The Sports Report: Lakers rally past the Suns

Los Angeles, California October 26, 2023-Lakers LeBron James looks to a cheering crowd.
LeBron James looks to a cheering crowd as he scores late in the fourth quarter.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)
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Howdy, I’m your host, Houston Mitchell. Let’s get right to the news.

From Dan Woike: A soft hum passed through the crowd midway through the third quarter, the kind of noise you might hear at a moderately busy bus station than at a home opener for an NBA title contender.

At a certain point, you can’t blame the people for reacting to what they’re seeing.

But later in the night, with the clock nearing expiration, the Lakers’ home arena jumped as the team put together a turnover-fueled run toward its first win of the season.

Staring down the Suns defense with the score tied, LeBron James drove right at the rim and scored. Then, one possession later, he did it again.


The hoops injected life into the game, and ultimately, led to a 100-95 win on a night when the Lakers didn’t have their best stuff for most of it.

In their first game in Los Angeles this season, the Lakers sputtered. After selling their offseason as one defined by the ability to pick up from where they last left off, the Lakers looked like a group of basketball strangers, any semblance of identity sticking for a possession or two before it disappeared.

But fourth-quarter stops — the Suns shot 26.3% from the field and turned it over seven times in the quarter alone — allowed the Lakers to erase a 12-point deficit. Kevin Durant led the Suns with 37 points.

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Trust the Process? | The Times Lakers Show

Lakers box score


NBA scores, box scores

NBA standings

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From Dylan Hernández: When Russell Westbrook was picked up by the Clippers in February, his temperament changed.

He was calmer. He was more philosophical.

When Westbrook opened his second season with the team Wednesday night, he was transformed as a player.

He was under control. He was unselfish.

In a 123-111 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers at Arena, Westbrook looked like the player the Clippers were missing last season.


The former Lakers reject looked like a true point guard.

His late-career revival with the Clippers now has a chance to be more than a feel-good story. If he can replicate his season-opening performance on a regular basis over the next six months, it could be a championship story, regardless of whether the team ultimately trades for James Harden.

“We want Russ to be Russ,” coach Tyronn Lue said, “but understand what we need him to be for the team to be successful. And he’s bought in 100%. It wasn’t hard to convince him what we needed.”

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From Ryan Kartje: The symptoms started setting in early last week, but at the time, Lincoln Riley tried to ignore them. In his more than 20 years coaching, he’d never missed so much as a practice. Considering how critical the week was to USC’s season, the coach was determined to push through. He rode a surge of adrenaline all the way into Saturday’s gut-wrenching loss to Utah.

Then, Riley said, “Sunday didn’t go too well.”

While his team was left reeling from its second straight loss, Riley was left to deal with the effects of pneumonia. The coach was forced to stay home sick Monday and Tuesday while his assistants filled in, an absence that Riley deemed “excruciating.” In hindsight, he wondered if he should’ve taken the sickness more seriously the week before; though, deep down, he knew he’d probably do the same thing again.

By Wednesday, Riley was back at practice. But speaking with reporters Thursday morning, it was clear he didn’t have a clean bill of health.


“I’m definitely a lot better than I was,” Riley said, “but it’s kind of a slow process working your way back. I’ve never had something like this before, so I’m kind of learning a little bit as I go.”

Riley said he was glad USC wasn’t playing Thursday, but “hopeful” he’d be healthy enough to make the trip to Berkeley on Saturday, if he continued to progress at his current rate. If he’s forced to miss the game, it’s likely that receivers coach Dennis Simmons would step back in as acting head coach in his place, while offensive analyst Kliff Kingsbury is elevated as an extra assistant.

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From Jeff Miller: He was asked about losing to Kansas City, about the challenges Chicago brings and about his finger.

To be exact, Justin Herbert was asked 14 questions about his finger Wednesday.

The Chargers’ quarterback might not be broken, but the middle digit on his left hand is, and the dissection of all that the injury means to this offense and this franchise continues to be intense.

Sitting at 2-4, the expectation-rich Chargers are under a microscope entering another game that isn’t mathematically a must-win but feels like a game they can’t afford to lose.


