• So who’s got next?Sir Kobe Bryant, of course. Even before they get around to Elgin Baylor and/or Wilt Chamberlain. Giant Mamba might be best to go up on the Staples Center roof, depicting him as he exits from a helicopter.Not having Ms. Lisa Leslie or Ms. Candace Parker there already is a huge miss.There’s Chick, so what about Bob Miller? And who was the guy who used to call games for the Avengers?Anyone from the Clippers qualify? Blake Griffin could be dunking over a Kia, while Chris Paul could be in his State Farm attire assessing the damage.If Robitaille is there, who’s to say James Worthy isn’t worthy?Phil Anschutz built the place. Why not get him out there? Anyone know what he really looks like?A bust of Jeanie Buss is a natural. She could bust out that pose from Playboy that she still uses as a Twitter avatar, with the two basketballs serving as more than just props. It would create a place for all sorts of suggestive selfies, even as another statue of Phil Jackson is close by, posed as Rodin’s The Thinker.There’s something to think about.• All the overanalysis about when and how and why a well-compensated athlete deserves a well-timed break during the regular season … can we just give this thing a rest?It’s creating way too much work. And it’s hardly a new thing.In 1990, NBA commissioner David Stern slapped the Lakers with a $25,000 fine after coach Pat Riley sat Magic Johnson, James Worthy, Byron Scott and Mychal Thompson in the final regular-season game at Portland. The resulting 130-88 loss had no effect on the standings.Imagine now if that was a mid-March game on national TV, and a guy with a microphone (who used to be an NBA coach) was proclaiming that action to be a “prosecutable offense.”Riley claimed he had “an obligation to our management,” and “I didn’t do it out of disregard for the league. I did it for the well-being of our players.”Just like something Gregg Popovich or Tyronn Lue or even Doc Rivers might say. Even Luke Walton, when it comes to Nick Young?Current NBA boss Adam Silver hasn’t gone that far with the automatic fines but has implied that “significant penalties” could happen if a team doesn’t follow the protocol of giving the league office, the opponent and the media an appropriate heads-up if someone isn’t playing based solely on rest.And the rest isn’t history.• Is it too late to reorganize your bracket and have Gonzaga go all the way to the championship? As well as having Steve Alford go all the way back to Indiana and get the Hoosiers rebooted for the 2018 tournament?• What if the players involved in the NCAA men’s tournament staged a strike during the Final Four, kind of like what the U.S. women’s hockey team rallied to do prior to their upcoming tournament, based on the inequality of a system that celebrates exploitation and profiteering? Think that’s something LaVar Ball and his marketing company could get behind if UCLA was to get that deep into the process? AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREUCLA alum Kenny Clark signs four-year contract extension with PackersThis latest erection of a 1,500-pound Shaq The Redeeming Dunker, meticulously hand-crafted and now hoisted and bolted down above the main entrance, is demiurgic and disconcerting.First, if by this point in the game you do not have a replica of yourself in Star Plaza, were you really a star?And second, what kind of insurance premiums did AEG pay as potential compensation for pedestrians who might be taken out if this Shaq thing becomes unhinged during the next L.A. earthquake?• L.A.’s modest little Monument Park is beginning to look like a Jerry Buss decadent yard sale. It’s our mashup of Easter Island, Madame Tussauds’ Sports Mannequin Challenge and Ripley’s Believe What You Want as far as a tourist attraction goes.And where it goes from here, time and space apparently aren’t an issue. It’s a never-ending process to squeeze another chiseled beauty in and around Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Jerry West, Chick Hearn, Wayne Gretzky, Luc Robitaille, Oscar De La Hoya — did we miss anyone important? And who, really, is that important? Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error Once upon a time in Hollywood, a handprint-footprint double-double outside Grauman’s Theatre is what cemented your legacy. A star on the Walk of Fame was another famous footnote, that you could forever walk on sunshine.But since Staples Center became a staple of our existence at the dawn of this new century, and our athletes have branded immortality and imperiousness to new levels, we’ve been somehow ushered into this Fawning Bronze Age. Commissioning a supersized likeness of a Southern California sports star and literally putting it on a pedestal, daring the local bird population to christen it in its own special way …It’s classic false-god idolatry stuff, Hollywood style.You want a jersey retired? Take a number.
