The Sports Report: Is Derek Fisher wearing out his welcome with Sparks?

Sparks coach Derek Fisher
(Michael Conroy / Associated Press)

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

From Bill Plaschke: The smattering of fans are standing, shrieking, bouncing, transforming the lower bowl of Arena into a downtown block party.

Dancers hop across a stage behind one basket. Sparky the Dog leads cheers from midcourt. Lisa Leslie waves from courtside. The relentless DJ Mal-Ski fills every quiet moment with chants and cheers and pleas.

“We need you!” he exhorts the intimate gathering. “C’mon, y’all!”

The Sparks began their 26th summer in Los Angeles on Tuesday with their usual furious flair, but on this opening night they needed something more than a community connection and shared spirit.

They needed a win.

They didn’t get it.

C’mon, y’all!

Arguably the most important summer in Sparks history began with a home-opening loss to what was the only winless team in the WNBA — and wait, it gets worse.


The final two plays in an 87-84 defeat to the Minnesota Lynx were botched by the author of some of the greatest final seconds in this city’s basketball history.

Five games into the season, coach Derek Fisher is already in the hot seat. After yet another potentially happy ending dissolved into chaos, the beloved former Laker is surely wearing out his generous Sparks welcome.

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From Jack Harris: It was this time last year the Dodgers began to slide.

Following a 13-2 start to the 2021 campaign, the team went into an early-summer tailspin. They lost 15 of 20 games. They squandered their season-opening momentum. And it took them close to a month to snap out of the malaise, eventually contributing to their costly second-place finish in the National League West.

Last week, it seemed like the Dodgers were on the verge of another consequential skid.

They suffered a troubling series loss in Pittsburgh. Their pitchers were drummed in three straight defeats to the Philadelphia Phillies upon returning home.

“We put ourselves in a little hole at the start of this homestand,” manager Dave Roberts said.

But by the end of the home stretch Wednesday, the Dodgers were back on their feet again.

With a 5-3 win against the Arizona Diamondbacks, the Dodgers completed a four-game sweep of their division rivals, salvaged a winning record on their eight-game homestand, and moved to 25-12 on the season — the most games they’ve been over .500 this year — with a fifth consecutive win.

“Credit to everybody,” Roberts said. “There was no panic.”

Just like in their previous four victories, the Dodgers had to come from behind Wednesday, reversing an early 2-1 deficit on Justin Turner’s go-ahead three-run home run in the fourth.



Jaime Jarrín, Charley Steiner among Dodgers broadcasters to test positive for COVID-19


Nathaniel Lowe hit a two-run homer on the first pitch in the bottom of the 10th inning and the Texas Rangers completed a three-game sweep of the Angels with a 6-5 victory Wednesday night.

The Angels tied it at 4 on Jared Walsh’s second homer of the game, a two-run shot in the ninth inning. They went ahead in the top of the 10th on a fielder’s choice grounder by Mike Trout, who homered earlier in the game.

Jonah Heim had three hits and drove in two runs against against Angels starter Shohei Ohtani, but the Rangers’ switch-hitting catcher struck out with the bases loaded in the ninth against Raisel Iglesias (1-2), who then gave up in the homer to Lowe in the 10th.


From John Cherwa: This year’s Preakness Stakes has a different vibe about it. Gone is the excitement of the possibility of a Triple Crown winner. The talk is mostly about the only filly in the nine-horse field, trained by an 86-year-old racing legend ... and, of course, the horse that didn’t win the Kentucky Derby but most still think is the best.

Rich Strike’s improbable win in the 148th running of the Kentucky Derby will surely come up in the discussion for the biggest sports surprises in recent memory. Not as surprising, but still eyebrow raising, is the Derby winner skipping the Preakness.


It has happened 11 times since the current Kentucky Derby, Preakness, Belmont Stakes order was established in 1932. The last time a Derby winner skipped the Preakness was 2019 when Country House was sick, and never raced again. This time it was the decision of the owner to save the horse for the Belmont.

Still, almost two weeks later, discussion around the barns turns to the same recurring question: How did an 80-1 longshot win the Kentucky Derby?

The answer is much simpler than you might think … or is it?


