<![CDATA[NBC Southern California - Sports]]> Copyright 2015 http://www.nbclosangeles.com/news/sports http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/NBC4_40x125.png NBC Southern California http://www.nbclosangeles.com en-us Sun, 19 Apr 2015 02:35:56 -0700 Sun, 19 Apr 2015 02:35:56 -0700 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[2015 Images From the GP of Long Beach]]> Sat, 18 Apr 2015 20:51:21 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/180*120/04-18-2015-gplb-long-beach-prix+-+27.jpg Images from the 2015 Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.

Photo Credit: Jonathan Lloyd, NBCLA.com]]>
<![CDATA[Jarret Stoll Arrested for Possession of Cocaine and Ecstasy]]> Sat, 18 Apr 2015 01:08:33 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/179*120/460177104.jpg

It’s been a rough week for the Los Angeles Kings. Not only were the reigning Stanley Cup Champions eliminated from the NHL Playoffs, but now news has broken that their star center, Jarret Stoll, has been arrested in Las Vegas for possession of cocaine and MDMA.

Las Vegas Metro police arrested Stoll on Friday at the MGM Grand hotel for drug possession. The 32-year-old hockey player was relaxing at the Wet Republic pool when he was taken into custody for possession of cocaine and MDMA, a more pure form of the drug Ecstasy.

Stoll was released from jail on a $5,000 bond later in the evening and a hearing has been set for Saturday. According to the Clark County police, the NHL and the LA Kings have been made aware of the situation. When contacted regarding the incident, an LA Kings spokesperson said that they are aware of Stoll’s arrest and are “actively investigating” the matter and had no further comment.

Stoll completed the final year of his contract this season with the Kings and is set to become an unrestricted free agent after the season. Off the ice, Stoll is the long time boyfriend of sportscaster and “Dancing with the Stars” host Erin Andrews. The pair have been dating since 2013, and recent reports had the couple engaged. No word yet on whether or not Andrews was with Stoll at the time of his arrest or if anybody else was with Stoll at the scene.



Photo Credit: Christian Petersen]]>
<![CDATA[Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Undergoes Heart Surgery]]> Fri, 17 Apr 2015 18:09:07 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/173*120/AP120126058268.jpg

The NBA’s all-time leading scorer, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, underwent quadruple coronary bypass surgery Thursday after being admitted to Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center with cardiovascular disease this week, Abdul-Jabbar said in a statement released by the University of California Los Angeles' Health Science Department.

The Basketball Hall of Fame member's surgery was a success and he was expected to make a full recovery, Dr. Richard Shermin, UCLA's chief of cardiac surgery, said in the statement.

Abdul-Jabbar thanked his surgical team and the medical staff at UCLA and said he was "looking forward to getting back to normal activities soon."

He asked that support for him go toward people in the community who may also be suffering from various health issues.

No other information was available.



Photo Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS]]>
<![CDATA[Grand Prix of Long Beach, Then and Now]]> Fri, 17 Apr 2015 06:31:57 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/223*120/04-17-2015-andretti-michael--long-beach-grand-prix.jpg A lot has changed at the Long Beach Grand Prix since the Formula 5000 and Formula 1 cars raced there in the 1970s and 1980s.

Photo Credit: Getty]]>
<![CDATA[Ex-NFL Player Strangled Cellmate: Coroner]]> Fri, 17 Apr 2015 07:38:28 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/lawrence-phillips-2005.jpg

Former NFL running back Lawrence Phillips killed his cellmate by strangling him, authorities said Thursday.

The Kern County Coroner released the new details in the homicide of Damion Soward, 37, at the Kern Valley State Prison. The coroner’s report states that Soward died of neck compression asphyxia.

Phillips, 39, is charged with Soward’s murder and is currently being held in a segregation unit at the prison.

Phillips is already serving a 31-year sentence for multiple charges, including spousal abuse and auto theft, officials said.

Phillips was once one of the nation's top college football players at Nebraska. He was drafted 6th overall by the St. Louis Rams in the 1996 NFL Draft.

He only played in 25 games and scored 12 touchdowns for the Rams, but also had short stints with the Miami Dolphins and San Francisco 49ers.

In 2005, jurors convicted Phillips of choking a former girlfriend twice in San Diego, once into unconsciousness. He was also convicted of hitting three teenagers with his car in Los Angeles.



Photo Credit: NBC 7 Archives]]>
<![CDATA[Can the Clippers Beat the Champs?]]> Thu, 16 Apr 2015 22:54:02 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/166*120/topSports-clippers-lakers-AP822500732103.jpg

The NBA’s Western Conference was so wild that everything changed on the final day of the regular season. And it affected the Clippers tremendously.

One loss dropped the San Antonio Spurs from second to sixth. Most teams were rejoicing, but not the Clippers, the unlucky team must now host the defending champions.

While the Clips would have preferred another opponent, they did go 2-2 against the Spurs in the regular season. However, these are not the same Spurs the Clippers last saw back in mid-February.

