The Sports Report: Lakers end their losing streak

Russell Westbrook drives against Orlando's Caleb Houstan during the second half.
(Kevin Kolczynski / Associated Press)
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Howdy, I’m your host, Houston Mitchell. Happy New Year! Wait, it’s not the new year yet. So let’s throw it into reverse and take a look at some of the best, favorite and most popular stories my Times sports colleagues did in 2022. Personally, I’d fill it with the great stuff from the guy who writes our Dodgers Dugout newsletter, but that’s just me.

From ‘Banana Ball’ to a Minnesota ‘nobody’: Times Sports’ favorite 2022 stories

The 22 most-read Los Angeles Times Sports columns of 2022


The 50 most-read Los Angeles Times Sports stories of 2022

From Dan Woike: As long as Anthony Davis is sidelined, as long as a brutal winter schedule keeps pushing up against a weary team, normally, the Lakers will have to settle for quick flashes of what best-case can look like.

Matched up with a taller, longer, younger and more athletic team in the Orlando Magic Tuesday, the Lakers moved with precision and care – out-muscling and out-smarting their opponent in what turned out to be a fairly uneventful 129-110 win, snapping a four-game losing streak in decisive fashion.

The Lakers, facing size disadvantages at virtually every position, played with toughness, force, determination and speed to give Darvin Ham a look at the type of team he wants this group to become.

“That’s what we have to be,” he said. “That has to be our identity. That’s what we’re striving for.”

LeBron James led the Lakers with 28, two shy of scoring 30 or more in eight straight games. Thomas Bryant, again starting for Davis, had his third double-double of the year with 21 points and 10 rebounds and Russell Westbrook notched another triple-double with 15 points, 13 rebounds and 13 assists.

It’s his third triple-double this season coming off the bench, tying him with Detlef Schrempf for the most ever by a reserve.


“I’m a hooper,” Westbrook said when asked about his bench role. “I can do anything, any time, anywhere. Whatever is asked of me is what I’ll do, and I’ll continue doing that to further notice.”

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Paul George scored 23 points, Ivica Zubac had 23 points and 16 rebounds, and the Clippers won for the seventh time in nine games by beating the Toronto Raptors 124-113 on Tuesday night.

Norman Powell scored 22 points off the bench and Kawhi Leonard had 15 as the two members of Toronto’s 2019 championship team returned to Canada for the first time since before the COVID-19 pandemic.

Leonard hadn’t played in Toronto since Dec. 11, 2019, when he received his championship ring. Fans cheered when he was introduced before tipoff.


From Jeff Miller: The Chargers clinched the franchise’s first playoff appearance in four years Monday with a 20-3 victory over the Indianapolis Colts.

They improved to 9-6 and are sixth in the AFC, trailing Baltimore (10-5) by one game. With two regular-season weeks remaining, the Chargers could pass the Ravens for the conference’s top wild-card spot.

Here are some takeaways from the Chargers’ third consecutive victory.

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From Ben Bolch: Watching games on television can be hard work for a veteran defensive coordinator used to howling instructions from the press box.

Old habits must be put to rest. A voice must be lowered. One’s surroundings must be recognized to preserve the sanity of everyone within earshot.

“Not good, not good,” Bill McGovern said of his adjustment to watching UCLA from afar the last five games. “When you coach for 37 years and all of a sudden you think you have a headset on at home but you don’t, you know? So you might be yelling at somebody in your house rather than somebody on the other end of the line.”

For the first time in more than two months, McGovern’s familiar, raspy voice will be heard on coaches’ headsets.

The assistant who had missed nearly half the season with what he described Tuesday as “health problems” is set to make his return when the No. 18 Bruins (9-3) face Pittsburgh (8-4) in the Sun Bowl on Friday.

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From Kevin Baxter: There are several things that make Cindy Parlow Cone, the president of U.S. Soccer, stand out among the sport’s top executives.

She’s a former World Cup champion and two-time Olympic gold medalist who made 158 international appearances. She was inducted in the National Soccer Hall of Fame and coached the Portland Thorns to a league title in the NWSL’s inaugural season. She’s a volunteer, running one of the world’s largest, richest and most complex soccer federations for free.

Then there’s her gender: Of the 211 national federations that belong to FIFA, only nine have female presidents. Yet lost among all those significant and rare accomplishments is the fact that Cone’s short reign has arguably been among the most impactful of any U.S. Soccer president.

“When you put a woman at the table,” said Julie Foudy, a former teammate, “they get s— done.”

