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The Sports Report: Lakers’ Anthony Davis needs a different mindset

Anthony Davis during Lakers media day.
(Christina House / Los Angeles Times)
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Howdy, I’m your host, Houston Mitchell. Let’s get right to the news.

From Dylan Hernández: There’s plenty to like about Anthony Davis.

He’s warm. He’s smart. He’s quick to point the finger at himself when he screws up.

But he doesn’t get it.

Davis is entering his fourth season with the Lakers and still doesn’t get it.

“I’m not going to overthink and listen to what everybody else is saying and try to be this whatever player they want me to be, this Greek god,” he said.

He smiled.

“I say Greek, but not Giannis [Antetokounmpo],” he said.

Here’s the problem: That’s who the Lakers need him to be.

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Lakers open camp with competition for starting spots

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CLIPPERS

From Andrew Greif: One by one, the Clippers arrived Tuesday morning in an auspicious start to their season.

Norman Powell was first inside the gym on the UNLV campus, the veteran with the stated goals of becoming an All-Star and starting shooting guard soon launching jumpers over coaches’ defense 90 minutes before practice officially began. Through the front door came the young Clippers on the training-camp contracts in their team-issued, Nike-sponsored practice gear. From a side door monitored by a security officer, in walked Kawhi Leonard in his New Balance T-shirt and shorts.

Point guard John Wall laced up his sneakers while chatting with team advisor Jerry West. The guard with whom Wall will compete for the starting job, Reggie Jackson, fist-bumped anyone within reach. Center Ivica Zubac, who turned an ankle playing for Croatia during this month’s EuroBasket tournament, walked in without any apparent pain.

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The first day of practice had begun — the first day with an entirely healthy Clippers roster since the spring of 2021.

“It feels good to see everyone healthy,” coach Tyronn Lue said before practice, “and back on the floor.”

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Elliott: John Wall is here and ready to be the Clippers’ ‘big dog’ this season

UCLA BASKETBALL

From Thuc Nhi Nguyen: UCLA’s last top-ranked recruiting class ushered in an unprecedented era of success. For now, this next one will settle for just getting back to the NCAA tournament.

After missing the tournament for the first time since 2015, UCLA is in position to rebound immediately with the top freshman class in the country. Headlined by the nation’s No. 2 overall recruit, Kiki Rice, and Camarillo star Gabriela Jaquez, the rookie class is UCLA’s first No. 1 group since the 2014 group led by Jordin Canada and Monique Billings that went to three consecutive NCAA regional semifinals and the school’s second Elite Eight.

“The rankings don’t really mean anything when you get here, but it’s really exciting,” Jaquez said. “As long as we stay focused on our goals as a team and what we want to get done — which is win — I think we’ll do it.”

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UCLA’s first full practice of the year on Monday allowed coach Cori Close to see just how good her freshmen can become. German forward Lina Sontag suddenly popped with her aggressiveness. Forward Christeen Iwuala’s toughness shined through. Rice flashed her elite floor vision.

USC FOOTBALL

From Ryan Kartje: It was a pivotal moment in the most pivotal game yet for USC under Lincoln Riley, the sort of triumphant turning point every title team inevitably needs, but at the time Saturday night, none of the Neilon family had any sense of the significance of a moment now known as the Neilon Nudge.

“One of my favorite plays I’ve ever had anywhere,” Riley said Tuesday.

Brett Neilon was just trying to get to the ball, like he’d been taught. All season, offensive coordinator Josh Henson had hammered into the Trojans’ offensive line to run to the ball and finish through the whistle. So once USC’s sixth-year center disengaged from his pass protection on that crucial, fourth-and-six play, he saw Caleb Williams streaking across his line of sight, tiptoeing between defenders with the ball in his hand. Then, suddenly, the Trojans quarterback could go no farther.

Read more about the Neilon Nudge by clicking here.

ANGELS

From Sarah Valenzuela: The 2022 season has not been the most kind to Taylor Ward. The way he’s closing it out, though, shows a player still worthy of praise in seasons to come.

“I’ve learned a lot this year,” Ward said earlier this month. “It started off really hot and kinda cooled off. Just puts a season in perspective of how things can go and how it can change drastically.

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“Probably take a few weeks off [when the season ends] and then focus on getting bigger, stronger, faster. I think that’s gonna be the biggest thing for me is to continue to workout well [in the offseason] and eat healthy and really just get back to being healthy.”

