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In their first exhibition game of the season, the Lakers defeated the Golden State Warriors 123-101 in the first game held at the new $1.4-billion Chase Center in San Francisco, but preseason wins and losses don’t mean much once the regular season starts. The chemistry built between players that will see the floor when the games matter is the only worthwhile takeaway this time of year.
One week after the start of training camp, all the new pieces the Lakers hoped would find a way to fit at some point, came together seamlessly. LeBron James and Anthony Davis looked like they had been teammates for years, connecting on several highlight reel plays and sending fans into a frenzy on social media as the Lakers took an early 18-point lead and Davis scored 17 first-quarter points.
“I’m excited about what we can be, we got a little bit of a taste of it tonight,” coach Frank Vogel said. “[Davis] is a monster. It’s going be very difficult to slow him down with what we have around him. I’m excited about what he’s going to do and Lakers fans should be too.”
One of those excited fans was Magic Johnson, who resigned as the team’s president of basketball operations in April after failing to pull off a trade for Davis.
“Laker Nation, I just watched LeBron and Anthony Davis put on a show in the 1st quarter of the Lakers vs. Warriors exhibition game. Watch out rest of the NBA!” Johnson tweeted. “I think LeBron is going to average close to a triple double this season. His passing was on point and Anthony Davis was dominant in that 1st quarter.”
Every Lakers championship team has been led by a Hall of Fame tandem and James and Davis might be the best statistical pairing in league history. But it’s one thing to be a great pair on paper, it’s another to bring that to life on the court and the relationship that James and Davis had prior to their arrival in Los Angeles has fast-tracked their connection on the court.
“It’s been very good because of the relationship we had before becoming teammates,” James said. “We’re able to be straightforward with one another and not sugarcoat anything and not take anything personal. We’re able to take constructive criticism. I can get in his ear and he can get in my ear but it’s all to make each other better and challenge each other, which will ultimately be better for the team.”
With the series tied 1-1, the Dodgers give the ball to Cy Young candidate (Jacob deGrom is going to win) Hyun-Jin Ryu in Game 3 of their best-of-five NLDS against the Washington Nationals today.
Ryu’s splits between home and road were nearly a run apart, but his 2.72 away ERA in 15 starts was still the lowest among Dodgers starters this season. Ryu would have pitched Game 1 on regular rest and usually benefits from extra days between starts. Another ingredient in the rotation formula: Ryu would not have been an option to pitch out of the bullpen in Game 5 even if he started one of the first two games. Walker Buehler and Clayton Kershaw both will be available in Game 5 — if the series extends that long.
“That was a part of it,” manager Dave Roberts said. “You really could go either way and that variable has to be factored in and it was.”
In August, Ryu had a 7.48 ERA in four starts. He rebounded in September, accumulating a 2.13 ERA in four starts. He tossed seven scoreless innings against the San Francisco Giants on Sept. 28, completing his season with a 14-5 record and NL-best 2.32 ERA.
“Whenever I have an off game, it’s usually the balance when I make the delivery,” Ryu said. “That led to mistake pitches, and my command was kind of off, and they were able to put good swings on a lot of the pitches that were middle-middle. I was able to recover from that, and the month of September was much nicer.”
All times Pacific
Game 1: at Dodgers 6, Washington 0
Game 2: Washington 4, at Dodgers 2
Game 3: Today at Washington, 4:45 p.m., TBS, AM 570
Game 4: Monday at Washington, 3:40 p.m., TBS, AM 570
Game 5*: Wednesday at Dodgers, 5:30 p.m., TBS, AM 570
St. Louis-Atlanta NLDS schedule
All times Pacific
Game 1: St. Louis 7, at Atlanta 6
Game 2: at Atlanta 3, St. Louis 0
Game 3: Today at St. Louis, 1 p.m., TBS
Game 4: Monday at St. Louis, noon, TBS
Game 5*: Wednesday at Atlanta, 2 p.m., TBS
New York-Minnesota ALDS schedule
All times Pacific
Game 1: at New York 10, Minnesota 4
Game 2: at New York 8, Minnesota 2 (Read game story here)
Game 3: Monday at Minnesota, 5:30 p.m., FS1
Game 4*: Tuesday at Minnesota, 5 p.m., FS1
Game 5*: Thursday at New York, TBD, FS1
Houston-Tampa Bay ALDS schedule
Game 1: at Houston 6, Tampa Bay 2
Game 2: at Houston 3, Tampa Bay 1 (Read game story here)
Game 3: Monday at Tampa Bay, 10 a.m., MLB Network
Game 4*: Tuesday at Tampa Bay, 1:15 p.m., FS1
Game 5*: Thursday at Houston, TBD, FS1
The Bruins aren’t very good. They lost to Oregon State, 48-31 at the Rose Bowl on Saturday. To read the gory details, click here.