Lakers practice early hoping to answer all questions Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error “I thought we did a pretty good job of that, especially in the first half,” Walton said. “Then in the second half we were too hit and miss with the way that we were getting out and getting after it. And that’s kind of when they opened up that lead and kept us from getting us back in the game.”Related Articles Trail Blazers beat Grizzlies in play-in, earn first-round series with the Lakers AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREUCLA alum Kenny Clark signs four-year contract extension with Packers“Throughout the season every time he gets the opportunity to play big minutes or have a bigger role he plays pretty good for us,” Coach Luke Walton said. “He’s one of our best finishers. He’s one of our best rebounders, he can push it in transition.”Hart’s efforts alone, however, were not enough to bail out the Lakers, who were blown out after cutting Utah’s lead to three with nine minutes left in the third quarter.The Jazz clinched a playoff spot with the victory and with wins in their final two games could climb as high as the 3-seed in the Western Conference.Which is to say, a game that meant virtually nothing to the Lakers meant everything to the visitors.Walton implored his team to focus on competing at the same level that has, at times, made the Lakers one of the NBA’s surprise teams. If the Lakers could get their crowd behind them, Walton reasoned, perhaps they could play spoiler like they did Wednesday against San Antonio. Trail Blazers, Grizzlies advance to NBA play-in game; Suns, Spurs see playoff dreams dashed Reserve point guard Tyler Ennis scored a career-high 22 points for the Lakers, while Julius Randle added 17 points and seven rebounds. No other Lakers player reached double figures, however, and starting center Brook Lopez missed all 10 of his shots to finish scoreless in 21 minutes.For the second time in less than a week, Jazz rookie Donovan Mitchell had a field day against the Lakers, pouring 28 points, eclipsing the 26 he tallied on Tuesday in Salt Lake City.Mitchell added eight points and eight rebounds.While the Jazz can look to a future that immediately includes postseason basketball, the Lakers have a longer view – one that likely involves increasing amounts of Hart.The Lakers drafted Hart – perhaps ironically – with a pick acquired from Utah on draft night. He spent the beginning of the season bouncing between the Lakers and their development league team. Steadily, he took on a larger role.When Lonzo Ball suffered a sprained knee in January, Hart moved into the starting lineup and started cranking out double-doubles, including the night he grabbed a career-high 14 rebounds in Brooklyn.Hart’s biggest impact has come defensively, with frequent assignments to lock down opposing teams’ best players. On Sunday it was Mitchell – to middling results – but other nights it has been Damian Lillard, James Harden and LeBron James.“It’s hard, don’t get me wrong,” Hart said, “but I think the biggest thing I learned is I can make it tough on those guys. I think that’s the biggest thing. … My mindset coming out of most of those games besides James Harden flaming me down there, (was) I can compete with those guys.”Hart is averaging seven points per game and 4.1 rebounds, but those numbers have inched upward since he became a regular part of the rotation in December.“As a rookie coming in,” Hart said, “I think the biggest thing you want to do is kind of make a name for yourself on the team and prove to guys that you belong here.”Hart helped his cause on Sunday, even in defeat.Sign up for Home Turf and get 3 exclusive stories every SoCal sports fan must read, sent daily. Subscribe here. PreviousLos Angeles Lakers guard Josh Hart, center, shoots as Utah Jazz guard Ricky Rubio, left, of Spain, and guard Donovan Mitchell defend during the first half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, April 8, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)Utah Jazz guard Ricky Rubio, left, of Spain, reaches in against Los Angeles Lakers forward Travis Wear as Wear tried to shoot during the first half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, April 8, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill) SoundThe gallery will resume insecondsUtah Jazz center Rudy Gobert, left, of France, and Los Angeles Lakers center Ivica Zubac, of Croatia, reach for a rebound during the first half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, April 8, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)Utah Jazz forward Derrick Favors, left, shoots as Los Angeles Lakers center Ivica Zubac, of Croatia, defends during the first half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, April 8, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert, top, of France, shoots as Los Angeles Lakers guard Josh Hart defends during the first half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, April 8, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)Utah Jazz guard Dante Exum, right, of Australia, shoots as Los Angeles Lakers forward Julius Randle defends during the first half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, April 8, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell, left, shoots as Los Angeles Lakers forward Travis Wear defends during the first half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, April 8, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)Utah Jazz forward Derrick Favors, left, reaches for a rebound along with Los Angeles Lakers forward Julius Randle during the first half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, April 8, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)Utah Jazz forward Joe Ingles, right, of Australia, shoots as Los Angeles Lakers guard Alex Caruso defends during the first half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, April 8, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)Los Angeles Lakers center Brook Lopez, left, shoots as Utah Jazz forward Derrick Favors defends during the first half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, April 8, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)Los Angeles Lakers guard Gary Payton II yells as he scores and draws a foul during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Utah Jazz, Sunday, April 8, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)Utah Jazz forward Derrick Favors, left, shoots as Los Angeles Lakers center Ivica Zubac, of Croatia, defends during the first half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, April 8, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert, top, of France, shoots Los Angeles Lakers guard Josh Hart falls as he tries to defend during the first half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, April 8, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert, top, of France, shoots as Los Angeles Lakers guard Josh Hart defends during the first half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, April 8, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)Utah Jazz guard Dante Exum, right, of Australia, shoots as Los Angeles Lakers forward Julius Randle defends during the first half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, April 8, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)Los Angeles Lakers guard Josh Hart, center, shoots as Utah Jazz guard Ricky Rubio, left, of Spain, and guard Donovan Mitchell defend during the first half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, April 8, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)NextShow Caption1 of 15Los Angeles Lakers guard Josh Hart, center, shoots as Utah Jazz guard Ricky Rubio, left, of Spain, and guard Donovan Mitchell defend during the first half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, April 8, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)ExpandLOS ANGELES – Teams are always looking for the so-called “3-and-D” player. Athletic wings who can defend an opposing team’s best player and hit 3-pointers are in high demand around the NBA.Josh Hart has often heard that the Lakers found their 3-and-D guard with the 30th overall pick in last year’s draft. He appreciates it. He just doesn’t think the label’s accurate.