The Sports Report: Sean McVay isn’t going anywhere
Howdy, I’m your host, Houston Mitchell. Let’s get right to the news.
From Gary Klein: The joy and relief born from the Rams’ Super Bowl victory has been tinged by other emotions for coach Sean McVay.
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McVay’s fiancé, Veronika Khomyn, is from Ukraine and has family in the war-torn country, McVay said Wednesday.
“My thoughts and prayers are with Ukraine,” McVay said as he opened a videoconference with reporters. “This obviously hits home with me. ... Just watching the grace at which she’s handled this, how strong her family’s been in the midst of this, I’m just so proud to be associated with that culture.
“President Zelensky’s leadership has been incredible. This is real type of stuff right here and it gives you really a perspective. … My thoughts and prayers are with so many people that are unfortunately affected by this terrible time.”
The usually upbeat McVay was more reserved throughout a near 30-minute media session, during which he addressed his immediate future, his and general manager Les Snead’s decision not to attend the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis, staff changes and the start of free agency, which begins in two weeks. Snead also spoke with reporters during a separate videoconference.
McVay said the last few weeks have been “quite a whirlwind, to say the least.”
McVay, 36, confirmed that broadcast networks had expressed interest in him transitioning to a media role. He said he was “flattered by some of the opportunities and interest,” but “there was never really a doubt,” he would continue to coach the Rams.
“That is something that way down, that down the line, I think that I would be interested in, some of the media things,” he said. “But my heart is in coaching, with these players, with these coaches with this ownership group.
“I’m really excited about continuing to move forward with this group.”
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From Thuc Nhi Nguyen: Angela Dugalic hit a three-pointer and stretched her arms out even wider than the smile that enveloped her face as she looked toward Cori Close on the sideline. The UCLA coach could only flash a sheepish grin back at her dynamic 6-foot-4 forward.
After struggling with a preseason knee injury, Dugalic helped the No. 7-seeded Bruins to 73-60 victory over rival USC in the first round of the Pac-12 tournament Wednesday in Las Vegas. UCLA (14-11) fended off a USC comeback behind IImar’I Thomas’ 18 points, and Dugalic’s 13 points and 12 rebounds in 20 minutes. Her spark off the bench featured her first two three-pointers of the season, including one in the fourth quarter that left Close shaking her head as UCLA went up by 10.
“I’m very hard on Angela and it’s because I believe in her so much,” Close said, noting that Dugalic has practiced only three times since Oct. 30 because of her knee injury. “She’s having to learn on the fly.”
The transfer from Oregon will face her former team in the second round as the Bruins play the Ducks at 6 p.m. Thursday.
UCLA, which is at risk of missing the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2015, won its sixth straight game over its crosstown rival while ending the first year of the Lindsey Gottlieb era.
When the teams met in back-to-back games in January, both were struggling with injuries. The Bruins had as many players dressed in sweatpants and T-shirts on the bench as they had in uniforms. The Trojans (12-16) were without second-leading scorer Jordan Sanders, who was out with a knee injury.
Sanders made the most of her long-awaited rivalry debut Wednesday with 18 points. She scored nine in the third quarter, helping the No. 10 seed Trojans erase a seven-point halftime deficit and head into the fourth quarter tied.
From Andrew Greif: Blessed with arms that telescope far beyond his 6-foot-7 frame and large hands that strike as quickly as the snakes he has adored since childhood, Robert Covington had carved out a career by being a taker.
On his way from undrafted to NBA all-defense, the forward stole passes. He ended possessions. Each deflection, each timely rotation in help defense since his arrival in the NBA in 2014 could take away confidence from opponents.
But in 2019, hurt in more ways than one after a trade from Philadelphia to Minnesota in 2018, Covington believed he was giving away too much — from energy to his family and his friends and attention to the negativity he says is the curse that comes with the money and the fame of professional basketball.
“If you’re not in the right mental space, man … it can eat at you,” Covington said. “It can eat you.”
It was eating away in early 2019 in Minneapolis when Covington responded by doing what had forged his career. But this time, it was himself that he took away. The player whose gifts allowed him to cover up a defense’s shortcomings had no idea how to address his own. He considered whether it was time to leave the NBA life he’d worked so hard to reach.
“I snapped on people that were just trying to help me and I went into solitude by myself, kicked everybody out away from me, and was sitting in the loneliness,” he said. “Darkness, by myself. Me and my Cane Corso. He knew something was wrong, because he never left my side.
“When I had to have surgery, to repair my meniscus at that time, it just was going on and I was like, ‘What do I take? And how do I get out of this place?’ ”
The version of Covington the Clippers have known since his arrival Feb. 5 — via trade from Portland that also brought Norman Powell to Los Angeles — is a product of his work in the three years since what he now calls his foundation. He is not only the player who, at 31, still possesses some of the NBA’s fastest hands, who is among the league leaders in deflections and who blocked four shots Tuesday against Houston in the Clippers’ fourth consecutive victory.
