p.m., TNT
Thursday: at Lakers, TBD, TBD
*Saturday: at Phoenix, TBD, TBD

No. 3 Denver vs. No. 6 Portland

Portland 123, Denver 109
Denver 128, Portland 109
Denver 120, Portland 115
Portland 115, Denver 95
Today: at Denver, 6 p.m., NBATV
Thursday: at Portland, TBD, TBD
*Sat., June 5: at Denver, TBD, TBD

No. 4 Clippers vs. No. 5 Dallas

Dallas 113, Clippers 103
Dallas 127, Clippers 121
Clippers 118, Dallas 108
Clippers 106, Dallas 81
Wednesday: at Clippers, 7 p.m., TNT
Friday: at Dallas, TBD, TBD
*Sun., June 6: at Clippers, TBD, TBD

EASTERN CONFERENCE

No. 1 Philadelphia vs. No. 8 Washington

Philadelphia 125, Washington 118
Philadelphia 120, Washington 95
Philadelphia 132, Washington 103
Washington 122, Philadelphia 114
Wednesday: at Philadelphia, 4 p.m., NBATV
*Friday: at Washington, TBD, TBD
*Sunday: at Philadelphia, TBD, TBD

No. 2 Brooklyn vs. No. 7 Boston

Brooklyn 104, Boston 93
Brooklyn 130, Boston 108
Boston 125, Brooklyn 119
Brooklyn 141, Boston 126
Today: at Brooklyn, 4:30 p.m., TNT
*Thursday: at Boston, TBD, TBD
*Saturday: at Brooklyn, TBD, TBD

No. 3 Milwaukee vs. No. 6 Miami

Milwaukee 109, Miami 107
Milwaukee 132, Miami 98
Milwaukee 113, Miami 84
Milwaukee 120, Miami 103
Milwaukee wins series, 4-0

No. 4 New York vs. No. 5 Atlanta

Atlanta 107, New York 105
New York 101, Atlanta 92
Atlanta 105, New York 94
Atlanta 113, New York 96
Wednesday: at New York, 4:30 p.m., TNT
*Friday: at Atlanta, TBD, TBD
*Sunday: at New York, TBD, TBD

*-if necessary

NHL PLAYOFFS SCHEDULE/RESULTS

FIRST ROUND
All times Pacific

East Division
Pittsburgh vs. NY Islanders

New York 4, Pittsburgh 3 (OT)
Pittsburgh 2, New York 1
Pittsburgh 5, New York 4
New York 4, Penguins 1
New York 3, Pittsburgh 2 (2OT)
New York 5, Pittsburgh 3
New York wins series, 4-2

Washington vs. Boston

Washington 3, Boston 2 (OT)
Boston 4, Washington 3 (OT)
Boston 3, Washington 2 (2 OT)
Boston 4, Washington 1
Boston 3, Washington 1
Boston wins series, 4-1

Central Division

Carolina vs. Nashville

Carolina 5, Nashville 2
Carolina 3, Nashville 0
Nashville 5, Carolina 4 (2OT)
Nashville 4, Carolina 3 (2OT)
Carolina 3, Nashville 2 (OT)
Carolina 4, Nashville 3 (OT)
Carolina wins series, 4-2

Florida vs. Tampa Bay

Tampa Bay 5, Florida 4
Tampa Bay 3, Florida 1
Florida 6, Tampa Bay 5 (OT)
Tampa Bay 6, Florida 2
Florida 4, Tampa Bay 1
Tampa Bay 4, Florida 2
Tampa Bay wins series, 4-2

North Division

Toronto vs. Montreal

Montreal 2, Toronto 1
Toronto 5, Montreal 1
Toronto 2, Montreal 1
Toronto 4, Montreal 0
Montreal 4, Toronto 3 (OT)
Montreal 3, Toronto 2 (OT)
Montreal 3, Toronto 1
Montreal wins series, 4-3

Edmonton vs. Winnipeg

Winnipeg 4, Edmonton 1
Winnipeg 1, Edmonton 0
Winnipeg 5, Edmonton 4 (OT)
Winnipeg 4, Edmonton 3 (3OT)
Winnipeg wins series, 4-0

West Division

Colorado vs. St. Louis

Colorado 4, St. Louis 1
Colorado 6, St. Louis 3
Colorado 5, St. Louis 1
Colorado 5, St. Louis 2
Colorado wins series, 4-0

Vegas vs. Minnesota

Minnesota 1, Vegas 0 (OT)
Vegas 3, Minnesota 1
Vegas 5, Minnesota 2
Vegas 4, Minnesota 0
Minnesota 4, Vegas 2
Minnesota 3, Vegas 0
Vegas 6, Minnesota 2
Vegas wins series, 4-3

