The Sports Report: Five things to watch for as the Lakers’ season begins

LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony and Anthony Davis during an exhibition game.
(Associated Press)

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

Dan Woike on the Lakers: Here are the five biggest story lines for the Lakers this season:


1. Will Russell Westbrook fit in with Anthony Davis and LeBron James?

It was the biggest news of their offseason, the team pulling off a draft-day shocker by dealing for Westbrook while sending out key role players and longtime Lakers — Kyle Kuzma and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope — in a wide-ranging trade that ended up including Montrezl Harrell. It set the Lakers on a path to a huge roster overhaul, a gamble any time but more so considering James’ aging legs and closing window.

Immediately, the move had league sources buzzing about potential “fit” problems — two players in James and Westbrook who are relentless attackers but substandard floor-spacers. Scouts doubted that either could find a way to contribute by playing off the ball while the other dominated possessions.

The preseason provided limited clues to how it will work, save for maybe the most important one — that Westbrook, James and Anthony Davis are all committed to figuring out the right sharing model. From coaches who have witnessed it to players who have participated in it, buy-in is the most important part to figuring things out.

Read the rest of the list by clicking here.




No., Player, Pos., Ht., Wt., Yr., School/Country

7, Carmelo Anthony, F 6-7, 238, 19, Syracuse

1, Trevor Ariza, F, 6-8, 215, 18, UCLA

9, Kent Bazemore, G-F, 6-4, 195, 10, Old Dominion

20, Avery Bradley, G, 6-3, 180, 12, Texas

3, Anthony Davis, F-C, 6-10, 253, 10, Kentucky

2, Wayne Ellington, G, 6-4, 207, 13, North Carolina

5, Talen Horton-Tucker, G, 6-4, 234, 3, Iowa State

39, Dwight Howard, C, 6-10, 265, 18, SW Atlanta Christian HS

6, LeBron James, F, 6-9, 250, 19, St. Mary’s-St. Vincent HS

10, DeAndre Jordan, C, 6-11, 265, 14, Texas A&M

11, Malik Monk, G, 6-3, 200, 5, Kentucky,

12, Kendrick Nunn, G, 6-2, 190, 3, Oakland

15, Austin Reaves, G, 6-5, 197, R, Oklahoma

4, Rajon Rondo, G, 6-1, 180, 16, Kentucky

0, Russell Westbrook, G, 6-3, 200, 14, UCLA

45, Sekou Doumbouya, F, 6-8, 230, 3, France

Coach: Frank Vogel

Assistants: David Fizdale, Phil Handy, Mike Penberthy, Miles Simon, Quinton Crawford, John Lucas III

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Andrew Greif on the Clippers: Here are five storylines to watch as the Clippers open the season on Thursday:

1. When, or will, Kawhi Leonard play this season?

The All-NBA forward wants to play. He said as much in September when he revealed that his hope to play this season, following the recovery from a partially torn ACL in his right knee, led him in part to sign a long-term contract with the Clippers.

Surgeons and trainers experienced in such recoveries contend that though quicker recoveries are not uncommon, players typically are ready to return anywhere from nine months to one year, a timetable whose early end following a July surgery would fall right as the postseason begins. That’s a demanding transition to get acclimated for playoff basketball, even for someone of Leonard’s caliber. Of course, any such discussion comes with a caveat as big as Leonard’s pair of Finals MVP trophies: His injury history suggests he will operate on his timeline alone.

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No., Player, Pos., Ht., Wt., Yr., School/Country

33, Nicolas Batum, F, 6-8, 230, 14, France

5, Eric Bledsoe, G, 6-1, 214, 12, Kentucky

4, Brandon Boston Jr., G, 6-6, 188, R, Kentucky

7, Amir Coffey, G-F, 6-7, 210, 3, Minnesota

13, Paul George, F, 6-8, 220, 12, Fresno State

55, Isaiah Hartenstein, C, 7-0, 250, 4, Germany

9, Serge Ibaka, F-C, 6-10, 235, 13, Republic of the Congo

1, Reggie Jackson, G, 6-2, 208, 11, Boston College

45, Keon Johnson, G, 6-4, 185, R, Tennessee

5, Luke Kennard, G, 6-5, 206, 5, Duke

2, Kawhi Leonard, F, 6-7, 225, 11, San Diego State

14, Terance Mann, G-F, 6-5, 215, 3, Florida State

8, Marcus Morris Sr., F, 6-8, 218, 11, Kansas

17, Jason Preston, G, 6-3, 181, R, Ohio

0, Jay Scrubb, G, 6-5, 220, 2, Logan

7, Justise Winslow, F, 6-6, 222, 7, Duke

40, Ivica Zubac, C, 7-0, 240, 6, Croatia

Coach: Tyronn Lue

Assistants: Dan Craig, Jeremy Castleberry, Larry Drew, Shaun Fein, Jay Larranaga, Brendan O’Connor, Brian Shaw


NBA’s 75th season: 5 storylines to follow as games begin Tuesday


Jorge Castillo on the Dodgers: The Dodgers last week concluded one of the most thrilling five-game series in Major League Baseball history against their bitter rivals in a winner-take-all clash Thursday night in San Francisco, hopped on a cross-country flight to Atlanta on Friday and dug themselves a hole over the weekend.

When the whirlwind was over, after they fell behind 0-2 to the Atlanta Braves in the National League Championship Series for the second straight year on two walk-off losses, it was obvious: The Dodgers were sapped. Max Scherzer admitted his arm was “dead” in his start Sunday after closing Thursday. Justin Turner was held out of the lineup with a neck injury. Chris Taylor said he couldn’t wait to return home.

