Advertisement
Share

The Sports Report: Another comeback victory for the Clippers

Luke Kennard puts up a shot between Orlando Magic guard Terrence Ross, left, and center Moritz Wagner.
Luke Kennard puts up a shot between Orlando Magic guard Terrence Ross, left, and center Moritz Wagner.
(Phelan M. Ebenhack / Associated Press)

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

Broderick Turner on the Clippers: Of course, the Clippers got down by double digits — again.

And, of course, the Clippers climbed out of that hole — again.

Because that’s what these Clippers do.

This time, however, they didn’t wait until the second half to put together a furious rally

Advertisement

The Clippers rallied from a 14-point deficit before the first half was over to take a one-point lead at the intermission and then finished off the game with a 111-102 win over the Orlando Magic at Amway Center on Wednesday night in Orlando, Fla.

A night earlier, the Clippers made history, coming back from a 35-point deficit against the Washington Wizards. It was the largest comeback in franchise history and tied for the second largest in the NBA since 1996, when the league began recording play-by-play statistics.

That it was the second game of a back-to-back for the Clippers against a Magic team with the worst record (9-40) in the league only reenforced to them this was a must-win game, pulling the team back to .500 (25-25) for the first time since Jan. 11.

————

Clippers’ string of incredible comebacks has a lot to do with Tyronn Lue

Enjoying this newsletter? Consider subscribing to the Los Angeles Times

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

RAMS

Gary Klein on the Rams: He was already an eight-time Pro Bowl player, a Super Bowl MVP and a future Hall of Famer.

But Rams linebacker Von Miller found newfound inspiration a few years ago when he read, “The Mamba Mentality: How I Play,” the late Kobe Bryant’s 2018 book about his process and perspective.

On Wednesday, the two-year anniversary of Bryant’s death, Miller paid homage to the Lakers star. He said that reading Bryant’s book and viewing documentaries about the five-time NBA champion helped him hone and appreciate his own craft.

“I realized that I wasn’t doing all that I possibly could to be the best,” Miller said during a video conference with reporters. “I thought I was … but I wasn’t committing all of me to the game. But after seeing the way Kobe did, and you see what came from it, I realized I wasn’t doing what Kobe was doing to be the best.”

Miller, acquired by the Rams in a trade-deadline deal with the Denver Broncos, was in top form last Sunday in a divisional-round victory over the defending Super Bowl-champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers that advanced the Rams to the NFC championship game against the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday at SoFi Stadium.

————

Super Bowl LVI combinations: Breaking down the four potential matchups

NFL PLAYOFFS SCHEDULE

All times Pacific

Conference championships

Sunday

Cincinnati at Kansas City, Noon, CBS, Chiefs favored by 7
San Francisco at Rams, 3:30 p.m., Fox, Rams by 3 1/2

Note: Super Bowl is Sunday, Feb. 13 at 3:30 p.m. on NBC.

LAKERS

Dan Woike on the Lakers: Anthony Davis’ neon sneakers were greener than a traffic light, the first play in his first game back drawn up to prove that he was ready to go.

After winning the opening tip Tuesday in Brooklyn, Davis caught the ball at the top and quickly pushed it to LeBron James on the wing. Setting a soft screen while James drove toward the paint, Davis rolled to the rim, where he hung and caught a lob with one-hand for a dunk for his first points in more than a month.

“Obviously,” James said, “right away you see what he’s capable of.”

Davis’ return to the Lakers’ lineup comes at a critical time, the star big man needing to prove that his presence can lift the Lakers out of the rut they’ve been stuck in. In just their 16th game together this season, James, Davis and Russell Westbrook provided the Lakers with the clearest glimpse of what could be — the first play showing that Davis’ place on the Lakers shouldn’t be where any sacrifices occur.

————

Lakers sign local product Stanley Johnson to a two-year contract

DUCKS

Auston Matthews scored the shootout winner and the Toronto Maple Leafs got three power-play goals in a 4-3 victory over the Ducks.

Mitch Marner, William Nylander and John Tavares all scored with the man advantage to give Toronto a two-goal lead in a mostly empty Scotiabank Arena because of COVID-19 restrictions.

But a late goal in the second period by Jakob Silfverberg and another from Ducks forward Vinni Lettieri with 6:37 remaining in the third sent the game to overtime.

Sam Steel also was credited with a fluky goal for Anaheim, which played without head coach Dallas Eakins, who was sidelined due to COVID-19. Assistant coach Mike Stothers ran the bench in his absence.

UCLA BASKETBALL

The women’s basketball team’s four-game winning streak ended, as No. 8 Arizona defeated them 74-63 at Pauley Pavilion. The loss was the Bruins’ (9-5, 4-2 Pac-12) first at home this season.

UCLA started the game on fire, moving out to a quick 10-0 lead in the first five minutes and led 19-8 after one. The Wildcats (15-2, 5-2) found their form in the second quarter, outscoring UCLA 28-14. Charisma Osborne led the Bruins, scoring a team-high 10 points, which included a pair of three-pointers. It was enough to maintain the UCLA lead heading into halftime, with the Bruins taking a slim 36-32 advantage into the intermission.

SOCCER

Kevin Baxter on soccer: This year’s World Cup will be one of the hottest in history, with the temperatures in Qatar expected to reach into the high 80s and the humidity regularly topping 70%.

