The Sports Report: Could be another angst-filled season for Lakers

Russell Westbrook during Lakers Media Day.
(Christina House / Los Angeles Times)

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

From Bill Plaschke: It was scheduled as a day filled with opulent optimism, the Lakers supposedly beginning training camp by regaling reporters with a new coach, new focus, new energy.

It was, instead, another day in Russell Westbrook Hell.

He’s still a Laker. He’s still combative. He’s still Russ.

“Whether they want me here or not doesn’t really matter, honestly,” he said.

The Lakers are still hassled. They’re still hopeful. They’re still torn.

“For any player on our team, you have to always be evaluating the roster … if we have to continue to upgrade our roster throughout the season, we will,” said Rob Pelinka, but later added, “Russell Westbrook is a great part of our team.”


For now. Maybe for this month. Maybe until midseason. Maybe not for another second. Maybe this is not the way they want to start a season already filled with angst and bereft of championship hopes.


Lakers committed to Russell Westbrook’s success: ‘It’s gonna be a great year for him’

Lakers preview: Five questions to consider as training camp opens

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From Andrew Greif: Kawhi Leonard smiled Monday as he said it, his answer accompanied by his signature laugh that tends to go social media viral every few years.

The All-Star wing has not played in an NBA game since June 2021, but as the playoffs approached last spring, footage of his increasingly public workouts built anticipation for a potential return of the two-time NBA Finals most valuable player earlier than expected. The point became moot when the Clippers lost in the play-in round in mid-April. But had the Clippers made the playoffs, would he have suited up?

“I mean, it’s all woulda, coulda, shoulda, right?” Leonard said Monday at the team’s practice facility. “But yeah, if they would have made it to the Finals last year, you would have seen me playing.”


Leonard said he plans to participate fully when training camp opens Tuesday in Las Vegas.

“Hopefully we can take another step. That’s all I can hope for really,” Leonard said. “This is our fourth year [with the Clippers], so hopefully, like I said, we can have a shot at the semifinals or the Finals and try to make something happen.”


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From Jeff Miller: Coming off one of the franchise’s ugliest defeats in recent memory, the Chargers continued losing Monday:

Pro Bowl left tackle Rashawn Slater is expected to be sidelined the rest of the season because of a torn biceps.

Pro Bowl edge rusher Joey Bosa has a groin injury that’s “significant” — coach Brandon Staley’s word — and will miss time.

Wide receiver Jalen Guyton, the team’s truest speed threat, also is done for the season after tearing an anterior cruciate ligament.

Slater’s loss is the most significant, coming at a time when the Chargers’ offensive line already was struggling to protect injured quarterback Justin Herbert and create space for the running game.


From Gary Klein: Coach Sean McVay and the Rams ended a six-game losing streak against the San Francisco 49ers when they finally beat them in last season’s NFC Championship game at SoFi Stadium.

Next Monday night, the Rams will attempt to end another streak.

The defending Super Bowl champions have not defeated the 49ers at Levi’s Stadium since 2018.

“The main thing is they’re a really good football team,” McVay said Monday when asked why it’s been tough to win in Santa Clara. “They’ve done a good job — which year do you want to talk about?

“We can talk about all those different games, but I think … what it boils down to is they played well, they’ve made the plays in crunch time.”


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1894 — Aqueduct Race Track opens its doors. The building is torn down in 1955 and the new Aqueduct reopens on Sept. 14, 1959.

1947 — Armed, then the world’s leading money-winning thoroughbred, meets 1946 Kentucky Derby winner Assault in the first $100,000 winner-take-all match race, held at Belmont Park. Armed earns an easy victory over Assault, who was not in peak racing condition.

1950 — Ezzard Charles wins a unanimous 15-round decision over Joe Louis at Yankee Stadium in New York to retain the world heavyweight title.

1975 — Kansas quarterback Nolan Cromwell rushes for an NCAA record 294 yards in a 20-0 victory over Oregon State.

1992 — World champion Nigel Mansell sets a single-season victory record, leading from start to finish in the Portuguese Grand Prix for his ninth win of the Formula One season.

1998 — Mark McGwire gives baseball a new magic number, hitting two homers to reach No. 70 in the St. Louis Cardinals’ season finale against Montreal. It’s McGwire’s fifth homer in the season-ending, three-game series. McGwire’s 70th and final home run of the season was a line shot over the left-field wall on a first-pitch fastball from Carl Pavano in the seventh.

2000 — The Women’s British Open is elevated to major championship status on the LPGA Tour, replacing the du Maurier Classic. The other majors are the Nabisco Championship, the LPGA Championship and the U.S. Open.

2003 — B.J. Symons of Texas Tech throws for 661 yards — a school and Big 12 record — and six touchdowns, in the Red Raiders’ 49-45 win over Mississippi.

2009 — Japan’s Kimiko Date Krumm becomes the oldest winner of a WTA Tour tournament since Billie Jean King in 1983. Date Krumm, who turns 39 on Sept. 28, beats second-seeded Anabel Medina Garrigues 6-3, 6-3 for the Korea Open title. King was 39 years, 7 months, 23 days when she won at Birmingham, England.

2009 — With rookie quarterback Matthew Stafford leading the way, Detroit ends a 19-game losing streak with a 19-14 victory over the Washington Redskins. The Lions had not won since Dec. 23, 2007, and their skid matched the second longest in NFL history.

2009 — New England beats Atlanta 26-10 for the 16th straight regular-season victory of the NFC. It’s the longest steak any team has posted against the opposite conference since the 1970 merger.

2014 — Watson Brown becomes the first head coach in NCAA history to lose 200 games when Tennessee Tech dropped a 50-7 decision to Northern Iowa. Amos Alonzo Stagg had held the record since 1946, going 314-199-35 in 57 seasons. Brown is 128-200-1 in 30 seasons as head coach.

2018 — Jared Goff passes for career highs of 465 yards and five touchdowns, winning a scintillating duel with his Minnesota counterpart Kirk Cousins and leading the unbeaten Los Angeles Rams to a 38-31 victory over the Vikings. Cousins passes for 422 yards and three touchdowns.

Compiled by the Associated Press

And finally

Jared Goff passes for 465 yards against Minnesota in 2018. Watch and listen here.

Until next time...

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