The Dodgers wouldn’t publicly acknowledge the possibility of a letdown after outlasting the San Francisco Giants in the NLDS. But all signs indicated the team was running on empty by the end of the weekend.

“It’s everything,” Taylor said after Game 2. “Physically and mentally draining. These games, they’re four or five hours long and the level of focus is a little bit different than a regular season game. It’s definitely exhausting, but that’s what you expect. Everyone on this team has experience with it.”

The Dodgers touched down in Los Angeles early Monday morning. Just a few players reported to Dodger Stadium in the afternoon for treatment and workouts. Most stayed away, taking the day to refresh their baseball palate before Game 3 on Tuesday when Walker Buehler takes the mound to play stopper against a club that was swept in three games at Dodger Stadium to begin September.


Five things the Dodgers need to climb out of 2-0 hole against Braves in NLCS


Ben Bolch on the Bruins: UCLA’s men’s basketball team will open the season ranked No. 2 in the country by Associated Press, the Bruins’ highest preseason ranking since the 2007-08 season.

They may not have to wait long for a chance to take over the top spot.

UCLA is scheduled to face top-ranked Gonzaga on Nov. 23 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. It’s a rematch of last season’s epic national semifinal that the Bulldogs won on a banked 40-footer at the buzzer.

Of course, UCLA must navigate a difficult early schedule to remain unbeaten by then. The Bruins will face No. 4 Villanova on Nov. 12 at Pauley Pavilion in their second game of the season.

Oregon was No. 13 in the preseason rankings released Monday, becoming the only other Pac-12 Conference team to make an appearance. USC, Arizona and Colorado were among the other teams receiving votes.


Washington State fired football coach Nick Rolovich on Monday for refusing a state mandate that all employees get vaccinated against COVID-19, a person familiar with the decision told The Associated Press.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, a Democrat, had set a deadline of Monday for thousands of state employees, including the Cougars’ coach, to be vaccinated against the coronavirus or risk losing their jobs. Rolovich applied for a religious exemption.

The 42-year-old Rolovich was the highest-paid state employee with an annual salary of more than $3 million in a contract that runs through 2025. He had said he wouldn’t get vaccinated but wouldn’t specify his reasons. He was the only unvaccinated head coach in the Pac-12 and had worn a mask during games.


The NHL has suspended San Jose Sharks forward Evander Kane for 21 games for submitting a fake COVID-19 vaccination card.

The league on Monday announced the suspension without pay and said Kane will not be eligible to play until Nov. 30 at New Jersey. Kane will forfeit about $1.68 million of his $7 million salary for this season with the money going to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.

The league also announced that a concurrent investigation into allegations of sexual and physical abuse made against Kane by his estranged wife, Anna, could not be substantiated.

“I would like to apologize to my teammates, the San Jose Sharks organization, and all Sharks fans for violating the NHL COVID protocols,“ Kane said in a statement. “I made a mistake, one I sincerely regret and take responsibility for. During my suspension, I will continue to participate in counseling to help me make better decisions in the future. When my suspension is over, I plan to return to the ice with great effort, determination, and love for the game of hockey.”


1940 — Alabama snaps Tennessee’s defensive scoreless streak of 71 quarters but still loses 27-12. Tennessee hadn’t allowed a point since Oct. 29, 1938, when it beat LSU 14-6.

1957 — Maurice Richard of the Montreal Canadians scores his 500th career goal in a 3-1 victory over the Chicago Black Hawks.

1960 — After 13 years in Minneapolis, the Lakers opened their inaugural season in Los Angeles with a 140-123 loss at Cincinnati.

1985 — Robbie Bosco of Brigham Young passes for 585 yards in a 45-23 victory over New Mexico.

1985 — Dale Klein of Nebraska ties an NCAA record with seven field goals in a 28-20 victory over Missouri.

1986 — Lloyd Burruss of Kansas City intercepts three passes and returns two for touchdowns to lead the Chiefs to a 42-21 victory over the San Diego Chargers.

1994 — Duke beats North Carolina 3-2 in women’s soccer to end the Tar Heels’ unbeaten streak of 101 games.

1997 — Pittsburgh goaltender Tom Barrasso makes 22 saves to earn his 300th victory with a 4-1 win over Florida. Barrasso becomes the first American-born goaltender and 13th overall to record 300 wins.

2002 — Avon Cobourne becomes the fifth Division I-A rusher with four 1,000-yard seasons as West Virginia beats Syracuse 34-7. Cobourne has 108 yards in the game for 1,002 yards this season.

2012 — The National Hockey League announces the cancellation of the 2012-13 regular-season schedule through November 1. A total of 135 regular-season games are now lost from Oct. 11 through Nov. 1.

2014 — Peyton Manning breaks Brett Favre’s NFL record of 508 touchdown career passes and he throws four TD passes in Denver’s 42-17 victory over the San Francisco 49ers. The record-breaker was an 8-yarder to Demaryius Thomas with 3:09 left in the first half. Manning reaches the milestone in his 246th regular-season game. Favre needed 302.

2014 — DeMarco Murray becomes the first running back in NFL history to start a season with seven straight 100-yard games in a 31-21 win over the New York Giants. Murray, with 128 yards and a touchdown, breaks Hall of Famer Jim Brown’s 56-year-old record.

Supplied by the Associated Press

And finally

Hank Aaron vs. Duke Snider on “Home Run Derby.” Watch and listen here.

Until next time...

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