The Sports Report: Lakers’ and Clippers’ stars ready for big push

LeBron James dunks during the NBA All-Star Game on Sunday at Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis
LeBron James dunks during the NBA All-Star Game on Sunday at Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.
(Lauren Leigh Bacho / NBAE via Getty Images)

Howdy, I’m your host, Iliana Limón Romero, filling in for Houston Mitchell, who is probably counting down the days until the Dodgers’ season opener. Let’s get right to the news.

From Dan Woike: The promise in the summer of 2019 was that basketball in Los Angeles would never quite be the same.

The Lakers, one year removed from signing LeBron James, cashed in their young talent from their post-Kobe Bryant rebuild to land Anthony Davis. The Clippers, with the memories of the “Lob City” era still fresh, rebuilt their team on a single night, signing Kawhi Leonard in free agency and dealing for Paul George.


In an instant, four of the top players in the league all called Los Angeles their home.

Sunday, in what has been a rarity, they were all in the middle of things again, all healthy and all members of the Western Conference All-Star team. Since they all moved to L.A., they’d all been All-Stars only one other time — in 2021 in the closed-set All-Star Game in Atlanta.

But in Indianapolis on Sunday, they were all back and playing in the highest-scoring All-Star Game in history.

“It’s great,” George said. “With injuries in general, I think they’ve gone up over the past couple years. I think it’s great we can share the floor with one another. I think it’s great for L.A. that we’ve been able to compete, especially this season. For the most part, everybody’s healthy.

“To overcome that … it’s one thing to be healthy and another thing to still be so productive in the league with dealing with the injuries [we’ve] dealt with. It just speaks volumes for their work and where they’re at in their careers right now.”

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Lynn Williams holds up one finger in the air and embraces Olivia Moultrie after Moultrie scored for the U.S.
Lynn Williams, 6, celebrates with Olivia Moultrie, 13, during the U.S. women’s national team’s 5-1 win over the Dominican Republic at Dignity Health Sports Park on Tuesday.
(Brad Smith/ Getty Images for USSF)

From Kevin Baxter: When Alex Morgan joined the women’s national team Tuesday ahead of its CONCACAF W Gold Cup opener, she found a jersey with her name and the No. 7 hanging in her locker.

Morgan made the No. 13 famous during her long soccer career. But as an injury replacement for Mia Fishel, who tore her right ACL on Monday, Morgan not only inherited Fishel’s roster spot but also her number as well.

Her old one was in good hands, though, with Santa Clarita teenager Olivia Moultrie pulling on the No. 13 — the same number she wears with the Portland Thorns — and scoring a goal in each half, sparking the U.S. to a 5-0 rout of the Dominican Republic in front of 3,242 fans on a rainy, chilly night at Dignity Health Sports Park.

Moultrie, only the third player in the last 15 years to start a match for the USWNT before her 19th birthday, earned her first international score when she reached out her right foot to knock in a deflected ball near the Dominican goal in the seventh minute. Her second goal came 13 minutes into the second half when she redirected in a Midge Purce pass from just outside the box.


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Selena Harris celebrates after earning a perfect score on vault during a dual meet.
Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews (34) warms up before a game against the Washington Capitals on Oct. 24. Matthews is among the few Latino pro hockey players the NHL hopes will help introduce the sport to Latino fans.
(Nick Wass / Associated Press)

From Kevin Baxter: In the summer, when the temperature in Phoenix’s north valley climbs well above 100 degrees, the heat would rise like a vapor cloud from the asphalt parking lot that hugged Ozzie Ice’s two mini rinks.

“You’re trying to keep an ice cube frozen in the oven,” said Sean Whyte, a former Kings winger and hockey director at Ozzie Ice before the rinks were melted for good and the space converted into a rock-climbing gym.

Whyte grew up in Canada, where kids played hockey on frozen ponds. The desert, on the other hand, was more conducive to growing cactus than it was to nurturing NHL scoring champions.

