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The Sports Report: Clippers in seventh heaven after playoff series win

Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard is fouled by Dallas Mavericks center Kristaps Porzingis as he scores a basket.
Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard is fouled by Dallas Mavericks center Kristaps Porzingis as he scores a basket late in the fourth quarter of the Clippers’ Game 7 playoff win Sunday.
(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

Howdy, I’m your host, Austin Knoblauch, filling in for Houston Mitchell, who is on vacation (probably perfecting his spin rate). Let’s get right to the news.

Andre Greif on the Clippers: As the Clippers left Staples Center last week, trailing again in this first-round playoff series and unsure whether they would return, Paul George called the third quarter when so much had gone wrong something “that’s going to haunt us.”

It was an off-the-cuff remark by an All-Star. It also happened to be the perfect description of another imperfect game for a franchise that, for 50 years, has been defined by such postseason shortcomings.

All season, the Clippers have called that a thing of the past and last season’s second-round collapse against Denver a non-factor. They believed that winning short-handed throughout the season had steeled them, and that their shooting would sustain them.

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Offered a chance to add another ignominious chapter to their history Sunday, nine months after crumbling in their previous Game 7, the Clippers instead continued their redemption tour into the second round following a 126-111 win against the Dallas Mavericks, their most forceful declaration yet that this roster is not haunted by the past.

Clippers guard Paul George is fouled by Dallas Mavericks center Kristaps Porzingis.
Clippers guard Paul George (13) is fouled by Dallas Mavericks center Kristaps Porzingis, left, as he drives to the basket during the first half of Game 7.
(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

The top-seeded Utah Jazz now await. Game 1 is Tuesday in Salt Lake City.

Kawhi Leonard had 28 points with 10 rebounds, Marcus Morris scored 23, Paul George contributed 22 points and six rebounds, and Reggie Jackson had 15 points for the Clippers, who shot 50%.

Leonard is only the fourth player in NBA history to score at least 200 points while shooting at least 60% in a playoff series, joining Shaquille O’Neal (2000), Bernard King (1984) and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (1977).

The mental mistakes that lost the Clippers’ first three home games of this series, particularly the way Game 5 unraveled, were gone amid a 24-4 run over the final six minutes of the third quarter. When Dallas cut a 19-point lead to seven with two minutes to play, behind Luka Doncic’s 46 points, their resilience could have finally wobbled. But Jackson and Morris answered with three-pointers on consecutive possessions and fans gripped one another in almost stunned celebration. The Clippers’ 20 three-pointers are the most made in Game 7 history.

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CLIPPERS

Bill Plaschke on the Clippers: Seventh heaven.

Kawhi Leonard drives the baseline for a vicious two-handed slam and the building fills with chants of “M-V-P, M-V-P!”

Marcus Morris Sr. nails one, two, three, four, five, six, seven three-pointers — seven! — and fans are pounding their Thunderstix into plastic pulp.

Luke Kennard makes three straight shots and suddenly heard is a dirge of “Luuuuke.”

You read that right. Luke Kennard. Three straight shots. Somebody saying his name.

It was that crazy. It was that perfect. For once the Clippers were not cursed, they were blessed, playing their best game of the season on their most important day of the season Sunday in game that was uproariously loud and eminently lovable.

In the same arena where three days earlier the Lakers collapsed, the Clippers flew, walloping the Dallas Mavericks 126-111 in the deciding Game 7 of their first-round playoff series in front of 7,342 at Staples Center.

You sure you’re ready for this, L.A.?

DODGERS

Dodgers starting pitcher Trevor Bauer delivers against the Atlanta Braves on Sunday.
(Brynn Anderson / Associated Press)

Jorge Castillo on the Dodgers: Trevor Bauer was on the mound for the first six innings of the Dodgers’ 4-2 loss to the Atlanta Braves at Truist Park on Sunday, but the ace that the Dodgers made one of the highest paid pitchers in Major League Baseball was missing.

