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Onward the Lakers marched Friday night, rolling to their 10th consecutive victory by stomping the Washington Wizards 125-103 at Staples Center.
Other than Kyle Kuzma slipping on the court toward the end of the third quarter and limping around before coming back to play some in the fourth, the Lakers had no scares in improving to an NBA-best 17-2.
Their best start in franchise history was 19-2 during the 1985-86 season, and the 2008-09 Lakers team started 17-2.
The Lakers pushed their record to 14-1 in November, their highest single-month win total since March 2000 (15-1).
“We made sure our guys respected this opponent,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel said. “They did respect this opponent. They played them with great intensity and focus and we were able to get a W.”
The Lakers got to rest Anthony Davis and LeBron James a lot after both had played heavy minutes during the just-completed four-game trip.
Davis played only 27 minutes, none in the fourth quarter, and still had 26 points and 13 rebounds.
James played just 24 minutes against the Wizards, none in the fourth, and also had a double-double with 23 points and 11 assists.
Returning to San Antonio for the second time since forcing his way out in 2018, Kawhi Leonard was jeered each time he touched the ball and never could quiet the crowd, needing 23 shots to score 19 points in a 107-97 Spurs victory.
“I didn’t make nothing of it,” Leonard said. “Felt like a normal away game.”
In so many respects, this was anything but normal compared with what the Clippers had come to expect from themselves during their seven-game winning streak.
Forward Paul George, an effortless scoring machine since debuting two weeks ago, made two of 11 field goals for five points. After scoring a layup in the game’s first minute, he missed his next nine shots over his next 29 minutes before adding a three-pointer late. His teammates couldn’t compensate, shooting 39% and attempting only 13 free throws.
“I didn’t really find a good rhythm,” George said. “Still just trying to figure out playing out there with my guys.”
Perhaps most surprisingly, after three fourth-quarter comebacks in the last eight days, the Clippers (14-6) could not summon another one against a San Antonio (7-13) team owning the NBA’s second-worst fourth-quarter net rating.
“They just got into us, took us off rhythm,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said. “Unless we were just going to win in a defensive battle, I didn’t see [a comeback] coming.”
Martin Jones made 33 saves and Noah Gregor scored his first career NHL goal in the Sharks’ 4-1 victory over the Kings on Friday.
Logan Couture, Patrick Marleau and Marc-Edouard Vlasic also scored for San Jose.
The Kings trailed 2-0 after the first period.
“The big message was the first 10 minutes of the game was going to be huge, but we came out on the wrong side of that,” defenseman Joakim Ryan said.
Connor Hellebuyck made 24 saves for his second shutout of the season, Neal Pionk had a power-play goal, and the Jets continued their torrid November with a 3-0 victory over the Ducks on Friday at Honda Center.
The Jets have won three straight and are 10-2-1 this month with one game to play.
Markus Howard scored 51 points as Marquette beat USC, 101-79 and advanced to play No. 5 Maryland in the championship game of the Orlando Invitational.
Isaiah Mobley had 15 points and nine rebounds for USC (6-2).
“We didn’t play well,” USC coach Andy Enfield said. “We really had trouble stopping Howard and what he did to our defense. But it’s one game, it’s one loss, so we have to bounce back mentally and physically.”
Chip Kelly doesn’t care what you think about his program, the one that has only seven wins during his two-year watch and couldn’t even fill seats when the school was giving tickets away for free.
“Perception isn’t what we’re worried about,” Kelly said. “We’re worried about the reality.”
The reality is that the Bruins, at 4-7 overall and 4-4 in Pac-12 Conference play, are guaranteed their fourth straight losing season, the program’s first such streak since the 1920s when the school was called the Southern Branch. Kelly’s seven wins in two years equal the number of total losses he had in four years as Oregon’s head coach.
The Bruins are left with Saturday’s season finale against California at the Rose Bowl as a last chance to leave a good impression for a disappointed fan base before yet another long offseason.
“The reason why we come out here and play is for the UCLA community,” long snapper Johnny Den Bleyker said, “so to go out there and win, go 5-7, have them feel a little bit more comfortable going into next year, I think that’s very important.”
UCLA FOOTBALL SCHEDULE
All times Pacific. Radio: AM 1150
at Cincinnati 24, UCLA 14
San Diego State 23, at UCLA 14
Oklahoma 48, at UCLA 14
UCLA 67, at Washington State 63
at Arizona 20, UCLA 17
Oregon State 48, at UCLA 31
UCLA 34, at Stanford 16
at UCLA 42, Arizona State 32
at UCLA 31, Colorado 14
at Utah 49, UCLA 3
at USC 52, UCLA 35
Today vs. California, 7:30 p.m., FS1
A Chargers season that has been more pessimistic than forecast can be adequately captured in one negative stat: minus-nine.
This team has turned the ball over 20 times en route to going 4-7 while generating only 11 takeaways, the fifth-fewest total in the NFL.
“You’re not going to win a lot of games in this league at minus-nine turnover ratio,” coach Anthony Lynn said. “Bottom line is we’re not taking it away enough and we’re turning it over too much.
“I love the effort and the energy the guys play with. But we’re killing ourselves.”
Quarterback Philip Rivers is responsible for 16 of those turnovers, seven of which have been interceptions in just the past two games.
Austin Ekeler has lost two fumbles and Melvin Gordon one, those miscues made worse in that each came at the opposition’s goal line. Three of Rivers’ interceptions have happened in the red zone.
“I think it’s guys trying to make plays,” Lynn said. “I mean, it’s not intentional. If I thought it was intentional, that would be a problem.”
On the field, no receiver is immune from cornerback Jalen Ramsey’s verbal gamesmanship and sparring.
Larry Fitzgerald, a future Hall of Famer, will no doubt hear from Ramsey on Sunday when the Rams play a road game against the Arizona Cardinals.
But on Friday, Ramsey was noticeably respectful of Fitzgerald, a 16-year pro.
“He’s a legend,” Ramsey said.
Fitzgerald, an 11-time Pro Bowl selection, has 1,358 receptions and 16,872 yards receiving, second only to Hall of Famer Jerry Rice in both categories. Fitzgerald has 119 touchdown catches, which rank sixth all time.
This season, the 36-year old Fitzgerald remains a focal point. He has a team-best 55 catches for 593 yards and three touchdowns.
“Just looking forward to being out on the same field as him and go out and compete,” Ramsey said.
TODAY’S LOCAL MAJOR SPORTS SCHEDULE
All times Pacific
California at UCLA, 7:30 p.m., FS1, AM 1150
Winnipeg at Kings, 7 p.m., FSW
BORN ON THIS DATE
1931: Football coach Bill Walsh (d. 2007)
1950: Basketball player Paul Westphal
1962: Football/baseball player Bo Jackson
1969: Football player Larry Brown
1970: Volleyball player Natalie Williams
1971: Baseball player Ivan Rodriguez
1974: Football player Marcellus Wiley
1986: Basketball player Jordan Farmar
DIED ON THIS DATE
2003: Swimmer Gertrude Ederle, 98
With Vin Scully and Ronald Reagan in the booth, Bo Jackson hits a mammoth All-Star game home run. Watch it here.
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