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The Sports Report: Anthony Davis injured in Lakers’ victory

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Anthony Davis is helped up after falling hard against the Knicks.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

Howdy, I’m your host, Houston Mitchell. Let’s get right to the news.

LAKERS

Every person sitting on the Lakers bench rose out of it and gathered around Anthony Davis. Players and coaches wore concerned expressions as trainers worked on Davis who clutched his lower back.

It was late in the third quarter and he’d taken a fall after being called for a foul. Even after the horn signaling the end of the timeout rang, the crowd remained affixed to its spot under the basket.

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“Fingers crossed,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel said of what went through his mind in those moments. “Hope for the best, pray for the best. Hopefully he gets up and it’s not too bad.”

Eventually, Davis rose with the help of LeBron James. He walked gingerly to the locker room. Davis later had x-rays that were negative, but he was sore due to a sacral contusion, which is a bruise to the bone right above one’s tailbone. He will have an MRI today.

It was a tense moment during a game that went smoothly for the Lakers otherwise as they defeated the New York Knicks, 117-87, never trailing after the first quarter.

James scored 31 points, making 9-of-19 shots including 6-of-12 threes. It was just the eighth game in his career that James has attempted at least 12 threes, and four of those games have come against the Knicks.

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Avery Bradley , Danny Green, Kyle Kuzma and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope joined him in scoring in double digits. Davis only scored five points, but had six rebounds, five assists, three steals and three blocks.

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The Lakers offered Davis the maximum contract they could earlier Tuesday, a four-year deal worth $146 million — a formality on the first day they could do it. Davis declined the offer, as expected. The Lakers can offer him a five-year deal worth more than $200 million in July after he officially becomes a free agent.

The 26-year-old superstar’s agent, Rich Paul, has been clear for months that Davis’ plan is to officially enter the market, though he is widely expected to re-sign with the Lakers.

The Lakers also are preparing for the trade deadline, which is Feb. 6 at noon PST, and monitoring the buyout market.

Read more Lakers:

LZ Granderson: Instead of trading Kyle Kuzma, here’s what the Lakers need to do

DODGERS

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Dylan Hernandez on the Dodgers, cheating and baseball: Two months after the Athletic detailed how the Houston Astros used electronic devices to steal signs in 2017, the online publication reported Tuesday that Boston Red Sox players used monitors in their video replay room to decipher opponents’ signs the next season.

The Dodgers were defeated in the World Series by the Astros in 2017 and by the Red Sox in 2018.

So maybe Clayton Kershaw, Yu Darvish and the team’s other pitchers didn’t choke in the franchise’s most important games over the last 30 years. Or maybe they did.

Who knows?

That’s the only real takeaway from this mess, how those of us on the periphery of the sport can only guess at what’s actually unfolding on the field before our eyes.

The dark secrets of the baseball trade that are public knowledge become so almost by accident.

Read the whole column by clicking here.

RAMS

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The Rams coaching staff continued to churn Tuesday when longtime special teams coordinator John Fassel agreed to join new coach Mike McCarthy’s Dallas Cowboys staff, people with knowledge of the situation said.

Fassel, 45, is the third coach to leave or be let go by the Rams since the end of a 9-7 season. He had been a Rams coach since 2012. In the aftermath of Jeff Fisher’s firing during the 2016 season, Fassel served as interim coach for three games, all losses.

Fassel, who also has coached for the Baltimore Ravens and Oakland Raiders, is regarded as one of the NFL’s top special teams coordinators. He oversaw a unit that has featured kicker Greg Zuerlein, punter Johnny Hekker and long-snapper Jake McQuaide during Fassel’s entire tenure.

NFL PLAYOFF SCHEDULE

All times Pacific

Divisional Round

Saturday

Minnesota at San Francisco, 1:30 p.m., NBC

Tennessee at Baltimore, 5:15 p.m., CBS

Sunday

Houston at Kansas City, Noon, CBS

Seattle at Green Bay, 3:30 p.m., FOX

Conference Championship

Sunday, Jan. 19

TBD at TBD, Noon, CBS

TBD at TBD, 3:30 p.m., FOX

Super Bowl

Sunday Feb. 2

TBD vs. TBD, 3:30 p.m., FOX

DUCKS

Zach Werenski scored two goals and the Columbus Blue Jackets rallied for a 4-3 victory over the Ducks.

