Hello, one and all, my name is John Cherwa, and I’m guest-hosting this here newsletter for a couple of weeks while Houston Mitchell is wondering why “Avengers: Endgame” will likely be longer than Game 6 of the Clippers-Warriors.
Guess we gave up on the Clippers a little early. Their shocking win on Wednesday night gives them new life, but they still have to win their next two games. And the problem is the next one is at home.
Clippers are 0-2 at home and 2-1 on the road in this series. Maybe it’s the stench of the Lakers that is pulling them down at Staples Center.
How fast can they build that Inglewood Arena? By Friday? Didn’t think so, especially so near to Tom Ridge’s “terrorist twofer,” which AEG (owners of Staples) should still be ashamed of as one of the most far-reaching pieces of opposition research in a long time.
But, back to the Clippers. And who better to tell us about it than Andrew Greif, who no doubt had to cancel whatever dinner reservations he made for Friday night and possibly this weekend? Here’s part of what he wrote.
“After eight months and 86 games together, Doc Rivers knew his team.
“But in 20 seasons as an NBA coach, he’s learned never to get comfortable, too. Elimination games can reveal unforeseen things, and the Clippers’ coach had witnessed strong teams reach their breaking point and underdogs claw and scrape.
“And so, he was one of several Clippers looking Wednesday night for different signs to gauge their readiness in the hours and minutes before Game 5 at Oracle Arena. Rookie guard Landry Shamet watched teammate Patrick Beverley, whose energy has been a reliable barometer all season. Assistants waited to sense an edge, that unquantifiable but undeniable factor. Rivers wanted to see how the players meshed within the team’s game plan.
“But even though he had no way of knowing whether Wednesday would lead to the end, or another game, Rivers did offer a prediction, hours before tipoff.
“What Beverley and Danilo Gallinari started, Lou Williams ended. And with that, this series has not ended, not yet, not after a 129-121 victory that has forced a Game 6 Friday in Los Angeles. The Warriors’ lead in the series has been trimmed to 3-2.
“Golden State’s Kevin Durant scored a game-high 45 points, Stephen Curry had 24 and Klay Thompson 22. The Warriors had been 6-0 this season when that trio combined for 90-plus points, but the first blemish came Wednesday.”
Clippers 2019 playoff schedule
All times Pacific
Game 1: Warriors 121, Clippers 104
Game 2: Clippers 135, Warriors 131
Game 3: Warriors 132, Clippers 105
Game 4: Warriors 113, Clippers 105
Game 5: Clippers 129, Warriors 121
Friday, at Clippers, 7 p.m. ESPN
*Sunday, April 28, at Golden State, 12:30 p.m. TBA
* if necessary.
Wednesday’s NBA playoff scores
Clippers 129, Golden State 121 (Warriors lead series, 3-2)
Houston 100, Utah 93 (Rockets win series, 4-1)
(All times Pacific)
Denver at San Antonio, 5 p.m. TNT (Nuggets lead series, 3-2)
Law & Order
With apologies to Dick Wolf, here’s what’s going on in the legal world.
--Tania Ganguli and Richard Winton dug out this little gem involving the Big Baller brand. Read on.
“Until recently, Ball said he and his family had no idea that Gregory Alan Foster, who he described as ‘like my second dad,’ had served time in federal prison for taking part in a scheme that deprived investors of $3.735 million.
“Foster was co-founder of Big Baller Brand, an apparel company launched in part by Lonzo’s father, LaVar, who sought to capitalize on the fame his three sons generated while playing for Chino Hills High.
“Authorities say the investigation is focused on allegations included in a lawsuit filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court this month by Lonzo Ball and Big Baller Brand. The suit alleges Foster took more than $1.5 million out of the company’s bank accounts and accepted ‘substantial undisclosed referral fees’ from at least eight loans he arranged on behalf of the company.”
--And if Tania wasn’t busy enough with the Big Baller story, she reported this.
“Luke Walton’s attorney issued a statement Wednesday afternoon, saying the former Lakers coach would have his innocence “proven in court.”
“’[Tuesday’s] press conference was a poorly staged attempt to portray the accuser as a viable spokesperson for an important movement,” Baute said in a statement emailed to The Times. ‘Her lawyers want to create a public circus to distract from their complete lack of evidence to support their outrageous claims. We will not try this case in the media or pay them a dime.’
