The Sports Report: Struggling Clippers fall to Thunder
Howdy, I’m your host, Houston Mitchell. Let’s get right to the news.
From Andrew Greif: Before they left their subdued locker room Thursday night inside Paycom Center, the shine from their preseason championships aspirations temporarily smudged by a 2-3 start, the Clippers were steadfast that one week into the season is not enough time to begin panicking.
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But, they quickly added, it is enough time to warrant changes.
To the way they defend at the point of attack.
To the way they turn the ball over more than any other team.
Especially, wing Paul George said, to the way they’ve practiced.
All of it and under more is under scrutiny after a 118-110 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder that completed a two-game sweep by a franchise expected to be near the top of next summer’s draft lottery.
Laden with veterans, the Clippers have tried taking the long view during their three-game losing streak, with an acknowledgement that Kawhi Leonard’s status remains unknown and Marcus Morris Sr. remains away from the team while grieving the loss of a loved one.
But there was an explicit call for urgency from multiple corners of the locker room, as well.
“We got to fix this quickly,” said guard Reggie Jackson. “I think the beauty about us being older and playing multiple seasons is that we know we have a long time so we’re not gonna necessarily panic but it is urgent that we put our foot on the gas.”
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From Dan Woike: The Lakers season ended last spring inside Denver’s arena, the Lakers leaving the building and heading into an offseason of certain change.
It was at the final buzzer of that game that word of Frank Vogel’s eventual firing went public, undoubtedly a regrettable first step toward the change the Lakers sought after finishing 11th in the West.
On Wednesday they returned to Denver with new coach Darvin Ham, seven new players and a bunch of the same problems, the vibes inside the locker room undeniably bad just four games into the season.
Losing can do that, but something bigger seems to be weighing on this team — and especially its stars.
From Gary Klein: Aaron Donald is accustomed to leading a rush, something he will do Sunday when the Rams play a key NFC West game against the San Francisco 49ers at SoFi Stadium.
But Thursday, the star defensive lineman dealt with a rush of nearly a dozen questions in the aftermath of his decision to part ways with Donda Sports, a marketing and content agency owned by Kanye West.
West has made antisemitic comments online and in television interviews in recent weeks.
Donald aims to leave talk of West behind with a solid performance against the 49ers.
The Rams have not defeated the 49ers during the regular season since 2018, a streak of seven games. In 16 regular-season games and one playoff game against the 49ers, Donald has 12½ sacks but has not recorded a sack against the 49ers in the last four games, including last season’s NFC championship and the Rams’ 24-9 defeat to the 49ers on Oct. 3.
From Ryan Kartje: Soon enough, he’d be relegated to crutches, his left ankle covered with a temporary cast. But before the uncertainty over his status could set in, Eric Gentry burst unexpectedly out of the injury tent in Salt Lake City and onto the field, hopping as best he could on one leg to bark one last bit of instructions to his fellow USC defenders.
It was a tone-setting moment for a Trojans defense that has tried heartily to change its culture and reestablish a reputation for toughness that had been lacking in recent seasons. The transfer linebacker and his fiery passion had been a major part of that effort. “It fueled us,” fellow linebacker Shane Lee said.
But in Gentry’s absence at Utah, USC’s defense struggled to conjure that same fire in the second half. It gave up 291 yards and Utah never punted on its way to a 43-42 win. Coach Lincoln Riley called it the worst tackling performance of the season.
The Trojans have had two weeks to reflect on that effort, but Gentry hasn’t practiced in full since because of his ankle injury. Riley said the decision whether he and fellow inside linebacker Ralen Goforth (hand) play at Arizona would be a “down-to-the-wire” call Saturday afternoon. Both could conceivably be held out.
Their absence would be a major test of the depth in the middle of USC’s defense. With Lee also battling through a hand injury, the Trojans would have to rely heavily on unproven linebackers to set the tone.
From Valerie J. Nelson: Rosalind Wyman, the youngest person ever elected to the Los Angeles City Council, at age 22 in 1953, was best known for keeping an unusual campaign promise — vowing to bring Major League Baseball to Los Angeles.
It took months of negotiations with the Dodgers’ mercurial owner, Walter O’Malley, before he finally agreed to uproot the team from Brooklyn and head to L.A., the opening chapter in what would become the westward migration of professional sports teams.
