The Sports Report: Lakers lose again, remain winless

Nuggets center Nikola Jokic runs upcourt after making a basket over Lakers forward Anthony Davis.
(David Zalubowski / Associated Press)

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

From Dan Woike: Before you can escape the fumes from the buses idling in the Ball Arena loading dock, a sign above reminds you what your lungs already know.

“The Mile High City,” the welcome sign reads. “Elevation 5,280 feet.”

Heading into Wednesday’s game with the Nuggets, people around the Lakers organization were still trying their best to view their team from that kind of distance – the focus on the general principles and the big picture still out-weighing the grizzly details. But with each passing game, each misfired jumper and each strained wince, the pressure to readjust that focus only builds.

With Russell Westbrook on the bench injured, the team got to make some of the changes so many fans and pundits have clamored for… and nothing really seemed that different.

The rims still seemed to shrink whenever the Lakers took a shot, the talent disparity seemed to tilt too far in the opponent’s favor, and for good measure, Anthony Davis winced and reached down at his lower back as Denver began to pull away.


The Nuggets beat the Lakers 110-99, the team losing for the fourth straight time to begin the year. Only the Orlando Magic and the Sacramento Kings also remain winless.

The Lakers were better from three-point range, though they needed to heat up to 26.7%. And their defense, which had kept them in games against the Clippers and Trail Blazers, unraveled in the third quarter as Denver pushed their lead to double digits.

They had a chance to cut the Nuggets lead, which went as high as 18 in the third, down to five in the fourth quarter but LeBron James missed a layup and Denver responded with a made three to go back up 10.

Later in the fourth, with James complaining about a no-call Ham stormed onto the court and was called for a technical.

The Lakers play again on Friday in Minnesota.

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From Andrew Greif: Norman Powell is not unused to slow starts, but four weeks after he’d begun his eighth NBA season by publicly declaring his expectations of making his first All-Star team, the Clippers guard entered the Paycom Center’s visiting locker room at halftime Tuesday having made only eight of his 32 shots, and one of his 10 three-point attempts, through his season’s first 14 quarters.

Clippers coach Tyronn Lue entered the locker room intent on getting through to him. But instead of taking him aside at his locker, Lue delivered what was intended as a vote of confidence in Powell in front of the entire team.

“He came in at halftime and told me, next time I put my head down on a missed shot, he’s taking me out the game,” Powell said. “So he’s pretty confident in my abilities and weathering the storm and waiting for that one game where everything starts dropping.”


When that game comes, “it’s gonna be an avalanche,” Powell added. “Just be ready for it.”


From Ben Bolch: Like a point guard trying to force a turnover to complete an improbable rally, Pac-12 commissioner George Kliavkoff remained on the attack Wednesday in his bid to keep UCLA from abandoning his conference for the Big Ten.

Kliavkoff said at Pac-12 basketball media day that among the more than 100 UCLA coaches and athletes he had corresponded with about the departure, there was unanimous opposition.

“I have yet to talk to anyone in the UCLA and USC community who’s in favor of the move,” Kliavkoff said at conference headquarters, referencing the Trojans’ exit alongside their crosstown rivals scheduled for August 2024. “I will say that I probably hear from folks who are not in favor, not surprisingly.”

Reiterating what he wrote last month in a letter to the UC Board of Regents asking the governing body to block UCLA’s move, Kliavkoff said the university would lose money because of its departure.

For the third time in as many years, the Bruins men’s basketball team was picked to win the Pac-12 in the preseason media poll.

In each of the last two seasons, they fell short of those projections. Will this be the season that UCLA breaks through for its first regular-season conference title since 2012-13?


From Thuc Nhi Nguyen: Since Hannah White was 7 years old, there was one name at the top of every scouting report.

Croix Bethune.

White, a USC forward who grew up playing on rival clubs against Bethune in the Atlanta area, remembered coaches focusing on the diminutive midfielder. Don’t let Bethune get the ball, don’t let her face up, and most importantly, coaches said, don’t let her score.

It was all easier said than done.

“No matter how small she is, she’s been able to perform,” said White, who is now reaping the benefits of having Bethune on her team.

From starring in youth leagues and on junior national teams, the 5-foot-3 midfielder has carried the responsibility of being a star on her narrow shoulders with resilience and style that sets the tone for No. 15 USC. Bethune leads the Trojans (9-2-3, 5-1-2 Pac-12) with seven goals and eight assists. Her 1.69 points per game ranks second in the Pac-12, where USC is third in the standings behind UCLA and Stanford.


From Helene Elliott: Despite its elaborate schemes and formations and Xs and O’s, football isn’t rocket science.

But Claremont-Mudd-Scripps kicker Alessandro Maiuolo is, essentially, a rocket scientist, one of his many impressive academic and athletic achievements at a school that prizes math, science and engineering studies yet leaves room for students to nourish body and soul.

As a member of Harvey Mudd College’s Amateur Rocketry Club, the senior from the Bay Area city of Mountain View heads the advanced rocketry team’s recovery subteam, whose job is to get a rocket up and down safely and in one piece. The task requires hundreds of hours of precise planning and detailed calculations. Nothing is left to chance.

