The Sports Report: Dodgers rout Braves in NLCS Game 5
Howdy, I’m your host, Houston Mitchell. Let’s get right to the news.
Bill Plaschke on the Dodgers: The Dodgers were deflated, decimated and desperate for one reason, any reason, to continue clutching to the fraying fringes of a season.
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Chris Taylor gave them three.
Second inning, fastball, boom. Fifth inning, sinker, boom. Seventh inning, change-up, boom.
Heard enough? The Atlanta Braves certainly have.
Seen enough? The Dodgers certainly did.
Hold the eulogy. Keep the lights on. Clear your weekend. This National League Championship Series lives.
Trailing three games to one and on the verge of elimination, the Dodgers used a historic three home runs by Taylor on Thursday night at Dodger Stadium to pound out an 11-2 victory and maybe tighten those Braves’ dark blue collars.
“C-T-Three! C-T-Three!” the crowd chanted.
Unsettled, the Braves looked.
“This is why you play the game. ... These are moments we’re going to look back on for the rest of our lives, and it’s pretty cool,” said Taylor afterward.
It’s also pretty legendary, as Taylor became the first player in major league history to hit three home runs in an elimination game, which led to the first curtain call of his career.
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Andrew Greif on the Clippers: Maybe he was exaggeratedly cooling off his hands. Maybe he was signaling fans for more noise. Both explanations worked for Stephen Curry as he stood along a baseline whipping his arms in circles, as even a crowd conditioned to years of his astonishing shooting displays slowly rose from the front row to the upper deck.
It was true that there was something that Curry did not do right in Thursday’s first quarter against the Clippers. He had one turnover. But by every other basketball standard, he was perfection in blue Under Armours for 12 minutes. He drew a foul within the game’s first 10 seconds. He created open space with pump-fakes, then finished with a swish. He drilled three-pointers off the dribble, from the corner and rolled in a fast-break layup — after first stripping Clippers star Paul George as he jumped for a three-point attempt on the other end.
Nine shots, nine makes and 25 points later, while his teammates bounced toward their sideline huddle with a 17-point lead after one quarter, Curry paused in front of the courtside seats to yell and wave his arms. In all, he would make his first 10 shots and the Clippers, facing a daunting deficit, found themselves starting a new season right where they finished their last one.
Curry could not be overcome, scoring seven points in the final 56 seconds of the fourth quarter to the chants of “M-V-P!” to seal a 115-113 Clippers loss in their season’s opener.
J. Brady McCollough on the Trojans: For a month after the firing of Clay Helton, the USC head coaching vacancy owned the conversation across college football. But hopefully athletic director Mike Bohn and Trojans fans didn’t get too comfortable hogging the attention — because now they’ve got competition. The serious kind.
Sunday, Louisiana State and Ed Orgeron, just two years removed from a magical march to a national championship, signed a separation agreement. Baton Rouge needs a new king, and it’s possible LSU athletic director Scott Woodward, known for swinging for the fences with hires, could be looking at some of the same candidates as USC.
In preparation for LSU coming open I spent last week assembling an informal panel of former coaches who have connections to Los Angeles and the West Coast to discuss the USC job, how it’s being viewed within the industry this time around, and the pluses and minuses of the position when compared to LSU and other coveted spots.
Without further ado, the panel: Rick Neuheisel, the former UCLA, Washington and Colorado coach who lives in L.A.; Jim Mora, the former UCLA coach who grew up in L.A. rooting for USC; Dave Wannstedt, the former Chicago Bears, Miami Dolphins and Pitt head coach who was an assistant at USC in the 1980s; and Mike Stoops, the former Arizona coach.
Gary Klein on the Rams: He still intends to send a message to Detroit Lions quarterback Jared Goff during Sunday’s game at SoFi Stadium, but Aaron Donald apparently could not wait until kickoff.
The Rams’ star defensive lineman exchanged texts this week with Goff.
“Just cracking jokes here and there,” Donald said Thursday after practice. “We going to do our job and get after him and try to have some success.”
Donald, the 13th player chosen in the 2014 draft, was a two-year veteran when the Rams selected Goff with the No. 1 pick in 2016. They were teammates for five seasons, high-profile players who helped the Rams win two straight NFC West titles and make a Super Bowl run.
After last season, the Rams traded Goff to the Lions for quarterback Matthew Stafford. So, for the first time, Donald will be chasing down Goff without worrying about hitting him.
Will that be weird?
“It ain’t going to be weird at all,” Donald said, chuckling. “I told him, ‘Get ready.’ I told him I’m going to be coming after him, so he knows what it is.
