<![CDATA[NBC Southern California - Sports - [LA FEATURE] SoCal Sports 4 You]]>Copyright 2017http://www.nbclosangeles.com/news/sportsen-usFri, 26 May 2017 23:37:39 -0700Fri, 26 May 2017 23:37:39 -0700NBC Local Integrated Media<![CDATA[Utley and Gonzalez Homer Against Cubs]]>Fri, 26 May 2017 22:53:28 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/208*120/Gonzo+homers+against+Cubs.png

They did it for old times' sake.

No, it was not Old-Timers' Day at Dodger Stadium, but veterans Chase Utley and Adrian Gonzalez both homered as the Los Angeles Dodgers shutout the reigning World Series Champion Chicago Cubs, 4-0, on Friday night at the Ravine.

Utley (38), homered for the second straight night and Gonzalez (35) hit his first home run of the season as the Dodgers won the first of a three-game series in a rematch of the National League Championship Series from last fall. 

"They hit homers and we didn't. That was the difference," said Cubs' manager Joe Maddon after the game. "It was a good baseball game."

Alex Wood continues to pitch like the ace of the staff as the left-hander from North Carolina extended his scoreless innings streak to 25 and 1/3 innings, longest in the MLB this season, while lowering his ERA to a league-best 1.69 on the season.

"This is as healthy as he's been in recent memory," said Roberts of the reasons behind Wood's success. "That lends to his confidence, but right now, you can look at him as a 1A."

Wood has been absolutely lights out at Dodger Stadium over his career, improving to 10-2 with an ERA of 1.62 at the Ravine, the third lowest in franchise history behind Sandy Koufax and Bob Lee (1.37).

Wood (6-0) was masterful for once again, allowing just two hits with two walks and eight strikeouts in five shutout innings. Wood was named NL Pitcher of the Week last week, but is likely going to be the NL Pitcher of the Month if he continues his dominance on the mound.

"I definitely feel confident right now," said Wood of his pitching over the last few starts. "My confidence is coming from the consistency of my stuff every five days. I just want to keep doing what I'm doing and give us a chance to win."

Wood's six wins put him in elite company on the season as he joins teammate Clayton Kershaw (7), Colorado's Antonio Senzatela (7) and Arizona's Zack Greinke (6) with at least six wins this season. 

Jake Arrieta had a scoreless streak of his own, as he had not allowed a run against the Dodgers in 18 consecutive innings (regular season) before Utley sent him deep on a 1-1 slider in the bottom of the third inning.

It was the first time Utley had homered in back-to-back games since Sept. 27-28 in San Diego last season.

"To see Chase break out tonight was great," added Roberts. "Hopefully, there's more of that to come."

After a slow start to the season, Utley is heating up as the veteran second baseman is batting .326 with six runs, one double, two triples, two home runs and nine RBI since May 10th.

Yasmani Grandal added an RBI double the following inning before Gonzalez sent a sinker over the centerfield wall for his first home run of the season.

The homer was Gonzalez's first long ball during the regular season since he went deep at Petco Park in San Diego on Sept. 28th of 2016.

"I knew I was going to hit a home run before the season ended," joked Gonzalez of finally lifting the weight off his shoulders. "It was great. That's what makes it fun."

Arrieta (5-4) took the loss, allowing four runs on five hits, with one walk and nine strikeouts in six innings for the Cubs.

"For the most part it was really good," said Arrieta of his outing. "I made a couple mistakes again, and they came back to get me."

Chris Hatcher threw two innings of scoreless relief to close the door on Chicago, snapping their three-game winning streak as they embark on a six-game California road trip in Los Angeles and San Diego.

Up Next:

John Lackey heads to the mound tomorrow for the Cubs against Brandon McCarthy in a matchup of veteran right-handers. First pitch is scheduled for 4:15PM PST

Please refresh this page for more updates, stats, and player reactions…



Photo Credit: AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill]]>
<![CDATA[Cubs Dress Like 'Anchorman' Characters in L.A.]]>Fri, 26 May 2017 22:59:48 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Cubsedit.jpg

Don't act like you're not impressed.

The Chicago Cubs kept it classy on their way to open a road trip at Dodger Stadium, with the World Series champions dressing as characters from the Will Ferrell comedy "Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy."

Manager Joe Maddon colored his gray hair a dark brown and dressed in a suit and red tie in a nod to Burgundy, the San Diego TV news anchor played by Ferrell in the 2004 comedy. Burgundy's nightly signoff was "You stay classy, San Diego."

"It was a Maaco job," he said, referring to the auto painting business. "I scratched my head on the airplane, I still can't get my fingernails clean. That brown paint bedded deeply in my nail bed."

Outfielder Kyle Schwarber donned a white cowboy hat with a suit similar to sportscaster Champ Kind in the 1970s-set movie. Pitcher John Lackey wore a red suit and white cowboy hat, while pitcher Jon Lester dressed in a bright blue suit and a striped tie.

"The guys had a great time. It was really well done," Maddon said before Friday's game against the Dodgers.

Missing from the trip was third baseman Tommy La Stella, who Maddon said is a dead ringer for Brick Tamland, the Action News Team's not-very-bright but good-hearted meteorologist played by Steve Carell in the movie.

"That would have been perfect," Maddon said.

He said strength and conditioning coach Tim Buss "stole the show" in a bright blue bathing suit and orange bathrobe with a stuffed tiger head dangling from his right shoulder, along with a bushy mustache, brown wig and sunglasses.

"Above and beyond," Maddon said. "I'm really happy for the notoriety that he's achieving based on his representation of Mr. Burgundy pool side."

The Cubs will do it all over again on Wednesday night when they return to Chicago after concluding a three-game series in San Diego.

Maddon said he went online and found two vintage clothing stores in Burgundy's town that he plans to visit on Tuesday.

He's known for coming up with themes on road trips. In a previous visit to Los Angeles, the Cubs wore footed pajamas.

Check out the video below, courtesy of the Chicago Cubs Twitter account, to see all the players dressed up as their favorite "Anchorman" cast members.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Dodgers Great Tommy Lasorda Recovering After Heart Surgery]]>Fri, 26 May 2017 17:10:36 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/lasordaedit.jpg

Former Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda was recovering Friday from heart surgery.

"Tommy Lasorda underwent surgery to replace his pacemaker yesterday (Thursday)," according to a Twitter post from the team. "He's doing well and looking forward to returning to Dodger Stadium."


Lasorda, 89, was hospitalized last week and was reported to be in intensive care. At that time, the team said only that he was "resting comfortably."

Lasorda, who suffered a heart attack in 2012, serves as a special adviser to the chairman of the Dodgers.


Lasorda — a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame — managed the Dodgers from 1976-96, guiding the team to four World Series appearances, including championships in 1981 and 1988.

He appeared at Dodger Stadium last month for the unveiling of a statue honoring Jackie Robinson.



Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Maeda and Ryu Join Forces to Beat Cards]]>Thu, 25 May 2017 22:55:14 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/212*120/Maeda+on+the+mound+and+at+the+plate.png


Why hello, Kitty. 

It wasn't Asian Heritage night at Dodger Stadium on Thursday, but it might as well have been as Kenta Maeda and Hyun-Jin Ryu joined forces to defeat the St. Louis Cardinals, 7-3, on Hello Kitty Night at the Ravine.

Maeda was reinstated from the 10-day disabled list before the game as center fielder Joc Pederson was placed on the seven-day concussion DL. 

The rust was evident for the Japanese right-hander from the jump as Maeda was knocked around in the first inning.

"It was a little hard getting into the game with the long layoff," Maeda said through a translator. "I was able to make adjustments and overall it was a good game for me."

All nine starters for St. Louis went to the plate, with six of them reaching base in a three-run first inning that left Maeda and the Dodgers rattled. 

Jedd Gyorko did most of the damage for the Redbirds with a two-run double and Yadier Molina followed with an RBI single to give the Cardinals a 3-0 lead. 

Maeda (4-2) recovered, allowing no runs over the next four frames and finishing the night with three runs scored on seven hits, with two walks and four strikeouts in five innings. 

"It took me some time to get my rhythm back," added Maeda. "My offspeed pitches were flat. I was able to find my rhythm in the later innings and bounce back."

Trailing 3-0 before they even got an at-bat, the Dodgers chipped away at the lead, starting with a solo shot from Chase Utley in the second inning.

Utley sent a changeup from Michael Wacha into the bleachers in right field to put the Dodgers on the scoreboard. The home run was Utley's first of the season as he became the fifth player over the age of 38 to homer this season.

Wacha took the loss, allowing a season-high six runs on seven hits in a season-low four innings.

The Dodgers found themselves in an interesting dilemma in the fourth inning. With runners on first and third and two outs, Yasiel Puig was at the plate. Dodgers' manager Dave Roberts sent Logan Forsythe into the on-deck circle, presumably in case Puig reached base.

Puig sent an RBI single to right field to cut the lead to 3-2, clearing the way for Forsythe at the plate, but at the last minutes, Roberts called him back and sent Maeda back into the batter's box.

"At that point, the way he was throwing the baseball, he was going to hit regardless," said Roberts of Maeda batting in that situation. "That was just a little gamesmanship on my part."

The head-scratching move paid off, making Roberts look like a genius as Maeda doubled down the left field line, plating two runs to give the Dodgers the lead.

Maeda exited stage left after the fifth inning for Korean left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu, who made his debut as a in the first appearance out of the bullpen for the 30-year-old in his big league career. 

The last time Ryu entered a game in relief, was in Korea when he was 19 years old. Ironically, he recorded the save in that situation as well. 

Ryu picked up where Maeda left off, firing four scoreless innings of relief and earning the first save of his MLB career as two Asian starters combined for a two-pitcher victory for the first time (that we know of) in Dodgers franchise history.

"I'm a starter at heart and I believe I'll get another opportunity to start," said Ryu also through a translator. "Today was just a one-time appearance. We will have to see what happens moving forward. I was happy I didn't give up any runs, that I was able to get the save, and that my team was able to get the win."

Chris Taylor continued to swing a hot bat for the Boys in Blue regardless of where he starts on the field. In just his second career start in center, Taylor went 3-for-4 with a double an RBI and a run scored.

Adrian Gonzalez hit an RBI double in the bottom of the fifth to extend the Dodgers lead.

The Dodgers win the three-game series from the Cardinals in their first rubber match win of the season (2-1).

Throw Back Thursday:

On this date in 2014, Dodgers' starter Josh Beckett threw the first no-hitter of his career, and the 21st in franchise history as he shut down the Philadelphia Phillies on 128 pitches.

Up Next:

The Dodgers brace themselves for a cataclysmic confrontation with the reigning World Series Champion Chicago Cubs this weekend. RHP Jake Arrieta will start the first game of the series opposite LHP Alex Wood for the Dodgers in a rematch of the NLCS from last season. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10PM PST.



Photo Credit: Harry How/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Leake Drains Dodgers as Cardinals Cruise to Victory]]>Wed, 24 May 2017 22:54:48 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/160*120/GettyImages-688000614+%282%29.jpg

Los Angeles let this one leake away.

Mike Leake allowed four hits over eight innings and the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Los Angeles Dodgers, 6-1, and even up the best of their three-game series on Wednesday night at Chavez Ravine.

Leake (5-2) lowered his ERA to a National League-leading 1.91, leapfrogging Clayton Kershaw who took over the crown the night prior against the Redbirds. 

"I did a good job of keeping the ball down tonight," said Leake. "I wanted to go back out there for the ninth, but we have no rest coming up, so it was wise to wait and go to the bullpen tonight."

The new NL ERA leader allowed just one run on four hits with no walks and five strikeouts in a season-high eight innings.

Entering the game, most thought that with Leake and Dodgers' starter Rich Hill on the mound, that the game would be similar to the pitcher's duel seen the night prior. 

However, Hill (1-2) did not hold up his end of the bargain. 

The L.A. left-hander allowed a season-high five runs on four hits in just four innings as he lost his second game of the season.

"It was a bad outing," said Hill. "I take responsibility for that. Mechanically I was a little off and the ball was jumping all over the place. I really need to work on some things this week to get ready for the next game."

Hill issued seven walks in the game, a career-high, and the most issued by any Dodgers' pitcher this season. 

Kolten Wong drove in the first two runs of the game for the Cardinals and Jedd Gyorko had three hits and drew a walk in the two-run second inning that gave the Cardinals the lead for good.

"We were behind the eight-ball tonight," said Dodgers' manager Dave Roberts. "Rich [Hill] just didn't really have any consistency tonight."

Yadier Molina hit a solo home run in the seventh inning to extend his hitting streak to 13 games. Molina's streak ties Kolten Wong for the Cardinals' longest this season.

Chris Taylor made his first start in center field for the Dodgers, replacing Joc Pederson who was out with a stiff neck.

Corey Seager snapped his 0-for-10 hitless streak with a double in the seventh inning. 

Cody Bellinger drove in the only run of the game for the Boys in Blue, but comitted a costly error in the outfield when he let a ball go under his glove, allowing a run to score. 

UP NEXT

Former roommate of Dodgers' pitcher Ross Stripling takes the mound for St. Louis tomorrow when RHP Michael Wacha gets the start. Japanese right-hander, Kenta Maeda is expected to come off the disabled list and start for the Dodgers.



Photo Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[At Age 94, High School Baseball Coach Inspires Players]]>Wed, 24 May 2017 08:35:18 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/212*120/chatsworth-coach.PNG

Call him a motivator, a father figure or an inspiration -- or simply call Chuck Hatfield "coach."

The assistant varsity baseball coach has been with the Chatsworth High School Chancellors since 1994. Even at 94 years old, Coach Hatfield can't get enough of the game.

"He's an outstanding coach and an even better person," said Tom Meusborn, the team's head coach. "Just having him out here, having him around us day in and day out, what he brings as a coach and as a person can't be duplicated."

Over two decades ago, Meusborn needed someone to look out for the junior varsity team. Since then, Hatfield has developed into so much more.

He can no longer hit or throw, but he's become the team's calming psychologist. Hatfield also volunteers at the school's counseling office.

Hatfield has been part of seven out of the Chancellors' nine city championships, but he wants just one more to finish out on top.

"This may be my last year," he said. "Now that would come important to me, to get that extra ring."

The Chancellors face El Camino Wednesday in the CIF semi-finals at USC. Should they win, they'll play for another city title June 3 at Dodger Stadium.



Photo Credit: KNBC-TV]]>
<![CDATA[Kim Kardashian's Trainer Gunnar Peterson Joins Lakers]]>Wed, 24 May 2017 12:49:48 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Lakers-hire-Gunnar-Peterson-strength-director.jpg

The Los Angeles Lakers added a bit of star power to their training staff on Wednesday when the team announced the hiring of Gunnar Peterson as Director of Strength and Endurance Training.

Peterson is a world famous for training athletes and celebrities including a client list that includes Sylvester Stallone, Jennifer Lopez and Kim Kardashian. On Peterson's website, the trainer displays an article that states he had been training Kardashian since she was only 19, along with gives him credit for Kourtney Kardashian's recent body transformation. In fact, Peterson has seemingly trained the entire Kardashian family.

Along with the celebrity clientel, Peterson also has experience working with Lakers president Earvin "Magic" Johnson and Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka.

"Gunnar is a true pioneer and visionary at his craft, and will bring a new mentality to our weight room which we are all very excited about," Pelinka said in an official team statement. "Since Magic and I have worked with Gunnar in the past, we have a strong relationship with him, which makes working together now feel seamless."

The Lakers also stated that Peterson is a certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist and that he has experience working with athletes from the NBA, NHL, NFL, MLB, USTA, boxing and various NCAA sports. Of course, he's most famous for being a trainer to the stars.

Earlier in the summer, the team parted ways with former Strength and Conditioning coach Tim DiFrancesco, as the new regime of Johnson and Pelinka continued to shake up the organization since assuming control at the tail end of the 2016-17 season.

After taking the reins, Johnson previously publicly mentioned that he would like to see the players in better shape and specifically mentioned cutting down body fat levels. Seemingly, Peterson's hire is a means to that end.

Also, without a doubt, it adds to the star power in the room and makes a statement in LA, which is still an entertainment town, after all.

]]>
<![CDATA[Dodgers Walk-Off in 13 Innings Over Cards]]>Wed, 24 May 2017 00:46:22 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/160*133/GettyImages-687531526.jpg

Pocket aces.

Logan Forsythe knocked in the game-winning RBI in his first game back from injury and the Los Angeles Dodgers walked off to defeat the St. Louis Cardinals, 2-1, in extra innings on Tuesday night at Dodger Stadium.

It was a good ol' fashioned pitcher's duel at the Ravine between two of the top ERA leaders in baseball. 

Clayton Kershaw and Lance Lynn each allowed just one run in their starts, but did not factor in the decision.

Kershaw cruised through the first eight innings, heading to the ninth with a chance at his 16th complete-game shutout of his career. 

"They didn't tell me anything," Kershaw said after he completed the eighth inning. "I was going to keep going until they tell me not to."

After a leadoff single to Randal Grichuk, Kershaw was just two outs away from what would have been his MLB-leading eighth win of the season, when everything suddenly changed on one pitch.

As he had done throughout the game, Kershaw threw a curveball in the dirt, but destiny was not on the Dodgers' side as the ball took an awkward bounce of catcher Yasmani Grandal's glove and rolled all the way to the backstop.

"It was unfortunate, there's no way else to put it," said Kershaw after the game. "The way it bounced, and where it ended up, a guy gets two bases on a wild pitch. That's no fun."

Ordinarily, the runner would simply advance to third on the wild pitch, but Grandal was unable to locate the ball and miraculously, Grichuk scored from second to tie the game, and end the complete-game shutout.

Kershaw finished the ninth, allowing just one run on three hits with no walks and 10 strikeouts.

"His curveball was as good as it's been all year," said Dodgers' manager Dave Roberts. "I felt he deserved a chance to finish the game. I felt that was his game to complete."

It was the 53rd time in Kershaw's illustrious career that he has struck out 10 or more batters in a game, but the three-time Cy Young Award winner was visibly upset after he left the mound in the ninth.

Kershaw left the game with a 2.02 ERA, and now is in sole possession of first place for the lowest ERA in the National League.

Lynn entered the game in 5th and finished the night with the third lowest ERA among N.L. starters at 2.53.

"You want to outduel whomever you're pitching against," said Lynn. "When you're facing someone of his [Kershaw] caliber you have to be on point and can't give up many runs or you're going to lose the game."

Lynn's only mistake of the game was a first inning slider to Grandal that the catcher crushed to dead-center for the only run of the game.

"When it was all said and done, I made one mistake, and it was a homer," said Lynn of his start. "It was quite the pitcher's duel tonight and it was fun."

Grandal has reached base safely in 14 of the last 15 games and is batting .411 with seven runs scored, nine doubles, two home runs and 14 RBi since May 3rd.

Lynn allowed just the home run as he surrendered two hits with two walks and 10 strikeouts in eight innings.

Redbirds starter Mike Leake will have a chance to leapfrog Kersahw on Wednesday when he takes the mound for St. Louis.

After the game was tied in the ninth, the Dodgers' piggybacked off Kershaw's strong start to throw four scoreless innings of relief, allowing just one hit.

Forsythe, who was reinstated from the 10-day disabled list before the game, had four consecutive strikeouts before he drove in the game-winning run with a double into the right field corner. 

"You try not to focus on the negatives," said Forsythe of his early struggles in the game. "Something was just a tick off. Luckily, I made an adjustment and I was able to help the team."

It was Forsythe's second walk-off hit of his career, and first since June 5, 2012 when he was a member of the San Diego Padres.

Both times struck out 19 times each, a franchise record for the St. Louis Cardinals, and one shy of tying the franchise record for the Dodgers.

The loss snapped the Cardinals nine-game winning streak on the road.

The Dodgers have won five of six overall, but still remain 2.5 games behind the Colorado Rockies for first place in the National League west.

Scary Moment: 

Dodgers' outfielders Joc Pederson and Yasiel Puig collided in the outfield in the top of the 10th inning and both players stayed on the ground for several minutes after the play. 

"It was like they got into a car accident," Roberts said of the play. "It was a scary moment."

Replay showed Puig's elbow hitting Pederson in the face as Joc's head collided with the wall. Puig appeared to have injured his ribs in the collision as well. 

Pederson left the game in what was diagnosed as a neck strain, Puig stayed in the game and will undergo x-rays on Wednesday. 

"I felt it in my ribs, but I remained in the game to try and help my team. Hopefully tomorrow there's no pain," said Puig of the collision. "He [Joc] feels great, but he can't look at me from the side."

Up Next:

Rich Hill returns to the mound on Wednesday for the Dodgers in what could turn out to be another pitcher's duel against Mike Leake. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10PM PST.

Please refresh this page for more updates, stats, and player reactions…



Photo Credit: Harry How/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Tommy Lasorda: A Dodgers Legend in Photos]]>Mon, 22 May 2017 13:49:33 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/knbc-tommy-lasorda.jpgTake a look at the legendary Tommy Lasorda's career through the years.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[One-on-One: LaVar Ball vs. Magic Johnson]]>Mon, 22 May 2017 18:37:27 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/LAVAR_VS_MAGIC_1200x675_950597699846.jpg

He already said he could beat Michael Jordan so we asked basketball's most famous father about a one-on-one matchup with Magic Johnson in their prime.]]>
<![CDATA[Divine Intervention Brought Boston to LA]]>Mon, 22 May 2017 14:01:31 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/TRE_BOSTON_FOR_WEB_1200x675_950542915779.jpg

How did Tre Boston decide to sign with the Chargers over other teams this offseason? He asked a random guy at a gas station, of course. A random guy that had just asked him for money. Originally aired on Going Roggin, May 21, 2017.]]>
<![CDATA[Lakers Work Out Potential 2017 Draft Picks]]>Mon, 22 May 2017 10:14:26 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Lakers-NBA-draft-workouts-2017.jpg

Along with the no. 2 pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, the Los Angeles Lakers also hold the no. 28 pick thanks to a trade deadline week switch with the Houston Rockets that sent Lou Williams to Texas for a first round selection and Corey Brewer.

LA no longer holds its second round pick, as the 2019 first round pick owed to Orlando as part of the Dwight Howard trade converted to two second round picks when LA held onto its 2017 NBA Draft pick. The Lakers' 2018 first round pick, regardless of where it lands, will go to Philadelphia, and their second round pick will go to Orlando in 2018, but the team will have Denver's second round pick in 2018.

Back to 2017, the Lakers are opening their doors and working out six players on Monday: Nigel Williams-Goss from Gonzaga, Dominique Hawkins from Kentucky; V.J. Beachem from Nortre Dame; Thomas Bryant from Indiana; Andrew White from Syracuse; Kyle Kuzma from Utah. These players could potentially be selections with the Lakers' no. 28 pick.

Unlike the no. 2 pick, which likely only involves working out three to five guys, the no. 28 pick could result in the Lakers working out 20, 30 of even 50 players. Back in 2015, LA held the no. 27 pick and the no. 34 pick and worked out scores of players ahead of the draft.

Based on recent history, Monday is likley closer to the beginning of the workouts than the end, as the team should try to get a look at as many players as possible. When the team held numerous workout sessions and invited in media afterwards in the summer of 2015, ultimately, Larry Nance Jr. stood out to the Lakers. A couple seasons later, the Lakers look like they made the right pick at no. 27 of the 2015 NBA Draft. At the time, Nance had been projected as a second round pick by most experts and outsiders. Although, the Lakers selected Anthony Brown at no. 34, and Brown is no longer with the team.

When picking second overall, the team only has to take into account one other team's pick before going and getting its top rated prospect. At no. 28, the variance makes it nearly impossible to figure out which players will be available. So, working out players that potentially drop on draft day allows the team to be more aware of a potential selection. In addition, the draft workouts may yield an overlooked diamond in the rough, as was the case with Nance in 2015 at no. 28 and with Ivica Zubac at no. 32 in 2016.

While the Lakers also expect to bring in the top prospects like Lonzo Ball, Markelle Fultz, Josh Jackson, De'Aaron Fox and Jayson Tatum for the no. 2 pick, the majority of the upcoming workouts should consist of lesser known prospects likely to be available for selection late in the first round.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Discover Your Dodgers: Chris Taylor (Short)]]>Mon, 22 May 2017 08:57:52 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Chris_Taylor_Short_Interview_1200x675_950228035928.jpg

NBC LA Sports Reporter, Michael J. Duarte, sits down with Los Angeles Doddgers infielder Chris Taylor to discuss his new nickname, a few of his favorite things, and he shows off a secret talent nobody knows about.]]>
<![CDATA[The Vault: Seeing Double]]>Mon, 22 May 2017 13:53:11 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/VAULT_WEB_KOTENKO_BROS_1200x675_950548547642.jpg

Twin jockeys Bob and Jerry Kotenko are pretty similar, as Fred Roggin found out way back in 1981. Reaired on Going Roggin, May 21, 2017.]]>
<![CDATA[Discover Your Dodgers: Chris Taylor (Long)]]>Mon, 22 May 2017 09:00:09 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Chris_Taylor_Long_Interview_1200x675_950292547821.jpg

NBC LA Sports Reporter, Michael J. Duarte, sits down with Los Angeles Doddgers infielder Chris Taylor to discuss his wrestling lineage, his trade from Seattle to LA, and how he changed his swing this offseason.]]>
<![CDATA[Dodgers Finish Off The Fish]]>Sun, 21 May 2017 22:32:26 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/171*120/AP_17141753476694.jpg

The Big Butter and Egg Man delivers on Sunday.

Adrian Gonzalez knocked in three runs and the Los Angeles Dodgers took the four-game series from the Miami Marlins, 6-3, on Sunday afternoon at Dodger Stadium. 

Gonzalez had his best game of the season at the plate, finishing 3-for-4 with two doubles and three RBI, as he recorded his first three-hit game since August 22, 2016.

"My body is definitely better," said Gonzalez of his day after going on the 10-day disabled list on May 5th. "First few games it was trying to get back into the rhythm and today I felt good."

His three runs driven in were also the most he's had since September 18, 2016 as he had a two-run double in the first inning and a RBI single in the fifth.

"I pride myself on driving in runs," added Gonzalez. "My whole career I've been good with runners in scoring position. I've never been very good when nobody is on, so when I get guys out there, I definitely want to make the most of those opportunities."

Brandon McCarthy got the Dodgers back on track on the mound, not allowing a hit through the first four innings. 

"Brandon was relentless today," said Dodgers manager Dave Roberts. "He's all in for the ball club and he's been laser-focused lately."

McCarthy (4-1) surrendered just one run on three hits with one walk and five strikeouts in six strong innings for the Boys in Blue.

"It was two years of being up and down and all over the place," said McCarthy of his recent resurgence on the mound in 2017. "It was a healthy offseason where I focused on myself and pitching again and it brought back the me I would like to be."

The first Miami run was knocked in by former Dodger catcher A.J. Ellis, who laced an RBI single to right field that brought home Derek Dietrich in the fifth inning. It was the first time Ellis was in the lineup against his former team since he was traded to Philadelphia last August. 

"This is one of the most beautiful places to play in all of baseball," said Ellis of playing in Dodger Stadium again. "It's just a great place to play."

Joc Pederson broke out of a 32-game homerless slump with his second long ball of the season in the fourth inning.

Joc has struggled this season at the plate, batting .206 on the year. Prior to that at-bat, Pederson's last homer was a grand slam on Opening Day.

"It felt really good," said Pederson of his home run. "I've been struggling a little bit and I just wanted to get the ball in the air. I got the ball on the barrel and it went over the fence."

38-year-old Chase Utley turned back the clock with a diving stop in the third inning.

Later in the game, Utley conjured up the memory of Dick Dietz as he stood in the box like a post, taking a ball off the right knee from Brad Ziegler. Dietz famously tried to lean in to a Don Drysdale fastball at Dodger Stadium that would ended Drysdale's scoreless streak prematurely.

Vance Worley (0-1) made his Miami Marlins and 2017 season debut, allowing three runs on six hits, with one walk and two srikeouts in four innings.

Justin Bour homered for the third time in the series off Dodgers' closer Kenley Jansen in the ninth inning. 

The Dodgers took three-of-four from the Marlins over the weekend and collected a season-high six doubles on Sunday.

Up Next:

The Dodgers will have on off day on Monday before hosting the St. Louis Cardinals for three at the Ravine on Tuesday. Clayton Kershaw will get the start in the first game of the series opposite Lance Lynn at 7:10PM PST.



Photo Credit: Mark J. Terrill/AP]]>
<![CDATA[The Los Angeles Dodgers 2017 Walk Up Songs]]>Tue, 23 May 2017 18:35:21 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/200*120/Flea+Dances.png

It's Time for Dodger Baseball.

A player's walk-up music is often one of the most underrated aspects of the game of baseball. In a sport clouded by how much time is wasted, the walk-up song offers an opportunity for a player to not only entertain fans, but also give them a brief glimpse into their personality. 

Every year, NBC LA brings you the walk-up songs for your Los Angeles Dodgers.

Early in the season, it's an afterthought for players, some prefer to keep the same music year-after-year for superstitious reasons—cough, Clayton Kershaw—others, will constantly change their music throughout the season as new music comes out, adjusting to their mood throughout the season.

One of the best examples of this, was Dodgers' outfielder Andrew Toles who started the season with "All There," by Young Jeezy, but within hours of the release of Kendrick Lamar's "DAMN" album on April 14th, immediately requested his walk-up music be changed to "DNA," by the artist out of Compton.

We are now a quarter of the way through the season and that's ample enough time for the players on the Dodgers to send in their song requests and see what's working at the plate and what's not.

Courtesy of the Dodgers in-game mix master, DJ Severe, here are the 2017 Los Angeles Dodgers walk-up songs:

Corey Seager: "Thunder in the Rain," by Kane Brown

Enrique Hernandez: "Despacito," by Luis Fonsi ft. Daddy Yankee

Kenta Maeda: "Flash" by Perfume

Justin Turner: "Shape of You," by Ed Sheeran

Chase Utley: "Kasmir," by Led Zeppelin

Trayce Thompson: "Call Casting," by Migos

Yasmani Grandal: "Bounce Back," by Big Sean

Yasiel Puig: "Papa Dios me Dijo," by Secreto El Famoso Biberon

Joc Pederson: "Thunder," by Imagine Dragons

Clayton Kershaw: "Let You Go," by Chainsmokers

Chris Hatcher: "Let Me Clear My Throat," by DJ Kool

Chris Taylor: "Copperhead Road," by Steve Earle

Austin Barnes: "Congratulations," by Post Malone

Andre Ethier: "Waves," by Kanye West

Hyun-Jin Ryu: "Gagnam Style," by Psy

Andrew Toles: "DNA," by Kendrick Lamar

Julio Urias: "El Sinaleonse," by Banda El Recodo

Rob Segedin: "Feeling Alright," by Rebelution 

Charlie Culberson: "Kings of Summer," by Ayokay

Sergio Romo: "El Mechon," by Banda Sinaloense MS de Sergio Lizarraga

Adrian Gonzalez: "El Mariachi Loco" 

Logan Forsythe: "Rocket," by Def Leppard

Cody Bellinger: "LAX Files," The Game

Kenley Jansen: "California Love," by 2Pac, Roger, and Dr. Dre

If you want to listen to any of these songs, we made a Spotify Playlist of them available here:

2017 Dodgers Walk-Up Songs

 



Photo Credit: Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Marlins Take a Bite out of Dodgers]]>Sat, 20 May 2017 23:37:30 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/165*120/GettyImages-477927818.jpg

It was a ruff night for the Boys in Blue.

Julio Urias had the worst outing of his career as the Miami Marlins destroyed the Los Angeles Dodgers, 10-6, on Pups at the Park night at Dodger Stadium.

Urias (0-2) followed up a bad performance in Colorado last weekend with the worst start of his career on Saturday.

"It wasn't a good night," admitted Urias through a translator after the game. "I'm not throwing first-pitch strikes and I need to focus more on that moving forward. I feel fine, it was just a bad night."

The 20-year-old Mexican-American struggled with his command as he allowed seven runs (six earned), on seven hits, with three walks, and zero strikeouts in just 2 and 1/3 innings, the shortest start of his career.

"He wasn't sharp," added manager Dave Roberts. "He hasn't been consistent. I'm not sure what it is, but we have to figure it out."

Perhaps motived by the late-inning kerfuffle on Friday night, the Marlins scored in each of the first five innings, leading by a tally of 10-0 entering the bottom of the fifth.

"We needed it," Mattingly said of the offensive output. "I don't know if last night had anything to do with that. You've heard that in the past, but I don't know if you can put any stock in it."

Fur-tunately, the Dodgers didn't stop retrieven' as they pawed their way back into the game thanks to home runs by Corey Seager and Cody Bellinger, who went back-to-back in the bottom of the seventh.

Bellinger became the fastest player in Dodgers franchise history to hit the first nine home runs of his career as he accomplished the feat in just 24 games, beating Yasiel Puig's previous mark of 44 games in 2013.

"I didn't know that," Bellinger said when told he now held the franchise record. "It's pretty cool, but every day I'm trying to put my foot on the gas pedal and keep going."

Puig was not in the game because of a lower back injury suffered the night prior, but his right field replacement hit a solo shot to break up Dan Straily's no-hitter in the bottom of the fifth inning.

Straily (2-3), was paws-itively lights for the first four innings, allowing three runs on four hits with three walks and eight strikeouts in the victory.

"I was really happy with the first five innings," said Straily. "I was frustrated with myself in the sixth inning. I gave them back the momentum as I exited, but overall I felt pretty good about it."

Former Dodger, Dee Gordon, went 2-for-5 with an RBI and a run scored, and shortstop J.T. Riddle had a career night, finishing a triple shy of the cycle going 3-for-5 with a home run and four RBI.

One night after he was thrown at by reliever Ross Stripling, Giancarlo Stanton had a career-high three doubles and three RBI for the Fish.

"We woke up with some drive and some fight. Last night was a wake up," admitted Stanton following the game. "This was the place that made me love baseball. I grew up here. I like to perform here. I was able to stay in and stay down tonight."

The victory snapped the Marlins five-game losing streak and tied them with the San Diego Padres for the worst record in MLB.

Not fur-gotten, the health of Hall-of-Fame Dodgers' manager Tommy Lasorda was on a lot of fans minds as Lasorda is recovering in the hospital after suffering an infection. Get well soon, Tommy.

The sold out Dodger Stadium crowd, including 558 canines, went "mutts" when Lasorda's retired No. 2 was shown on the videoboard during the game.

Up Next:

Vance Worley will start for Miami on Sunday afternoon as the Dodgers send Brandon McCarthy to the mound looking to win the series. First pitch is scheduled for 1:10PM PST. 



Photo Credit: tephen Dunn/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Dodgers Great Tommy Lasorda Hospitalized]]>Mon, 22 May 2017 12:37:48 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/171*120/tom+copy.jpg

Dodgers great Tommy Lasorda has been hospitalized, a team spokesman confirmed to NBC4 Saturday.

"Hall of Fame Dodger manager Tommy Lasorda has been hospitalized. Lasorda is resting comfortably and appreciates all of the support," the team said in a statement. 

Lasorda is reportedly in the hospital for an infection, something that he has been hospitalized for in the past. According to a source close to the situation, Lasorda is resting and is expected to be realeased sometime next week. 

No other details about the team’s former manager’s illness or condition were immediately available.

Lasorda, 89, has a history of heart problems, and suffered a heart attack in 2012.

Currently, Lasorda serves as a special adviser to the chairman for the Dodgers. He is in his 68th season with the team, having previously been a player and a scout before becoming both a minor and major league manager.

He managed the team for two decades from 1976 to 1996 and led them to four National League pennants and two World Series wins. He was briefly the Dodgers’ general manager in 1998 after the midseason firing of Fred Claire.

He was inducted to the Hall of Fame in 1997.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Benches Clear as Dodgers Beat Marlins, 7-2]]>Sat, 20 May 2017 01:10:55 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/194*120/AP_17140188129142.jpg

The Dodgers won the trade.

Chris Taylor and Brett Eibner both hit homers and Alex Wood threw eight shutout innings as the Los Angeles Dodgers defeated the Miami Marlins, 7-2, on Friday night at Dodger Stadium.

Ironically, all three stars of the night for the Dodgers were acquired via trade.

Wood, the reigning National League Pitcher of the Week, delivered his third straight shutout as he has cemented himself in the Dodgers rotation for the foreseeable future.

"My consistency is there when I pitch every fifth day," said Wood. "Overall my fastball command was good tonight and I made some pitches when we needed to."

Wood (5-0), scattered just six hits with two walks and four strikeouts in 7 and 1/3 shutout innings as he remained perfect on the season, lowering his ERA to an astonishing 1.88 on the season.

"No question," said Wood when asked by NBC LA, if this is the best he's pitched since he was traded to the Dodgers. "I felt like I was hitting my stride a little last year, but the consistency of my stuff, this is the best I've felt since 2014."

Wood was acquired from the Atlanta Braves as the 2015 MLB trade deadline. 

Chris Taylor went 3-for-4 with a double, and solo home run as he finished a triple shy of the cycle. The man known affectionately as "CT3," also flashed some leather in the game as the Dodgers turned a season-high four double plays on the night. 

"I feel like I'm seeing the ball well right now," said Taylor of his hot streak. "It's a combination of my swing mechancis and my confidence. When you get in a groove like that, the game slows down, and that's how its felt recently."

Taylor was acquired from the Seattle Mariners in a straight-up trade for RHP Zach Lee last June.

Eibner was recalled from Triple-A Oklahoma City before the game after the team announced that third baseman Justin Turner would be moved to the 10-day disabled list with a strained right hamstring.

Eibner promptly made the most of his MLB action by sending a four-seam fastball from Justin Nicolino over the fence in left-center for his second home run of the season.

Eibner was acquired from the Oakland Athletics in January for Double-A infidler, Jordan Tarsovich.

Nicolino (0-1), took the loss, allowing five runs on seven hits with two walks and three strikeouts in just four short innings.

Cody Bellinger became the fastest Dodger in history to hit the first eight home runs of his career when he went deep for in the bottom of the eighth to tie Yasiel Puig for the team lead. 

Despite the Bellinger bomb, it was the fireworks immediately afterward that had everyone talking.

After Bellinger belted a fastball from A.J. Ramos over the wall, Ramos hit Eibner with the very next pitch, a 97MPH fastball near the chest.

With the Dodgers leading 7-0 in the top of the ninth, L.A. retaliated as reliever Ross Stripling threw behind Giancarlo Stanton to start off the inning.

Stripling was immediately ejected, and both benches cleared as Marlins' manager Don Mattingly went after Dodgers' manager Dave Roberts and bench coach Bob Geren in the melee. Both Mattingly and Geren were ejected.

"They were exchanging some pleasantries," joked Roberts. "I think it was taken care of on the field and we're both looking forward to winning a game tomorrow."

"When Geren is out there yelling at my guy, he's going to have to go through me," added Mattingly. "If the players are yelling at each other, that's one thing, but when he's going to start yelling at guys, that's a whole other thing."

After the ejections, Justin Bour homered for the second straight game to end the shutout and put the Fish on the board.

Puig left the game in the fourth inning with low/mid back tightness, but says he still plans to play in the remaining two games of the series.

"I’m not going on the D.L. I need to be back on the field, to keep hitting, and go to Miami for the All-Star Game," Puig said after the game. 

Los Angeles has won three straight, and the Miami Marlins have the worst record in baseball. Things will certainly get interesting as these teams still have two games left to play this weekend.

Up Next:

Dodgers send Julio Urias to the mound on Saturday opposite Dan Straily as L.A. celebrates "Pups at the Park," night at Dodger Stadium. First pitch is 7:10PM PST.



Photo Credit: AP Photo/Chris Carlson]]>
<![CDATA[Breakdown: Paul George to the Lakers?]]>Fri, 19 May 2017 05:42:02 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/212*120/Paul-George-Lakers-Pacers.jpg

Talk of Paul George coming to the Los Angeles Lakers is nothing new, but with the NBA announcing its first, second and third team All-NBA and George missing the cut, those rumors kicked up a gear.

The reason for the uptick in talk is that in the latest collective bargaining agreement, the NBA has created incentives for star players to stick around with their home teams. In the previous agreement, players were incentivized to stay with their team by being able to sign for five-year contracts with their current team versus four-year contracts elsewhere, and while that incentive continues in the new agreement, the league has added further financial incentives to go along with the added year.

In the past, a player signing a maximum-level contract with a new team left an extra year of guaranteed money on the table, along with taking a slight hit on an annual basis. This financial impact did not seemingly add up to being enough of a factor to keep an All-NBA caliber player with their current teams, so the NBA added an extra clause.

So, to allow for even more of a hometown edge, the NBA added an extra rule. If the player is of the elite quality, meaning he's on the first, second or third team All-NBA, the home team can offer a "Super Max" contract, more accurately identified as the "Designated-Player Exception."

How does a player qualify for this special exception, which can be offered as a contract extension or as a free agency deal? First of all, the player must be with the team that drafted him or on a team that traded for him while he was on his rookie contract.

Further, the player must meet one of the follow two criteria: 1. the player must either make an All-NBA team or be named MVP or Defensive Player of the Year in the previous season 2. the must be on an All-NBA Team in two of the previous three seasons or the league's MVP in one of the previous three seasons.

So, with George missing out on the All-NBA teams, he is no longer able to sign the Designated Player Exception, which could have been signed as an extension. This new addition makes most people think that Russell Westbrook, who qualifies for the new Super Max contract will stick around in Oklahoma City.

With regards to George, the Indiana Pacers could have offered George roughly $207 million over five years had he made either first, second or third team All-NBA according to Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders. Technically, George could still make that list in the 2017-18 season, but Indiana is now sitting in a position where it could lose its most valuable asset and get nothing in return.

With George not making the All-NBA teams, the Pacers can still offer him an extra year guaranteed, so the Palmdale native is looking at a five-year contract worth about $177 million to stay at Indiana if he does not make an All-NBA team in 2017-18. Other teams can only offer George a maximum of four years at roughly $130 million.

So, in effect, the Pacers lost a great deal of their leverage over George by the Indiana star missing out on the All-NBA teams. Had he made the list, the Pacers would have been able to offer George the extension immediately, and if the forward passed on the bloated contract, one would imagine Indiana would have no reason to wait on a trade.

The same reports that linked George to LA in the first place, namely Sam Amick of USA Today, seem to suggest that the Super Max was never a factor in George's willingness to come to LA. Obviously, though, a $200+ million guaranteed contract extension offer would have tested George's conviction.

As a reminder, George has a player option on his contract at the end of the 2017-18 season, so more than likely, the Southern California native will be a free agent in 2018 anyhow.

