The Sports Report: Austin Reaves steps up as Lakers defeat Trail Blazers

Austin Reaves dunks against the Portland Trail Blazers.
(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

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

From Dan Woike: Sometimes it’s a quick look back over his shoulder before spinning back the other way. Other times it’s a fake with the ball or maybe with his head.

Whatever it is, the result, increasingly, has been the same – Austin Reaves figuring out a way to create enough space to make a play.

Borrowing from the playbooks of NBA greats like Hakeem Olajuwon on one possession and Steve Smith on the next (he even channeled a two-handed Charles Barkley dunk), Reaves’ offensive acumen has established himself as a consistent threat for the Lakers offense.

“Austin is just…he just loves to hoop,” Darvin Ham said. “Just a real versatile offensive player – he can do a ton of things on that end.”


In a game the team needed to win before they head out on a very difficult six-game trip, Reaves scored a season-high 22 in the Lakers’ 128-109 win against the Portland Trail Blazers.

LeBron James scored 31, Anthony Davis had 27, Thomas Bryant added 14 and Russell Westbrook ended the second and third quarters with buzzer-beathing threes as part of his 10 points.

For Reaves, it’s the eight time in the last nine games where he’s scored at least 10 points, and for Davis it’s his eighth-straight with at least 20 points and 10 rebounds.

Thursday was the Lakers’ sixth win in their last eight games, giving them some momentum as they leave Thursday for their longest trip of the season with stops in Milwaukee, Washington D.C., Cleveland, Toronto, Philadelphia and Detroit.

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From Andrew Greif: Over the course of two days this week, what could be the Clippers’ future spilled over into the team’s present as a team ravaged by injuries turned to its long-term projects in search of wins right now.

Just as rookie forward Moussa Diabate and second-year guard Jason Preston played a G League game Monday in California before flying the next day to Portland in time for a comeback win against the Trail Blazers, second-year wing Brandon Boston Jr. flew into Utah as a reinforcement.

Their arrivals yielded a general consensus: The kids are all right.


One night after Diabate’s boundless energy changed the tenor of a dreary start in Portland as part of an 18-point Clippers comeback, Diabate and Boston Jr. were inserted late in Wednesday’s fourth quarter when the Clippers needed any semblance of energy while trailing 90-76 to a Jazz team that had lost four straight. Less than four minutes later, Boston had made a three-pointer, Diabate had corralled an offensive rebound into a put-back layup while being fouled and the Jazz lead was down to just three.

That their plans for a rally quickly unraveled from there, eventually ending in a 125-112 loss to fall to 13-10, was only one way to judge the night.


From Ryan Kartje: Late last November, the night before everything changed for USC football, Mike Bohn stared out over a sea of red, empty seats spread throughout the Coliseum. What few rows were filled that Saturday night belonged primarily to Brigham Young fans, all dressed in blue and white.

It was a depressing scene, at the end of a depressing 4-8 season for USC. But in the meantime, a more promising development was playing out on a TV in the athletic director’s box, where Oklahoma State had just ousted Oklahoma from conference-title contention, opening the door for a conversation with the coach Bohn coveted most for USC’s own opening.

Twelve hours later, Lincoln Riley agreed in principle to become USC’s next coach, setting into motion one of the most stunning single-season turnarounds in recent college football history.

Twelve months after that, with USC’s first-ever bid to the College Football Playoff within reach, Bohn looked out over the same stadium during last Saturday’s win over Notre Dame in a state of awe. The stands were full. The Coliseum was rocking. The future for USC football seemed impossibly bright.

Even for the man who pulled it all off, it was hard to believe how much had changed in such a short amount of time.


Where does Lincoln Riley’s first-year turnaround at USC fit in the sport’s history?

Rose Bowl agrees to clear way for College Football Playoff expansion


Reese Dixon-Waters scored 10 of his career-high 17 points in a 20-0 run in the second half that lifted USC to a 66-51 win over California in the Pac-12 Conference opener Wednesday night.

The Trojans (5-3) were clinging to a 46-43 lead midway through the second half when Dixon-Waters made a pair of free throws to start the barrage. He added a three-point play and a 3-pointer 28 seconds apart as the run reached 10 and the lead was 56-43 at the 7:21 mark.

Joshua Morgan capped the run with a jumper before Devin Askew scored for the Golden Bears to end a drought of 10 minutes. The Bears missed 11-straight shots in what was just a horrible shooting night for the home team.


The USC women’s team defeated visiting California Baptist, overcoming a first-half deficit to post a final 69-58 win with Destiny Littleton and Kadi Sissoko recording double-doubles along the way as USC improved to 7-0.


From Gary Klein: During eight-plus NFL seasons, Rams defensive lineman Aaron Donald has been an ironman.