“Tennant’s attorneys, Garo Mardirossian and David deRubertis, filed a lawsuit on her behalf on Monday in Los Angeles County Superior Court. It alleges that Walton sexually assaulted her in a Santa Monica hotel room while he was an assistant coach with the Golden State Warriors.”
Before we get to Sam Farmer’s brilliance on covering the NFL draft, we need to make the programming note that “Jeopardy” has been moved to 9 on Thursday night.
And as long as we’re talking about “Jeopardy,” (how did that happen?) and watching the smart guy who’s a professional gambler from Las Vegas cross the $1-million mark in earnings, let me tell you what I think about one of the most popular shows on TV.
They are a bunch of cheapskates.
The show makes about a gazillion bucks in syndication fees and if you finish second or third you get $2,000 or $1,000. If you win, and you’re not the guy from Vegas, you may get $15,000 or $20,000. That’s catering money. C’mon, “Jeopardy” bosses, that’s all you are paying?
Now, the guys who walk across the stage in Nashville on Thursday at the NFL draft will be making a ton of money but won’t be working as hard on Thursday as any of those “Jeopardy” folks.
In fairness, the “Jeopardy” folks don’t have to endure the “I-wish-I were-anywhere-but-here” hug of Roger Goodell. Cost of not having to hug Roger: Priceless.
So, now that we’ve taken this story down a different track, let’s get back to football. Here’s the fuller version of this story.
“The first round of the NFL draft unfolds Thursday night, and Marquise ‘Hollywood’ Brown is strapping in for the ride of his life. He’s among the most coveted receivers in this class, yet all the defensive talent is in the spotlight. He knows there will be ups and downs, twists and turns.
“But please don’t compare this to a roller coaster.
“Brown knows roller coasters, and he can’t stand them. Before rising to stardom at the University of Oklahoma as the favorite target of quarterback Kyler Murray — the likely No. 1 overall pick — Brown played at College of the Canyons in Santa Clarita. When enrolled there, he had a job at Six Flags Magic Mountain loading people onto Full Throttle, a ride the amusement park calls the tallest and fastest looping roller coaster in the world.
“ ‘I’m not a ride person,’ the soft-spoken Brown said Wednesday during a pre-draft event at the Tennessee Titans’ stadium. ‘I don’t really see the kick out of it. They made me try it one time and I regretted it. Yeah, that’s not my thing.’
“The 5-foot-9, 166-pound Brown expresses his need for speed in other ways. He has run the 40-yard dash in 4.32 seconds, and believes he could have challenged John Ross’ combine-record 4.22 but was unable to run in Indianapolis because of a foot injury. Brown, a cousin of all-pro receiver Antonio Brown, is likely to be selected somewhere in the first round. ...
“The Arizona Cardinals have the No. 1 pick for the first time in their history, and they are considering using it on Murray, even though they drafted former UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen 10th overall last year. It would be the first time in NFL history a team chose quarterbacks in the opening round two years in a row.”
All you can say is: “Alex, I mean Roger, how about Top Pick for $34 million.”
NHL playoffs (read game story here)
Carolina 4, Washington 3 (Hurricanes win series, 4-3)
(All times Pacific)
Columbus at Boston, 4 p.m. NBCSN (First game in series)
Dallas at St. Louis, 6:30 p.m. NBCSN (First game in series)
Odds and ends
Dodgers are victimized by three-run home runs in another loss to Cubs. … Opportunistic Yankees walk away with the win against the Angels. … Former USC linebacker Porter Gustin failed a drug test at NFL combine. (Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman were unavailable for comment. Sorry, just saw the words USC and test in the same sentence.) … Galaxy, Minnesota United play to scoreless draw. … Gennady Golovkin splits with longtime trainer Abel Sanchez. … Some LPGA golfers go the family route when it comes to their caddies.
Today’s local major sports schedule
(All times Pacific)
Dodgers at Chicago Cubs, 11:15 a.m., SportsNet LA, AM 570
New York Yankees at Angels, 6 p.m., FSW, KLAA 830
Born on this date
1932: Basketball player Meadowlark Lemon
1945: NBA player Walt Wesley
1947: Soccer player Johan Cruyff
1952: Hockey player Vladislav Tretiak
1969: NFL player Darren Woodson
1976: NBA player Tim Duncan
1981: Skier Anja Pärson