As such, the Pacers will likely shop around and see what the 27-year-old is worth this summer while keeping in mind that he could effectively be a rent a player for the Pacers or most every other team in the NBA. And this is where the situation could get complicated for the Lakers.

If George is truly dead set on coming to LA, then Indiana would be wise to engage the Lakers and see what it can get back in return as other teams would be hesitant to fork over anything significant if they believe the player plans to walk to LA in one year's time anyhow.

However, the Lakers may be wise simply waiting an extra year and getting George on the free agent market in the summer of 2018, when the team will have contracts for Corey Brewer ($7.6 million) and Tarik Black ($6.7 million) expiring.  Also, Nick Young is due to make $5.7 million in the final year of his contract in 2017-18, but Young can opt out ahead of the current season and joked that he would be a visiting player during his exit interview.

Of course, all that still doesn't take into account the Lakers' salary cap troubles with the big contracts for Timofey Mozgov and Luol Deng, who are making on average $16 million and $18 million per year, respectively, for another three years. Also, Jordan Clarkson is only through one year of his four-year $50 million contract, and LA is on the hook for paying the new no. 2 pick, should they decide not to trade the pick. Add in the lottery contracts of D'Angelo Russell and Brandon Ingram, and new Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka has his work cut out for him.

Ultimately, LA could use Indiana's expected desperation to move George and give the Pacers a contract or two that would make space that could allow the Lakers to potentially attract another marquee free agent to play alongside the four-time All-Star.

Or, the plan could be simply to create enough cap space independent of the Pacers to sign George in the summer of 2018 with the hopes that the young core of lottery picks develop into the star players that the Lakers seemingly have struggled to attract in free agency.

Either way, George missing on the 2018 All-NBA teams created a situation where he is far more likely to be traded and has far less incentive to stay in Indiana. With George rumored to be heading to LA in a year's time anyhow, LA now has even more leverage in any potential trade talks with Indiana.

The Lakers' path to landing George just became signicantly clearer.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Puig Homers as Dodgers Defeat Marlins]]>Thu, 18 May 2017 23:33:36 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/214*120/puig.jpg

Welcome to the fish fry. 

Yasiel Puig hit his team-leading eighth home run of the season and the Los Angeles Dodgers defeated the Miami Marlins, 7-2, on Thursday night at Dodger Stadium. 

Puig broke a tie game with a two-run homer off Edinson Volquez in the bottom of the second and the Dodgers never looked back.

Justin Bour and Christian Yelich both hit solo shots for the Marlins as Dodgers starter Hyun-Jin Ryu was able to contain the damage while earning his second win of the season.

Ryu surrendered two runs while scattering seven hits, with one walk and three strikeouts before leaving the game with one out in the sixth inning with an a left knee injury.

"I think I could have stayed in the game, but it turned out to be the right decision," said Ryu. "But if I needed to, I could have stayed in the game."

Los Angeles started the game with three straight singles and scored the first run of the game on a ground out by rookie Cody Bellinger. The fielder's choice RBI was Bellinger's 19th in the month of May, the most in the Majors.

Bour tied the game with a home run in the top of the second, but the Dodgers were lucky to escape the inning allowing just one run.

"JB's been swinging the bat good," said Miami manager Don Mattingly after the game. "He's been swinging the bat good and will get three lefties in a row here so we'll see how he handles it."

Giancarlo Stanton started off the inning with a double off the left field wall, but was thrown out trying to steal third on a ball that got away from Yasmani Grandal. One pitch alter, Bour homered.

Puig put the Dodgers back in the lead in the bottom half of the inning as he passed Bellinger for the team lead in home runs with eight.

Yelich homered off Ryu in the top of the third, but the Dodgers got the run back in the bottom half of the inning on an RBI single by Adrian Gonzalez.

Gonzalez was activated off the 10-day disabled list before the game and Scott Van Slyke was sent to Triple-A Oklahoma City to make room on the roster.

"My timing felt good and my swings felt good," said Gonzalez of his first big leage action in 10 days. "When you have herniated discs, you just have to try and keep the inflamation down. Overall, my body felt good."

Chase Utley reached base safely in all three plate appearances and since struggling to start the season, is batting .478 with a .536 OBP since May 9th. 

Volquez (0-6) remains winless on the season after allowing five runs on eight hits with three walks and four strikeouts in six innings.

Dodgers' closer Kenley Jansen entered the game with two outs in the eighth for his fourth four-out save of the season and eighth overall.

He struck out all four batters he faced, including the side in the ninth on just nine pitches, known in baseball as an "immaculate inning." Jansen is just the 79th pitcher in MLB history to record an immaculate inning, and the first in franchise history since Todd Worrell did it on Aug. 13, 1995.

"I've been pitching for 7-8 years and didn't know what that was," said Jansen of the milestone. "They explained it to me and that was awesome. That's a blessing."

Jansen also recorded his first hit of the season at the plate, with an infield single off the glove of Bour in the bottom of the eighth. It was Jansen's first single since August 31, 2010.

"It was fun to just go out there and swing the bat," said Jansen of just the second hit in his career. "I definitely loved that hit."

Overall, the Dodgers bullpen threw 3 and 2/3 innings of no-hit relief with 10 strikeouts, just the third time in the last 100 years a pen has accomplished that feat.

Los Angeles added two runs in the bottom of the eighth off Miami reliever Odrisamer Despaigne.

Ryu was hit by a pitch on the right bicep in the fourth inning and then took a groundball off the left knee in the sixth inning. He left the game and is expected to be placed on the 10-day DL on Friday.


Ryu's injury was not even the worst of the night as third baseman Justin Turner appeared to injury his hamstring while rounding third in the bottom of the seventh inning.

"We're going to get some tests and scans done tomorrow morning," said Dodgers' manager Dave Roberts of Turner's injury. "It didn't look good from my vantage point. It was right behind the knee, but a little bit above the knee, but not the belly of the hamstring."

Turner would have easily scored on a single by Grandal but immediately grabbed his right hamstring after rounding third and limped towards the plate where he was tagged out. He will be reevaluated on Friday, but is expected to miss time, opening the door for the return of Logan Forsythe.


Up Next:

Los Angeles faces another LHP in Justin Nicolino on Friday as reigning National League Pitcher of the Week, Alex Wood, looks to stay perfect on the season. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 PM PST.  



Photo Credit: AP Photo/Chris Carlson]]>
<![CDATA[Rain Delay: Opening of Inglewood Stadium Pushed Back to 2020]]>Thu, 18 May 2017 19:38:35 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/12-28-2016-rams-stadium-seating-1.jpg

The opening of the $2.6 billion stadium that will house the Rams and Chargers in Inglewood has been delayed by one year, due in part to unusually heavy winter rainfall, officials announced Thursday.

The stadium is now scheduled to be open for the 2020 NFL season.

"Despite bringing drought relief to the region, the rain fell during the mass excavation period of construction when no other work could proceed in wet conditions," according to a statement issued by the Rams. "As a result, we experienced significant delays and lost the better part of two months from early January into the beginning of March."

A groundbreaking ceremony for the project was held in November, and crews have already excavated an estimated 6 million cubic yards of dirt.

According to the Rams and Chargers, moving back the opening date to 2020 will provide "additional flexibility" to accommodate any additional delays.

As a result of the delay, the Rams will continue playing at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum and the Chargers will remain at the StubHub Center in Carson through the 2019 NFL season.

]]>
<![CDATA[Kershaw Saves the Day in San Francisco]]>Wed, 17 May 2017 15:48:50 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/214*120/Dodgers+Giants+Benches+Clear.png

Here he comes to save the day.

Emotions ran high as Clayton Kershaw threw seven shutout innings and the Los Angeles Dodgers snapped a three-game losing streak with a 6-1 victory over the San Francisco Giants on Wednesday afternoon at AT&T Park.

Kershaw is no stranger to snapping losing streaks this season as the Dodgers' ace has repeatedly stopped the bleeding for the Boys in Blue in 2017.

Wednesday marked Kershaw's sixth start of the season following a Dodgers' loss and the left-hander improved to 5-1 in those starts, putting L.A. back on track time and time again.

"Good win," said Kershaw to reporters after the game. "We needed it today after losing three in a row."

Kershaw (7-2) allowed just three soft-contact hits, with no walks, and five strikeouts, over seven shutout innings. He lowered his ERA to 2.15 and his seven wins tie him with Astros' starter Dallas Keuchel for the MLB lead.

The three-time Cy Young Award winner improved to 20-9 with a 1.62 ERA in his career against the Giants and Wednesday's performance was even more impressive when you include the fact that no San Francisco player reached second base off him in the game.

One of the longest and most heated rivalries in sports finally lived up to expectations when the benches cleared in the third inning.

In the top half of the first, after a two-run double by Yasmani Grandal, San Francisco starter, Johnny Cueto, started jawing at the Dodgers' catcher for apparently stealing signs.

"It was just the heat of the moment," Grandal told Alanna Rizzo after the game. "We talked about it...it was no big deal."

Two innings later, Grandal was at the plate again and Cueto appeared to throw at his head, prompting another verbal exchange between the two when the inning came to an end, and ultimately leading in both benches clearing onto the field.

As you can see from the video above, only one player wanted no part of the confrontation: Kershaw.

Clayton quickly told his teammates to get back to the dugout as he headed to the mound for the bottom of the third, avoiding the conflict altogether.

"He smelled blood," said Dodgers' manager Dave Roberts about Kershaw wanting to get back on the mound with a three-run lead during the commotion. "Clayton was in control."

Order was restored, no ejections were made, and no other issues between the two teams occurred for the remainder of the game.

Cueto (4-3), allowed five runs on eight hits with one walk and six strikeouts in six innings in the loss.

Yasiel Puig added a two-run single in the top of the sixth inning to extend the L.A. lead to 5-0.

Cody Bellinger went 2-for-4 with doubles, an RBI and a run scored as he currently leads the Majors for most RBI in the month of May with 18.

Sergio Romo was put into a familiar situation at AT&T Park as the former San Francisco closer was asked to finish off the game with a six-run lead in the bottom of the ninth. 

Romo has struggled mightily this season, and promptly served up a solo shot to Eduardo Nunez to end the Dodgers' shutout. Romo retired the next two hitters, but has an 8.10 ERA this season.

Up Next:

The Dodgers return home for a 10-game homestand starting on Thursday against former skipper Don Mattingly and the Miami Marlins. RHP Edisnson Volquez will start opposite Hyun-Jin Ryu at 7:10 PM PST.



Photo Credit: AP Photo/Ben Margot]]>
<![CDATA[Rich Hill Returns, But Giants Deal Dodgers Another Loss]]>Tue, 16 May 2017 22:42:59 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-683960502.jpg

This was the rivalry we're used to.

Rich Hill returned from the disabled list, but the Giants dealt the Dodgers their third straight loss after a 2-1 defeat on Tuesday night at AT&T Park.

Brandon Belt and Chris Taylor both homered, but an infield single and wild pitch turned out to be the difference in the game. 

Hill was activated off the disabled list before the game after missing the last month with a blister on his left middle finger. The blister did not appear to be an issue, but Hill struggled from the start, hitting Denard Span in the back with a breaking ball and following that up with a balk in the first few minutes of the game.

Hill was able to wiggle out of that jam and many more throughout the game, as his only mistake came on an elevated curveball to Belt in the bottom of the fourth inning.

"I felt good. The ball came out of my hand well," said Hill to reporters after the game. "Obviously one mistake to Brandon [Belt], a curveball that hung. Other than that, eveyrthing came out the way I wanted it to, the finger was good, so there's no issues there."

Belt sent the pitch off of the hands of a fan in right-center for his eighth home run of the season. Hill did not factor in the decision, allowing one run on six hits with no walks and six strikeouts in five innings.

Chris Taylor tied the game in the top of the sixth with a home run to dead center off Ty Blach. Taylor has reached base safely in 15 consecutive starts and is one of the Dodgers most consistent hitters this season.

Blach (1-2) was brilliant for San Francisco, allowing one run on five hits with two walks and four strikeouts in the victory.

Belt led off the bottom of the sixth inning with a ground ball to second base, but Taylor was unable to make the throw from short right field to get him out. Belt advanced to second on a wild pitch from Luis Avilan, and scored on a single from Brandon Crawford one batter later. 

"I didn't see it," said Roberts of the wild pitch that ultimately scored the winning run. 

Belt scored both runs for San Francisco in the win as five of the nine games between the two teams this season have been decided by one run with two others going to extra innings.

Dodgers have lost three in a row for the second time this season, the first time was April 16-18. Ironically, that streak was snapped by Clayton Kershaw, the man scheduled to start on Wednesday for Los Angeles.

Up Next:

Clayton Kershaw will once again be asked to snap the Dodgers losing streak as he squares off against Johnny Cueto for the third time this season. First pitch is 12:45PM PST. 



Photo Credit: Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Image]]>
<![CDATA[Lakers Secure Second Pick in Draft]]>Tue, 16 May 2017 19:04:36 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/211*120/Lakers-NBA-Draft-Lottery-2017.png

The Los Angeles Lakers won big on Tuesday night when the team landed the No. 2 pick in the 2017 NBA Draft Lottery.

While the Boston Celtics landed the No. 1 overall pick, the Lakers had the most to lose on the night, as the team needed to finish in the top three to keep its first round pick or the pick would have gone to the Philadelphia 76ers as part of the Steve Nash trade. The Lakers were more likely to lose the pick than keep it, but as luck would have it, LA moved up from the No. 3 spot to the No. 2 position.

Now, LA will draft second overall for the third year in a row, and the current projections show the team getting Lonzo Ball out of UCLA.

In addition, keeping their first round pick meant that the Lakers no longer owed the Orlando Magic the 2019 first round pick in relation to the Dwight Howard trade from the summer of 2012. Instead, the Lakers will now give the Magic two second round picks.

Ultimately, Tuesday night was a big win for the Lakers' rebuild. The team will still give its 2018 first round pick to the Philadelphia 76ers, which means that tanking will no longer be beneficial for the 2017-18 season.


While Ball is the most likely selection with the no. 2 pick, the Lakers may end up with point guard Markelle Fultz out of Washington. Ball and Fultz appear to be the two standout players in the 2017 NBA Draft, and the Lakers will likely take whichever of the two players the Celtics do not pick. It is a similar scenario to the 2016 NBA Draft when the Lakers took Brandon Ingram after the Philadelphia 76ers decided on Ben Simmons with the no. 1 pick.

Entering the night with the most to lose and after losing so much in recent seasons, the Lakers finally got a big win in the 2017 NBA Draft Lottery. And finally, the Lakers appear to be out of tank mode.




Photo Credit: Shahan Ahmed
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<![CDATA[Chargers Fan Looks To Embarrass Dean Spanos]]>Mon, 15 May 2017 17:12:29 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/183*120/SD+Sign+Guy.JPG

A whole lot of Chargers fans (former and present) are still mad about the team moving to Los Angeles. And some of them are looking for ways to make sure everyone knows how upset they are.

“I’m not going to just sit here and let the NFL leave my city after being screwed over by a greedy owner,” said Joseph MacRae, who has a particularly large bone to pick with Chargers Chairman Dean Spanos.

The Chargers will be playing their home games in Carson and if MacRae’s plan comes together, when Spanos drives to the StubHub Center he might not like what he sees.

“The goal is to put up billboards in Los Angeles really close to the StubHub Center that will be anti-NFL, anti-Spanos,” said MacRae, who is also known as "S.D. Sign Guy.” He’s the one who heckled Spanos at the Chargers event at The Forum in Los Angeles, visibly rattling Dean.

MacRae has started a campaign to try and construct three billboards on freeways around the stadium in Carson, two of them calling out Spanos and one taking issue with the NFL for allowing the Bolts to leave America’s Finest City. He wants to have them up by the start of September because after opening the season on the road in Denver the Chargers play three consecutive home games.

“A billboard in Los Angeles has to be up for four weeks so we would be just in time for all three of their home games,” said MacRae.

He's started a Go Fund Me page called "Fight For L-A Billboards” hoping to raise $15,000 dollars for the signs. He’s also asking disgruntled Raiders fans from Oakland to join in. As a lifelong Chargers fan, McCrae's motivation is simple.

“It’s to keep getting at Dean. Dean does not like to be trolled and we all know that. For him to move to this Fight 4 L.A. and all this and then about a couple of miles away you’re getting trolled in your own city by some folks from San Diego and Oakland, I think it would be amazing.”

MacRae raised more than $8,000 in two weeks. If you’d like to donate to the cause, click here.

]]>
<![CDATA[Back Home, Predators Eager to Match Ducks' Physical Play]]>Tue, 16 May 2017 08:35:45 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/173*120/AP_17135070959032.jpg

The Nashville Predators finally are facing their first real adversity this postseason, with the Anaheim Ducks eager to push, hit and poke them out of what's already been a historic run.

The Predators insist they can play that game too — and keep their cool no matter what pesky Ducks center Ryan Kesler does.

Nashville center Ryan Johansen vented his frustration at how Kesler plays after the Ducks rallied twice in pulling out a 5-3 win Sunday night that tied the Western Conference finals at a game apiece. Johansen said he didn't know how anyone could cheer for a guy like that constantly prodding and poking. Each picked up a penalty, with Johansen high-sticking Kesler off a faceoff.

"That's playoffs written all over it," Predators forward Colton Sissons said Monday. "Obviously, there's some bad blood there, and they've been competing hard and battling all series. It's only going to get escalated from here."

Johansen wasn't among the Predators who spoke once they landed in Nashville. After the game, he said he just has to focus on his game. Nashville coach Peter Laviolette said he hadn't heard or read Johansen's complaint about Kesler but defended his 24-year-old center.

"I can tell you that I just saw him on the plane, and he's composed," Laviolette said. "I saw him on the ice last night, and he's composed. He'll be ready to play."

Ducks defenseman Josh Manson said Kesler would be in his head a little bit if he was playing against one of the finalists for the Selke trophy given to the NHL's best defensive forward.

"He's a guy that you love to have on your team and you hate to play against," Manson said. "So you watch throughout the series and throughout the playoffs, so far he takes pride in throwing guys off their game. So hopefully it is working."

How much Kesler has gotten under Johansen's skin and whether the 32-year-old veteran can shake the anchor of Nashville's top line remains to be seen. The Chicago Blackhawks were unable to disrupt the Predators during their first-round sweep, and St. Louis won twice on home ice by drawing penalties in a series the Predators finished in six games .

So far, the Predators have matched the Ducks nearly hit for hit and still have the home-ice advantage in this series.

Game 3 is Tuesday night in Nashville, where the Predators have won nine straight playoff games dating to last year, including a league-best 5-0 this postseason. The streak started in Game 6 of their first-round win over the Ducks after Anaheim took both Games 3 and 4, outscoring the Predators 7-1.

That is why the Ducks feel pretty comfortable heading to Music City after avoiding an 0-2 deficit for a second straight series. They also have a 4-1 road record after sweeping Calgary and winning twice in Edmonton .

"We believe that we can go in any building and play with the teams that we're up against and give ourselves a chance for success," Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said.

For some Ducks, this will be their first chance at hearing just how loud Bridgestone Arena is in the playoffs.

"I've seen games on TV and played there in the regular season," said Nick Ritchie, a 21-year-old forward. "They'll have a pretty big crowd, obviously. We've been a good team on the road. We're just going in there and going to try to take care of business."

That means crunching the Predators whenever possible, a style the Ducks play very well. That includes Jared Boll, who had only three points in 51 games during the regular season but has played each of the first two games against Nashville. The 6-foot-3 forward has three combined hits throwing his big body around, including a big check on Calle Jarnkrok in the opener.

The Predators also have been physical, and defenseman P.K. Subban said he thinks they've been doing a good job so far, particularly Johansen. The center has multiple points in three straight games and just tied the franchise record for most points in a postseason with 13.

"He's really valuable to our hockey club," Subban said.

The Ducks' style might be taking a toll on the Predators' power play. Nashville scored four goals on its first 10 power plays on the road this postseason but now are 0 of 8 on the man advantage against Anaheim, including failing to convert through 88 seconds of a 5-on-3 in the opener.

Now Laviolette will have the last change, though he didn't tip his hand at any possible adjustments.

"I think the guys will be fine," he said.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Dodgers S.F. Struggles Continue in Blowout Loss to Giants]]>Mon, 15 May 2017 22:50:49 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/178*120/GettyImages-683513754.jpg

This wasn't exactly how they drew it up.

Brandon McCarthy returned from the disabled list, but the Los Angeles Dodgers were blown out by the San Francisco Giants, 8-4, on Monday night at AT&T Park.

McCarthy was activated off the 10-day DL before the game, but was bitten by some bad luck as soft contact from San Francisco turned into a four-run deficit for the Dodgers.

McCarthy (3-1), lost for the first time this season, allowing six runs on eight hits with one walk and five strikeouts in 5 and 2/3 innings.

"Not a lot of loud contact, but quality aiming I guess," McCarthy told the media of his outing. "I just kept trying to make pitches and couldn't make headway. It wasn't really working."

Entering the game, McCarthy was the most consistent starter on the staff, with a 3.10 ERA and a WHIP of 1.21.

The Dodgers struck first following a two-out single by Corey Seager and an RBI double for Yasmani Grandal in the third inning, but it was all downhill from there.

The Giants ran off eight unanswered runs, including a four-run fourth inning off McCarthy in which the proverbial wheels fell off for the Dodgers.

McCarthy allowed four straight hits to start the inning, and by the time the dust settled, the Dodgers were down 5-1.

"Early on he was sharp. That fourth inning got away from him," said Dodgers' manager Dave Roberts. "If you look at that inning, only a couple balls were hit hard, but that fourth inning obviously proved to be the difference."

Matt Cain (3-1) continued to crush the hearts of Dodger fans, including the thousands who made the trip from Los Angeles and parked themselves in the bleachers of AT&T Park.

In Cain's two starts against the Dodgers, totaling 12 and 2/3 innings, the veteran right-hander has allowed just one run.

"He did a lot of what he did against us the first time he faced us," said Roberts. "We hit a lot of balls hard, but didn't have anything to show for it. I can't explain it, he went out there and competed." 

On Monday, Cain made 112 pitches, the most he's thrown in three years, as he scattered just five hits with three walks and five strikeouts.

Cody Bellinger returned to the spot he made his MLB debut just 20 days ago, but struggled, finishing 0-for-4 with two strikeouts on the night.

The Dodgers mounted a mini-rally in the top of the ninth as they scored three runs of the Giants' bullpen, but Joc Pederson struck out with a runner on second to end the game.

San Francisco has the third-worst record in the National League, but have won four consecutive games and 5-of-8 against the Dodgers this season.

It was the first time L.A. has lost back-to-back games since April 21-22 against Arizona. 

Up Next:

The Dodgers are expected to activate Rich Hill from the disabled list on Tuesday as he starts opposite LHP Ty Blach at 7:15PM PST.



Photo Credit: Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[The Vault: Lakers Sign Magic Johnson (1979)]]>Mon, 15 May 2017 15:36:33 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/WEB_VAULT_MAGIC_DRAFT_1200x675_944314947672.jpg

Magic Johnson takes the platform for the NBA Draft Lottery Tuesday, exactly 38 years since he was introduced as the Lakers #1 pick back in 1979. Originally aired on Going Roggin, May 14, 2017. ]]>
<![CDATA[Is LA Ready for the Olympics?]]>Mon, 15 May 2017 15:43:07 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/GR_WEB_OLY_2024_1200x675_944320067681.jpg

Does Los Angeles really want the 2024 Olympics? Is our city ready? Fred Roggin poses those questions to Daily News Columnist Vinny Bonsignore and Shannon Farren of KFI AM 640. Originally aired on Going Roggin, May 14, 2017.]]>
<![CDATA[Discover Your Dodgers: Cody Bellinger]]>Mon, 15 May 2017 16:52:16 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/223*120/Screen+Shot+2017-05-10+at+5.32.42+PM.png

NBC LA Sports Reporter Michael J. Duarte sits down with Los Angeles Dodgers' rookie Cody Bellinger to discuss his first few weeks in the Big Leagues, growing up with Derek Jeter and his decision to skip college.]]>
<![CDATA[Discover Your Dodgers: Cody Bellinger]]>Mon, 15 May 2017 16:52:55 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/223*120/Screen+Shot+2017-05-10+at+5.34.16+PM.png

NBC LA Sports Reporter Michael J. Duarte sits down with Los Angeles Dodgers' rookie Cody Bellinger to discuss his favorite food, video game, and celebrity crushes.

Photo Credit: Michael Duarte]]>
<![CDATA[Lakers Odds For NBA Draft Lottery 2017]]>Mon, 15 May 2017 04:21:30 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Lakers-NBA-draft-lottery-2017.jpg

One way or another, the Los Angeles Lakers will give up a first round draft pick.

Ideally for the franchise, the Lakers will land in the top three in Tuesday's NBA Draft Lottery and hold onto their 2017 first round selection, which means their 2018 first round pick would instead go to Philadelphia in relation to the Steve Nash trade of 2012. In addition, the first round pick promised to Orlando in 2019 would convert into two second round picks.

Considering the team is still near the bottom of the league and projects to improve combined with the prospect of holding onto an extra first round pick, finishing in the top three on Tuesday would be the preferred scenario for the purple and gold.

The odds of the Lakers keeping that pick are 46.9 percent. LA has a 15.6 percent chance of finishing with the no. 1 overall pick, a 15.7 percent chance of finishing with the no. 2 overall pick and a 15.6 percent chance of finishing with the no. 3 overall pick.

Given their draft position, the Lakers have a slightly better chance of finishing outside the top three. LA holds a 22.6 percent chance of finishing with the no. 4 spot and and 26.5 percent chance of finishing with the no. 5 pick. The least likely outcome on Tuesday is that the Lakers land in the no. 6 spot, 4.0 percent.

The Lakers are currently on a streak of no. 2 picks, as the team drafted D'Angelo Russell with the no. 2 pick in the 2015 NBA Draft and selected Brandon Ingram with the no. 2 pick in the 2016 NBA Draft. Another no. 2 selection would be a welcome addition to a franchise that appears to be rebounding from three straight historically awful seasons from 2013 to 2016.

If the Lakers do land a top-three pick, three point guards have emerged as the top three talents in the draft. At the top of most draft boards is Markelle Fultz, a 6-foot 4-inch point guard out of Washington. Lonzo Ball of UCLA is no. 2 in most mock drafts, and the 6-6 guard out of UCLA also seems to be more of a passing guard than a shooting guard. 

If the Lakers land in the no. 3 spot, De'Aaron Fox of Kentucky, another point guard, is projected as the third best point guard in the 2017 Draft. However, Josh Jackson of Kansas, a 6-foot 8-inch small forward, could be a better fit for the team and slots into that no. 3 spot on several mock drafts that project the Lakers to land the no. 3 pick. Jayson Tatum of Duke, who matches Jackson's height and weight, would be another option with the no. 3 pick.

Barring a surprise pick, the aforementioned five players expect to be the top five picks in the 2017 NBA Draft, though the order of picks could change.

If the Lakers land at no. 1 or no. 2, though, the choice appears to be between Ball and Fultz only, and Lavar Ball, Lonzo's outspoken father, does not appear to be enough of a deterrent to stop NBA teams from drafting the UCLA Bruin. At the moment, Fultz seems to be the consensus top prospect.

Lakers president Earvin "Magic" Johnson and Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka will be the two representatives for the team at the NBA Draft Lottery. Johnson will be the television face for the Lakers as the results are announced, while Pelinka will be in the room when the actual drawing takes place.

The NBA Draft Lottery show will begin at 5 p.m. Pacific Time on May 16. It will be broadcast on ESPN.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Dodgers Miss Opportunity on Mother's Day to Move Into 1st ]]>Sun, 14 May 2017 16:45:51 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/208*120/Dodgers+Lose+to+Rockies+on+Mothers+Day.png

It was a Mother's Day Mash.

The Dodgers and Rockies combined for five homers as Colorado held on to defeat Los Angeles, 9-6, to split the four-game series at Coors Field over Mother's Day weekend.

Corey Seager and Yasiel Puig got the home run barrage started in the first and second innings.

Seager started the scoring with a two-run bomb off Antonio Senzatela to give the Dodgers an early 2-0 lead.

After the Rockies recaptured the lead with three runs in the bottom of the 1st, Puig sent a slider from Senzatela into the seats in left field that tied the game at 3-3.

Both teams exchanged power punches throughout the day as Yasmani Grandal gave the Dodgers back the lead with an RBI single in the top of the third.

The lead would not last as Pat Valaika hit his first of two homers in the game with a two-run shot off Julio Urias in the bottom of the fourth that put Colorado in front, 5-4.

An inning later, it was Nolan Arenado's turn to tee off as he destroyed a slider from Sergio Romo to give the Rockies two important insurance runs.

"This year has been a little bit more trying," said Romo of his struggles to start the season. "It just seems to be that one pitch every outing. I just need to try and iron it out."

After Los Angeles got within a run in the bottom of the eighth, Valaika once again hit a two-run shot off Chris Hatcher to extend the Rockies lead back to three runs.

Both rookie starters, Urias and Senzatela, struggled on Mother's Day as they surrendered a total of 10 runs combined in just nine total innings.

Senzatela (6-1), an early favorite in the National League for Rookie of the Year, earned the win, allowing four runs on seven hits with three walks and five strikeouts in five innings.

Urias (0-1) did not favor well in his first recorded decision of the season—a loss. The 20-year-old left-hander allowed six runs on seven hits with one walk and just one strikeout in four short innings of work.

"I felt good, but gave up a lot of hits in the first inning," Urias said of his start. "Unfortunately, it was just a really bad outing."

Despite the loss, L.A. had plenty of opportunities as they stranded 11 men on base, including two in each inning from the 5th through the 8th. Before RBI singles by Justin Turner and Cody Bellinger in the bottom of the eighth, the Dodgers were 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position.

"We've been good in those situations, but today was one of those days that we had a lot of situational opportunities and we didn't capitalize," said Dodgers' manager Dave Roberts of the runners left on base. "We had opportunities to put them away early, and we couldn't get it done."

The top of the Rockies lineup provided most of the offense for Colorado as Charlie Blackmon, D.J. LeMahieu and Nolan Arenado combined to go 8-for-11 with three RBI and five runs scored.

Colorado closer Greg Holland recorded his MLB-leading 16th save with a 1-2-3 ninth inning.

Both teams celebrated Mother's Day weekend by wearing pink uniforms including pink accessories like armbands, socks, shoes, gloves, belts, bats, batting gloves, shin and elbow guards.

Each jersey and hat had a pink ribbon to help raise awareness for breast cancer research. All proceeds of the sale of the pink merchandise went to breast cancer research charities.

Up Next:

The Dodgers head back to the Bay to battle the rival San Francisco Giants on Monday. Brandon McCarthy is expected to be activated off the disabled list before the game and will start for the Dodgers opposite RHP Matt Cain for the Giants. First pitch is scheduled for 7:15PM PST.



Photo Credit: AP Photo/David Zalubowski]]>
<![CDATA[Dodgers Inch Closer to Rockies in N.L. West]]>Sat, 13 May 2017 20:55:31 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/203*120/Alex+Wood+Dominates+Rockies.png

The Dodgers are in the Rockies' rearview mirror.

Alex Wood threw six shutout innings and the Los Angeles Dodgers moved within 1 half-game of Colorado for first place in the National League West after a 4-0, victory over the Rockies on Saturday night at Coors Field.

Wood (4-0) is off to the best start of his big league career as he is undefeated through six starts this season.

"It's always different pitching here," Wood told reporters of his start at Coors Field. "It was a battle in the beginning, but Barnes and I worked really well together tonight."

After starting the season in the bullpen, Wood has quickly become a stalwart in the starting rotation, might be the best of the five at present, as he lowered his ERA to 2.27 and recorded back-to-back shutouts, and has scoreless outings in three of his last four starts. 

"We have a large stable of starting pitchers, but there's a point where performance is important," said Dodgers' manager Dave Roberts. "Obviuosly he deserves another start. He's the story. It was another big outing."

Wood was lights out again on Saturday, allowing no runs on five hits with one walk and 10 strikeouts in six scoreless innings. He struck out 11 batters in his last start, the first time in his MLB career he recorded back-to-back games with at least 10 strikeouts.

The Dodgers struck first as Enrique Hernandez led off the second inning with a double down the left field line. Hernandez would score two batters late on a double by catcher Austin Barnes.

Barnes had all five-tools on display as he promptly stole third base and scored on a sac bunt by Alex Wood to give the Dodgers a 2-0 lead.

Brett Eibner hit his first home run in a Dodgers uniform when he destroyed a fastball from Tyler Anderson that went 465-feet into the pine trees in centerfield for a mammoth home run.  

Anderson (2-4) took the loss, allowing three runs on five hits with two walks and eight strikeouts in 5 and 2/3 innings of work. 

Justin Turner went-2-for-4 with a double and an RBI as he improved his average to .347 at Coors Field with 11 doubles, two homers and 16 RBI in his career in Colorado.

Kenley Jansen pitched the bottom of the ninth in a non-save situation for the second consecutive night. Jansen struck out the side in the ninth, giving him 28 strikeouts and no walks to start his 2017 campaign, the best mark he's ever had in his career. 

"Here in Denver, it's almost like four runs is a save," said Roberts. "It was a total team win."

The victory was the Dodgers 100th at Coors Field, the most among any visiting team in Rockies franchise history.

L.A. has won 12-of-15 overall and is a season-high seven games above .500.

Up Next:

20-year-old Julio Urias heads to the mound on Mother's Day against rookie Antonio Senzatela with first place in the N.L. West on the line. First pitch is scheduled for 12:10 PM PST. 



Photo Credit: AP Photo/David Zalubowski]]>
<![CDATA[Chargers Rookies Face Big Decision]]>Fri, 12 May 2017 16:58:01 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/182*120/Chargers+Mike+Williams+Draft+Board.JPG

One of the fun things for a new NFL player to do is find out which number he’s going to wear. A number can be iconic. In San Diego, everybody knows who 55 is (if you don’t you’re probably not reading this football story anyway).

The 2017 rookie class for the Los Angeles Chargers of Carson was on the practice field in Mission Valley for a mini-camp (because this is the world we live in). The Bolts will not move full-time to their Orange County facility until training camp in July.

We got to see a few of the new numbers on the new guys. Defensive backs Rayshawn Jenkins (#33) and Desmond King (#36) were both working mostly at safety. Offensive linemen, Sam Tevi took #69 while Dan Feeney grabbed #66. Their second round pick, offensive lineman Forrest Lamp, wore #76 at Western Kentucky but will be #77 in the NFL.

“(Russell) Okung has 76 so I can’t take a vet’s number,” said Lamp. “So I just went one up. My freshman year at Western Kentucky I wore 77 because a senior had 76.”

But the first round pick, wide receiver Mike Williams, was wearing #7 at camp. That’s not the number he is going to wear during the regular season. The NFL has rules for which positions can wear which numbers. Wide receivers must be from 10-19 or from 80-89. Williams is partial to #7 but knows he has to change.

“The numbers that were available? I didn’t want those,” said Williams, who is still in the decision-making process. “I’m waiting out my options to see what opens up.”

Williams wore #7 in high school and at Clemson, then was the 7th overall pick in the NFL Draft. It would be easy to just throw a “1” in front of the “7” … but there’s a sizeable road block to that number with the Chargers. The #17 is owned by franchise quarterback Philip Rivers.

Sometimes a player will negotiate with someone who has his number on a current roster. Williams said he’s not even going to try something like that with 17.

“Oh, no. I most definitely can’t get that,” said Williams. “That’s not happening.”

Williams says he wants to stay in the teens and as it stands now #14 is available. There’s even some symbolism there. If he can be twice the player he was in college, just put him in the Hall of Fame right now.

]]>
<![CDATA[Neal's OT Goal Puts Preds Past Ducks 3-2 to Open West Final]]>Sat, 13 May 2017 06:14:32 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/AP_17133165400686.jpg

A few moments after James Neal crumpled Anaheim's Brandon Montour with a vicious check, the Nashville forward took a pass from P.K. Subban and ripped a shot past three Ducks for the winning overtime goal.

Even in uncharted territory for this franchise, the Predators are still rolling through the Stanley Cup playoffs with their distinct combination of smash and flash.

Neal scored 9:24 into OT, Pekka Rinne made 27 saves and the Predators kicked off their first appearance in the Western Conference finals with a 3-2 victory over the Anaheim Ducks on Friday night.

Filip Forsberg and Austin Watson scored in regulation for the Predators, who improved to 9-2 in this NHL postseason. They also won their third straight series opener on the road, continuing their month-long run of relentless postseason play.

"It shows a lot of character," Rinne said. "All night, we had a lot of chances and we didn't give them a lot. ... I thought that we created a lot, and eventually we were going to get one by him. I thought (Ducks goalie John) Gibson played a strong game tonight, but guys stuck with it. We've been doing that the whole playoffs. It's a great sign for a team."

Game 2 is Sunday night.

After finishing off St. Louis in the second round last weekend and resting while the Ducks labored through seven games against Edmonton, Nashville capitalized on its fresh legs to win a predictably physical game between two hard-hitting powers.

Nashville got off to a strong start and followed it up with a gritty overtime effort after Hampus Lindholm's first playoff goal in two years tied it for the Ducks in the third period.

Neal put a long shot past a sprawled Gibson after a prolonged threat by the Predators that left Anaheim's defense in disarray. The goal was the veteran forward's third in four games.

"I don't know if it hit the goalie or the player that was laying in front still," Neal said. "But it was a good feeling to see it go in."

Jakob Silfverberg scored on the Ducks' first shot, and Gibson stopped 43 shots in a stellar performance. Just two days after finishing off the Oilers in the second round, Anaheim struggled to keep up at times in its second conference finals appearance in three years.

"No guy will use that as an excuse," said center Nate Thompson, who won the faceoff that led to Lindholm's tying goal. "They came out and took it to us. We just need to get back to playing our game."

Although this conference final matches two Sun Belt clubs 2,000 miles apart, they have a feisty history. Anaheim and Nashville are meeting in the postseason for the third time, including the past two seasons.

Nashville twice won Game 1 and went on to claim the previous two series with major help from Rinne, who usually has been at his inimitable best when facing the Ducks' scorers. Rinne picked up right where he left off last season when Nashville eliminated Anaheim from the first round in seven games, but Gibson was similarly outstanding.

"We knew they were going to come hard," Gibson said. "It was their first game in a while. We weren't our best, but we lost in overtime. If you look at the first period, they really came on us with a lot of pressure. We haven't played a team like that in a while. We got better as the game went on."

The Ducks got just one shot on goal in the first 13 minutes of Game 1, but Silfverberg put it into Rinne's far top corner for his eighth goal in 12 games this spring, matching his goal total in 48 games over his previous six trips to the postseason.

Nashville dominated the weary Ducks, and Forsberg forced a turnover on a forecheck before tipping Matt Irwin's shot through Gibson for his fourth goal.

Watson then put the Predators ahead early in the second period with his first playoff goal, banking his shot in off Anaheim defenseman Sami Vatanen.

The Ducks played a strong third period and evened it when Lindholm scored his first playoff goal in 25 games since Game 1 of the 2015 Western Conference finals against Chicago.

NOTES: Anaheim remained without two key injured veterans. D Kevin Bieksa missed his seventh straight game, while F Patrick Eaves missed his fifth straight game with a leg injury. Bieksa is close to returning to health, while general manager Bob Murray said he is hopeful Eaves could play again in the postseason. ... Watson became the 15th player to score a goal for Nashville in just 11 playoff games. ... A 6 p.m. local start time combined with Southern California's legendarily bad Friday traffic to leave thousands of empty seats in Honda Center at the opening faceoff. The sellout crowd filled in throughout the night. ... The Ducks went scoreless on four power plays. They're 0 for 21 with the man advantage since late in Game 2 against Edmonton on April 28.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Kershaw Gets Dodgers Back on Track]]>Fri, 12 May 2017 20:40:48 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-682469808.jpg

Leave it to Clayton Kershaw to get Los Angeles back on track. 

Kershaw allowed just two runs over seven strong innings and the Dodgers bounced back with a 6-2 win over the Colorado Rockies on Friday night at Coors Field. 

Fresh off the Dodgers 10-7 loss on Thursday night that snapped their season-high, five-game win-streak, Kershaw righted the ship as he surrendered just two runs on seven scattered hits with one walk and four strikeouts. 

The Dodgers hung five runs on the Rockies in the second inning and never looked back as L.A. added a Cody Bellinger homer in the top of the eighth to move within 1.5 games of Colorado in the N.L. West. 

Chase Utley got the scoring started in the second with a two-run triple, that was proceded by back-to-back doubles from Joc Pederson and Corey Seager a few batters later. 

Bellinger crushed a curveball to right field for his team-leading seventh home run of the season. The 21-year-old rookie sensation is now tied for second place for home runs hit by rookies this season. 


With the victory, Kershaw (6-2) became the all-time wins leader for a starting pitcher against the Rockies, passing Randy Johnson who had beaten Colorado 19 different times in his career. 

Tyler Chatwood (3-5) took the loss, allowing five runs on six hits with four walks and six strikeouts in just 4 and 1/3 innings of work. 

D.J. LeMahieu was 2-for-4 with an RBI and Charlie Blackmon was responsible for the other Rockies run, finishing 2-for-4 with a triple, RBI and run scored. 

Up Next: 

Alex Wood looks to stay perfect on the season as he takes the mound for Los Angeles opposite Tyler Anderson. First pitch is scheduled for 5:10PM PST.



Photo Credit: Dustin Bradford/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Rockies Snap Dodgers Five-Game Win Streak]]>Thu, 11 May 2017 21:25:59 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/230*120/Dodgers+Win+Streak+Snapped+by+Rox.png

All good things must come to an end. 

Hyun-Jin Ryu had the worst night of his career and the Los Angeles Dodgers had their five-game win-streak snapped by the Colorado Rockies, 10-7, on Thursday night at Coors Field. 

"He wasn't sharp," Dodgers' manager said of Ryu after the game. "He was missing out over the plate. He just couldn't get that last out. We were down 7-0 before we could really get going."

Fresh off the 10-day disabled list, Ryu (1-5) allowed 10 runs (five earned), on eight hits with six walks and just four strikeouts in four short innings. 

His counterpart, Jeff Hoffman, struck out eight in his first major league win. Hoffman (1-0) allowed just three runs on six hits with two walks and eight strikeouts after he was recalled from Triple-A Albuquerque earlier in the day.

Carlos Gonzalez broke out of his slump in a big way with a two-hit, three-RBI night. Ian Desmond and Nolan Arenado each had two doubles as the Rockies remain in first place by 2.5 games over the Dodgers in the National League West.

The Dodgers trailed 10-0 before they rallied for seven runs in the final five frames. Trailing 10-6 in the top of the ninth, L.A. loaded the bases with no outs for Chase Utley, prompting Colorado to go to their closer Greg Holland. 