SECOND ROUND

East Division

New York Islanders vs. Boston

Boston 5, New York 2
New York 4, Boston 3 (OT)
Thursday: at New York, 4:30 p.m., NBCSN
Saturday: at New York, 4:15 p.m., NBCSN
*Monday, June 7: at Boston, TBD, TBD
*Wednesday, June 9: at New York, TBD, TBD
*Friday, June 11: at Boston, TBD, TBD

Central Division

Tampa Bay vs. Carolina

Tampa Bay 2, Carolina 1
Today: at Carolina, 4:30 p.m., NBCSN
Thursday: at Tampa Bay, 5 p.m., USA
Saturday: at Tampa Bay, USA
*Tuesday, June 8: at Carolina, TBD, TBD
*Thursday, June 10: at Tampa Bay, TBD, TBD
*Saturday, June 12: at Carolina, TBD, TBD

West Division

Colorado vs. Vegas

Colorado 7, Vegas 1
Wednesday: at Colorado, 7 p.m., NBCSN
Friday: at Vegas, 7 p.m., NBCSN
Sunday: at Vegas, 5:30 p.m., NBCSN
*Tuesday, June 8: at Colorado, TBD, TBD
*Thursday, June 10: at Vegas, TBD, TBD
*Saturday, June 12: at Colorado, TBD, TBD

North Division

Winnipeg vs. Montreal

Wednesday: at Winnipeg, 4:30 p.m., NBCSN
Friday: at Winnipeg, 4:30 p.m., USA
Sunday: at Montreal, 3 p.m., NBCSN
Monday: at Montreal, TBD, TBD
*Wednesday, June 9: at Winnipeg, TBD, TBD
*Friday, June 11: at Montreal, TBD, TBD
*Sunday, June 13: at Winnipeg, TBD, TBD

*-if necessary

THIS DATE IN SPORTS

1925 — Lou Gehrig bats for Pee Wee Wanninger in the eighth inning and replaces Wally Pipp at first base to start his streak of 2,130 consecutive games.

1946 — Assault, ridden by Warren Merhtens, wins the Belmont Stakes to become the seventh horse to capture the Triple Crown.

1968 — Stage Door Johnny, ridden by Heliodoro Gustines, wins the Belmont Stakes in a record time of 2:27 1-5 and spoils the Triple Crown bid of Forward Pass, who finishes 1 1/4 lengths behind.

1975 — Nolan Ryan of the California Angels pitches his fourth no-hitter to tie Sandy Koufax’s record, beating the Baltimore Orioles 1-0.

1975 — Kathy Whitworth wins the LPGA tournament by one stroke over Sandra Haynie.

1986 — Pat Bradley wins the LPGA tournament and becomes the first to win all four major women’s tournaments, beating Patty Sheehan by one stroke.

1992 — The Pittsburgh Penguins win the Stanley Cup for the second straight year, beating the Chicago Blackhawks 6-5 for a four-game sweep.

1996 — The LSU women win their 10th consecutive NCAA track team title with 81 points, the longest victory string in women’s college sports.

2002 — Detroit advances to the Stanley Cup finals for the fourth time in eight years with a 7-0 win over Colorado in Game 7 of the Western Conference finals. Colorado becomes the first NHL team to play in four consecutive Game 7s. Detroit goalie Dominik Hasek sets an NHL record by recording his fifth shutout of the playoffs.

2004 — Detroit and Indiana combine for just 60 first-half points in the Pistons’ 69-65 victory, breaking the NBA playoff record of 62 set by the Pistons and Nets during the second round.

2008 — Hillary Will is the 11th woman in NHRA history to win a national event when she takes the Top Fuel event at the O’Reilly NHRA Summer Nationals. Will drives her dragster to a 4.744-second run at a top speed of 304.53 mph, beating No. 1 qualifier Larry Dixon for her first career win in Top Fuel.

2010 — French Open upset specialist Robin Soderling strikes again, rallying past defending champion Roger Federer in a rainy quarterfinal, 3-6, 6-3, 7-5, 6-4. The loss ends Federer’s record streak of reaching the semifinals in 23 consecutive major events.

2012 — Jonathan Crawford pitches the seventh no-hitter in NCAA tournament history, shutting down Bethune-Cookman in a 4-0 victory in the opener of the Gainesville Regional.

2012 — Alex Miklos hits a go-ahead RBI triple in the 21st inning as Kent State outlasts Kentucky 7-6 in the second-longest game in NCAA tournament history.

And finally

Chris Taylor’s epic at-bat against the Cardinals was baseball beauty for the Bleed Blue faithful. Watch it here.

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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