This version of Trevor Bauer wasn’t the version that won the 2020 National League Cy Young Award. It wasn’t the version the Braves encountered in Game 1 of the wild card series last September. That one was dominant, striking out 12 without a walk over seven scoreless innings for the Cincinnati Reds.

This version of Trevor Bauer labored. This one gave up six hits, walked four — setting a season high for baserunners allowed — and yielded three runs. He threw 100 pitches, 38 fastballs. Those fastballs averaged a spin rate of 223 revolutions per minute (rpm) lower than his league-leading average entering the day. The Braves (28-29) sat on the pitch and had success, cracking their first three hits off it.

Coincidentally, it was Bauer’s first start since MLB informed team owners of its plan to begin enforcing the rules against pitchers using illegal substances to doctor baseballs for increased spin rates. After the game, Bauer did not deny the two developments are linked.

—————

Dylan Hernández on Trevor Bauer: Under their current owners, the Dodgers have taken pride in refusing to adhere to the fundamental spirit of baseball’s compensation system, which is to reward players for what they’ve done in the past and not necessary for what they’ll do in the future.

Ironically, that’s the very position the Dodgers are now in with their high-profile free-agent acquisition from the winter who characterized the organization’s forward-thinking culture.

Just two months into the season, Trevor Bauer isn’t the same pitcher the Dodgers signed in the winter.

The Dodgers invested $102 million in the right-hander believing he was a frontline starter, but who knows what they’re paying for now that the commissioner’s office has informed teams it would start enforcing rules prohibiting the doctoring of baseballs.

The transformation was as instantaneous as it was pronounced.

In a 4-2 loss to the Atlanta Braves on Sunday, the spin rate and usage of Bauer’s four-seam fastball were noticeably down. Bauer held the Braves to three runs in six innings, but he didn’t pitch well. The 10 baserunners he allowed were a season-high.

“Hot, humid day in Atlanta,” Bauer said sarcastically.

To his everlasting credit, Bauer didn’t deny having previously used foreign substances to improve his grip on baseballs, coming as close to admitting he did without actually saying it.

“I just want to compete on a fair playing field,” he said.

ANGELS

Angels starter Patrick Sandoval delivers a pitch during Sunday's game against the Seattle Mariners.
(Jayne Kamin-Oncea / Getty Images)

John Scheibe on the Angels: The Angels went into Sunday’s game against the Seattle Mariners with a modest two-game winning streak and chance to win their ninth game in 13 tries, but after scoring 12 runs Saturday night, they could manage just two through eight innings and eventually lost 9-5 at Angel Stadium.

On a near-perfect 72-degree, sun-splashed day, the Mariners opened the game with a run in the first inning on a walk, a wild pitch, an infield single and a sharply hit sacrifice fly by Kyle Seager that scored J.P. Crawford. It took 26 pitches from Angels starter Patrick Sandoval to retire the side, but he did strike out two of his career-high 10.

The Angels responded immediately when Justin Upton hit his third career leadoff home run and 13th homer of the season, a line drive into the Angels bullpen off Seattle starter Logan Gilbert. It was Upton’s fifth home run in his last six games in Anaheim.

The Mariners took a 3-1 lead in the third on four hits that included Donavon Walton’s second home run of the season and a double by Crawford that skipped off the top of the glove of right fielder Taylor Ward.

GYMNASTICS

Simone Biles competes on the balance beam during the U.S. Gymnastics Championships.
Simone Biles competes on the balance beam during the U.S. Gymnastics Championships in Fort Worth, Texas, on Sunday.
(Tony Gutierrez / Associated Press)

Helene Elliott on the U.S. gymnastics championships: Simone Biles’ fearlessness and unmatched skills created little doubt that she would win the women’s all-around title at the U.S. gymnastics championships. But Biles, who’s trying to repeat as the Olympic all-around champion in Tokyo and lead the U.S. to another team gold medal, left nothing to chance in Sunday’s national finale, bringing the power and sizzle that make her the best gymnast who has graced a mat.