But in rocketry, as in life, sometimes the most careful plans go astray.

“We had our first launch in a while last June. It blew up in five seconds,” said Maiuolo, who was named to the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference’s all-academic team in each of his first three seasons and was the second-team all-conference kicker last season.


Brandon Hagel scored the tiebreaking power-play goal with 4:27 to play in the Tampa Bay Lightning’s 4-2 victory over the Ducks on Wednesday night.

Mikhail Sergachev and Nikita Kucherov scored early goals, Nicholas Paul added an empty-net goal and Victor Hedman had two assists in Tampa Bay’s third win in four games. Brian Elliott made 19 saves for the three-time defending Eastern Conference champion Lightning, who rebounded from a loss at Los Angeles one night earlier during their three-game California road swing.

Hagel scored a goal in his third consecutive game for the Lightning when he fired a shot through traffic and past the glove of John Gibson, who stopped 26 shots in rebuilding Anaheim’s sixth consecutive loss (0-5-1) since a season-opening win over Seattle.


1967 — New Mexico tight end Emilio Vallez catches 17 passes for 257 yards to tie an NCAA record in a 75-12 rout of Texas-El Paso.

1973 — Four players rush for more than 100 yards as Alabama sets three NCAA records during a 77-6 romp of Virginia Tech. Alabama sets records with 823 yards total offense, 743 yards rushing and four 100-yard rushers. Jim Taylor gains 142 yards, Wilbur Jackson 138, Calvin Culliver 127 and Richard Todd 102.

1984 — Washington State’s Rueben Mayes sets an NCAA record with 357 yards rushing, 197 in the first half, and scores three touchdowns in a 50-41 victory over Oregon.

1984 — Iowa’s Chuck Long completes 22 straight passes to set an NCAA record in a 24-20 victory over Indiana.

1996 — After two humbling losses at home, the New York Yankees win their first World Series title since 1978 with a 3-2 victory over the defending champion Atlanta Braves in Game 6.

2001 — Joe Paterno wins his 324th game to pass Bear Bryant for the most victories by a Division I-A coach when Penn State rallies for a 29-27 win over Ohio State.

2002 — Emmitt Smith breaks the NFL career rushing yardage record held by the late Walter Payton on an 11-yard run in the fourth quarter. Smith has 109 yards and a touchdown in Dallas’ 17-14 loss to Seattle and ends the game with 16,743 career yards — 17 more than Payton gained.

2002 — Behind rookie pitcher John Lackey and a three-run double by Garret Anderson, the Anaheim Angels beat Barry Bonds and the San Francisco Giants 4-1 for the franchise’s first World Series in 42 years.

2004 — The Boston Red Sox are World Series champions at long, long last. Johnny Damon homers on the fourth pitch of the game, Derek Lowe makes it stand up and the Red Sox win Game 4 3-0, sweeping the St. Louis Cardinals for their first crown since 1918. 2005 — Curtis Joseph makes 13 saves to earn his 400th NHL victory and Mike Comrie scores twice as Phoenix edges Calgary 3-2.

2006 — The St. Louis Cardinals beat the Detroit Tigers 4-2 in Game 5 to wrap up their first Series title in nearly a quarter-century and 10th overall. The Cardinals, with 83 regular-season wins, is the fewest by a World Series champion.

2007 — Curlin posts an emphatic victory against his toughest rivals in the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic at Monmouth Park. Ridden by Robby Albarado, Curlin defeats Derby runner-up Hard Spun by 4 1/2 lengths.

2007 — Weber State beats Portland State 73-68 to set an NCAA all-division football record for points in a game. Back in 1916, Georgia Tech beat Cumberland 222-0, but that was before the NCAA kept track of records. q2012 — Matt Scott of Arizona gains 469 total yards and accounts for four TDs in the Wildcats’ 39-36 win over Southern California. Marqise Lee of USC, catches 16 passes for a Pac-12-record 345 yards and two TDs.

2013 — Matthew Stafford’s 1-yard lunge over a pile of linemen with 12 seconds left and Calvin Johnson’s 329 yards receiving lift the Detroit Lions to a 31-30 comeback win over the Dallas Cowboys. Stafford throws a 22-yard pass to Johnson, who had the second-most yards receiving in NFL history, to set up his winning score.

2013 — Serena Williams ends her best season in style, rallying past Li Na 2-6, 6-3, 6-0 for her second straight WTA Championship and 11th title of the year.

2015 — Alex Gordon hits a tying home run with one out in the ninth inning, Eric Hosmer hits a sacrifice fly against Bartolo Colon in the 14th and the Kansas City Royals beat the New York Mets 5-4 in the longest opener in World Series history.

2020 — The Dodgers beat Tampa Bay Rays in Game 6 to win their first World Series title in 32 years.

Compiled by the Associated Press

And finally

The Angels win the 2002 World Series. Watch and listen here. The Dodgers win the 2020 World Series. Watch and listen here.

Until next time...

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