The Sports Report: LeBron James remains optimistic about Lakers’ chances

Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (6) during NBA action against Brooklyn Nets.
LeBron James
(Frank Franklin II / Associated Press)

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Broderick Turner on the Lakers: LeBron James sat in a chair after the Lakers practiced Monday, his left knee wrapped, his body feeling “pretty good” and nosetbacks after playing nearly 40 minutes Saturday in their overtime win over the New York Knicks.


James, who missed the previous five games with because of knee soreness, said “No” when asked if his knee had been drained of any fluid.

Though he had been out almost two weeks while recovering, James returned to play at the same high level he had displayed before getting injured. He posted a triple-double of 29 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists.

“Obviously yesterday was like around-the-clock treatment and as much rest as I can get,” James said. “And today will be the same thing. I feel pretty good today. Looking forward to seeing how I feel tomorrow and go from there.

“But I don’t think I had a setback, and I just want to continue to try to keep the treatment and rehab and things I’ve been doing over the last couple weeks to get me back on the floor. So, I’m gonna continue that over the next 24 hours.”

The Lakers (26-28) are in ninth place in the Western Conference, currently putting them in the play-in tournament. They just beat a Knicks team that’s five games below .500 and isn’t even in the Eastern Conference postseason picture.

Yet, James remains optimistic about who the Lakers are and have a chance to become.

“Yeah, I think it stems from some of the games that we’ve played, some of the quarters that we’ve had,” he said. “The film work that we put in, that we know we can catch a rhythm and we can play some really good ball. We also know that we can play some not-so-good ball as well. So, we’re hoping we can find a more consistent approach to how we approach the game, both from an offensive standpoint and a defensive standpoint, to put us in a position where we feel like we can make a run at this thing going down the stretch.


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Note: Our Olympics coverage is done in real time, so if you don’t want to know what happened before you watch TV today, skip down to the TV schedule.

Helene Elliott on figure skating: A shocking mistake by Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan cracked the door open for the end of his reign as two-time men’s Olympic figure skating champion. Nathan Chen barged through that door, blowing past Hanyu on Tuesday with a brilliant, world-record performance that put him in the lead after the short program, the first of two segments in the competition.

Hanyu touched off an audible gasp throughout Capital Indoor Stadium when he reduced his first planned jump, a quadruple salchow, to a single jump. His score of 95.15 left points on the table and gave hope to the challengers who for years had been stymied by his blend of technical wizardry and elegance. Chen, a three-time world champion and six-time U.S. champion, landed two quadruple jumps in his “La Boheme” program to earn 113.97 points, breaking Hanyu’s record short program score by more than two points. Dynamic Yuma Kagiyama of Japan was second (108.12), ahead of Japan’s Shoma Uno (105.90). Hanyu was eighth and faces a tough climb to medal contention in the free skate on Thursday.

Chen, who stumbled to a 17th-place ranking in the short program at the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics, pumped his fist in exultation at the end. He said before these Games that he had dreaded skating in Pyeonchang but was approaching the Beijing Games with joyful anticipation, and his new attitude lifted him to new heights.

Earlier, Victor Zhou, who contributed to a silver-medal performance for the U.S. in the team event, withdrew from the men’s competition after a confirmed positive test for the coronavirus. The men’s singles event starts Tuesday at Capital Indoor Stadium with the short program.


Zhou, 21, tested positive late on Sunday during a regular screening. Additional testing confirmed his status.


David Wharton on hockey: Though the Americans dominated the action for much of the afternoon, the Canadians finished their shots when it counted, earning a 4-2 victory at Wukesong Sports Center.

The turning point came late in the second period after the U.S. took a 2-1 lead on Alex Carpenter’s backhander. Canada stormed back with three consecutive goals, Marie-Philip Poulin’s penalty shot giving her team a two-goal cushion.

