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The Sports Report: Should Brandon Staley remain coach of the Chargers?

Chargers coach Brandon Staley speaks on the sidelines during a loss to the Jaguars
Chargers head coach Brandon Staley speaks on the sidelines during the loss to the Jaguars.
(Chris O’Meara / Associated Press)
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Howdy, I’m your host, Houston Mitchell. The big question this week: Should Brandon Staley remain as coach of the Chargers after his team blew a 27-point lead in the playoffs? And this isn’t the first time a Staley-led Chargers have blown a big halftime lead. Vote here in our survey and let us know your thoughts.

From Dylan Hernández: As the Chargers’ 27-point advantage gradually vanished, the look on Brandon Staley’s face told the story of the game.

Staley looked confused.

He looked shocked.

He looked the same way Sean McVay did when Bill Belichick embarrassed him in the Super Bowl.

Doug Pederson has won a championship, Staley hasn’t, and that difference was exhibited during the soul-crushing second half of the Chargers’ 31-30 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars on Saturday night in an NFL wild-card playoff game.

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That’s the ground Staley has to make up if the Chargers are to have any chance of reaching a Super Bowl. That’s the distance he has to cover to justify the team retaining him.

Staley is smart. He’s a good communicator. He’s fearless. He’s just 40. He was in his second year as a head coach this season. Before the Chargers hired him, he was a coordinator for only one season.

He just needs time.

The problem: The Chargers don’t have any.

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CHARGERS POLL

Should Brandon Staley remain coach of the Chargers? Vote here and let us know.

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NFL PLAYOFF RESULTS, SCHEDULE
All times Pacific
Wild-card round
Sunday’s results
Buffalo 34, Miami 31
New York Giants 31, Minnesota 24
Cincinnati 24, Baltimore 17

Today
Dallas at Tampa Bay, 5:15 p.m., ESPN/ABC, ESPN2-Manningcast, ESPN+, ESPN Deportes

Divisional round
Saturday
Jacksonville at Kansas City, 1:30 p.m., NBC, Peacock, Universo
New York Giants at Philadelphia, 5:15 p.m., Fox, Fox Deportes

Sunday
Cincinnati at Buffalo, Noon, CBS, Paramount+
Dallas or Tampa Bay at San Francisco, 3:30 p.m., Fox, Fox Deportes

Conference championship
Sunday, January 29

NFC: Noon, FOX, FOX Deportes
AFC: 3:30 p.m., CBS, Paramount+

Super Bowl
Sunday, February 12, Fox

USC BASKETBALL

Destiny Littleton scored 18 points with six assists as USC pulled off a program-defining victory Sunday with a 55-46 upset victory over No. 2 Stanford.

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Okako Adika scored 11 points with 11 rebounds, while Taylor Bigby and Kayla Williams added nine points each as the Trojans set the tone with their defense and held on late to end a 14-game losing streak against the Cardinal who had won 51 straight against unranked opponents.

It was USC’s first victory over Stanford since the 2014 Pac-12 Tournament.

UCLA BASKETBALL

Freshman Londynn Jones had 18 points and Charisma Osborne added 17 to lead No. 8 UCLA to an 87-70 win over Cal on Sunday.

UCLA star freshman Kiki Rice had a double double with 15 points and a career-high 12 assists.

The Bruins (15-3, 4-2 Pac-12) trailed by as many as 12 points in the first quarter but came back. Cal (10-7, 1-5) played well on the road but couldn’t finish.

LAKERS

From Dan Woike: LeBron James set a half-hearted screen on the left elbow before popping to the top of the key where Russell Westbrook found him with a pass.

James caught it and squared without hesitation, effortlessly flipping the ball towards the hoop during the first quarter Sunday night against the Philadelphia 76ers.

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As it passed through the rim and into the net, James became just the second player in NBA history to score 38,000 career points. The player he’s chasing for most all time, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, obviously, is the only other member of the club.

After the next timeout, when James’ milestone basket was shown on the Crypto.Com Arena scoreboard, public address announcer Lawrence Tanter called it another great moment in Lakers’ history.

But these moments in James’ tenure with the team have hardly been great – as far as the team is concerned. When he passed Michael Jordan in Los Angeles on the all-time scoring list, the Lakers lost. When he moved past Kobe Bryant, the team lost in Philadelphia and when he became the second all-time leading scorer in Washington, that also came in a Lakers loss.

And by the time the horn sounded and Joel Embiid fired the ball up in the air, points 38,000 and 38,001 couldn’t truly be celebrated, another loss marring one of James’ milestone achievements.

Russell Westbrook’s game-winning drive didn’t connect, the Lakers losing another heartbreaker to Philadelphia, this time 113-112.

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CLIPPERS

From Broderick Turner: The injury list grew yet again for the Clippers, leaving it up to Kawhi Leonard and the rest of the healthy group to push forward through this turbulent season, taking on the young, talented and also shorthanded Houston Rockets.

