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The Sports Report: Doc Rivers in for the long haul with Clippers

The Sports Report: Doc Rivers in for the long haul with Clippers
Clippers head coach Doc Rivers argues with a referee in Game 6 of the NBA playoffs on Friday. (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

Hello, one and all, my name is John Cherwa, and this is my swan-song on this here newsletter for the legendary Houston Mitchell as he tries to figure out long it will take to return respectability to this newsletter.

Clippers

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It’s no secret that Doc Rivers was poised to be the Clippers coach for life. And, having reported that he had agreed to a long-term contract, the fact he actually signed it is not huge news (unless, of course, we break that story first, then it’s huge.)

Now, there is no doubt that Doc is the best NBA head coach currently in Los Angeles. So, Andrew Greif was there to get the story and report on it.

Not a lot of details but here’s what we have.

“Rivers didn’t disclose the length of his new, long-term extension Saturday but said he has signed the contract. It follows a season in which the Clippers, picked by some oddsmakers to win 35 games, finished with 48 victories and took their first-round playoff series against top-seeded Golden State to six games.

“After Friday’s season-ending loss to the Warriors, Rivers said he’d ‘never been more proud of a group of guys in the 20 years that I’ve coached.’

“’As I’ve said before, I’ve never had a group where you wanted to, in the morning, you raced to the car, you raced to practice just because you love being around them,’ Rivers said. ‘So for me, it was just a pleasure to coach them.’”

Dodgers

Clayton Kershaw won his first game of the season on Saturday. Let’s get right to Bill Shaikin’s description of events.

“Kershaw was on his game. The Dodgers’ offense was too, even if it waited until after ‘Take Me Out to the Ballgame’ to spring into action.

“The result: a 3-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Dodgers won their third consecutive game, maintaining a one-game lead over the San Diego Padres in the National League West and joining the Seattle Mariners as the only 18-win teams in the major leagues.

“Kershaw emerged with his first victory of the season. The Dodgers scored all their runs in the seventh inning, on a score-tying sacrifice fly from Chris Taylor and a two-run triple from Joc Pederson.

“Cody Bellinger did not get a hit, his first hitless game in a week. But Alex Verdugo got two more hits, boosting his batting average to .361.

“But the unsung hero, at least from his line in the box score, was Pedro Baez. Do not be fooled by that seemingly basic “1 0 0 0 0 1” line.

“The Dodgers handed that 3-1 lead to Caleb Ferguson for the eighth inning, and Ferguson struggled even to throw a strike.

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“Walk. Single. Walk.

“Bases loaded, none out. Tying run in scoring position. Even a sacrifice fly or force play would narrow the Dodgers lead to one run.

“The Dodgers rushed in Baez.

“Pop fly. Pop fly. Strikeout.

“No runs. The Dodger Stadium fans, the ones that so often have showered him with boos over the years, jumped to their feet and rewarded him with a loud ovation.

“That left the final three outs to closer Kenley Jansen.”

NFL draft

Let’s check in again on our local teams (something we couldn’t say for decades).

--Jeff Miller looks to how the Chargers went to North Dakota State for their next quarterback. Makes you wonder, what magic you can find in a place that is about one-quarter of the population of Los Angeles.

Well, its official bird is the Western Meadowlark; its official drink is milk (with no mention of Bailey’s); its official insect is the ladybug and it’s official fossil is the Teredo petrified wood.

And who knew a state had an official fossil. And the official fossil of California is … (you can fill in the blank with your least favorite longtime politician.)

Back to Jeff’s story:

“The Chargers at some point will have to find a replacement for Philip Rivers.

“On Saturday, they drafted the player who replaced Carson Wentz.

“Easton Stick took over for Wentz at North Dakota State and assembled a career accomplished enough that the Chargers used their fifth-round pick — No. 166 overall — to get him.

“’He’s a winner,” coach Anthony Lynn said. ‘He’s a smart player. I like him a lot. I think he’s a good prospect.’

“The selection of a quarterback who was 49-3 as a college starter and part of four Division I national championship teams highlighted the final day of the draft for the Chargers.

“Also on Saturday, they added two linebackers, Notre Dame’s Drue Tranquill in the fourth round and Houston’s Emeke Egbule in the sixth, and a defensive tackle, Cincinnati’s Cortez Broughton in the seventh.

“Over the past three days, the Chargers drafted five players on defense and two on offense.”

--Now on to Gary Klein on the Rams, who are pinning their hopes on someone from East Mississippi Community College.

So, in fairness, Mississippi’s state bird is the Northern Mockingbird (guessing because all the Southern Mockingbird’s did not want to live in Mississippi); the official insect is the Western honey bee (starting to see a trend here?) and it’s official stone is petrified wood. Wondering if the official wood is a petrified stone?

OK, let’s get on to Gary’s story

“The Rams concluded the NFL draft on Saturday with a Hollywood-style finish.

“With their final pick, they selected Texas Tech linebacker Dakota Allen, bringing to Los Angeles a player who gained prominence for his role in the second season of the Netflix documentary series ‘Last Chance U,’ which chronicled players’ ups and downs at East Mississippi Community College.

“ ‘I honestly can’t believe I’m an L.A. Ram,’ Allen said during a teleconference.

“Smith’s selection with the 251st pick was the last of the Rams’ eight picks in a draft that included six trades by general manager Les Snead, three with the New England Patriots.