Since being selected with the 13th pick in the 2014 NFL draft, the three-time NFL defensive player of the year never missed a game because of injury.

That will change Sunday.

Coach Sean McVay said Wednesday Donald will sit out against the Seattle Seahawks because of a high ankle sprain suffered during last Sunday’s defeat by the Kansas City Chiefs, a loss that dropped the Rams’ record to 3-8 and extended their losing streak to five games.

Along with Donald, the Rams’ most important player on offense also will be sidelined against the Seahawks.

Quarterback Matthew Stafford remains in concussion protocol because of what McVay has described as a neck issue, and McVay said that it was “safe to say” Stafford would be out.

John Wolford or Bryce Perkins will start in Stafford’s place.


John Hadl, six time Pro Bowl quarterback who led both the Chargers and Rams, dies

Why Rams removed Odell Beckham Jr. nameplate from locker room


From Bill Shaikin: Former Dodgers star Yasiel Puig has withdrawn from an agreement to plead guilty to a charge of lying to federal investigators in a sports betting probe and has decided to plead not guilty, his representatives said Wednesday.

“I want to clear my name,” Puig said in a statement. “I never should have agreed to plead guilty to a crime I did not commit.”

Under the plea agreement, Puig would have been eligible for probation and had agreed to pay a fine of at least $55,000. Without the agreement, Puig could face trial and a maximum sentence of five years in prison.


From Thuc Nhi Nguyen: The Sparks’ Curt Miller era will open on May 19 at Arena against the Phoenix Mercury, the WNBA announced Wednesday as it revealed its regular-season schedule.

Each team will play a league-record 40 regular-season games in 2023, and the Sparks, who have missed the playoffs in consecutive years, will play seven teams, including all five Western Conference opponents, four times each. They will play the remaining four teams — Connecticut, Indiana, New York and Washington — three times each.


From Kevin Baxter in Qatar: For 2½ games Mexico did nothing in Qatar — as in no goals, no wins and no chance to advance to the Round of 16, something it had done in every World Cup it has played in since 1978.

Then in the second half of Wednesday’s group-play finale, El Tri finally came alive, with Henry Martín and Luis Chávez scoring goals six minutes apart in a 2-1 win over Saudi Arabia that very nearly earned it a spot in the next round.

Instead, it was sent home on a tiebreaker.

The difference was Salem Aldawsari’s goal for Saudi Arabia in second-half stoppage time. Although Mexico and Poland tied for second in the group standings with four points, Poland will go on because of its one-score edge in goal differential.

That seemed an unlikely outcome at the start of the day. Mexico was at the bottom of the group standings with just a point through two games, leaving it with long odds of staving off elimination. But the win, plus the two goals, pulled Mexico even with Poland — a 2-0 loser to Argentina — in the table and on goal differential heading into stoppage time.

The second tiebreaker is fair play and Mexico, with six yellow cards in its first two games, had no chance of winning that, leaving it needing a goal score again to pass Poland — which is when Aldawsari scored.

Moments earlier Mexico thought it had gotten a goal from Uriel Antuna in the 87th minute, only to have it denied by an offside call.


Wednesday’s results

Group C
Argentina 2, Poland 0
Mexico 2, Saudi Arabia 1

Country, W-D-L, GD, Pts
y-Argentina, 2-0-1, +3, 6
y-Poland, 1-1-1, 0, 4
x-Mexico, 1-1-1, -1, 4
x-Saudi Arabia, 1-0-2, -2, 3

Group D
Australia 1, Denmark 0
Tunisia 1, France 0

Country, W-D-L, GD, Pts
y-France, 2-0-1, +3, 6
y-Australia, 2-0-1, -1, 6
x-Tunisia, 1-1-1, 0, 4
x-Denmark, 0-1-2, -2, 1

Today’s schedule
All times Pacific

Group E
Japan vs. Spain, 11 a.m., FS1, Telemundo, Peacock
Costa Rica vs. Germany, 11 a.m., Fox, Universo, Peacock

Country, W-D-L, GD, Pts
Spain, 1-1-0, +7, 4
Japan, 1-0-1, 0, 3
Costa Rica, 1-0-1, -6, 3
Germany, 0-1-1, -1, 1

Group F
Croatia vs. Belgium, 7 a.m., Fox, Universo, Peacock
Canada vs. Morocco, 7 a.m., FS1, Telemundo, Peacock

Country, W-D-L, GD, Pts
Croatia, 1-1-0, +3, 4
Morocco, 1-1-0, +2, 4
Belgium, 1-0-1, -1, 3
x-Canada, 0-0-2, -4, 0

Other Groups

Group G
Country, W-D-L, GD, Pts
y-Brazil, 2-0-0, +3, 6
Switzerland, 1-0-1, 0, 3
Cameroon, 0-1-1, -1, 1
Serbia, 0-1-1, -2, 1

