Advertisement
Share

The Sports Report: Clippers lose to Phoenix Suns in Game 1

Clippers guard Paul George, right, looks on during a time out in Game 1.
Clippers guard Paul George, right, looks on during a time out in Game 1.
(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

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

Andrew Greif on the Clippers: The Clippers waited 51 years to reach Sunday, a conference-finals debut that began when they left their hotel in 111-degree heat and entered the crucible of a raucous, roaring road arena.

But four weeks into this postseason, the Clippers still are waiting to take control of a series from its start.

This venture into uncharted franchise territory began on familiar footing, their 120-114 loss to Phoenix leaving them trailing 1-0 for the third consecutive round. Despite tired legs and knee injuries that kept All-Star Kawhi Leonard in California and starting forward Marcus Morris on the bench for all but six minutes in the second half, it wasn’t sealed until five seconds to play, when Nicolas Batum’s three-pointer missed and the Suns’ Devin Booker grabbed the rebound.

Advertisement

DeMarcus Cousins shows frustration after fouling Dario Saric in Game 1.
DeMarcus Cousins shows frustration after fouling Dario Saric in Game 1.
(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

Booker screamed, his team’s seventh consecutive playoff win secured, but it was lost amid the din of a sold-out arena. The volume rose again when he completed his first career triple-double of 40 points, 13 rebounds and 11 assists by making the game-ending free throws.

“We did OK,” Clippers coach Tyronn Lue said. “We’ll be better.”

As quickly as fans watching the first conference-finals victory here in 11 years whipped orange towels over their heads and danced, the Clippers said they began plotting the kind of counters that have rescued them, twice, from deficits greater than this.

“I expect us to get better as the series goes,” said Paul George, whose 34 points led the Clippers. “We’ve been great at it. It’s nothing to kind of panic over right now.

“… But good thing about it, we expect a long series. All they did was win one game.”

It was just one game, but already this series has tested the Clippers’ ability to fight back. Where their rallies against Dallas and Utah were keyed by Lue’s use of a deep, unflappable rotation to outmaneuver opponents by switching lineups and often playing small, the injury to Morris could remove one option at Lue’s disposal.

————

Clippers have big decisions to make in slowing down Suns

Enjoying this newsletter? Consider subscribing to the Los Angeles Times

Your support helps us deliver the news that matters most. Become a subscriber.

GOLF

Jon Rahm, of Spain, reacts to making his birdie putt on the 18th green during the final round.
Jon Rahm reacts to making his birdie putt on the 18th green.
(Associated Press)

Jay Posner on the U.S. Open: One thing about Torrey Pines Golf Course: It does not produce boring U.S. Opens.

Thirteen years after Tiger Woods’ dramatic 91-hole victory in the first national championship held in San Diego, Jon Rahm earned his first major championship by winning another wild Open on Sunday at Torrey Pines South.

“You have no idea what this means right now,” said Rahm, celebrating his first Father’s Day with his infant son, Kepa, and his wife, Kelley.

He did it in a way that was reminiscent of the victory by Woods, who forced a playoff in 2008 with a 12-foot birdie putt at the 72nd hole.

Rahm, whose first PGA Tour victory came in 2017 when he made a 66-foot eagle putt on the 18th hole at Torrey Pines, rolled in an 18-foot birdie putt on the same hole to break a tie with South African Louis Oosthuizen, who was playing the 15th hole at the time. Oosthuizen’s chances all but evaporated on the 17th hole when his drive rolled into the canyon and he made bogey after missing a 10-foot putt.

“That’s just incredible to make that mistake,” NBC’s Gary Koch said on TV.

Rahm finished with a four-under-par 67 on Sunday and a four-round total of six-under 278. Oosthuizen finished second, one shot behind Rahm, after making a birdie at 18 for a final-round 71. It was the sixth runner-up finish in a major for Oosthuizen, who has a lone victory in the 2010 British Open.

It was the first major championship for Rahm and the first U.S. Open win by a Spaniard. In his last tournament, the Memorial just two weeks ago, Rahm was disqualified after testing positive for COVID-19 while holding a six-stroke lead before the fourth round.