“I think the biggest thing with that is you guard the best player and then you stand in the corner and wait until you make a shot,” Hart said following the Lakers’ 112-97 loss to the Utah Jazz in the 80th game of the season. “I think I do a lot more things than that. … I don’t label myself a three and D guy because I’m not going to sell myself short.”With Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram and Kyle Kuzma all sidelined Sunday, Hart his best opportunity yet to demonstrate how much he can do. And he delivered. The 23-year-old rookie poured in 25 points, one off his career high. He attempted 18 shots in 41 minutes – both career highs. Lakers, Clippers schedules set for first round of NBA playoffs How athletes protesting the national anthem has evolved over 17 years
AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREUCLA alum Kenny Clark signs four-year contract extension with Packers“We’re not gonna win many games like that, when you turn the ball over 24 times and just have 10 assists,” James said. “But at the end of the day when you’re not playing well offensively, you can’t let that deter you from getting stops. And that’s signs of a team that’s growing.”It wasn’t wrapped up until the final few minutes, as the Lakers outscored the Jazz 13-9 over the last six minutes, which included a layup by Lonzo Ball, a deep James 3-pointer and a dunk by JaVale McGee.But James had perhaps the most memorable play in the forgettable affair: an authoritative block on a shot from Alec Burks that officially quashed the Jazz’s hopes at a comeback in the final minute. James finished with 10 rebounds and seven assists, leading the Lakers in both categories.Brandon Ingram was also a bright spot in a mostly sorry game, scoring 24 points on 8-for-14 shooting.In other areas – best not to look. The Lakers’ 24 giveaways led to 27 Jazz points, giving Utah life even though it shot just 39 percent. Coach Luke Walton also lamented missed opportunities in transition, with the team only converting five of 13 shots on fast-break opportunities. The low in assists was a byproduct of some tired legs coming off a trip, which meant the transition attack wasn’t up to par. How athletes protesting the national anthem has evolved over 17 years PreviousLakers forward Brandon Ingram, left, shoots as Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell defends during the first half of Friday’s game at Staples Center. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)Utah Jazz guard Grayson Allen, left, has his shot blocked by Los Angeles Lakers guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope during the first half of an NBA basketball game Friday, Nov. 23, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill) SoundThe gallery will resume insecondsUtah Jazz guard Dante Exum, left, of Australia, drives toward the basket as Los Angeles Lakers guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope defends during the first half of an NBA basketball game Friday, Nov. 23, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)Utah Jazz forward Derrick Favors, right, shoots as Los Angeles Lakers center JaVale McGee defends during the first half of an NBA basketball game Friday, Nov. 23, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)Utah Jazz guard Ricky Rubio, left, of Spain, shoots as Los Angeles Lakers guard Lonzo Ball defends during the first half of an NBA basketball game Friday, Nov. 23, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James, left, passes the ball as Utah Jazz forward Royce O’Neale defends during the first half of an NBA basketball game Friday, Nov. 23, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)Los Angeles Lakers forward Brandon Ingram, right, shoots as Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell defends during the first half of an NBA basketball game Friday, Nov. 23, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)Los Angeles Lakers forward Brandon Ingram, left, is congratulated, after scoring, by forwards Kyle Kuzma, center, and LeBron James during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Utah Jazz on Friday, Nov. 23, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)Los Angeles Lakers forward Brandon Ingram, center, shoots as Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert, right, of France, defends and guard Alec Burks watches during the second half of an NBA basketball game Friday, Nov. 23, 2018, in Los Angeles. The Lakers won 90-83. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James reacts after being called for a foul during the second half of the team’s NBA basketball game against the Utah Jazz on Friday, Nov. 23, 2018, in Los Angeles. The Lakers won 90-83. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)Los Angeles Lakers guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, left, attempts a dunk as Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert, of France, defends during the second half of an NBA basketball game Friday, Nov. 23, 2018, in Los Angeles. The Lakers won 90-83. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)Utah Jazz forward Jae Crowder, left, shoots as Los Angeles Lakers guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope defends during the second half of an NBA basketball game Friday, Nov. 23, 2018, in Los Angeles. The Lakers won 90-83. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)Utah Jazz forward Jae Crowder, left, shoots as Los Angeles Lakers center Tyson Chandler defends during the second half of an NBA basketball game Friday, Nov. 23, 2018, in Los Angeles. The Lakers won 90-83. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James dunks during the second half of the team’s NBA basketball game against the Utah Jazz on Friday, Nov. 23, 2018, in Los Angeles. The Lakers won 90-83. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)Lakers forward LeBron James, left, shoots as Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert defends during the second half of Friday’s game at Staples Center. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)Lakers forward Brandon Ingram, left, shoots as Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell defends during the first half of Friday’s game at Staples Center. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)NextShow Caption1 of 15Lakers forward Brandon Ingram, left, shoots as Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell defends during the first half of Friday’s game at Staples Center. