The Sports Report: Clippers get their first win of the season

Reggie Jackson scores past Anfernee Simons, left, and Cody Zeller during the first half.
(Associated Press)

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

Andrew Grief on the Clippers: When Chauncey Billups was poached from the Clippers’ staff last summer to coach in Portland, he inherited no small number of issues, from an unhappy superstar to last season’s second-worst defense.


His first months on the job delivered progress. The star, Damian Lillard, has since said he isn’t leaving the only franchise he has played for. And early returns suggest the defense is a work in progress. Instead on Monday, in his third game as a coach, a different problem altogether awaited Billups — one he’d had a hand in creating.

Last season, he and assistant Roy Rogers were on a Clippers staff whose defensive strategy to trap Lillard relentlessly helped hold a player voted one of the NBA’s best 75 of all time to 17% shooting, including only 7% on three-pointers, in two games — five made baskets in total. It was Lillard’s lowest offensive rating against any opponent last season.

And here began the “chess match,” as Billups called it before tipoff against the Clippers at Staples Center.

Monday was their first matchup as coaches. Lue acknowledged it had been “different” preparing for a coach who knew the inside of his mind like Billups, likening it to his first game coaching against his own mentor and friend, Doc Rivers.

What happened was another problem for Billups to fix, another brutal offensive outing for Lillard, and a win that is the Clippers’ first this season, a 116-86 rout so thorough that reserves played nearly all the fourth quarter.

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Gary Klein on the Rams: Ten days ago, Rams coach Sean McVay cautioned that the team was unlikely to make any “big splash moves” before the Nov. 2 NFL trade deadline.

But he added, “I would never say never.”

The possibility of a move, headline-grabbing or otherwise, became more of a possibility Monday when the Rams traded starting inside linebacker Kenny Young and a 2024 seventh-round draft pick to the Denver Broncos for a 2024 sixth-round pick.

On its face, the deal was surprising.

Heading into Sunday’s game against the Houston Texans, the Rams are 6-1 and regarded as contenders to play in Super Bowl LVI at SoFi Stadium. Young has been a mainstay on defense for two seasons.

He is in the last year of a contract that is costing the Rams $2.2 million this season, and inside linebacker is not a position that general manager Les Snead heavily invests in. The Rams were unlikely to re-sign Young. Had he left as a free agent, the Rams would get nothing in return.

Does it portend another trade-deadline move?

“It does give us some flexibility,” McVay said. “Whether or not that means that any major, big moves are imminent for us, that’s not something that I can really speak on.”


Ben Bolch on the Bruins: UCLA lost to Oregon by three points — or did it?

Chip Kelly said Monday kicker Nicholas Barr-Mira’s 35-yard field goal that was ruled wide left in the second quarter appeared to have gone through the uprights after he watched replays of the kick.

“You ask Nick,” Kelly said of a miss that proved pivotal in a game the Ducks won 34-31 on Saturday at the Rose Bowl, “Nick still thinks it was good, but it was ruled differently.”

What did Kelly see on the replays he watched after the game?

“I agree with Nick,” he said.

Could Kelly take it up with the Pac-12 Conference?

“Game’s over,” Kelly said. “Nothing to take up, right?”

What about a formal apology from conference officials?

“We’re not really into that,” Kelly said.

A Pac-12 spokesman said the conference had no comment on the situation.


UCLA’s Dorian Thompson-Robinson doesn’t throw at practice two days after injury


J. Brady McCollough on the Trojans: When Carson Palmer speaks, Trojans everywhere listen. He is not fellow USC Heisman Trophy winner Matt Leinart, who is freewheeling with his opinions and armed with a Fox microphone every Saturday morning and notoriously eager Twitter trigger fingers.

So Palmer’s comments on the “Dan Patrick Show” on Monday — that he is “as involved as they’ll let me be” in finding USC its next head coach, that Steelers coach Mike Tomlin is a “wild-card” candidate — became immediately amplified amid the ongoing quiet of this search that just began its seventh week.

If you’re the average USC fan, bored of waiting for concrete news on the search and hiding your eyes from the train wreck 2021 Trojans, it would be easy to convince yourself of Palmer’s trustworthiness. He isn’t known for just saying stuff, so there must be something to it, right?

Asked by Patrick whether Tomlin’s name has been discussed, Palmer said, “I’m sure he has. I think anybody is a potential candidate right now. And that’s what’s so great about the job, is it can lure an NFL guy that’s tired of their current situation and worried about, ‘Is Ben Roethlisberger gone? Is he done? Who are we going to draft?’ Does Mike Tomlin have to start over with a first-round, young rookie quarterback? … Everything is on the table with that job being so big and so coveted.”

Then Palmer asked Patrick whether this was the first he had heard of a Tomlin-USC pairing.

“Yeah,” Patrick said.

“Uh oh,” Palmer said. “Oops.”


John Cherwa on horse racing: Bob Baffert is not only the most recognizable trainer in horse racing, he’s also the most scrutinized. As a condition of being allowed to run his horses in the Breeders’ Cup at Del Mar on Nov. 5-6, he has agreed to unprecedented screening, observation and testing, including security officers with body cams and abandoning usual withdrawal times for legal medications.

The move by the Breeders’ Cup comes in the wake of five medication violations in a year’s time, two of which were dismissed as being the result of contamination and one in which Baffert hasn’t been charged.

