The Sports Report: Lakers power past Memphis on Pau Gasol jersey retirement night
Howdy, I’m your host, Houston Mitchell. Let’s get right to the news.
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From Dan Woike: They’re to the right of the banners they helped earn, the numbers of some of basketball’s most dominant big men to ever play in this league.
George Mikan’s No. 99 is two spots to the left of Wilt Chamberlain’s No. 13. One row directly below that is Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s No. 33. Below that an to the left is Shaquille O’Neal’s No. 34.
And Tuesday, after helping the Lakers win a pair of championships, the curtain dropped on Pau Gasol’s No. 16. Fittingly, it’ll live directly on the right of Kobe Bryant’s No. 24.
As he watched the unveiling, Gasol shook his head and wiped tears from his eyes.
“To the city of L.A., to Lakers nation, I love you, I love you deeply,” Gasol said from midcourt. ”I love you forever, thank you for making me feel so special, it’s been an honor, it truly has.
The festivities surrounding the game with Memphis Grizzlies were full of emotional trips to the Lakers’ past, moments that would’ve been impossible without Gasol’s presence alongside Bryant.
The present? That rests on the player the Lakers have counted on to be next in line among their lineage of giants.
Fans chanted “M-V-P” as Anthony Davis walked to the free-throw line late in the fourth, one minute before he and the Lakers finished off the Memphis Grizzlies 112-103.
His tip-in iced the game in the final seconds, finishing off a 30-point, 22-rebound performance.
In the first quarter, Davis looked every bit the part of one of the team’s all-time greats, dominating every inch of the court in the way that made him one of the NBA’s top two-way talents.
Before he checked out with 30 seconds left in the quarter he’d already scored 13 points and grabbed nine rebounds, easily on his way to another double-double.
It was another moment of dominance, the kind that’s been happening more and more at a time when his team needs it most.
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NBA PLAYOFF STANDINGS
First six qualify for playoffs. Nos. 7-10 compete in play-in tournament to determine final two spots.
1. Denver Nuggets, 46-19, —
2. Sacramento Kings, 38-26, 7.5 GB
3. Memphis Grizzlies, 38-26, 7.5 GB
4. Phoenix Suns, 36-29, 10 GB
5. Dallas Mavericks, 34-32, 12.5 GB
6. Golden State Warriors, 34-32, 12.5 GB
7. Minnesota Timberwolves, 34-33, 13 GB
8. Clippers, 34-33, 13 GB
9. Lakers, 32-34, 14.5 GB
10. New Orleans Pelicans, 31-34, 15 GB
11. Oklahoma City Thunder, 31-34, 15 GB
12. Portland Trail Blazers, 31-34, 15 GB
13. Utah Jazz, 31-35, 15.5 GB
14. San Antonio Spurs, 16-49, 30 GB
15. Houston Rockets, 15-50, 31 GB
From Ben Bolch: Jaylen Clark’s lower-leg injury changes things.
If UCLA manages the situation correctly, maybe not everything.
The possible season-ending loss of the team’s defensive maestro, Clark, a.k.a. the Man of Steal, to the injury suffered during a win over Arizona on Saturday night is unequivocally a huge blow to the Bruins’ national championship hopes.
It doesn’t have to be a fatal one.
Fortunately for the Bruins, they have a sixth man experienced at sliding into the starting lineup and two other active defenders on the bench who can largely compensate for Clark’s absence. What’s more, they’ve all done this before.
UCLA coach Mick Cronin said Tuesday that Clark was out for the Pac-12 Conference tournament this week and would not travel to Las Vegas, adding the Bruins would speak with the NCAA tournament selection committee if it wanted to inquire about Clark’s further availability.
“I’m not trying to avoid things with the tournament committee,” Cronin said, “so if they wish to communicate with us, I’m sure they will.”
UCLA’s Jaime Jaquez Jr. is the Pac-12 player of the year
Is the Pac-12 really this bad? Why the league has no TV deal without USC and UCLA
Pac-12 men’s tournament
at Las Vegas
All times Pacific
Today (all on Pac-12 Network)
No. 8 Washington vs. No. 9 Colorado, noon
No. 5 Washington State vs. No. 12 California, 2:30 p.m.
No. 7 Utah vs. No. 10 Stanford, 6 p.m.
No. 6 Arizona State vs. No. 11 Oregon State, 8:30 p.m.
No. 1 UCLA vs. TBD, noon, Pac-12 Network
No. 4 Oregon vs. TBD, 2:30 p.m., Pac-12 Network
No. 2 Arizona vs. TBD, 6 p.m., Pac-12 Network
No. 3 USC vs. TBD, 8:30 p.m., ESPN
Game 1, 6 p.m., Pac-12 Network
Game 2, 8:30 p.m., ESPN
7:30 p.m., ESPN
From Jack Harris: There’s a note-taking app on Chris Taylor’s phone that the Dodgers outfielder opens all the time, a simple yet useful system he long ago developed to track his ever-evolving swing.
