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The Sports Report: Chargers come up short against Raiders

Chargers Raiders Football
Chargers wide receiver Keenan Allen tries to evade Nicholas Morrow
(Associated Press)

Howdy, I’m your host, Houston Mitchell. Why are babies great at basketball? They really know how to dribble.

CHARGERS

The Chargers took the franchise’s final trip into the Black Hole on Thursday night and watched all their recent momentum get swallowed up.

Their two-game winning streak ended with a 26-24 loss to Oakland as the Raiders scored the decisive touchdown on an 18-yard run by Josh Jacobs with 62 seconds left.

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On their final possession, the Chargers were unable to generate much, their only first down coming on a defensive penalty.

“We were trying to move the ball down the field,” coach Anthony Lynn said. “We needed a score. They did a heck of a job. They locked us up. We had eight shots.”

The Chargers trailed 17-14 at halftime and 20-17 entering the fourth quarter after the teams both kicked field goals.

They took the lead with a 12-play, 80-yard drive that took up eight minutes and five seconds of the fourth quarter.

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CHARGERS SCHEDULE

All times Pacific. Radio: KFI-AM 640, KFWB-AM 980

at Chargers 30, Indianapolis 24 (OT)

at Detroit 13, Chargers 10

Houston 27, at Chargers 20

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Chargers 30, at Miami 10

Denver 20, at Chargers 13

Pittsburgh 24, at Chargers 17

at Tennessee 23, Chargers 20

Chargers 17, at Chicago 16

at Chargers 26, Green Bay 11

at Oakland 26, Chargers 24

Nov. 18 vs. Kansas City, 5:15 p.m., ESPN (at Mexico City, counts as home game for Chargers)

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Dec. 1 at Denver, 1:15 p.m., CBS

Dec. 8 at Jacksonville, 1 p.m., Fox

Dec. 15 vs. Minnesota, 5:15 p.m., NBC

Dec. 22 or 23 vs. Oakland, TBD

Dec. 29 at Kansas City, 10 a.m., CBS

CLIPPERS

In the first three quarters against Portland at Staples Center on Thursday, Kawhi Leonard made only three of his first 13 field goals and scored nine points.

When it mattered most, however, Leonard appeared not only fine but unstoppable.

The NBA’s leading fourth-quarter scorer dropped 18 points in the final 12 minutes to lead the Clippers to a 107-101 victory and establish, once again, that if he is not healthy enough to play every game this season, he is nonetheless capable of taking over those in which he does appear.

“He has an incredible will,” coach Doc Rivers said. “I thought he felt like he was struggling a little bit.

“He has this, I don’t’ know what it is, this determination like, ‘I’m going to go get the win.’ He plays the game to win.”

Leonard finished with 27 points, 13 rebounds, six turnovers and four assists in 33 minutes. Teammate Lou Williams made a three-pointer with 32 seconds remaining that turned a one-point Clippers lead into a two-possession game and the arena into a wall of sound.

It was a rare make from beyond the arc, on a night when the Clippers (6-3) made a season-low four three-pointers on 23 attempts.

“Big-time players get themselves going, especially when it’s time to win a game,” said Williams, who scored 26 points off the bench.

Ivica Zubac had 15 points and 13 rebounds, including a career-high nine on the offensive glass and Montrezl Harrell had 15 points, six rebounds and one dousing of Rivers with a tub of ice water afterward in the locker room.

It was a cold commemoration of the coach’s 900th career win, making him the 13th coach in NBA history with as many victories,

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KINGS

Jean-Gabriel Pageau scored 3:12 into overtime to give Ottawa a 3-2 victory over the Kings on Thursday night.

After Tyler Toffoli tied it for Los Angeles with eight seconds left in regulation, Pageau scored off his own rebound for his team-leading seventh goal of the season.

Dustin Brown also scored for the Kings, and Jack Campbell made 25 saves. “I don’t think anybody in this room wants to be playing to lose,” Toffoli said. “We’re playing to win games and we’re frustrated. We want to be winning games and that’s a big point we all wish we could have had.”