“Without Rosalind Wyman, the Dodgers wouldn’t be in Los Angeles, and the stadium would not have been built,” O’Malley’s son and former team owner Peter O’Malley once told The Times.
A California political insider and power broker for more than a half-century and only the second woman elected to the City Council, Wyman died late Wednesday at her home in Bel-Air , her family said in a statement. She was 92.
Axel Jonsson-Fjallby scored the go-ahead goal on a deflection during the third period and the Winnipeg Jets rallied for a 6-4 victory over the Kings on Thursday night.
Adam Lowry had a goal and an assist for the Jets, who won consecutive games for the first time this season. Mark Scheifele, Pierre-Luc Dubois, Nate Schmidt and Blake Wheeler also scored for Winnipeg, which had 12 players on the scoresheet.
Gabriel Vilardi scored for the second straight game for the Kings, who have dropped three of four. Trevor Moore had a goal and an assist, while Arthur Kaliyev and Blake Lizotte also scored. Jonathan Quick made 13 saves.
From Kevin Baxter: Next summer’s CONCACAF Gold Cup soccer tournament will conclude on July 16 at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, giving the $5-billion venue another chance to audition for the 2026 World Cup final. SoFi is one of 11 U.S. stadiums that have been chosen to host World Cup games, with SoFi and MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., the favorites to stage the final.
THIS DATE IN SPORTS
1939 — Kansas State’s homecoming contest against Nebraska is the second college football game ever televised, following the Fordham-Waynesburg contest in New York earlier this fall. The Cornhuskers spoil homecoming with a 25-9 triumph in Manhattan, Kan., before a limited Nebraska ETV audience in the surrounding area.
1950 — Nevada punter Pat Brady boots an NCAA record 99-yard punt in a 34-7 loss to Loyola Marymount.
1962 — New York Giants quarterback Y.A. Title passes for 505 yards and seven touchdowns, and Del Schofner catches 11 passes for 269 yards and a touchdown in a 49-34 victory over the Washington Redskins.
1973 — Gail Goodrich scores 49 points and seven-foot center Elmore Smith sets an NBA record with 17 blocked shots as the Lakers beat Portland 111-98.
1973 — With jockey Eddie Maple substituting for suspended Ron Turcotte, Secretariat concludes his racing career with a victory in the Canadian International Championship Stakes at Woodbine in Toronto.
1989 — Tony Alford of Colorado State rushes for 310 yards in 28 carries to break a Western Athletic Conference record and scores three touchdowns in a 50-10 win over Utah.
1989 — Central State crushes Lane 101-0. Lane concedes with 11:26 to play in the fourth quarter. Quarterback Henderson Mosley runs for three touchdowns and passes for six.
1990 — Jennifer Capriati, 14, beats Zina Garrison in three sets to capture the Puerto Rico Open and become the youngest player to qualify for the Virginia Slims Championship.
1993 — Ron Francis becomes the 38th NHL player to score 1,000 points with a goal in the Pittsburgh Penguins’ 7-3 loss to the Quebec Nordiques.
1995 — Cigar completes an undefeated season of 10 straight wins with a rousing 2½-length victory under Jerry Bailey in the Breeders’ Cup Classic. Cigar, the 3-to-5 favorite, covers the 1 1/4 miles in a time of 1:59 2/5 to beat L’Carriere and give Bailey his third consecutive Classic win.
1997 — Dee Kantner and Violet Palmer are hired as full-time NBA referees, marking the first time in major pro sports in the United States that females will officiate regular-season games in an all-male league.
2010 — Caroline Wozniacki wraps up the year-end No. 1 ranking after rallying to beat Francesca Schiavone 3-6, 6-1, 6-1 at the WTA Championships. The 20-year-old from Denmark is the 10th woman to end the season on top and the youngest since Martina Hingis in 1997.
2016 — Russell Westbrook has 51 points and a triple-double and scores the winning points in the Oklahoma City Thunder’s 113-110 overtime victory over the Phoenix Suns. It’s the first 50-point triple-double since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar had one in 1975. Westbrook finishes with 13 rebounds and 10 assists.
2017 — J.T. Barrett caps the greatest game of his career with a 16-yard touchdown pass to Marcus Baugh with 1:48 left in the fourth quarter and No. 6 Ohio State rallies from 11 down in the final five minutes to hand No. 2 Penn State its first loss, 39-38.
Compiled by the Associated Press
Secretariat’s final race. Watch and listen here.
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