Biles put on a show in the finale for an adoring crowd at Dickies Arena, topping her first-day score while wrapping up her seventh national all-around title and setting herself up nicely for the Olympic trials June 24-27 in St. Louis. She controlled the overexuberance that had carried her out of bounds three times during her floor exercise routine on Friday, stepping out once but otherwise preserving her trademark strength and amplitude. This woman — and her spirit — can soar.

“It’s so crazy because in training I never go out of bounds and I never have this much power, but adrenaline is where it comes, so we just have to focus on working with that,” she said. “It’s not a bad thing, but it could be if I keep going out of bounds.”

The only misfortune she experienced was minor: she snapped a fingernail on her first vault. “I’m very upset about it because they’re pretty cute this time,” she said, holding her fingers toward the camera during her post-event webinar.

She couldn’t be too upset. Discomfort that resulted from jamming her ankles on Wednesday led her to skip the daring Yurchenko double pike vault she pulled off last month — she’s the only woman in the world to land it — but the vaults she did instead were effortless and stunning. She racked up 60.10 points on Sunday and 119.65 overall, ahead of dynamic Sunisa Lee (114.95), who had the meet’s top uneven bars score.

“I feel like I’m on the correct road for the trials,” Biles said, adding that she plans to do the Yurchenko double pike vault at least once in the two-day trials.

OLYMPICS

Michael Johnson reacts after crossing the finish line and winning the gold medal in the men's 200 meters.
Michael Johnson reacts after crossing the finish line and winning the gold medal in the men’s 200 meters at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.
(Paul Morse / The Los Angeles Times)

David Wharton on American dominance in the Olympics: The story goes back a ways, back to the mid-1980s, when Michael Johnson was still in high school.

The famous sprinter was years away from winning gold medals at three consecutive Summer Olympics. He wasn’t yet known for those glittering golden spikes.

A nerdy kid, Johnson was running track at a small magnet school in Dallas. The team’s coach, Joel Ezar, who taught health class during the day, knew only a little about technique but could spot raw talent.

“No one was paying attention to me,” Johnson recalls, “until he started writing letters to all these colleges.”

Baylor University offered the unpolished athlete a chance to hone his skills with a coaching staff versed in speed and strength training.

“It was a critical moment for me,” says Johnson, who wonders whether he might otherwise have fallen through the cracks and never become an Olympian. “I made a huge leap when I got to college.”

This story might sound quaint but it shows how college sports have served as a vast feeder system, helping the Americans dominate every Summer Games for the past 25 years and making them favorites to again win a lion’s share of medals at the Tokyo Olympics.

People need to know how it works, Johnson says. They need to understand because the U.S. winning streak could be history — no more piles of gold, silver and bronze — by the time the 2028 Los Angeles Games come around.

——————

J. Brady McCollough on the Pac-12’s Olympic-sized problem: Painful memories will endure from Misty Hartung’s year fighting for Stanford athletes in their battle with university leaders who chose to turn their backs on them.

First, there was Hartung’s son, men’s volleyball player Kyler Presho, telling her the news in July 2021 the school was cutting his program along with 10 other varsity sports virtually out of nowhere.

“The look in my son’s eyes the day he got cut is just something I will never forget,” Hartung says.

Stanford gave the affected coaches and players zero notice. Other schools had announced cuts in the months prior, using the pandemic as cover for budgetary slashes that may have felt inevitable for some time. But this was Stanford, long the emblem of what the “student-athlete” experience should be, and now the West Coast’s Ivy League peer with a $28 billion endowment was saying there wasn’t enough money to save sports that routinely bred U.S. Olympians?

Hartung, who lives in San Clemente and works in sales, soon found herself playing the role of fraud investigator, joining parents from each of the discarded programs on the front lines. While putting together the vision and funding for a lawsuit against the school, she heard stories of Stanford’s administrative indifference straight from the confused athletes and absorbed their heartbreak over a Zoom screen.