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)ExpandLOS ANGELES — As some traditionalists gripe about recent changes to NBA rules that have seen final scores soaring, a case was made Friday night that perhaps progress is going in the right direction.What unfolded at Staples Center was a mess: two teams that couldn’t keep possession, couldn’t hit 3-point shots and missed overly confident dunk attempts. It was the kind of mudfight that makes even the most staunch advocates for strong defense pray for some buckets.As has often been the case this season, the saving grace for the Lakers was LeBron James. He scored 18 of his 22 points in the second half, helping the Lakers (11-7) stumble forward to a 90-83 victory over the visiting Jazz (8-11) despite season-lows in points and assists (10) and a season-high in turnovers (24).It was the Lakers’ third win in a row, and the team’s eighth in the last 10 games. It wasn’t the template to victory the Lakers usually follow – high-scoring, high-passing energy – but in an increasingly competitive Western Conference, sometimes the only way to win is ugly. Lakers, Clippers schedules set for first round of NBA playoffs “We had the ball ahead and they had two or three guys back,” Walton said. “There was nowhere to go with it but try to leave it behind or finish over people. If we’re going to get back to being a good running team, the wings have to be out in front leading the way, and then you put pressure on them on the defense. We didn’t do a good job of that.”Related Articles Lakers practice early hoping to answer all questions Trail Blazers beat Grizzlies in play-in, earn first-round series with the Lakers Early on, it seemed the Lakers were taking advice to be more aggressive to heart: With confident drives to the rim from Ingram and Ball, a putback basket initially put the home team ahead 19-8.But that was the end of easygoing offense, as the rest of the game bogged down with turnovers, missed shots and minimal ball movement. James had the first five assists of the game for the Lakers, but no other Laker notched a dish until midway through the third quarter.During one second-quarter segment, for two solid minutes, not a point was scored.The Jazz played much of the game without the help of their budding star, Donovan Mitchell. After an underwhelming 2-for-9 start from the field, Mitchell headed to the locker room in the first half with a rib contusion. He did not return to the game. Burks led the Jazz with 17 points.The Lakers put as good a face as they could on it, saying they were proud of their defense. The team forced 11 steals, and they held the Jazz to just 4-for-23 shooting from the perimeter. But on a night when two teams played ugly and out of flow, there was one true difference, best summed up by Jazz coach Quin Snyder.“It’s LeBron James,” he said, “and he made some plays.” Trail Blazers, Grizzlies advance to NBA play-in game; Suns, Spurs see playoff dreams dashed Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error
Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error “I know he’s in the practice facility all the time in the summer, working with guys and helping teams out,” he said. “I just know him personally off the court. He’s helped me with a few things off the court business-wise. I think he’s a good person for the job.”RONDO STAYS ENGAGEDA familiar scene unfolded on Wednesday morning, as Rajon Rondo joined several of his teammates for a 3-point competition after shootaround.Given that he was still wearing a wrap around his right hand less than a week after getting surgery on his ring finger, it was probably a good development that Coach Luke Walton talked him out of the contest. Rondo gave a few efforts shooting left handed before walking off the practice court with Walton escorting him. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREUCLA alum Kenny Clark signs four-year contract extension with PackersPhoenix Suns head coach Earl Watson yells during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Minnesota Timberwolves, Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2017, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York)A presence around the UCLA program, Watson has been one of the reported candidates for the job, and Ball might be his biggest endorsement yet.Ball played one season under the most recently departed coach Steve Alford, who was fired Monday after a home loss to Liberty on Saturday which gave the Bruins a 7-6 start. Alford was 187-124 at UCLA and went to three Sweet Sixteens. Ball was the only consensus All-American whom Alford coached in his five-plus seasons.Sign up for Home Turf and get exclusive stories every SoCal sports fan must read, sent daily. Subscribe here.Ball mentioned he had seen Alford at a recent game, and he had “a lot of love” for how Alford helped his career.“It’s tough. Steve Alford, he’s a good person, good coach,” he said. “He helped me a lot but the job’s open.”Ball said he didn’t see Watson too much when he played at UCLA – Watson was coaching the Suns at the time – but he’s developed an off-court relationship with him. He also acknowledged Watson might be able to connect with players hoping to turn pro quickly, the way Ball did. EL SEGUNDO — The only Bruin on the Lakers has an opinion on whom the next UCLA basketball coach should be.Lonzo Ball said after Wednesday morning’s shootaround that he would like to see Earl Watson, a former Bruin himself, get the head job.“I know Earl personally,” Ball said. “I think he has coaching experience in the league. Obviously, he went there, he’s alumni, so I think he’s a good fit.”Watson, 39, played 15 years in the NBA and coached the Phoenix Suns from February 2016 to just three games into the 2017-18 season. “I explained to him that it’s probably not a great idea for him to be doing shooting competitions,” Walton said with a grin. “But he’s going a little stir crazy over there. He loves playing the game and being hurt this much I think has really been tough on him. So we try to include him as much as we can in what we can.”That role has been frustratingly familiar to Rondo this season: He’s expected to be out until at least late January with his latest injury, after he already spent a 17-game stretch sitting out with a fractured right hand.The Lakers have tried to include him in team activities. As with his last injury stint, his perspective is arguably the most valuable contribution he can make at this point in his recovery.“He’s always talking trash, which kind of keeps the competitive level high, which we encourage around here,” Walton said. “But just using that energy and wisdom he has to share with some of his younger teammates.”
Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error Lakers practice early hoping to answer all questions ISAAC BONGA, on being around Magic Johnson for the last year:“It was, first of all, just like crazy seeing a person like that being around you all the time. Obviously growing up, I was really watching video of him because the idea of a tall point guard who could pass and do all those things. So just the idea of being in that environment was crazy to me and special to me. So I really enjoyed it until like the last second. So it was really great.”JEMERRIO JONES, on playing against playoff teams toward the end of the season:“It felt good, really though, because I got to hold some elite people on the run. So I got to hold some of the players I play with on 2K (video game). So I got to play against them in real life, so it really did feel good for sure. Yessir.” How athletes protesting the national anthem has evolved over 17 years EL SEGUNDO — None of the top power brokers in the Lakers organization spoke to the media Wednesday as the team filed its way out of the training facility.That doesn’t mean nothing interesting was said: Lakers players talked about their health, the problems from the season, their reactions to Magic Johnson’s resignation, their trust in the coaching staff and much, much more.In all, 16 Lakers players addressed the media over a roughly three-hour span on Wednesday. Here’s an interesting quote from each person who took the podium:KENTAVIOUS CALDWELL-POPE, on how the locker room reacted to trade rumors Trail Blazers beat Grizzlies in play-in, earn first-round series with the Lakers AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREUCLA alum Kenny Clark signs four-year contract extension with Packers“It affected us a lot. The locker room once the trade talk was there, the locker room changed. Everybody was pretty much worried about that – especially guys that haven’t been through it. They were worried where they were going to end up. How they were going to do it. How it was going to mentally affect them. But, yeah, it actually affected the locker room a lot.”BRANDON INGRAM, if he ever thought he wouldn’t return from his blood clot:“No, I don’t think I ever did. Sometimes I might have thought of different things. But I always take things to the extreme. I always take things to the extreme when I’m thinking things. I’ve been through a lot of things in my life where I wasn’t, I didn’t feel like it was the end of everything that I put in, all the work that I put in every single day that I came here. I didn’t think, when they said I had a blood clot, that it was the end. I knew I had to continue fighting. I just felt like I was glad for the results.”LONZO BALL, on if he’s found he needs to distance himself from his family:“I wouldn’t say that. I was with them my whole life, I just think certain decisions will be made, it might be me saying one thing, somebody else saying another thing, but at the end of the day if I think it’s best for me, just go with that. And you know nothing’s perfect, like I said. There’s going to be arguments, going to be standstills, but close families always come back together.” Lakers, Clippers schedules set for first round of NBA playoffs JAVALE MCGEE, on playing for the Lakers in the spotlight:“As an NBA player, or as me, I don’t really look at pressure like that. I don’t look at, I don’t want to go to L.A. because it’s too much spotlight, like that. That don’t make no sense to me. I never was that person. Like that’s what it’s for. You come to L.A., you’re gonna get all the attention, bad or good, but you gonna get the attention when it’s good, so that’s all that really matters. Keep playing your game, doing what you do. I don’t feel like this year, I was like hiding or like, ‘Oh no, we’re losing, the fans are gonna beat me up,’ or something like that. It’s not like that. It’s all love in L.A. The fans are great. They see you out there, working your butt off and even though you’re losing, they still support you. So the whole thing behind people saying, ‘it’s a hard market to play in, it’s a lot of pressure,’ I don’t believe in the pressure thing.“There’s opportunities on and off the court here. We had the most TV games out of anybody, and they were coming from a losing season, or we were coming from a losing season. That’s just showing you how much spotlight and how much opportunity there is being with the Lakers if you’re winning or losing. It’s just opportunity out of anything. Anyone who wouldn’t want to take advantage of that opportunity just because their fear of the spotlight is childish.”KYLE KUZMA, on locker room chemistry:“I believe that so many times in sports and basketball, you always preach family. Everybody is a family. At the end of the day, you go into an arena, it’s 15 to 17 of you guys versus 20,000 people. And in a regular household family, things get tight and things are all positive, things are all negative sometimes. That’s just how a family is. So, everybody on this roster is very cool with each other. Hung out and as the season progressed, guys got closer, obviously. Bringing so many new guys in at once and having a new team and having a (collaboration) of older guys that have families and have their lives figured out, but then you have a lot of young guys. You’re going to have that disconnect sometimes but, I can’t say enough positive things about everybody in that locker room.”TYSON CHANDLER, on what was missing from the team:“It was injuries and then the trade rumor. I wouldn’t be honest if I was sitting up here not saying the same, it was one of the huge factors in the season. The injuries were tough for us because we were already a young unit. I mean we had a couple of guys that were not young but we were a young unit at the core. Having those injuries and not being able to get used to one another I think really affected us. Guys are still trying to get used to me, I am still trying to get used to ’Bron and ’Zo and some of the playmakers, ’Do, on the team. And that kinda can spread around as far as guys trying to get used to each other. And then, first time young guys like that had to endure trade rumors, it was the first time their name came up.“And I remember that when I was young, when I was in Chicago and the first time I got traded, it was a shock to me. It was unexpected. Didn’t know how to deal with it. I remember I cried. Because it was the first time I had been rejected in my career. You know, when you are young and like myself, a lot of these guys, you’ve always been number one. Everybody always wants you. And then for the first time in your career, somebody’s going, ‘Eh, you don’t quite make the cut.’ So it takes a toll mentally but it is a part of our business so it is going to happen no matter where you’re at. And that is one thing that has to happen to you and then you got to get over it. and just for us, it just so happens to be this year with young guys … so it took a bit of a toll. That and having a lot of injuries. Because even without that, having injuries would have been tough but all those things make it a little more difficult to come back from.”RAJON RONDO, how he wants this Lakers team to be remembered:“Just a group of guys that stuck together. Every night it may have looked like we were on the same page but for the most part, we grew. Kind of crazy, chemistry doesn’t come overnight and to put this type of group of men together in a short period of time due to injuries, missing certain flights and you can’t build that camaraderie as a team as you would like to. Believe it or not, the last couple weeks we’ve been on the road every road game or road trip we’ve been to dinner every city. Play a little bit of cards all the time throughout the road trip. So our bond got completely stronger, it’s kind of crazy how it happened at the end of the year versus beginning.