Leonard did his part, as did Terance Mann and a stingy fourth-quarter defense, to help the Clippers pull away for a 121-100 win over the Rockets on Sunday afternoon at Crypto.com Arena.

Leonard finished with 30 points, six rebounds and four assists in 32 minutes.

Mann, in his fourth consecutive start at point guard, had 31 points, his career high for a regular-season game. He also had six rebounds and four assists.

Norman Powell had 18 points off the bench, recording a plus/minus rating of plus-27 in 27½ minutes of play.

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Plaschke: Chronically shorthanded Clippers need to start showing up and grinding hard

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TENNIS

From Helene Elliott: Novak Djokovic lost the only court battle of any kind that he faced in Australia last year.

Deported from the country after three federal judges backed the Australian immigration minister’s right to revoke his visa because he’s not vaccinated against COVID-19 and admitting him might have triggered anti-vaccination sentiment, Djokovic missed an opportunity to pass Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer and stand alone with the most men’s career Grand Slam singles titles.

A lot has changed in the year since Djokovic was escorted out of Australia. Most of those new circumstances work in his favor, leaving him poised to become the men’s Slam leader this year.

Graceful, balletic Federer began 2022 recovering from knee surgery; persistent knee problems led him to retire in September with 20 Slam singles titles. Gritty Nadal staged a stunning comeback from two sets down against Daniil Medvedev to win the Australian Open and, in the surest bet in sports, won his 14th French Open title and 22nd Slam singles title in June, just before his 36th birthday.

Djokovic prevailed at Wimbledon for the fourth straight time to earn his 21st Slam singles championship, but he was prohibited from entering the U.S. to compete at the U.S. Open. Carlos Alcaraz of Spain, 19, won his first Slam title at Flushing Meadows and became the youngest man ever ranked No. 1 in the world.

Australia’s decision to relax its COVID restrictions and grant Djokovic a temporary visa this year gave a significant boost to Djokovic’s quest to match the overall record of 24 Slam singles titles won by Margaret Court and the 23 won by Serena Williams in the more competitive Open Era.

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THIS DATE IN SPORTS

1962 — Wilt Chamberlain of the Philadelphia Warriors scores 42 points and grabs 24 rebounds as he won MVP honors even though his East team lost to the West 150-130 in the NBA All-Star game. The West’s Bob Pettit pulls down an All-Star record 27 rebounds.

1972 — The Dallas Cowboys dominate the Miami Dolphins, setting a Super Bowl record of 252 yards rushing en route to a 24-3 victory.

1974 — Mickey Mantle and Whitey Ford are elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame. Mantle is elected in his first year of eligibility and Ford in his second year.

1988 — Jimmy “The Greek” Snyder, the CBS NFL Today tout for 12 years, is fired for his racial comments during an interview the previous day with WRC-TV in Washington.

1993 — Kansas beats Louisville 98-77 for its 1,500th win in school history.

1993 — Michael Jordan scores 64 points, but Chicago is upended in overtime by visiting Orlando 128-124. The Magic are led by rookie center Shaquille O’Neal, who has 29 points and 24 rebounds.

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2008 — Bob Knight becomes the first men’s Division I coach with 900 wins when Texas Tech beats No. 10 Texas A&M 68-53.

2011 — New York Jets stun the New England Patriots 28-21. The Patriots — who had the league’s best record during the regular season — suffer their third straight postseason loss. Mark Sanchez throws three touchdown passes, Tom Brady is sacked five times and the Jets advance to their second straight AFC championship game.

2015 — The NCAA restores 112 football wins it stripped from Penn State and Joe Paterno in the Jerry Sandusky child-molestation scandal and reinstates the venerated late coach as the winningest in major college football history. The NCAA announces the new settlement with the school weeks before a scheduled trial on the legality of the sanctions imposed in 2012.

2016 — Larry Fitzgerald sets up and scores the winning touchdown on the third play of overtime, taking a 5-yard pass from Carson Palmer that lifts Arizona past Green Bay 26-20 after Aaron Rodgers’ desperation 41-yard touchdown pass to Jeff Janis on the final play of regulation. Fitzgerald turns a short pass into a 75-yard gain on the first play of overtime to set up his 5-yard shovel pass reception for the winning score.

2020 - Former Sacramento State softball player Alyssa Nakken becomes first woman to hold a coaching position on a MLB staff when named an assistant by the San Francisco Giants.

Compiled by the Associated Press

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And finally

Kobe Bryant on his friendship with Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan. Watch and listen here.

Until next time...

That concludes today’s newsletter. If you have any feedback, ideas for improvement or things you’d like to see, email me at houston.mitchell@latimes.com, and follow me on Twitter at @latimeshouston. To get this newsletter in your inbox, click here.

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