Howdy everyone, and welcome to the Monday edition of the Los Angeles Times daily sports newsletter. My name is Houston Mitchell and I’m your host for the festivities. Subscribe to this newsletter by clicking here.
Let’s get to it.
The NBA All-Star game was Sunday, and it was a high-scoring affair won by….. oh, who cares. It means nothing. But if you really need to know, read this.
But there were some interesting things that happened. Dallas star Dirk Nowitzki, in what is probably his last season, made all three of his three-point attempts and scored nine points.
LeBron James, on what’s next now that the All-Star game is over: “Looking forward to the second half of the season. Looking forward to seeing what we can do to get back in this playoff race. That's my only mindset. That's the only thing that's going to happen in my mental space for these next two months, pretty much on how I can get this team playing the type of level of basketball we were playing before my injury.”
All-Star Kemba Walker, who plays for Charlotte, the host of this year’s game, on being introduced before the game: “When I got introduced, I kind of got goosebumps at how loud the crowd was for me. I just really appreciate that. They showed me a lot of love.”
Sunday was also the 61st Daytona 500, and the race was won by Denny Hamlin. But here’s the important thing: There were a lot of wrecks and no one was hurt. Hamlin survived three cautions, including two red flags, all in the final 10 laps, to win the race for the second time.
With less than 10 laps to go, Paul Menard bumped Matt DiBenedetto, who was in fourth, turning his car in front of the rest of the field. That led to a 21-car wreck and put the race under a red flag for 25 minutes. It looked like a demolition derby and I have expected the Malachi Brothers to show up and do the Malachi Crunch.
After the restart and with six laps to go, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., tried to find space where there wasn’t and caused a seven-car wreck bringing out the 11th caution of the race.
“Through the red flags, I was taking everything in,” Hamlin said. “I wasn’t nervous. I knew in my head what I needed to do. … I put forth all the homework on where I needed to be. Circumstances were going to dictate what happened.”
Justin Turner did not wait long after last season’s World Series loss to prepare for this season, going to Dodger Stadium two days afterward to meet with strength and conditioning coaches.
“You can’t just go back and sit at home and not do anything,” Turner said. “That’s not it. That’s not the answer. You have to keep going.
“When you get that close two years in a row, it borderline drives you insane,” Turner said. “You’re just psychotic about trying to finish it. So the drive is even greater than it was last year.”
Walker Buehler has not thrown a bullpen session since arriving in training camp, but the Dodgers say you shouldn’t worry, because they are just easing Buehler into the season and don’t want to overtax him too early.
Albert Pujols is in camp, looking a few pounds slimmer and saying he is ready to go after knee and elbow surgery near the end of last season.
J.B. Holmes shot 68-70 in his final two rounds to finish the rain-delayed Genesis Open at 14-under 270. Justin Thomas blew a big lead to lose by one stroke.
“I knew it was going to be very difficult out there to shoot a low score, so I probably needed a little help from Justin,” Holmes said. “I made a couple birdies early and kind of let him feel a little bit of pressure.”
Tiger Woods finished tied for 15th.
Odds and Ends
Born on this date
1895: College football player George “The Gipper” Gipp
1938: Baseball player Manny Mota
1969: NHL player Alexander Mogilny
Died on this date
1933: Boxer James “Gentlemen Jim” Corbett
1993: Pro wrestling star Kerry Von Erich
1998: Baseball broadcaster Harry Caray
2001: NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt
2001: Baseball player Eddie Mathews