USC

Football coach Clay Helton only had praise for new Trojans athletic director Mike Bohn — the man who, having been formally introduced by the school earlier in the day, will soon decide the fate of Helton’s faltering tenure.

“What an exciting time for our university today,” Helton said, opting for an optimistic message during his Thursday evening news conference. “I think [USC President] Dr. [Carol L.] Folt has done a wonderful job across our university in hiring quality people in her transition. Today was no different.”

Helton spent plenty of time around Bohn after the athletic director was introduced Thursday. The coach said Bohn met with all 21 of the school’s head coaches, visited with the football team, and came to Helton’s office to visit individually with the fifth-year coach.

Helton used the words “awesome,” “positive,” and “exciting” to describe their initial interactions, ignoring the wide speculation that the hiring of Bohn is a possible precursor to his firing at the end of the season.

“To see [Bohn’s] energy and his positivity hitting the ground running today was awesome,” Helton said. “I just really appreciated him. To take the time on this day to sit down with all 21 coaches, to sit down with me personally, to take the time to visit with our team, that’s big-time. That’s hitting the ground running and touching the people that matter.”

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RAMS

The role is familiar, and becoming much more comfortable, for Josh Reynolds.

The Rams’ third-year receiver once again will step into the lineup for an injured starter.

With Brandin Cooks sidelined while dealing with the aftermath of multiple concussions, Reynolds will start Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field.

Last season, Reynolds replaced Cooper Kupp after Kupp suffered a season-ending knee injury. Reynolds started the final eight games, and two postseason games, including the Super Bowl.

Cooks’ long-term status has not been determined — he met with a concussion specialist Thursday in Pittsburgh, coach Sean McVay said — but Reynolds said he was better prepared for a short- or long-term assignment.

“One of the big things that’s kind of changed from last year to this year is actually having that third year to be able to know the playbook more,” Reynolds, a fourth-round draft pick in 2017, said this week. “And me just knowing how to be a pro and be able to fit into this position.”

SOCCER

The semifinals and final of the CONCACAF women’s qualifying tournament for next summer’s Olympic soccer tournament will be played Feb. 7-9 at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, the confederation announced Thursday.

The eight teams in the tournament were drawn into two groups, one made up of the U.S., Costa Rica, Panama and Haiti and the other consisting of Canada, Mexico, Jamaica and St. Kitts and Nevis. Round-robin group play will open Jan. 28 in Houston and Jan. 29 in Edinburg, Texas, with the top two finishers in each group advancing to the semifinals.

The winners of those matches will qualify for the Tokyo Olympics, regardless of what happens in the final.

TODAY’S LOCAL MAJOR SPORTS SCHEDULE

All times Pacific

Miami at Lakers, 7:30 p.m., Spectrum Sportsnet, 710 ESPN

Portland at USC basketball, 8 p.m., Pac-12 Network, 790 KABC

BORN ON THIS DATE

1896: Baseball manager/player Bucky Harris (d. 1977)

1916: Basketball coach Frank McGuire (d. 1994)

1929: College football coach Bobby Bowden

1942: Jockey Angel Cordero Jr.

1952: Former Angel Jerry Remy

1952: Baseball player John Denny

1964: Football player Chuck Cecil

1967: Former Dodger Henry Rodriguez

1968: Former Dodger Jose Offerman

1970: Football player Qadry Ismail

1975: Basketball player Brevin Knight

1977: Former Dodger Nick Punto

DIED ON THIS DATE

1977: Baseball manager/player Bucky Harris, 81

1983: Tennis player Betty Nuthall, 72

2010: Basketball player Quintin Dailey, 48

2011: Basketball player Ed Macauley, 83

2012: Baseball executive Lee MacPhail, 95

AND FINALLY

Chargers vs. Raiders highlights. Watch them here.

That concludes the newsletter for today. If you have any feedback, ideas for improvement or things you’d like to see, please email me at houston.mitchell@latimes.com. If you want to subscribe, click here.


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