FOOTBALL

Former NFL safety Toi Cook pauses by a waterfront in Westlake Village.
Former NFL safety Toi Cook pauses by a waterfront in Westlake Village. He was denied compensation by the league despite cognitive issues stemming from his football career.
(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

Former NFL player Toi Cook on the league denying his concussion settlement claim: Same old, same old.

That’s the feeling I had this past week when I heard about “race-norming,” which curves the cognitive test scores of NFL players who are Black, assuming they have a lower level of intellect. I wasn’t familiar with the specific term, but I wasn’t at all surprised.

It’s kind of like when Dez Bryant made that catch against the Green Bay Packers in the playoffs, the one that was ruled a non-catch on the field. We all saw it. The whole world knew it was a catch. But it took the NFL a few years to come out and say, “Oh, yes, it was a catch after all.”

Gee, thanks. It was another slap in the face.

Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Toi Cook, and I spent 11 seasons as a defensive back in the league, my first seven with New Orleans and two each with San Francisco and Carolina. I grew up in Los Angeles, went to school at Montclair Prep in the San Fernando Valley and Stanford, and relied on my intellect to have as long a professional career as I had. You’ve got to be pretty smart to make it that long as an eighth-round draft pick. Obviously, you’ve also got to be the kind of athlete who can compete at a high level.

If you just look at the way we practiced and played, where hitting was a way of life, you have to assume I might have lost some cognitive ability. While mine is still high, and I’m not as bad off as many former players, I still lost something. How much may not be determined until later, as it was with the tumultuous journeys of Junior Seau, Dave Duerson and John Mackey, men who truly gave their lives for the game.

TENNIS

Serena Williams waves to a small crowd as she leaves court following her loss to Elena Rybakina.
Serena Williams waves to a small crowd as she leaves court following her loss to Elena Rybakina in the fourth round of the French Open on Sunday.
(Michel Euler / Associated Press)

From the Associated Press: Serena Williams turns 40 in September. Roger Federer hits that milestone the month before. No one knows how many more French Open appearances each will make, and this year’s tournament ended for both Sunday.

Williams fell way behind and could not put together a comeback against a much younger and less-experienced opponent in the fourth round at Roland Garros, losing 6-3, 7-5 to Elena Rybakina — who wasn’t even born when the American made her tournament debut in 1998.

Asked whether that might have been her last match at the clay-court major, Williams responded: “Yeah, I’m definitely not thinking about it at all. I’m definitely thinking just about other things, but not about that.”

Her defeat came hours after Federer withdrew, saying he needed to let his body recover ahead of Wimbledon after a long third-round victory that ended at nearly 1 a.m. on Sunday.

Wimbledon — which Federer has won eight times and Williams seven — begins June 28.

SOCCER

From the Associated Press: Christian Pulisic converted a penalty kick in the 114th minute, backup goalkeeper Ethan Horvath stopped Andrés Guardado’s penalty kick in the 124th and the United States overcame an early defensive blunder to beat Mexico 3-2 on Sunday night in a final of the first CONCACAF Nations League that turned on three video reviews.

Gio Reyna and Weston McKennie scored as the 20th-ranked U.S. twice overcame deficits against No. 11 Mexico, which led after just 63 seconds.

Pulisic, fresh off of winning the Champions League with Chelsea on May 29, cut inside the penalty area and was pulled down by Carlos Salcedo in the 108th minute.

Panamanian referee John Pitti did not initially signal a penalty but consulted a video review and then pointed to the spot. Mexico coach Tata Martino appeared to receive a red card for putting a hand on an official during the review and Hirving Lozano was given a yellow card for arguing after the decision.

COLLEGE BASEBALL

From the Associated Press: Easton Murrell went 3 for 3 with a walk, two RBIs and two runs, Mason Montgomery had eight strikeouts in five innings and Texas Tech beat UCLA 8-2 on Sunday night to win the Lubbock Regional.