This matchup was really just a warmup, the final game in group play with both teams advancing. Given that one team or the other has won every gold medal since women’s hockey became an Olympic sport in 1998, there seems a good chance they will meet again.


Ryan Cochran-Siegle won the silver medal in the super-G on Tuesday at the Yanqing National Alpine Centre in an unexpected result after a slow start to the Winter Games for the U.S. men’s speed team.

Cochran-Siegle finished the “Rock” course in 1 minute, 19.98 seconds, 0.04 seconds behind Austria’s Matthias Mayer. The American raised his arms in triumph as he skidded to a stop and the scattered crowd gasped with surprise.


The medal for Cochran-Siegle, ranked 11th in the world in the event, came 50 years after his mother, Barbara Cochran, won a gold medal in the slalom at the Sapporo Olympics.


Eileen Gu, a California-born freestyle skier representing China in the Beijing Olympics, won her first of what could be three gold medals in a thrilling women’s final at Shougang Big Air. Entering the final run, Gu was in third but overtook Swiss star Mathilde Gremaud and French leader Tess Ledeux by throwing a double 1620, a skill she had never landed in competition or practice before.

In front of a stadium full of adoring fans, the 18-year-old stomped the trick and dropped to her knees in disbelief at the bottom of the ramp. Fans erupted in cheers when her total score of 188.25 put her in first place.

“I just had the happiest moment of my life here,” she said, noting somewhat sheepishly that the victory had brought her to tears.


U.S. Alpine skier Nina O’Brien suffered a compound fracture of her left fibula and fibula after a violent crash Monday in the giant slalom at the Yanqing National Alpine Centre.

Megan Harrod, the U.S. Alpine spokesperson, said Tuesday that O’Brien underwent an “initial stabilization procedure” by doctors at a nearby hospital and will “return to the U.S. for further evaluation and care.”



Slovenia won the first Olympic ski jumping mixed team gold medal Monday.

The team of Ursa Bogataj, Nika Kriznar, Peter Prevc and Timi Zajc had 1,000.5 points, dominating the competition by more than 100 points.

Prevc jumped last and soared 101.5 meters (333 feet) and had 126.3 points to seal the top spot on the podium for the Slovenians.

Russia won silver and Canada, in a surprise, earned bronze.


Arianna Fontana burnished her legacy as short track’s most decorated skater with her second Olympic medal in Beijing and 10th of her career.

The 31-year-old Italian took the lead from world champion Suzanne Schulting late in the 500-meter final and let out a yell as she crossed the line in 42.488 seconds on Monday.

Fontana won a silver in the inaugural mixed team relay Sunday, putting her ahead of Viktor An and Apolo Ohno for career medals with nine.



Denise Herrmann won the women’s 15-kilometer individual race in biathlon on Monday after a season of mixed results on the World Cup circuit. The German’s only podium finish this season was a bronze medal in the individual race in Oestersund, Sweden.

Herrmann, a former Olympic cross-country skier, won Monday’s race in 44 minutes 12.7 seconds.

Anais Chevalier-Bouchet of France missed her last shot, a costly mistake, and took silver, 9.4 seconds behind Herrmann. Marte Olsbu Roeiseland of Norway, the overall World Cup leader, missed two shots, one prone and one standing, and settled for bronze, 15.3 seconds behind.


Tuesday’s TV schedule


12 a.m. – 6:20 a.m.


Cross-country skiing – Sprint qualifying, finals (Live)

Men’s biathlon – 20-kilometer race (LIVE)

Women’s luge – Third and final runs (Live)

6:20 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Mixed doubles curling – Bronze medal match

Men’s speedskating – 1,500 meters

Snowboarding – Parallel giant slalom finals

Men’s biathlon – 20-kilometer Individual

2 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Women’s ice hockey – U.S. vs. Canada

4:30 p.m. – 11:55 p.m.

Women’s snowboarding halfpipe qualifying (Live)

Women’s snowboarding cross qualifying (Live)

Men’s speedskating – 1,500 meters

Cross-country skiing – Individual sprint finals


11 a.m. - 2 p.m.