The Spurs went on quite the run to end the regular season, going 21-4 in their last 25 games.

Those 21 wins included victories over the Atlanta Hawks, Memphis Grizzlies, Golden State Warriors, and Houston Rockets twice. For those keeping score at home that’s the best team in each conference and the second and fifth seeds in the West.

The Spurs mean business and are peaking at the perfect time.

The Spurs may be scorching hot, but the Clippers are right there with them. Doc Rivers’ squad ended the season with two seven game win streaks, sandwiched around a loss to Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors.

So despite the regular season result in favor of LA, how do these two Western Conference powerhouses, who many regard as the biggest threats to Golden State, stack up?

Offensively they’re explosive, each boding a top six efficiency and a top five true shooting percentage. In both categories however, the Clippers ranked higher.

One red flag for the Clippers will be if the Spurs opt to intentionally foul DeAndre Jordan, an abysmal free throw shooter. The tactic has cost LA a few games during the regular season.

These two will be nearly impossible to stop on the offensive end, so this series is likely to come down to which team’s defense can get more stops.

During the regular season the Spurs had the third most efficient defense in the league, while the Clippers were middle of the pack at 15th.

Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green provide the Spurs an advantage guarding the wings. Most feel J.J. Redick and Matt Barnes could hurt the Clippers on the defensive end. The lack of perimeter defending will likely hurt LA.

One way the Clippers have circumvented their defensive mediocrity, aside from the rim protection provided by DeAndre Jordan, is the strength of their starting five. The Clippers fielded the league’s best starting lineup in terms of scoring and point differential.

The Clippers have an edge with their starting lineup, but the same cannot be said for their bench.

LA’s bench was one of the worst in the league, while the Spurs were first or second in bench scoring and bench efficiency on both ends of the court. Coach Doc Rivers will play Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan around 40 minutes per night, but the Spurs’ bench is so superior that they’ll take advantage when Paul and company rest.

Besides the guys who will be on the court deciding this series, the coaches have a big role to play.

Doc Rivers is a fine coach, but Gregg Popovich is on the Mount Rushmore of coaching, not just in the NBA, but in all sports.

A coach won’t win you a series, but he’ll likely make a key decision to sway a game or two.

Tim Duncan versus Blake Griffin, Tony Parker versus Chris Paul, Pop versus Doc, this series has it all.

Team basketball clashes against individual talent. A storied franchise faces one on the rise.

The Clippers will need the best postseason performances to date from their big three of Paul, Griffin and Jordan to have any chance to advance.

Either way it should be a fascinating and high scoring series, likely to go six or seven games.

Game 1 is Sunday night at Staples Center.
 



Photo Credit: AP Photo/Jae C. Hong]]>
<![CDATA[Perry Scores Twice as Ducks Win Game 1]]> Thu, 16 Apr 2015 22:31:09 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/470006532.jpg

Corey Perry scored two goals and added two assists as the Anaheim Ducks scored a come-from-behind 4-2 victory over the Winnipeg Jets in Game 1 of the Western Conference quarterfinals.

Ryan Getzlaf and Sami Vatanen also scored for the Ducks, and Frederik Andersen made 24 saves as Anaheim defended home ice with a victory. Adam Lowry and Drew Stafford scored goals for the Jets in the loss.

The game got off to a rollicking start as both teams came out of the gate firing, and the Ducks drew first blood on home ice. Andrew Ladd had the puck stripped from him in the defensive zone after a huge hit from Ryan Getzlaf, and he fed a pass to Sami Vatanen. Vatanen then fired a shot toward the net, and Etem deflected it past Ondrej Pavelec to make it a 1-0 game just two minutes in.

The Jets responded quickly, scoring a minute later. Adam Lowry laid a huge hit at center ice to jar the puck loose, and he made a break into the zone. Finding an open seam, Jacob Trouba feathered a perfect pass across the ice to a wide open Lowry, and he pushed a shot past Frederik Andersen to tie things up at 1-1.

Things calmed down just a little bit over the next few minutes, but the Jets started pushing back hard and got a power play just after the halfway point of the period. The Ducks did a really nice job on the ensuing penalty kill, forechecking aggressively at the blue line and clearing the puck several times to finish off the power play without issue.

In the final minutes of the period, both teams traded some quality chances, and the action continued until the very end of the period. Andersen made a big save at one end with about 10 seconds remaining in the frame, and then Perry was stopped by Pavelec at the other to keep things tied up at 1-1 after 20 minutes of intense action.

As the second period got underway, the Ducks’ second line did some of its best work, but the Jets withstood the barrage and took the lead about five minutes into the frame. Mark Schiefele got things started as he pinched in on a rush, and as Andersen kept an eye on him, Drew Stafford stormed into the zone and fired a shot just inside the near post to make it a 2-1 game.

The period continued with the Jets getting the majority of the chances, but the Ducks slowly but surely began seizing the momentum of the game. Getzlaf had a big chance really close to the crease that Pavelec steered aside, and then Matt Beleskey had a chance that went just over the top of the cage. The Ducks’ physicality ended up leading to trouble for the Jets, as Schiefele was sent to the box just before the end of the period.