It’s the one in which charges haven’t been filed that has put Baffert in the crosshairs of two of the three big horse racing track operators, Churchill Downs Inc. and the New York Racing Assn.

Medina Spirit, the conditional winner of this year’s Kentucky Derby and scheduled to run in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, tested positive for betamethasone after running in the Derby. It’s a legal anti-inflammatory, but not legal on race day. Baffert contends that the colt was administered the medication in an ointment to treat a rash. The more common use of betamethasone is administered by intra-articular injection.

Baffert has accepted the security measures imposed by the Breeders’ Cup.

“We are happy to accommodate the transparency,” Baffert told The Times on Sunday. “We will care for our horses as we always do and any testing or observation is welcomed.”


Vladimir Tarasenko scored two goals and Ville Husso recorded his second career shutout as the St. Louis Blues remained undefeated in five games with a 3-0 victory over the Kings.

The Blues are off to a 5-0 start for the first time in franchise history. The Kings haven’t won since their season opener.

Kings goalie Jonathan Quick had 32 saves in falling to 12-16-3 lifetime against St. Louis.


All times Pacific

Game 1: Tonight, Atlanta (Charlie Morton) at Houston (Framber Valdez), 5 p.m., Fox, ESPN Radio
Game 2: Wed., Atlanta at Houston, 5 p.m., Fox, ESPN Radio
Game 3: Friday, Houston at Atlanta, 5 p.m., Fox, ESPN Radio
Game 4: Saturday, Houston at Atlanta, 5 p.m., Fox, ESPN Radio
Game 5*: Sunday, Houston at Atlanta, 5 p.m., Fox, ESPN Radio
Game 6*: Tuesday, Nov. 2, Atlanta at Houston, 5 p.m., Fox, ESPN Radio
Game 7*: Wed., Nov. 3, Atlanta at Houston, 5 p.m., Fox, ESPN Radio

*-if necessary


1907 — Jim Thorpe makes his Carlisle (Pa.) debut dazzling a crowd of 22,800 in a 26-6 defeat of No. 4 Penn at Philadelphia’s Franklin Field. Thorpe rushes, returns kicks and does all the kicking in putting on a one-man show.

1951 — Joe Louis loses his last fight, an eighth-round TKO to Rocky Marciano at New York’s Madison Square Garden. Marciano knocks Louis down with a left hook in the eighth round. Louis gets to one knee at the count of three and takes an eight-count before getting up. Marciano ends the fight with a right that sends Louis through the ropes and onto the ring apron. Louis’ career record is 66-3 with 52 knockouts.

1968 — Brooks Dawson of Texas-El Paso completes 17 of 24 passes for 304 yards in the final 10:21 of the fourth quarter as the Miners beat Brigham Young 31-25.

1968 — Boxer George Foreman beats Ionas Chepulis of the Soviet Union for the gold medal in the heavyweight division at the Mexico Olympic Games.

1970 — Muhammad Ali returns to the ring after a 2 1/2-year layoff, due to his refusal to be drafted into the United States Army. Fighting in Atlanta, Ali opened a cut over Jerry Quarry’s left eye with a right hand in the third round, causing the fight to be stopped before the start of the fourth round.

1980 — The St. Louis Cardinals sack quarterback Baltimore quarterback Bert Jones 12 times in a 17-10 victory.

1990 — Wayne Gretzky becomes the NHL first player to reach the 2,000-point plateau when he helps set up a goal by Tomas Sandstrom at 14:32 of the first period of the Kings’ game at Winnipeg.

2000 — The New York Yankees become the first team in more than a quarter-century to win three straight World Series championships, beating the New York Mets 4-2. The Yankees match the Oakland Athletics’ three in a row from 1972-74, and win their fourth title in five years.

2002 — Volponi, a 43-1 long shot, finds room along the rail and blows past the fading Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner War Emblem to take the Breeders’ Cup Classic by 6½ lengths ahead of Medaglia d’Oro.

2006 — Ryan Miller stops 29 shots as Buffalo beats the New York Islanders 3-0 to win its 10th straight game. The win matches the best start in NHL history, tying the 1993-94 Toronto Maple Leafs.

2012 — The NHL cancels all its games through the end of November because of the labor dispute between owners and players.

2013 — Octavias McKoy runs for 455 yards, setting an NCAA record for all-divisions, as Division III Western Connecticut State beats Worcester State 55-35. McKoy scores five touchdowns in the game and breaks the rushing record previously held by Dante Brown of Marietta College. Brown ran for 441 on Oct. 5, 1996 against Baldwin-Wallace.

2014 — Serena Williams wins the WTA Tour Finals for the third straight year and fifth time overall, beating Simona Halep 6-3, 6-0. Williams joins Martina Navratilova and Steffi Graf as the only players to have won five titles in the season-ending championship.

2014 — Ben Roethlisberger is 40 for 49 for 522 yards and six touchdown passes in Pittsburgh’s 51-34 win over Indianapolis. Roethlisberger became the first player in NFL history with two 500-yard passing games — 503 yards vs. Green Bay on Dec. 20, 2009.

2014 — Abby Wambach scores four goals and the World Cup-bound United States beat Costa Rica 6-0 for its fifth CONCACAF Women’s Championship title.

Supplied by the Associated Press

And finally

Wayne Gretzky gets his 2.000th career point. Watch and listen here.

Until next time...

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