“Because like I said the personalities didn’t – guys were kind of shy and I kind of take some of the responsibility as far as getting us to do more certain things together in the beginning. But like I said, Rome wasn’t built in a day, it’s kind of hard to continue to try to build teams. … And that’s not just here. It’s the NBA in general, a lot of teams, you put guys together for one year and expect greatness. It takes time. That’s why Golden State is where they are. Their key guys (have been) together and you build that chemistry and just build that chemistry. But most teams don’t keep teams together, and that’s why you don’t have success as the old teams do, the San Antonios and the teams back in the day.”JOSH HART, on how the coaching staff performed:“They were professionals. They came into work every day, no matter what criticism they were under, no matter what scrutiny they were under, they came in, watched hours of film, whether it was on us or other teams, next opponents. They did everything right, I’ll say that. Obviously, it was frustrating, the injuries, the inability to have a consistent lineup was frustrating and hard for them. But at the end of the day, they were professionals who came to work every day with a smile. They did their job to the best of their ability, whether that was watching film, whether that was coaching us. And they did a good job.“Like I said, this season, if we were healthy, we would’ve been good. And four or five freak accidents didn’t happen, we would’ve been good. We would’ve been in the playoffs, we would be playing. There should be no knock on the coaches, no knock on the training staff. Injuries is part of basketball, and we’re the professionals who go about it and made the best of what we have.”ALEX CARUSO, on becoming a fan favorite:“It’s been fun just to start because I love playing basketball. Playing basketball and competing, and hearing the crowd cheer and being excited, that brings passion for me. I really love that part of the game. So the way I play is kind of infectious. Fans tend to kind of just gravitate towards it, they’ve done it my whole career. Just the way I kind of sacrifice my body and play really hard, show emotion. So I think Lakers fans are very intuitive when it comes to the game of basketball. They know what good basketball is, they’ve seen it for decades. I think they just appreciated that. And I just went out there and was myself. I didn’t do anything special. I didn’t cater to any particular tweet or any fan yelling at me before the game, telling me to go for 60 or something like that. I just played as hard as I could, and every time in my basketball career, people seem to gravitate toward that.”REGGIE BULLOCK, on struggling to fit into the team:“I would probably say it was tough knowing exact spacing, knowing exactly my role. I knew my role coming here would be to play on both ends of the court, but just having a chemistry with other players out there, knowing where I would be, to knowing where they would be at. That was the toughest transition, but I feel like I picked it up pretty well. I was inserted into the starting lineup, just played hard at both ends of the floor. I showed it at times. Obviously the season didn’t go the way we wanted it to go, and obviously I knew I could’ve shot the ball a lot better. I know those two things and go into the offseason prepared to play a lot better next season. Add to my game.”LANCE STEPHENSON, on how the “Meme Team” will be judged:“It’s going to be hard. The season was rough, and it wasn’t much success. I know everyone liked the little meme team, but I felt like we were a great group. We had fun. We learned a lot from each other. That’s about it.”MIKE MUSCALA, on the Lakers’ potential pitch to free agents this summer:“I don’t know. It’s not my job to pitch, so I don’t know. But for me, I really enjoyed the organization here, my teammates. I really enjoyed playing for Coach Walton. He’s a really great guy. He knows his stuff. And as a Minnesota boy, the weather was great, too.”MOE WAGNER, on what he’s learned about his game:“I think it’s kind of cool for a rookie to kind of understand what’s your niche in the league. Obviously making shots will be a big thing for me. And then playing off of that, whether that is finding the other big men or finding another shooter, penetrating the paint. Those things are gonna come once the game slows down for me. Yeah, I kinda realized what the NBA is gonna be like for me, and I’m going to need to work on that.”JOHNATHAN WILLIAMS, on the changes in the locker room from early on to late in the season:“I think it’s pretty much the same. All the players continued to play hard, especially me, Alex and (Jemerrio Jones), we just wanted to go out there and have fun. I mean, we’re playing for the best organization in the world in my opinion, and playing with the purple and gold in Staples Center was just a huge blessing for me. So we didn’t worry about the playoffs, we didn’t worry about what was going on in the media, we just worried about playing hard for each other. We did it in the G League. We just wanted to continue to do that at the next level.”Related Articles Trail Blazers, Grizzlies advance to NBA play-in game; Suns, Spurs see playoff dreams dashed
The 39-year-old appeared in 82 regular-season games for Toronto in 2018-19, scoring 16 goals and tallying 37 points.Marleau’s reliability over the past few seasons has been remarkable given his age. The Aneroid, Saskatchewan native hasn’t missed a regular season game in his last 10 seasons.Since being drafted second overall in the 1997 NHL Draft by the Sharks, Marleau has scored 551 goals and recorded 1,166 points over 21 seasons in the league. MORE: NHL free agency 2019: List of all 31 teams’ top free agents.@SportChek Player Alert: The @MapleLeafs have acquired a 2020 sixth-round pick from Carolina in exchange for Patrick Marleau, a conditional first round pick (2020) and a seventh round pick (2020).Details >> https://t.co/5A24Knvfbz pic.twitter.com/vu4M2sUgfX— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) June 22, 2019Marleau signed with the Maple Leafs as a free agent during the 2017 offseason after spending the previous 19 years with the San Jose Sharks. The Maple Leafs have traded Patrick Marleau to the Hurricanes in exchange for a 2020 sixth-round pick, the team announced on Saturday.Toronto will also send a conditional first-round pick in 2020 and a seventh-round pick in 2020 to Carolina as well.