As the third period got underway, the Ducks took advantage of their power play and tied things up at 2-2. After all five players touched the puck in the offensive zone, Patrick Maroon deflected a shot toward the net, and even though Pavelec made the initial save, Perry collected the rebound and quickly flipped it home to tie things up early in the frame.

The Ducks got another power play near the halfway point of the period, but the Jets killed it off and nearly took the lead as Ladd got a huge chance. Andersen was able to make the save however, and the game remained tied.

With about six and a half minutes to go in the game, Perry acted as though he scored his second goal of the game as he backhanded a rebound shot toward the net. The shot kicked out and the official waved it off, but after the next stoppage in play the officials reviewed it and ruled that it was a good goal, giving the Ducks a 3-2 lead.

The Ducks scored again with about three minutes remaining in regulation as they got yet another power play. Perry passed the puck below the goal line to Getzlaf, and the Ducks’ captain slowly skated it back toward the slot. In one fluid motion, he flicked his wrists and fired a shot past Pavelec to give the Ducks a 4-2 lead, which they held onto for the remainder of the contest.

The Ducks will look to seize a 2-0 lead when the series resumes on Saturday night, with Game 2 starting at 7:30 p.m. local time.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Ducks Look to Start Playoffs Strong vs. Jets ]]> Thu, 16 Apr 2015 17:19:19 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/488865803.jpg

The Anaheim Ducks were the top-seeded team in the Western Conference during the regular season, and as a reward they get to take on the red-hot Winnipeg Jets in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Their series, which begins on Thursday night at the Honda Center, features two teams that took completely different paths to get into the postseason. The Ducks clinched the division title on April 2, and even though they weren’t able to fully nail down the top spot in the Western Conference until the final day of the season (which they did in a victory over the Arizona Coyotes), they really didn’t have much to play for over the final week and a half of the regular season.

As for the Jets, they had to scratch and claw their way toward the postseason. The Los Angeles Kings proved to be a worthwhile foe down the stretch, and in spite of some serious injuries on their blue line, the Jets made it into the postseason on the backs of a tremendous offensive push and some great goaltending from Ondrej Pavelec.

Pavelec, who had to fend off Michael Hutchinson for the starting goaltender job with the Jets, has been positively dynamite over the final stages of the season. He has lost only once in regulation over that time, racking up four shutouts and only allowing 18 goals in his final 12 appearances of the season. He also has gone three straight games without allowing any goals at all, with his only loss during that stretch coming in a shootout to the Colorado Avalanche last week.

As for the Ducks, they still have some questions to address in their crease, as John Gibson continues to deal with an upper-body injury. If he’s unable to go for the start of the series, then Frederik Andersen will replace him in net, with Jason LaBarbera backing him up.

Fortunately for Anaheim, the team has had a great deal of success so far this season against Winnipeg. In three previous meetings, the Ducks have captured three straight victories, with the last of them coming on January 11.

In order for the Ducks to win, they will have to make sure that they get a lot of pressure on Pavelec early and often. Goaltenders can be shaky early in the postseason (Andrew Hammond of Ottawa and Carey Price of Montreal are good examples of that), and getting traffic near the crease early and firing plenty of shots in will keep Pavelec from settling into a comfort zone, and the Ducks would be well advised to use that tactic.

One other thing that the Ducks will have to do is to get their anemic power play churning in the right direction. The Jets ranked 13th in the league on the penalty kill this season, and Anaheim will get some chances with the man-advantage. They have only scored once in their last 23 opportunities however, and that is something that has to change with weapons like Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry in the mix.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Stow to Throw Ceremonial Pitch]]> Thu, 16 Apr 2015 19:49:25 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/0416-2015-Stow.jpg

The San Francisco Giants fan beaten outside Dodger Stadium on Thursday threw out the ceremonial first pitch at the home opener for the San Jose Giants, a team where he used to be a paramedic before he was left brain damaged in the attack four years ago.

"It's a comeback story," said Dan Orum, president and CEO of the San Jose Giants, who faced off against the Bakersfield Blaze on Thursday. "Just to see what he's come through, and to be able to give him something back like this — it's just the kind of thing that resonates with everybody."

Orum was talking about Bryan Stow's story. The former Santa Cruz paramedic, now 46, was left severely brain-damaged after the attack in Los Angeles in 2011. But the father of two plans to get up from his wheelchair Thursday and make his way onto the field using a walker -- and then throw the pitch.

"I'm excited about it," Stow told the Mercury News in a recent interview where he spoke clearly, coherently albeit a bit slowly.  He added that hopefully "I'll do good job."

The San Jose Giants are a minor league baseball team, and the farm team for the San Francisco Giants since 1988. Last year, Stow hollered "Play ball" during Game 4 of the World Series between the Giants and the Kansas City Royals.