————

Louis Oosthuizen left frustrated by his sixth runner-up finish at a major

DODGERS

Albert Pujols celebrates his home run with Andy Burns and Justin Turner.
(Getty Images)

Jorge Castillo on the Dodgers: The Dodgers were bulldozing the Arizona Diamondbacks through five innings in their 9-8 win Sunday, on their way to a clinical three-game series sweep of the worst team in the majors without a sweat.

They had finally mashed a left-handed starting pitcher — Alex Young gave up five runs in three innings — to build a 9-1 lead and put the Diamondbacks on track for their 17th straight loss. They were confident. So confident that manager Dave Roberts took Justin Turner out of the game in the fifth inning to give him some rest.

Then it nearly all fell apart. The Diamondbacks scored one run in the sixth inning and erupted for six more in the eighth, hammering the soft underbelly of the Dodgers’ bullpen.

Edwin Uceta, called up before the game, yielded three hits, two walks and three runs in the eighth inning before he was pulled with two outs. The suddenly tight score forced Roberts to summon Victor González, one of his three most trusted relievers, for his 29th appearance, a small defeat regardless of the game’s outcome.

ANGELS

Mike DiGiovanna on the Angels: Detroit Tigers manager A.J. Hinch had seen enough of Shohei Ohtani in this four-game series to know what the smart play was in the 10th inning of Sunday’s game in Angel Stadium.

With two outs and the Angels’ two-way star representing the tying run, Tigers right-hander Michael Fulmer threw four pitches to the slugger, none close to the strike zone, essentially taking the bat out of Ohtani’s hands with a walk.

Fulmer then struck out Taylor Ward with two on to close out a 5-3 Tigers victory before a crowd of 21,626.

“That’s a dangerous at-bat because Ohtani has got one thing on his mind,” Hinch said, “and Michael wasn’t going to make a mistake.”

The Tigers prevented a four-game Angels sweep and spoiled another afternoon of home run heroics by Ohtani, who moved into a tie with Toronto’s Vladimir Guerrero Jr. for the major league lead with his 23rd homer of the season, a score-tying two-run shot to center field in the fifth.

SPARKS

Ethan Sands on the Sparks: The Sparks’ Brittney Sykes locked in on the Liberty’s Betnijah Laney, disrupting her ball handling, diverting her from the basket, making off-ball movements challenging and being a relentless nuisance to the entire Liberty defense.

Sykes is the defensive catalyst for the Sparks. Her play can be described as contagious, bringing high energy and creating opportunities for her teammates to turn suffocating defense into transition points.

That type of defensive effort has kept the Sparks in close games, carrying the team as it copes with the absence of star players Chiney and Nneka Ogwumike, who are nursing injuries.

The Sparks’ efforts came up a bucket short during a 76-73 loss to the Liberty Sunday afternoon at the Los Angeles Convention Center in front of a sold-out crowd of 731 on the day the two teams helped mark the 25th anniversary of the WNBA.

Erica Wheeler led the Sparks offensively with 20 points, 10 assists and six rebounds.

OLYMPICS

Allyson Felix finishes in second in the women's 400-meter run at the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials.
Allyson Felix finishes in second place in the women’s 400-meter run at the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials.
(Ashley Landis / Associated Press)

Flat on her back, gasping for breath, Allyson Felix kept her eyes on the scoreboard.

When her name came up in the second spot in the 400 meters, she kicked up her heels and covered her face with her hands.

No doubt, this fifth trip to the Olympics is her sweetest.

The 35-year-old mom rallied from fifth at the start of the homestretch to the second-place finish at U.S. track trials Sunday. It earned her the chance to win a 10th Olympic medal and break a tie with Jamaica’s Merlene Ottey as the most decorated female track athlete in the history of the games.

“It has been a fight to get here, and one thing I know how to do is to fight,” Felix said. “I just did it all the way home.”

Allyson Felix win the first heat of the women’s 400-meter run at the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trial.

Running from outside her usual comfort zone, in Lane 8, Felix got off to a fast start and led 100 meters in. Slowly, she lost the lead, lost her grip on the third spot and was fighting just to stay close. But in a closing burst that will likely go down as one her her best, she reeled in half the field. She finished in 50.02 seconds, 0.24 behind Quanera Hayes and 0.01 ahead of Wadeline Jonathas.