“I’ve never been so excited to start a hockey season,” Drew Doughty said Saturday afternoon. “I think everyone here is feeling that same energy.”
By the end of the night, the Kings were feeling something else. After a dizzying, discombobulated 6-5 loss to the Edmonton Oilers — a game that saw the Kings fall behind in the first minute, battle back to take four one-goal leads, then ran out of gas as the Oilers staged a third-period comeback — they looked drained.
After James Neal’s eventual game-winning power-play goal with less than seven minutes left, the Kings couldn’t answer. They trudged off the ice with hands on knees and heads hanging, losers on a night they know they felt like they should have won.
“There was some really good stuff,” coach Todd McLellan said. “And then there was some stuff we need to work on. The six [goals against] isn’t going to cut it.”
Entering the third period tied 3-3, Michael Amadio put the Kings in front by whacking a bouncing puck past Oilers goalie Mike Smith. Less than two minutes later though, Oilers forward Joakim Nygard leveled the score with a four-on-four goal off an offensive zone faceoff.
With less than 12 minutes to play, Doughty nudged the Kings ahead once more.
On the power play, he teed up a one-timer from the top of the left-hand circle that slid under Smith’s pads, then raised a leg and pumped his fist through the air.
“At that point,” said captain Anze Kopitar, who tallied a team-high three points, “you have to lock it down.”
Captain Ryan Getzlaf scored, Ondrej Kase had two assists and the Anaheim Ducks remained unbeaten with a 3-1 victory over the winless San Jose Sharks on Saturday night.
Adam Henrique and Michael Del Zotto also scored and John Gibson made 35 saves for the Ducks, who have won back-to-back home games over Pacific Division opponents Arizona and San Jose in an auspicious start under new coach Dallas Eakins.
Gennady Golovkin regained one of his old middleweight titles, edging Sergiy Derevyanchenko in a unanimous decision to take the IBF championship Saturday night.
Golovkin knocked down Derevyanchenko in the first round, opened a cut near his right eye in the second, and then held on from there in a fight where the longtime middleweight ruler absorbed plenty of the type of punishing shots he used to deliver.
But he did just enough to win 115-112 on two cards and 114-113 on the other, claiming the belt that was vacated by Canelo Alvarez, who handed Golovkin (40-1-1, 35 KOs) his only loss.
“I would love to play until I’m 80, but that’s not the way this works,” Howard said Saturday. “My body tells me otherwise.”
So does his body of work, which shows Howard, 40, heading into retirement as the greatest goalkeeper in U.S. history. No American keeper has more national team appearances (121), starts (119) or wins (62) than Howard. Only Kasey Keller, with 47 shutouts, has more than Howard’s 42.
Added LAFC coach Bob Bradley, who coached Howard with the New York MetroStars and U.S. national team: “I have great respect for Tim [and] everything he’s accomplished in his career. Whenever a player like that gets to the end, you just want to make sure that people show the respect for not only what they did on the field but just how they carried themselves.”
And Howard certainly carried himself like a champion despite personal difficulties, some of which he details in the 2014 biography “The Keeper: A Life of Saving Goals and Achieving Them.”
His father left when Howard was just a toddler, leaving him and an older brother to be raised by a single mother in New Brunswick, N.J. At 12, he was diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and Tourette syndrome, a disorder that involves repetitive movements or unwanted sounds that can’t be easily controlled, behavior for which other children mocked him.
Yet by 24 he had worked his way into the starting lineup for Manchester United — only to make a blunder on a free kick that cost the team a Champions League game and led to his banishment to Everton.
There he became a star.
TODAY’S LOCAL MAJOR SPORTS SCHEDULE
All times Pacific
Dodgers at Washington, 4:45 p.m., TBS, AM 570
Denver at Chargers, 1 p.m., CBS
Galaxy at Houston, 1 p.m., Spectrum Sportsnet
Colorado at LAFC, 1 p.m., YouTube TV, ESPN 710 AM
BORN ON THIS DATE
1824: Baseball pioneer Henry Chadwick (d. 1908)
1905: Tennis player Helen Wills Moody (d. 1998)
1955: NFL coach Tony Dungy
1966: Gymnast Julianne McNamara
1972: UCLA/NFL player J.J. Stokes
1974: Soccer player Brian Kelly
1978: Boxer Ricky Hatton
DIED ON THIS DATE
1969: Golfer Walter Hagen, 76
1998: Baseball player Mark Belanger, 54
2006: Baseball player Buck O’Neil, 94
Buck O’Neil discusses baseball history. Watch it here.
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