A Los Angeles Superior Court jury awarded Stow $18 million from the Dodgers and his assailants in 2014, although his family has yet to receive any of it. Two men, Louie Sanchez and Marvin Norwood, pleaded guilty to charges from the attack including mayhem and assault. Sanchez received eight years in prison, Norwood was sentenced to four years.

Orum said that Stow used to work at the San Jose Giants games a while back, and when he was injured in Los Angeles the team "made a commitment to his children that when he got well, he could come back and throw out the first pitch. And that day has come."

Stow had come a long way since the attack. He came out of a coma, spent many years in a wheelchair, but is now able to walk and stand with a walker for short periods of time. He recently threw balls to his father, Dave, in his parent's Capitola backyard. In his interview with the Mercury News, he was quite coherent, but it was also clear he suffers some memory loss and concentration.

To learn more about Stow and contribute to his ongoing medical care, click here.



Photo Credit: Ian Cull
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story on our mobile site.]]>
<![CDATA[Long Beach Grand Prix Weekend: What to Watch]]> Fri, 17 Apr 2015 07:48:43 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/196*120/04-16-2015-indycar-takuma-sato-167152765.jpg

Seven races are on the schedule for this weekend's Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, a motorsports street party on a tightly packed street track that promises wheel-to-wheel competition.

Drivers will carve their way through the 1.9-mile, 11-turn track where a mistake often means contact with the unforgiving walls lining the course and dramatic changes in position. Several different types of race cars will be on track before Sunday's main event.

The event's history dates to the mid-1970s, when the powerful and lightweight open-wheel Formula 5000 cars stormed the track in the first Long Beach Grand Prix. Long Beach soon attracted the world's most prestigious series, Formula 1, and its internationally famed drivers and teams.

The final F1 race in Long Beach was in 1983, but other forms of open-wheel racing continued to attract crowds to Shoreline Drive for years to come.

Here's what to watch at the 2015 Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. Click here for a full schedule of events during race weekend.

Friday

The event in downtown Long Beach opens to the public on Friday with several practice sessions and qualifying events for the Pro-Celebrity and TUDOR United SportsCar Championship races. Paddock areas will be open, offering fans an opportunity to view the cars up close before the weekend crowds arrive.

The Tecate Light Fiesta Friday Concert, featuring "Molotov," takes the stage outside the track before practice and qualifying sessions for the KMC Wheels Super Drift Challenge. The streets will be filled with tire smoke as they navigate parts of the course in controlled slides.

What to Watch: Anyone fortunate enough to have Friday off can avoid the weekend crowds and take time to browse the paddock area, where mechanics and other race team members will get the cars ready for practice, qualifying and race sessions.

Saturday

The Pro-Celebrity drivers will take the green flag for the first race of the day at 11:40 a.m. The 10-lap event features celebrities -- actor Mekhi Phifer, musician Mark McGrath and former NFL player Willie Gaulty -- to name a few, and pro drivers, who will start at the back of the field and work their ways up through the pack.

IndyCar qualifying begins at 2 p.m. and concludes with the Firestone Fast 6, a final round shootout involving the fastest six drivers to determine the starting grid for Sunday's race.

Prototype and production-based racers take the track at 4:05 p.m. for the 1 hour, 40-minute Tequila Patrón Sports Car Showcase. The event features several classes of race cars -- purpose-built prototypes will be on the track with race-prepared production vehicles like Corvettes, Ferraris, BWMs and Porsches.

Saturday wraps up with the drifters back on track for the 7 p.m. KMC Wheels Super Drift Challenge Competition and the Rock-N-Roar concert with Vince Neil of Motley Crue, starting at 6:45 p.m.

What to Watch: The Tequila Patrón Sports Car Showcase is the United State's premiere sports car racing series. The multi-class format means there are several competitive races to watch, all within one event. If you're looking to cheer for a local, Redondo Beach's Bill Auberlen will be in the No. 25 BMW Z4. The series also includes actor-racer Patrick Dempsey, who drives the No. 58 Dempsey/Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT.

Sunday

Alarm clocks won't be necessary near downtown Long Beach Sunday morning. The SPEED Energy Formula Off-Road Trucks Race is scheduled for 7:20 a.m. before the Indy Lights series race -- a development platform for IndyCar that features agile and quick open wheel racers.

The weekend's feature event, the 41st Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach Verizon IndyCar Series Race, begins at 1:30 p.m. Drivers will compete for valuable series points in an 80-lap race that requires speed, strategy and some good fortune to win.

The weekend of racing closes with the Pirelli World Challenge Championship Race at 4:30 p.m. The field features an array of 40 production-based cars. It's late in the day, but the entertaining and diverse field makes it worth sticking around.

What to Watch: The field includes several past winners at Long Beach, but two of the drivers to watch have never claimed first place at one of the series' most exciting events. Tony Kanaan has enjoyed a strong start to the season, so look for him to contend in the No. 10 NTT Data Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet. Graham Rahal also could make a splash in the No. 15 Steak ‘N Shake Honda. Last year's winner, Mike Conway, moved on to the FIA World Endurance Championship. As for the cars, their appearance has changed dramatically over the past few years with highly engineered aero kits and safety features. The cars also have a push-to-pass function that boosts power output for a limited amount of time -- 10 activations for 20 seconds apiece. 