So, naturally, the U.S. is preparing for that by playing some of the coldest World Cup qualifiers in history, beginning Thursday with a game against El Salvador at a frigid Lower.com Field. The temperature in Columbus peaked at 19 degrees Fahrenheit on Wednesday and the forecast Thursday calls for a chance of snow and 30 degrees at kickoff, one degree above the record for the coldest U.S. qualifier this century.

How cold is that? According to the U.S. Soccer Federation’s own index, the 21-degree wind chill is just outside the orange level, which presents a “risk of cold-related illness.”

And that won’t even be the chilliest game for the Americans in this three-match winter window. The game Sunday against Canada in Hamilton, about 40 miles southwest of Toronto, will start with the wind chill just above freezing — which represents a warming trend for the U.S. team — while the forecast for the game next Wednesday againstHonduras in St. Paul, Minn., calls for temperatures of 10 degrees with a wind chill near zero.

Under those conditions, which fall in the black alert level, U.S. Soccer Federation’s guidelines recommend games be canceled or moved indoors.

The U.S. players say they’re unconcerned.

“It’s cold, but we’re going to be ready for it,” attacker Christian Pulisic said of Thursday’s game. “We’ll be able to play.

WHO IS YOUR FAVORITE FOOTBALL PLAYER?

Beginning Monday and ending Feb. 14, a special bonus edition of the Sports Report will be delivered to your inbox every morning at 6 a.m., focusing on the Super Bowl, which will be played at SoFi Stadium on Sunday, Feb. 13. In the meantime, please send me in your favorite football player of all time, and why. Answers will be printed in the special Super Bowl newsletter each day right up until Super Bowl Sunday. Is your favorite player of all time a former Ram? Walter Payton? Jim Brown? Joe Namath? Whoever it is, email me at houston.mitchell@latimes.com and let me know. Include a couple of sentences explaining why that player is your favorite. It’s your chance to be read by the tens of thousands of people who subscribe.

Email me at houston.mitchell@latimes.com with your choice.

THIS DATE IN SPORTS

1937 — Tris Speaker and Cy Young are elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame.

1973 — UCLA, led by Bill Walton, sets an NCAA record for consecutive victories with its 61st win, an 82-63 victory over Notre Dame. UCLA breaks the record of 60 set by San Francisco in 1956. Walton scores 16 points, grabs 15 rebounds and blocks 10 shots.

1982 — Geoff Houston of the Cleveland Cavaliers hands out 27 assists, two short of the NBA record and scores 24 points in a 110-106 victory over the Golden State Warriors.

1991 — The New York Giants survive the closest Super Bowl ever when Scott Norwood’s 47-yard field goal attempt with 8 seconds left in the game goes wide. The Giants win their second Super Bowl in five years, 20-19 over the Buffalo Bills.

1993 — American Chad Rowan is awarded the highest rank in sumo wrestling, the ancient Japanese sport, making him the first foreign “yokozuna.” The 6-foot-8, 455-pounder from Honolulu, becomes the 64th person to hold the top rank in the sport’s history.

1996 — The U.S. Golf Assn. elects Judy Bell as the first female president in its 101-year history.

2001 — Jennifer Capriati upsets three-time winner Martina Hingis 6-4, 6-3 to win the Australian Open and her first Grand Slam tournament title.

2003 — Hermann Maier wins a World Cup super giant slalom in Kitzbuehel, Austria, a victory he ranks among his finest triumphs. The win comes 18 months after he almost loses his leg in a motorcycle crash.

2007 — Serena Williams wins her third Australian Open singles title, routing Maria Sharapova 6-1, 6-2. Unseeded and ranked 81st, Williams wins her eighth and most improbable Grand Slam. She is the second unseeded woman to win the Australian title in the Open era.

2008 — Novak Djokovic fends off unseeded Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 4-6, 6-4, 6-3, 7-6 (2) in the Australian Open final, earning his first Grand Slam title.

2008 — Eric Staal wins the most valuable player award in the NHL All-Star game, registering two goals and an assist in the East’s 8-7 win over the Western Conference. Staal helps set up Marc Savard’s winning goal with 20.9 seconds left.

2010 — Washington’s Gilbert Arenas and Javaris Crittenton are suspended without pay for the remainder of the season by NBA commissioner David Stern. Both players admit to bringing a gun or guns into the Wizards’ locker room — a violation of the collective bargaining agreement — after a dispute stemming from a card game on a team flight.

2011 — Roger Federer, the 16-time Grand Slam winner, is knocked out of the Australian Open by Novak Djokovic in a semifinal match, 7-6 (3), 7-5, 6-4. Federer’s loss marks the first time since 2003 that he wouldn’t hold any of the four major titles.

2013 — Novak Djokovic beats Andy Murray 6-7 (2), 7-6 (3), 6-3, 6-2 to become the first man in the Open era to win three consecutive Australian Open titles.

2013 — Little-known Max Aaron wins his first title at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships and helps knock down three-time men’s champion Jeremy Abbott to third place.

2013 — Speedskater Heather Richardson edges Canada’s Christine Nesbitt in the final women’s race to become the first American woman to win the World Sprint Championships since 2005.

2013 — The NFC blew past the AFC 62-35 in the Pro Bowl. Minnesota tight end Kyle Rudolph is voted the game’s MVP with five catches for 122 yards and a touchdown.

Supplied by the Associated Press

And finally

The Giants defeat the Bills to win Super Bowl XXV. Watch and listen 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