The Sports Report: Lakers are no match for Clippers

Clippers Luke Kennard, left, and Paul George try to squeeze Lakers guard Patrick Beverley in the second quarter.
(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

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

From Andrew Greif: Robert Covington went from undrafted to a decade of service in the NBA because of his obsessive study skills. When he scouts opponents, he watches full games, not only the clips.

“It reveals a lot,” the Clippers’ forward said Wednesday morning. “I look at all the small things people don’t pay attention to.”

And often, it can reveal just as much about his own team than the one he’ll play. Some teams find the moment when it all clicks after weeks of accumulating rhythm. Some need only one game, he said, for the flip to switch.

It would be foolish to believe that his Clippers are anything but a work in progress with Kawhi Leonard still injured, still dressed in a New Balance sweatshirt Wednesday instead of a uniform. But even if their final form remains a mystery, they have found something that is clicking. It took longer than one night -- but it was all on display on Wednesday night amid a 114-101 victory that marked their fifth win in their last six games to improve to 7-5. It ended with backup guard Norman Powell screaming after a dunk, with Paul George scoring 29 points and the rugged defense of Patrick Beverley testing the patience of his former teammates but never breaking their game plan.


The Clippers have won 34 of their last 41 games against their Arena co-tenants and nine in a row under coach Tyronn Lue, and their latest win felt all but ensured after the Lakers’ LeBron James left midway through the fourth quarter with left leg soreness – a potentially notable development considering his history of groin injuries since his first Lakers season in 2018.

James had scored 30 points, with eight rebounds and five assists until that point, but the gap that opened in the first quarter, and was nearly erased by halftime, was widened again by the Clippers, and this time the Lakers had no rejoinder that could keep them from falling to 2-9.

Lue, once a candidate to coach the Lakers and James’ title-winning coach in Cleveland, said that any team with James would be fine considering his abilities, even in season 20 of his career. And yet the Lakers continued to struggle, making 10 of their 32 three-pointers, with 16 turnovers.

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From Gary Klein: Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford is in concussion protocol and his status for Sunday’s game against the Arizona Cardinals is to be determined, coach Sean McVay said Wednesday.

“Still anticipating and having the optimistic approach that he’ll be ready to go,” McVay said during a news conference before a jog-through workout that was not open to reporters.

McVay said the jog-through, rather than a full practice, was part of the Rams late-season approach to reduce wear and tear, not because of Stafford’s situation.


John Wolford would probably would start against the Cardinals if Stafford cannot play, with Bryce Perkins as the backup.


From Jeff Miller: The drive was approaching five minutes Sunday, Atlanta’s offense moving from its 32-yard line to inside the Chargers’ 10.

The Falcons had rattled off nine plays, one of which — a 38-yard touchdown run — was wiped out by penalty.

Huffing and puffing on the other side of the line of scrimmage, the Chargers needed a break, both literally and figuratively.

So Khalil Mack took matters — and the football — into his own hands.

“I saw a long drive by them get turned into something that was great,” defensive lineman Christian Covington said. “We were all dog tired on that play. Just to see Khalil Mack do what Khalil Mack does, we were all energized.”


From Ben Bolch: Jaylen Clark makes defense sexy.

The junior guard generated one roar after another during UCLA’s season opener with his ability to frustrate. The loudest cheers inside Pauley Pavilion came when he poked away the ball from a helpless Sacramento State player in the final minutes, taking the steal for a breakaway dunk.

It was Clark’s career-high seventh steal and contributed to the Bruins scoring 26 points off turnovers during a runaway victory. Generating highlights in every category, Clark added 17 points on seven-for-seven shooting to go with eight rebounds, four assists and a block.

Those numbers don’t come around every day — or every two decades.

According to OptaSTATS, Clark is the only NBA, WNBA or NCAA Division I men’s or women’s player to collect 15 or more points, seven or more rebounds and seven or more steals while making every shot in a game in the last 20 years.