Ward went 2-for-4 with a pair of singles and also stole a base in the Angels’ 4-3 win over the Oakland Athletics on Tuesday.

GALAXY-LAFC

From Kevin Baxter: The Galaxy are heading back to the old neighborhood, announcing Tuesday they will open next season at the Rose Bowl, where they played their first MLS game in 1996.

But that’s not the biggest surprise because the Galaxy’s opponent in that Feb. 25 game in Pasadena will be their inter-city rival, LAFC. In just five seasons, the series between the teams has grown into the fiercest in U.S. club soccer. And while taking the season opener out of the friendly confines of Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson means the Galaxy will give up some of their home-field advantage for a night, it also gives the team a chance at breaking the club’s single-game MLS home attendance mark of 69,255, set in their first game at the Rose Bowl 26 years ago.

THIS DATE IN SPORTS

1920 — A Chicago grand jury indicts eight members of the Chicago White Sox on charges of fixing the 1919 World Series, known as the “Black Sox Scandal.” White Sox owner Charles Comiskey immediately suspends the eight players.

1940 — Bud Brennan, a spectator at Memorial Stadium, races out of the stands and attempts to tackle Michigan’s Tom Harmon at the 3-yard line. Harmon easily evades Brennan and completes an 86-yard touchdown run, his third return for a touchdown, in a 41-0 rout of California.

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1941 — Ted Williams end the season with a .406 batting average.

1951 — Norm Van Brocklin throws for an NFL-record 554 yards and five touchdowns to lead the Rams to a 54-14 rout of the New York Yankees. Elroy Hirsch catches four of the touchdown passes and finishes with 173 yards receiving and teammate Tom Fears has 162 yards receiving.

1964 — Australia beats the Unites States 3-2 to win the Davis Cup, the first time it’s played on clay courts.

1968 — The Atlanta Chiefs beat the San Diego Toros 3-0 to win the first NASL championship.

1969 — Minnesota’s Joe Kapp throws for 449 yards and ties an NFL record with seven touchdown passes to give the Vikings a 52-14 victory over the Baltimore Colts.

1976 — Muhammad Ali wins a unanimous 15-round decision over Ken Norton at Yankee Stadium in New York to retain his world heavyweight title.

1979 — Larry Holmes knocks out Earnie Shavers in the 11th round at Las Vegas to retain his WBC heavyweight title.

1985 — Tight end Brian Foster of Rhode Island catches 18 passes for 327 yards to set an NCAA record in a 32-27 loss Brown.

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1996 — Troy Davis of Iowa State rushes for 378 yards, the third highest total in major-college history, to lead the Cyclones past Missouri 45-31.

1997 — Wendy Ward records the lowest total in relation to par in the 47-year history of the LPGA tour for her first victory. Ward’s 23-under 265 gives her a two-shot victory in the Fieldcrest Cannon Classic. Ward, who made just one bogey all week, closes with 13 consecutive pars to match Kelly Robbins’ LPGA record for the lowest 72-hole total.

2000 — Tampa Bay forward Gordie Dwyer is suspended for 23 games by the NHL for manhandling two officials in attempts to fight opponents during an exhibition game on Sept. 19 against Washington.

2008 — Brett Favre throws a career-high and Jets-record six touchdown passes, three to Laveranues Coles, and New York takes advantage of mistakes by Arizona in a big second quarter of a 56-35 victory. Kurt Warner completes 40 of 57 passes for 472 yards and two TDs for Arizona.

2012 — Homer Bailey of the Cincinnati Reds throws the season’s seventh no-hitter, beating the Pittsburgh Pirates 1-0. The seven no-hitters match the modern record (since 1900) for one season, tying 1990 and 1991.

2017 — Sam Saunders, Arnold Palmer’s grandson, shoots a 12-under 59 in the first round of the Web.com Tour Championship. Saunders closes with six straight birdies at Atlantic Beach Country Club for the seventh sub-60 round in Web.com Tour history. Stephan Jaeger set the tour record of 58 last year in the Ellie Mae Classic at TPC Stonebrae in Hayward, California. Saunders has 13 birdies and a bogey.

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2020 — Tampa Bay Lightning win the Stanley Cup for the second time with a 4-2 series win over the Dallas Stars in Edmonton, Alberta.

Compiled by the Associated Press

And finally

Muhammad Ali takes on Ken Norton in Yankee Stadium. Watch and listen here.

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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