At least that’s what Whyte thought until the day a wide-eyed half-Mexican third-grader everyone called Papi skated in.


“He used to hang out at my rink all day, pretty much every day,” Whyte said, recalling time he spent with Auston Matthews. “All he wanted to do is get on the ice.”

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Quinton Byfield scores highlight-reel goal in Kings’ win over Blue Jackets

Kings-Blue Jackets box score

NHL standings

NHL scores



Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh holds the Rose Bowl trophy after the Wolverines’ win over Alabama.
(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

From the Associated Press: The field for the 12-team College Football Playoff beginning next season will comprise five conference champions and seven at-large selections after the university presidents who oversee the CFP voted unanimously Tuesday to tweak the format.

The move to decrease the number of spots reserved for conference champions from six to five was prompted by realignment and the disassembling of the Pac-12. An expected vote last month was delayed at the Pac-12’s request.

The original plan for the 12-team format was to have the six highest-ranked conference champions, with the top four receiving first-round byes, and six at-large selections. But with one fewer so-called power conference after the Pac-12’s demise, the commissioners who manage the CFP recommended the change from the 6-6 format to 5-7.

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1931 — In the first major league night game, the Chicago White Sox play the New York Giants in a 10-inning exhibition in Houston.


1952 — The Boston Celtics and the Fort Wayne Pistons tip off at midnight in a “Milkman’s Special” following an Ice Follies performance at Boston Garden. Bob Cousy of the Celtics scores 24 points before 2,368 fans in a 88-67 win.

1952 — Dick Button performs the first triple jump in a figure skating competition.

1953 — In college basketball’s longest game, Niagara beats Siena 88-81 in six overtimes.

1960 — Philadelphia Warriors rookie Wilt Chamberlain sets an NBA record with his fourth 50-point game of the season, scoring 58 in a 129-122 victory over the New York Knicks.

1970 — Bobby Hull scores two goals, including the 500th of his career, in the Chicago Blackhawks’ 4-2 win over the New York Rangers.

1970 — Pete Maravich of LSU scores 64 points in a 121-105 loss to Kentucky. Dan Issel scores 51 for the Wildcats.

1976 — New York’s Red Holzman becomes the second NBA coach, after Red Auerbach, to win 500 games with a 102-98 victory over New Orleans.

1992 — Kristi Yamaguchi wins America’s first Olympic gold medal in women’s figure skating since 1976. Midori Ito of Japan takes the silver and Nancy Kerrigan of the United States wins bronze.


1996 — The Philadelphia 76ers have the worst NBA offensive performance in 41 years in their 66-57 loss to Miami. The 76ers tie the record for fewest points, set Feb. 27, 1955, by Milwaukee in a 62-57 loss to Boston during the first season of the 24-second clock.

2002 — In Salt Lake City, U.S. figure skater Sarah Hughes jumps from fourth to first to win the Olympic gold while teammate Michelle Kwan settles for bronze. The powerful U.S. women’s hockey team loses 3-2 in a gold-medal game to a Canadian team it had beaten eight consecutive times.

2003 — Michael Jordan becomes the first 40-year-old in NBA history to score 40 or more points, getting 43 in the Washington Wizards’ 89-86 win over the New Jersey Nets.

2014 — Mikaela Shiffrin becomes the youngest Olympic slalom gold medalist. The 18-year-old American is 0.53 seconds faster than Austria’s Marlies Schild.

2016 - 58th Daytona 500: Denny Hamlin wins closest finish in race history - by just 0.01s from Martin Truex Jr.

2018 - Winter Olympics: Jessie Diggins and Kikkan Randall become the first Americans in history to win a cross country gold medal (team sprint).


Compiled by the Associated Press

And finally

The Kings’ Quinton Byfield scored a jaw-dropping highlight goal on Tuesday night. Watch the remarkable shot here.

Until next time...

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