Join DAZN and watch more than 100 fight nights a yearIn the summer of 2013, Callihan joined WWE and competed in NXT under the ring name Solomon Crowe. After being vastly underutilized, Callihan requested —and was granted — his release from the organization. Since then, Callihan has wrestled in New Japan, MLW and Lucha Underground. His transformation into a superstar followed when he signed with Impact Wrestling and made his debut at Bound for Glory in November 2017.This Sunday, at one of the company’s most significant annual events of the year, Slammiversary in Dallas, Callihan takes on Tessa Blanchard in an intergender matchup.Days away from the show, Callihan took some time to speak with Sporting News about facing off with Blanchard, criticism of the bout and being at Impact compared to his time at WWE.(Editor’s Note: The interview was edited for clarity.)Sporting News: You’re a couple of days away from a big match, and from what you told me before we started the interview, you have had an intriguing day.Sami Callihan: Everything I do is busy. Many people can hate me, but I’m the hardest working son of a b—tch in the wrestling business right now. It doesn’t matter if it’s for Impact or my company, The Wrestling Revolver, when it’s time to go to work, I go to work.SN: What came of the idea of starting your promotion?SC: I wanted wrestling to run the right way. I wanted it to be my version of what I think pro wrestling should be. I’ve been running pro wrestling companies since I was 17 years old. I used to run a backyard wrestling company. It’s taboo to say backyard wrestling in this day of age. But when I was younger, I was running backyard wrestling shows when I was junior and senior in high school in front of like 200-300 people. Then I went on to start American Luchacore. That was a company before its time where I’d book these stars from all around the country that no one had heard of at the time. I was successful at that. So when I left WWE, I got together with my old brother, and I said, ‘You know what? Let’s start our own wrestling company and do wrestling the right way’.SN: Why get into wrestling promotion at such a young age? Most want to go to college, but you went and forged a different path.SC: Because I’m a go-getter, and I want to be the most versatile person in the wrestling business. I know all about graphic design, booking talent, writing storylines because I love professional wrestling.SN: You have one of the most popular promotions in wrestling. Has The Wrestling Revolver exceeded your expectations, or is it going at a pace where you knew it was already going to be at?SC: I think it’s going exactly as I planned it to go. In the last three years, The Wrestling Revolver has landed successful shows during Wrestlemania weekend at WrestleCon and have done shows in five different states. Everywhere we have run a show, we have been successful. I set goals for myself. I set goals for my company. My brother from day one, and I knew this wasn’t going to be easy. We weren’t going to do this half-a–. There’s a reason me and my brother haven’t taken one dime from the Pro Wrestling Revolver because every ounce of money we make goes back into the company and buying something new and special. Hell, we just bought an 18-foot trailer because we want to get to that next level. We want to become a traveling brand.Being with Impact Wrestling right now, they give me that freedom. They’ve helped me along the way with a lot of stuff. It’s a great partnership that I’ve been able to have with them for the last couple of years.SN: How has Impact helped your promotion since your time in the company?SC: Sometimes, they work out deals with talent. They promote stuff. That’s the best part of Impact Wrestling right now. It’s not just a wrestling organization that says, ‘Hey, this is what your doing and this is what’s going to happen’. They let us go out and be creative, live out our dreams, and help us every step of the way.SN: Is it a breath of fresh air compared to your time in NXT?SC: In WWE, it seemed like we had to get permission to take a piss. In Impact Wrestling, it’s ok if you make a mistake and help you learn along the way in every single aspect of what you want to do and need to do.SN: You have a big match this weekend out in Dallas for Slammiversary against Tessa Blanchard.SC: (Cuts the question) Quite arguably, we are going to change the wrestling world. Where’s there ever been an intergender match of this proportion even though we aren’t the headliners on pay-per-view?Some people may hate intergender wrestling, but I’m a big proponent of it. It’s going to be part of the wave of the future. On the independent scene, intergender wrestling has picked up the last couple of years. It should be, ‘Wow, a female is going to wrestle this male. How did we get here?’I look at wrestling as if I can tell some stories, especially with someone like Tessa Blanchard. I may not agree with her. I may think she’s a dumb b—ch sometimes. But at the same time, I think Tessa Blanchard, regardless of male or female, is one of the best workers on the planet right now.SN: What do you say to the critics of intergender matches?SC: Watch Sunday and see us have the match of the year.SN: What makes her so special?SC: Because she doesn’t walk on eggshells. Tessa Blanchard is a bad b—ch. She’s a tough son of a b—ch. She goes out there looking every single time to be the best professional wrestler on the planet just like me. And that’s why we butt heads.On Sunday, we are going to go out there and leave it all on the line and see who the better person is man or female.SN: What do you make of this show top to bottom because it’s a pretty stacked card?SC: We have some of the best PPV’s of any wrestling company. I’d put last year’s Slammiversary against any wrestling pay-per-view of the previous year. That’s how amazing the show was. And this year’s Slammiversary exceeds last year’s easily. You have a lot of people right now saying their company is the best. I’m stepping up and saying I want to be one of the leaders of Impact Wrestling that helps bring this company to the new wave and have this company contend again. I think Sunday’s show is going to do precisely that when we have the best pay-per-view of the year.SN: A lot of rumors are going around right now about Impact and a possible TV deal with AXS TV.SC: (Cuts off the question) There sure are a lot of rumors going around right now. No one has said anything to us. I think once something happens; things are going to blow up. People want to s—t on our current situation. But us being on Twitch is a big thing. What people don’t realize is that we can do our own thing on Twitch. We can do our own thing on Pursuit. We have the freedom to do what we want and make the company what we want. We don’t have network executives telling us what to do and what can and cannot do. On specific networks, we may not be able to do intergender matches with Tessa Blanchard.But we are going to be able to do it this Sunday at Slammiversary and change history.SN: How do you feel you have evolved as a performer from WWE to Impact?SC: I don’t feel like my d—k has been cut off. The days that stopped happening was when everything had changed for me. Throughout my career, I’ve been able to evolve and do different things. I never want my character to become stagnant. I’m not complacent doing one thing. Every couple of months, I want to do something that’s going to create a buzz that gets my name in people’s mouths. And I think I have done that. One of the hottest acts outside of WWE is Sami Callihan. The 31-year-old began wrestling at the age of 17 when he ran a backyard wrestling organization. From there, Callihan toured the independent scene and became a household name competing in promotions like Ring of Honor, Evolve and Combat Zone Wrestling (CZW). SN: Why should people watch Slammiversary and in particular, your match with Tessa Blanchard?SC: Look at the card. The card is amazing. I’m not s—ting on any other wrestling. Why can’t we all be good? Why can’t every promotion have their niche, have their audience, and have their fanbase?Just watch wrestling. People need to stop being so critical and stop thinking about what they would do better or how’d they do it better. We are the professionals, and on Sunday, we are going to have the best pay-per-view of the year.