No. 8 overall seed Texas Tech (39-15) advances to its third consecutive Super Regional.

Kevin Kendall scored on a sacrifice fly by Matt McLain to give UCLA (37-20) a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning.

BOXING

Logan Paul and Floyd Mayweather Jr. fight during an exhibition boxing match.
Logan Paul, left, and Floyd Mayweather Jr. fight during an exhibition boxing match at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla., on Sunday.
(Lynne Sladky / Associated Press)

From the Associated Press: Floyd Mayweather Jr. outclassed YouTube personality Logan Paul but couldn’t stop him inside the distance.

Mayweather and Paul boxed an eight-round exhibition Sunday night at Hard Rock Stadium. With the bout not being scored, no winner was declared.

The 44-year-old Mayweather used the ring skills that propelled him to world titles in five divisions and a 50-0 career record to frustrate Paul with solid lead and counter shots.

“You’ve got to realize I’m not 21 anymore but it’s good,” Mayweather said in the ring. “He’s better than I thought he was. Good little work. Tonight was a fun night.”

GOLF

From the Associated Press: Yuka Saso birdied the third playoff hole to beat Nasa Hataoka on Sunday and become the second teenager to win the U.S. Women’s Open after Lexi Thompson collapsed down the stretch.

Saso overcame back-to-back double bogeys early in the round to make the playoff. She then won it with a 10-foot putt on the ninth hole to become the first player from the Philippines to win a golf major.

Saso matched 2008 winner Inbee Park as the youngest U.S. Women’s Open champion at 19 years, 11 months, 17 days.

Both players made pars at Nos. 9 and 18 in the two-hole aggregate playoff, sending the tournament to sudden death back at the ninth hole. That set the stage for Saso to win it just up the road from Daly City, dubbed the Pinoy Capital of the United States for its large population of Filipinos.

Thompson, who had a five-stroke lead after the eighth hole, played the final seven holes in five over to finish a stroke back.

—————

From the Associated Press: Patrick Cantlay delivered a clutch birdie late in the round and a 12-foot par putt in a playoff to win the Memorial on a Sunday filled with drama, a little rain and no Jon Rahm.

Cantlay closed with a one-under 71 and won the Memorial for the second time in three years, and he said he felt the same range of emotions in the final hour at Muirfield Village in his duel with Collin Morikawa.

But it wasn’t the same.

Only a day earlier, Cantlay walked off the 18th green six shots behind Rahm, whose 64 ranked as one of the great rounds at the course Jack Nicklaus built and tied two Memorial records, including largest 54-hole lead.

But he tested positive for the coronavirus — Rahm had been in the contact tracing protocol — and was withdrawn from the tournament.

Just like that, Cantlay and Morikawa went from six shots behind to tied for the lead.

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
Utah 126, Memphis 110
Utah wins series, 4-1

No. 2 Phoenix vs. No. 7 Lakers

Phoenix 99, Lakers 90
Lakers 109, Phoenix 102
Lakers 109, Phoenix 95
Phoenix 100, Lakers 92
Phoenix 115, Lakers 85
Phoenix 113, Lakers 100
Phoenix wins series, 4-2

No. 3 Denver vs. No. 6 Portland

Portland 123, Denver 109
Denver 128, Portland 109
Denver 120, Portland 115
Portland 115, Denver 95
Denver 147, Portland 140 (2OT)
Denver 126, Portland 115
Denver wins series, 4-2

No. 4 Clippers vs. No. 5 Dallas

Dallas 113, Clippers 103
Dallas 127, Clippers 121
Clippers 118, Dallas 108
Clippers 106, Dallas 81
Dallas 105, Clippers 100
Clippers 104, Dallas 97
Clippers 126, Dallas 111
Clippers win series, 4-3

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
Philadelphia 129, Washington 112
Philadelphia wins series, 4-1