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Phillip Danault and Viktor Arvidsson each had a goal and two assists, Pheonix Copley made 21 saves to win his fifth straight start and the Kings beat the Vegas Golden Knights 4-2 on Tuesday night.


Alex Iafallo had a goal and an assist and Gabriel Vilardi also scored to help the Kings improve to 5-0-1 in their last six games.

Michael Amadio scored for the third straight game for Vegas, Brayden McNabb had a goal, and the Golden Knights started a Southern California back-to-back with their first loss in three games.


The arbitrator shortening Trevor Bauer’s suspension and making him eligible to play this season has polarized Dodger fans. Some want him released immediately, some want the Dodgers to play him. What do you think?

Click here to vote in our poll and let us know. Results will be revealed in Friday’s newsletter.


1944 — Maurice Richard has five goals and three assists to lead the Montreal Canadiens to a 9-1 rout of the Detroit Red Wings.

1947 — The Chicago Cardinals behind Elmer Angsman’s two 70-yard scores and Charlie Trippi’s 44-yard TD run and 75-yard punt return beat the Philadelphia Eagles 28-21 for the NFL title on a frozen Comiskey Park field.


1952 — Doak Walker’s 67-yard third-quarter touchdown run leads the Detroit Lions to a 17-7 victory over the Cleveland Browns for the NFL championship.

1954 — Tony Trabert and Vic Seixas give the United States a 3-2 victory over Australia for the Davis Cup.

1958 — The Baltimore Colts beat the New York Giants 23-17 in overtime to win the NFL championship at Yankee Stadium. Quarterback Johnny Unitas takes the Colts 80 yards in 13 plays, the last a one-yard carry by Alan Ameche at 8:15 of sudden death overtime. The regulation game ends 17-17 when Baltimore’s Steve Myhra kicks a 20-yard field goal with 20 seconds left in the game. The game is widely known as “The Greatest Game Ever Played.” With a national television audience watching, this game is believed to have made the NFL a challenger to baseball as the national pastime.

1968 — Arthur Ashe leads the United States to its first Davis Cup title since 1963 with a 4-1 victory over Australia.

1975 — The Dallas Cowboys beat the Minnesota Viking 17-14 on Roger Staubach’s desperate 50-yard pass to Drew Pearson in the final minute of an NFC Divisional playoff game. Staubach connects with Pearson down the right sideline with 24 seconds remaining after the Cowboys had second-and-10 with no timeouts left. Staubach later tells reporters he got knocked down on the play, closed his eyes and said a Hail Mary. The term “Hail Mary” is born.

1988 — Division II Alaska-Anchorage, behind Michael Johnson’s 20 points, pulls the biggest surprise of the college basketball season by stunning No. 2 Michigan 70-66 in the opening round of the Utah Classic.


2000 — Robby Portalatin becomes the fourth bowler to roll a 900 series according to the American Bowling Congress. Portalatin, a 28-year-old worker for an auto parts company, accomplishes the feat at Airport Lanes in Jackson, Mich.

2003 — Jamal Lewis becomes the fifth player in NFL history to run for 2,000 yards in a season. He gained 114 yards on 27 carries in Baltimore’s 13-10 overtime victory against Pittsburgh, finishing the year with 2,066 yards — second-most in NFL history.

2003 — San Diego’s LaDainian Tomlinson rushes for a career-high 243 yards and two touchdowns in a 21-14 win over Oakland. Tomlinson also becomes the first halfback in NFL history to catch 100 passes.

2008 — The Detroit Lions lose to the Green Bay Packers 31-21, making them the first team to go winless through a 16-game season.

2008 — The New England Patriots become the NFL’s first team with an 11-5 record to miss the playoffs since Denver in 1985 and the first since the NFL expanded to six playoff teams per conference in 1990.

2008 — The Cleveland Browns lose to Pittsburgh 31-0, setting an NFL record by failing to score a touchdown for six straight games.


2015 — Keenan Reynolds wraps up his record-setting college career at Navy in spectacular fashion, running for three touchdowns and throwing for another to lead the Midshipmen past Pittsburgh 44-28 in the Military Bowl. Navy (11-2) sets a record for wins in a season and Reynolds finishes as the NCAA career leader with 88 touchdowns and 530 points. His 4,559 yards rushing are the most by a quarterback in NCAA history.

2018 - UFC bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes of Brazil moves up in weight and KOs dominant featherweight Cris “Cyborg” Justino just 51 seconds into the opening round to become the first female to win UFC titles in multiple weight classes

Compiled by the Associated Press

And finally

Football’s “Hail Mary” is born. Watch and listen here.

Until next time...

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