"You're never out of it here," said Roberts. "That's credit to our guys. For us to get Holland in the game, that was a good thing for us."

Utley grounded into a double-play and Holland struck out Yasiel Puig to end the game.

Up Next: 

Clayton Kershaw takes the mound on Friday night opposite Tyler Chatwood at 5:40 PM PST. 




Photo Credit: AP Photo/David Zalubowski]]>
<![CDATA[Ducks' Reward for Game 7 Win is Date With Rinne and Preds]]>Thu, 11 May 2017 07:51:49 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/182*120/AP_17131126319962.jpg

The Anaheim Ducks finally cleared a major psychological hurdle with their gritty Game 7 victory over Edmonton on Wednesday night. After four consecutive years of failure in winner-take-all showdowns, they stood up to an upstart opponent and finished a series strong.

"I wouldn't say it's a relief, but the fact we don't have to talk about it anymore, that's a good thing," captain Ryan Getzlaf said.

Getzlaf also said this particular party is already over, however.

Anaheim has just two days to prepare to face another daunting obstacle from its playoff past: a 6-foot-5 Finnish goalie with a knack for stopping the Ducks in their playoff tracks.

Nashville's Pekka Rinne ran Anaheim out of the first round last season for the second time in his career, and he returns with the surging Predators for Game 1 of the Western Conference finals on Friday.

The Ducks have been the hapless foils for some of the best moments in Nashville franchise history — and for Rinne, who always seems to find his inimitable top form against Anaheim.

Rinne and the Predators ousted the Ducks in six games in 2011 for their first ever playoff series victory. Five years later, Nashville stole the first two games of the clubs' first-round series at Honda Center before winning the final two, including a nail-biting 2-1 victory in a Game 7 dominated by Rinne.

"They're a great team, and they've done a really good job in the playoffs this season and against us in the past," said Anaheim forward Andrew Cogliano, who scored the tying goal in Game 7. "It's going to be another big challenge going forward."

Both of the West finalists are perhaps overdue to be rewarded for years of patient progress with a Stanley Cup Final trip. Anaheim hasn't made the final round in a decade despite icing one of the NHL's most consistently strong teams, while the Predators are in their first conference finals in the club's 10th trip to the postseason since 2004.

Nobody gets anything in the Stanley Cup playoffs without a grind, and these two teams are on it. They've combined for the best two records in this postseason, losing only five combined games.

The Ducks should feel a swell of confidence after outlasting the Oilers. Anaheim had lost five straight Game 7 appearances overall since 2006, but the Ducks played a stellar defensive game against Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl before winning it on power forward Nick Ritchie's third-period goal.

And the way the Ducks rallied was even more impressive. They fell behind the Oilers just 3:31 into this seventh game, but the rest of the night largely belonged to Anaheim, which finally showed some veteran mettle in the playoffs' biggest crucible.

"We were down 1-0 for a little bit, and we didn't panic," Ritchie said. "We actually started to play better once they scored, and we got another one and then we kind of brought it home with good defensive hockey."

Big-game resilience hasn't always been Anaheim's strength during the past half-decade. Despite having home-ice advantage to start 10 straight playoff series since 2009, the five-time defending Pacific Division champions had blown a 3-2 series lead four straight times before holding off Edmonton.

The Ducks aren't willing to say they've found new playoff toughness, but their renewed vigor in this particular postseason is exemplified by Getzlaf, whose first two rounds were among the best of the 2007 Stanley Cup champion's long playoff career.

Getzlaf, who turned 32 years old on Wednesday, has eight goals and seven assists in 11 playoff games, already setting a new career high for goals in a single postseason. The consummate playmaker has been looking for his shot with urgency, and he has cemented his role as a steadying presence in Anaheim's dressing room.

Even his longtime linemate, Corey Perry, has picked up on the vibe.

The 2011 NHL MVP managed only 19 goals during the lowest-scoring full regular season of his career, but he has surged while reunited with Getzlaf in the playoffs. Perry has six points in the last four games, capped by an assist on Ritchie's series-winning goal.

Rinne is the biggest obstacle yet — literally and figuratively — to this Stanley Cup push in Anaheim, but the Ducks are ready for any challenge.

"The way we've played the last half of the season where we've learned to deal with adversity, we needed that again tonight," Getzlaf said after Game 7. "That's what we need going forward into the next round."

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Dodgers Sweep Pirates]]>Wed, 10 May 2017 23:02:43 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/176*120/AP_17131142088409.jpg

Time to walk the plank.

Cody Bellinger hit a two-run homer and Chase Utley turned back the clock, as the Los Angeles Dodgers defeated the Pittsburgh Pirates, 5-2, on Wednesday night to complete a three-game sweep at Dodger Stadium.

The Dodgers got some bad news to start the day as it was announced that left-fielder Andrew Toles would be out for the remainder of the season after he tore the ACL in his right knee on Tuesday night.

"As much as we all feel for Andrew in this situation, we still have a baseball game to win and more to play," said Dodgers' manager Dave Roberts. "It means a lot of guys are going to get more opportunities, and we expect them to go out there and produce."

A visibly downtrodden Toles spoke to the media before the game, telling reporters he wants to "stay positive," and that he told his teammates to "keep moving on. We've got other dudes who can play. It's no big deal."

One of those "other dudes" who can play is 21-year-old Cody Bellinger who now becomes the everyday left fielder in Toles' absence. Bellinger has lit the league on fire since he was called up to the Major Leagues two weeks ago and continued that pace with a two-run homer in the first inning on Wednesday.

"I was waiting for a quick pitch," said Bellinger of the at-bat. "I saw him pick up his leg and that allowed me to stay back on the ball and luckily, he left it up."

The long ball was Bellinger's sixth of the season, and it comes in just his 14th career game. He now is tied with Yasiel Puig for the team lead in home runs and is just two RBI behind Puig for the team lead at 19.

"It's been crazy and fun," said Bellinger of the hot start to his career. "I'm just going to go along for the ride and help these guys win."

Bellinger became the second fastest in franchise history to hit six home runs to start their career. Matt Kemp holds the record after he hit six home runs in his first 13 games to start his career in 2006.

With Bellinger moving back to left field and Adrian Gonzalez on the disabled list, Chase Utley made his first start of the season at first base and immediately looked like the Utley of old at the plate.

Utley recorded his first multi-hit game of the season, going 2-for-3 with a double and two RBI as he stepped back into the time machine for the Boys in Blue.

"I'm just trying to stick with it," said Utley after the game. "Eventually hits will fall and for me, tonight was a good night."

Utley participated in a simulated batting practice with right-hander Brandon McCarthy before the game, an exercise he believes helped him at the plate in the finale against the Pirates.

"Any time you can get mulitple at-bats it can help your timing," Utley said. "Hopefully, I can take that with me to Colorado."

Yasmani Grandal also continues to swing a hot bat as he reached base safely in all four plate appearances, finishing 3-for-3 for a double, RBI, run scored and a walk.

For the second straight start, Kenta Maeda was masterful. The Japanese right-hander nearly pitched a complete-game shutout before allowing a two-run homer in the top of the ninth.

"I was hoping he'd go the distance," said Dodgers' manager Dave Roberts. "I was absolutely pulling for him to complete it, but you get to a certain point and you want to make sure you win the game. I didn't want him to have a sour taste after that brilliant outing." 

All in all, Maeda was pretty dominant, allowing just two runs on five hits with no walks and five strikeouts in a career-best 8 and 1/3 innings.

Chad Kuhl defeated the Dodgers in his MLB debut on June 26, 2016, but he was knocked around on Wednesday, allowing four runs on six hits with two walks and four strikeouts in five innings.

"Tonight was bad," said Kuhl of his start. "It's a shame what happened in the first inning. It's unacceptable." 

Francisco Cervelli scored the only runs of the game for the #Bucs with a two-run homer off Maeda in the bottom of the ninth.

The Dodgers have swept both Pennsylvania teams in consecutive weeks after sweeping the Phillies April 28-30. They also are riding a season-high five-game win-streak. 

Up Next:

The Dodgers head out on a seven-game road trip starting in Colorado on Thursday. Hyun-Jin Ryu is expected to be activated off the disabled list and start opposite LHP Tyler Anderson at 5:40PM PST at Coors Field.



Photo Credit: Mark J. Terrill/AP]]>
<![CDATA[Toles Out For Season With Torn ACL]]>Wed, 10 May 2017 19:57:40 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/179*120/AP_17130160744602.jpg

Dodgers outfielder Andrew Toles is handling his latest setback with the positive mindset that got him to the major leagues.

Toles has torn the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee and will need season-ending surgery. He was on crutches Wednesday and said he expects six-to-seven onths of rehabilitation and a return in time for spring training.

"I want to stay positive," Toles said. "There's no sense in being distraught over an injury. In sports, it happens."

He landed awkwardly while trying to preserve a no-hitter for Julio Urias in the seventh inning Tuesday night, sliding into the left-field wall as a drive by Pittsburgh's Andrew McCutchen landed for a double. Toles came out of the game.

"I was close to the wall. I was going to dive, but I realized I was going to go right into the wall," Toles said. "I accelerated at the last second and stopped really quick on the dirt and my leg gave out. ... I didn't hear a pop or anything. How do I put this? It was an awkward hyperextension."

A MRI on Wednesday confirmed the injury. He will have surgery in about seven-to-10 days.

"His outlook on things is that he's not too down," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. "He's not too down. I think where most people would be devastated, his outlook on life is pretty simple, which is great. Just with his trek to get to the big leagues and what he's had to endure and overcome, and to establish himself as a big-league ballplayer for a winning team, says a lot about his character. To not see it through this year, I know his teammates, coaches, we're all disappointed."

The 24-year-old Toles won Los Angeles' left-field job and was hitting 275 with five homers and 15 RBIs, including a .375 average with seven RBIs in his last 11 games.

A son of former NFL player Alvin Toles, Andrew played football in high school until a hernia injury sidelined him. He said that was the worst injury he had before now. He also has dealt with anxiety.

Selected by Tampa Bay on the third round of the 2012 amateur draft, Toles was out of baseball in 2015 and even worked at a grocery store during that time.

The Dodgers signed Toles in September 2015, and he started the next season in Class A. He made his major league debut in July, played all three outfield positions and excelled as a pinch hitter.

Los Angeles had won nine of 11 entering Wednesday, and Toles was a big part of the Dodgers' success. Asked how his teammates reacted to his news, Toles said: "Disappointment. They don't want anyone to get hurt, obviously. We'll keep moving on. We've got other dudes who can play, too. It's no big deal. We should be OK."

Toles, who turns 25 in two weeks, smiled when talking about how he was performing at the plate.

"I was swinging it pretty good," he said "Feeling good. Playing pretty good defense. Kind of came to a halt."

Cody Bellinger started in left field for Wednesday night's series finale against the Pirates. Bellinger began the night with a .320 average, five homers and 15 RBIs is 13 games, playing first base while Adrian Gonzalez is sidelined with right elbow soreness.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Mark J. Terrill/AP]]>
<![CDATA[Ducks Confront Game 7 Demons vs. Oilers]]>Wed, 10 May 2017 12:18:40 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/173*120/AP_17126250207480.jpg

Game 7 may be the most exciting phrase in sports to a lot of people. Probably not for the Anaheim Ducks and the Washington Capitals.

The Capitals have lost six of nine Game 7s in the Alex Ovechkin era, and the Ducks have lost five in a row with stars Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry, including a heartbreaker in each of the last four years. Wednesday night is the chance for each team to confront its Game 7 demons as Washington hosts the defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins and Anaheim hosts the Edmonton Oilers with spots in the conference finals at stake.

"I don't know whether from coaching or playing whether you get into a mental block or not," said Bruce Boudreau, who coached in Game 7 four times with the Capitals and four times with the Ducks. "I think Washington for sure is due to win. I've said it for four years in Anaheim we're due to win, but in the end your best players have got to be your best players."

For the Capitals, that means more production from Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom and Evgeny Kuznetsov, and strong goaltending from Braden Holtby when the puck drops against the Penguins (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN) for the chance to meet the Ottawa Senators in the East final. In those nine Game 7s, Ovechkin has three goals and three assists, and at the moment he is earning praise from teammates and coach Barry Trotz in this series for accepting a demotion to the third line.

Getzlaf and Perry have combined for only seven points in six chances in Game 7 going into another one at home against Edmonton (10 p.m. ET, NBCSN). Goaltender John Gibson was pulled from his only Game 7 start in 2014 after allowing four goals on 18 shots, and he's coming off another hook after three goals on six shots in a 7-1 drubbing in Game 6 on Sunday.

Ducks coach Randy Carlyle didn't blame Gibson and said it's about the entire team being better.

"Obviously there's more at stake when it's the final game," said Carlyle, who won the Cup in 2007 but hasn't won a Game 7 since 2006. "Now it boils down to one. ... I'm sure that you could poll 100 people, and 99 of them would say they'd rather play at home. It's our turn to serve, and holding serve means that we go on. If we don't hold serve, then it's not what we're looking for."

Boudreau, who is 1-7 in his NHL coaching career in Game 7 after success in that spot in the minors, thinks goaltending will be the difference. Trotz doesn't think it'll have anything to do with history.

"I don't know if there's any hump to get over," said Trotz, who is 1-1 with the Capitals in two Game 7 opportunities in 2015. "I just think with this group that I've been with, our Game 7s have been pretty solid. You're not going to win every one. But I thought our game was really, really quite good in both those Game 7s."

Whether it was Marc-Andre Fleury stopping Ovechkin on a breakaway in 2009, Jaroslav Halak stopping 41 of 42 shots in 2010, losing by one goal to the New York Rangers in 2012, getting shut out by the Rangers in 2013 or losing in overtime at the Rangers in 2015, Game 7 just hasn't been kind to the Capitals.

"At the end of the day they're a different team," said Adam Oates, who coached the Capitals' 5-0 Game 7 loss in 2012. "I think they're the better team right now, so hopefully they play that way. Based on (Monday) night I don't see any reason why they won't."

Beating the Penguins emphatically 5-2 in Game 6 in Pittsburgh is why Boudreau believes the Capitals will win Game 7. Their last Game 7 victory at home came in the first round in 2009 with Boudreau behind the bench when Sergei Fedorov scored the winner to knock off the Rangers.

"I've got to believe that (the momentum from Game 6 is) going to roll over, that they're finally sick and tired of hearing that they haven't gone to the third round and will break through," Boudreau said.

DEFENSIVE CROSBY

Concussed on May 1, Sidney Crosby returned five days later and didn't look at his best Monday after crashing headfirst into the boards. But Crosby and coach Mike Sullivan said he was checked by a doctor and not put into the NHL's concussion protocol.

Crosby continues to play but isn't pleased that he keeps getting questioned. "You talk to the doctor," Crosby said Tuesday. "We can sit here and I can explain for 10 minutes what concussion protocol is and all that stuff but I don't really want to do it."

HOLY FLEURY

Fleury has allowed nine goals on 58 shots the past two games after nine on 142 shots the first four games against the Capitals. Some of that is the play in front of him, especially with Pittsburgh defenseman Trevor Daley missing Game 6 with a lower-body injury.

If the Capitals have found a hole on the goaltender's glove side they're not saying.

"We're just trying to shoot where there is open spot," Kuznetsov said.

MR. GAME 7

Justin Williams has a chance to add to his legend as "Mr. Game 7" in his first chance with Washington. A three-time Cup winner, Williams is 7-0 with seven goals and seven assists in seven chances in Game 7.

UNFAMILIAR OILERS

This is the first NHL Game 7 for Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, Cam Talbot and the majority of the Oilers, who as a franchise last played in one in 2006. That was a loss to the Carolina Hurricanes in Game 7 of the Cup Final that as, you guessed it, Williams sealed it with an empty-netter.

SEVEN DEGREES OF GAME 7

The Hurricanes' coach in that Game 7 against Edmonton was none other than Peter Laviolette, who's waiting for the Ducks or Oilers in the Western Conference final with the Nashville Predators. Laviolette's Predators are looking to become the third eighth seed in the salary-cap era that began in 2005-06 to reach the Cup Final. The first two? The '06 Oilers he beat and the 2012 Los Angeles Kings, who got 15 points during their run from Williams.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Local Olympic Athletes Want Games in LA]]>Wed, 10 May 2017 11:28:28 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Local_Athletes_Want_Olympics_in_LA_1200x675_940173379603.jpg

What do prospective Olympic athletes think about Los Angeles becoming a host city for the 2024 Games? Mario Solis reports for the NBC4 News at 5 on Tuesday, May 9, 2017. ]]>
<![CDATA[Dodgers Rally For Roller Coaster Win Over Pirates]]>Wed, 10 May 2017 00:09:05 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/209*120/Stripling+WalkOff.png

What a roller coaster of emotions. 

Austin Barnes hit the game-winning RBI double in the bottom of the 10th inning and the Los Angeles Dodgers defeated the Pittsburgh Pirates, 4-3, on Mexican Heritage Night at Dodger Stadium. 

Everything was turning up roses for the Dodgers through the first six innings of the game, when suddenly it all turned on a dime. 

Los Angeles led 2-0 heading into the top of the seventh inning, and 20-year-old Mexican pitching prodigy, Julio Urias, had a no-hitter, so what could go wrong, right?

Apparently everything.

Andrew McCutchen started the comeback for the Bucs by hitting a ground-rule double to left field that injured Andrew Toles on the play. 

"He was locating and kept everybody off balance," said McCutchen of Urias. "I was looking for something to drive. I stayed within myself and took what he gave me. I was able to get a double. It felt pretty good."

Replay showed Toles trying to avoid a collision with the wall, but his right knee bent awkwardly on the play and he laid on the ground for several minutes, writing in pain, before exiting the game.

Enrique Hernandez entered the game for Toles as a defensive replacement, and Dodgers' manager Dave Roberts pulled Urias out of the game for fellow Mexican reliever, Sergio Romo.

"Mexican Heritage Night. Pitch count creeping up there. I was thinking, 'If I have to take this young kid out of a no-hitter, 45,000 fans are going to come down on me,'" joked Roberts of the decision to take out Urias. "It was a tough one for me, but once he gives up that hit, I was able to take him out. He's going to get his chance for some other no-hitters."

As fate would have it, the first hit after the switch went straight to Hernandez, who brutally misplayed a fly ball, not only allowing McCutchen to score, but Francisco Cervelli to end up on second base after Hernandez allowed the ball to skip past him and roll all the way to the wall.

The hit was ruled a double for Cervelli, but easily, and arguably, should have been ruled an error on Hernandez. The mistake was costly as rookie Max Moroff—who made his MLB debut on Monday—recorded the first hit of his career, an RBI single to left-center that tied the game.

"Kiké [Hernandez] lost the ball in the lights," said Roberts of the play. "It was unfortunate. Luis [Avilan] gives up a blooper. It was a good pitch that the kid got enough of the barrel on. We didn't quit though, and that's credit to our guys."

Bitten by bad luck, Urias did not factor in the decision, as the mistake by Hernandez denied him his first win of the season. Urias exited the game to another standing ovation by the Dodger Stadium crowd, finishing with one run allowed on one hit with one walk and five strikeouts in 6 and 1/3 innings pitched, the longest he's pitched into a game as a starter in his career.

"I really have to thank Grandal. He deserves a lot of the credit for this," said Urias of his catcher. "He kept calling pitches and I just kept listening to him. I'm happy with the work we did together. The most important part was we got the win."

John Jaso hit the go-ahead home run for the Pirates in the top of the eighth as the Dodgers trailed 3-2 heading into the bottom of the ninth with Bucs closer Tony Watson on the mound.

"It didn't go as far as I thought it did," joked Jaso of his homer. "The situation was to get a homer there, but I was just trying to look for a pitch to drive there and thankfully it went over the fence."

Watson wilted under the pressure and the Dodgers simply refused to lose as Corey Seager and Justin Turner hit back-to-back singles with one out to keep L.A.'s hopes alive. 

Of course it was Cody Bellinger who answered the bell. Bellinger tied the game with an RBI single, knocking in his 15th run in just his 13th big league game. 

After a quick Kenley Jansen sighting in the 10th, the Dodgers walked-off thanks to an RBI double by pinch-hitter Austin Barnes to extend their winning streak to a season-high four games. 

"I knew I hit it in the gap pretty well," said Barnes of the game-winning hit. "Thankfully he [pinch-runner, Ross Stripling] was pretty fast and he got around the bases."

Yasmani Grandal provided the early offense for the Dodgers as he sent a two-seam fastball from Ivan Nova into the seats in right-center for a two-run home run in the bottom of the fourth inning.

"I've been seeing the ball well," added Grandal. "I knew I had it when I hit it. He missed with a pitch and I put a pretty good swing on it."

Up Next:

The Dodgers will look to sweep the series on Tuesday when Kenta Maeda takes the mound against RHP Chad Kuhl. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10PM PST. 



Photo Credit: Victor Decolongon/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Lakers Making Major Organizational Changes]]>Tue, 09 May 2017 07:10:24 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/211*120/Rob-Pelinka-Lakers-GM-3-10-17.png

The rumor that Kyle Lowry is considering coming to the Los Angeles Lakers doesn't sound far-fetched unless one considers his motivation for potentially leaving Toronto would be to chase an NBA title. In that case, the Lakers would be one of the last landing spots for the 31-year-old.

This, in a nut shell, is the off season life in Los Angeles.

Seemingly any and every potential free agent or trade target will inevitably be linked with the LA Lakers, regardless of how much sense the prospect makes for either the player or the team. If Kevin Durant wins a title with the Golden State Warriors, the story of how Durant owns a house in LA and can now come rebuild the franchise in peace will inevitably spark without any real basis.

While there appears to be genuine interest in Paul George coming to LA, the Indiana Pacers forward is on contract for another year, so getting George would likely involve giving up assets. While giving up largely unproven players to get an All-Star is not necessarily a raw deal, why would the Lakers give up anything if George truly wants to come to LA for free in one year's time anyhow?

The New York Knicks didn't display that level of thinking when they traded for Carmelo Anthony, and their nightmare with the Knicks superstar will seemingly never end.

Without a doubt, the Lakers expect to be active in free agency and in the draft. However, no one truly has any idea what the Lakers will and will not do because Lakers president Earvin "Magic" Johnson has only been leading the basketball side of the organization for about three months, and first-time General Manager Rob Pelinka has been at his post for an even shorter period of time.

So, what do we know?

For starters, the Lakers have not been sitting idly by since the end of their regular season in mid-April. Here's a quick summary of changes that the organization has undergone since the regular season finale whether by resignations or separations: Long-time Lakers assistant general manager Glenn Carraro left the franchise after 17 years; Strength and Conditioning coaches Tim DiFrancesco and Sean Light have moved on; Basketball Operations Coordinator Tania Jolly departed; Director Player Development Rondre Jackson is no longer with the team; and Director of Basketball Analytics Yuju Lee reportedly resigned rather than accept a reduced role.

The aforementioned changes were reported via the LA Daily News, ESPN, the LA Times and Bleacher Report, as well as confirmed publicly by a number of the people mentioned.

Needless to say, Johnson and Pelinka are not afraid of change, and the Lakers are in fact changing from the top down. How much of that change lands directly on the court remains to be seen, but the team's move to a new state of the art privately owned practice facility guarantees to be only one of the long-term changes the team undergoes over the summer of 2017.

On the topic of the summer of 2017, the Lakers have a rather important date circled on their calendar: May 16. That is NBA Draft Lottery day, when the Lakers learn whether they keep their 2017 first round pick or ship it East to Philadelphia as the last remnants of the Steve Nash trade.

LA has a 46.9 percent chance of keeping its draft pick, which requires that the Lakers finish in the top three in the lottery. If LA does keep its pick, Johnson and Pelinka will have one more potential cornerstone franchise player or yet another potential bargaining chip on the trade market. Either way, keeping the draft pick would help the Lakers' situation in the present and in the future.

In addition to crossing fingers, toes and legs, the Lakers have also reportedly revamped their scouting structure into four tiers: College; International; NBA; NBA Development League.

With the exception of the college scouting unit that has yielded late draft value like Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr. in recent years, the other segments expect to receive significant changes based on Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report.

Pincus also states that the team will continue to rely on international scout Antonio Maceiras, but the Lakers expect to add to his staff significantly. A quick peek around the league shows that the international NBA talent pool simply cannot be overlooked at this point. Even a look inside the Lakers' locker room at Ivica Zubac underscores this point.

From the generals in the front office to the lieutenants and foot soldiers beneath them, the Lakers are undergoing a massive structural reorganization at seemingly every level.

Seemingly, the only aspect of the Lakers that has not been drastically impacted by the new culture of change is the personnel on the court -- yet.



Photo Credit: Shahan Ahmed]]>
<![CDATA[Dodgers Pound Pirates, 12-1]]>Mon, 08 May 2017 23:11:45 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/211*120/CT3+Grand+Slam.png

Make it an even dozen. 

The Los Angeles Dodgers spoiled the Pirates return to sunny Southern California by pounding Pittsburgh, 12-1, on Monday night at Dodger Stadium.

Pittsburgh entered the game winners of 10-of-13 against the Dodgers since 2015, including a 5-2 mark last season, but the Dodgers wasted no time turning the tables on the Pirates.

Chris Taylor started the game with a grand slam off starter Trevor Williams to give L.A. an early 5-0 lead, and the Dodgers never looked back.

Taylor's first inning slam came on the heels of Cody Bellinger's slam in the ninth inning on Saturday night against San Diego. It was the first time the Dodgers have hit grand slams in back-to-back games since Sept. 7, 2004 (Robin Ventura and Olmedo Saenz).

"You definitely want to take advantage of those opportunities," said Taylor of coming up with the bases loaded in the first inning. "It's fun every time you hit a home run. Obviously we did a good job of scoring tonight."

Two batters later, Yasiel Puig sent a slider halfway up the seats in left field and the Dodgers finished with six runs in the first inning.

Williams wilted under the bright lights of Dodger Stadium. In his first start of the season, the right-hander from San Diego made two fielding mistakes to start the game, and surrendered eight runs (six earned) on seven hits with one walk and two strikeouts in just three innings of work.

"I made some mistakes out there and didn't execute some pitches and it led to a big inning," said Williams after the game. "I let things get out of hand that first inning. I had a chance to stop the bleeding, but unfortunately he [Taylor] hit it over the fence for four runs."

Meanwhile, Alex Wood was phenomenal in just his fifth start of the season. Wood did not allow a hit through 4 and 2/3, finishing the game with just one walk and 11 strikeouts in five scoreless innings.

Wood has solidified his spot in the starting rotation as the Dodgers continue to play musical chairs with their starters.

"I was supposed to throw today anyways," said Wood of his spot in the rotation. "It just so happened we got rain, so we could have stayed on and we all would have gotten seven days rest, but McCarthy didn't start, so I stayed on my normal rotation."

On Monday, the team announced that undefeated starter, Brandon McCarthy, was headed to the 10-day disabled list (retroactive May 5) with shoulder soreness.

In just his second start since returning from the disabled list, Joc Pederson, finished 3-for-5 with a double, two RBI and two runs scored.

"I've been trying to get my feet underneath me and get into a good rhythm," said Pederson of his return. "I had two weeks off so I'm trying to get back into the feel of things."

Talyor continues to rake, going 2-for-4 with four RBI and three runs scored.

"His swing last year couldn't really handle velocity," said Roberts of Taylor's turnaround since last season. "The rhythm in his swing he can handle more velocity and mechanically he's much more sound and athletic." 

Cody Bellinger went 0-for-4 with a run scored and a strikeout on the night it was announced that he was named the National League player of the week.

The team combined for a season-high 15 hits and recorded 17 strikeouts--the most this season--as they won their third straight game and eight of ten overall.

Up Next:

The Dodgers send Julio Urias to the mound tomorrow against former-Yankee Ivan Nova for the Pirates. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10PM PST. 



Photo Credit: Harry How/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Discover Your Dodgers: Austin Barnes]]>Mon, 08 May 2017 07:48:55 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Austin_Barnes_Short_Interview_1200x675_938708547522.jpg

NBC LA Sports Reporter, Michael Duarte, asks Los Angeles Dodgers' catcher, Austin Barnes, about his baseball idol, his favorite song, superhero, and which teammate would be his running mate if he ran for President.]]>
<![CDATA[Discover Your Dodgers: Austin Barnes]]>Mon, 08 May 2017 07:51:12 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Austin_Barnes_Full_Interview_1200x675_938701891799.jpg

NBC LA Sports Reporter, Michael Duarte, interviews Los Angeles Dodgers' catcher, Austin Barnes, about his transition behind the plate, his uncle Mike Gallego and how he proposed to his fiancee.]]>
<![CDATA[Byron Scott to Doc Rivers: Get Rid of One of Those Jobs]]>Sun, 07 May 2017 13:18:32 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/BYRON_ON_DOC_1200x675_938344003575.jpg

Former Lakers Coach Byron Scott joins Fred Roggin to talk about how the Clippers must move forward after being knocked out of the first round of the NBA Playoffs. Byron will also discuss his new book, Slam-Dunk Success, and the Lakers' pursuit of Paul George. Part of an interview airing at midnight on Going Roggin, May 7, 2017.]]>
<![CDATA[Byron Scott to Lakers: Get Paul George]]>Sun, 07 May 2017 13:09:32 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/BYRON_ON_LAKERS_PICK_1200x675_938339395999.jpg

Former Lakers Coach Byron Scott knows what he would do if the Lakers manage to land a top three pick, and it involves getting Paul George in purple and gold. Part of an interview originally aired on Going Roggin, Sunday, May 7, 2017.]]>
<![CDATA[Kershaw, Bellinger Lead Dodgers Over Padres ]]>Sat, 06 May 2017 21:40:00 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/180*120/AP_17127118098878.jpg

Don't make Clayton Kershaw angry.

The three-time Cy Young Award winner struck out nine Padres, Cody Bellinger hit a grand slam, and the Los Angeles Dodgers won their second straight game in San Diego, 10-2, on Saturday night at Petco Park.

Kershaw threw seven shutout innings before allowing a solo shot to Ryan Schimpf in the bottom of the eighth.

Other than the one mistake to Schimpf, Kershaw was lights out, allowing just one run on five hits with four walks and nine strikeouts. Kershaw's four free passes issued were the most since May 10, 2015 against Colorado at Coors Field.

Another Clayton, Padres' starting pitcher, Clayton Richard, did not fair as well as the Dodgers avenged a loss to Richard in the second game of the season at Dodger Stadium.

Richard surrendered five runs on seven hits with a career-high six walks and five strikeouts in just five short innings for San Diego.

Bellinger bookended the scoring for the Boys in Blue with an RBI single in the fourth, and a grand slam in the top of the ninth.

It was the first grand slam of Bellinger's career and his fifth home run in his first 11 games as a big leaguer, a Dodgers franchise record.

The Dodgers gave Kershaw the lead with three runs in the fourth inning, and tacked on two more when Kiké Hernandez hit a two-run double with the bases loaded in the top of the fifth.

Hernandez drilled a line drive down the left-field line that could have cleared the bases, but Franklin Gutierrez stopped at third base and had to exit the game with a hamstring injury.

Kershaw cruised until he ran into some trouble in the bottom of the eighth. After he leadoff home run to Schimpf, he nearly got himself ejected after he argued a ball call by home plate umpire, Toby Basner, on a pitch that looked like it should have been strike three.

Kenley Jansen came into the game with the bases loaded in the bottom of the eight looking for a four-out save. Bellinger's slam gave the Dodgers a nine-run lead, but if Jansen could finish off the bottom of the ninth, he still would have recorded the save. 

However, the all-time saves leader in franchise history, struggled in the ninth, and was relieved by Chris Hatcher with two outs in the bottom of the ninth, negating the save opportunity for Jansen.

Up Next:

Brandon McCarthy looks to remain undefeated opposite RHP Trevor Cahill on Sunday afternoon. Rain is expected and it could delay the game which is scheduled to start at 1:10PM PST. 



Photo Credit: Gregory Bull/AP]]>
<![CDATA[Ducks Make Record Rally, Perry Scores in 2OT to Top Oilers]]>Sat, 06 May 2017 08:31:39 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/182*120/AP_17126244206518.jpg

Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf have been preparing for these moments for their entire adult lives. Nearly 14 years after the Anaheim Ducks drafted them together, they've built a mental connection that remains indelible through any playoff pressure or defensive determination.

So when Getzlaf found the puck and a sliver of space on the boards in the second overtime of a crucial playoff game Friday night, Perry's feet moved before his thoughts.

"Right to the net," Perry said. "He had eyes up, and he had time, and I was yelling for that puck the whole way."

After the unprecedented comeback required just to get back into Game 5, the Ducks finished it off with one more moment of hard-earned grace from their dynamic duo.

Perry scored 6:57 into the second OT after the Ducks rallied from a three-goal deficit in the final minutes of regulation, completing a spectacular 4-3 victory over the Edmonton Oilers and seizing a 3-2 lead in their second-round playoff series.

Anaheim became the first team in Stanley Cup playoff history to force overtime or win a playoff game after trailing by three goals with less than four minutes left in regulation, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

While the Oilers cried foul over a no-call of goalie interference on Rickard Rakell's tying score with 15 seconds left in regulation, the Ducks celebrated their third straight win — and the first home victory for either team in the series.

Perry, who finished with a goal and two assists, collected that pass from Getzlaf and waited out a sprawling Cam Talbot, who made 60 saves.

"That's will," said Getzlaf, who has scored 15 points in a spectacular postseason. "We willed it through, and did whatever we had to do. We scratched and clawed at the end and found a way to get ourselves back in that game and give ourselves an opportunity."

Game 6 is Sunday in Edmonton.

Getzlaf got the first goal of the comeback with 3:16 left in regulation, and Cam Fowler scored 35 seconds later before Rakell put the tying goal through a crowd of prone players to cap a stunning sequence — all with goalie John Gibson pulled for an extra attacker.

On his 24th birthday, Rakell slipped a puck under a crowd that included a horizontal Ryan Kesler making some contact with Talbot. Video review found no goalie interference because Kesler had been shoved into Talbot by Darnell Nurse, and the Ducks celebrated madly.

"I don't even know what goalie interference is anymore, to be perfectly honest," Edmonton forward Milan Lucic said. "It's an absolute joke that especially two really good referees can't make the right call at the right time."

Leon Draisaitl, Connor McDavid and Drake Caggiula scored during a dominant second period, but the Oilers coughed up a big late lead despite solid play by Talbot.

Talbot acknowledged his own frustration over the no-call, but said: "At the same time, we had a 3-nothing lead with 3 1/2 minutes to go. We had every opportunity to win that game. ... They get a lucky bounce there, and it just started to unravel from there. We did a good job battling back in overtime, got a few good chances, but weren't on top of things."

Gibson made 35 saves, helping the Ducks move one win away from their second trip to the Western Conference finals in three seasons.

After a disastrous start to the series in Anaheim, the Ducks returned home with confidence and two gritty road wins, including an overtime victory in Game 4.

Edmonton appeared to be ready to run away with Game 5 in the second period. After Draisaitl's opener, McDavid capitalized on a two-man advantage by adroitly batting a puck out of midair for the fifth goal in his first Stanley Cup playoff run. Caggiula put the Oilers up 3-0 with a score off a 4-on-1 rush midway through the period.

But Edmonton couldn't hang on in regulation after the Ducks pulled Gibson and one of the most improbable rallies in NHL playoff history.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: AP Photo/Chris Carlson]]>
<![CDATA[Bellinger Belts 2 Homers as Dodgers Beat Padres]]>Fri, 05 May 2017 23:54:07 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/160*135/AP_17126161908514.jpg

The legend of Cody Bellinger added another chapter.

Bellinger belted two home runs for the second time in a week and the Los Angeles Dodgers ran away from the San Diego Padres, 8-2, on Friday night at Petco Park.

Just hours after the Dodgers announced that Bellinger would be the everyday first baseman for the next couple weeks, following the decision to place Adrian Gonzalez on the disabled list for the first time in his career, Bellinger provided most of the offense for the Boys in Blue.

"Every time he steps in the batter's box you think something really exciting or special is going to happen," said Dodgers' manager Dave Roberts. 

The rookie first baseman continues to prove he belongs in the big leagues as Bellinger sent a four-seam fastball into the upper deck in right field to start the scoring in the fourth inning. The ball traveled an estimated 438 feet on the homer.

But the 21-year-old wasn't done yet as be broke the game open in the top of the ninth with a three-run blast to dead-center off Miguel Diaz.

The second home run, made Bellinger the first Dodger player in franchise history to have a pair of multi-homer games in the first ten games of their big league career.

"If you had told me I would start out this hot, I would have thought you were crazy," said Bellinger of his metoric rise in the Majors. "It's pretty crazy how things are working out."

Kenta Maeda got the start, but did not factor in the decision, allowing two runs (one earned) on three hits with three walks and eight strikeouts in five solid innings.

"It was an interesting night," Maeda said through a translator after the game. "In terms of the result, five innings is a little too short for me, but I'm getting a better feel for my pitches with each outing."

Sergio Romo got the win and Josh Fields became the first Dodgers' reliever not named Kenley Jansen to record a regular season save since 2015.

Clayton Kershaw famously picked up the save in Game 5 of the NLDS against the Washington Nationals last year.

After Bellinger gave the Dodgers a one-run lead, the Padres scored two runs in the bottom of the fifth to turn the tables on the boys in blue. 

Andrew Toles delivered a two-run double in then top of the seventh to give the Dodgers the lead and L.A. never looked back, providing an insurance run in the eighth, and four in the ninth.

The Dodgers improved to 7-4 on Cinco De Mayo.

Up Next:

Clayton Kershaw returns to the mound for the Boys in Blue as he goes up against Padres left-hander, Clayton Richard on Saturday night at 5:40PM PST. 



Photo Credit: Alex Gallardo/AP]]>
<![CDATA[Real-Life 'Rocky' Hits Theaters in 'Chuck']]>Fri, 05 May 2017 21:42:30 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/180*120/Schreiber_and_trainer.jpg

Do you follow boxing?

No.

Did you see "Rocky?"

The first words of the theatrical trailer for the upcoming movie, "Chuck," are really all you need to know. If you're a fan of boxing, chances are you've heard the name Chuck Wepner.

Wepner was a boxer in the 1970s, who once was the world's number one ranked contender. In 1975, he went 15 rounds in a heavyweight title fight against the great Muhammad Ali, before fading into relative boxing oblivion following the success of that fight.

Fight fans know Wepner as "The Bayonne Bleeder," a man who could take a punch like nobody else as his rough, unpolished, "street style" technique led opposing boxers to call him "dirty," and "a survivor."

If you still don't know Chuck Wepner, chances are you're familiar with his alias: Rocky Balboa.

That's right, Wepner's epic 15-round fight with Ali became the inspiration for Sylvester Stallone's succesful Rocky franchise.

There's been a lot of boxing movies recently, including Stallone's new spinoff "Creed," about the son of archrival Apollo Creed. Often times the trap in these boxing movies and biopics in general, is that as predictable as they are, they rarely show the punches taken by these larger than life characters outside the ring. 

As any athlete understands, the highs and lows felt during competition, pale in comparison to the highs and lows of life. The same can be said for the life of Chuck Wepner.


Certainly "Chuck," which stars Liev Schreiber of "Ray Donovan" fame, and opens Friday, May 5th, in select theaters in New York and Los Angeles, has plenty of in-the-ring boxing action, but it's the punches Chuck takes outside the ring that are what truly fuel this film.

"We don't fall into that trap," joked Schreiber when asked by NBC LA reporter Michael Duarte if the real life Chuck Wepner was uncomfortable with the telling of any parts of his story. "Chuck's a very open guy. He wants people to know who he is. We had no problem with that. The harder aspects of his story, are what makes it like a fight. It's our ability as human beings to persevere and to come through something like that, that makes us so special. Boxing is a microcosm of life, to make your way through 15 rounds of a prize fight, you've been through something profound."

The most profound discovery that came from Wepner's 15 rounds with Ali, was the fame that followed. The notoriety that comes from knocking down the greatest heavyweight champion of all time, and subsequently, the stardom that follows after they make an Oscar-winning movie about your life.

What's interesting about Wepner's underdog story in the film, is not the 15 rounds he goes toe-to-toe with Ali, played by real-life boxer, Pooch Hall, but the 15 rounds of life that Wepner experiences outside the ring.

After Wepner's fight with Ali, "Chuck," which was directed by Phillppe Falardeau, paints the picture of what followed. As Wepener rises to fame, he spends his days and nights partying on the Jersey Shore until his escapades eventually lead to the exit of his wife Phyllis, played by Elisabeth Moss of "Mad Men" fame, and his daughter.

Wepner enjoys alcohol, cocaine, and women, but his real life drug was fame, a harsh reality that the film is not afraid to shy away from. In order to keep his name in the headlines, Wepner does anything to stay relevant, including fighting Andre the Giant, and a grizzly bear.

As Wepner's life continues to spiral out of control, he's given a lifeline by Stallone who asks Wepner to audition for his "Rocky" sequel, "Rocky II." Instead of rehearsing his lines and preparing for the audition, Wepner parties with his best friend John (Jim Gaffigan), and goes skinny-dipping with women as they run "other lines."

Of course, Wepner shows up extremely late to the audition, high as a kite, and reeking of booze. Predictably, he struggles to get through the scene with Stallone, and as you can expect, doesn't get the role. Wepner reaches rock-bottom, and it's in the final act of the film, that a love story with fast-talking bartender, Linda, played by Schreiber's real-life partner, Naomi Watts,begins to blossom, rescuing Wepner from himself.


Schreiber boxes in real life and has been training for the better part of 15 years. He was sent the script for "Chuck," over ten years ago, but it was after a successful stint as Ray Donovan, that Schreiber wanted to make the film as a change of pace.

We're glad he did, as Schreiber is excellent in playing the "Real Life Rocky." Inside the ring, Schreiber took real punches from boxers, including Hall who he spars with on a weekly basis. He admits it wasn't the best idea he's ever had, but it helps make the scenes inside the ring more authentic for the avid fight fan. As Wepener's life ebbs and flows, Schreiber plays it all with a human touch. Portraying Wepner's naivety and charm, even as he burns his life to the ground.

Wepner is flawed, and Schreiber knows that. Neither the actor, nor the real-life legend is afraid to show that, and it's that aspect which makes the film so interesting to watch. If you like sports, boxing, or are just a fan of non-fiction, you'll enjoy this movie. It's not the Ali-Frazier of movies, heck, it isn't even the Rumble in the Jungle, but with a run time of just 98 minutes, it will definitely keep you entertained.

"Chuck," rated R, is playing at the ArcLight in Hollywood with a Q&A with Schreiber this Friday (May 5) and Saturday (May 6). It also is at The Landmark in West L.A. It opens nationwide on May 12th and May 19th.