Friday: Serbia vs. Switzerland, 11 a.m., FS1, Universo, Peacock
Friday: Cameroon vs. Brazil, 11 a.m., Fox, Telemundo, Peacock

Group H
Country, W-D-L, GD, Pts
y-Portugal, 2-0-0, +3, 6
Ghana, 1-0-1, 0, 3
South Korea, 0-1-1, -1, 1
Uruguay, 0-1-1, -2, 1

Friday: Ghana vs. Uruguay, 7 a.m., Fox, Telemundo, Peacock
Friday: South Korea vs. Portugal, 7 a.m., FS1, Universo, Peacock

y-clinched Round of 16
Note: Top two in each group advance to the Round of 16.

Round of 16 schedule

United States vs. Netherlands, 7 a.m., Fox, Telemundo, Peacock
Argentina vs. Australia, 11 a.m., Fox, Telemundo, Peacock

France vs. Poland, 7 a.m., FS1, Telemundo, Peacock
England vs. Senegal, 11 a.m., FS1, Telemundo, Peacock

1E vs. 2F, 7 a.m., Fox, Telemundo, Peacock
1G vs. 2H, 11 a.m., Fox, Telemundo, Peacock

Tuesday, Dec. 6
1F vs. 2E, 7 a.m., Fox, Telemundo, Peacock
1H vs. 2G, 11 a.m., Fox, Telemundo, Peacock


Complete World Cup coverage

Qatar World Cup: Start times for every match and how to watch

World Cup: U.S. men’s and women’s teams to split prize money

Soccer legend Pelé hospitalized, but daughter says there’s ‘no emergency’


1936 — End Larry Kelley of Yale is named the Heisman Trophy winner.

1951 — Arnold “Showboat” Boykin of Mississippi scores seven touchdowns in a 49-7 rout of Mississippi State.

1956 — The United States beats the Soviet Union 89-55 to win the gold medal in men’s basketball at the Melbourne Olympics. Bob Jeangerard (16), K.C. Jones (15), Jim Walsh (14) and Bill Russell (13) each score double-digits.

1959 — Louisiana State halfback Billy Cannon is named the Heisman Trophy winner.

1961 — Paul Arizin of the Philadelphia Warriors scores 33 points in 138-177 win over the Lakers to become the third NBA player to reach the 15,000-point plateau.

1973 — Jack Nicklaus wins the Disney World Open to become the first pro golfer to surpass $2 million in career earnings.

1980 — South Carolina running back George Rogers is named the Heisman Trophy winner.

1984 — Boston College quarterback Doug Flutie is named the 50th Heisman Trophy winner.

1990 — Ty Detmer of Brigham Young wins the Heisman Trophy. Detmer, who had set or tied 25 NCAA passing and total offense records, becomes the first BYU winner and third consecutive junior winner.

1996 — Wayne Gretzky becomes the first player in NHL history to reach the 3,000 point plateau.

2001 — North Texas (5-6) loses to Troy State 18-16 to become the third team to go to a bowl with a losing record. The Mean Green, bound for the inaugural New Orleans Bowl as the Sun Belt Conference champion, joins SMU (4-6 in 1963) and William & Mary (5-6 in 1970) as the only teams to play in a bowl game with losing records.

2003 — Sylvester Croom becomes the Southeastern Conference’s first black head football coach, accepting an offer to take over troubled Mississippi State.

2004 — McKendree College coach Harry Statham tops Dean Smith with his 880th career victory, an 83-72 win over Maryville. Smith, with 879 wins, still holds the NCAA record for career victories because all of Statham’s wins are at the NAIA level.

2012 — Landon Donovan scores the tiebreaking goal on a penalty kick in the 65th minute, and David Beckham leaves the MLS as a two-time champion with the Los Angeles Galaxy’s 3-1 victory over the Houston Dynamo in the MLS Cup.

2013 — Josh Gordon has 10 catches for 261 yards and two touchdowns in Cleveland’s 32-20 loss to Jacksonville. He becomes the first player in NFL history to record 200 yards receiving in consecutive games.

2015 — The Philadelphia 76ers end the longest losing streak in the history of major professional sports in the United States, topping the Lakers 103-91 to snap a 28-game skid.

2018 — In a dramatic twist on last season’s national championship game, Jalen Hurts comes off the bench to pass for one touchdown and run for another in the fourth quarter, rallying No. 1 Alabama to a 35-28 win over No. 4 Georgia for the Southeastern Conference title.

2018 — Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury fights to a split draw, with Wilder retaining his WBC heavyweight title after knocking down his British challenger twice at Staples Center.

Compiled by the Associated Press

And finally

The Galaxy win the 2012 MLS Cup. Watch and listen here.

Until next time...

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