Ryan Suter and Alexander Radulov scored in the final minute of Dallas’ four-goal second period and the Stars rallied to beat the Kings 4-3.
Luke Glendening and Jason Robertson added goals to help Dallas improve to 5-1-1 in its last seven games and 30-20-3 overall. Jake Oettinger made 28 saves to improve to 15-3-0 at home this season.
Radulov — playing his 500th NHL game — scored his third goal of the season and second in his last 40 games. He had a career-high 29 goals in 2018-19.
Kings rookie Arthur Kaliyev had his first two-goal game in the NHL, Phillip Danualt also scored and Cal Petersen stopped 38 shots.
The Kings have lost two straight after winning five in a row. They had won their previous six road games.
From Mike DiGiovanna: If negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement were akin to a benches-clearing brawl, players and owners would be bunched in front of the mound, their bullpens and dugouts having emptied, pointing fingers and hurling insults toward one another, with some needing to be restrained.
Baseball reached such an inflection point with Tuesday’s breakdown in talks and cancellation of the first week of regular-season games, leaving players, owners, fans and all whose livelihoods depend on the sport to wonder: Will fists start to fly or will cooler, more conciliatory heads prevail?
Spring training games were pushed back to March 12 and the first two series of the regular season, scheduled to begin March 31, have been canceled, reducing the schedule from 162 games to 156 games.
Players and owners left Jupiter, Fla., with nine days of negotiations failing to net an agreement. Now what?
The sides were expected to take Wednesday to regroup and resume talks as early as Thursday in New York City, where perhaps a more behind-the-scenes approach, in which details of every offer and counteroffer aren’t leaked to reporters and blow-by-blow accounts of negotiations aren’t filling Twitter feeds, might prove more fruitful.
Most minor leaguers have begun spring training workouts or will by next week. Players on 40-man rosters and 200 or so unsigned free agents will continue offseason workouts as normal. They will have the option of training in larger groups at camps set up by the union in Mesa, Ariz., and Florida.
“Guys continue to work through the calendar as they normally would,” union head Tony Clark said, “so that fans can be completely confident that when the lights come on, they’ll be ready to go.”
THIS DATE IN SPORTS
1920 — The Montreal Canadiens set an NHL record for most goals in a game with a 16-3 rout of the Quebec Bulldogs.
1951 — Temple’s Bill Mlkvy scores an NCAA-record 73 points in a 99-69 rout over Wilkes.
1966 — Buckpasser, ridden by Bill Shoemaker, wins the Flamingo Stakes by a nose. The colt is such a prohibitive favorite among the field of nine the race is declared a non-wagering contest. The race is known as “The Chicken Flamingo.”
1968 — Montreal’s Jean Beliveau becomes the second NHL player to score 1,000 career points with a goal in a 5-2 loss to the Detroit Red Wings.
1984 — Peter Ueberroth, president of the Los Angeles Olympic Organizing Committee, is elected commissioner of baseball by major league team owners.
1985 — Bill Shoemaker becomes the first jockey to win $100 million in career purses after riding Lord at War to victory at the Santa Anita Handicap in Arcadia, Calif.
1985 — Kevin McHale of the Boston Celtics scores a team-record 56 points, making 22 of 28 shots in a 138-129 home victory over Detroit.
1987 — Mike Tyson adds the WBA heavyweight crown to his WBC heavyweight crown with a unanimous 12-round decision over James “Bonecrusher” Smith in Las Vegas.
2000 — Edward Fryatt ties a PGA Tour record with eight consecutive birdies in the second round of the Doral-Ryder Open. Fuzzy Zoeller did it in the 1976 Quad Cities Open, and Bob Goalby in the 1961 St. Petersburg Open.
2001 — A bloodied John Ruiz becomes the first Hispanic heavyweight champion by knocking down Evander Holyfield in the 11th round and earning a unanimous decision for the WBA title.
2012 — Wladimir Klitschko stops France’s Jean-Marc Mormeck in the fourth round to retain the WBA and IBF heavyweight titles. Klitschko is credited with the 50th KO of his career as he improves to 57-3.
2012 — No. 2 Syracuse beats No. 19 Louisville 58-49 to tie the Big East record for victories. The Orange (30-1, 17-1) match Connecticut’s 17 conference wins in 1995-96 and finishes the regular season with 30 wins for the first time in Jim Boeheim’s 36 years as coach.
2014 — LeBron James scores a career-high 61 points, breaking Glen Rice’s franchise record, and the Miami Heat defeat the Charlotte Bobcats 124-107.
2017 — Kyrie Irving scores 43 points, LeBron James has 38 and the Cleveland Cavaliers set the NBA regular-season record with 25 3-pointers in holding off the Atlanta Hawks 135-130.
2018 — Deontay Wilder survives a pummeling from Luis Ortiz, then knocks out the challenger in the 10th round to retain his WBC heavyweight title.
Supplied by the Associated Press
John Ruiz defeats Evander Holyfield. Watch and listen here.
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