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The Sports Report: Suns go up 2-0 on Clippers

Reggie Jackson shoots between Jae Crowder, left, and E'Twaun Moore during the first half.
Reggie Jackson shoots between Jae Crowder, left, and E’Twaun Moore during the first half.
(Associated Press)

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

Andrew Greif on the Clippers: Blood ran down the nose of Devin Booker. More pooled in the fabric of Patrick Beverley’s jersey.

The guards’ head-to-head collision, accidental yet perhaps inevitable during a chippy second game of these Western Conference finals, opened not only wounds but also opportunity for the Clippers, who badly needed one. Trailing by seven with 14 minutes remaining Tuesday and an offense that had sputtered at best, they watched as Booker and Beverley both retreated to their locker rooms, the Suns temporarily deprived of their most talented scorer.

Devin Booker dribbles against Patrick Beverley during the first half.
(Associated Press)
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Booker emerged from underneath Phoenix Suns Arena more than three minutes later, having received two stitches on the bridge of his nose and a standing ovation. When Beverley returned with a headband covering the spot on his forehead where he held gauze minutes earlier, the two resumed the one-on-one confrontation that had defined so much of this 104-103 Suns victory.

For two hours, Beverley — in his first start since Game 2 of the first round — pestered Booker over screens and through the paint, turning what Booker hoped to be an encore to his victorious Game-1, triple-double masterpiece into a war of attrition. It was Beverley who threw his head back with 66 seconds remaining, selling an offensive foul on Booker to give the Clippers the ball and a chance to tie while trailing 100-97, a possession they used to trim their deficit to just one.

After Paul George and Booker traded baskets and the lead on three consecutive possessions, it was Beverley who poked Booker’s dribble away out of bounds in front of Phoenix’s bench and frantically called for a video review — a call overturned to become Clippers’ ball with just 9 seconds to play and the Clippers leading by one.

When George missed two free throws with 7.8 seconds left, he shook his head in the ensuing timeout, setting the stage in the only appropriate way for a final defensive stand.

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NCAA

J. Brady McCollough on college athletics: College athletes in California who are hoping to profit from the use of their name, image and likeness have a new date they can circle on their calendars:

Sen. Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley), who authored the historic Fair Pay to Play Act, which carried with it an effective date of Jan. 1, 2023, has introduced a fresh bill to speed up the start of college sports’ new era in California. She told The Times on Tuesday that if all goes according to plan moving Senate Bill 26 through the state Legislature, it should reach the hands of Gov. Gavin Newsom by August — just in time for athletes to begin cashing in Sept. 1.

In fall 2019, California became the first state to pass a law prohibiting college athletes from being punished for using their NIL rights in endorsement deals, social media influencing and the like. But since then, dozens of other states have followed with their own legislation. At least six are scheduled to go into effect July 1, leaving California college athletes behind and potentially putting California schools at a competitive disadvantage.

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The College Football Playoff took another significant step toward expanding from four teams to 12 Tuesday as the CFP board of managers authorized a “summer review phase that will engage other important voices in this matter,” including bowl partners such as the Rose Bowl and broadcast partner ESPN.

“The four-team playoff has been a great success and I’m confident it will remain a success,” said Mississippi State President Mark Keenum, the chairman of the CFP board of managers, a collection of university presidents. “Nevertheless, it is our responsibility to explore options to make it even better by increasing the number of schools that participate in it.”

The CFP management committee, made up of the Football Bowl Subdivision conference commissioners, also will engage campuses this summer, soliciting feedback from athletes, coaches, athletic directors and presidents and chancellors.

“I caution observers of our process not to rush to conclusions about what this board may decide,” Keenum said in a statement. “The working group has presented us a thorough and thoughtful proposal. There is more work to do, more listening to do and more information needed before we can make a decision. We look forward to hearing more and learning more in time for our next meeting in September.”

DODGERS

Jorge Castillo on the Dodgers: It took until the eighth inning of their 3-2 loss Tuesday night, 17 innings into their marquee three-game series against San Diego, for the Dodgers to apply pressure to the Padres’ pitching staff.

Chris Taylor singled, Justin Turner walked and Albert Pujols singled to load the bases with no outs. The Dodgers fans at Petco Park sensed the moment. A “Let’s Go Dodgers!” chant echoed. It was time. But the rally never came to fruition.

Will Smith hit a ground ball to third baseman Manny Machado, who turned a crafty double play by getting Turner to step out of the base line before firing to second base as Taylor scored the Dodgers’ first run. Padres manager Jayce Tingler then summoned Mason Thompson to face Max Muncy in his major league debut. Muncy walked before AJ Pollock grounded into a fielder’s choice to squash the threat.