Photo Credit: Sarah Shatz]]>
<![CDATA[Getzlaf is Driving Ducks Toward Pivotal Game 5 With Oilers]]>Fri, 05 May 2017 07:06:35 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/170*120/AP_17119168186976.jpg

A decade after Ryan Getzlaf raised the Stanley Cup for the first and only time, the Anaheim Ducks captain appears to be extremely eager to hoist it above his head again.

Getzlaf's spectacular postseason hit a new high point Wednesday when he figured in every goal for the Ducks in their 4-3 overtime win at Edmonton, getting two goals and two assists as Anaheim evened its thoroughly entertaining second-round series.

Snatching two victories from the teeth of a frenzied Canadian crowd is a remarkable achievement, but Getzlaf has the perspective of experience when he looks at where the Ducks are sitting as they head into Game 5 at Honda Center on Friday night (10:30 p.m. EDT, NBCSN).

"We haven't done anything yet," Getzlaf said Thursday after the Ducks returned to Orange County. "It's all about our response for Game 5."

The home team hasn't won yet in this series, and the Oilers are 4-1 in California during their impressive return to the Stanley Cup playoffs this spring. Although the Ducks pulled even with Edmonton by remaining unbeaten on the road in these playoffs, Anaheim has never overcome a 2-0 deficit to win a playoff series.

And none of those metrics mean anything, according to the captain.

"I've been explaining this for 12 years, and I'll probably explain it for 12 more," Getzlaf said with an exasperated grin. "Home ice is home ice. You feel better in your building. Obviously, you feel more comfortable. But if you look back on history, there's no rhyme or reason on whether you win or lose. It's about going out and playing and executing, and the better team is going to win. It doesn't matter what building you're playing in."

Getzlaf has executed at an extraordinary level in these playoffs. He has seven goals and six assists in just eight games, ranking second in the league in playoff scoring.

He has already matched his single-season career high for postseason goals, and he is dominating play with his usual superb passing and an aggressive two-way mentality. While longtime linemate Corey Perry struggled for most of this season, Getzlaf has been among the game's best players since the All-Star break — even if he doesn't get a wealth of NHL attention playing out on the West Coast.

"He's been — pretty much night in and night out — the most dominant player on the ice," Anaheim defenseman Cam Fowler said. "He's doing a little bit of everything. His stat line (in Game 4) was just ridiculous. That's something that you don't see very often, and to see it up close and personal was pretty special. It's no secret to us or anybody that he can certainly lift us up and pull us along. When he leads, we follow, and when he is playing like that, it's tough not to just give 100 percent of all your effort, because that's what he's doing, and he expects the rest of us to follow up."

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: AP Photo/Chris Carlson]]>
<![CDATA[Silfverberg Scores in OT as Ducks Top Oilers 4-3 in Game 4]]>Thu, 04 May 2017 07:15:40 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/160*124/AP_17124196287923.jpg

Ryan Getzlaf was a one-man wrecking crew at a big moment for the Anaheim Ducks.

Getzlaf scored twice and assisted on two goals, including Jakob Silfverberg's game-winner 45 seconds into overtime, and the Ducks topped the Edmonton Oilers 4-3 in Game 4 of their second-round playoff series on Wednesday night.

"If he keeps doing this, we're going to have fun time here," Silfverberg said.

"He's one of the best players in the league and when he plays like he did tonight with that aggressiveness and physicality, he kind of pushes the whole team to move forward with him."

Rickard Rakell also scored for Anaheim, which has won two in a row after dropping the first two games of the series at home. John Gibson made 29 saves.

Drake Caggiula, Connor McDavid and Milan Lucic scored for Edmonton, and Cam Talbot had 35 stops.

"It's a 2-2 series now," Caggiula said. "We have to make sure we play a full 60 minutes going forward here. We were in this situation last series too, and it worked out just fine."

Anaheim had a 3-2 lead before Caggiula snapped a rebound over Gibson's head at 18:18 of the third. It was the rookie's first career playoff point.

Game 5 is Friday night, back in Southern California.

"We haven't accomplished anything yet," Getzlaf said. "All we did was get our home-ice back. We've got to take this one, breathe, breathe, the next day and a half here and get ready for Game 5."

Edmonton led 2-0 after the opening period on goals from Lucic and McDavid.

Getzlaf sparked Anaheim's rally, scoring 97 seconds into the second and producing a go-ahead goal at 14:25. With his 35th and 36th playoff goals, Getzlaf surpassed Teemu Selanne as the franchise's career leader.

"When he's your centerpiece and he's doing what he's doing and accomplishing what he's doing, you'd have to scratch your head and really dig deep into the archives of when he's played better," Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said.

"He's been an energized player since our five-day break. Whatever he had on that five-day break, we're going to find out and give him more of it."

Said Getzlaf: "I feel good right now, I'll put it that way. It's a fun time of year. I love playing right now."

Patrick Eaves was scratched Wednesday due to a lower-body injury suffered in Game 3, so Corey Perry was reunited with Getzlaf on Anaheim's top line with Rakell.

Edmonton unsuccessfully challenged for goaltender interference on Getzlaf's goal at 1:37. The Oilers contended Perry bumped Talbot as he was beaten on a wrist shot.

"I disagree with the call or I wouldn't have challenged it," Oilers coach Todd McLellan said. "I thought he interfered with blocker and hands and he (Talbot) couldn't make the save. They didn't see it that way. They gained a little momentum at that point."

The Ducks tied it at 2 when Getzlaf threaded a goalmouth pass over to Rakell, who batted it past Talbot's glove. Getzlaf then pounced on a rebound that Oilers forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins failed to clear, giving Anaheim a 3-2 lead heading into the third.

Gibson held off the Oilers over the first 10 minutes of the game when they outshot the Ducks 8-3. McDavid was the most dangerous player in the opening minutes with a pair of scoring chances.

Lucic put Edmonton in front with a power-play goal at 15:38, and McDavid swept the puck over Gibson at 17:43 for his second goal of the series and fifth of the postseason. Leon Draisaitl assisted on each of the first-period goals.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press via AP]]>
<![CDATA[Dodgers Give Game to Giants on Vin Scully Night]]>Thu, 04 May 2017 00:14:46 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/220*120/Vin+Scully+Ring+of+Honor+Dodger+Game.png

They didn't win for Vin.

Gorkys Hernandez hit the game-winning double in the top of the 11th and the San Francisco Giants defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers, 4-1, on Vin Scully Night at Dodger Stadium.

The Hall of Fame broadcaster was inducted into the Dodgers' Ring of Honor during a pregame ceremony in left field. Scully joins 10 other Dodger legends, nine of which are also Hall of Famers whose numbers are retired at the Ravine.

The Dodgers scored their lone run of the game on a costly error by second baseman Joe Panik. Panik dropped a fly ball from Yasiel Puig, which may-or-may-not have landed in foul territory, and the Wild Horse scampered to third on the misplay.

Two batters later, Chris Taylor singled to right field to give the Dodgers the lead.

The lead was short-lived as San Francisco tied the game in the top of the eighth, cashing in on a mistake by Dodgers reliever, Ross Stripling.

"It was a weird series of events that led to the tying run," said Stripling. "It was frustrating, but that's the way it goes."

After a leadoff single by Hunter Pence, Stripling bounced a ball into the dirt to Buster Posey that rolled all the way to the backstop, allowing Pence to take third on the play. Two pitches later, he scored on a groundout to second base.

"I thought Utley was going to be in on the Posey ball, but I guess with two strikes he [Roberts] had moved him back," Stripling said of the play that scored the tying run. "Off the bat I was like, 'heck yeah!' then I look and he's playing in his normal spot. It kinda stinks."

"When you're at home, you try and play for the tie to still have at-bats to extend the game," said Roberts. "Versus nobody out, play the infield in, a seeing-eye [single] gets through and the inning keeps going and you could lose the game. I felt like with the matchup I'd rather extend the game."

The game went to extra innings, the third time this season the Dodgers have played more baseball, and each time has been against the Giants.

For the second consecutive appearance, left-hander Grant Dayton allowed at least two runs, as he surrendered three in the top of the 11th to give San Francisco the win, and the series.

Dayton had made eight previous appearances on the season without allowing run before allowing five runs in his last two games.

Juio Urias fired five scoreless innings in just his second start of the season, but did not factor in the decision as he left the game with both teams deadlocked in a scoreless tie.

"I wasted a lot of pitches early tonight and got behind in the count a lot," said Urias of his outing. "I kept attacking. Thank God I was able to get out of some tough situations."

Jeff Samardzija started the game for the Giants and had his best pitching performance of the season.

The San Francisco right-hander known as "The Shark," allowed one unearned run on three hits with no walks and eleven strikeouts in eight strong innings.

"What a beauty he threw tonight," said Giants' manager Bruce Bochy of his starting pitcher. "He was on top of his game and had a great look about him tonight. He was maniacally focused."

Despite the loss for the Dodgers, the night belonged to Vin Scully who brought fans to their feet before the game with his classic line, "It's Time for Dodger Baseball." The first 40,000 fans also received a commemorative Vin Scully microphone and listened to many of Vin's legendary calls played on the video board throughout the game.


Up Next: 

The Dodgers will have a rare day off on Thursday before heading south on the 5 freeway for a weekend series against San Diego. Kenta Maeda is expected to start on Friday for L.A. as Jhoulys Chacin goes for the Padres. First pitch is 7:10PM PST. 



Photo Credit: AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill]]>
<![CDATA[Dodgers Induct Vin Scully Into Ring of Honor ]]>Wed, 03 May 2017 18:24:36 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/188*120/Vin+Scully+Ring+of+Honor.png

It was as if he never left.

Hall of Fame broadcaster Vin Scully returned to Dodger Stadium on Wednesday afternoon and sat down with reporters for about twenty minutes, weaving stories with ad-libs in classic Scully fashion.

"'ll give it my serious consideration, but first I'll have to work on the infield fly rule," joked Scully, when asked what he would do with North Korea if he were President of the United States.

Scully wasn't here to talk politics, although he admitted he watches more of it now that he's retired, the legendary broadcaster was back at Chavez Ravine to become the 11th inductee into the Dodgers Ring of Honor, located above the loge section in left field.

"I'm looking forward to it," Scully said of joining the other Dodgers' legends. "But in all honesty, I hope it's brief."

Scully will get his wish as the pregame ceremony will only last about 10 minutes as his plaque, bearing a microphone emblem, joins the likes of Pee Wee Reese, Tommy Lasorda, Duke Snider, Walter Alston, Roy Campanella, Sandy Koufax, Jackie Robinson, and Don Drysdale.

In his press conference, Scully had a story about each and every one of his fellow members of the ring of honor, whether it was Pee Wee Reese's wife cooking for all the Dodger players, Walter Alston delivering a speech on a bus, or Tommy Lasorda trying to pitch batting practice to 700 players for a measly $50, Scully had an aside for everyone.

"It's very emotional, even though I don't show it," said Scully of joining those careers that he called. "I don't see those numbers. When I look at those numbers, I see faces, I hear voices. I see those numbers move. I look at 39, and I don't see 39, I see Roy Campanella. I see outside the kitchen in Vero Beach, I used to literally sit at his feet and Campy would tell stories. I can do that with every number up there. For me to be with Pee Wee Reese, and Duke Snider, and Roy Campanella, and all of the other great players, there's a sense of looking back. That was my graduating class. Those were the ones who started me on my career."

Scully's career spanned 67 seasons before he retired from broadcasting last year. He admitted shortly after Opening Day that his retirement hadn't quite hit him until the season started, but now that a month has gone by, he knows he made the right decision, and is at peace in his life.

"I miss it the way you or I would miss fellows you or I hung out with in college," said Scully. "Life has called us to eventually drift apart. I did it for 67 years, so it's pretty hard to just turn away. However, every minute I look at Sandy in the house, I know it's the right time and I'm in the right place in my life."

Scully expected to be reading more books in retirement, but said that Sandy and their grandkids have kept him busy. His favorite part is not having to prepare to call games, instead enjoying afternoons in his backyard.

"I like sitting in the backyard sipping on something cold at around 5 o'clock, instead of being here, going over my ad libs."

Scully confessed he has not watched any games on television this season, but is instead keeping up with the team through the newspaper articles the morning after.

In his comments to the media, he spoke specifically about the rise of Cody Bellinger, Logan Forsythe's injury, and the hot start to the season for Yasiel Puig.

Fans are asked to arrive early on Wednesday for the ceremony and video tributes that are expected to start at 6:00PM PST. The first 40,000 fans in attendance will receive a commemorative Vin Scully microphone, but as for Vin returning to the mic himself, he has had no thoughts of that.

"It's been easier than I thought because I'm totally and completely at peace, it's a remarkable feeling," he said on how hard it's been to leave the booth. "I am completely at peace. I'm at the right spot in my life at the right time."

Through it all, Scully was as stoic and charming as ever. When asked if he planned to see the musical "Hamilton," now that it's coming to L.A., he smiled and said.

"I really don't like that kind of music. If I can't hum it, I don't want to see it."

There's been rumors and rumblings that the Dodgers will soon erect a statue for Scully outside Dodger Stadium to join Jackie Robinson, but if you ask Vin, he would prefer that Wednesday is his last time in the spotlight at Dodger Stadium.

"I can't think of another award I could get, unless it's cleanliness," joked Scully. "This is the last time, in my mind, that I'll be in the spotlight. I'll plan to be here sometimes, but no one will know. Sandy and I will come in and then leave and that will be that. This is the last hurrah, the last time I'm on the field."

"I've spent so many thousands of yesterdays but you get to an age where you say, 'How many tomorrows do I have left?'" he said.

"If somebody said to you, 'You only have 123 tomorrows as of today,' the first thing you would say is, 'Whoa, they're precious,' I want to be with the most precious part of my life," finished Scully. "And that's where I am. However many tomorrows I have, I'm spending my todays exactly the way I want."

I think I speak for Dodger fans across the globe when I say, we hope you have a lot more tomorrows, Vin.



Photo Credit: AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill]]>
<![CDATA[Kobe Bryant Helping Celtics Isaiah Thomas]]>Wed, 03 May 2017 16:44:04 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Kobe-Bryant-helping-Isaiah-thomas-Lakers-Celtics.jpg

Speaking with reporters, Boston Celtics star guard Isaiah Thomas revealed that he's had a bit of help lately during the NBA Playoffs, and it comes from the most unlikely of sources: former LA Lakers star Kobe Bryant.

Yes, the self-proclaimed "die hard" life long Lakers' fan who went on to win five titles, including his final ring over the rival Celtics, has been secretly giving the Celtics an edge in the postseason, according to Thomas himself.

Thomas revealed that Bryant reached out to him after the passing of his sister in an auto accident, and since the five-time champions has shared his wisdom with the Celtics' guard, Boston is 6-0 in the playoffs and appears on track for the Eastern Conference Finals.

Prior to Bryant's intervention, the Celtics were 0-2 and looked headed for a shocking first round exit to the Chicago Bulls after losing both opening home games of the first round series.

Asked what specifically Bryant saw and what made Bryant's advice so helpful, Thomas refused to divulge the secrets of the future Hall of Famer. However, the 28-year-old shared that Bryant's attention to detail went as far as giving Thomas instructions on what to look for at exact points on time-stamped film.

"He made me figure out a lot of things," Thomas said, calling Bryant reaching out as "the craziest thing that's happend" to him.

Thomas, who grew up as a fan of the purple and gold, also shared how surreal it felt to get a call from the Lakers' legend. Famously, Thomas got his name because his father, who was a die-hard Lakers' fan, bet his friend the Lakers would beat the Detroit Pistons or he would name his son after the Pistons' point guard. Obviously, the Pistons won.

With regards to Bryant helping the Celtics, the gesture appears to have originated following an unspeakable tragedy striking Thomas and his family, so one should probably look past why a die hard, lifelong Lakers' legend is helping the Celtics win in the playoffs--even if that is, seemingly, exactly what is going on.

With Bryant acting as a special Celtics consultant and helping Thomas, if the Celtics win the title, would Bryant get a ring? Would he be on the parade float?

Suddenly, Bryant's Steve Urkel slam poetry may no longer be the most surprising move of Bryant's life after retirement.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Dodgers Offense Erupts Against Giants]]>Tue, 02 May 2017 23:39:38 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/190*120/Dodgers+Offense+Erupts+.png

Like a dormant volcano, the Dodgers finally erupted against left-handed pitching.

Los Angeles scored 13 runs on 11 hits in a come-from-behind blowout of the San Francisco Giants on Tuesday night at Dodger Stadium. 

Per usual, fans in L.A. arrived fashionably late, seeing the Boys in Blue trail 4-0 before the bottom half of the second inning.

Left-hander Matt Moore was on the mound for San Francisco, so a four-run lead should have been enough against the Dodgers paltry .218 batting average against left-handed pitching this season.

But suddenly, in a flurry and with a fury, the Boys in Blue burst forward, scoring a season-high six runs in the second inning to take a 6-4 lead.

According to STATS, the 10-run second inning is the first time in the Dodgers-Giants rivalry that both teams have played at least four runs in the same inning at Dodger stadium. 

The second inning rally was only the beginning as L.A. tacked on four more in the fourth and three more in the sixth to blowout their rivals, 13-5.

The 13 runs allowed by San Francisco was the most they've given up all season and the most since August 2, 2016 against Philadelphia. 

Franklin Gutierrez homered in his first at-bat back from a stint on the disabled list, and Yasiel Puig was 3-for-5 with four RBI and two runs scored.

21-year-old rookie Cody Bellinger continued his breakout first week in the big leagues with a bases-clearing triple in the second inning.

Bellinger has reached base in all five games he's played at Dodger Stadium and is batting .474 with two home runs, a double, a triple, five RBI and seven runs scored.

"I'm up here to help the team win," said Bellinger of his first week in the big leagues. "I'm just living out my dream right now. I think I belong."

is batting .320 with two homers, five RBI, and seven runs scored since he was called up last Tuesday against the Giants at AT&T Park.

Alex Wood (2-0) got off to a rough start, allowing four runs in the second inning, but he settled in after that, surrendering five runs on seven hits with one walk and eight strikeouts in five innings, earning his second win of the season.

"I was glad we got all those runs back," Wood said of the six-run second inning. "After that I was just trying to last and keep the game close. The way the offense responded was pretty impressive."

Less than a week after allowing just one run on two hits over seven innings in San Francisco, Moore (1-4) was shelled on Tuesday, allowing nine runs on just six hits with five walks and three strikeouts in just 3 and 2/3 innings.

"I can't allow that many runs in the second inning," said a downtrodden Moore after the game. "Even if I give up one or two, we still have the lead. I have to find a way, no matter what it takes to get out of that inning."

The Dodgers drew a total of nine walks in the game, the most since they were issued nine free passes on Sept. 4, 2015 in San Diego. Chris Taylor drew four of those walks, a career-high for him, and the most since A.J. Ellis walked four time against the A's in August of 2015.

All nine starters scored a run for the Dodgers. 

Up Next: 

Wednesday is a showcase of two pitchers in search of their first win of the season as Giants' right-hander Jeff Smardzija pitches opposite 20-year-old Julio Urias. First pitch is at 7:10PM PST.



Photo Credit: AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill]]>
<![CDATA[Justin Turner & Adrian Gonzalez Give Back: "Hopefully it has a big impact"]]>Tue, 02 May 2017 14:44:32 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/DODGERS_GIVE_GLASSES_1200x675_934833219583.jpg

Dodgers stars Justin Turner and Adrian Gonzalez helped hand out eyeglasses to dozens of students in need of better vision. The Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation partnered with Vision to Learn to support excited youngsters at Betty Plasencia Elementary School in Los Angeles.]]>
<![CDATA[Kershaw Struggles in Loss to Giants]]>Mon, 01 May 2017 22:46:50 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/200*120/Kershaw+Struggles+against+Giants.png

Will the real Clayton Kershaw please stand up?

The Dodgers' ace allowed two home runs and the San Francisco Giants stunned Los Angeles, 4-3, on Monday night at Dodger Stadium. 

Whether it was a bad impersonator or simply an off night, Kershaw struggled in his first start against the Giants at home this season.

"It just wasn't a great night," said Kershaw matter of factly. "They don't strikeout. They're one of the few teams these days that take pride in not striking out. They grinded out at-bats."

The three-time NL Cy Young Award winner allowed four runs (three earned) on eight hits with no walks and just five strikeouts in his second loss of the season. It was just the second time in his last 25 starts against San Francisco that Kershaw allowed four or more runs.

"Four runs is tough to give up," added Kershaw. "Especially agianst a guy like Cueto."

San Francisco took Kershaw deep in both the first and third innings as Hunter Pence and Buster Posey both homered off the left-hander.

It was just the 18th time in Kershaw's illustrious career that he allowed two or more home runs in a game, and just the 8th time it happened at Dodger Stadium.

Kershaw got one of the runs back with an RBI single in the second inning that scored Cody Bellinger, but San Francisco starter Johnny Cueto retired the next 13 batters after that, allowing just three runs on six hits with one walk and six strikeouts in seven strong innings.

"I was cheating to get those extra steps," said Bellinger of the play he scored on. "I took a wide turn at third. If I hadn't taken such a wide turn it wouldn't have been as close. Toles [Andrew] told me to slide to the left side, so I listended to him and it worked."

"I gave myself a pep talk after that at-bat," Cueto said of how he was able to retire 13 consecutive hitters following the RBI to Kershaw. "I was timid early on, but after I got upset at myself I was able to grind it out."

Kershaw's outing was even more surprising considering the 2014 MVP was 10-0 with a 0.65 ERA in his last 11 games at Dodger Stadium.

"Obviously, you expect perfection out of Clayton everytime he takes the mound," said Dodgers' manager Dave Roberts about his ace. "He struggled with his slider and left a curveball up to Pence. It was a grind for him tonight."

Derek Law faced just one batter, Yasiel Puig, in the bottom of the ninth, for the one-out save, his first of the season and second of his career. 

The loss snapped the Dodgers' season-high four-game winning streak.

Another streak was snapped as well as  Justin Turner's MLB-best 16-game hitting streak came to an end.

Up Next:

The Dodgers are expected to activate right-hander hitter, Franklin Gutierrez from the 10-day disabled list on Tuesday to start against Giant's lefty Matt Moore. Alex Wood counters for the Dodgers with first pitch scheduled for 7:10PM PST. 



Photo Credit: AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill]]>
<![CDATA[Dodgers Pass Lakers as L.A.'s Favorite Team]]>Mon, 01 May 2017 20:25:39 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/215*120/Dodgers+Pass+Lakers+as+Favorite+LA+Team.png

Move over Lakers, there's a new sheriff in town.

According to a Loyola Marymount University study, the Los Angeles Dodgers have surpassed the Lakers as the most popular sports franchise in Southern California.

Since 2014, the University has conducted the survey, which is led by Thomas and Dorothy Leavy of the Center for the Study of Los Angeles. Each January, they poll 2,400 adults in the L.A. area, asking them one simple question:

"What is your favorite professional sports team in Los Angeles?" 

For three consecutive years, the answer has been the same: the Lake Show. But for the first time since the poll started, the Dodgers surpassed the historic NBA franchise by a single percent, 36 to 35, in 2017.

It's not hard to fathom how this happened. The Los Angeles Dodgers were at a low point in their franchise's history in 2012 when Frank McCourt owned the team as he was locked in a high-profile court battle with his ex-wife, Jamie, over who was the rightful owner of the team.

The Dodgers hadn't made the playoffs in three consecutive seasons and attendance numbers dipped significantly as fans showed their disapproval of ownership. McCourt sold the team that year to the Guggenheim group, led by former Lakers' star, Magic Johnson.

Johnson vowed that he would help make the Dodgers as big as the Lakers, and that his first order of business was to bring the fans back. Since Johnson's group took over, the Dodgers have won four consecutive NL West Division titles, and have come within two wins of reaching their first World Series since 1988.

Over that same span, the Lakers have gone through a rough patch to say the least. After the death of owner Jerry Buss in February of 2013, the Lakers lost marquee players like Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol to free agency without anything in return, and subsequently fell into a dark period of ineptitude that the franchise had never seen before. 

In Dr. Buss's 34 years as owner of the Lakers, the team made the playoffs 32 times. Only twice over that span did the 16-time NBA Champions not make the postseason.

Since Dr. Buss's death, they have yet to make the postseason, finishing in the bottom five of the league for four consecutive years. 

When the survey was first conducted, the Lakers received 42 percent of the vote compared to 35 percent for the Dodgers. However, as both teams stock have gone in opposite directions over the past four years, the Lakers popularity has slipped, whereas the Dodgers has risen, proving that the City of Angels admires winning above all else.

The city's newest sports team, the Los Angeles Rams, found that out the hard way last year, their first season back after 20 years in St. Louis.

Initially, fans in Los Angeles were excited for the return of the Rams, with nearly 90,000 fans in attendance tor the team's preseason game against the Dallas Cowboys last August. 

However, as the season progressed, the Rams became more and more dreadful on the field. They fired their coach midway through the season and finished 4-12, playing in front of a half-empty L.A. Coliseum by season's end. 

The Rams received just five percent of the vote in 2017, with the Clippers finishing in third place with 7 percent, the Angels and Kings tied with 6 percent, the L.A. Galaxy with five percent, and the Sparks with just 0.2 percent. 

The Anaheim Ducks were not part of the survey, nor were L.A's newest NFL franchise the Chargers who have yet to play a game in the city since announcing their relocation from San Diego this winter.

NBC LA has conducted similar polls over the past few years with similar results as the LMU study.

Another reason for the Lakers popularity decline this year, is the departure of fan favorite and future Hall of Famer, Kobe Bryant. Bryant completed his 20th and final season with the Lakers in 2016, as fans said farewell to the five-time NBA Champion.


Meanwhile, the Lakers young nucleus of Julius Randle, D'Angelo Russell and Brandon Ingram has been fun to watch at times, but they have not been nearly as successful as the Dodgers young stars like reigning NL Rookie of the Year Winner, Corey Seager, or last season's top pitching prospect, Julio Urias, who is of Mexican descent.

The good news for the Lakers, is that the man partially responsible for leading the Dodgers back to the top has just been named President of Basketball Operations for the Lake Show.

Magic has promised to guide the Lakers back to the championship caliber club they have always been, and has made it no secret that his first order of business is to attract stars back to Hollywood.

Despite the Dodgers lead in popularity, if Magic and the Lakers can land a big name star this offseason and make the NBA Playoffs, it shouldn't take long for them to regain their stranglehold as L.A's favorite team.

The Los Angeles Times was the first to report the findings of the study.



Photo Credit: Harry How/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Byron Scott on LA Riots: 'It was like a War Zone']]>Mon, 01 May 2017 15:07:11 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/BYRON_SCOTT_RIOTS_1200x675_933938243977.jpg

Former Laker Byron Scott describes the scenes he witnessed on the night the LA Riots broke out 25 years ago, chaos that unfolded as the Lakers were winning a playoff game at The Forum.]]>
<![CDATA[Mike Scioscia on LA Riots: 'We Were All Affected']]>Mon, 01 May 2017 15:07:56 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/MIKE_SCIOSCIA_RIOTS_1200x675_933935171753.jpg

25 years after the LA Riots, former Dodgers Catcher (now Angels Manager) Mike Scioscia reflects on the moment he heard about the chaos that was unfolding while the team was playing at Dodger Stadium.]]>
<![CDATA[Discover Your Dodgers: Grant Dayton Fan Questions]]>Mon, 01 May 2017 07:35:33 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Grant_Dayton_Short_Interview_1200x675_933584963987.jpg

NBC LA Sports Reporter, Michael J. Duarte, talks to Los Angeles Dodgers' reliever Grant Dayton about his favorite food, his most embarrassing moment, and a gift he got from Clayton Kershaw.]]>
<![CDATA[Discover Your Dodgers; Grant Dayton ]]>Mon, 01 May 2017 07:32:40 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/215*120/Screen+Shot+2017-05-01+at+5.07.03+AM.png

NBC LA Sports Reporter, Michael J. Duarte, talks to Los Angeles Dodgers' reliever Grant Dayton about his Alabama roots, his favorite Thanksgiving side dish, and his relationship with the late Jose Fernandez.

Photo Credit: Michael Duarte]]>
<![CDATA[Dodgers Sweep Phillies ]]>Sun, 30 Apr 2017 16:34:54 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-675231940.jpg

The Dodgers put the Phillies in the dustpan. 

Andrew Toles hit a three-run homer, Hyun-Jin Ryu pitched 5 1/3 solid innings and the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Philadelphia Phillies, 5-1, to complete the three-game sweep on Sunday.

Chris Taylor also connected, helping Los Angeles complete the three-game series sweep. The Dodgers used three consecutive homers and Adrian Gonzalez's game-ending single to rally for a wild 6-5 win on Saturday night.

Ryu (1-4) earned his first victory of the season in his second consecutive strong start. The veteran left-hander struck out nine and allowed one run and three hits. It was Ryu's first win since August of 2014. 

Grant Dayton allowed a two-run homer to Odubel Herrera in the top of the ninth before Kenley Jansen entered the game for the final out, recording his seventh save of the season. 

Up Next: 

Fresh off their four-game series in San Francisco, the Dodgers host the Giants for a three-game series at Chavez Ravine on Monday. Clayton Kershaw will take the mound against Johnny Cueto in wat should be a great opening game of the series. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10PM PST. 

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[LA Loses to Jazz 104-91 in Game 7]]>Sun, 30 Apr 2017 16:41:33 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Clippers+eliminated+in+7+.png

Leave it to the Clippers to do the most "Clipper" thing possible.

In a series where nothing made sense, where the team that was supposed to win would lose, and the team that was supposed to lose would win, the Los Angeles Clippers forced a Game 7 only to get blown out at home, 104-91, to the Utah Jazz on Sunday at Staples Center.

Gordon Hayward scored 26 points for the Jazz who advance to the secound round against the Golden State Warriors. 

"It was a fun atmosphere out there," said Hayward of playing in his first game 7. "You just want to make sure you leave it all out there because you never know when you'll get that chance again."

DeAndre Jordan had 24 and 17 rebounds for the Clippers, Chris Paul chipped in with 13 points and nine assists, and Jamal Crawford got hot late, scoring 20 points off the bench, but it wasn't enough. 

"We were prepared, we had the right intentions, but we really didn't relax and breathe and play like we've been playing," said Crawford. "By the time we settled in and got back in to our game, it was too little too late."

Maybe it was the early start time, maybe Blake Griffin's injury final caught up to them, or any other bevy of excuse you can think of. Either way, the outcome is the same: the Clippers season is over after another underachieving playoff performance.

"Not having Blake obviously is a major wound," said head coach Doc Rivers after the loss. "When you take your best scorer, your second best rebounder, your second best passer off a team...but give Utah credit. They won the series."

Only the Clippers could follow up their grittiest and most impressive victory of the season with their ugliest game of the season.

L.A. had just 39 points at halftime, and more turnovers (8) than they had assists (7). The Clippers also were atrocious from beyond the arc, shooting 6-of-25 from the three-point-line. 

The veteran-laden Clippers were the ones with more playoff experience, they were the ones with more Game 7 experience, they were the ones with the better player (Chris Paul), yet they were the team that looked like they were not ready to take the court on Sunday.

"It all came down to today to keep us afloat, keep us alive," added Paul. "The start don't mean nothing it's how you finish and once again, we're done."

The entire game was encompassed during a play in the middle of the third quarter. After an impressive defensive effort by Paul on the much bigger, Boris Diaw, the French forward appeared to have traveled, but it was not called. As the clock winded down, the Clippers forced a last second shot by Diaw who naturally drained the three-pointer and a foul was called on Paul Pierce on the shot.

The Clippers never recovered, and the mistakes snowballed as L.A. said goodbye to Pierce amidst grunts and groans from fans. Even Jay Z and a very pregnant Beyonce who watched the game courtside, could barely watch the final few minutes of another first round playoff exit for the Clippers.

The underdog Jazz survive and advance, with their second round series with the Warriors slated to start on Tuesday.

For the Clippers, the spotlight turns to the future as this could be the last time Lob City as we know it are on the same roster.

"We'll figure that out," said Rivers who is also the General Manager of the team. "We've been reading about our obituary for about three months now, so I'm sure everyone will have that."

Both Blake Griffin and Chris Paul can opt out of the final year of their contracts and become free agents, J.J. Redick is an unrestricted free agent, as are many of the role players on the Clippers bench.

"I haven't made a decision yet," Paul told NBC LA reporter Michael Duarte after the game. "Right now, I don't know, but I promise you guys [the media] will be the first to know when I do." 

The Clippers could blow the whole thing up and rebuild, an idea called for by many critics. Doc Rivers likely won't stick around for that as he has stated publicly he wants to keep the "Big Three" together.

With the future in doubt, one thing is for certain, the "Clippers Curse" continues to rear it's ugly head, year after year, and this roster will definitely look drastically different next season.



Photo Credit: Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[VIDEOS: The Best of Steve Ballmer]]>Sun, 30 Apr 2017 03:35:15 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/212*120/Steve+Ballmer+Biggest+Fan.png

Welcome to the best of Ballmer. 

It's safe to say that Steve Ballmer is a national treasure. Not only is the Microsoft billionaire the owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, he's also their biggest cheerleader. 

If you've followed Ballmer's exploits over the past few years, you know the eccentric CEO loves to scream, shout and dance during Clippers games, just look at this video from 2015 of Ballmer dancing to a performance by Fergie.

Ballmer has been there with each and every Clippers fan during their first round playoff series with the Utah Jazz. The matchup has easily been the most hotly contested and closest series of the playoffs so far, and the only one that has gone seven games.

Through major injuries to Utah's Rudy Gobert and L.A.'s Blake Griffin, Ballmer was there. He cheered loudly during every exciting moment, and stood stunned during every disappointing one as well.

So in honor of Sunday's Game 7 at Staples Center, we thought we'd bring you the best of Ballmer during this first round of the NBA Playoffs.

Hopefully, the Clippers can win and advance so we can get more of Ballmer, a.k.a. the dancing machine.

Here is Ballmer during the Clippers game 2 win:

Here's Ballmer at Staples Center going through the ebbs and flows of the pivotal Game 5 loss to the Jazz:

The Clippers stunned the Jazz in a closeout game in Game 6 in Utah to force a Game 7 back in L.A. This was the highlight of the game as Austin Rivers nailed a three to give the Clippers an 11-point lead late in the fourth quarter. L.A. went on to win 98-93.

 

 



Photo Credit: Getty Images/Kevork Djansezian]]>
<![CDATA[Dodgers Cap Off Incredible Comeback]]>Sat, 29 Apr 2017 23:46:48 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/175*120/AP_17120129835782.jpg

This will make the hair on your neck stand up.

The Dodgers hit back-to-back-to-back home runs in the bottom of the ninth and walked off on an RBI single by Adrian Gonzalez to shock the Philadelphia Phillies, 6-5, on the 25th anniversary of the L.A. Riots. 

Yasiel Puig, Cody Bellinger, and Justin Turner started the bottom of the ninth with solo home runs off Phillies closer Hector Neris to complete a three-run comeback, that felt eerily similar to the Dodgers "four homers" game in September of 2006. 

As a prime example of just how eerie and cyclical life is, the Dodgers played host to the Phillies at Dodger Stadium on April 29, 1992, the day that a jury in Simi Valley found the four police officers caught beating Rodney King on camera not guilty.

The verdict sparked one of the worst riots in history, and a dark day for the city of Los Angeles. Chavez Ravine was a safe haven of sorts on that night, as players and fans enjoyed a baseball game, unbeknownst to them, the city was crumbling around them.

The Dodgers lost that night, 7-3, and 25 years later, they were about to suffer the same fate until they chose to turn destiny on it's head with one of the more epic comebacks you'll ever see. 

Grant Dayton, who was activated off the 10-day disabled list before the game, picked up the win after pitching a scoreless top of the ninth. 

"With this team, I never felt like being down three runs was really a big deal," said Dayton after his first win. "Obviously tonight, it wasn't. I just kept saying, 'We can do this!'"

The comeback let starting pitcher Brandon McCarthy off the hook as the right-hander remains undefeated on the young season. 

"The end was nice, for those guys to rally up like that and do what they did in the ninth inning was a good statement for us," said McCarthy of the comeback. "We made a statement that said, 'we're not willing to accept our fate, but we're going to be the ones that dictate it.'"

McCarthy allowed four runs on eight hits with one walk and three strikeouts in five innings.

"I had a really inconsistent night," said McCarthy. "It was a battle from the get go. Everything was a C- tonight. Not enough to get destroyed, but not enough to go deep into the game."

Twenty-five years ago, it was current Dodgers' broadcaster, Orel Hershiser, who only lasted five innings as he took the loss on that historic night.

"I knew the riots were 25 years ago tonight, but I didn't know it was against the Phillies," said McCarthy who grew up in nearby Glendale. "My family was living in Pasadena at the time. I was nine years old, my parents were nervous, it was a crazy time."

Cody Bellinger hit his first Major League home run when he sent right-hander Zach Efflin deep in the bottom of the seventh inning and then added the first multi-homer game of his career to his resume when he clanged one off the right field foul pole in the bottom of ninth. 

"I've never been a part of anything like this," said Bellinger. "I'm speechless right now."

Bellinger became the first player Dodgers player since Yasiel Puig (6/4/13) to have multiple homers in a game in which he hit his first career home run.

"I think I acted more wild on the second one," added Bellinger. "I think I'll remember the second one more because of how it ended."

Efflin's only other run allowed was a leadoff home run to Andew Toles, the fourth big fly of the season for the young outfielder.

Other than those two mistakes, Efflin was superb, allowing just two runs on four hits with no walks and four strikeouts in seven strong innings.

Brock Stassi hit a three-run homer off McCarthy in the fourth inning to give the Phillies the lead, and Andrew Knapp followed up Bellinger's first career blast, with the first big league homer of his career in the top of the eighth inning off Hatcher.

Neris blew the save, and then took the loss, his first of the season, after he allowed a single to pinch-hitter Austin Barnes. Two batters later, Corey Seager singled to left field, putting the game-winning run in scoring position. 

"It was a bad day. It's going to happen," said Neris after the game. "They were all fastballs, but I missed my location."

Gonzalez hit a grounder between third and short, Maikel Franco, couldn't make the play and the Dodgers capped off the comeback for their third win in a row. 

"It was extremely exciting," said Gonzalez of the comeback. "I thought it was a routine ground ball to where the third baseman usually plays me, but when I saw he was playing close to the line, I thought it had a chance to get through. Luckily for us it his glove and trickled away from the shortstop.

The bottom of the ninth inning was the first time the Dodgers have gone back-to-back-to-back since Hanley Ramirez, James Loney and Luis Cruz did it on Aug. 18, 2012 in Atlanta. 

Turner's home run, the third and final of the back-to-back-to-back series, was his first of the season, and extended his hitting streak to a career-high, 15 games. 

Up Next:

Nick Pivetta will make his MLB debut for the Phillies on Sunday opposite Hyun-Jin Ryu is still in search of his first win since 2014. First pitch is scheduled for 1:10PM PST. 



Photo Credit: AP/Mark J. Terrill]]>
<![CDATA[On 25th Anniversary of LA Riots, Sports Comes Full Circle ]]>Sun, 30 Apr 2017 02:05:48 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/180*120/Screen+Shot+2017-04-29+at+8.46.37+PM.png

It's been said that "everything is cyclical."

You have no idea.

April 29th, 2017 marks the 25-year anniversary of the LA Riots and for the sports teams in the City of Angels, life is truly coming full circle.

Twenty-five years ago to the date, it was the first round of the NBA Playoffs and the Los Angeles Clippers were doing battle with the Utah Jazz. Game 4 was scheduled to tip-off at the Sports Arena the night of the Rodney King verdict, but the NBA postponed the game, moving it to Anaheim for safety reasons.

The world turned, but 25 years later history repeated itself. A day after the riots the Clippers would win Game 4, to force a do-or-die Game 5 in Salt Lake City. On Friday, the Clippers won Game 6 to force a winner-take-all Game 7 at Staples Center.

"It was a great series if you remember," said Clippers head coach Doc Rivers who ironically was the starting point guard for the Clips during that 1992 series. "It had the interruption with the Rodney King riots. We won Game 3 and felt like we had some momentum going."

The disruption of the riots had many players on both teams fearing for their safety as rioters and looters set the city ablaze. Rivers remembers the Clippers not being able to even find a gym to practice in at the time.

"I can remember us trying to find a practice (place)," continued Rivers. "We had calls out every day. There was nowhere open."

The coincidences don't end there. As feelings of fear and uncertainty gripped the Southland, helicopters flew overhead at Dodger Stadium where the Boys in Blue were hosting the Philadelphia Phillies.

On Saturday, the Dodgers once again played host to the Phillies at Chavez Ravine, 25 years to the day that a jury in a Simi Valley courtroom acquitted the police officers caught beating Rodney King on videotape.


Current Dodgers broadcaster Orel Hershiser was the starting pitcher for that game, the reigning NL Cy Young winner didn't last long as he surrendered five runs in five innings.

By that time, news of the riots had already flashed on the in-stadium video boards as the organization warned fans to avoid the 110 Freeway on their way home.

By the time Hershiser had left the game, the glow from the fires going on down the street in South Central could be seen from the top deck, and once the wave of smoke hit the stadium, fans started to quickly head for the exits.

"By the time the game was in the seventh, eighth inning, there was hardly anybody in the stands at all," current Kansas City Royals hitting coach, Dale Sveum told the L.A. Times. "Then, of course, when the game got over, all hell was breaking loose all over the city."

Sveum was an infielder for the Phillies at the time and remembers Lenny Dykstra hitting two doubles during that game, and current Phillies broadcaster John Kruk scoring two runs off Hershiser.

"It was a bad game and a bad night for LA," Hershiser recalled. "I have nothing else to say."

The riots predated WiFi and smartphones, so news travelled a lot slower back then. The players in the clubhouses had no idea of the chaos occurring around them, but when the team bus had to drive on to the field to pick them up outside the dugouts, everyone, including Dodger stars Darryl Strawberry and Eric Davis, both LA natives, knew something was terribly wrong.


The Dodgers would cancel the next three games and the series picked back up on May 5th in Philadelphia. The Dodgers lost the game on April 29, 7-3, and would go on to lose the series, 2-1, after it reconvened in the City of Brotherly Love.

They went on to lose 99 games that year, one of the worst marks in franchise history. The Clippers of course would drop the decisive game in Salt Lake City and be eliminated from the playoffs.

Here's hoping history doesn't repeat itself. 



