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The Sports Report: The Lakers have a new coach

Darvin Ham
(Jared C. Tilton / Getty Images)
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Howdy, I’m your host, Houston Mitchell. Big news over the weekend, so let’s backtrack a bit and recap it.

The Lakers hired Darvin Ham to be their next coach.

The decision came after Ham met with the Lakers on Thursday in Los Angeles, capping a process that began April 11 when the team fired Frank Vogel following its 33-49 season. The deal reportedly is for four years.

Ham, 48, spent the last four seasons as an assistant coach with the Milwaukee Bucks, winning a championship last year. He had an eight-year career in the NBA as a player, winning a title against the Lakers with the Detroit Pistons in 2004.

“So damn excited,” LeBron James tweeted Friday evening. “Congrats and welcome Coach Dham!!”

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According to sources with knowledge of the process, Ham will be given a large amount of autonomy, including the ability to choose his own coaching staff. He’s expected to meet with current Lakers staff members next week.

Ham impressed the Lakers with his ability to communicate and hold people accountable, according to sources, a crucial element in their search to replace Vogel.

“In terms of what this team needs right now, we feel like with, obviously, superstars on our team, we want a strong voice that’s able to inspire the players to play at the highest level of competition every night,” general manager Rob Pelinka said after the team fired Vogel. “And I think that’s going to be one of the resounding qualities that we look for in terms of holding everybody from the top player on our team to the 15th man to a degree of accountability.”

Sources said the Lakers hoped to find a candidate that could receive organization-wide support, something that wasn’t always the case with Vogel despite winning the 2020 championship.

In his almost 10 years as an assistant to Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer, Ham built a reputation for his ability to relate to players with passion, honesty and competitive drive. He’s considered a well-rounded coach that has slightly more defensive expertise.

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Plaschke: Lakers hiring of Darvin Ham is nuts — and maybe perfect

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DODGERS

From Jack Harris: They visited three cities in 10 days. They traveled more than 5,000 miles. They played almost 33 hours of baseball.

The most important number from the Dodgers’ 10-game trip the last two weeks: They won eight games, the last of which came Sunday in a 3-1 defeat of the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Behind six scoreless innings from Tyler Anderson, an early scoring barrage that included a Will Smith home run and RBIs from Freddie Freeman and Trea Turner, and another successful day from the bullpen, the Dodgers completed a four-game sweep at Chase Field and finished their trip with an 8-2 record.

It was the club’s most wins during a trip since 1997.

“This is something we penciled and said, this is gonna be a long stretch for us, this road trip,” manager Dave Roberts said. “To look back for a second and say we went 8-2, it’s fantastic.”

ANGELS

From Luca Evans: About 12 hours after the Angels lost again, bushy-bearded reliever Archie Bradley bounded into the clubhouse Sunday morning, bursting into song:

“We need a winnn today!”

They say April showers bring May flowers. But, in this case, a 17-10 record for the Angels in April had turned into 13-13 this month — most notably, a 3-8 stretch after Saturday night’s frustrating loss to Toronto.

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“How many have we lost?” Bradley asked in the clubhouse to nobody in particular. “Four in a row?”

Four in a row, indeed — and it became five Sunday in a raucous slugfest of an 11-10 loss to the Blue Jays that had Angel Stadium alternating between home run cheers and exasperated sighs at a moment’s notice.

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Angels’ Kurt Suzuki feeling better after taking ball to neck in ‘weird moment’

TENNIS

From Bill Dwyre: The next few days in Paris are a nice French kiss for tennis fans.

An aging, stubborn, driven, clay-court dynamo named Rafael Nadal will be playing a less-aging, equally stubborn and almost equally driven clay-court expert named Novak Djokovic on Tuesday in the quarterfinals of the French Open.

The rivals have faced off 58 times in pro tennis tournaments, few of which have been anything less than a 12-round, pull-no-punch, heavyweight championship. Djokovic has won 30 of those matches, but the red clay at Roland Garros is a home court for Nadal.

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That’s why, even if your tennis experience is little more than a few hit-and-giggles at nearby public courts, and even if differing time zones ultimately put this one in the middle of the night, you might want to tune in. At least catch the replay.

That’s mostly because of Nadal, who will turn 36 on Friday The tennis world keeps looking for forehead wrinkles, reading glasses and an occasional hitch in his git-along. Some have been there. Foot surgery. Sore knees. Bad wrists.

But when Nadal comes to Paris and Roland Garros, it might as well be Lourdes. He has shown up every year since 2005, when he was still a teenager, and he has left before being handed the championship trophy only four times, once when he had to default because of an injury. That’s not just dominance. That’s crazy. John Wooden crazy. Joe DiMaggio crazy.