Within it, the 10th-year veteran has kept a catalog of hitting tips, from mental cues and mechanical feels, to coaching advice and personal observations.
Many of them go back years, originating from the career-altering swing changes Taylor made during his emergence with the Dodgers in 2017.
Ever since, he hasn’t been afraid to edit the list, routinely jotting new thoughts and crossing out old ones — especially during times like these, as he sets out to rectify his dismal 2022 performance this spring.
“Last season, I felt like I created some bad habits,” Taylor said. “So I’m kind of just trying to create a more efficient swing.”
From Ryan Kartje: When Lincoln Riley stepped onto the practice field this past Sunday at the start of his second spring as USC’s football coach, the task in front of him felt a bit less daunting than it did a year ago.
The foundation of the program was already formed, the core beliefs already ingrained, the processes put into place. There were fewer questions to answer, fewer details to address.
“You have a sense that we’re building upon something now as opposed to just starting something,” Riley said Tuesday. “Now it’s time to really build. And I think our guys sense that. I think there’s certainly a lot less new, but at the same time, we’ve pushed the guys to understand that what was acceptable 12 months ago is not necessarily acceptable now.”
From Kevin Baxter: Angel City had just one player under contract when it traded for the rights to Julie Ertz, a two-time World Cup champion midfielder, and Sarah Gorden, a 2021 finalist for National Women’s Soccer League defender of the year.
That was 15 months ago. The team has played an entire season since then, and neither Ertz nor Gorden has made it to the field yet.
Ertz, who gave birth to a son in August, is not under contract with Angel City and might never play for the team. But Gorden, who tore the anterior cruciate ligament in her right knee less than two weeks into the team’s first training camp, is expected to make her debut Wednesday night in a preseason friendly with Mexico’s Club América at BMO Stadium.
And though missing a full season to knee surgery in the prime of her career wasn’t the way Gorden saw her time with her new team beginning, she’s convinced Angel City is getting a better player than the one it acquired in December 2021.
“I absolutely feel like this year of recovery has prepared me mentally in ways that I never would have been able to prepare if I didn’t get injured,” she said. “Recovering from a major injury, there’s ups and downs. It’s a lot of isolation, a lot of time by yourself. And there’s so many more mental battles in it.
“When the small hard times [come], I feel so much more prepared to deal with it.”
THIS DATE IN SPORTS
1954 — The Milwaukee Hawks beat the Baltimore Bullets twice 64-54 and 65-54, in the only doubleheader in NBA history involving the same two teams.
1958 — Silky Sullivan, ridden by Bill Shoemaker, wins the Santa Anita Derby by three lengths after trailing by 40 early in the race and by 20 entering the final turn.
1971 — Joe Frazier wins the world heavyweight title with a unanimous 15-round decision over Muhammad Ali at New York’s Madison Square Garden.
1990 — Kurt Browning becomes the first Canadian to defend a title in the World Figure Skating Championships as he edges early leader Viktor Petrenko of the Soviet Union.
1992 — Ray Floyd, 49, holds off Fred Couples for a two-stroke victory in the Doral Open and joins Sam Snead as the only men to win PGA Tour titles in four decades.
2008 — At age 60, Saoul Mamby loses a unanimous 10-round decision to Anthony Osbourne in Grand Cayman. Mamby, a former super lightweight champion, becomes the oldest boxer in a sanctioned fight.
2008 — Lindsey Vonn wins her 10th career World Cup downhill to break the U.S. record held by Picabo Street and Daron Rahlves. Vonn breaks the record with her fifth downhill of the season in 1:23.57 on the 1.4-mile Crans-Montana, Switzerland course.
2010 — The top-ranked Connecticut Huskies set an NCAA women’s record by winning their 71st straight game, a 59-44 victory over No. 6 Notre Dame in the semifinals of the Big East tournament. UConn surpasses its own mark set from Nov. 9, 2001, to March 11, 2003.
2013 — The Big East Conference announces the departure of DePaul, Georgetown, Marquette, Providence, St. John’s, Seton Hall and Villanova, allowing them to separate from the football schools and create their own conference on July 1.
2014 — Doug McDermott scores a career-high 45 points to become the eighth player in Division I history to go over 3,000 for a career and Creighton rolls past Providence 88-73.
2015 — Leonardo Mayer defeats Joao Souza in the longest Davis Cup singles match ever, winning 7-6 (4), 7-6 (5), 5-7, 5-7, 15-13 to keep Argentina alive against Brazil in their first round series. Mayer needed 6 hours, 42 minutes to beat Souza, which is also longer than the record for a clay-court match on the ATP tour.
—Compiled by the Associated Press
Joe Frazier defeats Muhammad Ali to win the heavyweight title in 1971. Watch and listen here.
Until next time...
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