“I was so happy for you,” she could be heard saying to her grandson. “And you played such a wonderful game.”“Thank you for all your support, gram,” the younger O’Reilly can be heard saying in response.Quick stop to see O’Reilly’s former school. We bet his “What I Did This Summer” essay would be pretty good this year. #stlblues pic.twitter.com/aQFw6550yd— St. Louis Blues 🏆 (@StLouisBlues) July 25, 2019Of course, the Stanley Cup was not the only hardware present for the hometown visit. O’Reilly brought the Clarence S. Campbell Bowl, the Conn Smythe and Frank J. Selke Trophy along for the ride, laying each of them out in front of his old school. A trip through town in a fire truck brought O’Reilly to the local fire department’s station and he even got to hang out at the top of the vehicle’s platform. He followed up on that dream with two goals and an assist over the final two games of the series, leading the Blues to the franchise’s first-ever Stanley Cup. One of the rewards Stanley Cup champs reap after winning it all is spending an individual day with the trophy. So, O’Reilly brought the hardware — which is only 28 years older than Granny O’Reilly herself — to his hometown of Seaworth, Ont., and straight to the matriarch of the family.For the first time since he won the #StanleyCup, Ryan O’Reilly was reunited with his 99-year-old granny. #stlblues pic.twitter.com/q2MyPx1ACB— St. Louis Blues 🏆 (@StLouisBlues) July 25, 2019O’Reilly greeted his grandmother, who was sporting a crown meant for a queen that said her moniker, ‘Granny O’Reilly,’ with a warm embrace. According to the team, it was the first time the centerman had seen her since winning it all on June 12. St. Louis Blues forward Ryan O’Reilly called his 99-year-old grandmother, Deidre O’Reilly, one of his “biggest supporters” before Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final.“Oh absolutely,” the eventual Conn Smythe Trophy winner told reporters when asked if his grandmother follows his career closely. “She’ll send me quite a few emails, just saying congratulations on the game. She follows it very closely and she’s obviously a big part of my career as well. I remember her buying me skates when I was younger multiple times. Yeah, I hope I can get her a Stanley Cup.”
“It’s pretty cool to have an idea and finally see it come to fruition,” Bird told media. “When you get people at the table with a common goal and you want something done, you can figure out ways to get it done.”Taurasi admitted this is likely her and Bird’s last Olympic games.The two are currently the oldest active players in the WNBA. However, Bird has yet to play after undergoing knee surgery and Taurasi had a brief return after recovering from back surgery but has not returned to the court since July 12.”This was something that, at this point in our careers, we know how important it is to have a good, last hurrah,” Taurasi said. “We brainstormed with a couple other players and put together a plan.”Sylvia Fowles (Minnesota Lynx), Elena Delle Donne (Washington Mystics), Nneka Ogwumike (Los Angeles Sparks), A’ja Wilson (Las Vegas Aces), Skylar Diggins-Smith (Dallas Wings) and Chelsea Gray (Los Angeles Sparks) are the other six players that have committed to the program.”This program gives us an opportunity to keep a core group of players together and to build chemistry and cohesion while some of our other players who are in the pool are overseas playing,” USA coach Dawn Staley said. “I’m super excited about it. I hope it develops into something that’s long-lasting, because it’s needed.” Team USA has won six consecutive gold medals at the Olympic games, eight in total. The US has also placed in the top three of the last 11 world championships dating back to 1979, eight of those were championships. The women enter as a clear favorite to take home another gold in 2020. WNBA All-Star 2019: Erica Wheeler impresses in showcase debut as Team A’ja Wilson wins WNBA suspends Sparks’ Riquna Williams for 10 games following domestic violence incident WNBA All-Star 2019: Sky’s Diamond DeShields wins skills challenge, Sun’s Shekinna Stricklen tops 3-point contest 1. Prepare to win Olympic gold2. Amplify #USABWNT3. Grow the women’s gameThat’s it. That’s what we’re going to do. pic.twitter.com/2fPF04DWOI— USA Basketball (@usabasketball) July 27, 2019Under the new plan, Bird, Taurasi and six other players will all participate in five of the team’s training segments from November 2019 to April 2020, according to the official USA Basketball release. USA Basketball will be compensating the participating players financially, with a guaranteed amount of money, to keep them stateside during the WNBA offseason when a lot of players typically go overseas to supplement their income.Bird, who said the idea was first raised when her and Taurasi were talking trash in a cafe, knows the details still have to be ironed out but is excited to leave her mark on Team USA — aside from the four gold medals and four world championships she’s helped the US to. Related News The WNBA and Team USA Basketball have partnered up in an effort to grow the visibility of women’s basketball ahead of the 2020 Olympic games.Over the weekend, while the best of the league’s talent was on display in Las Vegas for the WNBA All-Star game, US national team members and WNBA legends Sue Bird of the Seattle Storm and Diana Taurasi of the Phoenix Mercury helped unveil the new plan.
“I’m almost back to where I was at  Worlds,” Biles said on NBC after the competition finished Sunday. “Of course it’s going to take some time, but we’re starting the journey.”💥 WAIT FOR IT 💥@Simone_Biles is the first person in history to perform this dismount and 👏 SHE 👏 NAILED 👏 IT. #USGymChamps pic.twitter.com/l7vVInxMJv— #TokyoOlympics (@NBCOlympics) August 10, 2019Biles will now prepare for the world championships in October. She’ll enter the competition heavily favored and will try to extend her record at worlds with a fifth all-around title. She had a two-day all-around total of 118.500 and beat second-place Sunisa Lee by 4.95 points.Biles took the top scores on floor, vault and balance beam and placed third on bars. Related News Simone Biles’ historic performance at the U.S. Gymnastics Championships helped her to her sixth all-around title.Biles, who still doesn’t think she’s at full strength, finished the competition Sunday achieving another feat no other gymnast has completed. She landed a triple twisting double somersault on floor exercise to give her a big edge over the rest of the field. Simone Biles blasts USA Gymnastics: ‘You literally had one job and you couldn’t protect us’ RESPECT THAT, BOW DOWN 👑 @Simone_Biles keeps making history! First woman to land a triple double in competition on floor 🔥pic.twitter.com/zvDO83RW9U— #TokyoOlympics (@NBCOlympics) August 12, 2019You already know we had to get the slo-mo for y’all…Look at the HEIGHT on @Simone_Biles’ historic pass 🤯 pic.twitter.com/cDS8pyir7S— #TokyoOlympics (@NBCOlympics) August 12, 2019The floor exercise came two days after Biles had already made history as the first person to ever attempt, and land, a double-double dismount from the beam.