“I’m going to go out there, fly around try to make my plays when they present themselves. Hopefully I get to him a couple times.”
ANGEL CITY FC
Kevin Baxter on Angel City: Purchasing an ownership stake in a professional sports team is beyond the grasp of most fans. But that doesn’t mean you can’t pay some of a player’s salary.
Angel City FC, Southern California’s newest sports franchise, says it will divide 1% of net ticket revenue from each NWSL home game and pay bonuses to each player on the team. Because Angel City, which will begin play next spring at Banc of California Stadium, has sold more than 11,000 season tickets and has sold out its premium seats, the team estimates the “Fan-Fueled Player Fund” could mean several thousand additional dollars for many of the women on the roster.
Kyle Connor scored twice and added an assist with regular linemates Blake Wheeler and Mark Scheifele in COVID-19 protocol and the Winnipeg Jets beat the Ducks 5-1 for their first victory of the season.
Playing on a line with Pierre-Luc Dubois and Evgeny Svechnikov, Connor scored his first goal into an empty net with 2:49 left, then beat goalie John Gibson with 1:14 to go to cap the scoring.
Troy Terry scored for the Ducks, and Gibson made 22 saves.
“The shots were in our favor and we were creating offense, but that’s when we got lazy,” Terry said. “When you’re playing these teams in the NHL, if you take a shift off here or there, they’re going to make you pay. That’s our next step.”
Playing the third game of a four-game trip, the Ducks fell to 2-3-0.
THIS DATE IN SPORTS
1933 — Primo Carnera retains the world heavyweight title with a 15-round decision over Paolino Uzcudun in Rome.
1950 — The Rams beat the Baltimore Colts 70-27.
1961 — Erich Barnes of the New York Giants ties an NFL record by returning an interception 102 yards for a touchdown in a 17-16 loss to the Dallas Cowboys.
1975 — The 10-team World Football League, citing lack of television and season ticket support, disbands before the 12th week of a 20-week season.
1976 — Twin brothers Tom and Dick Van Arsdale play together in a game for the Phoenix Suns, becoming the first and only pair of brothers to play for the same NBA club.
1994 — Alcorn State’s Steve McNair becomes the NCAA’s career yardage leader with 15,049, surpassing the old mark set by Brigham Young’s Ty Detmer, who had 14,665. McNair’s 649 yards also breaks his own Division I-AA single-game record as he leads the Braves to a 41-37 win over Southern.
2000 — Bengals running back Corey Dillon rushes for an NFL single-game record 278 yards in a 31-21 victory over the Denver Broncos. Dillon betters Walter Payton’s 27-year-old mark by three yards.
2001 — New York routs Seattle 12-3 in Game 5 to win the AL pennant for the 38th time. The Yankees become the first team since their predecessors in 1960-64 to win four straight pennants.
2005 — Mount Union drops a regular-season game for the first time since 1994, losing 21-14 to Ohio Northern in a Division III matchup. The Purple Raiders, winners of 110 straight regular-season games, had not lost a regular-season game since they were beaten 23-10 by Baldwin-Wallace on Oct. 15, 1994.
2012 — Lance Armstrong is stripped of his seven Tour de France titles and banned for life by cycling’s governing body after a report from the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency that accuses him of leading a massive doping program on his teams.
2014 — Serena Williams is routed 6-0, 6-2 by Simona Halep in the WTA Finals round-robin, one of the most one-sided losses in the 18-time Grand Slam champion’s career. The last time Williams managed to win just two games in a WTA Tour or Grand Slam match was in 1998 when she was 16.
2016 — Kyle Hendricks outpitches Clayton Kershaw, Anthony Rizzo and Willson Contreras homers early and the Chicago Cubs won their first pennant since 1945, beating the Dodgers 5-0 in Game 6 of the NL Championship Series.
2016 — Baker Mayfield has seven touchdown passes and 545 yards to help No. 16 Oklahoma beat Texas Tech 66-59 in the game that breaks the NCAA record for combined offensive yards with 1,708 yards.
2016 — Leonard Fournette breaks LSU’s single-game rushing record on just his first eight carries as the No. 25 Tigers beat No. 23 Mississippi 38-21. Fournette finishes with 284 yards rushing in his first action since aggravating a left ankle injury on Sept. 24. He averages 17.8 yards on 16 carries and his touchdowns go for 78, 76 and 59 yards.
2017 — The Phoenix Suns fire coach Earl Watson just three games in to the NBA season.
Supplied by the Associated Press
Dodgers-Braves Game 5 highlights. Watch and listen here.
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