Moments after the NCAA Division I Council tossed out requirements that dictate how football conferences can determine a champion, the Pac-12 announced Wednesday that it was scrapping its divisional format for the coming season.

The Pac-12 will now match the teams with the highest conference winning percentages in its title game after 11 seasons of matching winners of the North and South divisions.

Other conferences are expected to follow, most notably the 14-team Atlantic Coast Conference. The ACC is looking to implement a new scheduling model as soon as 2023.

NCAA rules previously required football conferences that want to play a championship game to split into divisions if they cannot play a full round-robin schedule.



Robin Lod scored in the 87th minute to help Minnesota United earn a 1-1 draw with the Galaxy on Wednesday.

Lod scored the equalizer for United (4-5-3) with an assist from DJ Taylor.

Sacha Kljestan broke a scoreless tie with a penalty-kick goal in the 83rd minute for the Galaxy (6-4-2).

United outshot the Galaxy 17-12, but L.A. had an 8-4 edge in shots on goal.


Ruben Gabrielsen and Diego Fagúndez scored, propelling Austin FC to a 2-1 victory over LAFC on Wednesday night.

The victory came despite LAFC’s Carlos Vela becoming the third-fastest player in MLS history to reach 100 combined goals and assists. Vela scored on a penalty kick in the 86th minute, giving him 62 goals and 38 assists in 98 regular-season matches.

Sebastian Giovinco (95 games) and Robbie Keane (96 games) reached the mark faster than Vela.

The win is Austin’s first in four meetings with LAFC and moved the teams into a tie atop with the Western Conference with 23 points.



From Jeff Miller: The Chargers conducted a groundbreaking ceremony Wednesday afternoon for their new training facility in El Segundo but before Chairman Dean Spanos said anything to mark the occasion, he asked one of his future neighbors for some help.

Sitting in the crowd was Lakers President Jeanie Buss, whose team won two championships immediately after moving its training center to El Segundo in March 2000.

“Jeanie, give me a little of that luck, will you?” Spanos said. “Our first two years, I’ll take one. But I know Coach would like two, OK. I’d appreciate that.”

The Chargers’ facility will stand near the intersection of El Segundo Boulevard and Nash Street on a 14-acre site that was part of a sprawling campus operated by defense contractor Raytheon Technologies Corp.


Schedule and results
All times Pacific
Second round
Western Conference

Colorado (C1) vs. St. Louis (C3)
Colorado 3, St. Louis 2 (OT)
Tonight at Colorado, 6:30 p.m., TNT
Saturday at St. Louis, 5 p.m., TNT
Monday at St. Louis, 6:30 p.m., TNT
*Wednesday at Colorado, TBD
*Friday, May 27 at St. Louis, TBD
*Sunday, May 29 at Colorado, TBD

Calgary (P1) vs. Edmonton (P2)
Calgary 9, Edmonton 6
Friday at Calgary, 7:30 p.m., ESPN
Sunday at Edmonton, 5 p.m., ESPN2
Tuesday at Edmonton, 6:30 p.m., ESPN
*Thursday, May 26 at Calgary, TBD
*Saturday, May 28 at Edmonton, TBD
*Monday, May 30 at Calgary, TBD

Eastern Conference


Florida (A1) vs. Tampa Bay (A3)
Tampa Bay 4, Florida 1
Today at Florida, 4 p.m., TNT
Sunday at Tampa Bay, 10:30 a.m., TNT
Monday at Tampa Bay, 4 p.m., TNT
*Wednesday at Florida, TBD
*Friday, May 27 at Tampa Bay, TBD
*Sunday, May 29 at Florida, TBD

Carolina (M1) vs. New York Rangers (M2)
Carolina 2, New York 1 (OT)
Friday at Carolina, 5 p.m., ESPN
Sunday at New York, 12:30 p.m., ESPN
Tuesday at New York, 4 p.m., ESPN
*Thursday, May 26 at Carolina, TBD
*Saturday, May 28 at New York, TBD
*Monday, May 30 at Carolina, TBD