Note: The IndyCar race will be broadcast at 1 p.m. PT on NBCSN.
 



Photo Credit: Getty
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story on our mobile site.]]>
<![CDATA[Calgary Flames Defeat Vancouver Canucks 2-1]]> Wed, 15 Apr 2015 22:22:49 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/469873146.jpg

Defenseman Kris Russell scored with just under 30 seconds remaining in the third period, lifting the Calgary Flames to a 2-1 win over the Vancouver Canucks in Game 1 of their first-round playoff series on Wednesday night.

David Jones also scored for the Flames, who were down 1-0 entering the third period. Jonas Hiller stopped 29 shots in the Flames' first playoff game since 2009.

Bo Horvat opening the scoring for Vancouver midway in the second period. Jannik Hansen and Alexander Edler assisted on the play.

Vancouver hosts Game 2 on Friday night.

Russell's shot from the point found its way through traffic after a dominant shift by the Flames that had the Canucks hemmed in deep.

Eddie Lack made 28 saves for Vancouver, which is back in the postseason after missing out last spring for the first time in six years.

Horvat snapped a scoreless tie after Lack, in his first playoff start, made a couple of big saves at the other end. The 20-year-old rookie had his first shot blocked, but his follow-up on the backhand nicked off the skate of Calgary defenseman Dennis Wideman in front and past Hiller.

Calgary, which won 10 games when trailing after 40 minutes in the regular season and was tied for first in the NHL with 99 third-period goals, tied the game midway in the final session. After a soft play by the Canucks at their own blue line, the Flames broke in on a quick 3-on-2 in transition, with Jones roofing a shot over Lack.

The goal came on the heels of a pair of big saves by Hiller.

Notes: Vancouver has not won at home in the playoffs since Game 5 of the 2011 Stanley Cup final against Boston, a span of seven contests. The Canucks had also lost 10 of their last 11 playoff games overall dating back to Game 6 of the series with the Bruins. ... Calgary rookie Sam Bennett — playing in just his second professional game — had a strong chance after cutting out of the corner before being denied by Lack.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Lakers End Their Worst Season in History]]> Wed, 15 Apr 2015 22:04:48 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Lakers-end-season-worst-ever.jpg

The season that would seemingly never end finally ended on Wednesday night at Staples Center when the LA Lakers lost to the Sacramento Kings. With the loss, the purple and gold made history as the worst team in franchise history with a final record of 21-61, which narrowly edged the 1957/58 Minneapolis Lakers for the worst winning percentage in the two-city history of the Lakers.

Ahead of the season finale, the team announced that standout rookie Jordan Clarkson would sit out the finale due to a sprained ankle sustained in Monday's loss to the same Kings team. Also, the team confirmed that Wesley Johnson would miss out with the same injury sustained in Sunday's loss to the Dallas Mavericks.

"Hilarious," was the word Lakers coach Byron Scott used on Wednesday morning, when asked to describe the series of injuries that had ruined all 82 games of the Lakers' 2014/15 season.

With the pair of starters ruled out, the Lakers only had two guards on the roster: Vander Blue and Jabari Brown. Not familiar with Brown and Blue? Well, Blue had only joined the team in an emergency situation two days earlier, and Brown had been added near the end of the season in order to fill a need.

The Lakers did not have any backups for their two unlikely starters, and they had power forward Ryan Kelly deputizing as a starting small forward. With only three big men available off the bench, the Lakers did not have any options in the backcourt. They also, apparently, did not have any chance of winning on Wednesday.

By the end of the first quarter, the Kings already had 33 points on the board, and defense did not appear to be in the program Wednesday night. By halftime, the Kings had scored 67 points. Predictably, the Lakers trailed at that point, as the home team simply did not have enough points on the roster.

With Blue, Carlos Boozer and Jordan Hill all in double figures in scoring by halftime, the Lakers managed to get to 53 points and trail by 14 at the break. That could not last.

In the second half, the Lakers cooled off, but the lack of defense due to limited available personnel continued to allow the Kings easy access to open looks. In the third quarter, the Lakers trailed by as many as 19 points as the visitors continued to pour it on.

However, eventually, the Kings lost the ability to knock down open looks for an elongated stretch because, well, they're not a good team, either. However, they were a better team than the Lakers on this night. After cutting the lead to 11 points, the Lakers again fell behind by 19 points at the end of three quarters.

At that point, the Lakers' season only had one quarter to go, and not much need be said about those final 12 minutes. For the 61st time in 82 games, the Lakers tasted defeat. The season fittingly ended as a loss, and this will go down as the worst season in their storied history.