Men’s biathlon – 20-kilometer individual race

Women’s luge – Third and final runs

Cross-country skiing – Individual sprint finals

5 p.m. – 8 p.m.


Women’s Alpine skiing – Slalom first run (Live)

Women’s snowboarding – Halfpipe qualifying (Live)

Men’s freestyle skiing – Big air final (Live)

Men’s Speedskating – 1,500 meters

8:35 p.m. – 11 p.m.

Women’s Alpine skiing – Slalom final (Live)

Men’s snowboarding halfpipe qualifying (Live)

Women’s snowboarding cross qualifying


2 p.m. – 4 p.m.

Mixed doubles curling – Bronze medal match

5 p.m. – 7 p.m.

Mixed doubles curling – Gold medal match


Beijing Olympics live: Latest news and results from the 24th Winter Games

Mikaela Shiffrin is no stranger to heartbreak. Now can she bounce back in Beijing?


Frigid Beijing-area temperatures ramp up efforts by cold-tested Olympians to keep warm

Leslie Jones says she’s being pressured to stop live-tweeting about the Olympics

Thrilling freestyle skiing big air event makes big debut at Beijing Olympics


Andrew Greif on the Clippers: As the five-player trade between the Clippers and Portland Trail Blazers went through last Friday and Norman Powell’s surprise began to wear off, he received a text message from a former, and suddenly current, teammate.

By Sunday night, after Powell’s 28-point Clippers debut, that text exchange with Kawhi Leonard still was their only communication. Leonard, as he was during their title-winning season together in Toronto, remains a “quiet dude,” Powell said, smiling.

Powell believes he hasn’t changed much since they played together in 2019. His self-identification as a “grinder” is no longer only a personal mantra, but also the name of his fashion line.


To hear it from Powell, that desire to “prove every single night that I can hold my own against the best in the world” has helped make him a vastly different player since the last time he and Leonard were teammates.


Jack Harris on the Dodgers: It remains unclear when the 2022 season will get underway, as Major League Baseball remains mired in a lockout that will almost certainly delay the start of spring training and is threatening opening day at the end of March as well.

“It’s not a position we want to be in,” Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner said Monday. “We think we have the best fans in the country, and we want to be on the field and performing for them and letting them come out and enjoy America’s pastime. But at the same time, we just want a fair shot at it.”

Turner, a 13-year veteran who has previously served as the Dodgers’ union representative, and Cody Bellinger, who also spoke to reporters Monday, echoed many of the same concerns players across baseball have voiced on social media in recent days as the league’s owners and players union have traded a series of proposals for a new collective bargaining agreement without coming close to a resolution.

The players’ focus has been on reforming MLB’s compensation structure and competitive incentives. They want to reverse a recent stagnation in salaries, especially focused on increasing pay for players early in their career. They have also emphasized the need to deter the rise of apparent tanking tactics from some clubs over recent years.

“At the end of the day, we just want competition,” Turner said. “We want 30 teams that go out and try to win a championship. Hopefully, we’re making some progress in that department.”


Said Bellinger: “There’s things in the system that need to be fixed, and that’s what we’re working towards. Hopefully both sides can work together and see the big picture here and what’s important, and that’s getting the game going. But things have to get dialed in first.”


Nathan Fenno on the Angels: On a July afternoon more than two and a half years ago, Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs was found dead in his hotel room in Southlake, Texas.

The sudden death of the popular 27-year-old sent shock waves through Major League Baseball. They intensified when the Tarrant County medical examiner ruled Skaggs died from “mixed ethanol, fentanyl and oxycodone intoxication” that led to choking on his own vomit.

What happened in Room 469 at the Hilton Dallas/Southlake Town Square brought professional baseball face to face with the country’s opioid epidemic and triggered a sprawling investigation by the Southlake Police Department and Drug Enforcement Administration that led to a longtime Angels front-office employee.