Photo Credit: Stephen Dunn/ALLSPORT]]>
<![CDATA[Maeda Looks Like Old Self in Dodgers Win]]>Fri, 28 Apr 2017 23:31:02 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/164*120/GettyImages-674633888.jpg

Is Kenta Maeda back?

The Japanese right-hander recorded his best outing of the season as the Dodgers defeated the Philadelphia Phillies, 5-3, on Friday night, snapping their six-game winning streak.

Maeda (2-2) entered the game with an 8.05 ERA and had never pitched deep into any game on the season. In fact, in his four starts, Maeda never even reached the sixth inning. 

On a windy Friday night at the Ravine, Maeda returned to his 2016 form, striking out a season-high eight batters as he allowed only two runs on five hits in seven strong innings. 

It was the longest Maeda had pitched into a game since July 10, 2016 against the Padres. 

"It was a huge boost of confidence," he said through a translator after going deep into the game. "It was a really good day."

Maeda worked in one of his new pitches, a cutter, for the first time this season, as he told reporters he hopes his new pitch will be another way to get hitters out moving forward. 

Meada got plenty of run support thanks to Justin Turner who went 3-for-4 with a double and two RBI as he extended his hit streak to a career-high 14 games--the longest active hitting streak in MLB.

Since April 13, Turner is batting .400 with five runs, five doubles and seven RBI.

Freddy Galvis knocked in the Phillies first two runs of the game as he extended his own hitting streak to 10 games with a double in the third inning.

Jerad Eickhoff (0-2) gave up nine hits and five runs. It was the first time Eickhoff had given up more than three runs in his last 13 starts.

"I had it in the first inning there and then just couldn’t find the release point," Eickhoff said of his performance. "I struggled with it. I kept them off-balance with the slider and located fastballs. I mean they had seven and eight singles or something like that? So the ball just fell where it did today. It was kind of frustrating but yeah, just the curveball, I couldn’t put them away."

The Phillies pushed a run across in the eighth against two relievers, but Kenley Jansen struck out the side in the ninth for his sixth save.

"I hope this win starts something for us," said Jansen. "I tried to come out more focused tonight."

The postgame fireworks show was cancelled due to the high winds.

The game marked the return of veteran Howie Kendrick to Dodger Stadium. Kendrick spent the last two seasons with the Dodgers, but was traded to the Phillies in the offseason. 

Unfortunately for fans, Kendrick is currently on the disabled list with a right abdominal strain, and is not expected to be activated during the series with the Dodgers. 

UP NEXT

Phillies: RHP Zach Eflin (0-0, 2.25) will make his third start of the season Saturday. He last pitched seven innings and gave up three hits and one run in a no decision against Atlanta on April 23.

Dodgers: RHP Brandon McCarthy (3-0, 2.25) will make his third career start against the Phillies. He is 0-1 against Philadelphia with 17 strikeouts. McCarthy last pitched vs Philly on April 27, 2014 as a member of the Arizona Diamondbacks and lost a 2-0 decision.



Photo Credit: Getty Images/Jayne Kamin-Oncea]]>
<![CDATA[Clippers Force Game 7 With Win Over Jazz]]>Fri, 28 Apr 2017 23:24:21 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/165*120/AP_17119112848914.jpg

The two best words in sports: "Game Seven."

The Los Angeles Clippers did the impossible, and forced a Game 7 at home on Sunday afternoon after they shocked the Utah Jazz, 98-93, in Salt Lake City on Friday night.

Chris Paul scored a team-high 29 points and DeAndre Jordan had 13 points and 16 rebounds as they Clippers left it all out on the court with their backs to the wall.

After a sluggish first half, the Clippers scored 31 points in the third quarter to take an eight-point lead into the final frame.

The Clippers were up 11 points with less than three minutes remaining, but the Jazz went on a 13-5 run to cut the lead to just three points with a chance to tie in the final seconds. 

Joe Johnson missed the game-tying three, and the ball landed out of bounds where the Clippers sealed the deal with two Paul free throws. 

Jamal Crawford scored 12 points off the bench, and Austin Rivers made his first start of the series, scoring 13 points in the win.

Gordon Hayward led the Jazz with 31 points, George Hill chipped in 22 points.

Rodney Hood and Joe Ingles combined to shoot 2-for-16 in the game and 0-for-9 from beyond the arc in the loss.

Up Next: 

Game 7 is scheduled for 12:30PM PST at Staples Center on Sunday, the winner will face the Golden State Warriors in the second round. 

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: AP Photo/Rick Bowmer]]>
<![CDATA[Bellinger Ready for Bright Lights of Dodger Stadium]]>Fri, 28 Apr 2017 20:55:06 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/215*120/Bellinger+Debut.png

It's time to separate the men from the boys.

Cody Bellinger, the Los Angeles Dodgers' top prospect, made his MLB debut on Tuesday in San Francisco, but on Friday he will start under the bright lights of Dodger Stadium for the first time.

Bellinger started the season with the team's Triple-A affiliate in Oklahoma City as once again the Dodgers opened the year with an overcrowded outfield.

The young left-hander can play both corner outfield positions and first base in the major leagues, and is seen by many executives in the Dodgers' front office as the heir apparent to Adrian Gonzalez.


However, after a wrath of injuries struck the Dodgers to start the season—an MLB-leading 12 players on the disabled list—the front office felt that the time was now to call up their top prospect.

No coincidence, the move came less than 24 hours after the rival Giants called up their top prospect, Christian Arroyo, who started at third base against the Dodgers on Monday.

Bellinger was promoted to the Big Leagues on Tuesday, and the 10th ranked prospect in all of baseball wasted no time getting his feet wet as he started in left field with Clayton Kershaw on the mound.

Reportedly, Bellinger was asleep early Monday morning when Dodgers' Director of Player Development, Gabe Kapler, started calling his cellphone around 2:00AM CST. 

The phone rang four different times before roommate and OKC pitcher, Trevor Oaks, woke up Bellinger and told him to take the call.

At just 21 years of age, Bellinger became the youngest Dodger to start in left field, surpassing Frank Howard, who was 22-years-old when he made his MLB debut for the Dodgers in 1958.

Bellinger went 1-for-3 with a walk in his debut, beating out an infield single to short for his first career hit.

"That's not how I imagined it would be, but I'll take it." Bellinger told reporters of the first hit of his career. "Every kid growing up wants a home run as their first hit."

Bellinger's dream of reaching the big leagues was forged in childhood. Born into a baseball family, Bellinger's father, Clay, played 15 years in baseball, including for the New York Yankees between 1999-2001.

Bellinger grew up alongside Andy Pettitte, Derek Jeter and Jorge Posada, and watched his father play in three consecutive World Series.

"It was awesome," Belinger said of growing up around baseball. "Ever since I was little, I was around baseball, in a baseball clubhouse around big leaguers. I took it for granted as a kid. I look back at it now, I was pretty fortunate to hang out with Jeter, Posada and Pettitte, go over to their houses and hang out. I didn't know how lucky I was back then."

Clay coached his son in little league and led Cody's team to the 2007 Little League World Series.

"It was unbelievable," Bellinger said of the LLWS. "I was 11 and on ESPN in front of 30,000 people. It's kind of weird just looking behind me and having all those people watch 11-12 year-olds play, but it was cool getting that experience on Baseball Tonight."

Bellinger was selected out of Hamilton High School in the fourth round of the 2013 MLB Draft by the Dodgers and only had to wait four years to make his MLB debut. Outside of his first at-bat, Bellinger said he felt comfortable at the big league level.

"I was comfortable," he said after his first game. "I felt like I belonged."

Bellinger is expected to stay with the Dodgers until outfielders Joc Pederson and Franklin Gutierrez are ready to return from the disabled list next week. 



Photo Credit: Rob Tringali/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[The Vault: LA Riots Bring Sports to a Standstill]]>Thu, 27 Apr 2017 22:31:13 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/VAULT_SPORTS_RIOTS_1200x675_931700803722.jpg

On the 25th anniversary of the LA Riots, we look back at how southern California's sports stars reacted, including several who still hold prominent roles today. Originally aired on Going Roggin, April 29, 2017.]]>
<![CDATA[Seager's Birthday Homer Helps Dodgers Beat Giants]]>Thu, 27 Apr 2017 16:59:47 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/175*120/AP_17117738125030.jpg

It's your birthday and you can homer if you want to. 

Corey Seager started the game with a home run on his 23rd birthday, and his teammates scored four runs in the top of the 10th as the Dodgers defeated the rival Giants, 5-1, on Thursday afternoon in San Francisco.

"It's a big win for us," admitted Dodgers' manager Dave Roberts after the game. "To come out of this and salvage a split and now get to go back home...there was some good things."

It was the second straight extra-innings game for the Dodgers after not appearing in any until Wednesday. 

Julio Urias was sensational in his 2017 debut after he was called up before the game.

The Mexican left-hander allowed just one run on four hits in 5 and 2/3 innings with four walks and four strikeouts. 

"I felt great, thank god," Urias said through a translator. "It went better than I anticipated."

The 20-year-old sophomore went 5-2 in four stints with the Dodgers last season, but did not start the season with the team as the front office wants to limit his innings in 2017. 

"What I did last year was able to help me this year," continued Urias. "I feel like I'm continuing to build confidence."

Kenley Jansen (1-0) got the win, striking out the side in the ninth inning, as the Dodgers managed a split of the four-game series. The loser was Cory Gearrin (0-1), who walked the only batter he faced leading off the 10th inning.

After losing in 10 innings 16 hours earlier, the Dodgers loaded the bases in the top of the 10th with no outs and took the lead on an RBI single by Andrew Toles. Hernandez hit a sacrifice fly and a bases-loaded walk added to the lead.

"Don't strike out," joked Toles when asked by Alanna Rizzo of Spectrum SportsNetLA of what was his mindset during that at-bat. "I was just trying to put it in play and do whatever I could to score the run."

The Giants scored their only run on a walk, a two-base throwing error by Urias on a pickoff attempt and a single by Christian Arroyo that nicked Urias' glove on its way to center field. That hit knocked Urias out of the game.

Giants starter Matt Moore allowed one run and two hits in seven innings, walking three and striking out eight. The only run he allowed came on a first-inning home run by Seager, who was celebrating his 23rd birthday.

Seager became the first Dodger since Matt Kemp to homer against the rival Giants on their birthday.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Giants: LHP Madison Bumgarner will start rehab on Friday, but manager Bruce Bochy said "he's got some work ahead of him to get ready." Bumgarner, the 2014 World Series MVP, bruised ribs and sprained his pitching shoulder last week in a dirt bike accident and is expected to be out about two months. . OF Denard Span was scheduled for an MRI on his shoulder and wasn't able to do any rehab activities Thursday. He is on the 10-day DL and has not played since last Saturday, when he crashed into the outfield wall in Denver.

UP NEXT

Dodgers: Open a six-game home stand with RHP Kenta Maeda on the mound against Philadelphia. In his last start, Maeda allowed a career-worst six runs and nine hits in five innings at Arizona.

Giants: RHP Jeff Samardzija makes the start in the opener of a three-game weekend home series against San Diego. Samardzija has lost each of his four starts this season and has a 7.40 ERA, the highest among NL starters.



Photo Credit: AP Photo/ Tony Avelar]]>
<![CDATA[Rams Looking for 'Explosive' Players in Draft]]>Thu, 27 Apr 2017 11:32:56 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-459501574.jpg

Barring a trade, the Los Angeles Rams won't have a choice in Thursday's first round of the NFL draft because of the trade that

brought them the first pick in last year's draft.

You have to be prepared to go up or down,'' general manager Les Snead said Tuesday when asked if there was motivation to move into the first round.

"You never know who may fall that we think could help that might be somebody you go get or the price might be too high and you sit back. "You probably go into it with this in mind, 'Look, all things are open — moving up, staying pat, making your pick, going back and adding, maybe more picks to the next rounds."

The Rams are set to make their first choice during Friday's second round, the 37th overall selection.

First-year coach Sean McVay said the Rams are seeking "players that can play fast, especially skilled guys that can offer the opportunity to create big plays."

The Rams have eight choices in the three-day, seven-round draft. They received a compensatory selection in the fourth round based on a formula regarding loss of certain quality unrestricted free agents last year.

The Rams obtained an additional choice in the sixth round because of the March 9 trade of defensive end William Hayes to the Miami Dolphins. The Rams sent their seventh-round choice to the Dolphins as part of the trade.

The Rams acquired the 16th choice in the seventh round in a 2015 trade, which sent receiver Chris Givens to the Baltimore Ravens. Givens caught 19 passes in 12 games with the Ravens in 2015, was released in the offseason and has not played since in the NFL.

Snead said the Rams have installed a sign on the left wall of their "War Room," where coaches and other team personnel discuss who the team should draft, as "kind of a reminder of what we're looking for -- 'Explosive.'

"That's one thing I think you'll see and hear a lot of us on both sides of the ball," Snead said.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Chargers Select Clemson Receiver With 7th Pick in Draft]]>Thu, 27 Apr 2017 19:01:26 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-631505150.jpg

Looking to improving from last year's 5-11 record following a coaching change and the signing of free agents, the Los Angeles Chargers on Thursday selected Clemson receiver Mike Williams with the seventh choice in the first round of the NFL draft.

The draft began at 5 p.m. PDT. The second and third rounds of the three-day draft will be held Friday and the fourth through seventh rounds Saturday. The draft was conducted in Philadelphia for the first time since 1961.

The Chargers will hold a DraftFest party from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday at StubHub Center in Carson, where they are set to play the next two seasons. The team's first-round draft choice and quarterback, Philip Rivers, and several other current and former players are set to attend. The draft will be shown on screens throughout the stadium.

Children can play interactive NFL Play60 games. Admission and parking are free.

The Chargers' draft philosophy is to "never pass a special player for a need," general manager Tom Telesco said.

To Telesco "a lot of the draft is eliminating the players who don't fit for you, either scheme-wise or culture-wise."

"We start out with 3,000 prospects and ... we're probably looking at under 200 on draft day that we're drafting out of,'' Telesco said.

The Chargers employ eight college scouts who spend "hours and hours and days and days traveling, watching film, going to practices, going to games, writing reports," Telesco said.

The team also has three pro scouts who do "a great job of putting a framework together of the ... other 31 teams as far as what they could do, what their strengths are, what their weaknesses are on the rosters, what their draft histories have been potential trade possibilities.

The Chargers also have three scouting assistants whose duties include keeping track of the data that comes in from the scouts, Telesco said.

"Those three guys are the low guys on the totem pole but they are maybe the three most important guys with our draft,'' Telesco said. "We can't run the draft without those three guys. They do a tremendous amount of work and get everything organized for us."

The team's coaching staff "help with how players fit in the scheme and what their exact role would be for us," Telesco said. "Scouts sometimes have a little broader look at things, coaches a little bit more narrow as far as who could help them tomorrow," Telesco said.

"That's needed in your checks and balances."

The team's doctors are also part of the draft process, sharing their knowledge of the injury history of the potential draftees, Telesco said.

"We'll sit in a room with the doctors -- almost like it's a scouting meeting -- and we'll go through all the players, what they have, what the short-term risk is, what the long-term is," Telesco said. "Those are discussions that take a long time. If you're not available for us, you can't help us. We have to try to make good, educated decisions on injuries."

In their preparations for the draft, the Chargers spend as much time examining who to choose in the seventh and final round as the first, Telesco said.

"Those fifth, sixth, seventh round those are really important draft picks for the core of your football team," Telesco said. "We put a lot of work into that."



Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Dodgers Collapse as Giants Walk-Off in Extras]]>Wed, 26 Apr 2017 22:56:52 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/179*120/AP_17117170068752.jpg

The Dodgers continue to spin their wheels. 

Michael Morse hit the game-tying home run in the bottom of the 8th and Hunter Pence hit a sacrifice fly in the 10th as the San Francisco Giants rallied from a three-run deficit to walk-off against the Los Angeles Dodgers, 4-3, on Wednesday night at AT&T Park.

It was not the outcome that starter Alex Wood deserved.

Wood fired six shutout innings of one-hit ball, but did not factor in the decision as the Dodgers' bullpen coughed up the lead and then the game in extra innings. 

"When I went out for the sixth, I was aware I hadn't given up a hit, but it's hard to think about that when you're only halfway through the game," said Wood. "Overall, I felt good."

Earlier in the day, Dodgers' manager Dave Roberts said that Thursday's starter, Julio Urias, was "here to stay," meaning that the Dodgers currently have six pitchers in the starting rotation, not including Rich Hill, who is expect to throw a simulated game on Friday.

Urias' call up likely means that Wood is headed back to the bullpen, but if his start on Wednesday was any indication of what he can do as a starter, he's going to make it tough on the Dodgers front office to send him back to the pen. 

"Wood threw a tremendous game," said Roberts. "We have to close it out. I liked the guys in the spots we put them, it just didn't work out."

Corey Seager celebrated his birthday a day early when he sent a four-seam fastball from Johnny Cueto into the seats in dead-center for his fourth homer of the season.

The Dodgers tacked on two more runs in the inning to lead 3-0 heading into the bottom of the sixth inning.  

Rookie Christian Arroyo hit his first home run of his MLB career with a two-run blast in the bottom of the seventh.

Pedro Baez allowed the game-tying homer to former Giants hero Michael Morse in his first at-bat of 2017. Before that homer, Baez had allowed just one hit in seven scoreless innings to start the season.

It was Morse' first home run in two years, last season he was a broadcaster for the MLB Network.

"That was a good at-bat by Morse," added Roberts. "Petey [Baez] tried to go to the fastball again and Morse got the barrel on it."

In the first game the Dodgers have gone extra innings this season, the bullpen struggled as Ross Stripling allowed the first three batters to reach base in the bottom of the 10th before Pence hit a pop up to left field to win the game.

Up Next:

Julio Urias will make his 2017 season debut opposite Matt Moore as the Dodgers look to split the series with the Giants. First pitch is scheduled for 12:45 PM PST. 



Photo Credit: AP Photo/Jeff Chiu]]>
<![CDATA[The Vault: Birth of the Hockey Beard]]>Wed, 26 Apr 2017 14:53:28 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/GR_VAULT_WEB_HOCKEY_BEARDS_1200x675_930376259581.jpg

With the playoffs upon us, time to look back at the old days of the superstitious hockey beard. Fred Roggin goes back to 1982 with the LA Kings and he's got a surprise at the end of the story.]]>
<![CDATA[Kershaw Leads Dodgers Over Giants]]>Tue, 25 Apr 2017 23:53:00 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/161*120/AP_17116101932046.jpg

Clayton Kershaw had no plans of leaving the game, even after taking a ball off the right calf during his first at-bat.

The training staff wrapped his leg to decrease the chance of any swelling, and the Dodgers ace pitched on without his best stuff.

Kershaw struck out seven over seven innings in another impressive performance in San Francisco's home ballpark, and Los Angeles beat the Giants 2-1 Tuesday night to end a four-game losing streak against its rival.

"The calf really wasn't a problem, it was more of a stuff thing tonight," Kershaw said. "My stuff wasn't great. I just kind of had to grind through it a little bit."

Buster Posey extended his hitting streak to 11 games with an RBI single in the third that put the Giants ahead, but then Yasiel Puig singled in a run in the fourth and Adrian Gonzalez's groundout drove in another on which Justin Turner slid home to beat a throw by shortstop Brandon Crawford.

The Dodgers, who were on the other end of a 2-1 result a night earlier, also ended a six-game skid at AT&T Park to avoid matching the franchise's longest winless stretch in San Francisco from April 21-Sept. 28, 2015.

Lefty Ty Blach (0-1) allowed two runs and four hits in five innings making his first start in place of injured Madison Bumgarner. The ace southpaw bruised his ribs and sprained the AC joint in his pitching shoulder in a dirt bike accident last Thursday during a day off in Colorado.

Crawford grabbed his right groin immediately after rounding first when he followed Posey's two-out single in the eighth with a base hit off Kenley Jansen. The shortstop was looked at by athletic trainer Dave Groeschner then came out of the game.

Pinch-hitter Brandon Belt then struck out to strand Posey on third as the tying run.

Crawford is likely to have an MRI exam before he leaves Wednesday to attend the funeral of his sister-in-law, who recently died of an asthma attack. He is expected to be placed on the bereavement list and miss three games.

"It just felt tight. I didn't feel a pop or anything like that so from what I hear that's good news," Crawford said.

In the ninth, Cody Bellinger beat out an infield single in his major league debut after being called up by the Dodgers to start in left field. A day after San Francisco promoted top prospect Christian Arroyo to play third base, the Dodgers brought up their top prospect from the same 2013 draft class.

"It's not how I imagined it would be but I'll take it," Bellinger said.

Arroyo also got his first major league hit — and a lengthy standing ovation — on a single in the first after going 0 for 4 with three groundouts and a strikeout in his debut a day earlier after being called up from Triple-A Sacramento.

Kershaw (4-1) allowed six hits and one run, walking one as he improved to 11-4 in 19 outings and 18 starts in San Francisco's waterfront ballpark. Jansen finished for his fifth save and the 15th of his career recording four outs.

"It was a courageous effort," manager Dave Roberts said of Kershaw. "He refused to come out of the game. ... When he pitches, it's one of our most stressful days. When he pitches, we need to win."

Turner matched his career-best hitting streak at 11 games with a first-inning single.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Dodgers: LHP Julio Urias will be back in the majors to start Thursday's series finale for the Dodgers, and he may be up for good. "We can now get Julio here, and he can be with us for the duration," Roberts said.

Giants: An MRI exam on Matt Cain's tight right hamstring that he felt during his win Monday showed no problems and he is slated to take his next turn in the rotation. ... CF Denard Span did some cage work and was set to take batting practice on the field Wednesday with the hope he will be back in the starting lineup Thursday. He has a mild right shoulder sprain that forced him out of Saturday's game at Colorado after he hurt it long-tossing.

UP NEXT

Dodgers: LHP Alex Wood (1-0, 3.29 ERA), who has never beaten the Giants in six outings and two starts, makes his third start of the year and second in a row trying to stick in the rotation.

Giants: RHP Johnny Cueto (3-1, 5.25) looks to bounce back from his lone loss last weekend at Colorado.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP]]>
<![CDATA[Jazz Push Clippers to Brink of Elimination]]>Tue, 25 Apr 2017 23:49:25 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/206*120/Jazz+Take+Control+of+Series+with+Game+5+win.png

It's a familiar feeling for Clippers' fans.

The Los Angeles Clippers are on the brink of another first round exit after a disappointing, 96-92 loss at home to the Utah Jazz in Game 5 at Staples Center on Tuesday night.

Joe Johnson or "Iso Joe," as he's known, continues to be a thorn in the Clippers side as he scored 14 points off the bench, including a dagger three with 2:59 remaining in the fourth quarter.

Gordon Hayward, back from a bout with food poisoning in Game 4, led the Jazz with 27 points as Utah dominated the paint for the second straight game.

"I didn't have very much legs out there," admitted Hayward who was still feeling some flul-like symptoms. "I think it was good I got some open looks early. It definitely helps when you see the ball go through the hoop, but I was definitely tired out there." 

After an ugly affair for the first three quarters, both teams caught fire in the final frame with the Jazz draining five three-pointers, including three of them by Rodney Hood.

"We finished the game with Rodney [Hood] and Joe Johnson, two guys that aren't starters," Utah head coach Quin Snyder said of his bench. "Rodney hit a couple of big ones. I think that's one of the good things about this group is I don't think guys care that much whether they're starting or not, and everybody is behind each other."

In all, six different players scored in double-figures for Utah with center Rudy Gobert dominating the defensive end with 11 points, 11 rebounds and five steals.

"Rudy is not wired that way," said Snyder of how is young center plays under the bright lights of the NBA Playoffs. "If anything, we've got to tone him down, but he was great tonight."

The Clippers kept it close as they came back from an 11-point fourth quarter deficit, but the Jazz quickly went on an 8-0 run, and would never trail again.

"They got the momentum and went up 11," said Clippers' head coach Doc Rivers. "We called a time-out. We go on an 11-0 run and we got it back. Then there was some big plays that changed the game. The offensive rebound that I think Hayward kept alive and Joe Johnson makes a three, it just seemed like they made timely plays down the stretch and we didn't."

Chris Paul once again led the Clippers with 28 points and J.J. Redick had his best game of the series with 26 points.

"Our back's agains the wall, down 3-2," said Paul following the loss. "Fortunately, we've got a lot of guys in the locker room who had to this a couple years ago. We had to go into a tough environment, win a game, come back home and win Game 7. We've got to do what we've got to do."

The game marked the return of Austin Rivers who missed the last month with a hamstring injury. Unfortunately for the Clippers, Rivers was atrocious in his return, shooting 0-for-4 from the field in just 16 minutes.

Utah can close the series out in Game 6 in Salt Lake City on Friday. If so, it would mark the second consecutive season the Clippers have been eliminated in the first round after being a heavy favorite to win the series. 



Photo Credit: Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Video: Kobe Bryant Performs Funny Slam Poetry]]>Tue, 25 Apr 2017 08:05:39 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Kobe-Bryant-poetry-Steve-Urkel.png

Just over a year after Kobe Bryant hung up his basketball shoes and left with a 60-point performance, the 38-year-old claimed a new title: the most famous Steve Urkel poet of all time.

That's one title/record that will surely never be taken from Bryant as long as he lives.

On the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon on Monday night, Bryant went on and put together the most unusual and unpredictable performance of his life. Dressed in the stereotypical garb of slam poets, a black turtle neck, a stubble-faced Bryant emotionally and confidently performed a poem about the internal struggle of Family Matters nerdy character "Steve Urkel" and his suave alter-ego "Stefan Urquelle."

Both characters were played by Jaleel White, and the star of the mid-90s sit-com surely had to enjoy one of the greatest basketball players of all time paying tribute to his characters.

Whether or not he wrote the poem, Bryant poignantly performed the act and had seemingly practiced the bit long enough to get the timing right and pull off the punchlines.

Poetically, Bryant's line uttered the most famous phrase of the show and the character: "Did I do that?"

Since his retirement, the five-time NBA champions and former LA Lakers star has been involved in a host of projects including starting a multi-million dollar investment fund, movie making and children's programming on the topic of basketball.

While the other projects may be impressive, Bryant's "Steve Urkel" poetry slam is without a doubt the most surprising thing he's done since retiring--possibly ever.

]]>
<![CDATA[Dodgers Drop Opener to Giants]]>Mon, 24 Apr 2017 22:47:37 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/201*120/Dodgers+Drop+Opener+to+Giants+.png

The best rivalry in baseball is back. 

The San Francisco Giants scratched across two runs and then held on to beat the Los Angeles Dodgers, 2-1, in the first game between the longtime rivals this season. 

The game may have marked the first contest between the two clubs of the 2017 season, but it appeared as if we'd entered into a time machine and went back four years as pitchers Hyun-Jin Ryu and Matt Cain were locked into a good old fashioned pitcher's duel. 

Cain (2-0) got the best of the Ryu (0-4) as the right-hander pitched six shutout innings, allowing just two hits with one walk and three strikeouts. 

Ryu recorded his first quality start of the season, allowing jut one run on five hits with one walk and three strikeouts in six solid innings, but it was not enough to earn his first victory since August of 2014.

"It was the best outing that I've had ever since the surgery," admitted Ryu to reporters after the game. "I limited them and gave up the least amount of runs. I really wanted to make sure they didn't get extra bases or home runs off of me." 

San Francisco nearly scratched a run across off Ryu in the bottom of the first inning, but right fielder Yasiel Puig gunned down Brandon Belt at the plate in what will surely be a Top 10 play on Sports Center later Monday night.

The Giants first run of the game came on some small ball in the bottom of the second. Brandon Crawford led off the inning with a double, and advanced to third on a groundout by rookie Christian Arroyo, who made his MLB debut on Monday.

One batter later, Joe Panik brought Crawford home with a sacrifice fly to centerfield.

Adam Liberatore pitched in his first action of the 2017 season, and struggled as he recorded just one out over the first three batters he saw, and was charged with a run when Hunter Pence singled home Panik off Josh Fields.

Sergio Romo faced his former team for the first time as he pitched a scoreless bottom of the eighth in his return to AT&T Park as a member of the visiting Dodgers.

"I was just happy I went to the right dugout," he joked after the game.

The Dodgers scored a run in the top of the eighth when Chris Taylor beat out a double play allowing Chase Utley to score, but the rally would end there, as Taylor was thrown at second base by Buster Posey a few pitches later.

Mark Melancon worked the ninth for his fourth save of the season, but the game ended in unfathomable fashion as Justin Turner was picked off at second base after getting caught in no-man's land. 

"That was a bad baseball play," said Turner after the game. "I got a good secondary lead to third base, and just got caught."

The loss marked the sixth straight defeat for the Dodgers at AT&T Park, dating back to last season.

Up Next:

Once again, Clayton Kershaw returns to the mound after a loss against rookie LHP Ty Blach. First pitch is at 7:15PM PST. 



Photo Credit: AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez]]>
<![CDATA[Discover Your Dodgers: Ross Stripling]]>Mon, 24 Apr 2017 04:15:49 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Ross_Stripling_Short_Interview_1200x675_928064579751.jpg

NBC LA Sports Reporter, Michael Duarte, asks Los Angeles Dodgers' reliever, Ross Stripling, some hard-hitting questions about Game of Thrones, Taylor Swift and the College World Series.]]>
<![CDATA[Ross Stripling Interview]]>Mon, 24 Apr 2017 04:14:04 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Ross_Stripling_Short_Interview_1200x675_928064579751.jpg

NBCLA Sports Reporter, Michael J. Duarte, interviews Los Angeles Dodgers' relief pitcher Ross Stripling about sports, his relationship with Michael Wacha and stock tips.]]>
<![CDATA[Gobert's Return Ignites Utah in Game 4]]>Sun, 23 Apr 2017 20:56:08 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/178*120/AP_17113861802007.jpg

Rudy Gobert gave the Jazz the spark they needed.

Gobert had 15 points and 13 rebounds as the Utah Jazz evened their best-of-seven series with the Los Angeles Clippers at two games apiece after a 105-98 victory in Game 4 on Sunday.

Joe Johnson didn't start, but he was the best player on the court at the finish, scoring 26 points off the bench, including 11-in-a-row at one point in the fourth quarter.

Game Four on Sunday marked the first full game of the series that the Clippers were without All-Star forward Blake Griffin.

Griffin will miss the remainder of the NBA Playoffs after he was diagnosed with a torn plantar plate injury in his right big toe on Saturday morning.

The Jazz played the second half without their lone All-Star, as Gordon Hayward was sent home at halftime with flu-like symptoms from food poisoning.

Without Hayward, the Jazz found offense through Johnson, and wide-open three-pointers from Rodney Hood and Joe Ingles. Hood had 18 points in place of Hayward and Ingles chipped in eight points. 

Chris Paul finished a rebound shy of a triple-double, finishing with 27 points, 12 assists and nine rebounds. Jamal Crawford had his best game of the series, scoring 25 points off the bench.

DeAndre Jordan had 12 points and 10 rebounds for the Clippers and Raymond Felton chipped in 11 off the bench.

The team what won the battle in the paint has won all four games of the series so far. After controlling the middle thanks in part to the absence of Gobert in Games 2 and 3, the Clippers were outscored 36-to-58 in the painted area in Game 4.

The summary of Game 4 will likely be missed opportunities for L.A. as they led by seven points in the fourth quarter, until Johnson scored 11 straight points to wipe away the #Clippers lead. 

Up Next:

Game 5 is Tuesday night at Staples Center on 7:30PM PST on TNT. 



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Dodgers Salvage Series With D-Backs]]>Sun, 23 Apr 2017 17:56:51 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/210*120/Dodgers+salvage+series+with+AZ.png

One inning was all they needed. 

The Dodgers scored six runs in the top of the fifth inning as they came back to beat the Arizona Diamondbacks, 6-2, on Sunday afternoon at Chase Field.

The Dodgers managed to salvage a game in the three-game series in Phoenix, avoiding the sweep after allowing back-to-back double-digit runs to the D-Backs on Friday and Saturday.

Brandon McCarthy, easily the Player of the Game for Los Angeles, started off the fifth inning with a leadoff walk, Joc Pederson also received a free pass, putting the go-ahead run at the plate in reigning NL Rookie of the Year, Corey Seager.

Seager drove a double to the gap in left-center, scoring both McCarthy and Pederson on the play to tie the game.

Two batters later, Adrian Gonzalez plated two on an RBI double off the wall that just missed getting out of the ballpark.

One pitch later, the ball did leave the ballpark as Grandal crushed a changeup over the wall in right-center to give the Dodgers a 6-2 lead, capping off the comeback and the monster inning for the Boys in Blue.

McCarthy (3-0), has been a savior for the Dodgers below average season so far. The lanky right-hander allowed just two runs, a first inning homer to Paul Goldschmidt, on five hits with one walk and six strikeouts in seven strong innings.

Outside of Clayton Kershaw, McCarthy has been the best starting pitcher for the Dodgers. He has had three quality starts in his first four appearances and is undefeated with a 2.25 ERA on the young season.

Sergio Romo bounced back from a rough outing in the first game of the series, by pitching a scoreless ninth, securing the victory for the Dodgers.

Up Next: 

The Dodgers (9-10) renew their rivalry with the San Francisco Giants as they clash at AT&T Park on Monday night in their first series of the 2017 season. LHP Hyun-Jin Ryu (0-3) will square off with RHP Matt Cain (1-0) at 7:15PM PST. 



Photo Credit: Christian Petersen/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[John Stevens promoted to head coach by Los Angeles Kings]]>Sun, 23 Apr 2017 14:21:43 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/211*120/LA+Kings+John+Stevens.png

The Los Angeles Kings have promoted associated head coach John Stevens to become their next head coach.

Kings spokesman Mike Altieri said the team will introduce Stevens at a news conference Monday.

Stevens replaces Darryl Sutter after serving as an assistant to two Kings head coaches over the past eight seasons, which included the franchise's only two Stanley Cup championship runs. Los Angeles has won just one playoff game in three years since its last title in 2014.

Stevens was the Kings' interim head coach for four games early in the 2011-12 season after Terry Murray was fired and before the hiring of Sutter, who became the winningest coach in Kings history and the only coach to lead them to a title.

The Kings fired Sutter and general manager Dean Lombardi nearly two weeks ago in a remarkable housecleaning after the regular season ended without a playoff berth. But owner Phil Anschutz's organization subsequently promoted the two most likely internal candidates to replace them, preferring stability with Stevens and longtime assistant general manager Rob Blake over an extensive franchise overhaul.

"We believe John has the ideal qualities to lead our hockey club," Blake said in a news release. "His wide array of coaching experience, including success as an NHL head coach and his inherent knowledge of our players and those in our development system, is very appealing to us. We are confident he is the best person to lead our hockey club forward."

The Kings also will retain goaltending coach Bill Ranford.

Stevens, the 50-year-old former Philadelphia Flyers coach, was long considered Sutter's likely replacement, though the firing of Lombardi and Sutter earlier this month put everything into question. When Blake fired assistant Davis Payne and retained Stevens one day after his own promotion, the new GM made it clear Stevens was the favorite for the job.

The shift from a hard-nosed disciplinarian like Sutter to a players' coach like Stevens is a drastic one for Los Angeles, which has missed the playoffs twice since winning the Stanley Cup in 2012 and 2014. When Lombardi and Sutter were fired, Blake was named GM.

ESPN first reported Stevens' promotion.

Stevens' greatest task will be finding new ways to generate offense from largely the same roster for a low-scoring team that was focused on defense-first, two-way hockey during Sutter's largely successful tenure. Los Angeles' 201 goals this season — down 24 from last season — were tied for the fifth fewest in the NHL.

Blake opened his tenure in charge by identifying scoring as the single most important factor for the Kings in the upcoming seasons.

"John and I had very productive dialogue this last week in relation to his head coaching philosophy and specifically how he would implement a strategy to activate our players offensively while maintaining the defensive philosophies we have come to be known for," Blake said. "I am confident that we are both in agreement on how that can be executed."

The Kings have an elite core of top talent with defenseman Drew Doughty, forwards Jeff Carter and Anze Kopitar, and goalie Jonathan Quick. But they have little financial room to improve their roster, with several underperforming veterans signed to lucrative long-term contracts by Lombardi, largely in gratitude for their work in the Kings' championship runs.

Stevens spent parts of four seasons as coach of the Flyers (2006-2009), reaching the playoffs twice including a trip to the Eastern Conference final. In 2005, he won the Calder Cup as coach of the American Hockey League's Philadelphia Phantoms, the team he led to that title as captain in 1998.

Stevens was fired by the Flyers in December 2009 and hired as Murray's assistant with the Kings in June 2010, joining a large group of former Philadelphia-based coaches and executives in Lombardi's organization. Murray was a former Flyers coach, and assistant general manager Ron Hextall was an assistant general manager who eventually returned to take over the Flyers' hockey operations.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar]]>
<![CDATA[Diamondbacks Blow Out Dodgers...Again]]>Sat, 22 Apr 2017 21:02:10 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/212*120/Maeda+4+homers.png

Yasmany Tomas homered twice and David Peralta hit a team-record four doubles, leading the Arizona Diamondbacks to an 11-5 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Saturday night.

Chris Herrmann and Jake Lamb each hit a two-run homer for Arizona. Peralta scored three times and Tomas drove in his third run by drawing a bases-loaded walk as part of a three-run seventh inning.

Arizona improved to 8-1 at home and 12-7 overall, with wins in five of its last seven games. The Diamondbacks' home record is the best after nine games in franchise history.

The Dodgers (8-10) have lost five of six, but Kiké Hernandez hit a home run to leadoff the game. 

 

Herrmann homered off starter Kenta Maeda (1-2) in the fourth, giving the Diamondbacks a 5-2 lead on the way to their fourth straight win over Los Angeles this month.



Photo Credit: AP Photo ]]>
<![CDATA[Blake Griffin Out for Playoffs With Big Toe Injury]]>Sat, 22 Apr 2017 12:15:57 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/209*120/Blake+Griffin+Injury.png

The Clippers curse might be back. 

Blake Griffin left Game 3 of the first-round playoff matchup with the Utah Jazz in the second quarter after injuring his right big toe on a play at the basket, and will be out for the remainder of the playoffs.

The team announced Saturday morning that the five-time All-Star was diagnosed with an injury to the plantar plate of his right big toe. At the time of the injury, the team said it was a bruised toe. X-rays at the arena were negative, but he was re-evaluated after the game.

The Clippers trailed by as many as 14 in the game, but had cut the lead to four points when Griffin left the game and headed to the locker room for X-rays. 

Los Angeles sports fans might remember that Dodgers' second baseman Logan Forsythe injured his big toe earlier in the week on a hit by pitch against the Rockies. 

Initial X-rays on the big toe were inconclusive, but further testing revealed a fracture and Forsythe was placed on the disabled list and will be out at least two weeks. 

Fans were hoping that the Clippers recent curse where anything that can go wrong does go wrong in the NBA Playoffs had not reared its' ugly head with Griffin and we hoped he would be able to return to the series for Game 4. 

However, Griffin showed signs of frustration in his initial reaction to the injury. After coming out of the game and visiting team trainer, Jasen Powell, Griffin repeatedly pounded his seat before heading into the locker room.

Griffin famously injured his left quadriceps muscle in Game 4 against the Portland Trail Blazers last season and did not return for the playoffs. His injury came just minutes after point guard Chris Paul left the same game with a broken finger.

Here's the play Griffin was believed to be injured on: 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

<blockquote class="twitter-video" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Blake Griffin left Game 3 with an apparent lower leg injury. Here&#39;s the play he sustained the ailment: <a href="https://t.co/NSDZ3vFujR">pic.twitter.com/NSDZ3vFujR</a></p>&mdash; The Crossover (@TheCrossover) <a href="https://twitter.com/TheCrossover/status/855618671267414016">April 22, 2017</a></blockquote>
<script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>



Photo Credit: AP Photo/Rick Bowmer
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<![CDATA[Dodgers Unravel in Nightmare 8th Inning]]>Fri, 21 Apr 2017 22:40:04 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/212*120/Dodgers+Unravel+in+8th.png

The Dodgers had the lead entering the eighth inning…

and then the floodgates opened!

The Diamondbacks blew the roof off Chase Field, literally, as they scored nine runs in the bottom of the eighth inning to defeat the Los Angeles Dodgers, 13-5, on Friday night in Phoenix.

The Dodgers led 5-4 entering the bottom of the eighth thanks to the offensive exploits of Joc Pederson and Corey Seager.

Pederson was celebrating his 25th Birthday and celebrated by going 2-for-4 with a double and two runs scored.

Seager knocked in the team's first three runs, including a two-run home run in the first inning.

A.J. Pollock would answer with a home run of his own in the bottom half of the first, as the two teams took turns tying the game before the Dodgers took the lead on a pinch-hit solo homer by Chris Taylor in the op of the seventh.

 

With one of the best bullpens in baseball needed to record just six remaining outs, the Dodgers thought they had the game won, but the levee broke open in a nightmare bottom of the eighth.

Arizona batted around in a 45-minute eighth inning, sending 14 batters to the plate against four different Dodger relievers.

"That was very uncharacteristic," said Dodgers' manager Dave Roberts of his bullpen. "You have to give those guys credit over there, they got the big hits when they needed."

Ross Stripling allowed three hits and two earned runs, Luis Avilan walked the only two batters he faced, and right-hander Sergio Romo suffered the worst of the group, surrendering five runs on two hits with three walks and a balk, in his worst outing of the season.

"I messed up right there," Romo said of the first balk in his MLB career. "I've been doing this a while now, it's not the first time i've been hit around."

Josh Fields recorded the final two outs of the eighth inning, but by then the damage had been done and the Diamondbacks were on their way to a blowout victory.

In total, the Dodgers walked five batters in the nightmare eighth inning, the most in a single inning since 1975.

Up Next:

Kenta Meda heads to the mound on Saturday opposite LHP Robbie Ray who they faced last week in Los Angeles. First pitch is scheduled for 5:10 PM PST.



Photo Credit: Christian Petersen/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Clippers Rally to Beat Jazz in Game 3]]>Fri, 21 Apr 2017 22:41:36 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/201*120/Clippers+Jazz+Game+3.png

The Clippers turned the tables on the Utah Jazz.

After the Jazz overcame an injury to one of their best players to stun the Clippers in Game 1 of the first-round NBA Playoffs series, Los Angeles overcame the loss of Blake Griffin to shock Utah, 111-106 in Game 3. 

The Clippers rallied from a 14-point third quarter deficit without one of their best players as Griffin left the game with a right big toe injury in the second quarter and did not return. 

Without Griffin, Chris Paul and DeAndre Jordan picked up the scoring slack. Paul led the way with 34 points and 10 assists, including nine straight points as the Clippers went on a 15-0 run late in the fourth quarter.