It's finally over. Good riddance.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Best of the 2015 NHL Playoffs]]> Sat, 18 Apr 2015 20:05:16 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/AP710209314180.jpg The 2015 NHL playoffs are officially underway. Check out these photos highlighting the best teams in the league and their quest to hoist Lord Stanley's Cup.]]> <![CDATA[Carson Stadium Project Qualifies for Ballot]]> Thu, 16 Apr 2015 08:00:56 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/179*120/3-26-2015-PetitionDelivery.JPG

An initiative aimed at building a football stadium in Carson, possibly to house the San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders, has qualified for the city ballot, backers of the proposal said Wednesday.

Members of Carson2gether delivered more than 15,000 petition signatures to the city last month, and the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk's office verified that enough of the signatures were valid. A total of 8,059 valid signatures were required to get the issue on the ballot.

The issue will now move to the Carson City Council, which will have the option of either placing the $1.7 billion proposal on the ballot or approving the stadium plan outright.

The Chargers and Raiders announced Feb. 19 they are working on a joint proposal to build a 72,000-seat stadium at Del Amo Boulevard and the San Diego (405) Freeway in Carson if they are unable to strike deals for new facilities in their respective cities.

Going through the initiative process allows the project to avoid lengthy and expensive environmental reviews.

A similar tactic was employed in Inglewood, where the City Council voted unanimously Feb. 24 to approve an initiative allowing for construction of an 80,000-seat stadium planned by St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke at the former Hollywood Park racetrack site. Although Kroenke is behind the project, the Rams have not announced any intention of moving back to the Los Angeles area.

An NFL team has not played in the Los Angeles area since 1994, when the Raiders and Rams relocated.

]]>
<![CDATA["I'm Disgusted:" $7K Stolen From Little League]]> Thu, 16 Apr 2015 12:43:36 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/199*120/littleleague4.JPG

It’s one thing to steal bases in baseball.

It’s another to steal a safe containing $7,000.

But that’s what happened to the Tennyson American Little League in Hayward over the weekend.

Treasurer Jody Perry said the youth baseball clubhouse – an icon in town because of its brightly painted murals - was broken into on Sunday about 9:45 p.m. and a safe was taken containing the league’s rent money.

“I’m disgusted to say that neither us, nor the police think it is a coincidence that it was the weekend we collected our fundraiser,” Perry said on Wednesday. “Stealing that money is like directly stealing from the 200 kids our league serves each year.”

Perry said the alarm went off, and the company called League President Christina Mathewson, who typically receives two or three false alarm calls a week. But Mathewson’s husband told his wife, “I have a bad feeling about this one,” Perry recalled and the couple went to the clubhouse about 11 p.m. to confirm his fears. After the weekend fundraiser, the plan was to deposit the money in the bank on Monday. If there is any silver lining, Perry said, several of the team's in the league hadn't brought over their weekend fundraising money to the clubhouse.

About half the league’s fundraising money was in the safe – the only thing taken – and the thief or thieves pried open the snack bar window of the clubhouse to get in.

Bay Area artist Andrew Kong Knight  put the Sorensdale Park clubhouse on the map in March, with three 15-by 30-foot murals inspired by the classic baseball movie, “Field of Dreams.” Knight told NBC Bay Area when he gives his "heart and soul" to the murals and spends so much time at the park, he takes the theft "personally."

Josh Powell and Wythe Boward painted the clubhouse with popcorn and hot dogs where the safe was being kept.

Neighbor Carolyn Hancock was dismayed on Wednesday and is hopeful the culprits will be caught.

“It sounds like a planned job,” she said. “It’s a pitiful situation that someone would steal from kids like that.”

Insurance will cover most of the loss, but the league will have to pay a $1,000 deductible. The league is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of whoever took the money.

Donations may be sent to the Tennyson American Little League, Box 3355, Hayward, 94544. Online donations can be made here. Anyone with information is asked to call Hayward police at 510-293-7000.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[WATCH: Blackhawks Player Surprises Firefighters With Pizza]]> Wed, 15 Apr 2015 10:23:52 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/patrick+kane+pizza.png

What would you do if your favorite hockey player showed up at your doorstep with dinner?

For the guys at the Downers Grove firehouse, they did what they do best and kept their cool despite being massive Chicago Blackhawks fans.

The team has made it a trend to surprise their biggest fans in unexpected ways, and in their latest video from the “What's Your Goal” series Patrick Kane answers the call of Courtney O’Leary – whose goal was to have a Blackhawks player deliver dinner to her husband and his fellow firefighters.

“He is a wonderful husband and an amazing dad and he loves his job as a firefighter/paramedic and he absolutely loves the Blackhawks,” Courtney said of her husband Patrick O’Leary. “It’s my hope that he can be surprised in a really awesome way because no one on this planet deserves it more than he does.”

Watch the video above to see the whole surprise unfold.


This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story on our mobile site.]]>
<![CDATA[LA Lakers: Game No. 82]]> Wed, 15 Apr 2015 10:27:20 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/2014-15+LA+Lakers.jpg

The 2014/15 Los Angeles Lakers season ends on Wednesday night, and boy, just about everyone is excited for this one to end.