After several delays, jury selection is scheduled to begin Tuesday for the trial of Eric Kay, the team’s former communications director, who is charged in connection with Skaggs’ death.

The trial in U.S. District Court in Fort Worth will open a window into allegations Kay distributed opioids to Angels players, provide more details about the final days of Skaggs after an investigation where law enforcement released few details, and could pull in several team employees and former players.


Here’s a closer look at the case.


1936 — Jay Berwanger, University of Chicago halfback and Heisman Trophy winner, is the first player ever selected in the NFL Draft. The Philadelphia Eagles make the pick and eventually trade his rights to the Chicago Bears.

1950 — Man o’ War is selected the greatest horse of the half century by The Associated Press. Man o’ War, as a 2- and 3-year-old, is a winner in 20 of 21 races and holds five track records.

1962 — Wilt Chamberlain of the Philadelphia Warriors scores 59 points in a 136-120 victory over the New York Knicks and beats his own single-season scoring record of 3,033 by six points.

1964 — Billy Kidd and James Heuga win the first men’s Olympic Alpine skiing medals for the United States with a silver and bronze in the slalom.

1970 — Gordie Howe becomes the first NHL player to score 750 goals. Howe gets the milestone by beating Philadelphia Flyers goalie Bernie Parent 3:10 into the third period, but the Red Wings lose 5-3 at Detroit’s Olympia Stadium.


1983 — Wayne Gretzky puts on a show, scoring four goals in the third period of the Campbell Conference’s 9-3 win against the Wales Conference in the NHL All-Star Game held at New York’s Nassau Coliseum. He breaks Ted Lindsay’s record of three goals in an All-Star Game, set in 1950.

1986 — Atlanta’s Spud Webb, at 5-foot-7, wins NBA Slam Dunk competition. Webb receives a perfect 50 from the judges in the last two rounds to shock defending dunk champion Dominique Wilkins and the crowd at Dallas’ Reunion Arena.

1987 — Seattle’s Tom Chambers, a last-minute replacement for the injured Ralph Sampson, scores a game-high 34 points to lead the West to a 154-149 overtime win over the East in the NBA All-Star Game before 34,275 at the Kingdome.

1997 — Scotty Bowman becomes the first NHL coach to win 1,000 games as Detroit beats Pittsburgh 6-5 on Brendan Shanahan’s overtime goal. Bowman, the coach of six Stanley Cup champion teams, is 1,000-452-255 in regular-season games and 162-101 in the playoffs.

1998 — Johanna Ikonen scores twice and Tiia Reima and Sari Krooks score a goal and an assist as Finland beats Sweden 6-0 in the first Olympic women’s ice hockey game.

2003 — Mario Lemieux becomes the 10th player in NHL history to reach 1,000 assists. He has four in Pittsburgh’ 5-2 victory in Boston.


2004 — Marc Bulger throws a Pro Bowl-record four TD passes, and Detroit’s Dre’ Bly returns an interception 32 yards for the go-ahead score with 4:50 to play during the NFC’s rally from an 18-point deficit in the final 13 minutes of a 55-52 victory over the AFC. It’s the highest-scoring Pro Bowl in history.

2014 — At the Sochi Games, Norway’s Ole Einar Bjoerndalen becomes the oldest Winter Olympic gold medalist at 40 and ties Bjoern Daehlie’s record for most medals (12) won at the Winter Games. Bjoerndalen wins the men’s 10-kilometer biathlon sprint, breaking the record held by Canadian skeleton racer Duff Gibson, who was 39 when he won gold at the 2006 Turin Olympics.

2016 — Breanna Stewart has 25 points and 10 rebounds as No. 1 UConn again proves who rules the women’s game, running past No. 2 South Carolina 66-54.

Supplied by the Associated Press

And finally

Spud Webb wins the NBA slam dunk contest. Watch and listen here.

Until next time...

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