“After selecting Washington safety Taylor Rapp, Memphis running back Darrell Henderson, Michigan cornerback David Long and Oklahoma offensive tackle Bobby Evans on Friday, the Rams on Saturday chose Washington defensive tackle Greg Gaines in the fourth round, Wisconsin offensive tackle David Edwards in the fifth, and Penn State safety Nick Scott and Allen in the seventh.

Snead and coach Sean McVay said the Rams filled specific needs for a team that has won two consecutive NFC West titles and advanced to the Super Bowl last season.

USC scandal

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Sadly, those two words have been linked together a lot lately. Each is disturbing but some more than others. This is one of those stories.

If you wondered about the need for journalism, and it is never more important that it is right now, read about the story of this USC doctor that The Times exposed in its Pulitzer Prize winning series of stories. The doctor has denied all wrongdoing.

Bill Plaschke took one of those stories and wrote about it. There is no one better than telling those stories than Bill. No one. Take a read. Some aspects are uncomfortable. Here’s the top of the story.

Nicole Haynes, a USC champion heptathlete, remembers the one time in her Trojans’ track career when everything slowed down.

“She had signed into the Engemann Student Health Center because she was suffering severe stomach pains along with vomiting and diarrhea. She was ushered to an examining table where her legs were immediately placed in stirrups.

“’I had never had a gynecological exam, so I figured this is what they do for terrible stomach pains,”she recalled.

“The attending doctor extensively examined her vagina. She had never experienced anything like it. She was a virgin. She was scared.

“’He was poking me in places I had never been poked before,’ she said. ‘I was just like, “Get this over with.” ‘

“The extensive and invasive exam was completed with the most basic diagnosis. The doctor said she had food poisoning and sent her home without even a prescription.

“’I was thinking, ‘All that for that?’ she said. ‘Did I really need that kind of exam? It didn’t sit well with my spirit. I felt very violated.’

“Twenty-three years after that 1995 incident, Nicole Haynes, now in media sales, remembered one more thing. She saw a photo in a Times story last spring about numerous sexual abuse allegations against a campus gynecologist. She saw that same man on ensuing television reports. It was the doctor who she said gave her the exam that made her feel uncomfortable.

“’I saw his face, I knew that face, I’ll never forget that face,’ she said, her voice rising. ‘It was George Tyndall.’

“A Times investigation last year revealed that Tyndall had been accused of sexually abusing hundreds of USC students for nearly 30 years in his role as the school’s lone full-time staff gynecologist. The series detailed how complaints of abusive behavior were lodged beginning in the 1990s, yet Tyndall was allowed to continue practicing until 2016.

“The stories led to local, state and federal investigations, including the Los Angeles Police Department’s largest sex crimes investigation of a single subject.

“What has not yet occurred, according to Haynes in a recent interview, is justice.”

Personal note

It’s been fun filling in for Houston the last few weeks. But, let’s face it, would you rather have the name brand or the knock-off generic brand? And, in this case, the knock off is more like the crazy uncle you have to invite to Thanksgiving dinner. If Houston is ever allowed another vacation, will I be back? Early polling has it at 51-49, so it’s within the statistical range of “I don’t know.” But, in the meantime, should you be interested in something else, there is a horse racing newsletter (sign up here) that was done by this handsomely devilish bon vivant, but he quit, so I’m doing it now. See you soon.

Saturday’s NBA scores

Raptors 108, Philadelphia 95 (Raptors lead series, 1-0)

Denver 90, San Antonio 86 (Nuggets win series, 4-3)

Today’s NBA schedule

(All times Pacific)

Boston at Milwaukee, 10 a.m. Channel 7 (First game in series.)

Houston at Golden State, 12:30 p.m. Channel 7 (First game in series.)

NHL playoffs

Saturday’s NHL scores

Dallas 4, St. Louis 2 (Series tied, 1-1)

Columbus 3, Boston 2 (Series tied, 1-1)

Today’s schedule

(All times Pacific)

Carolina at N.Y Islanders, Noon Channel 4 (Hurricanes lead series, 1-0)

Colorado at San Jose, 4:30 p.m. NBCSN (Sharks lead series, 1-0)

Odds and ends

Royals make quick work of pitcher Jaime Barria to beat Angels. … Los Angeles makes its push to be king of MLS. … Palisades wins City titles in boys and girls lacrosse. … Sparks acquire Chiney Ogwumike from the Connecticut Sun. … Minjee Lee and Nanna Koerstz Madsen fight for lead at Hugel-Air Premia L.A. Open.

Today’s local major sports schedule

(All times Pacific)

Pittsburgh at Dodgers, 1 p.m., Sportsnet LA, AM 570

Angels at Kansas City, 11:15 a.m., FSW, KLAA 830

Real Salt Lake at Galaxy, 5 p.m., Spectrum Sportsnet

LAFC at Seattle, 12:30 p.m., ESPN, 710 ESPN

Born on this date

1958: Golfer Hal Sutton

1964: Baseball player Barry Larkin

1966: Golfer John Daly

1968: NFL player Mark Carrier

Died on this date

1993: College basketball coach Jim Valvano, 47

And finally

That concludes the newsletter for today. If you have any feedback, ideas for improvement or things you’d like to see, please email us here. If you want to subscribe, click here.

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