How excited? Well, Lakers coach Byron Scott did not think he even needed to wait until the end of the season to start parading players through exit interviews and out the door. Jeremy Lin, Wayne Ellington, Ronnie Price, Julius Randle and Nick Young should be at Wednesday night's game, but the five-some of injured players could well be out of the country and on vacation by Thursday morning.

Kobe Bryant also expects to be at Wednesday's game, but Bryant does not expect to have an exit interview for the second time in as many years. In defense of the five-time champion, he did sit down with media for an extended exit interview when he first began showing up to home games following surgery on his shoulder.

In any case, the Lakers expect to wrap up exit interviews on Thursday and tie a bow on a season that looked and smelled like manure. Before all that, a hobbled LA Lakers team must finish 48 more minutes against the Sacramento Kings.

Winning no longer hurts the Lakers and losing no longer helps the Lakers, as the purple and gold enter the NBA's draft lottery with the fourth best standing and an 11.9 percent chance of getting the no. 1 overall pick. The team also has a 17.2 percent chance of missing out on the NBA draft altogether, as those are the odds at least two teams below the Lakers win the lottery and push LA outside the top-five picks. If the Lakers fall from fourth to sixth or seventh, the Philadelphia 76ers would take LA's only reward for an historically bad season.

How bad has this season been? With 21 wins and 60 losses, the 2014/15 Lakers have already ensured that they will finish as the worst team since the franchise moved to LA. Also, they sunk the Lakers to 60 losses for the first time ever. Previously, the Lakers had been the only NBA team never to hit the 60-loss mark--not anymore.

Wednesday's game, however, carries major meaning. If the Lakers lose against the Kings in the finale, they will overtake the 1957/58 Minneapolis Lakers as the worst team in franchise history based on winning percentage. If the Lakers win, they will narrowly best the 1957/58 team that finished with a record of 19-53 in a 72-game season. Worth pointing out, the 2014/15 LA Lakers held an identical mark of 19-53 through 72 games of their 82-game season.

Game no. 82 tips at 7:30 p.m. Pacific Time, as the 2014/15 Lakers attempt to avoid falling to the absolute bottom. Win or lose, the season ends on Wednesday, and boy, is that a relief.



Photo Credit: Getty Images 2015]]>
<![CDATA[HowieWood Ending As Dodgers Walk Off Again]]> Wed, 15 Apr 2015 01:30:16 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/171*120/469749276.jpg

Howie Kendrick broke his bat on his game-winning two-run single on Tuesday night. And with his bat, he broke the hearts of the Seattle Mariners.

Kendrick hit a two-run single off Seattle closer Fernando Rodney with one out in the bottom of the ninth and the Los Angeles Dodgers came from behind to defeat the Mariners 6-5 for the second consecutive night.

“It’s always good to come through for your teammates,” said a smiling Kendrick after the game.

It was the second walk-off victory for LA in as many nights, and their second come from behind victory after the 6th inning this season. By comparison, the Dodgers were 2-54 all of last season when trailing entering the 7th inning.

“We’ve had some games early this year where we’ve come back from deficits and tied the game up and went on to win,” added Kendrick. “All of that keeps building and building. Anytime you’re down, guys will start believing that we can always come back. Past couple of days we’ve been able to do that.”

The Dodgers’ day started with some scrambling to find a starting pitcher. Left-hander David Huff, who was signed as a free agent in the offseason, was called up from AAA Oklahoma City before the game.

Huff is a native of Los Angeles and grew up a Dodgers fan. He attended college at UCLA and grew up in nearby Irvine. Huff had not started a major league game since September of 2013 with the New York Yankees, and had plenty of butterflies pitching for the Dodgers in front of his hometown.

“I tried to be calm, cool and collected,” said Huff. “Pitching here before on the opposing side helped, so it was too different.”

Nerves got the better of Huff in the first inning as he gave up back-to-back homers to Robinson Cano and Nelson Cruz. Before you could say, “Lando Calrissian,” the Mariners had an early 3 to nothing lead.

“I didn’t have all my pitches working for me tonight,” continued Huff. “I left a few pitches up and they obviously capitalized on them.”

Cruz tied his career-high with four consecutive games with a home run. He now has three homers in two days against the Dodgers. After starting the season 1-for-15, Cruz is 7-for-16 since with five homers and eight RBIs.

Huff allowed four runs on seven hits in four innings in his Dodgers debut.

“Hopefully I’ll get another chance,” he said. “I haven’t heard anything yet, but they usually keep me in the dark.”

Adrian Gonzalez continued his hot start to the season with an RBI double to right field in the third inning. Gonzalez extended his hitting streak to ten games and has reached base two or more times in every game this season.

Alex Guerrero did again for the Dodgers in the bottom half of the 4th inning. The star of LA’s last two games, hit a pinch-hit two-run home run off of Hisashi Iwakuma.

“I feel very confident right now,” said Guerrero. “I was happy to have helped my team and contribute in that situation.”

It was a week of firsts for Guerrero as he hit his first career homer on Sunday, his first walk-off hit on Monday and his first pinch-hit home run on Tuesday.

