Howdy everyone, and welcome to the Tuesday 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.
Stop me if you’ve heard this before: The Lakers lost.
Yes, the Lakers fell further out of playoff contention with a 113-105 loss to the Clippers. And the fans let the Lakers know of their displeasure, booing the team several times. One fan, sitting a few rows above team owner Jeanie Buss shouted “Hey Jeanie, this is trash!”
Kyle Kuzma rolled an ankle midway through the fourth quarter and left the game. A lot of the crowd left with him.
How bad has it gotten? Check out this quote from Luke Walton:
“We’re still not mathematically out of it. I know it’s a longshot. We’re gonna come in and work.”
Those are some strong motivational words right there.
Bill Plaschke was at the game, and he writes, “Dagger.
“The biggest bust of a season in Laker history essentially ended Monday night, 18 games early and one superstar late.
“Dagger, administered by this city’s most stable NBA organization.
“Dagger, a 113-105 defeat at Staples Center at the relentless hand of the Clippers.
“LeBron James was booed. Jeanie Buss was heckled. The Clippers flexed. The fans fled. The numbers chilled.
“The Lakers five-year postseason drought will soon be an horrific half-dozen, as the loss dropped them 5 1/2 games out of the eighth and final playoff spot behind with 18 games to play.
“This is bad. This is real bad. In six short months, the NBA’s marquee franchise has become the butt of its jokes and the focus of its most puzzling questions.”
Arash Markazi: LeBron and Magic Johnson aren’t to blame for Lakers’ disappointing season.
In all the talk about Bryce Harper, everyone seemed to forget that the Dodgers got a pretty good outfielder (if he can stay healthy) this offseason when they signed A.J. Pollock.
“I get it,” Pollock said. “I’m sure every fan base would say, ‘Of course I want Bryce Harper,’ he’s a great player. But I don’t read too much into what fans are saying right now. I’m just doing my thing.
“I used to be the type of guy who would seek the approval of other people. I don’t really need any of that anymore. I just want to play ball to the best of my ability and help this ballclub win games.”
Meanwhile, manager Dave Roberts told all of us what we long suspected: There’s a good chance Clayton Kershaw won’t be ready by opening day.
“The main thing is he’s trending in the right direction, and when he’s game-ready is when he’s game-ready, Roberts said. “There’s just way too much importance put on the opening-day roster. The No. 1 thing is for him to be ready and to feel confident physically and mentally, and when that is, it is.”
UCLA spring practice
Ben Bolch takes a look at several questions the Bruins must answer as spring practice gets underway. They are:
Who will emerge at quarterback?
What will the rest of the offense look like?
Is there another Joshua Kelley among the walk-ons?
Will the young defensive line deliver the lumps it took last season?
Can the special teams be at least average?
USC spring practice
J. Brady McCollough takes a look at several questions the Trojans must answer as spring practice gets underway. They are:
How real is the quarterback competition?
Will USC have enough receivers and cornerbacks?
Will the offensive line improve?
A healthy Stephen Carr?
Will Palaie Gaoteote take over for Cameron Smith?
Odds and Ends
Kaleb Cowart embraces two-way role, hits grand slam for Angels…. Alec Martinez is using veteran savvy to help the Kings’ young defensemen…. Caleb Wilson’s NFL combine performance should earn him more attention from teams…. Hockey Hall of Famer Ted Lindsay dies at 93…. World Urban Games move from Los Angeles to Budapest.
Today’s local major sports schedule (all times Pacific)
Angels vs. Chicago Cubs, noon, FSW, KLAA 830
Ducks at Arizona, 6 p.m., PRIME
Montreal at Kings, 7:30 p.m., FSW, ESPN+
Born on this date
1938: NFL player/actor Fred "Hammer" Williamson
1946: NFL player Rocky Bleier
1964: NBA player Reggie Williams
1966: NFL player Michael Irvin
1971: Former Dodger Chad Fonville
1972: NBA player Brian Grant