“I just wanted to use my experience,” Felix said. “To make a fifth one, it’s so special.”

————

Simone Manuel smiles after winning the Women's 50-meter freestyle final.
Simone Manuel smiles after winning Sunday.
(Maddie Meyer / Getty Images)

Nathan Fenno on swimming: Relief poured out the moment Simone Manuel touched the wall and the result flashed on the scoreboard above the pool at the CHI Health Center.

After a six-month stretch that challenged her body and mind, Manuel won the 50-meter freestyle Sunday night at the U.S. Olympic swimming trials in her final chance to qualify for next month’s Tokyo Games.

“Today may have been the longest day of my life,” Manuel said. “That 50 may have been the longest 50 of my life. I’m just glad to have it over.”

The 24-year-old finished in 24.29 seconds, one-hundredth of a second faster than Abbey Weitzeil.

BILL PLASCHKE

A giant banner with the picture of Mauricio "Mo" Fascio is displayed during the first half of a recent LAFC match.
A giant banner with the picture of Mauricio “Mo” Fascio, who died from Covid-19, is displayed during the first half of a recent LAFC match.
(Associated Press)

His fellow LAFC fans gathered on a lawn across from Mauricio “Mo” Fascio’s hospital room, flapping flags bearing his name, serenading him with drums and cowbells and love.

“¡Dale, Dale, Mo!”

Keep going, Mo!

LAFC star Carlos Vela made a video for Fascio while he was intubated and sedated, Vela staring into the phone camera, pleading for him to get well soon.

“Te mando un fuerte abrazo…”

I send you a big hug …

It was only fitting that, while Fascio was alone and battling COVID-19 this spring, the man who helped create this city’s most renowned supporters’ group had his own cheering section.

It also was fitting that Fascio responded by offering the one thing he shared for three years while building an inclusive, embracing culture that reached far beyond a soccer pitch.

He shared it when he broke up fights between LAFC and Galaxy fans. He shared it when his scolding helped silence the infamous Spanish-language, anti-gay slur. He shared it when he met with other fans on an East L.A. street to buy out the entire carts of fruit vendors.

In the end, he was too weak for words, but by then, words weren’t needed.

Read the rest of Plaschke’s column by clicking here

COLT BRENNAN

Jeff Miller takes a gripping look at the life and death of quarterback Colt Brennan. Read it here.

NBA PLAYOFFS SCHEDULE/RESULTS

All times Pacific

WESTERN CONFERENCE FINALS

No. 2 Phoenix vs. No. 4 Clippers
Phoenix 120, Clippers 114
Tuesday: at Phoenix, 6 p.m., ESPN
Thursday: at Clippers, 6 p.m., ESPN
Saturday: at Clippers, 6 p.m., ESPN
*Monday, June 28: at Phoenix, 6 p.m., ESPN
*Wed., June 30: at Clippers, 6 p.m., ESPN
*Friday, July 2: at Phoenix, 6 p.m.

EASTERN CONFERENCE SEMIFINALS

No. 1 Philadelphia vs. No. 5 Atlanta
Atlanta 128, Philadelphia 124
Philadelphia 118, Atlanta 102
Philadelphia 127, Atlanta 111
Atlanta 103, Philadelphia 100
Atlanta 109, Philadelphia 106
Philadelphia 104, Atlanta 99
Atlanta 103, Philadelphia 96

No. 2 Brooklyn Nets vs. No. 3 Milwaukee Bucks
Brooklyn 115, Milwaukee 107
Brooklyn 125, Milwaukee 86
Milwaukee 86, Brooklyn 83
Milwaukee 107, Brooklyn 96
Brooklyn 114, Milwaukee 108
Milwaukee 104, Brooklyn 89
Milwaukee 115, Brooklyn 111, OT

EASTERN CONFERENCE FINAL

No. 3 Milwaukee vs. No. 5 Atlanta
Wednesday: at Milwaukee, 5:30 p.m., TNT
Friday: at Milwaukee, 5:30 p.m., TNT
Sunday: at Atlanta, 5:30 p.m., TNT
Tuesday, June 29: at Atlanta, 5:30 p.m., TNT
*Thursday, July 1: at Milwaukee, 5:30 p.m., TNT
*Saturday, July 3: at Atlanta, 5:30 p.m., TNT
*Monday, July 5: at Milwaukee, 5:30 p.m., TNT