Hernández: UCLA’s Jaime Jaquez Jr. looks healthy enough to realize his potential


From Kevin Baxter: U.S. coach Gregg Berhalter announced his 26-man roster for this month’s World Cup in Qatar on Wednesday, and the biggest surprise wasn’t so much the names that were included as it was the one that was excluded.

Left off the team was Zack Steffen, the most experienced goalkeeper in the U.S. player pool with 29 appearances. Steffen, who started six of the team’s 14 World Cup qualifiers, moved from Manchester City to Middlesbrough of the second-tier Championship this season to get playing time ahead of the World Cup but battled injuries early in the season.

Steffen’s absence means Arsenal’s Matt Turner will be the team’s No. 1 keeper, backed by Ethan Horvath and Sean Johnson.

THE ROSTER (club teams, caps and goals in parentheses)

Goalkeepers: Ethan Horvath (Luton Town, 8/0), Sean Johnson (New York City FC, 10/0), Matt Turner (Arsenal 20/0).

Defenders: Cameron Carter-Vickers (Celtic, 11/0), Sergiño Dest (AC Milan, 19/2), Aaron Long (New York Red Bulls, 29/3), Shaq Moore (Nashville SC, 15/1), Tim Ream (Fulham, 46/1), Antonee Robinson (Fulham, 29/2), Joe Scally (Borussia Mönchengladbach, 3/0), DeAndre Yedlin (Inter Miami CF, 75/0), Walker Zimmerman (Nashville SC; 33/3).

Midfielders: Brenden Aaronson (Leeds United, 24/6), Kellyn Acosta (LAFC, 53/2), Tyler Adams (Leeds United, 32/1), Luca de la Torre (Celta Vigo, 12/0), Weston McKennie (Juventus, 37/9), Yunus Musah (Valencia, 19/0), Cristian Roldan (Seattle Sounders FC, 32/0).

Forwards: Jesús Ferreira (FC Dallas, 15/7), Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders, 49/11), Christian Pulisic (Chelsea, 52/21), Gio Reyna (Borussia Dortmund, 14/4), Josh Sargent (Norwich City, 20/5), Tim Weah (Lille, 25/3), Haji Wright (Antalyaspor, 3/1).


From Bill Shaikin: Three years into the pandemic, many workers have not returned to the office. Some never will.

The restaurants, bars and shops that welcomed those workers have struggled. Some have closed for good.

To the rescue: Sports!

That is overstating it some, but the return of fans to stadiums and arenas across Southern California has bolstered a slow revival of the hospitality industry.

The roughly 10 million fans attending the home games of the 12 major pro teams in Los Angeles and Orange counties last year boosted opportunities for cooks, bartenders, waiters, customer service associates and other jobs that require people to show up so you can serve them — at the game, and at nearby places at which fans stop before and after the game.

“When you’re not having the same number of people driving into an area and supporting these services, that industry has changed completely,” said Shannon Sedgwick, director of the Institute for Applied Economics at the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation (LACEDC). “This is a little bit of a ray of hope.”


Kirill Kaprizov scored two power-play goals and the Minnesota Wild continued their dominance over the Ducks with a 4-1 victory Wednesday night.

The score was tied 1-1 after two periods before the Wild took control. Matt Dumba scored the go-ahead goal 1:21 into the third when he put in a loose puck in front of the net.

Joseph Cramarossa also scored the Wild, who have won 11 straight over the Ducks, which is the longest winning streak against an opponent in franchise history. Filip Gustavsson stopped 32 shots.

Pavol Regenda scored his first NHL goal as the Ducks dropped to 0-9 in games decided by two goals or more. John Gibson made 35 saves.


1940 — The Pittsburgh Steelers beat the Philadelphia Eagles 7-3 in a penalty free game at Forbes Field. Philadelphia’s George Somers hits a 36-yard field goal in the first quarter. Coley McDonough of the Steelers scores on a one-yard rush in the third quarter.