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Elliott: SoCal Pro Circuit aims to revive Southern California’s rich tennis legacy

SPARKS

Nneka Ogwumike’s putback of her own miss with 7.3 seconds left lifted the Sparks to an 85-83 win over the Minnesota Lynx on Sunday.

Rachel Banham’s jumper with 26.6 seconds to go pulled Minnesota even for just the second time. The game was also tied at 65 after the Lynx erased a 17-point first-half deficit.

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Ogwumike finished with 16 points. Chennedy Carter led the Sparks (4-6), who had lost six of seven, with 20 points. Liz Cambage added 15 points and Katie Lou Samuelson 13.

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Derek Fisher says Sparks already investigated Liz Cambage racist slur accusations

GALAXY

From Kevin Baxter: One of the oldest teams in MLS met one of the youngest Sunday under a brilliant turquoise sky at Dignity Health Sports Park.

It was tradition versus modernity. Old money versus new.

Old school won, with second-half substitute Dejan Joveljic setting up two goals and scoring two others in the Galaxy’s 4-1 win over Austin FC. The victory was just the Galaxy’s second in their last six MLS games and both have come over Austin, which has suddenly hit the skids, winning just one of its last five.

The four goals are also the most the Galaxy have scored in a game since last July and the most Austin has allowed this season. Whether that will slow what, in recent years, has been looking like a changing of the guard in MLS remains to be seen.

ANGEL CITY

Four of Angel City FC’s first five matches in its inaugural season have been at home, but the fans at Banc of California Stadium haven’t had many goals to cheer for.

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On Sunday, a crowd of 18,704 watched Angel City get shut out by NJ/NY Gotham FC in a 1-0 defeat despite outshooting Gotham 24-7 and recording a frenzy of late scoring chances. Angel City (3-1-1, 9 points) remains tied for second in the NWSL standings, but has managed just four goals through its first five matches — one of which was an own goal.

Ifeoma Onumonu scored the lone goal of the match for Gotham (2-2-0, 6 points), capitalizing on a failed clearance by defender Vanessa Giles in the 57th minute. Giles attempted to knock away a cross, but Gotham’s Midge Purce deftly guided it over to Onumonu, who drilled it with the right foot past goalkeeper DiDi Haračić.

Angel City’s best chance at an equalizer came in the 80th minute, when Christen Press’ long range shot was saved by Gotham goalkeeper Michelle Betos before going off the post. Jun Endo’s follow on the rebound was partially blocked and then cleared off the goal line.

INDIANAPOLIS 500

Marcus Ericsson had to leave Formula One to become a global superstar — a goal achieved Sunday when the Swedish driver won the Indianapolis 500.

Ericsson took control of the race late — largely because of teammate Scott Dixon’s speeding penalty — and had it under control for Chip Ganassi Racing until a crash by teammate Jimmie Johnson with four laps remaining brought out a rare red-flag stoppage at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

IndyCar is among the purest forms of motorsports and rarely throws artificial cautions or issues stoppages that might change the outcome. But the crowd of more than 300,000 — only a few thousand shy of a sellout and the largest sporting event since the pandemic began — roared when IndyCar called the cars to pit road.

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The stoppage gave Pato O’Ward and the rest of the challengers almost 12 minutes on pit road to strategize how to catch Ericsson for the win.

The race resumed with two laps remaining and Ericsson easily got the jump on O’Ward, who got one final look for the lead that Ericsson defended and knew not to force the issue.

“Nah, he was going to put me in the wall if I had gone for it,“ O’Ward said.

OUR OTHER SPORTS NEWSLETTERS

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Prep Rally: Get all your high school sports news and scores delivered to your inbox. Written by Eric Sondheimer. Click here to subscribe.

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NHL PLAYOFFS

Schedule and results
All times Pacific
Second round
Western Conference

Colorado (C1) vs. St. Louis (C3)
Colorado 3, St. Louis 2 (OT)
St. Louis 4, Colorado 1
Colorado 5, St. Louis 2
Colorado 6, St. Louis 3
St. Louis 5, Colorado 4 (OT)
Colorado 3, St. Louis 2

Calgary (P1) vs. Edmonton (P2)
Calgary 9, Edmonton 6
Edmonton 5, Calgary 3
Edmonton 4, Calgary 1
Edmonton 5, Calgary 3
Edmonton 5, Calgary 4 (OT)