The win pushed Columbus’ road point streak to nine games (6-0-3). Eric Robinson and Nathan Gerbe also scored, Pierre-Luc Dubois had three assists and Elvis Merzlikins stopped 37 shots.

Ryan Getzlaf had a goal and an assist for the Ducks, and Ryan Miller made 23 saves.

Getzlaf opened the scoring at 3:06 of the first period with his 11th goal of the season when he redirected Michael Del Zotto’s shot from the blue line through Merzlikins’ legs.

The Ducks took a 2-1 lead when Ondrej Kase ended a 17-game goal-scoring drought to put the Ducks back on top 24 seconds into the second period when he stole the puck from Dubois deep in the Columbus zone and snapped a shot over Merzlikins’ blocker.

KINGS

The team announced Tuesday that prospect Rasmus Kupari will undergo surgery for a torn ACL in his left knee, bringing his season to an end.

Kupari, a first-round pick in 2018, got hurt in Finland’s first game of the World Junior Championship, the sport’s premier annual under-20 national team tournament. During that Dec. 26 game against Sweden, Kupari collided with a player in the neutral zone and fell awkwardly to the ice. He did not return to the game and days later flew back to Los Angeles for an MRI.

Kupari’s season will end after only 27 games in the AHL. He collected six goals, eight points and a minus-eight rating. After some early struggles adapting to the bigger ice sheet and more physical style of play in North America, the 6-foot-1, 185-pound center had been impressing Kings evaluators before getting hurt.

DAKAR RALLY

Overcoming rough terrain and a flat tire, Southern California off-road racer Casey Currie took the lead Tuesday in his classification at the famed Dakar Rally in Saudi Arabia.

The 12-stage race ranks among the toughest in all of motor sports, with motorcycles, cars and trucks navigating wilderness terrain in harsh conditions.

Tuesday’s third segment began at sea level and climbed to about 5,000 feet before descending in a long loop. Currie and co-driver Sean Berriman, piloting a high-tech dune buggy in the side-by-side class, finished with a slim lead over teams from Chile and Spain.

UCLA SPORTS

For scores of UCLA fans, the recent Bruins’ football and men’s basketball teams have provided must-flee TV. It’s an abyss of failure that goes beyond a lack of Rose Bowls and Final Fours, the football team producing four consecutive losing seasons for the first time since the 1920s and the basketball team inspiring its brand of March Madness by continually being irrelevant during the sport’s biggest month.

“I would say this is an all-time low,” said Sal Malad, a student during the high of the 1995 national basketball championship. “For me, as a fan, watching the two sports together, in the modern history of UCLA football and basketball, I can’t recall a worse time.”

A generation of UCLA fans has grown up watching its teams miss out on New Year’s Day bowl games. Your birthday must be on or before Jan. 1, 1999, to have been alive during the Bruins’ last appearance in a Rose Bowl. Some teenagers can barely recall the Bruins playing in the 2008 Final Four, their most recent appearance on college basketball’s biggest stage.

Fans have dispersed accordingly, the football team averaging a record-low 43,849 spectators last season at the Rose Bowl and the basketball team averaging only 5,603 at Pauley Pavilion through its final nonconference game, a loss to Cal State Fullerton.

“Everybody knows we’re never going to have the John Wooden days again,” said Jim Bendat, a Bruins fan since 1959, well before the first of Wooden’s 10 national titles, “but you still want to field a competitive team that won’t lose at home to Belmont and Liberty and Hofstra. That should not be happening.”

Read more UCLA

Devin Mallory is doing what he loves as first male on UCLA’s dance team

TODAY’S LOCAL MAJOR SPORTS SCHEDULE

All times Pacific

Dallas at Kings, 7 p.m., NBCSN

BORN ON THIS DATE

1934: Cyclist Jacques Anquetil (d. 1987)

1953: Baseball player Bruce Sutter

1957: Football player Dwight Clark (d. 2018)

1967: Basketball player Willie Anderson

1971: Football player Billy Joe Hobert

1971: Baseball player Jason Giambi

1972: Golfer Brandie Burton

DIED ON THIS DATE

1961: Baseball player Schoolboy Rowe, 50

1994: Baseball player Harvey Haddix, 68

1995: Boxer Carlos Monzon, 52

2016: Race car driver Maria Teresa de Filippis, 89

AND FINALLY

Joe Montana to Dwight Clark, “The Catch.” Watch it 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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