*-if necessary


Schedule and results
All times Pacific
Conference finals
Western Conference

No. 3 Golden State vs. No. 4 Dallas

Golden State 112, Dallas 87
Friday at Golden State, 6 p.m., TNT
Sunday at Dallas, 6 p.m., TNT
Tuesday at Dallas, 6 p.m., TNT
*Thursday, May 26 at Golden State, 6 p.m., TNT
*Saturday, May 28 at Dallas, 6 p.m., TNT
*Monday, May 30 at Golden State, 6 p.m., TNT

Eastern Conference

No. 1 Miami vs. No. 2 Boston

Miami 118, Boston 107
Today at Miami, 5:30 p.m., ESPN
Saturday at Boston, 5:30 p.m., ABC
Monday at Boston, 5:30 p.m., ABC
*Wednesday at Miami, 5:30 p.m., ESPN
*Friday, May 27 at Boston, 5:30 p.m., ESPN
*Sunday, May 29 at Miami, 5:30 p.m., ESPN

*-if necessary


1910 — Cy Young, the career leader in major league victories, wins No. 500 as the Cleveland Indians defeat Washington 5-4 in 11 innings.

1923 — Zev, a 19-1 long shot ridden by Earl Sande, wins the Kentucky Derby by 1½ lengths over Martingale.


1973 — Secretariat, ridden by Ron Turcotte, rallies from last with a powerful move on the clubhouse turn to win the Preakness Stakes by 2½ lengths over Sham. There is controversy over the timing of the race as original teletimer time was 1:55 for the 1 3/16-mile race. Pimlico amends it to 1:54 2/5, two days later.

1974 — The Philadelphia Flyers beat the Boston Bruins 1-0 to win the Stanley Cup in six games.

1979 — Spectacular Bid, ridden by Ron Franklin, wins the Preakness Stakes by an easy 5½ lengths over Golden Act.

1990 — Hobart wins its 11th straight NCAA Division III lacrosse championship, beating Washington College of Maryland 18-6. The Statesmen, winners of every final since the tournament’s inception in 1980, are 100-3 in Division III in that time.

1991 — Willy T. Ribbs becomes the first black driver to make the lineup for the Indianapolis 500.

2007 — Curlin, ridden by Robby Albarado, nips Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense by putting his head in front on the final stride, winning the Preakness Stakes in a riveting finish. The winning time was a blazing 1:53.46, equaling the stakes record of 1:53 2/5.


2012 — I’ll Have Another overtakes Bodemeister down the stretch to win the Preakness. Like the Kentucky Derby, I’ll Have Another races from behind to beat pacesetter Bodemeister, who also finished second in the Derby. I’ll Have Another, ridden by Mario Gutierrez, covers the 1 3/16 miles in 1:55.94.

2014 — Lucy Li becomes the youngest player to qualify for the U.S. Women’s Open by winning the sectional qualifier at Half Moon Bay in California. The 11-year-old Li shoots rounds of 74 and 68 on the par-72 Old Course and surpasses Lexi Thompson as the youngest competitor in a U.S. Women’s Open when she tees off at Pinehurst on June 19. Thompson was 12 when she qualified for the 2007 Open.

2015 — The NFL announces it is moving back extra-point kicks and allowing defenses to score on conversion turnovers. The owners approve the proposal to snap the ball from the 15-yard line on PATs to make them more challenging.

2017 — LeBron James scores 30 points, Kevin Love had 21 points and 12 rebounds, and the Cleveland Cavaliers steamroll the Boston Celtics 130-86 to take a 2-0 lead in the Eastern Conference finals and tie an NBA record with their 13th straight playoff victory.

2018 — Justify holds off several hard-charging challengers and win the Preakness Stakes on a sloppy, slippery track. Ridden by Mike Smith, the 2-5 favorite wins by a half-length after completing the race in 1:55.93. Bravazo edges Tenfold for second. Trainer Bob Baffert ties D. Wayne Lukas’ record with his 14th Triple Crown victory and matches 19th-century trainer R.W. Walden with his seventh Preakness title.

2021 — Corey Kluber, New York Yankees, no-hits the Texas Rangers, 2-0, at Globe Life Field, Arlington, Texas.


Compiled by the Associated Press

And finally

Secretariat wins the Preakness. Watch and listen here.

Until next time...

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