Austin Barnes clubbed a pinch-hit solo home run in the ninth inning, but that was all the Dodgers (44-29) mustered as their sporadic offense fell short again. A night after tallying two runs on three hits, left-hander Blake Snell held the Dodgers scoreless over five innings in his third start against them this season. They finished went two for eight with runners in scoring position and left 10 runners on base.

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Did the Supreme Court hint at trouble for MLB’s antitrust exemption?

ANGELS

Jack Harris on the Angels: By the end of the second inning Tuesday night, the Angels were well on their way to a 5-0 defeat against the San Francisco Giants.

They’d already suffered another loss, too.

Left fielder Justin Upton exited the game with low back tightness, leaving after striking out in the bottom of the second.

Angels manager Joe Maddon said postgame that the team wouldn’t know more about the severity of Upton’s injury until Wednesday. His status could affect whether or not Shohei Ohtani also hits during his pitching start on Wednesday.

“We’ll wait to see how he feels when he wakes up,” Maddon said of Upton. “You sleep and sometimes it gets tighter, sometimes it loosens up.”

NBA PLAYOFFS SCHEDULE/RESULTS

All times Pacific

WESTERN CONFERENCE FINALS

No. 2 Phoenix vs. No. 4 Clippers
Phoenix 120, Clippers 114
Phoenix 104, Clippers 103
Thursday: at Clippers, 6 p.m., ESPN
Saturday: at Clippers, 6 p.m., ESPN
*Monday: 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 FINALS

No. 3 Milwaukee vs. No. 5 Atlanta
Today: at Milwaukee, 5:30 p.m., TNT
Friday: at Milwaukee, 5:30 p.m., TNT
Sunday: at Atlanta, 5:30 p.m., TNT
Tuesday: 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
Montreal 4, Vegas 1
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
Tampa Bay 8, New York 0
Today: at New York, 5 p.m., NBCSN
*Friday: at Tampa Bay, 5 p.m., NBCSN

*-if necessary

THIS DATE IN SPORTS

1917 — In baseball’s greatest relief effort, Ernie Shore of the Boston Red Sox retires 26 batters for a 4-0 victory over Washington. Shore relieves Babe Ruth with nobody out and a man on first, who was cut down stealing.

1917 — Molla Bjurstedt win the women’s U.S. Lawn Tennis Assn. title for the third straight year with a 4-6, 6-0, 6-2 victory over Marion Vanderhoef.

1922 — Walter Hagen becomes the first native-born American to win the British Open. Hagen shoots a 300 to beat Jim Barness and George Duncan by one stroke at Royal St. George’s Golf Club.

1939 — Former football great Bronko Nagurski beats Lou Thesz to win the National Wrestling Association World Heavyweight title in at the Coliseum in Houston. Thesz was largely considered the greatest wrestler of all time. Houston Mayor Holcombe reportedly presents Bronko with a $10,000 diamond studded belt.

1963 — Julius Boros wins a three-way playoff to take the U.S. Open. Boros beats Jacky Cupit by three strokes and Arnold Palmer by six.

1972 — President Nixon signs the Higher Education Act of 1972. Title IX of this congressional act bars sex bias in athletics and other activities at colleges receiving federal assistance.

1974 — Sandra Haynie wins the LPGA championship by two strokes over JoAnne Carner.

1985 — Laffit Pincay Jr. rides Greinton to a 1 3/4-length victory over Precisionist in the Hollywood Gold Cup, to join Willie Shoemaker as the only jockeys in history to surpass $100 million in purse earnings.

1991 — A Mazda becomes the first Japanese car to win the Le Mans 24 hours race, overtaking a Mercedes in the last three hours. Bertrand Gachot of Belgium, Johnny Herbert of Britain and Volker Weidler of Germany are the winning drivers of the rotary-powered Mazda.

1996 — Michael Johnson breaks the world record in the 200 meters, running 19.66 seconds at the U.S. track and field trials in Atlanta. The previous mark of 19.72 was set by Italy’s Pietro Mennea in 1979 in Mexico City.

1999 — The Hockey Hall of Fame waives the usual three-year waiting period and announces that Wayne Gretzky will be part of the Class of 1999.

2001 — Ilya Kovalchuk is the first player born in Russia to be taken with the No. 1 pick in the NHL draft when he’s selected by the Atlanta Thrashers.

2005 — Tim Duncan comes up huge in the second half and is chosen finals MVP and Manu Ginobili has another breakthrough performance to lead the San Antonio Spurs past the Detroit Pistons 81-74 in Game 7 of the NBA Finals.

2013 — Courtney Force claims a Funny Car victory against her father at the Auto-Plus NHRA New England Nationals. In their first final-round matchup, Courtney Force earns her second victory of the year and third in her career. She improves to 4-2 against her father, John Force, a 15-time Funny Car world champion.

2015 — The NHL’s Board of Governors approve the proposed 3-on-3 overtime change.

And finally

Michael Johnson breaks the 200-meter record. 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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