No. 2 Brooklyn vs. No. 7 Boston

Brooklyn 104, Boston 93
Brooklyn 130, Boston 108
Boston 125, Brooklyn 119
Brooklyn 141, Boston 126
Brooklyn 123, Boston 109
Brooklyn wins series, 4-1

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
Atlanta 103, New York 89
Atlanta wins series, 4-1

*-if necessary

SECOND ROUND
All times Pacific

WESTERN CONFERENCE

No. 1 Utah vs. No. 4 Clippers
Tuesday: at Utah, 7 p.m., TNT
Thursday: at Utah, 7 p.m., ESPN
Saturday: at Clippers, 5:30 p.m., ABC
*Monday, June 14: at Utah, TBD, TNT
*Wednesday, June 16: at Clippers, TBD, ESPN
*Sunday, June 20: at Utah, TBD, TBD

No. 2 Phoenix Suns vs. No. 3 Denver Nuggets
Today: at Phoenix, 7 p.m., TNT
Wednesday: at Phoenix, 6:30 p.m., TNT
Friday: at Denver, 7 p.m., ESPN
Sunday: at Denver, 5 p.m., TNT
*Tuesday, June 15: at Phoenix, TBD, TBD
*Thursday, June 17: at Denver, TBD, ESPN
*Sunday, June 20: at Phoenix, TBD, TBD

EASTERN CONFERENCE

No. 1 Philadelphia vs. No. 5 Atlanta
Atlanta 128, Philadelphia 124
Tuesday: at Philadelphia, 4:30 p.m., TNT
Friday: at Atlanta, 4:30 p.m., ESPN
Monday: at Atlanta, TBD, TNT
*Wednesday, June 16: at Philadelphia, TBD, TNT
*Friday, June 18: at Atlanta, TBD, ESPN
*Sunday, June 20: at Philadelphia, TBD, TBD

No. 2 Brooklyn Nets vs. No. 3 Milwaukee Bucks
Brooklyn 115, Milwaukee 107
Today: at Brooklyn, 4:30 p.m., TNT
Thursday: at Milwaukee, TBD, ESPN
Sunday: at Milwaukee, Noon, ABC
*Tuesday, June 15: at Brooklyn, TBD, TNT
*Thursday, June 17: at Milwaukee, TBD, ESPN
*Saturday, June 19: at Brooklyn, TBD, TNT

NHL PLAYOFFS SCHEDULE/RESULTS

SECOND ROUND
All times Pacific

East Division

New York Islanders vs. Boston

Boston 5, New York 2
New York 4, Boston 3 (OT)
Boston 2, New York 1 (OT)
New York 4, Boston 1
Monday: at Boston, 3:30 p.m., NBCSN
Wednesday: at New York, 4:30 p.m., NBCSN
*Friday, June 11: at Boston, TBD, TBD

Central Division

Tampa Bay vs. Carolina

Tampa Bay 2, Carolina 1
Tampa Bay 2, Carolina 1
Carolina 3, Tampa Bay 2 (OT)
Tampa Bay 6, Carolina 4
Tuesday: at Carolina, 3:30 p.m., NBCSN
*Thursday: at Tampa Bay, TBD, TBD
*Saturday, June 12: at Carolina, TBD, TBD

West Division

Colorado vs. Vegas

Colorado 7, Vegas 1
Colorado 3, Vegas 2 (OT)
Vegas 3, Colorado 2
Vegas 5, Colorado 1
Tuesday: at Colorado, 6 p.m., NBCSN
Thursday: at Vegas, TBD, TBD
*Saturday, June 12: at Colorado, TBD, TBD

North Division

Winnipeg vs. Montreal

Montreal 5, Winnipeg 3
Montreal, 1, Winnipeg 0
Montreal 5, Winnipeg 1
Today: at Montreal, 5 p.m., NBCSN
*Wednesday: at Winnipeg, 5 p.m., CNBC
*Friday, June 11: at Montreal, TBD, TBD
*Sunday, June 13: at Winnipeg, TBD, TBD

*-if necessary

THIS DATE IN SPORTS

1930 — Gallant Fox, ridden by Earle Sande, wins the Belmont Stakes by three lengths over Whichone, becoming the second horse to capture the Triple Crown.