Iwakuma allowed four runs on six hits with five strikeouts over five innings.

Andre Ethier brought the Dodgers closer in the sixth when the outfielder hit a frozen rope that wrapped inside the right field foul pole. It was Ethier’s first home run of the season and 146th of his career, good for 10th on the Dodgers all-time home run list.

Yimi Garcia (2-0) worked a perfect ninth for his second consecutive win on the season.

Rodney (0-1) blew his first save of the season. Last season’s major league leader in saves (48), gave up back-to-back singles to Justin Turner and Jimmy Rollins before inducing Carl Crawford into a fielder’s choice.

With runners at first and second and one out, Rodney wanted nothing to do with NL Player of the Week, Adrian Gonzalez. Rodney walked Gonzalez on five pitches to load the bases for Kendrick who sent the next pitch he saw to right field for the walk-off win.

“I knew he [Kendrick] was going to swing, but the pitch was up a little bit in the zone and that’s why he took the ball the other way,” said Rodney. “I tried to throw the sinker in to try and get a ground ball and get out of the inning, but they got me tonight.”

Game Notes:
It was Star Wars night at Dodger Stadium. Darth Vader, Storm Troopers and R2-D2 were walking around the stadium taking pictures with fans. Yasiel Puig did not play in the game with a hamstring injury.
 



Photo Credit: Harry How]]>
<![CDATA[Dodgers' Guerrero Wins Game With Walk-off Single]]> Tue, 14 Apr 2015 01:36:35 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/180*120/469647604.jpg

On Sunday he had his first career home run. On Monday, for an encore, he had his first career walk-off hit.

Alex Guerrero was the hero for the second consecutive game as the Cuban infielder capped off the Dodgers comeback with a two-out, bases loaded single in the 10th inning to beat the Seattle Mariners 6-5. It was the first interleague game of the 2015 season for both teams.

“I had two strikes against me, so I wasn’t looking for a home run there, I was just looking to make contact,” said Guerrero through an interpreter.

Yasiel Puig homered for the second consecutive day as the Dodgers rallied from a four-run deficit in the fourth inning. Puig appears to have burst out of an early season slump as he went 3 for 5 on the night.

Brandon McCarthy who admitted he was not a ground ball pitcher after his first outing last week against the Padres, gave up four home runs, to bring his season total to six.

“My job is to always be around the plate as much as I can and attack the hitters,” McCarthy said after the game. “I know from time to time that sometimes you’re going to miss your spot and somebody’s going to drive a ball. You just hope it does minimal damage and doesn’t come in a grouping like this.”

Despite giving up the long ball, McCarthy surrendered five runs on six hits in seven innings and struck out ten batters in the no-decision.

It was feast or famine for McCarthy, as he became just the 11th pitcher since 1914 to give up as many as four home runs in a game and still strikeout at least 10 batters. He is the first pitcher to accomplish such a feat since the Milwaukee Brewers Mike Fiers did it on Sept. 30, 2012.

“I didn’t feel like I pitched terrible,” added McCarthy. “But balls just kept leaving the yard. They’re an extremely aggressive team, and anything that gets left out they’re going to hit.”

Nelson Cruz hit two homers in the game, a two-run blast in the first, and a solo shot to right field in the fourth inning.

Kyle Seager, the older brother of Dodgers’ top prospect, Corey Seager, followed Cruz with a solo shot of his own for the first back-to-back homers of Seattle’s season.

The Mariners were up 4-0 before Guerrero hit a bases-loaded sacrifice fly to get LA on the board in the bottom half of the inning. Joc Pederson followed up his first major league home run on Sunday with a two-run RBI to cut the lead to 4-3.

Dustin Ackley homered off McCarthy in the fifth inning to stretch the Mariners lead to 5-3.

The Dodgers would tie the game in the bottom half of the fifth after Puig’s first-pitch homer cut the gap to one. NL Player of the Week, Adrian Gonzalez, followed with a double and Howie Kendrick knocked him in with an RBI single off Seattle’s starter James Paxton.

“I made mistakes, left some balls up there out over the plate and they capitalized on them,” said Paxton of his performance.

Paxton gave up five runs on six hits over 6 1/3 innings. He walked two while striking out six.

With the game knotted at five apiece, the two teams’ bullpens kept the game scoreless for the next four innings.

Dominic Leone (0-1) pitched two of those innings before giving up a leadoff double to Andre Ethier in the bottom of the 10th inning. After back-to-back walks to Gonzalez and Kendrick, Tyler Olson came in and yielded the game-winning single to Guerrero.

Yimi Garcia (1-0) picked up his first major league victory by pitching a perfect 10th inning for Los Angeles.

Game Notes:
The Mariners were playing in their third consecutive extra innings game after previous wins against the Oakland Athletics on Saturday and Sunday. Seattle pitcher Tom Wilhelmsen was placed on the 15-day disabled list before the game. Alex Guerrero was making his second career start at third base after Justin Turner and Juan Uribe were injured on consecutive plays on Saturday.
 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>