Last season the Chargers were no better than 6-6 in early December before winning four in a row to grab their first playoff berth since 2018. Now they have to rally just to be in a similar, desperate position.

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From Steve Henson: Life begins at 70? Dusty Baker’s managerial accomplishments as a septuagenarian likely added enough to his long and winding resume for a Hall of Fame berth.

He’d be the first inductee to deliver his acceptance speech in Cooperstown with a toothpick dangling from his mouth.

Baker, 74, announced his retirement Thursday after 26 years as a manager. He was the .320-hitting left fielder on the Dodgers’ 1981 World Series championship team, but it took him 41 years to win another, leading the Houston Astros to the title last year.

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All times Pacific
All games on Fox

Arizona vs. Texas

Tonight at Texas, 5 p.m.
Saturday at Texas, 5 p.m.
Monday at Arizona, 5 p.m.
Tuesday at Arizona, 5 p.m.
*Wednesday at Arizona, 5 p.m.
*Friday, Nov. 3 at Texas, 5 p.m.
*Saturday, Nov. 4 at Texas, 5 p.m.

*-if necessary


Mason McTavish scored on a 2-on-1 break with 2:52 remaining in overtime to give the Ducks a 4-3 comeback victory over the Boston Bruins on Thursday night.

David Pastrnak had a goal and an assist, while Charlie McAvoy added three assists, but Boston surrendered a 3-1 lead in the third period and lost for the first time this season.

The Ducks forced overtime on Troy Terry’s goal with 14.7 seconds left in regulation.

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Ducks box score

NHL box scores

NHL standings


1967 — New Mexico tight end Emilio Vallez catches 17 passes for 257 yards to tie an NCAA record in a 75-12 rout of Texas-El Paso.

1973 — Four players rush for more than 100 yards as Alabama sets three NCAA records during a 77-6 romp of Virginia Tech. Alabama sets records with 823 yards total offense, 743 yards rushing and four 100-yard rushers. Jim Taylor gains 142 yards, Wilbur Jackson 138, Calvin Culliver 127 and Richard Todd 102.

1984 — Washington State’s Rueben Mayes sets an NCAA record with 357 yards rushing, 197 in the first half, and scores three touchdowns in a 50-41 victory over Oregon.


1984 — Iowa’s Chuck Long completes 22 straight passes to set an NCAA record in a 24-20 victory over Indiana.

1996 — After two humbling losses at home, the New York Yankees win their first World Series title since 1978 with a 3-2 victory over the defending champion Atlanta Braves in Game 6.

2001 — Joe Paterno wins his 324th game to pass Bear Bryant for the most victories by a Division I-A coach when Penn State rallies for a 29-27 win over Ohio State.

2002 — Emmitt Smith breaks the NFL career rushing yardage record held by the late Walter Payton on an 11-yard run in the fourth quarter. Smith has 109 yards and a touchdown in Dallas’ 17-14 loss to Seattle and ends the game with 16,743 career yards — 17 more than Payton gained.

2002 — Behind rookie pitcher John Lackey and a three-run double by Garret Anderson, the Angels beat the San Francisco Giants 4-1 for the franchise’s first World Series title.

2004 — The Boston Red Sox are World Series champions at long, long last. Johnny Damon homers on the fourth pitch of the game, Derek Lowe makes it stand up and the Red Sox win Game 4 3-0, sweeping the St. Louis Cardinals for their first crown since 1918.


2006 — The St. Louis Cardinals beat the Detroit Tigers 4-2 in Game 5 to wrap up their first Series title in nearly a quarter-century and 10th overall. The Cardinals, with 83 regular-season wins, is the fewest by a World Series champion.

2013 — Serena Williams ends her best season in style, rallying past Li Na 2-6, 6-3, 6-0 for her second straight WTA Championship and 11th title of the year.

2020 — The Dodgers beat Tampa Bay in Game 6 to win their first World Series title in 32 years.

—Compiled by the Associated Press

And finally...

The Angels win the 2002 World Series. Watch and listen here. The Dodgers win the 2020 World Series. Watch and listen here.

Until next time...

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