Eastern Conference

Florida (A1) vs. Tampa Bay (A3)
Tampa Bay 4, Florida 1
Tampa Bay 2, Florida 1
Tampa Bay 5, Florida 1
Tampa Bay 2, Florida 0

Carolina (M1) vs. New York Rangers (M2)
Carolina 2, New York 1 (OT)
Carolina 2, New York 0
New York 3, Carolina 1
New York 4, Carolina 1
Carolina 3, New York 1
New York 5, Carolina 2
Today at Carolina, 5 p.m., ESPN

*-if necessary

NBA PLAYOFFS

Schedule and results
All times Pacific
Conference finals
Western Conference

No. 3 Golden State vs. No. 4 Dallas

Golden State 112, Dallas 87
Golden State 126, Dallas 117
Golden State 109, Dallas 100
Dallas 119, Golden State 109
Golden State 120, Dallas 110

Eastern Conference

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No. 1 Miami vs. No. 2 Boston

Miami 118, Boston 107
Boston 127, Miami 102
Miami 109, Boston 103
Boston 102, Miami 82
Boston 93, Miami 80
Miami 111, Boston 103
Boston 100, Miami 96

NBA FINALS
All games on ABC

Boston vs. Golden State

Thursday at Golden State, 6 p.m.
Sunday at Golden State, 5 p.m.
Wed., June 8 at Boston, 6 p.m.
Friday, June 10 at Boston, 6 p.m.
*Monday, June 13 at Golden State, 6 p.m.
*Thursday, June 16 at Boston, 6 p.m.
*Sunday, June 19 at Golden State, 5 p.m.

*-if necessary

THIS DATE IN SPORTS

1903 — Flocarline becomes the first filly to win the Preakness Stakes.

1908 — Jockey Joe Notter misjudges the finish of the Belmont Stakes and eases up on his mount, Colin, whose career record to that point was 13-for-13. Notter recovers from his mistake and holds off Fair Play, who came within a head of defeating Colin. When he retired, Colin’s record stood at 15 wins in as many starts.

1911 — Ray Harroun wins the first Indianapolis 500 in 6 hours, 42 minutes and 8 seconds with an average speed of 74.59 mph.

1912 — Joe Dawson wins the second Indianapolis 500 in 6:21:06. Ralph Mulford is told he has to complete the race for 10th place money. It takes him 8 hours and 53 minutes as he makes several stops for fried chicken. The finishing rule is changed the next year.

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1951 — Lee Wallard wins the Indianapolis 500, becoming the first driver to break the 4-hour mark with a time of 3:57:38.05.

1952 — At 22, Troy Ruttman becomes the youngest driver to win the Indianapolis 500.

1955 — Bob Sweikert, an Indianapolis native, wins the Indianapolis 500. Bill Vukovich, seeking his third consecutive victory, is killed in a four-car crash on the 56th lap.

1985 — The Edmonton Oilers win the Stanley Cup for the second straight year with an 8-3 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers in Game 5.

1993 — Emerson Fittipaldi wins his second Indianapolis 500, by 2.8 seconds. Fittipaldi takes the lead on lap 185 and holds on, outfoxing Formula One champion Nigel Mansell and runner-up Arie Luyendyk.

2004 — In Cooper City, Fla., Canada easily beats the United States in a three-day cricket match, the first competition on American soil sanctioned by the International Cricket Council.

2005 — Johns Hopkins wins its first NCAA lacrosse title in 18 years, beating Duke 9-8 to complete an undefeated season.

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2009 — Travis Tucker hits an RBI single with one out in the top of the 25th inning to give Texas a 3-2 victory over Boston College in the longest baseball game in NCAA history.

2010 — Dario Franchitti gets a huge break from a spectacular crash on the last lap to climb back on top of the open-wheel world to win the Indianapolis 500. Franchitti’s second Brickyard victory in four years helps his boss, Chip Ganassi, become the first owner to win Indy and NASCAR’s Daytona 500 in the same year.

2011 — Jim Tressel, who guided Ohio State to its first national title in 34 years, resigns amid NCAA violations from a tattoo-parlor scandal that sullied the image of one of the country’s top football programs.

2012 — Roger Federer breaks Jimmy Connors’ Open era record of 233 Grand Slam match wins by beating Adrian Ungur of Romania 6-3, 6-2, 6-7 (6), 6-3 in the second round of the French Open. Federer, who owns a record 16 major championships, is 234-35 at tennis’ top four tournaments. Connors was 233-49. The Open era began in 1968.

Compiled by the Associated Press

And finally

Dario Franchitti wins the 2010 Indianapolis 500. Watch and listen here.

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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.

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