1945 — Top-ranked Army shuts out No. 2 Notre Dame 48-0 at Yankee Stadium. Glenn Davis scores three touchdowns and Doc Blanchard scores two, while the Cadets roll up 441 yards to the Irish’s 184.

1963 — Don Meredith of the Dallas Cowboys passes for 460 yards and three touchdowns in a 31-24 loss to the San Francisco 49ers.

1963 — Detroit’s Gordie Howe becomes the leading career goal scorer in the NHL with his 545th in a 3-0 victory over the Montreal Canadiens.

1974 — Hernri Richard and Gut Lafleur score two goals apiece to lead the Montreal Canadiens to an 11-1 over the Washington Capitals. Jack Egers gets the Capitals only goal.

1978 — Larry Holmes knocks out Alfredo Evangelista in the seventh round to retain the WBC heavyweight title in Las Vegas.

1984 — Wyoming’s Kevin Lowe rushes for 302 yards, and Rick Wegher of South Dakota State rushes for 231 to set an NCAA record for most yards gained by two opposing players. Wyoming wins 45-29.

1984 — Wild Again holds off Slew O’ Gold and Gate Dancer to capture the $3 million Breeders’ Cup Classic in the inaugural Breeders’ Cup at Hollywood Park.

1984 — Maryland completes the biggest comeback in NCAA history, overcoming a 31-0 halftime deficit to beating Miami 42-40 in the Orange Bowl. Led by back-up quarterback Frank Reich, the Terrapins score on six consecutive drives in the second half and stop Hurricane running back Melvin Bratton’s two-point conversion attempt on the goal line late in the fourth quarter.

1990 — The Phoenix Suns shatter the NBA record with 107 points in the first half of a 173-143 victory over the Denver Nuggets.

1991 — Martina Navratilova beats Monica Seles for the California Virginia Slims tournament, her 157th title, equaling Chris Evert’s record for career victories.

1996 — Miami Dolphins quarterback Dan Marino surpasses 50,000 career yards passing in a 37-13 win over Indianapolis. Marino also reaches 4,000 completions, another NFL first, with his 10th completion of the game.

2001 — San Jose State beats Nevada 64-45, setting an NCAA single-game record for total offense with 1,640 yards. San Jose State has 849 yards to Nevada’s 791, eclipsing the previous record of 1,563 yards set by Houston and TCU on Nov. 3, 1990.

2007 — San Jose center Jeremy Roenick scores his 500th NHL goal at the expense of his former team in a 4-1 win over Phoenix.

2007 — Navy and North Texas set a major-college record by combining for 136 points in the Midshipmen’s 74-62 win. The previous record for college football’s top tier of competition was 133 points in San Jose State’s 70-63 win over Rice on Oct. 2, 2004.

2007 — Notre Dame loses for the ninth time this season, a school-record, falling 41-24 to Air Force. The last time the Irish lost to two military academies in the same season was 1944.

2012 — Ka’Deem Carey of Arizona rushes for a Pac-12 record 366 yards and ties the conference record with five TDs in the Wildcats’ 56-31 rout of Colorado.

2013 — Marc Marquez becomes the first rookie in 35 years to win the MotoGP championship after protecting his points lead in the Valencia Grand Prix. Needing a top-four finish to secure the title, the 20-year-old Marquez finishes third on his Honda behind race winner and defending champion Jorge Lorenzo. The last rookie to win the title was American Kenny Roberts in 1978.

2017 — John Carlson and T.J. Oshie score rare home power-play goals, and Braden Holtby becomes the second-fastest goalie in NHL history to 200 victories in Washington’s 4-1 win over Pittsburgh. Holtby stops 27 of the 28 shots he faces to pick up victory No. 200 in his 319th game, second only to Hall of Famer and six-time Stanley Cup winner Ken Dryden, who did it in 311.

Compiled by the Associated Press

And finally

Dan Marino’s 50 most electrifying plays. Watch and listen here.

Until next time...

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