Joe Johnson finally ended the run with a two-point basket with 1:52 remaining, but the damage had already been done, and the Clippers iced the game away with free throws.

DeAndre Jordan had 17 points and 13 rebounds in Griffin's absence as the Clippers take home-court back in the series.

Gordon Hayward had the best game of his limited playoff career, scoring 40 points including 21 in the first quarter.

George Hill had 26 points in the loss.

Initial x-rays on Griffin's toe were negative, and many fans in Utah will say things are now even after Jazz center Rudy Gobert went down with a knee injury in Game 1 and has missed the last three games.

Griffin will undergo further testing to determine the extent of the injury to the big toe, but his reaction before entering the locker room suggests it could be severe after he pounded his first repeatedly in frustration before heading back for X-rays.

Up Next:

Game 4 of the best-of-seven series will be on Sunday, April 23, at 6:00PM PST in Salt Lake City. 



Photo Credit: Gene Sweeney Jr/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[2017 NFL Schedule: LA Rams and LA Chargers Home Games]]>Thu, 20 Apr 2017 17:27:10 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/LA-Chargers-schedule-2017.jpg

On Thursday, the NFL released the 2017 schedule for every team, which of course included the LA Rams and the LA Chargers.

Yes, LA has two NFL teams again, and before the two teams can share the new stadium in Inglewood, the Rams will continue to play home games at the LA Memorial Coliseum, while the Chargers will play at the far more cozy Stubhub Center in Carson, which is being marketed as a unique fan experience unlike any other in the NFL considering the stadium only has seating for 27,000 fans.

Since the Rams returned to Southern California first, let's take a look at their schedule first.

The Rams open Week 1 of the 2017 season (Sept 10) at home against the Indianapolis Colts, followed by another home game against the Washington Redskins in Week 2 (Sept. 17).

Then, the Rams head up to San Francisco for Week 3, followed by a trip to Dallas for Week 4.

The Seattle Seahawks come pay a visit in Week 5 (Oct. 8), while the Rams will go up to Washington State in Week 15. Similarly, Jared Goff and company will host the Arizona Cardinals in Week 7 (Oct. 22) before heading out to the desert in Week 13.

The Rams also have home games in Week 10 against the Houston Texans (Nov. 12), Week 12 against the New Orleans Saints (Nov. 26) and Week 14 against the Philadelphia Eagles (Dec. 10).

The Rams will conclude their 2017 NFL regular season on Dec. 31 at home against the San Francisco 49ers.

Chargers 2017 Schedule

The LA Chargers will play their first home game on Sept. 17 against the Miami Dolphins in Week 2, after starting their season on the road against the Denver Broncos on Monday Night Football.

Similar to the Rams, the Chargers also finish the regular season at home on New Year's Eve, but LA's newest team will likely struggle to create a home environment considering the Oakland Raiders will be coming to town.

Other home games for the Chargers:

Sept. 24 - Kansas City Chiefs
Oct. 1 - Philadelphia Eagles
Oct. 22 - Denver Broncos
Nov. 19 - Buffalo Bills
Dec. 3 - Cleveland Browns
Dec. 10 - Washington Redskins

In addition, the Rams and Chargers will play a preseason game at the LA Memorial Coliseum on Aug. 26.

Notes: The Rams have a bye week in Week 8, while the Chargers have their bye week in Week 9.



Photo Credit: Getty Images for LA Marathon]]>
<![CDATA[Kershaw Strikes Out 10, Dodgers Snap Losing Streak]]>Wed, 19 Apr 2017 23:10:46 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/194*120/Kershaw+strikes+out+10+in+victory.png

The Dodgers can finally put up the victory sign.

Scott Van Slyke hit his first home run of the season and Clayton Kershaw struck out 10 as the Los Angeles Dodgers snapped a three-game losing streak, with a 4-2 victory over the Colorado Rockies on USC Night at Dodger Stadium.

Trojans' head coach Clay Helton helped the Dodgers embody the Spirit of Troy as the Boys in Blue rallied from an early one-run deficit in the first inning. 

The start of the game was delayed a couple minutes as Rockies' starter Tyler Anderson exited the bullpen late and took his time walking down the first base line to the visitor's dugout.

Kershaw, was not amused as he stepped off the mound and stared down Anderson before throwing the first pitch of the night. The gamesmanship shown by Colorado worked, as Kershaw struggled to start the game.

"That was one of the more disrespectful things I've ever been a part of," said a visibly upset Kershaw about the incident. "I really didn't appreciate that. The game starts at 7:10, it's started at that time for a long time. Just go around or finish earlier."

After a leadoff walk to Charlie Blackmon, Kershaw allowed back-to-back singles to D.J. LeMahieu and Nolan Arenado before settling in and getting out of the inning trailing only, 1-0. 

"I was fortunate to get out of that with only one run," said Kershaw. "That first inning could have sprouted out of contol, and I'm thankful I got out of that for sure."

Van Slyke tied the game in the bottom of the second inning with his first home run of the season on a cut-fastball from Anderson that he drilled to left-center.

The Dodgers outfielder has struggled at the plate this season, hitting .118 with a paltry .176 slugging percentage entering Wednesday's contest.

"He hasn't had a lot of luck this year," said Dodgers' manager Dave Roberts onVan Slyke's struggles. "For him to elevate to the pull side and get that homer, that was big for us."

The game remained tied into the fifth inning before the Dodgers learned to "fight on," passing the baton along to the tune of three runs in the bottom half of the frame.

Newly recalled infielder Chris Taylor kicked things off with a double, and advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt by Kershaw. Kershaw was safe at first on an error on the play, and moved to third on an RBI double by Kiké Hernandez.

"It's nice to get off on a good foot," said Taylor. "It takes a lot of pressure off, now I can relax and just go out there and play." 

Taylor went 2-for-3 with two doubles and a run scored in his season debut after he was recalled from Triple-A Oklahoma City before the game. 

Corey Seager followed Hernandez with an RBI single and Hernandez scored two batters later on fielder's choice groundout to short by Adrian Gonzalez.

Seager reached a milestone in the game, becoming just the sixth player in NL history since 1920 to have 200 hits, 100 runs, 100 RBI, 50 doubles and 30 HR in their first 200 career games.

Despite allowing two runs at Dodger Stadium for the first time in his last 10 starts, Kershaw (3-1) was excellent once again, allowing just five hits, with one walk and 10 punchouts in seven strong innings.

"'Really solid' is the way to describe his outing," said Roberts. "They put together some good at-bats against him. He really didn't have his rhythm tonight." 

It was the 52nd time in Kershaw's illustrious and decorated career that he struck out 10 or more.

Kenley Jansen entered the game with two outs in the eighth inning and worked his way out of a jam before throwing a perfect ninth inning for the save. It was Jansen's fourth save of the season and second consecutive of the four-out variety. 

The Dodgers (8-8) improved to 3-8 when facing a left-handed starter this season with two of those wins coming against Anderson of the Rockies. The other victory was last Saturday night against Patrick Corbin of the D-Backs.

Notes: The Dodgers placed 2B Logan Forsythe and OF/IF Rob Segedin on the 10-day DL before the game, recalling Chris Taylor and OF Brett Eibner before the game. Colorado OF, Carlos Gonzalez, left the game with a bruised right hand after getting hit by  Kershaw fastball in the fourth inning. X-Rays were negative.

Up Next:

The Dodgers have an off day on Thursday before traveling to the Desert for a rematch with the Diamondbacks. Alex Wood is slated to start on Friday night opposite RHP Taijuan Walker at 6:40PM PST.



Photo Credit: Victor Decolongon/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Dodgers Can't Complete Comeback ]]>Tue, 18 Apr 2017 23:08:00 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/209*120/Arenado+hits+2+homers.png

Nolan Arenado homered twice, Trevor Story also connected and the Colorado Rockies held off the Los Angeles Dodgers 4-3 on Tuesday night.

Greg Holland gave up two runs in the ninth inning but earned his eighth save. With runners at first and second, Adrian Gonzalez grounded out to end it.

Arenado hit a two-run homer into the left-field bleachers off Hyun-Jin Ryu (0-3) in the first.

The slugger added his sixth of the season in the fifth, sending another pitch from Ryu into the stands between the left-field foul pole and the Dodgers bullpen.

The only National League player with more homers than Arenado is Milwaukee's Eric Thames, who has seven.

Arenado added a third-inning double for his second three-hit game in his last three starts. Colorado (10-5) won its third straight and improved to 7-2 on the road.

The Dodgers scored two runs in the bottom of the ninth on RBI singles by Justin Turner and Yasmani Grandal, but Adrian Gonzalez grounded out to end the game with the tying run on second base.

In total, the Dodgers stranded 12 men on base, and are struggling with runners in scoring position to start the season.

Logan Forsythe left the game after getting hit by a pitch on his right foot in the first inning. After the game, Dodgers' manager Dave Roberts said that x-ray results were "inconclusive," and that Forsythe would be re-evaluated on Wednesday.

Up Next: 

Clayton Kershaw will look to stop the Dodgers three-game losing streak when he heads to the mound on Wednesday night opposite LHP Tyler Anderson for Colorado. First pitch is 7:10PM PST. 



Photo Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Clippers Win Game Two, Get Even With Jazz]]>Tue, 18 Apr 2017 23:24:52 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Clippers-vs-Jazz-Game-2-DeAndre-Jordan.jpg

On Tuesday night at Staples Center, the LA Clippers polished off a 99-91 wire-to-wire win over the Utah Jazz to even up their best-of-seven series at 1-1. Both Chris Paul and DeAndre Jordan finished with double-doubles for the home team in the victory.

From the opening possession, Paul came out aggressive and quickly scored the first bucket of the game. The 31-year-old veteran point guard scored seven points, grabbed a couple steals and dished off four assists in the first eight minutes of the game.

"He was great," said head coach Doc Rivers. "He was good through adversity, which I thought was really good. He got in foul trouble early, and we weathered that storm as a team"

By targeting Jordan early and often, the Clippers brought back their "Lob City" brand of high-flying, dunking basketball early in the contest.

Jordan finished the first quarter with 10 points and five rebounds to expose the Jazz's lack of height with standout center Rudy Gobert sitting out with a sprained knee suffered during Game One.

"I hope he's great. I hope he comes back in this series," said Jordan of Gobert. "But we can't worry about one person and I don't think my job changes if he's playing or if he's out. I've just got to continue to do my job and play the game of basketball no matter who's out there."

Riding the fast start, the Clippers led 29-18 after one quarter on 65.0 percent shooting from the field.

The Jazz struggled to find any early offensive rhythm, and Utah was only saved by the three-point shot. Over the first 12 minutes of the game, the Jazz hit four of their seven long-range shots and only one of their 10 two-point field goal attempts.

Everything considered, Utah could count itself lucky to only trail by 11 after the first quarter.

"We've got to do better executing our game plan, especially in the first quarter," said all-star forward Gordan Hayward. "They got a lot of stuff at the rim, easy dunks, lobs, and some of that's what they do, but we for sure have to be better."

In the second quarter, Joe Johnson entered the game off the bench and helped cut the Clippers' advantage to only five points only five minutes into the second period. Johnson, of course, hit the game winning shot in Game One of the series at the buzzer.

With Paul limited to only 13 minutes in the first half due to foul trouble, the Clippers relied of Blake Griffin and Jordan to stay ahead of the Jazz. Griffin entered the halftime intermission with 13 points, while Jordan had already claimed a double-double by the break with 14 points and 10 rebounds.

As such, Utah trailed 51-42 after 24 minutes, and Gordon Hayward led the Jazz with 12 points at the break.

"It was frustrating for us tonight," said Hayward. "I felt like we didn't--we didn't play our best basketball and we still hung around."

In the third quarter, the Jazz trimmed the deficit to only three points with 7:31 remaining in the period, as Utah looked set to taste its first lead of the night. However, Paul led a furious 15-6 run over the next four minutes to take a 12-point lead.

"They keep fighting," Griffin told NBC LA after the game about the Jazz. "They keep executing. I've said it over and over, but they're really well-coached. They don't panic." 

Although the Jazz put together a run to close the gap to only six points, a late flurry by the Clippers' bench provided LA with a 79-70 advantage with 12 minutes remaining in Tuesday's contest.

Despite the Clippers leading from the opening whistle, a Hayward three-pointer with 5:54 remaining made it a six-point game. Down the stretch, the Clippers had to hold off a Jazz team that seemingly refused to give up.

With two minutes to play, the Jazz still trailed by only six points, but a Griffin three-pointer put the Clippers up by nine points and effectively iced the game for the home team.

"We had two days of being pretty pissed off," said Griffin of the victory. "I thought our spirit was great, and I think it carried over into the first quarter, with everybody being aggressive."

In the final minute, Jordan fouled out with 18 points and 15 rebounds in 35 minutes, but the big man's impact had already been felt at that stage. On the night, the Clippers outscored the Jazz 60-38 on points in the paint.

Paul finished with 21 points, 10 assists and three steals in the victory.

Game Three will be in Salt Lake City on Friday.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[D'Angelo Russell Full Exit Interview 2017]]>Tue, 18 Apr 2017 13:39:19 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Lakers-Russell-4-17_1200x675_923758147730.jpg

Due to the passing of his grandmother, D'Angelo Russell missed the final two games of the 2016-17 LA Lakers' season and also had to do his exit interview five days after everyone else. (Recorded on April 18)]]>
<![CDATA[Dodgers Drop Finale to D-Backs]]>Mon, 17 Apr 2017 23:16:25 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/165*120/Hatcher+Allows+Homer+to+Lamb.png

The Dodgers bullpen finally allowed a home run.

Chris Hatcher surrendered the game-winning homer to Jake Lamb and the Los Angeles Dodgers dropped the finale of their four-game series with the Arizona Diamondbacks, 4-2, on Monday night at Dodger Stadium. 

"I was looking to hit a first-pitch fastball, and I got one," said Lamb of the home run. "I was just trying to be aggressive."

L.A.'s bullpen had faced 181 batters to start the season before Hatcher threw Lamb a first-pitch fastball that the left-hander deposited into the bleacher seats in right-center, breaking a 2-2 tie. It was the first high-leverage situation Hatcher has pitched in this season.

"I was trying to get ahead with a fastball up and in on him, and it leaked back middle and he hit it out of the ballpark," said Hatcher. "I didn't think he hit that good, and judging by his reaction, I don't think he thought he did either, but it left the ballpark. It is what it is."

Hatcher came back out for the ninth and was charged with a second run after David Peralta hit an RBI triple off Luis Avilan to extend the Snakes lead. Peralta finished the night 4-for-5 with two RBI.

"That's the life of being a reliever. Usually your outing is going to be dictated on one pitch," continued Hatcher. "Tonight that pitch to Lamb was the one."

The Dodgers handed starter Brandon McCarthy a two-run lead in the fourth inning before Arizona rallied for four unanswered runs to seal the victory.

McCarthy did not factor in the decision, allowing two runs on five hits with eight strikeouts and three walks in five innings.

"It happened quick," McCarthy said of the two runs he allowed in the fifth. "Balls were just going where we didn't have players. All of sudden they had two runs."

Logan Forsythe knocked in the game's first run as the Dodgers finally scored with the bases loaded.

Forsythe hit a sac-fly to center field in the bottom of the second, snapping an 0-for-9 scoring drought with the bases loaded in the team's last 11 games. Despite the RBI, the Dodgers are technically still 0-for-10 in their last 11 plate appearances with the bases juiced.

Rob Segedin scored on the fly ball in his first game of the season with the Dodgers. Segedin was recalled from Triple-A Oklahoma City earlier in the day as Rich Hill was put back on the 10-day disabled list.

"Everytime you get a chance to come up here, it's a good opportunity," said Segedin. "Obviously, I wanted to be here from the start, but I'm here to help the team anyway I can."

The Dodgers learned that there's always money in the banana stand when Hernandez sent a Robbie Ray fastball into the seats in left field for his first home run of the season.

Los Angeles had a chance to tie the game in the bottom of the eighth, but the Dodgers were unable to capitalize off of a leadoff double from Justin Turner, hitting three short fly balls to end the threat.

Fernando Rodney pitched a scoreless ninth for his second consecutive save and fifth overall on the season. 

Up Next:

The Dodgers will face back-to-back left-handed starters as the Rockies come to town on Tuesday for a quick two-game series at Chavez Ravine. L.A. will start Hyun-Jin Ryu on Tuesday opposite rookie Kyle Freeland at 7:10PM PST.



Photo Credit: AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill]]>
<![CDATA[Discover Your Dodgers: Rich Hill ]]>Mon, 17 Apr 2017 16:05:26 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Rich+Hill+blister+Dodgers+Lose.png

NBC LA Sports Reporter Michael J. Duarte interviews Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher, Rich Hill.

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill]]>
<![CDATA[Discover Your Dodgers Rich Hill]]>Mon, 17 Apr 2017 16:03:19 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Rich_Hill_Short_Interview_1200x675_922754115673.jpg

NBC LA Sports Reporter Michael J. Duarte asks Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher, Rich Hill, some fun fan questions.]]>
<![CDATA[Dodgers Lose Game and Rich Hill on Easter]]>Sun, 16 Apr 2017 17:35:03 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Rich+Hill+blister+Dodgers+Lose.png

Instead of bunnies, the Dodgers were talking about blisters.

The Los Angeles Dodgers lost pitcher Rich Hill, and then they lost the game, 3-1, to the Arizona Diamondbacks on Easter Sunday at Dodger Stadium. 

Chris Iannetta homered for Arizona, but the game was overshadowed by the lingering blister problem of $48 million dollar man, Rich Hill.

"I can't believe I'm standing here talking about a blister," said Hill in front of reporters after the game. "I'm not 100 percent sure if there's anything we've uncovered that would help keep it at bay. Other than that, I really don't have any other answers."

Hill missed two months of the season last year because of a blister and was placed on the 10-day disabled list after his Opening Series start this year, with the early symptoms of another blister on his left middle finger.

"Really this just came about in the first game against San Diego," continued Hill. "This is the most frustrating part to not go out there and produce, do my job, but also tax the bullpen. I take responsibility for that."

Hill was activated from the DL on Sunday, but didn't make it past the third inning as he was removed from the game after re-aggravating the blister before the start of the fourth inning. He threw just 54 pitches before leaving the game.

"I took a swing when I was on-deck and I looked down and I had noticed that it opened up," Hill said of when he first realized the blister had opened up. "I was pretty disappointed at that point, but I was able to come back out for the third inning." 

Hill (1-1) is likely headed back to the DL on Monday and currently, there is no timetable for his return. Before leaving the game, Hill allowed two runs on five hits with two talks and two strikeouts in just three innings.

"It just made sense to get him out of the game," said Dodgers' manager Dave Roberts. "It's better than we expected, but there is some irritation to the new skin. We don't know right now the situation as far as DL or not, we'll make that decision tomorrow. He's frustrated and we all share that sentiment."

Yasiel Puig continued his torrid start to the season as the Wild Horse hit an RBI double in the bottom of the fourth inning for the Dodgers lone run, his team-leading 11th RBI of the season.

The lone highlight for the Dodgers came on the defensive end as Joc Pederson tracked down a ball in centerfield before crashing into the wall.

Paul Goldschmidt was 2-for-4 with an RBI single and Taijuan Walker (2-1) recorded his second victory in a Snakes' uniform as he allowed just one run on four hits with one walk and seven strikeouts in five innings.

"The game plan was to be aggressive," said Walker of his start. "Chris [Iannetta] and I said before the game, just go out there and beat them with your best pitch. I really just used the fastball a lot and it was effective."

Fernando Rodney worked the ninth for his fourth save of the season.

The Dodgers struggles with the bases loaded carried over into Sunday's contest.

Los Angeles loaded the bases in the first inning off Walker, but Pederson struck out to end the inning. After the at-bat, the Dodgers are now 0-for-10 in their last plate appearances with the bases loaded over their last 11 games.

Up Next:

The Dodgers will face another left-hander on Monday as Arizona sends LHP Robbie Ray to the mound. L.A. will counter with RHP Brandon McCarthy as the Dodgers try and win the series. First pitch is 7:10PM PST.



Photo Credit: AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill]]>
<![CDATA[Johnson's Buzzer Beater Stuns Clippers in Game 1]]>Sat, 15 Apr 2017 23:45:10 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/191*120/Joe+Johnson+Jazz+Buzzer+Beater.png

Take note, the Jazz aren't just "happy to be here."

Joe Johnson drained the game-winning shot at the buzzer and the Utah Jazz shocked the Los Angeles Clippers, 97-95, in Game 1 of the first round of the NBA Playoffs at Staples Center on Saturday night. 

It looked like it could have been over after the first 17 seconds of the game when Jazz center Rudy Gobert went down with a left knee sprain.

The 7'1" French center did not return to the game and was taken to a nearby hospital for further testing.

Instead of wilting under the pressure, the Jazz rallied together, thanks to 16-year veteran Joe Johnson.

Johnson led the Jazz with a team-high 21 points, including hitting a buzzer-beater to steal Game 1 for the Jazz. Johnson's shot with less than 10 seconds left bounced off the rim and into the net, just as the horn went off.

Johnson leads the NBA among active players with last-second buzzer beaters over the past decade. The former 10th round pick out of Arkansas has eight buzzer-beaters over that span, more than LeBron James (4) and Andre Iguodala (4).

"In those moments of the game, guys are not going to help," said Johnson of his clutch performances over the last decade. "It's kind of like you're on an island by yourself and they expect for you to get that stop. I just try to be patient, get to a sweet spot and make the play."

Gordan Hayward had 19 points and 10 rebounds for the Jazz. Derrick Favors came off the bench in place of Gobert for 15 points and another veteran, George Hill added 16.

"All three of the vets that we added this year have been instrumental to our success," said Hayward. "Joe [Johnson] has been tremenouds. The preparation that we had going in, he talked about visualizing yourself out there. Along with the other two guys, really helped prepare us because we are pretty inexperienced as far as the Playoffs are concerned."

To the Clippers credit, they clawed back in the second half, trailing by as many as eight points in the fourth quarter. 

Chris Paul hit a floating bank shot with 13 seconds left to tie the game, but the Jazz did not take a timeout before the final play, instead choosing to catch the Clippers off guard and improvise the final shot.

"When Joe makes the shot, it always makes the coach look smart," said Utah head coach Quin Snyder after the game. "We wanted to go ahead and go because we knew we could get the last shot. There's something to be said for calling time-out and there's something to be said for not calling the time-out. We wanted the ball in Joe's hands and we got a switch."

On paper, without Gobert, the Clippers should have crushed the Jazz at home, instead, especially in the paint, but they only narrowly held the edge 42-40, and trailed for most of the second half. 

Blake Griffin scored 26 points to lead Los Angeles and Chris Paul had 25 points, 11 assists and seven rebounds in the loss.

"Our defense has to be better," said a disappointed Paul after the loss. "They played harder. They were more physical, and I mean, what do they say, 'the series don't start until somebody loses at home,' so I guess the series got started."

The "Clippers Curse," in the playoffs continues to haunt Los Angeles after one game. L.A. has been elminated in the first or second round each of the last five years. 

Meanwhile, this is the first playoff appearance for the Jazz over that span. 

Game 2 is scheduled for Tuesday night at Staples Center. Tip-off is 7:30PM PST.



Photo Credit: AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill]]>
<![CDATA[Dodgers Down D-Backs on Jackie Robinson Day]]>Sat, 15 Apr 2017 21:37:43 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/218*120/Dodgers+Win+on+Jackie+Robinson+Day.png

The Dodgers celebrated Jackie Robinson Day with a statue and a win.

Austin Barnes hit his first career home and Yasiel Puig added a three-run blast in the eighth inning as the Los Angeles Dodgers defeated the Arizona Diamondbacks, 8-4, on the 70th Anniversary of Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier in Major League Baseball. 

Nick Ahmed knocked in all four runs for Arizona, but it was not enough as the Dodgers' stole the game on a double-steal attempt in the fifth inning.

With runners on first and third and two outs in the bottom of the fifth, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts sent relief pitcher Alex Wood to the plate, opting for his pitching on the mound than a pinch-hitter at the plate.

For the second time this season, Roberts called for the double steal attempt and Scott Van Slyke took off from first, looking to entice a throw from Snakes' catcher Chris Herrmann. 

Kiké Hernandez, who was on third base, ran halfway down the line, but promptly put on the breaks when he saw Herrmann pump fake the throw to second, and stare him down the line at third.

Herrmann quickly threw down to third, but the throw hit Hernandez in the back and skipped into shallow left field, allowing the Puerto Rican utility player to score on the play.

The Dodgers have struggled with left-handed pitching the better part of the last two seasons, but they got to southpaw Patrick Corbin early and often on Saturday. L.A. scored two runs on three consecutive hits to start the game, including doubles by Logan Forsythe and Justin Turner.

Ahmed delivered for the D-Backs in the top half of the second when he got all the runs back and then some with a three-run blast off Kenta Maeda to give Arizona a 3-2 lead.

The Dodgers would respond, thanks to the first big league home run in the career of catcher Austin Barnes.

Each team would take turns taking the lead in the fourth and fifth innings respectively, until Yasiel Puig broke the game open with a three-run home run in the bottom of the eighth.

Puig crushed an 83PMH changeup from Diamondbacks closer Fernando Rodney into the Dodgers' bullpen for his team-leading fourth home run of the season. Puig's 11 RBI are third in the National League behind Marcell Ozuna and Mark Reynolds.

Kenley Jansen came into the game in the eighth and stayed in the game for the ninth, for a four-out save.

Since the inception of Jackie Robinson Day in 2004, the Dodgers are 11-3 on April 15th, tied for the most wins in MLB history.

Notes:

All MLB players wore the number 42 on Saturday. The Dodgers unveiled the first statue in Stadium history with a pregame celebration on Jackie Robinson before the game.

Logan Forsythe left the game after going 3-for-3 with tightness in his right hamstring.

Up Next:

The Dodgers are expected to activate LHP Rich Hill from the 10-day DL to start on Sunday opposite new D-Backs starter, RHP Taijuan Walker.



Photo Credit: AP Photo/Jae C. Hong]]>
<![CDATA[Dodgers Unveil Jackie Robinson Statue]]>Sat, 15 Apr 2017 23:38:05 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/185*120/Jackie_Robinson_Statue.png

After 55 years, Dodger Stadium has a statue. 

The Los Angeles Dodgers unveiled the first statue in Stadium history on the 70th anniversary of the day that Jackie Robinson broke Major League Baseball's color barrier on April 15, 1947. 

The Dodgers honored Robinson and his family with a pregame ceremony that featured speakers, Stan Kasten, Frank Robinson, Vin Scully, and Dodgers' owner Earvin "Magic" Johnson. 

"I'm humbled to participate in the unveiling of the Jackie Robinson statue on the 70th anniversary of his Major League debut," said Magic in a statement. "His impact exceeded beyond baseball, paving a way for me and African-American athletes across all sports. Beyond being an extraordinary athlete, Robinson was an extraordinary individual. The statue is a tribute to not only the rich history and success Robinson brought to the Dodgers organization, but the social impact he made on this country."

Robinson's widow, Rachel Robinson, as well as his two children, Sharon and David Robinson were also in attendance, and together, the threesome counted down the moment where the blue curtain was dropped at the statue was unveiled to adoring fans and guests. 

"We had seen pictures of it, but to see it in person, it was everything we hoped it would be," said Sharon Robinson. "It was as powerful and inspirational as we'd hoped, and it was really wonderful to share that with Mom."

For fans coming out to Dodger Stadium this season who want to see the statue, it's located on the Left Field Reserve Plaza of the stadium and depicts Jackie Robinson stealing home plate, a feat he did 19 times in his Hall of Fame career. 

The bronze statue was designed by sculptor Branly Cadet and took 18 months to complete. It sits atop a large granite base, complete with a biography and quotes from Robinson. All told, the statue stands over nine feet tall. 

"I analyzed the sculptures that already existed of him, and used the context of Los Angeles. This is a megalopolis. It's a big over the top city, so it was important the sculpture was as dynamic as the city and as Jackie was," Cadet said. "I also wanted to capture his historical significance. Stealing home is one of the hardest things to do in baseball, so the act of stealing home, I thought was a good metaphor."

All players across Major League Baseball wore No. 42 in honor of Jackie Robinson on Saturday and the first 40,000 fans in attendance at Dodger Stadium received a replica of the statue, courtesy of Bank of America. 



Photo Credit: Victor Decolongon/Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Friendly Fire: Kershaw Outduels Greinke]]>Fri, 14 Apr 2017 23:11:13 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/209*120/Kershaw+Defeats+Greinke.png

In a matchup of friendly fire, Clayton Kershaw brought a flame thrower.

Kershaw threw a gem in his first start against friend and former teammate, Zack Greinke, as the Los Angeles Dodgers defeated the Diamondbacks, 7-1, on Friday night at Chavez Ravine. 

It was an electric night at Dodger Stadium as the marquee pitching matchup of former Cy Young Award winners ignited fans as they watched the aces battle against each other for the first time on the mound and at the plate.

"You definitely hear about if you give up a hit," said Kershaw. "Zack was here for three years. We got pretty close, our kids are the same age. We got pretty close there, so it got pretty weird."

Entering the game, Kershaw and Greinke were number two and number four, respectively, on the list of all-time lowest ERA leaders at Dodger Stadium (minimum 30 starts).

Fans booed Greinke throughout the night, and cheered each and every one of the Dodgers 10 hits against the former fan favorite.

At the plate, Greinke was excited to face his former teammate, just to see how "nasty" he really was. Turned out, very. Kershaw struck out Greinke looking in their first battle at the plate in the third inning.

"I didn't see the ball very good. My eyes were kind of blurry when I faced him," said Greinke. "I definitely wasn't close to hitting him. I wasn't seeing his pitches out of his hand good. I don't know if that was my eyes being messed up at the time, or if it was him."

Kershaw (2-1) threw eight shutout innings with eight strikeouts before allowing an RBI double to Chris Ownings in the ninth inning to end his complete game shutout bid. Kershaw finished the game surrendering one run on four hits with one walk and eight strikeouts in 8 and 1/3 innings.

"You knew after his last outing in Colorado, that somebody was going to have to pay," said Dodgers' manager Dave Roberts about Kershaw's performance. "He was focused. Our club needed that lift from our starting pitcher."

Pedro Baez, who was activated from the disabled list earlier in the day, relieved Kershaw in the ninth, recording the final two outs of the game.

Adrian Gonzalez and Logan Forsythe recorded back-to-back RBI singles off Greinke in the bottom of the third inning to give the Dodgers an early 2-0 lead.

Justin Turner roped a two-run double down the left field line in the bottom of the fourth inning to put the Dodgers up 4-0.

Andrew Toles delivered the death blow to the D-Backs with a two-run home run off Randall Delgado in the bottom of the eighth inning. Toles is now tied with Yasiel Puig for the team lead in homers with three apiece.

"He was just leaving them over the plate," Toles said of his at-bat against Delgado. "He threw one right down the middle and I put a good swing on it. I thought it had a chance, but I wasn't sure if it was going to go out, but it did and it worked out."

Despite hanging seven runs on the D-Backs, the Dodgers continued to struggle with the bases loaded.

The Dodgers have loaded the bases seven different times without recording a hit over the past week. In fact, the last time they scored with the bases loaded was on a wild pitch on Thursday, April 6, against the Padres.

Greinke (1-1) took the loss, his second straight at Dodger Stadium, allowing five runs on 10 hits with three walks and four strikeouts in just five innings on Friday.

Entering into his start at the end of last season, Greinke had never allowed more than four runs in 46 starts at Chavez Ravine. In his last two starts, he's allowed eight and five runs, respectively.

"Good at-bats by them. They seem to do that a lot against me," said Greinke of his last two outings at Dodger Stadium. "Their at-bats are super quality and they hit the ball hard a lot. It was a good job by them."

Magic Johnson and Sany Koufax were in attendance for the battle between Kershaw and Greinke. Both legends will be in attendance on Saturday, April 15, for the unveiling of Jackie Robinson's statue at Dodger Stadium.

Another famous fan was in attendance on Friday night as well, as L.A. native and sports enthusiast Will Ferrell caught the game with his family.

Up Next:

The Dodgers will celebrate Jackie Robinson Day on Saturday with a pregame ceremony at 3:00 PM PST that will feature Jackie's widow Rachel, and daughter Sharon as well as other Dodger legends.

On the mound, Kenta Maeda (1-1), will look for his first win at home as the Dodgers look to overcome their left-handed struggles against Patrick Corbin at 6:10PM PST.



Photo Credit: AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill]]>
<![CDATA[Cubs Shutout Dodgers in Rubber Match at Wrigley]]>Fri, 14 Apr 2017 20:55:18 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/207*120/Ryu+loses+to+Cubs.png

You win some, you lose some.

Anthony Rizzo and Addison Russell both homered for the Cubs and Chicago shutout the Los Angeles Dodgers, 4-0, on Thursday afternoon to win the rubber match at Wrigley Field.

After a barn burner on Monday night, the Dodgers held the Cubs scoreless on Wednesday night, before Chicago returned the favor in the finale of the three-game series.

Rizzo homered off Hyun-Jin Ryu in the bottom of the first to give Chicago the early lead. Rizzo's no-doubter landed in a fan's beer in the bleachers located in right-center.

In the bottom of the fourth inning, it was Addison Russell's turn to send Ryu deep as he teed off on an 88 MPH fastball from the Korean national.

Ryu (0-2), allowed four runs on six hits, with two walks and five strikeouts on the day. 

Brett Anderson was on the hill for the Cubs and defeated his former team with five strong innings of scoreless ball. 

Anderson (1-0) played the last two seasons with the Dodgers, and won in his Wrigley Field debut on Thursday allowing just three hits with four walks and two strikeouts. It was his first scoreless outing since May 3, 2015 with the Dodgers.

The Dodgers had plenty of chances in the game, and the series for that matter, but were incapable of delivering with runners in scoring position.

One such example occurred in the top of the third inning when Kiké Hernandez appeared to have been robbed of an extra-base hit by left fielder Kyle Schwarber.

After a lengthy review, it was ruled that Schwarber trapped the ball against the roots of the ivy and Hernandez had himself a leadoff double.

However, two straight ground outs kept Kiké at second base, and Corey Seager flied out to center to end the inning.

The Dodgers left 26 men on base during the three-game series in the Windy City, and were a combined 1-for-24 with runners in scoring position, stranding the bases loaded without scoring a run, four different times.

The Cubs did not have the same problem as the Dodgers as they converted most of their opportunities in the game. Schwarber and Rizzo each delivered RBI singles with runners in scoring position to extend the lead in the bottom of the fifth inning.

L.A. concluded their six-game road trip with back –to-back series losses and finished 2-4 overall.

Up Next:

Fans are in for a treat on Friday night at Dodger Stadium as Clayton Kershaw goes head-to-head with old friend Zack Greinke in a matchup of former Cy Young Award winners. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10PM PST.



Photo Credit: Jon Durr/Getty Images)]]>
<![CDATA[Magic Johnson No Longer Interested in World Peace]]>Fri, 14 Apr 2017 02:40:03 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Metta-World-Peace-done-with-Lakers.jpg

On Thursday morning, a somber and serious Metta World Peace walked into the interview room at the Los Angeles Lakers' practice facility in El Segundo.

Asked to describe his exit meeting with Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson, general manager Rob Pelinka and coach Luke Walton, World Peace didn't wait long to share the rather harsh message.

"It was good, you know, exit meetings, you figure out how the season went," World Peace said before spilling the beans on the real takeaway. "And then, we also talk about I, uh, they're probably not going to bring me back."

Asked again to clarify, World Peace stated in a straight forward manner, "Yea, Magic said he's probably not going to bring me back, but it was good. I had a nice time."

World Peace said he did not expect to hear the news, but he put that on being focused on keeping in shape and getting through the season. Only a couple days earlier, the 37-year-old spoke about how if there was even a one percent chance to make a team, he would take that gamble.

Asked precisely if there was even a one percent chance of returning or the door being left ajar in any manner, World Peace said, "No, no, no. I don't think so. It was still a good thing. I got a chance to come back and play. It was fun."

World Peace said that he was not emotional about the Lakers' chapter being closed. When asked about what his next chapter would be, World Peace reminded reporters that it had only been a few hours since Wednesday night's game wrapped up in Oakland and that he'd only been given the news a couple minutes earlier. In short, he wasn't sure, but he said he didn't need to rush either.

"Obviously, one day I do want to coach," World Peace said when asked if it may be time to call time on his career. "It just depending on what that time is going to come, but as of yesterday, I enjoy playing, so I was thinking about playing basketball somewhere at a gym."

World Peace added, "So, if I still enjoy it, I'm going to do it."

Asked about playing overseas, as World Peace had previously played in Italy and in China, the veteran didn't seem excited by the prospect of leaving the United States to play basketball again.

What the future holds for World Peace is yet to be determined, but seemingly, the Lakers no longer have any interest in keeping the (World) Peace as a player, anyway.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Clippers Clinch Home Court For 1st Round of Playoffs]]>Wed, 12 Apr 2017 22:48:29 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/198*120/Clippers+Home+Court+1st+Round.png

There's no place like home.

The Los Angeles Clippers locked down home court advantage for their first round date with the Utah Jazz by beating the Sacramento Kings, 115-95, in their final home game of the regular season at Staples Center.

Los Angeles made sure not to let this one slip away after they famously blew an 18-point lead in the final few minutes of a 98-97 loss to the Kings on March 26 at Staples.

The Clippers finished the regular season with a record of 51-31, an identical mark as the Jazz, but L.A. holds the tiebreaker by winning the season series with Utah 3-1.

All five starters scored in double-figures with J.J. Redick leading the way with 18 points. DeAndre Jordan also had 18 points with 17 rebounds, his 41st double-double of the season. 

Jordan finished the season with a career-best field goal percentage of nearly 72 percent, the second-highest single-season mark in NBA history behind Wilt Chamberlain's 72.7 percent mark in 1972-73.

Chris Paul had 17 points and 9 assists, Blake Griffin had 15 points, nine rebounds and eight assists, and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute chipped in 14. 

"A few weeks ago our spirit wasn't the same, our defensive intensity wasn't there, and it's nice to have all that back for the playoffs," said Paul."

"This is what we play for," added Griffin about the playoffs. "We've waited over a year for this."

Jamal Crawford scored 13 points off the bench, giving the Clippers six players in double-figures. 

Two milestones were reached in the game as Doc Rivers became the all-time franchise leader in wins for a head coach with 216, and shooting guard J.J. Redick set the franchise record for most three-pointers in a single season with 201.

Willie Cauley-Stein scored 19 points to lead Sacramento, Buddy Hield had 16 and UCLA alum, Aaron Afflalo had 18.

"The season was fast. It went by quick," said Cauley-Stein. "I learned what I need to do. I got what I needed to get out of it. Going into the summer and the next year is going to be fun. It's going to be interesting."

Paul Pierce played in his last regular season game of his career, and was rewarded with a video tribute in the fourth quarter. 

With less than three minutes remaining, and the Clippers up 21, fans at Staples Center chanted "We Want Paul," prompting Doc Rivers to insert the 19-year-veteran into the game. 

"That was nice, because Paul had no interest in going in," said heac coach Doc Rivers of the chants. "Paul plans on playing a lot more this year, and I like his thought, and that was great for Paul as well. 

L.A. ends the season as the hottest team in the NBA with seven consecutive victories and eleven victories in their last 13 games. In fact, without last second mistakes to the Kings and Mavericks, the Clippers would be riding a 13-game winning streak.

Austin Rivers missed his eighth straight game with a strained left hamstring and he is expected to miss Games 1 and 2 at Staples Center.

"Missing that many games and with a hamstring it will be tough for him whenever he does come back," said Rivers who expects his son to be back around Games 3 and 4 in Salt Lake City.

Up Next: 

The Clippers will host the Utah Jazz in the first round of the NBA Playoffs on Saturday at 7:30PM PST. 



Photo Credit: Harry How/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Lakers Complete 2016-17, Finish at 26-56]]>Wed, 12 Apr 2017 22:33:45 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Lakers-coach-Luke-Walton-4-12-17.jpg

On Wednesday, the Los Angeles Lakers ended their 2016-17 NBA season with a 109-94 loss in Oakland on the second night of a back-to-back, as the back-to-back defending Western Conference champions looked worth their NBA best record.

Kevin Durant looked like he hadn't missing a game, as the former MVP scored 29 points in 27 minutes to go along with eight rebounds and five assists. Durant made five of his seven three-pointers on the night and 11 of his 16 field goals overall.

Stephen Curry added 20 points, eight assists and five rebounds in 28 minutes.

For the Lakers, Tyler Ennis returned to the starting lineup, as D'Angelo Russell was still excused after the death of his grandmother. The 22-year-old point guard scored in double figures for the seventh time over the final 10 games of the season.

With Ennis running the point, the Lakers finished with all five starters scoring in double figures, even if LA could not keep up with the Warriors' shooting.

With the defeat, LA finished the 2016-17 season with a final record of 26-56, while the Warriors completed their regular season with a record of 67-15. For Golden State, that mark guaranteed home court for the entire post season.

For the Lakers, their final record placed them as the third worst team in the NBA, which is another way of saying it provided them the third best odds at getting a no. 1 overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft Lottery. The lottery will be held on Tuesday, May 16.

If the Lakers finish with any of the top three picks, they will get to keep their pick. If they finish out of the top three, their pick will go to the Philadelphia 76ers. Mathematically speaking, the Lakers have a 46.9 percent chance of staying in the top three and a 15.6 percent chance of finishing with the no. 1 overall pick.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Dodgers Shutout Cubs, 2-0, to Even Series]]>Wed, 12 Apr 2017 20:36:10 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/238*120/Toles+leadoff+homer+over+Cubs.png

It wasn't pretty, but it worked.

Andrew Toles hit a leadoff home run and it was all the Los Angeles Dodgers would need as they hung on to defeat the World Series Champion Chicago Cubs, 2-0, on Wednesday night at Wrigley Field.

Brandon McCarthy threw six scoreless innings and the Dodgers' bullpen combined for three more with Kenley Jansen getting the save, as L.A. evened the three-game series with the Cubs at a game apiece, in their highly anticipated NLCS rematch.

McCarthy (2-0) joined Clayton Kershaw as the only two Dodgers starters to have two quality starts on the season.

The Dodgers lanky right-hander, allowed just four hits with three walks and four strikeouts in six shutout innings at Wrigley.

After struggling through the first two innings, John Lackey settled in and continued his dominance over the Dodgers. The 15-year veteran starter allowed just one run, on four hits, with three walks and 10 strikeouts in six strong innings for Chicago.

Toles sent the third pitch he saw from Lackey into the bleachers in right field for the first and only run of the game. The lazer shot was Toles second home run of the season.

