Hello, one and all, my name is John Cherwa, and I’m guest-hosting this newsletter for a couple of weeks while Houston Mitchell decides which performance of “Avengers: Endgame” he’ll go to next weekend.
We’ll admit it (and by we, I really mean me), we got snookered into thinking the Clippers had a chance against the Golden State Warriors based on Game 2’s history-making comeback. On Thursday, they were never really in the game. But that doesn’t mean the future is all doom and gloom. Maybe just not this year.
Let’s see what Andrew Greif and Bill Plaschke had to say about the game. First, here’s how Andrew started his game story.
“By halftime, Golden State led by more than 20 points, again.
“Four minutes into the third quarter, and with four fouls to his name and disgust on his face, Golden State’s Stephen Curry left the court for the bench. Again.
“One minute later, his team led the Clippers by 31. Again.
“The main plot points of Game 3 of this first-round playoff series matched those of Game 2, almost identically.
“And yet, as a town like Los Angeles surely knows, sequels are rarely as compelling as the first.
“Rather than collapse when up 31, as they’d done during Monday’s Game 2 in allowing an all-time NBA playoff rally, the top-seeded Warriors crushed any hopes of another comeback in the third act of Thursday’s Game 3 and wrested control of the series, 2-1, from the Clippers during a 132-105 victory at Staples Center.
“‘It was a different vibe than it was the other night,’ Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. ‘The other night we didn’t have control in the third quarter.’
“The Warriors exerted enough control to end a night that began with a packed arena and noise from the top row but ended with emptied seats and little to yell about. Reserves played nearly the entirety of the fourth quarter.”
And here’s a glimpse of Bill Plaschke’s optimistic view.
“For the first time in maybe forever, there actually is a Clippers ‘way,’ and it’s cool, it’s fun, and it’s infectious.
“Look past Thursday’s 132-105 playoff wipeout at the deft and dynamic hands of the Golden State Warriors. You knew this was coming. You knew where the embarrassed Kevin Durant was going. The two-time defending champions are completing one of the greatest runs in NBA history, and there is no way this top seed was going to lose consecutive playoff games to the eighth-seeded and terribly out-manned Clippers.
“Look past this first-round series, which the Warriors lead two games to one and will probably clinch soon. Look to this summer. That’s what this month has been about. That’s what Monday night in Oakland was about. The Clippers’ main goal this season has been to create the sort of atmosphere and culture that would attract as many as two superstar free agents this summer, and they have done that.”
Clippers playoff schedule
All times Pacific
Game 1: Warriors 121, Clippers 104
Game 2: Clippers 135, Warriors 131
Game 3: Warriors 132, Clippers 105
Sunday, 12:30 p.m., at Clippers, Channel 7
Wednesday, April 24, 7:30 p.m. at Golden State, TBA
*Friday, April 26, at Clippers, TBA
*Sunday, April 28, at Golden State, TBA
* if necessary.
Thursday’s NBA playoff scores
Golden State 132, Clippers 105 (Warriors lead series, 2-1)
Philadelphia 131, Brooklyn 115 (76ers lead series, 2-1)
San Antonio 118, Denver 108 (Spurs lead series, 2-1)
(All times Pacific)
Toronto at Orlando, 4 p.m. ESPN (Series tied, 1-1)
Boston at Indiana, 5:30 p.m. Channel 7 (Celtics lead, 2-0)
Portland at Oklahoma City, 6:30 p.m. ESPN (Trail Blazers lead, 2-0)
The newsletter hasn’t paid a lot of attention to the Dodgers lately because of what turned out to be a stupid obsession that the Clippers might actually be able to beat the Warriors. (Is there such a thing as a flying-pig emoji?)
But the Dodgers have quietly put together a five-game winning streak and taken a one-game lead over San Diego. Yes, the Padres. Yes, that team down south of Los Angeles.
So you can catch up with the Dodgers, let’s give them a featured spot today as we all can reflect on what it’s like to be Julio Urias. We’ve all been there at one point in our career. For example, let’s say I do a bang-up job on this newsletter while Houston is playing a game of “Where in the world is Houston Mitchell?” And, remember this is one of those fanciful “Game of Thrones” scenarios with no attempt at reality.