1941 — Whirlaway, ridden by Eddie Arcaro, becomes the fifth horse to win the Triple Crown by capturing the Belmont Stakes by 2½ lengths over Robert Morris.

1952 — One Count, ridden by Eddie Arcaro, wins the Belmont Stakes by 2½ lengths over heavily favored Blue Man.

1969 — Arts and Letters, ridden by Braulio Baeza, ends Majestic Prince’s bid for the Triple Crown with a 5½-length victory in the Belmont Stakes.

1978 — The Washington Bullets beat the Seattle SuperSonics 105-99 in Game 7 to win the NBA Championship.

1980 — Temperance Hill, a 53-1 long shot ridden by Eddie Maple, wins the Belmont Stakes by two lengths over Genuine Risk.

1986 — Danzig Connection, ridden by Chris McCarron, wins the Belmont Stakes by 1 1/4 lengths over Johns Treasure to give trainer Woody Stephens his fifth straight Belmont win.

1995 — Hakeem Olajuwon’s tip-in with .3 seconds left gives Houston a 120-118 overtime win in Game 1 of the NBA Finals. Houston, trailing by 20 points in the first half, are led back by Kenny Smith, whose Finals record seventh three pointer sends the game into overtime.

1998 — Utah breaks the record for fewest points in an NBA game since the inception of the shot clock, losing 96-54 to Chicago in Game 3 of the NBA Finals. It’s the highest margin of victory in NBA Finals history. Utah’s 54 points break the NBA-record of 55 set earlier in the season by Indiana.

2004 — Ruslan Fedotenko scores twice, including the critical first goal, and the resilient Tampa Bay Lightning hold off the Calgary Flames 2-1 in Game 7 to win their first Stanley Cup.

2006 — New Jersey becomes the first state to institute a statewide steroid-testing policy for high school athletes.

2008 — Da’ Tara spoils Big Brown’s bid for a Triple Crown by winning the Belmont Stakes. Da’ Tara, a 38-1 longshot ridden by Alan Garcia, goes wire-to-wire winning by 5 1/4 lengths over Denis of Cork. Big Brown, the 1-4 favorite, is eased up in the homestretch by jockey Kent Desormeaux finishing so far behind at the end that his margin of defeat isn’t even charted.

2009 — Roger Federer completes a career Grand Slam, winning his first French Open title. Federer wins his 14th major title to tie Pete Sampras’ record by sweeping surprise finalist Robin Soderling 6-1, 7-6 (1), 6-4.

2014 — California Chrome fails in his bid to win the first Triple Crown in 36 years, losing the Belmont Stakes to long shot Tonalist and leaving his owner to complain others took “the coward’s way out” by skipping the first two legs of the Triple Crown.

2014 — Miguel Cotto becomes the first Puerto Rican fighter to win world championships in four weight divisions, stopping Sergio Martinez in their WBC world middleweight title fight. Martinez doesn’t get off the stool when the bell rings for the 10th round.

2015 — LeBron James turns in a triple-double to remember, Matthew Dellavedova makes the go-ahead free throws in overtime, and the Cavaliers overcome a fourth-quarter collapse to outlast the Golden State Warriors 95-93 in Game 2 of the NBA finals. James finishes with 39 points, 16 rebounds and 11 assists in 50 minutes, carrying Cleveland’s depleted roster to victory on the NBA’s toughest home floor.

2018 — The Washington Capitals raise the Stanley Cup for the first time in franchise history after a 4-3 victory over the Vegas Golden Knights in Game 5 of the finals.

And finally

Simone Biles put on a show on her way to winning a seventh U.S. gymnastics championship. 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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