A bizarre series of events gave the Dodgers an insurance run in the top of the ninth inning.

With two outs, and Chase Utley at first, Toles struck out on a pitch in the dirt. Wilson Contreas tried to throw him out at first, but his throw bounced past Anthony Rizzo and into foul territory.

Utley, who was hustling on the play, rounded third and headed for home. He appeared to be out at the plate on a great throw by 2B Ben Zobrist, but Hector Rendon dropped the ball allowing Utley to score.

Rendon was injured on the play at the plate and had to come out of the game.

The good news for the Dodgers is they won the game, the bad news is that they continue to struggle with the bases loaded. After finishing 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position in Monday's loss, the Dodgers stranded the bases loaded twice in the game, including an inning-ending double play by pinch-hitter, Justin Turner, in the eighth inning. 

Turner did not start the game with a quad injury. 

The Dodgers almost gifted the Cubs a run in the bottom of the eighth inning after Adrian Gonzalez dropped an easy throw to first, allowing Albert Almora Jr. to advance to second on the error.

Luckikly, Ross Stripling battled through, striking out Jon Jay before Luis Avilan finished the inning off. 

Up Next:

The Dodgers will give the ball to Hyun-Jin Ryu on Thursday afternoon as they face old friend, Brett Anderson, who starts for the Cubs at 11:20AM PST. 



Photo Credit: AP Photo/Matt Marton]]>
<![CDATA['Metta! Metta!' Lakers Fans Give World Peace a Chant]]>Wed, 12 Apr 2017 06:04:34 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/201*120/AP_17102185075060.jpgIn what might be his last appearance at Staples Center, fan-favorite Metta World Peace energized the team with 18 second-half points and the Lakers crowd responded. Check out these photos from the wild night.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA['Metta Day,' World Peace Inspires Lakers' Win]]>Wed, 12 Apr 2017 02:41:38 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/204*120/04-12-2017-lakers-metta-world-peace.jpg

On Tuesday night, the Los Angeles Lakers beat the New Orleans Pelicans 108-96 on what may as well have been labeled "Metta Day." Exactly two days short of the anniversary of "Mamba Day," the day Kobe Bryant scored 60 points in his LA Lakers' finale, World Peace took over Staples Center.

"Kobe got Dom Perignon. I got water. I loved it," World Peace shared that his teammates showered him in ice water following the game and jokingly complained that it was cold and that he could have died.

Of course, World Peace didn't score 60 points in what was billed and what felt like it may well be the final time he plays at Staples Center. In fact, the 37-year-old entered the halftime break with zero points despite starting and playing 10 minutes prior to that point. The farewell to World Peace seemed like it would be far from memorable, though the personality and his play on the court was anything but that.

After missing his first shot out of the break, World Peace proceeded to hit seven of his next 10 attempts to tab 18 second-half points, which mixed in well with four steals, four rebounds and one assist on the night.

That's not bad for a 37-year-old, is it? To be honest, World Peace's stat-line would have been welcomed by any of his teammates, as he led the team in scoring.

Arriving at Tuesday night was no ordinary feat, however. After playing in China and Italy, World Peace joined the Lakers on a non-guaranteed contract at the start of their 2015 training camp.

"When I first came here last year, (former General Manager) Mitch (Kupchak) said I had a 50 percent chance to make the team," World Peace responded when asked about whether he ever thought a day like Tuesday would have been possible after the Lakers used their amnesty clause on the forward. "I said, 'Are you sure I got a 50 percent chance?' He said, 'Yea.' I said, 'Cool. That's going to be easy.'"

World Peace continued, "And this year, he said, 'You got a 10 percent chance to make the team -- 10 percent.' He asked me, 'Do you want to come?' Easy. Ten percent, I'll take it. I'll gamble with that any day."

The veteran continued, "If they give me a chance, I'm going to do what I got to do. I'm a basketball player. This year, he wanted me to focus on the young guys, just keeping them in order, different things like that. And that's what I did."

Before moving on from his thought, World Peace concluded, "You give me a one percent chance, you might as well give me that spot."

Back to Tuesday's game, World Peace's presence electrified the crowd consisting of 18,997 adoring fans. On the introductions, World Peace earned the loudest cheers. Then, seemingly every time World Peace touched the ball, the crowd came to life and begged him to shoot. When he started hitting shots, the energy World Peace generated seemed to only grow with every passing second.

In what could best be described as a meaningless game for a team that is near the bottom of the league, Staples Center provided a flame thrower of playoff-like energy thanks to World Peace's relationship with the fans and their love for him as a player and as a person off the court.

When he checked out of the game with 6:29 remaining in the fourth quarter and the Lakers leading by 15 points, the crowd rose and applauded the player most famous in LA for hitting a game clinching shot in Game 7 of the 2010 NBA Finals. Chants of "Metta" rang out with World Peace's teammates leading the crowd from the bench.

"Who would have ever thought there would be a Buddha session in Staples Center?" World Peace smiled.

World Peace would return for the conclusion of the game, but the game and the night had already been won by the Queensbridge native. His former teammate and current coach, Luke Walton, had shone the spotlight on the player formerly known as Ron Artest, and World Peace had provided Staples Center and the 2016-17 Lakers the perfect story for its final home game of the season -- possibly the final time World Peace ever plays at Staples Center or dons a Lakers' jersey.

"[I'm] definitely grateful for everything," World Peace responded when asked if he was comfortable with the thought that Tuesday could be his last game at Staples Center. "Obviously, I'm going to keep working out. My goals didn't change."

For anyone wondering, World Peace's goal is to play 20 years as a professional basketball player. On Wednesday night, he'll officially complete 18 years seasons since leaving St. John's University in 1999. If the Lakers have a training camp spot up for grabs come late September, don't be surprised if they give World Peace a chance and he beats the odds yet again.

On Tuesday night, though, Staples Center didn't want to take any chances and ensured that World Peace felt the love and heard his adopted name: "Metta! Metta! Metta!"

]]>
<![CDATA[Metta World Peace Final Lakers' Home Game?]]>Tue, 11 Apr 2017 03:01:47 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Metta-World-Peace-Lakers.jpg

Metta World Peace's most famous moment as a Los Angeles Lakers player is hitting a three-pointer in Game 7 of the NBA Finals to effectively seal the victory for the purple and gold over the Boston Celtics.

Since the LA Lakers gave World Peace a chance to re-enter the rotation in San Antonio on April 5, LA has not lost a game. Yes, in these unfamiliar times, World Peace continues to flourish nearly 18 seasons into his professional career.

Ask the 37-year-old directly and he'll let you know quickly that his goal to play 20 years has not wavered. He's not even thinking about the possibility that Tuesday could be the last time he graces the Lakers' court at Staples Center, let alone any court in the NBA.

"What's Tuesday?" World Peace answers with a question when asked about his thoughts on what could potentially be the last time he wears the Lakers' purple and gold.

"I don't have any thoughts on that," World Peace responds ahead of the penultimate home game of the season.

"It's your last game, Metta! It's your last game, Metta!" Nick Young acts as the joker in the background, egging on the veteran for a reaction but mainly enjoying laughing at his own colorful commentary.

"If I had a thought, I'd share it," World Peace laughs off the questions and the commentary and starts into his broken record routine of smiling while talking about having fun, keeping "it" simple and, naturally, missing breakfast.

"If I start thinking about that, then, I might miss a meal," World Peace says regarding falling into the mindset of being nostalgic about Tuesday night -- or that sentiment in general. "I might miss my breakfast or something, and I'm not missing my breakfast. I'm not doing that."

While World Peace's leg shake nearly cost the Lakers' the game against Minnesota, the team's most senior player remains glued to the leader board at the facility. The board counts victories in practice, and more than anyone else on the Lakers, World Peace's team wins. So, it can't be a coincidence that the Lakers have won four games in a row for the first time since Dwight Howard, Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and, well, World Peace combined for a furious finish to the 2012-13 season, can it?

With his tone and with his words, the Queensbridge native illustrates that the finish line may be set, but he's not crossing that line just yet.

"Everybody's different, right?" the veteran responds when reminded he's a few months older than his coach. "It depends on your injuries or how you take care of yourself. The main reason you retire is because of injuries. Luke (Walton) retired because his back was hurt.

World Peace adds, "But it's definitely not easy. It's definitely not easy."

He talks about his focus on nutrition and the impact changing his diet had on his longevity.

"Kobe had 60!" Young's voice jumps over the wall of reporters, intending and succeeding in teasing the occupant of the only corner office in the Lakers' locker room.

"I ain't going nowhere (sic)," World Peace snaps back at Young, with his trademark jovial grin.

Young's reminder of the 60-point finale Kobe Bryant put out in his final game leads World Peace to respond further: "If I could get like five assists, I'd be happy."

After World Peace talks about how he continues to adjust his diet, discusses the irony in how fans used to boo every time he shot, and shoots down a couple more attempts to ask about retirement, he peeks at the clock in the locker room, gets up and runs onto the court at Staples Center to get up his pregame warm-up shots.

That night, which happened to be Sunday night, World Peace finished with a season-high eight points.

With World Peace no longer around, a reporter turns to Young and says with a smile, "O.k. Nick, now your turn. Tuesday could be your last day playing for the Lakers at home…"

Young, who has the ability to opt out of the final year of his contract at $5.6 million, laughs. He hasn't played a game in four weeks.

Notes: Lakers coach Luke Walton said he plans on playing World Peace on Tuesday and looks forward to the crowd enjoying the veteran's presence, regardless of what the future holds. On Monday, Walton even said the 37-year-old may start in place of D'Angelo Russell, who has been excused from the team, though that scenario playing out is not likely.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Clippers Ground Rockets ]]>Mon, 10 Apr 2017 23:09:02 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/214*120/Clippers+Crush+Rockets.png

Houston had a problem on Monday night at Staples Center. 

Seven different players scored in double-figures and the Los Angeles Clippers grounded the Rockets, 125-96, to keep pace with the Utah Jazz for home court advantage in the first round of the playoffs. 

Chris Paul had 19 points and nine assists in his matchup with MVP candidate James Harden. 

Harden had an off-night for Houston, shooting 2-of-9 and 1-of-6 from the three-point line, finishing the night with just 14 points and six assists. 

"We try to get through this as best as possible," said Harden of his off night and playing the final two games of the season with low stakes. "We want to still try to keep a rhythm up, playing with younger guys. We were trying to get Ryan Anderson back in his groove. It was basically for rhythm."

DeAndre Jordan recorded his 40th double-double of the season with 14 points and 11 rebounds. Luc Richard Mbah a Moute had a rare scoring game with 15 points, and Jamal Crawford had 19 points off the bench. 

"I'm just trying to do my job," said Jordan of his performance. "Every night I just try to come out and make it tough for the opposition and limit those guys to one shot, and try to make it be a tough shot, and get guys open and just communicate."

Blake Griffin had 18 points and eight rebounds, Paul Pierce and Brandon Bass both chipped in 10 points in the victory.

Los Angeles broke the franchise record for most three-pointers in a single-season with 828 midway through the third quarter. 

The Clippers kept pace with the Utah Jazz who upset the Golden State Warriors in Oakland on Monday. Both teams have an idential record of 50-31 with one game remaining in the season. 

"We worry about us," said Jordan when asked if he was watching the Jazz-Warriors score. "We don't worry about what any other team is doing, we just want to continue to build on what we are doing, how we are playing and just continue to play well and build off of this every day and every practice day that we have."

The Clippers hold the tiebreaker for home court advantage in case both teams end the season with the same record. 

Paul Pierce passed John Havlicek for 15th on the NBA's all-time scoring list with a circus shot in the fourth quarter.

Up Next: 

The Clippers will host the Sacramento Kings in the last game of the season at Staples Center on Wednesday night at 7:30PM PST. 



Photo Credit: AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill]]>
<![CDATA[Dodgers Lose NLCS Rematch With Cubs]]>Mon, 10 Apr 2017 22:47:51 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Cubs+Dodgers+NLCS+Rematch.png

They should have walked Anthony Rizzo.

Rizzo delivered the game-winning RBI in the bottom of the ninth, and the Chicago Cubs recorded a walk-off win against the Los Angeles Dodgers, 3-2, in a rematch of the National League Championship Series. 

Last October, the Cubs came-from-behind to beat the Dodgers in six games, but on Monday night, fans flew the "W," at Wrigley Field on the night that the Cubs raised their first World Series banner in 108 years. 

Alex Wood came out of the bullpen to make a spot-start for the Boys in Blue in place of the injured Rich Hill who went on the 10-day disabled list with a blister on his left middle finger. 

Wood pitched well, but was unlucky in the third inning when Yasiel Puig dropped a flay ball in four territory that would have ended the inning. Instead, Kyle Schwarber walked and scored a few pitches later on a double by Kris Bryant.

The Dodgers had a chance to tie or take the lead in the top of the sixth after a one-out double by Corey Seager put runners on second and third, but Justin Turner popped out and Scott Van Slyke hit a timid grounder back to the pitcher to end the inning. 

L.A. had another ample opportunity to break the game open in the top half of the seventh, when they loaded the bases with no outs for Joc Pederson. However, Pederson hit a shallow pop fly and Andrew Toles followed with an inning-ending double play.

The Dodgers finally got the game-tying run thanks to a mistake by the Cubs in the top of the eighth. After a leadoff single by Logan Forsythe, pinch-hitter Chase Utley came up with runners on first and second and one out.

Utley had appeared to ground into the inning-ending double play at first base, but shortstop Addison Russell's throw to first was wild and skipped into the Cubs' dugout, allowing Forsythe to score the tying run. 

After the Dodgers went down quietly in the 9th, relief pitcher Sergio Romo returned to the mound for the bottom of the ninth, but promptly allowed a leadoff single to Jon Jay.

Two batters later, Jay was in scoring position with one out, and Dodgers' manager Dave Roberts brought in Kenley Jansen to try and keep the game tied. After striking out the reigning NL MVP, Kris Bryant, Roberts and Jansen opted to not walk Rizzo with first base open and Ben Zobrist on deck.

Rizzo singled to left field, scoring Jay and give the Cubs the win.

The game was originally supposed to start at 5:10PM PST with a 30 minute pregame celebration. However, rain prolonged the festivities, so the Cubs' players watched their former teammate, David Ross, on Dancing With The Stars during the hour-long delay. 

Up Next:

The Dodgers (4-4) will send RHP Brandon McCarthy to the mound on Wednesday as the Cubs (5-2) counter with RHP John lackey with first pitch scheduled for 5:05PM PST. 



Photo Credit: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Discover Your Dodgers: Logan Forsythe (Part 1)]]>Mon, 10 Apr 2017 18:15:04 -0700

NBC LA Sports Reporter, Michael J. Duarte interviews new Dodgers' second baseman, Logan Forsythe, about life, the trade, his new teammates, and a few of his favorite things.]]>
<![CDATA[LA Kings Fire Head Coach and GM ]]>Mon, 10 Apr 2017 17:32:18 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/215*120/Kings+Fire+Sutter+and+Lombardi.png

It's the end of an era for the Los Angeles Kings.

AEG, the world's leading sports and liver entertainment company, and owner of the Kings, announced on Monday that Dean Lombardi, the team's President and General Manager since 2006, and Darryl Sutter, head coach since 2011, have both been fired.

The announcement was made by AEG President and CEO, Dan Beckerman who also announced that Luc Robitaille had been promoted to Lombardi's old role of club President, and Rob Blake to the role of General Manager.

“This was an extremely difficult decision and was made with an enormous amount of consideration for what we have accomplished in our past.  But the present and future of our organization is the highest priority,” said Beckerman.  “Words cannot express our gratitude and appreciation for what Dean and Darryl have accomplished for the Kings franchise.  They built this team and helped lead us to two Stanley Cup Championships and will forever be remembered as all-time greats in Kings history.  But with that level of accomplishment comes high expectations and we have not met those expectations for the last three seasons.  With the core players we have in place, we should be contending each year for the Stanley Cup.  Our failure to meet these goals has led us to this change.” 

Both Lombardi and Sutter were the architects behind the Kings' two Stanley Cup runs in three seasons between 2012 and 2014. During that time, Sutter sported a record of 225-147-53, the most wins by a Kings' head coach in franchise history. His 42 playoff wins are also a franchise record. 

However, the Kings have struggled in the past three seasons, missing the playoffs in 2015 and 2017, respectively, with a first round playoff exit in 2015 at the hands of the rival San Jose Sharks.

Similar to what AEG did with the front office and head coaching jobs at their MLS franchise, the LA Galaxy, Beckerman opted to promote from within, handing the executive reigns over to longtime Kings' players and legends with the franchise in their own right. 

Robitaille, is a member of the NHL Hall of Fame, and has served in the role of Kings President of Business Operations for the last 10 years. He played most of his career with the Kings, becoming the highest scoring left wing in NHL history while donning the black and white. His jersey was retired by the team in 2007.

Blake, was a longtime Kings' defenseman and also a member of the NHL Hall of fame. He will become the ninth General Manager in team history, and has been serving as the team's assistant GM for the past four seasons. 

The Kings announced that there will be a press conference at Staples Center on Tuesday, April 11th at 1:00PM to announce the new front office changes.



Photo Credit: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Lakers Keep Pick, Land No. 2 Pick in 2017 Draft]]>Tue, 16 May 2017 18:25:12 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/211*120/Lakers-NBA-Draft-Lottery-2017.png

The Los Angeles Lakers won big on Tuesday night when the team landed the no. 2 pick in the 2017 NBA Draft Lottery. 

While the Boston Celtics landed the no. 1 overall pick, the Lakers had the most to lose on the night, as the team needed to finish in the top three to keep its first round pick or the pick would have gone to the Philadelphia 76ers as part of the Steve Nash trade. The Lakers were more likely to lose the pick than keep it, but as luck would have it, LA moved up from the no. 3 spot to the no. 2 position.

Now, LA will draft second overall for the third year in a row, and the current projections show the team getting Lonzo Ball out of UCLA.

In addition, keeping their first round pick meant that the Lakers no longer owed the Orlando Magic the 2019 first round pick in relation to the Dwight Howard trade from the summer of 2012. Instead, the Lakers will now give the Magic two second round picks.

Ultimately, Tuesday night was a big win for the Lakers' rebuild. The team will still give its 2018 first round pick to the Philadelphia 76ers, which means that tanking will no longer be beneficial for the 2017-18 season.

While Ball is the most likely selection with the no. 2 pick, the Lakers may end up with point guard Markelle Fultz out of Washington. Ball and Fultz appear to be the two standout players in the 2017 NBA Draft, and the Lakers will likely take whichever of the two players the Celtics do not pick. It is a similar scenario to the 2016 NBA Draft when the Lakers took Brandon Ingram after the Philadelphia 76ers decided on Ben Simmons with the no. 1 pick.

Entering the night with the most to lose and after losing so much in recent seasons, the Lakers finally got a big win in the 2017 NBA Draft Lottery. And finally, the Lakers appear to be out of tank mode.



Photo Credit: Shahan Ahmed]]>
<![CDATA[Discover Your Dodgers: Logan Forsythe (Short)]]>Mon, 10 Apr 2017 18:20:19 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Logan_Forsythe_Fan_Questions_1200x675_918122051770.jpg

NBC LA sports reporter, Michael J. Duarte, interviews new Dodgers' second baseman, Logan Forsythe, to discuss his new teammates and his favorite things.]]>
<![CDATA[D'Angelo Russell Loses Grandma, Wins Game]]>Mon, 10 Apr 2017 02:28:38 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/198*120/AP_17100143932700.jpg

On Sunday morning, D'Angelo Russell heard the phone ring and his father informed the 21-year-old that his grandmother, the matriarch of the family, had passed away.

Understandably distraught, Russell worked out flight plans to fly home to be with his family and informed his coach that he didn't plan on playing in Sunday night's home game against the Minnesota Timberwolves. After talking it over with his family, though, Russell missed his 2 p.m. flight and decided to play about a half hour later.

Of course, Los Angeles Lakers coach Luke Walton knew his point guard was struggling emotionally. Though the team did not have a shootaround session prior to the game, the pair walked into the arena together with Russell already intent on playing.

"Yea," Walton responded when asked if Russell had been emotional when walking into the arena.

"That's not my place to tell him what to do," the coach added when asked if he thought about intervening and telling the former Ohio State Buckeye to sit out Sunday's game. "Only he knows what he feels. And when he walked off, he said something about using the game to get out some of the frustration. So, I'm always going to leave that to the player and not tell him what to do."

After an up and down showing early in the game, Russell would eventually step forward to hit a game-winning three-point shot that hit the iron and popped straight up in the air before passing through the net after the buzzer had sounded.

The Lakers had beaten the Minnesota Timberwolves 110-109, and Russell was mobbed by his teammates immediately before rushing into the stands to find his family. Back in the locker room, Russell admitted that Sunday was the most emotional contest he had played as a professional, at the least.

"She was a strong woman," Russell said was asked about his grandmother. "She did a great job raising my dad. I'm piggy-backing off of that. My dad did a great job raising his sons and his kids in general, being a great father. That's what she was put on this earth for."

Russell added, "I just wanted to win. For me to hit the game winning shot, that's just God putting the cherry on top. A win would have been good enough."

The point guard credited his family as being the driving force in convincing him to play on Sunday, so when his game winning three-pointer dropped, Russell went into the crowd and celebrated with his family. He said he has a habit of doing that, but this time seemed like it meant a bit more.

After returning to the court for his walk-off on-court interview, Russell publicly shared the news that his grandmother had passed away for the first time.

"R.I.P to my granny, man," Russell ignored the Spectrum Sportsnet question asking him to break down the play and spoke on what was on his mind instead. "Found out my granny was dead this morning, man. That's tragic. That's God's hands. I can't really control that. That's God making that shot. That shot was for my granny."

Minnesota Notes: In the loss, Andrew Wiggins scored 41 points, while Karl-Anthony Towns finished with 40 points and 21 rebounds. Towns was one rebound short of his career-high and made 17 of his 22 field goal attempts on the night.

Lakers Notes: The Lakers won four straight games for the first time in four years, going back to the end of the 2012-13 NBA season, when Dwight Howard and Kobe Bryant were still on the team. The Phoenix Suns won on Sunday, so the Lakers winning meant that LA can do no worse than tied with the Suns for the second-worst record in the NBA. After Sunday, the Lakers lead the Suns by one win with two games remaining for the Lakers, while the Suns only have one game left on their schedule.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Dodgers Avoid Sweep in Colorado ]]>Sun, 09 Apr 2017 16:40:05 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/204*120/Dodgers+Avoid+Sweep+in+COL.png

The monkey is off their back. 

Corey Seager hit a two-run homer and the Los Angeles Dodgers finally vanquished a left-handed starter, beating the Rockies, 10-6, to avoid the sweep in Colorado. 

Through a blistering wind, like a leviathan, the Dodgers dodged trash and other debris on the field to score seven runs with two outs in order to beat the Rockies at Coors Field for the first time this year.

It was the 98th time the Dodgers have defeated the Rockies at Coors Field, more than any other visiting team in Rockies franchise history. 

Seager was 2-for-4 with a home run, two RBI and two runs scored, Justin Turner had two RBI and second baseman Logan Forsythe was 3-for-5 with two runs scored. 

Kenta Maeda (1-1) pitched five shaky innings and allowed four runs, including a two-run homer to Charlie Blackmon, before turning it over to the bullpen.

The Dodgers' relievers shut down the Rockies until the ninth, when Kenley Jansen gave up two runs before closing it out.

Tyler Anderson (1-1) took the loss for the Rockies, who had their three-game winning streak stopped. The lefty allowed five runs in five innings.

Up Next:

The Dodgers go from a mighty wind, to the windy city, where they will take on the World Series Champion, Chicago Cubs on Monday at 5:10PM PST. Alex Wood will pitch opposite Jon Lester. 

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: AP Photo/David Zalubowsk]]>
<![CDATA[Clayton Kershaw Rocked in Colorado]]>Sat, 08 Apr 2017 20:33:00 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/206*120/Kershaw+Rocked+in+Colorado.png

Clayton Kershaw surrendered back-to-back homers for the first time in his career, with Mark Reynolds and Gerardo Parra going deep in the sixth to help the Colorado Rockies beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 4-2 on Saturday night.

Reynolds lined a two-run homer off Kershaw (1-1). Three pitches later, Parra followed with a solo shot to help the Rockies improve to 5-1 for the third time in franchise history.

"My stuff was fine. I just had some bad pitches and tonight they went over the fence," said Kershaw. "You can't give up mistakes, and I gave up too many tonight."

This was only the third time Kershaw has allowed multi-homers in an inning over his career. The Dodgers ace went six innings and gave up four runs, including three homers, in his first loss to the Rockies since July 12, 2013.

"I didn't know that. That was cool for a little bit, I guess," Kershaw said of the first time he's allowed back-to-back home runs in his career. "You never expect to give up home runs, so kudos to them."

Jon Gray turned in a strong outing during a no-decision, allowing one run over 5 1/3 innings. Mike Dunn (2-0) got two outs in the sixth to earn the win and Greg Holland pitched a perfect ninth for his fourth save.

Nolan Arenado lined a hanging curveball from Kershaw in the first to deep center. He has two homers after tying for the NL lead with 41 last season.

Andrew Toles added a solo homer in the fifth for the Dodgers to tie it.

The Los Angeles Dodgers tried to rally in the later innings, but Yasiel Puig was stranded after a leadoff double in the seventh, and Scott Van Slyke struck out to end the eighth as the tying run at the plate.

Colorado closer, Greg Holland, who was signed as a free agent in the offseason, recorded his fourth save of the season after a perfect ninth inning. 

Up Next:

The Dodgers will send right-hander Kenta Maeda to the mound on Sunday afternoon as he looks to pick up his first win of the season. 

Colorado will counter with LHP Tyler Anderson with first pitch scheduled for 12:10PM PST. 

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: AP Photo/David Zalubowski]]>
<![CDATA[Bob Miller's Fairytale Finish to Career]]>Sat, 08 Apr 2017 22:49:12 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/202*120/Bob+Miller+Farewell.png

Bob Miller has left the building.

After 44 years as the voice of the Los Angeles Kings, legendary broadcaster Bob Miller said goodbye to Staples Center for the final time.

Thankfully, the team said farewell in the most fantastic and fitting way possible.

Dustin Brown scored the game-tying goal with 55 seconds remaining in the game and Drew Doughty won it in overtime as the Los Angeles Kings shocked the Chicago Blackhawks, 3-2, in Miller's final home game as broadcaster for the Kings.

"Dustin Brown gave me the cup [when the team first won the Stanley Cup in 2012], we [Jim Fox] had mentioned the perfect scenario would be for Dustin Brown to get the game-winning goal," said Miller of the exciting finale to the game. "Well, he didn't get the game-winner, but he got the game-tying goal, so to see it end that way was nice. It was a great day for me."

Normally, the last home game of the season is "Fan Appreciation Day," but in honor of Bob, the Kings hosted that day on Thursday night, and made Saturday's finale at Staples Center, "Bob Miller Appreciation Day."

Fans gathered outside Staples Center hours before the game to honor the longtime play-by-play announcer for the Kings. A fan festival honoring Bob included games, "Thank You Bob" banners, and a 20-foot "Signature Wall," that allowed fans to leave personal messages to the Hall of Fame announcer.

"I didn't even know what was going on outside until I saw it on the broadcast," said Miller of the pregame festivities. "That autograph wall, is that going to fit in the back of my SUV?"

Most people knew this day was coming. Miller has known for a while, ever since he suffered a mild stroke on January 28, just hours before he was set to call the NHL All-Star Skills Competition at Staples Center.

Four weeks later, he announced his retirement in an emotional press conference with his wife, Judy. Despite the fact that we all knew Miller's time in the broadcast booth was coming to end, it still leaves and empty feeling in our hearts and minds.

The voids when legends such as Miller or the Dodgers' Vin Scully, walk away from their craft is vast, like an empty house which no human feet have walked. Never again will we hear the voice of the person whose stories and calls ran through our lives like a swift wind. The only solitude is that their imprints will live on forever, for legacies are never forgotten.

"It's the right time," said Miller after the game speaking with the media for the final time. "I'm ready for this. There comes a time when you just know, 'I've done this long enough.'"

If it indeed is the right time, then the Kings and their fans picked the perfect ending to a fairytale career. Miller's final home game of his career was not just special, it was surreal, a send-off for the ages.

"The most gratifying thing for me was to see the game end this way, to see the Kings comeback and win in overtime," said Miller. "My first game I ever did was October 10, 1973 against the Blackhawks at the forum. They were also my favorite team growing up. No. 73 Toffoli scores the first goal, it was special."

Special may be an understatement. Serendipitous is more appropriate, and eerily similar to Scully's final call at Dodger Stadium last September when Corey Seager tied the game with a home run with two outs in the bottom of the ninth, and then Charlie Culberson gave the Dodgers a walk-off win that clinched the N.L. West in the bottom of the 10th.

"It was almost like the home run at Dodger Stadium on Vin Scully's final call," said Miller of the similarities between the two broadcasters' final game. "Vin had some very nice comments and invited me to get together with him, so now we'll have something to talk about."

Scully recorded a farewell message to Miller that was played on the videoboard during the game, and wished him well in retirement.

Miller still isn't sure what his plans for the future are, but he will definitely take a vacation and travel with his family.

Meanwhile, the Kings are just one game away from vacation themselves as they missed the Stanley Cup Playoffs this year for the second time in the last three seasons. Their final game will be in Anaheim tomorrow against the Ducks, so they were definitely happy to send Miller off the right way in his last game at Staples Center.

"Obviously, Bob Miller has been a big part of this organization for a long time," said Defenseman Drew Doughty, who scored the game-winning goal in overtime. "To a win for him and the team and for the fans as well it feels good."

His teammate, and captain, Anze Kopitar, agreed:

"I thought the emotions were a big higher because it was Bob's last home game," said Kopitar. "We wanted to get the win regardless, obviously. I think we played a pretty solid game. That's not what you want to do—give up a goal with six minutes left, but we did it in Kings fashion, to finish it up in OT."

The City of Angels have had to say goodbye to a lot of legends in the last year. First it was Kobe Bryant who walked out of Staples Center after a 60-point finishing touch on his career. The Mamba's finale was followed by Vin Scully's farewell at Dodger Stadium as he walked away from the booth after 68 historic years behind the microphone. On Saturday, it was Miller's turn.

Like the legends before him, fans will say, "There will never be another Bob Miller." This is because we were raised by his voice, and will always remember where we were when we heard, "The Los Angeles Kings are indeed the Kings of the National Hockey League," in 2012 and "Royalty Reigns Again in the National Hockey League," in 2014.

We measure greatness not by statistics or singular achievements, but with our eyes and ears, and moreover, our hearts. Miller's legacy will not just be his baritone voice as he told the stories of L.A.'s hockey legends, but the way he treated the fans who hung on his every word.

I was one of those fans, as I assume so many of you were as well. So it's with tremendous gratitude and appreciation that we say, congratulations, Bob. You have ascended the thrown and now you can sit back and watch with your place among the greats solidified forever.



Photo Credit: AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill]]>
<![CDATA[Clippers Take Season Series From Spurs]]>Sat, 08 Apr 2017 20:19:50 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/207*120/Chris+Paul+over+Spurs.png

Chris Paul had 19 points and the Los Angeles Clippers beat the San Antonio Spurs 98-87 on Saturday night for their fifth straight victory.

DeAndre Jordan added 17 points and 17 rebounds to help Los Angeles preserve its hopes of hosting a first-round playoff series.

Blake Griffin had 18 points and eight rebounds in the victory.

Los Angeles is a half-game behind Utah for the fourth seed and homecourt in the first-round series between the two. The Jazz played the Portland Trail Blazers on Saturday night.

Doc Rivers tied Mike Dunleavy for the Clippers franchise record with his 215th regular-season victory.

Kawhi Leonard had 28 points, and LaMarcus Aldridge added 18 points for San Antonio. The Spurs closed out their home schedule with just their 10th loss at the AT&T Center.

San Antonio is playing out the regular season after securing the No. 2 seed and first-round matchup against seventh-seeded Memphis.

The Clippers were 3-1 against San Antonio this season.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: AP Photo/Darren Abate]]>
<![CDATA[LA Kings Honor Broadcaster Bob Miller at Appreciation Day]]>Sat, 08 Apr 2017 22:56:20 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/215*120/Bob+Miller+retires.png

The Los Angeles Kings held "Bob Miller Appreciation Day" at Saturday's game at Staples Center to honor their longtime television play-by-play broadcaster, who is retiring following Sunday's season finale.

"I just wanted to say all of you, I appreciate your loyalty and enthusiasm for the Kings team and your passion for the Kings and the sport of hockey and the NHL,'' Miller told the capacity crowd of 18,230 following the Kings 3-2 overtime victory over the Chicago Blackhawks.

"I have truly enjoyed my association with all of you, getting to meet you, getting to find about all of you and sharing stories about your enthusiasm and your loyalty to this Kings team. Let's win again tomorrow. That would be a great way to end this." 

Miller will call the 3,353rd game of his Kings career Sunday, when the team concludes the season by playing the Anaheim Ducks at Honda Center.

Miller made his comments to the crowd from the Staples Center ice after participating in the Kings players annual "Jerseys Off Their Back" ceremony at the end of the game.

He presented a special Bob Miller jersey with the number 44, referring to his 44 seasons with the team, and Bob on the back the entire team wore during pregame warmups to the winner of a drawing. 

Those jerseys were auctioned off during the game by the Kings Care Foundation.

Saturday's game was the 78-year-old Miller's first since Jan. 16. He suffered a mild stroke on Jan. 28, hours before he was scheduled to work a live broadcast of the NHL All-Star Skills Competition.

Miller announced his retirement March 2.

"Due to four separate health incidents the last year, quadruple bypass heart surgery, a transient ischemic attack, a mild stroke and a stent placed in my left carotid artery, and with doctor's advice to slow down, it's time for me to retire," Miller said when he announced his retirement.

The tributes to Miller included a pregame Fan Fest outside Staples Center where fans could sign a special 20-foot "Signature Wall" and leave personal messages.

All fans in attendance received a "Thank You Bob" cheer card. The backside of the card included a special letter from Miller.

Multiple interior and exterior atmosphere and decor elements were changed to read "Thank You Bob," including the large City View Terrace banner.

Several testimonial videos were played throughout the game. Tribute videos were played to start the game and third period and midway through the third period, with retired Los Angeles Dodgers announcer Vin Scully among those paying tribute to Miller.

Miller became a hockey announcer in 1968, when the program director at his radio station in Madison, Wisconsin, told him he would be announcing a University of Wisconsin game the following Friday because it was the school's only team to win consistently and draw standing-room-only crowds.

Miller first sought to be hired by the Kings in 1972, when the team's original announcer, Jiggs McDonald, left for the expansion Atlanta Flames.

Legendary Los Angeles Lakers announcer Chick Hearn recommended Miller for the job, but team owner Jack Kent Cooke hired California Golden Seals announcer Roy Storey.

When Storey was fired after one season, Hearn again recommended Miller, with Cooke going along that second time.

There was a benefit to the one-season delay in joining the Kings. Staying at Wisconsin, he broadcast the Badgers during their 1972-73 NCAA championship season.

Miller waited 39 years to broadcast another title-winning team, when the Kings won the Stanley Cup in 2012, which they won again in 2014.

Miller's honors include the Foster Hewitt Memorial Award, given to members of the television and radio industries for outstanding contributions to their profession and hockey, a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and membership in the halls of fame of the Kings and Southern California Sports Broadcasters Association.



Photo Credit: Victor Decolongon/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Lakers Refuse to Tank, Beat Kings; Hurt Lottery Odds]]>Sat, 08 Apr 2017 03:32:39 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/205*120/Lakers-beat-Kings-4-7-17.jpg

On Friday night, the Los Angeles Lakers beat the Sacramento Kings 98-94 to tie their longest winning streak of the season at three games.

The contest had 17 lead changes, 11 ties and neither team led by more than five points in the second half. As far as NBA games between two non-playoff teams in the latter stages of an 82-game season go, Friday's game delivered far more excitement and entertainment than it promised.

Julius Randle led the Lakers with 25 points and also provided a quote directed at all the fans sitting at home wishing for losses: "Tanking? We don't believe in that. We don't believe in that. Us as players, we go out there. We compete. We do this for a living."

Why talk of tanking following a victory?

Well, the Phoenix Suns beat the Oklahoma City Thunder on the same night and snapped 15-game losing streak. That meant that with a loss, the Lakers and Suns would have been tied in the wins column, and the Suns and Lakers could lose the remainder of their games and tie for the second worst record in the NBA. That scenario playing out would have resulted in the Lakers and Suns splitting their odds and holding a 51.4 percent chance of finishing in the top three on NBA Draft lottery night.

Instead, both teams winning kept the Lakers one win ahead of the Suns, with Phoenix only two games from the end of their season. In many ways, Friday's win was a missed opportunity to increase the Lakers' odds of holding onto its lottery pick, which goes to the Philadelphia 76ers if the Lakers fall out of the top three positions.

However, one should point out that finishing tied with Phoenix would give the Lakers a 51.4 percent chance of finishing in the top three, while finishing third would give the Lakers a 46.9 percent chance of finishing in the top three. So, at this stage, all the fuss over tanking is only about a 4.5 percent difference in odds on draft lottery night.

After reiterating that his players' job is to go out and compete and not be bothered about tanking or any of the outside noise, Lakers coach Luke Walton commended his guys for their focus and attitude late in a season with no playoffs on the line.

"This is what we try to do," Walton said after the game. "It's not easy, too, because late in the season, normally, you check out if you're not in the playoff race. So, I'm really proud of our guys—the way they've continued to work, to really prepare before practice."

Next, the Lakers look to do something they have not done since the tail end of the 2012-13 NBA season: win four games in a row. LA hosts the Minnesota Timberwolves on Sunday evening in the penultimate home game of the 2016-17 NBA season.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Dodgers Done in by Rockies' Rookie]]>Fri, 07 Apr 2017 16:47:46 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-665906150.jpg

The Dodgers were done in by another lefty.

Rockies' rookie, Kyle Freeland, allowed one run over six innings and Colorado defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers, 2-1, in their Home Opener at Coors Field on Friday. 

Freeland was phenomenal in his big league debut, striking out six, in his first start at Mile High. The 23-year-old left-hander surrendered just one run on four hits with two walks on the day. 

Colorado fans were so thankful for their rookie's performance in his MLB debut that they gave Freeland a standing ovation as he came off the field. 

On the flip side, Dodgers' starter Hyun-Jin Ryu's 2017 season got off to a rocky start in the first inning.

Ryu struck out Rockies leadoff hitter, Charlie Blackmon, to start the game, but his fastball in the dirt skipped past catcher Yasmani Grandal and to the backstop allowing Blackmon to reach first.

Three consecutive hits later, Colorado took the lead on a double to left field by Nolan Arenado.

"When I face hitters, I have the confidence I can get them out," said Ryu. "I wasn't thinking that this is Arenado when I faced him in the first inning."

Ryu settled in from there, but was unable to escape the fifth inning, following a solo homer to Dustin Garneau that gave the Rockies the lead. 

Ryu (0-1) allowed two runs on six hits with one walk and five strikeouts as he will have to wait until his next start in Chicago against the World Series Champion Cubs to get his first win since August of 2014.

"[Health] Was definitely a silverlining," said Ryu after the game. "I didn't feel any discomfort or pain in my shoulder or elbow which is a good sign."

The Dodgers only run of the game came on a leadoff double by Scott Van Slyke in the fourth inning, two batters later, Kiké Hernadez grounded to short, scoring Van Slyke.

Los Angeles is 3-2 on the young season, with both of those losses coming against southpaw starters. It's safe to say that for the meantime, the narrative that the Dodgers struggle against left-handed pitching will continue.

"There were some at-bats where we were too aggressive out of the strike zone and we really didn't threaten all game," said Dodgers manager Dave Roberts of the team's approach against a left-hander. "It's one of those things where until we change it, that's going to be the talk. We're going to keep running the same guys out there. At some point, it becomes mental. It's not there yet, but it was a topic of conversation that came up quite often last season."

NOTES: The Dodgers placed left-handed pitcher, Rich Hill, on the 10-day disabled list with a blister on his left index finger and recalled RHP Josh Fields from AAA OKC. Hyun-Jin Ryu was making just his second start in three seasons on Friday.

Up Next:

The Dodgers (3-2) will send three-time Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw to the mound against Rockies' (4-1) ace Jon Gray at 5:10PM PST in Colorado.



Photo Credit: Justin Edmonds/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[A Tale of Two NFL Interns]]>Fri, 07 Apr 2017 16:44:05 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/180*120/Anthony3+%281%29.jpg

On a Sunday afternoon in 2017, Indianapolis Colts left tackle Anthony Castonzo and Los Angeles Rams safety Isaiah Johnson, will be enemies on opposite sides of the line scrimmage.

Soon, the two larger than life men will collide like Gladiators inside the confines of the L.A. Coliseum, but for a month in the offseason, their lives collided in the boardroom, where they found they were just like you or me.

They both worked 9-to-5 jobs, answered to bosses, and packed a lunch to the office. The only difference was they weren't paid, they were just interns.

Every year for the past four years, the NFL Players Association externship program selects 41 players out of over 86 applicants to spend a major chunk of their offseason working as interns for 15 different companies across the country in order to gain the valuable skills and experience needed to thrive in the work force.

For many of these athletes, life between the pylons comes easy, but life outside the gridiron can be difficult to tackle. Castonzo and Johnson understand that their playing careers won't last forever. Inevitably, their NFL days will come to an end, and they will disappear into retirement, scratching their proverbial heads, wondering what to do next.

That's why two of the more durable and respected players in the game, put aside their paychecks and relaxation time to prepare for the unknown. Along the way, they learned valuable skills and how to overcome unexpected challenges.

Here are their stories:

His six-foot, seven-inch frame looms over a tiny stove in his West Hollywood apartment. It's a half past 7:00AM and after finishing a bowl of oatmeal, Anthony Castonzo is now making eggs with avocado. He peers at his watch; he better hurry or he'll be late for work. He has trolls to kill.

The youngest of four children, Castonzo grew up in the Northwest suburb of Chicago. He started playing tackle football at the age of six and was a quarterback throughout high school. However, at 6'7 and just 215 pounds, he was considered a toothpick, and subsequently, the recruitment letters never came.

Castonzo's salvation was his parents' Italian restaurant. Anthony gained 30 pounds after graduation and eventually received a scholarship offer from Boston College as an offensive lineman.

"Having a restaurant in the family definitely helped out," said Constanzo. "But I ate straight into our profits."

The restaurant lasted only 13 years, but the Castonzo family's investment in their son paid dividends when he was taken in the first round of the 2011 NFL Draft by the Indianapolis Colts.