When he comes back, should I keep the job or should it go back to Houston? (Darn straight it should go back to Houston.) Our own Jorge Castillo is in Milwaukee to give you his account of the situation and the game.
“Julio Urias took the mound at Miller Park on Thursday knowing his time as a starting pitcher for the Dodgers was coming to a temporary close. He was going to the bullpen after Thursday’s outing against the Milwaukee Brewers. He could’ve gotten hammered and exited in the first inning. He could’ve thrown a perfect game. It didn’t matter. Hyun-Jin Ryu is coming off the 10-day injured list Saturday to take Urias’ spot in the rotation. Urias is going to the bullpen, where he was supposed to begin the season.
“But the Dodgers still view Urias as a top-line starter in the long-term, beginning next season, and Urias offered a glimpse for their optimism in a 3-1 win, the Dodgers’ fifth in a row.
“The left-hander flummoxed the potent Brewers (12-8) over six scoreless innings. He didn’t allow a hit until the fifth inning. It was the only hit he gave up. He walked two and compiled a career-high eight strikeouts. He elicited 17 swing-and-misses and bouts of frustration from an offense featuring the reigning National League Most Valuable Player.
“For five innings, the Dodgers (13-8) squandered chances to score against right-hander Zach Davies. After going down in order in the first, they stranded at least one runner in each of the next four. Three runners were in scoring position. They were left there. Their effort did, however, hike Davies’ pitch count to 97 through. That prompted his departure and a loud Dodgers surge opposite right-hander Matt Albers in the sixth.”
This is a topic I can talk about and actually know what I’m saying. The top horse-racing companies in the country got together and agreed on a plan to, in certain cases, eliminate a race-day medication called Lasix. It will be in effect for the Triple Crown races of 2021.
This medicine is used to combat exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhaging, which is exactly what it sounds like: horses bleeding from the lungs while running.
But what was equally interesting on Thursday was how the California Horse Racing Board quickly dismissed the idea that Santa Anita would lose racing dates should its equine death rate go bad again. Here’s an excerpt from the story.
“A meeting was originally scheduled for last Friday to discuss the moving of dates at Santa Anita in light of the horse deaths. However, it was canceled and an agenda item was included in Thursday’s meeting. The idea of Santa Anita giving up its dates was dispensed with in 1 minute, 15 seconds without discussion.
“‘My view is that racing since Santa Anita has reopened, it has been really good,’ Chuck Winner, chairman, said. ‘There have been no accidents. Personally, I see no reason to move the race dates.’
“Actually, Santa Anita did have a death on March 31 when Arms Runner broke his leg on the downhill turf course, which has been closed since for sprints. Since that death, 502 horses have started without a fatality. There have been 4,195 horses with timed workouts during training since March 14 without a death.
“Of the 23 deaths, 10 have come in training, seven on the main dirt course during racing and six during turf racing.”
This story isn’t going away, and next year you may get to decide the ending, if the future of horse racing becomes a ballot initiative.
Thursday’s scores (read game stories here)
San Jose 5, Las Vegas 2 (Golden Knights lead series, 3-2)
St. Louis 3, Winnipeg 2 (Blues lead series, 3-2)
Carolina 2, Washington 1 (Series tied, 2-2)
(All times Pacific)
Toronto at Boston, 4 p.m. NBCSN (Series tied, 2-2)
Colorado at Calgary, 7 p.m. NBCSN (Avalanche lead, 3-1.)
Odds and ends
Angels erase eight-run deficit, but still let Mariners get away. … Mick Cronin adds longtime assistant Darren Savino to his UCLA basketball staff. … They meet again: UCLA and Oklahoma are favorites in gymnastics championships. … Zlatan Ibrahimovic draws Ronaldo and Messi comparisons amid hot start. … MLS will seek compensation for affiliated academy players who sign outside the league. … Amir Khan has forged his own path and now he faces another tough test.
Today’s local major sport schedule
(All times Pacific)
Dodgers at Milwaukee, 5 p.m., Sportsnet LA, AM 570
Seattle at Angels, 7 p.m., FSW, KLAA 830
Houston at Galaxy, 8 p.m., Univision
Born on this date
1960: Baseball player Frank Viola
1962: Race car driver Al Unser Jr.