*-if necessary

NHL PLAYOFFS SCHEDULE/RESULTS

STANLEY CUP SEMIFINALS
All times Pacific

No. 1 Vegas vs. No. 4 Montreal

Vegas 4, Montreal 1
Montreal 3, Vegas 2
Montreal 3, Vegas 2, OT
Vegas 2, Montreal 1, OT
Tuesday: at Vegas, 6 p.m., NBCSN
Thursday: at Montreal, 5 p.m., USA
*Saturday: at Vegas, 5 p.m., NBCSN

No. 2 Tampa Bay vs. No. 3 New York Islanders

New York 2, Tampa Bay 1
Tampa Bay 4, New York 2
Tampa Bay 2, New York 1
New York 3, Tampa Bay 2
Today: at Tampa Bay, 5 p.m., NBCSN
Wednesday: at New York, 5 p.m., NBCSN
*Friday, June 25: at Tampa Bay, 5 p.m., NBCSN

*-if necessary

THIS DATE IN SPORTS

1919 — Hazel Hotchkiss Wightman wins the women’s U.S. Lawn Tennis Assn. championship with a 6-1, 6-2 victory over Marion Zinderstein.

1932 — Jack Sharkey scores a 15-round split decision over Max Schmeling to win the world heavyweight title in New York.

1960 — Armin Hary of West Germany becomes the first man to run 100 meters in 10.0 seconds at a meet in Zurich, Switzerland.

1964 — Jim Bunning of the Philadelphia Phillies pitches a perfect game against the New York Mets. The no-hitter gives Bunning one in each league and the Phillies’ Gus Triandos becomes the first catcher to handle no-hitters in both leagues.

1965 — Gary Player becomes the third man to win golf’s top four pro titles when he captures the U.S. Open. Player beats Kel Nagle by three strokes in a playoff round. Gene Sarazen and Ben Hogan had won the U.S. and British Opens, the Masters and the PGA.

1970 — Britain’s Tony Jacklin becomes the first English golfer in 50 years to win the U.S. Open, beating Dave Hill by five strokes.

1971 — Lee Trevino beats Jack Nicklaus by two strokes in a playoff to win the U.S. Open.

1975 — S. Kaye Bell becomes the first woman to train the winner of a $100,000 stakes race when she sends Mr. Lucky Phoenix to win the Michigan Mile and One-Eighth Handicap at Detroit Racecourse.

1994 — Lori McNeil upsets five-time champion Steffi Graf 7-5, 7-6 (7-5) in the first round of Wimbledon. Graf becomes the first reigning women’s champion to lose in the first round.

1997 — The New York Liberty beat the Sparks 67-57 in the WNBA’s inaugural game. A crowd of 14,284 attends the game at the Great Western Forum in Inglewood.

2003 — Lennox Lewis retains his heavyweight title when a cut stops Vitali Klitschko after six brawling rounds. All three ringside judges had Klitschko winning 58-56, but ring doctor Paul Wallace orders referee Lou Moret to stop the fight.

2005 — French Open winner Justine Henin-Hardenne loses in the first round at Wimbledon. The Belgian becomes the first Roland Garros women’s champion since 1962 to lose her opening match at Wimbledon when she’s beaten by Eleni Daniilidou of Greece, 7-6 (8), 2-6, 7-5.

2012 — Miami’s LeBron James caps his title bid with 26 points, 13 assists and 11 rebounds, Chris Bosh adds 23 points, Dwyane Wade scores 20 points and the Heat finish off the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game 5 of the NBA Finals, winning 121-106.

2015 — Jordan Spieth becomes the sixth player to win the Masters and the U.S. Open after Dustin Johnson three-putts from 12 feet on the final hole at Chambers Bay with a chance to win the championship himself. The 21-year-old Spieth becomes the youngest player to win two majors since Gene Sarazen in 1922 and was the youngest U.S. Open champion since Bobby Jones in 1923.

And finally

Lee Trevino triumphs at the 1971 U.S. Open. 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.


Advertisement