During his adolescence, Anthony found sanctuary in video games. "I've always loved video games," he said. "I never really thought about what goes on behind it, but as I played more and more, I started to appreciate how much goes into it and what goes on behind the scenes and that cultivated my interest." 

At a young age, Anthony had a penchant for math and art, the aptitude needed for a computer programmer. Even as an adult, he draws sketches in his free time, so a career in programming is the natural place for those worlds to collide.  

"I've started to think about life after football," admitted Castonzo. "Hopefully I have a bunch more years left, but I recognize at some point it's going to end. When I saw Whalerock on the list of internships with an opportunity in computer programming and coding I said, 'this sounds awesome.' I'm going to commit to do it. I think it will be a good time and I'll learn a lot."

*****

Elsewhere, in the nation's capital, Isaiah Johnson is in the middle of a marketing meeting. Still recovering from the night before, Johnson can't wait to get out of the office and tour the site of the company's upcoming event for MLS franchise DC United. He too peers at his watch, just two more hours to go.

Johnson was born in Columbus, Ohio, but he moved to Atlanta when he was two years old. He first picked up a football at the age of seven, but admittedly, at that time, playing in the NFL was only an afterthought.

When Isaiah was 12 years old, his father, Nathan, was tragically killed in a car accident and suddenly his NFL aspirations transformed into a child simply looking to make his father proud. As a reminder, Johnson still wears his father's wedding ring to this day and uses his father's death as motivation to drive him to be better, the fuel behind his NFL dreams.

"I wear his wedding ring on my right hand as a constant reminder of how hardworking of a man he was," said Johnson. "It drives me."

Johnson was a standout at Sandy Creek High School in Georgia, and grew up idolizing wide receiver, Calvin Johnson, who graduated three years before he arrived. Johnson followed the receiver to Georgia Tech and after going undrafted in 2015, was signed by the Detroit Lions where he practiced against his idol on a daily basis.

"I looked up to him and inspired to be where he was," said Johnson. "A lot of people think we're related. I definitely was a fan of his and he inspired me to prepare and do stuff for life after football."

Johnson majored in Business at Georgia Tech and got his Masters Degree in Building Construction. Despite the fact that he has no plans of pursuing a career in event production, when his agent told him about the NFLPA internship with Events DC, Johnson jumped at the chance.

"I'm trying to prepare myself for life after football, so when my agent presented this program that the NFLPA was doing, I jumped all over it," said Johnson. "I don't necessarily see myself working in events, but it’s a great opportunity to network and see how a company is run."

***** 

There's an old Joke: A grandfather who had just turned 75, turns to his grandchild and says, "You know, it's not easy getting old. I guess I'm in the fourth quarter now."

The grandchild responds, "Don't worry, Grandpa. Maybe you'll go into overtime." 

The average career of an NFL player is just over three years. Despite dedicating most of their lives to the sport, the average football player only lasts a few years at the highest level. As a world-class athlete that is abundantly skilled in the art of physically punishing his opponent, sitting in the confines of a cubicle and concentrating on a small computer screen can be equally, if not more, challenging. 

As a six-foot safety, Isaiah Johnson is about to enter his third season in the NFL. The idea that the end of his playing career could be over soon is simply an afterthought, right now, he has to figure out which Events DC department to report to.

In his first meeting with the company, Johnson told his new bosses that he wanted to spend time within the trenches of each and every division Events DC had. That way, he could better understand the inner workings of how a business is run and operated. 

After an eight-hour workday, Johnson spends two hours in the gym training for the upcoming season with the Los Angeles Rams. Unlike the grandfather in the joke, Johnson doesn't care about going into overtime; he just wants to see the field more this season. His goal is to start Week 1 on the active roster and stay there for the duration of the season. Overtime for him will be when his playing career comes to an end, and when it does, he's ready for what comes next.

"I definitely see myself in entertainment, either behind or in front of the camera," Johnson said. "Either acting or hosting. Another avenue is land development. I want to start my own real estate business."

*****

It's just after lunch in West Hollywood, CA and Anthony Castonzo is putting his weeks worth of coding training to work as he prepares to design his own video game. The man who is responsible for protecting Andrew Luck's blindside, must now protect the Kingdom from hideous troglodytes that want to rip his character from limb to limb.

"I'm working on an RPG (role playing game) called 'Defend Your Kingdom,'" Castonzo said. "A giant troll attacks you and you have to select various moves to attack him back. If you defeat him, it starts all over again, if he defeats you, you die, and it starts all over again. It's amazing how simple of a game takes so much work, but I'm very proud of it."

Anthony is so proud of his game that he immediately called Luck to tell him what he was working on. When he told his friend, teammate, and quarterback about the game he was making, Luck was ecstatic and told Anthony he wanted to play the game as soon as it was complete.

"Currently, you can only run the game on Python (a programming language), but I'm turning it into an iOS app," Castanzo said. "There's always some new challenge. There's always ways to make it better. That constant challenge is definitely something that can keep me busy for a long time. It's a lot of fun seeing things come to life. When you get an error message over and over again and then finally the program runs correctly, it's a really good feeling."

For the next few weeks, Castonzo will eat, sleep, and breathe computer programming. In between learning a bevy of program languages like Python, Sequel, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, React and SWIFT, Castonzo meets with a close friend of the Colts strength and conditioning coach, Darren Krein, to train after work.

Anthony works out for an hour and a half each day as he sets his sights on helping improve the Colts 8-8 record last season. Indianapolis lost four games by five points or less in 2016, a trend that Castanzo wants to buck in 2017.

"A lot of those games came down to the final few seconds on the field when the outcome changed," said Castanzo of the Colts 2016 campaign. "We easily could have been 10-6 and won the division."

After working out and eating dinner, Castanzo codes for a couple more hours before going to bed. His boss at Whalerock, Sunil Bhanot, says besides being easily noticeable in the office, that Castanzo is deserving of an "A+" grade for his work the past couple weeks and would absolutely hire Anthony full time once his career in the NFL comes to an end. "It's up to him now on what he wants to focus his future on," he says.

He may wear a facemask on the field, but he's a mask of concentration when you see him in front of a computer coding. Castanzo is unsure of when the NFL will put him out to pasture, but he sees himself pursuing a career in app or web development once he hangs up his pads and cleats.

"I enjoy the front end developing stuff with apps and web design," said Castanzo of what field he might want to go into after football. "I think the creative side of things where you can visually see what you're coding is where I would want to be, but I'm still pretty green and there's a lot more to learn."

It's been said that there's truth and romance to be found on the football field, but very few are able to find meaning outside of it. For Johnson and Castanzo, not only have they found meaning, but a purpose for when their football lives come to an end.

Until then, they will wait for their lives to intertwine again when they battle on the football field this fall. 



Photo Credit: Burke Doeren/Whalerock Industries]]>
<![CDATA[Lakers Vs. Kings: Too Late To Tank?]]>Fri, 07 Apr 2017 02:10:03 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Lakers-vs-Kings-4-6-17.png

With a win on Friday night at Staples Center, the Los Angeles Lakers can tie their longest winning streak of the season: three games.

Including Friday's game against the struggling Sacramento Kings, the Lakers only have four games remaining over six days. The 2016-17 season is nearly, mercifully over. After starting 10-10, the Lakers sit on 23 wins and 55 defeats entering the final quartet of contests.

"It feels like it went pretty fast," Lakers coach Luke Walton said on the topic after Thursday's practice.

Walton admitted that he had a bit of work popping up for the organization related to the summer ahead, but the coach contended that his focus was on the final four games ahead, rather than the 78 behind.

There's an elephant in the room, of course - or in this case, the gym.

"Nothing," Walton said when asked what he says to fans begging the team to lose games and help their draft lottery odds. "I'm being serious. We're not going to tell our guys to go out there and lose. That's not what sports is about. That's not how any of these guys got here, and it's not right."

At this point, it sounds like a broken record, but it bears repating: the Lakers benefit from losing games. Partly because of the way the NBA draft lottery stucture is set up and partly because the Lakers traded for Dwight Howard and Steve Nash, the Lakers will send out their 2017 and 2019 first round draft picks unless they land one of the top three draft picks in the 2017 NBA Draft.

Entering Friday night, the Lakers hold a 46.9 percent chance of keeping their 2017 first round draft pick, which is down from 55.8 percent because the Lakers have won two games in a row.

As it stands, the Phoenix Suns have lost 13 in a row and only have one fewer win than the Lakers. Had the Lakers only won one of the past two games, the Lakers and Suns would be on pace to finish level after 82 games and split the odds, with both teams holding roughly a 51.4 percent chance of finishing in the top three in the NBA Draft Lottery.

In truth, a coin flip would take place due to the odd number of lottery balls for the combination of the no. 2 and no. 3 lottery seeds, and the winner of the coin flip would earn one extra ball in the lottery and also technically hold the no. 2 spot in the lottery. Winning the coin flip would be important because if only one team outside the top three jumps into the top three in the draft lottery, the Lakers would still finish third and keep their spot. 

However, those permutations may effectively be put to rest if the Lakers beat the Sacramento Kings on Friday night, though one should note that the Kings enter the contest on a two-game winning streak of their own.

Sacramento features Buddy Hield, who was named the March Rookie of the Month by the NBA. Hield was a central piece in the Kings' trade with the New Orleans Pelicans that shipped long-time center DeMarcus Cousins out of the California state capital.

Hield averaged 14.1 points over the month of March and followed that up by scoring 22 points on April Fool's Day and 16 points three days laters - both wins. The 23-year-old Bahamian out of Oklahoma is making a late run for Rookie of the Year.

Meanwhile, the Lakers stumble into Friday's game looking like a MASH unit. Ivica Zubac is out for the remainder of the season with an ankle injury, while Jordan Clarkson and D'Angelo Russell are both listed as questionable with minor knee issues. Lakers rookie Brandon Ingram is listed as probable due to patellar tendinitis in his right knee, and the 19-year-old only played 10 minutes in Wednesday's win against the Spurs.

Those 10 minutes, however, proved to be inspiring and got the Lakers off to a fast start that led them to leading by 26 points in the second quarter. Even on a minutes limit in recent games, the former Duke Blue Devil has looked far more aggressive in attacking the basket, particularly on finishing through contact for the conventional three-point play.

If Ingram suits up, comparing the lanky 19-year-old's impact on the game to his 23-year-old Kings' counterpart influence on the proceedings should make for an interesting side bar.

The visit from the Kings will be the first of three home games at Staples Center before the Lakers conclude their 2016-17 season in Oakland against the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday. Considering the Lakers play three non-playoff teams at home before the finale in Golden State, the Lakers will more than likely win one more game at home and finish with the third worst record in the NBA.

Beating the Kings may not be at the top of every fan's wish list at this point in the season, but if the Lakers are doomed to finish with lower odds than the Suns, which seems more likely now than ever before, the Lakers may as well win Friday night and look to put together their first four-game winning streak since the 2012-13 season - a four-year dry patch.

Walton has been speaking about carrying momentum into the offseason, and the team's first four-game winning streak in four seasons would provide the young team a small taste of the type of success that has been lacking since the last time the Lakers were a playoff team.

Tip-off is at 7:30 p.m. Pacific Time.



Photo Credit: Shahan Ahmed]]>
<![CDATA[LA Kings' Legend, Luc Robitaille, Surprises Uber Riders]]>Thu, 06 Apr 2017 20:36:09 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/208*120/Luc_Robitaille_uber.png

Many of us have saved money using uberPOOL over the years. The setting on the ridesharing app that allows you to share a ride with two or more passengers is not only a great way to put more dollars in your pocket, but it's also been a gateway to meeting new people.

Most of us expect to meet other like-minded Millennials when we select the cheapest option on our app, but rarely would you expect to see the highest-scoring left winger in NHL history. 

Well, fans last week got exactly that when Los Angeles Kings' legend, Luc Robitaille, surprised passengers inside their Uber as part of a promotion to celebrate the partnership between the Kings, Uber and AEG.

The world's largest ridesharing company partnered with the world's leading sports and live entertainment company, AEG, this week on an agreement that makes Uber the exclusive ride sharing company for 27 AEG venues around the world.

The goal of the partnership is to expand transportation options for fans and provide even more benefits to guests who choose to visit AEG venues for festivals, concerts, and sporting events.

In Los Angeles, the multiyear agreement is for Staples Center, L.A. Live and the StubHub Center in Carson, CA, the home of the L.A. Galaxy and L.A. Chargers. However, the agreement is worldwide and includes venues in London, England as well arenas across the United States.

"Uber already plays a big part in a fan's game day, concert, or event experience by getting you there safely and on time," said Amy Friedlander Hoffman, head of experimental marketing at Uber. "This partnership with select AEG venues takes that experience to a whole different level. Now, fans will have access to new perks, designated pick-up and drop-off spots and exclusive promotions—creating the best event experiences for all fans." 

The three L.A. venues have already announced new "Uber Zones," where the ridesharing vehicles can pick-up and drop-off fans as well as exclusive promotions between the LA Kings and LA Galaxy, including discounts and free rides. The agreement also includes signage and marketing for Uber at the AEG venues. 



Photo Credit: Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Puig Powers Dodgers in Finale of Opening Series]]>Thu, 06 Apr 2017 16:11:57 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/210*120/Yasiel+Puig+two+homers.png

Table for two, please.

Yasiel Puig hit a pair of two-run homers, Brandon McCarthy allowed just two runs, and the Dodgers pulled off a double steal, as Los Angeles wrapped up their Opening Week at Chavez Ravine with a 10-2 win over the San Diego Padres.

For the second time this week, Dodger Stadium hosted the rare weekday afternoon game known as, "The Businessperson's Special."

Special was an understatement as Puig piggybacked off his big night just 15 hours earlier with his first multi-homer performance since June 4, 2013, just the second game of his big league career (also against the Padres).

"I'm not worried about being the home run leader," said Puig who passed Madison Bumgarner and teammate Yasmani Grandal for the most home runs in the National League. "I just try and go out there and have fun and that's when good things happen."

Puig hit a pair of two-run homers into the Dodgers bullpen on back-to-back at-bats in the second and fourth innings off San Diego starter Jered Weaver to give the Dodgers the early 4-0 edge.

Again, for good measure:

Weaver is a familiar face for fans in Los Angeles, as the former Angels' starter spent the first 11 years of his career with the Halos in Anaheim. Weaver signed with San Diego as a free agent in the offseason, and entered the game with a 1.98 ERA at Dodger Stadium in six starts.

That all changed on Thursday as Weaver lasted just five innings, allowing four runs on five hits with three walks and just two strikeouts. His ERA at Dodger Stadium ballooned to 2.97. 

"The walks killed me, I normally pride myself on not walking people," said Weaver of his start. "Some easy passes and obviously two bad pitches and that was the four runs."

Wil Myers cut the lead in half with a two-run home run in the top of the sixth inning. Meyers teed off on a Brandon McCarthy curveball that flew over the fence in right-center to give the Padres their only runs of the day.

McCarthy (1-0) earned his first win since July 9, 2016 and became the first Dodger pitcher not named Clayton Kershaw to record a quality start this season—his first since July 22, 2016—as the lanky right-hander allowed just two runs on four hits with a walk and four strikeouts in his 2017 season debut.

"It's nice to go out there and have things not go haywire," said McCarthy who struggled last August with his command coming off Tommy John surgery. "I feel very normal. I know what I'm doing, what I need to work on and I'm able to make adjustments. I'm in a peaceful place."

After a pinch-hit, RBI double, Enrique Hernandez became the first Dodger to steal home plate since Carl Crawford did it on April 9, 2014 against the Tigers.

The pre-planned double steal, had shortstop Corey Seager draw the throw to second, while Hernandez headed home and slid under the tag for the run.

"With two outs I wanted to take a chance and steal a run right there," said Dodgers' manager Dave Roberts who called the double steal. "It wasn't executed perfectly, but it worked. That was a big run right there."

Corey Seager sliced a bases-loaded double down the left field line in the seventh inning to extend the L.A. lead. Seager finished the day 2-for-3 with two walks and two RBI.

There was a scary moment in the outfield earlier in the game, when Dodgers' left fielder, Andrew Toles, collided with center fielder, Joc Pederson, on a fly ball that fell in-between the two. Both players were all right, but Pederson was later ejected in the game for arguing balls and strikes.

Up Next:

Both teams head out on "Getaway Day" to Opening Days for other NL West Division opponents. The Padres (1-3) head home to Petco Park where they will host the San Francisco Giants, while the Dodgers (3-1) head to Denver to take on the Colorado Rockies at 1:10PM PST tomorrow. Left-hander, Hyun-Jin Ryu makes just his second start in three seasons for the Boys in Blue.



Photo Credit: AP Photo/Alex Gallardo]]>
<![CDATA[Clippers Close in on Jazz With Win Over Mavs]]>Wed, 05 Apr 2017 22:39:36 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/208*120/DJ+Dunks+Mavs.png

Blake Griffin scored 32 points and the Los Angeles Clippers led all the way in beating the Dallas Mavericks 112-101 on Wednesday night to move within a half-game of the idle Utah Jazz for the No. 4 playoff seed in the West.

J.J. Redick added 25 points and DeAndre Jordan had 20 rebounds in the Clippers' fourth straight victory and eighth in 10 games. Chris Paul had 22 points and 11 assists.

Harrison Barnes led the Mavs with 15 points despite five fouls. They've lost six of seven with four games left in their season. Dirk Nowitzki was held to nine points — under his 14.4 average — a night after the 38-year-old forward sat out the Mavs' loss at Sacramento with a sore Achilles tendon.

The Clippers made their first nine shots of the game, with Luc Mbah a Moute narrowly missing a finger roll to end the stretch leading 22-6. They shot 61 percent in the first quarter and eventually led by 17.

Dallas got within seven in the second before the Clippers extended their lead to 18 and went into halftime ahead 62-49.

Yogi Ferrell scored nine of the Mavs' first 18 points to open the third, cutting their deficit to six. The rookie guard played defense, too, stripping Paul of the ball on the baseline for a layup to complete back-to-back baskets.

Ferrell finished with 14 points, matching JJ Barea.

The Clippers regrouped and closed on a 17-6 run, including eight by Griffin, for a 90-73 lead going into the fourth. The spurt featured Jordan making two straight free throws, something he hadn't done all game, and Paul hitting a step back jumper in the right corner with the shot clock winding down.

Marreese Speights opened the fourth with a 3-pointer that pushed the Clippers' lead to 20, their largest of the game.

But the Mavs weren't done yet.

Nicolas Brussino rallied them within 10 on a 3-pointer from the left corner as the shot clock expired. Griffin answered with a 3 of his own before Brussino made another 3 and the Mavs were down nine.

They got no closer, with the Clippers making all six of their free throws over the final 2 ½ minutes.

TIP-INS

Mavericks: Nowitzki tied former Mav Jason Kidd for eighth on the NBA's all-time games played list with his 1,391st. ... Rookie Ferrell made his 25th start of the season. He replaced Seth Curry, who missed his third straight game because of a left shoulder strain.

Clippers: Redick is six 3-pointers (194) from tying his career high and single-season franchise record of 200 made. He set the mark in each of the last two seasons. ... Coach Doc Rivers is two wins from passing Mike Dunleavy (215) for most regular-season victories in franchise history. ... They split the season series 2-2.

HE SAID IT

"We could take care of business in the next four and still not have it." — Rivers on possibility of his team moving up to the No. 4 playoff seed.

UP NEXT

Mavericks: Host San Antonio on Friday. The Mavs have lost two of three to the Spurs in the season series.

Clippers: Visit San Antonio on Saturday. The Clippers have won two of three so far.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: AP Photo/Reed Saxon]]>
<![CDATA[Dodgers Get Back on Track With Win Over Padres]]>Wed, 05 Apr 2017 22:53:33 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/190*120/Puig+Homers+against+Padres.png

The Dodgers are back in the win column.

Rich Hill pitched five strong innings and Yasiel Puig hit his first home run of the season as the Los Angeles Dodgers defeated the San Diego Padres, 3-1, on Wednesday night at Chavez Ravine.

The game marked the season debut for Hill, and his first Opening Series start as a member of the Dodgers. Hill was acquired from the Oakland Athletics at the MLB trade deadline last July, and helped pithed L.A. into the postseason.

Hill (1-0) picked up right where he left off last fall, allowing no hits through his first three innings of work before allowing a leadoff single to Wil Myers to start the fourth. 

The left-hander finished the game with just one run on two hits with three walks and five strikeouts in five innings of work. He also added a milestone to his career, although admittedly, not one that he wanted.

Hill was hit by a 92MPH sinker on the right hand in the bottom of the second, marking the first time in his 16-year career he's been plunked by a pitch.

"That was the first time," said Hill of getting hit. "I feel like a baseball player. My on-base percentage was a thousand at the time, but that was fleeting."

The Dodgers got on the scoreboard in the first inning after doubles by Corey Seager and Adrian Gonzalez.

San Diego put a run on the board in the top of the fourth thanks to a solo shot by Hunter Renfroe. The sophomore slugger was called up by San Diego in September of last year, but already has four home runs in just six career games against the Dodgers.

A day prior, the Padres became the first team in MLB history to shutout their opponent in the second game of the season after losing by double-digit runs in the opener.

Puig added an insurance run in the bottom half of the fourth when he sent a changeup from Trevor Cahill soaring like a seraph into the night sky in the bottom of the fourth inning to give the Dodgers a 3-1 lead.

"I think about putting the ball in the air," Puig said about his approach at the plate on the home run. "If I don't, I'm going to have no money in my pocket."

Cahill (0-1) took the loss, allowing three runs (two earned) on five hits with three walks and seven strikeouts in 5 and 2/3 innings.

"I gave up two runs in the first but after that I settled in and felt good, but unfortunately things didn't go exactly as I wanted it to," said Cahill of the loss. "They have a tough lineup and Rich Hill doesn't let you put many up on the board. I felt like I pitched decent against these guys."

Sergio Romo, Alex Wood and Kenley Jansen each made their 2017 season debut and combined to throw four shutout innings of relief. Jansen earned his first save of the season and 190th of his career.

Up Next:

It's a business person special on Thursday at the Ravine as former Angel Jered Weaver starts for San Diego and right-hander Brandon McCarthy for the Dodgers at 1:10PM PST in the finale of the four game series.



Photo Credit: Victor Decolongon/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Dodgers to Unveil Jackie Robinson Statue on 70th Anniversary]]>Wed, 05 Apr 2017 20:29:05 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/189*120/Jackie+Robinson+Wall.png

Opening Day has come and gone, but the celebration of the Brooklyn Dodgers Opening Day 70 years ago is what fans in Los Angeles will be most looking forward to this season.

The Dodgers announced that they will unveil the first statue in team history, depicting second baseman Jackie Robinson, the man who historically broke the color barrier, becoming the first African-American player in Major League Baseball on April 15, 1947.

The organization commissioned artist Branly Cadet to create the statue, with a ceremony and unveiling planned before the April 15th game at Dodger Stadium.

In addition to the historic moment, the first 40,000 fans in attendance will receive a miniature replica of the statue itself.

Fans in Los Angeles have known about the statue for over two years since it was announced that they would build their own "ring of honor," erecting statues for the greatest Dodgers ever to put on a jersey over time. So naturally, Robinson would be the first.

Janet Marie Smith, the Dodgers Vice President of Planning and Development is one of the few people who have seen the statue, but she would only reveal that it is "larger than life," when asked about it earlier this year.

However, after years of secrecy, the Dodgers revealed that the bronze statue will be of Robinson stealing home plate in Game 1 of the 1955 World Series against New York Yankees catcher, Yogi Berra.

The statue will have a granite base, with a commemorative plaque honoring Robinson. It will be located on the Reserve Level of Dodger Stadium, the most populated level throughout the entire stadium.

Robinson has already been immortalized in statue form on a several occasions. First, outside the home of the Brooklyn Cyclones in New York City where the iconic image of teammates Pee Wee Reese and Robinson is forever in bronze.

There's also a statue of Robinson in Canada. Robinson played for the Dodgers in the minors in 1946 in Montreal. Another statue of Robinson is located in Daytona Beach, Florida outside of a spring training stadium known as "Jackie Robinson Ballpark."

But wait, there's more...

The University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) erected a statue in Robinson's honor because Robinson is arguably their most famous alumni.

Pasadena, the city where Robinson was born also built a statue in Robinson's honor, as did Stamford, Connecticut (where he died), Jersey City, NJ (where he played in the Negro Leagues) and of course in the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.

According to our records, the statue being built at Dodger Stadium is at least the ninth such statue of Robinson that we know of.



Photo Credit: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Lakers Beat The Odds, Somehow Beat Spurs]]>Wed, 05 Apr 2017 20:12:38 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Brandon-Ingram-Lakers-vs-Spurs.jpg

With starting point guard D'Angelo Russell sitting out due to a sore knee, the short-handed Los Angeles Lakers beating the San Antonio Spurs in Texas did not appear to be a likely outcome on Wednesday night.

However, against all odds and reason, the Lakers won 102-95 with stand-in point guard Tyler Ennis having a career night with 19 points, which is a new career-high, six assists, two steals and only one turnover. Ennis hit three of his four three-point attempts.

"(Ennis is) a smart, tough defender, which we need," Lakers coach Luke Walton said on Spectrum SportsNet after the game. "He had a great game for us tonight."

In fact, the Lakers led wire-to-wire after rookie Brandon Ingram helped LA to a fast start with eight points and three assists in the first quarter. The 19-year-old started off especially aggressive, but due to a sore knee coming into the game, the team decided not to play the no. 2 pick in the 2017 NBA Draft beyond the first quarter.

Even without Ingram, the Lakers built up a 26-point lead on the Spurs, but San Antonio eventually brought that difference down to 12 points by the halftime intermission.

The Spurs came out roaring in the third quarter and closed the game to a one-possession contest before LA answered back. At the end of the three quarters, the Lakers led by six points, but the Spurs appeared to be the team in complete control.

Over the final 12 minutes, the Lakers lost starting guard Jordan Clarkson to a knee contusion, which meant the Lakers were effectively playing without Russell, Clarkson, Ingram, Ivica Zubac, Luol Deng, Nick Young and Timofey Mozgov on the road in San Antonio.

With Metta World Peace among the players Lakers coach Luke Walton called upon, somehow, LA held on and won by a final tally of 102-95.

"To be honest, I love the opportunity to play Metta," Walton said after the game, citing that Ingram sitting out left the coach with few options. "He's been so good all year for us. He works his tail off in practice and never complains about not playing. So if I get an opportunity to get Metta out there, I love taking advantage of that."

As a reminder, 37-year-old World Peace is a few months older than his coach.

Of course, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich opting not to play Tony Parker, LaMarcus Aldridge and Kawhi Leonard more than 16 minutes each on the night played a role in the Spurs' defeat, but San Antonio could hardly look at the opposition and make excuses.

Beating the odds, the Lakers earned a rare road victory in San Antonio. Prior to Wednesday night, the Lakers had not won in San Antonio in any of their previous eight trips to the River Walk. With the win, LA now has one more victory than the Phoenix Suns and is in firm control of the third-worst record in the NBA.

Next, the Lakers return home for three games before playing away against the Golden State Warriors on April 12 to finish the season.

Notes: Clarkson, who is from San Antonio, finished as the game's leading scorer with 17 points.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Only One Week Left, Lakers in San Antonio]]>Wed, 05 Apr 2017 03:56:31 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/214*120/D-Angelo-Russell-Lakers-4-5-17.png

One week from Wednesday, it'll all be over.

The Los Angeles Lakers' 2016-17 season wraps up in Golden State on Wednesday, April 12, against the top team in the Western Conference. Before the players can pack up their lockers and drive to the airport for a short vacation, though, five games remain in Luke Walton's first season as Head Coach of the purple and gold.

And more than likely, Wednesday night in San Antonio will leave Walton feeling blue.

The Spurs have won all three meetings with the Lakers this season, and when the Lakers visted the Rio Grande in January, the Spurs River Walked all over the Lakers to the tune of a 40-point stomping.

Following an overtime victory over the Memphis Grizzlies on Tuesday night to claim win no. 60 on the season, though, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich may take pity on Walton and rest key players against the Lakers. After all, the Spurs appear to be locked into the second seed in the Western Conference, barring the Warriors going winless the rest of the way and the Spurs winning out. While the latter is a possibility, the former is a near impossibility.

And so, the Lakers, a 56-loss team, saddle up in Texas to face a 60-win team. While this may appear to be a game the Lakers have no shot at winning, a team that is not playing for anything and may be inclined to rest key starters could give the Lakers a cracked door. But against the Spurs, even a small crack requires playing clean basketball to wiggle through the little opening.

Unlike the Phoenix Suns, Walton and the Lakers appear content to play for wins with their young core. LA is coming off a rare victory where second-year guard D'Angelo Russell scored 28 points to lead the Lakers over a playoff-bound Memphis Grizzlies squad. That same Grizzlies team took the Spurs to overtime on Tuesday night, so the Lakers may yet make a game of Wednesday's mismatch on paper.

That said, the Lakers could do with five more losses before the end of the season in order ot maximize their NBA lottery odds. As it stands, the Phoenix Suns have blatantly tanked the conclusion of the season to the tune of 12 straight losses. If Phoenix loses its final four games, the Lakers can only tie the Suns with five straight losses, which would mean splitting the odds for the no. 2 and no. 3 worst record in the NBA.

What does that mean, exactly?

Well, if the Lakers finish tied with the Suns, each team will have about a 51 percent chance of landing in the top 3 after the NBA Draft Lottery. For the Lakers, finishing in the top three is of the utmost importance. If they fall out of the top three, which is the tails' side of the coin flip, their draft pick would go to the Philadelphia 76ers, who acquired the rights to the pick via the Phoenix Suns. This whole mess stems from the Steve Nash trade.

Even if they fall in San Antonio, the Lakers return home for a final three-game home stand against the Sacramento Kings, Minnesota Timberwolves and New Orleans Pelicans. None of those opponents are playoff teams, and the Lakers will more than likely squeeze out one more win before the season concludes and concievably finish with the third worst record in the NBA.

A third place finish would only give the Lakers about a 47 percent chance of keeping their pick. Any way it gets sliced up, the Lakers are looking like they'll have slightly better than or slightly worst than a coin flip's chance of landing the top three pick.

As an added note, due to the Dwight Howard trade that took place in the same year as the Nash trade, the Lakers owe Orlando a first round pick in 2019. However, if LA keeps its pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, the Sixers would get the Lakers' pick in the 2018 draft, and Orlando's first round pick would be converted into two second round picks.

Essentially, finishing in the top three in the 2017 NBA lottery would secure an added first round pick in 2019 for the Lakers. New Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka is likely well aware of the importance of finishing in the top three this summer, and he'll probably be whispering a couple extra Hail Marys before the lottery balls are drawn.

With only one week and five games remaining in the 2016-17 season, the Lakers' players and coaches, however, don't seem all too bothered by lottery odds and draft picks. The message going into and coming out of the locker room is about finishing strong and carrying momentum into the offseason, which is due to include a regular workout schedule with the coaching staff involved in organizing the summer workouts.

Walton explained that the workouts would not be mandatory, but they'll be encouraged for the young players hanging around Southern California for the summer.

A summer ago, "The Breakfast Club" was the summer workout crew started by Larry Nance Jr. and former Laker Anthony Brown and grew to include seemingly every core young player on the squad. Of course, Walton didn't even wrap up his tenure with Golden State until mid-June, so he did not get a fair jump on the off-season development.

This summer, Walton seems far better equipped to get guys into the gym sooner rather than later and maximize the off-season for development purposes.

The Lakers and Spurs tip-off at 5:30 p.m. Pacific Time.



Photo Credit: Shahan Ahmed]]>
<![CDATA[Clayton Richard, San Diego Shuts Out Dodgers]]>Tue, 04 Apr 2017 23:03:44 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/207*120/Clayton+Richard+Shuts+Out+Dodgers.png

The Dodgers still can't hit lefties.

Clayton Richard threw eight shutout innings and the San Diego Padres blanked the Los Angeles Dodgers, 4-0, on Tuesday night at Dodger Season.

Last season the Los Angeles Dodgers had the worst batting average against left-handed pitchers (.213) than any of the 30 teams in the Major Leagues.

In the offseason, the front office aggressively tried to fix that problem by acquiring right-handers with a long history of success against southpaws.

Two of those players were in the starting lineup on Tuesday in the second game of the season.

Franklin Gutierrez, who was signed by Los Angeles on a one-year deal as a free agent, started in left field, and Logan Forsythe, who was acquired in a trade with the Rays, started at second base.

"We got him here to hit left-handed pitching," Dodgers' manager Dave Roberts said of Gutierrez in the Spring.

Gutierrez and Forsythe did their job, recording three of the Dodgers five hits on the night. It was the rest of the team that carried over last season's struggles against southpaws by going a combined 2-for-23 in the game.

"They brought me here to be a part of this team and help win some games and get on base for some guys," said Forsythe, who reached base safely three times against Richard. "The staff has a really good plan for each pitcher, and I think if we stick with our plan as a team, we'll have some succees [against lefties]."

The deathblow to the Dodgers was their inability to hit with runners on base. Los Angeles grounded into a total of four double plays in the game, and at one point four in six innings.

Just for good measure, the Padres threw another lefty, reliever Brad Hand, out of the pen for a scoreless ninth inning.

Yangervis Solarte was 2-for-4 with a single, home run and two RBI as the Padres avenged their landslide loss, 14-3, to the boys in blue on Opening Day. Wil Myers was also 2-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored for the Padres.

In his MLB debut last season at Petco Park, Kenta Maeda hit a home run and shutout the Padres, 3-0, to earn his first big league victory.

Things didn't quite go so well in his first start of 2017, as Maeda (0-1) suffered his first loss of the newborn season, allowing three runs on six hits with two walks and four strikeouts in five innings.

"I may have been too excited for the season opener," said Maeda. "It was a regrettable outcome, especially being the first game of my season."

Richard (1-0) allowed no runs on five hits with two walks and five strikeouts in eight scoreless innings of work. His eight shutout innings were the longest he's pitched into a game since June 16, 2013 against the Diamondbacks.

"The biggest thing is getting our first team win," said Richard. "Winning is fun at the big league level. This was the rare time I felt locked in in the bullpen and was able to carry it out on to the mound."

Up Next:

Padres: Trevor Cahill takes the hill for San Diego on Wednesday at 7:10PM PST.

Dodgers: Rich Hill makes his first start of the season after a successful second half with Los Angeles in 2016.



Photo Credit: AP Photo/Ryan Kang]]>
<![CDATA[Vin Scully Spent Opening Day at the Car Wash]]>Wed, 05 Apr 2017 08:11:07 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/202*120/Vin+Scully+Retirement.png

Welcome to retirement, Vin.

Legendary Dodgers' broadcaster Vin Scully spent his first official day of retirement on Monday doing, "regular, boring stuff," near his Hidden Hills home.

The Hall of Fame, play-by-play announcer was not at Dodger Stadium for the team's Opening Day landslide victory over the Padres.

Instead, Scully paid bills and ran errands on Opening Day, the first time he wasn't at the ballpark in 67 years.

"Today I was engaged in that other national pastime, paying bills," Scully told Bill Plaschke of the L.A.Times. "Then I went to the post office to mail them, and now I'm just leaving the car wash."

Scully wasn't even able to watch the game on television, as his errands had him busy running around instead of home sitting on the couch. When Plaschke told him that the Dodgers had won in a landslide and if he was happy about that result, he said, "Sure I am, I've got a really clean car. I'm just where I want to be."

As to why he didn't watch the game, Scully had an answer for that to:

"I expect the Dodgers to win over 90 games and get into the postseason very easily."

Scully will be 90-years-old in November, and told reporters at his farewell press conference last fall that he would spend his retirement "living" and spending time with his wife Sandi, and their children and grandchildren. 

"I won't worry about what I have to do or should do, I just do," Scully told WFUV radio at Fordham University, his alma mater. "Although I will miss doing baseball, it's not going to change me. I'm going to move on in my life and do whatever is left for me to do. I'm not going to look back."

Scully admitted that he will start to feel the true impact of retirement once the Dodger season starts and he finds himself not at the ballpark, but he will immediately push those thoughts out of his head and continue to look forward to the future.

"I'm not the type to spend time looking back. I never have been that way," said Scully. "It would be very foolish for me to be thinking about the games and wishing I could do that again. It would be like wishing I was 30 years old again. That was a phase in my life. It's gone, I close the book on it, time to move on."

For fans of Scully—which let's be honest, is most of the free world—fear not, we anticipate to see Scully at Dodger Stadium periodically throughout the season. Even if you don't see him at the Ravine, you will still hear him, as his iconic voice echoes throughout the sacred stadium on game day.

When told that his calls were still being played throughout the stadium as part of the team's glorious past, Scully smiled and said:

"Like someone once said, instead of being gone and forgotten, it's better to be gone and remembered."



Photo Credit: Los Angeles Dodgers]]>
<![CDATA[Things We Love About the Dodgers]]>Mon, 03 Apr 2017 18:37:21 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/207*120/dodger-gallery-still.jpgAs we bask in the glory of a Los Angeles win for the Dodgers home opener, we're reviewing all the things we love about the boys in blue.

Photo Credit: Jessica Rice]]>
<![CDATA[Dodgers Hit Four Homers in Opening Day Rout of Padres]]>Mon, 03 Apr 2017 17:33:16 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/180*120/AP_17093762526126.jpg

Happy Opening Day!

Joc Pederson, Yasmani Grandal and Corey Seager all homered and the Los Angeles Dodgers blew the doors off Dodger Stadium, defeating the San Diego Padres, 14-3, on Opening Day at the Ravine. 

San Diego struck first, capitalizing on a first inning error by Seager, but the Dodgers struck harder, hanging a high-five on the Padres in the third inning, thanks in part, to a grand slam from Pederson.

It was the first time a Dodger player had hit a grand slam on Opening Day since Eric Karros did it on April 3, 2000, against the now non-existent, Expos.

"I had some Opening Day jitters," admitted Pederson. "I was just trying to slow the whole game down. I got some runners on base, so I just wanted to put a good swing on a pitch I could hit...and I hit it."

Pederson also tallied five total RBI in the game, the most by a Dodger on Opening Day since Raul Mondesi had six on April 5, 1999.

Grandal followed with a home run, marking the first time in franchise history the Dodgers hit back-to-back home runs on Opening Day.

"I was very excited to have my first start on Opening Day," the former Padre set of his afternoon at the plate. "It was very exciting to do it here at Dodger Stadium. The atmosphere was like a postseason game."

Two innings later, Seager crushed a fastball from former catcher turned reliver Christian Bethancourt. It was the first homer of the season for the reigning NL Rookie of the Year, and the first home run allowed in Bethancourt's pitching career.

The 25-year-old native of Panama was converted into a reliever at the end of last season, and famously homered against the Dodgers while playing catcher in the infamous 17-inning game at Petco Park last May.

Grandal would later homer again, this time from the right side of the plate, becoming the first Dodger since Mondesi to have a multi-homer game on Opening Day.

The four total home runs by the Boys in Blue, was also the most ever hit on Opening Day in franchise history.

The Padres learned the hard way that you don't give one of the best pitchers on the planet a lead. Clayton Kershaw, the Dodgers Opening Day starter for the past seven seasons, improved to 6-0 on Opening Day.

Kershaw improved to a perfect 82-0 in the regular season when given a lead of four runs or more. Kershaw also got a hit at the plate, giving him as many hits as the Padres entire team through six innings, before allowing a homer run to Ryan "Don't call me Detlef" Schimpf in the seventh inning.

Kershaw (1-0) tied the Dodgers all-time franchise record for Opening Day starts with Don Drysdale and Don Sutton.

"If you don't get butterflies on Opening Day, it's tie to do something else," said Kershaw of his seventh consecutive Opening Day start. 

The three-time Cy Young Award winner allowed two runs (one earned) on two hits with eight strikeouts and no walks in seven innings.

Up Next:

The Padres (0-1) will start left-hander Clayton Richard on Tuesday.

The Dodgers (1-0) counter with Kenta Maeda at 7:10PM PST



Photo Credit: AP
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Dodgers Looking to Get Rid of That 'Sour Taste']]>Mon, 03 Apr 2017 11:54:26 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Dodgers_Manager_Dave_Roberts_Opening_Day_1200x675_912904771702.jpg

The season didn't end the way the Dodgers had hoped last year. Manager Dave Roberts looks ahead to this season and what it will take to erase the disappointment of last season's lost to the Cubs in the playoffs. Fred Roggin reports for the NBC4 News at 11 a.m. on Monday April 3, 2017.]]>
<![CDATA[Opening Day 2017 at Dodger Stadium in Photos]]>Mon, 03 Apr 2017 13:53:36 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/180*120/04-03-2017-dodgers-opening-day-3.JPGThe Los Angeles Dodgers open the 2017 season Monday April 3, 2017 at Dodger Stadium. Check out these photos from the stadium at the dawn of a new baseball season full of hope and excitement.]]><![CDATA[Discover Your Dodgers: Corey Seager]]>Mon, 03 Apr 2017 06:52:50 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Corey_Seager_1200x675_912638531766.jpg

NBC LA Sports Reporter Michael Duarte interviews Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop and reigning NL Rookie of the Year winner, Corey Seager.]]>
<![CDATA[Dodgers Promotional Items for the 2017 Season]]>Mon, 03 Apr 2017 06:39:46 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/207*120/Joc-Pederson-2017-bobblehead-1.jpg

Opening Day is hours away and the Los Angeles Dodgers have announced 33 theme nights in addition to their various promotional packages ahead of the first pitch thrown for the 2017 season.

In addition to the traditional, UCLA, USC, Clippers, Lakers, Kings, Star Wars and Hello Kitty nights, the Dodgers added some new themed nights that will certainly keep fans interested through the dog days of summer.

The new intriguing themes include a "Game of Thrones" Night and a Cal State Long Beach Dirtbags' night.

Here's the full 2017 Dodgers' Promotional Schedule:

Date                Opponent                  Promotion                 

4/3 Mon SD Magnet Schedule

4/4 Tue           SD                         Phone Charger/ CSU Long Beach Night

4/5 Wed         SD                         Replica Fernando Valenzuela Jersey

4/6 Thu            SD                       Mid-Day Matinee Game

4/14 Fri            ARI                       Friday Night Fireworks

4/15 Sat           ARI                         Replica Jackie Robinson Statue

4/16 Sun          ARI                         Kenta Maeda Fathead

4/18 Tue          COL                       Knit Cap

4/19 Wed       COL                       Tommy Lasorda HOF Coin/USC Night

4/28 Fri            PHI                       Friday Night Fireworks/UCLA Night

4/29 Sat           PHI                         Corey Seager Bobblehead

4/30 Sun          PHI                       Kids Batting Helmet/Viva Los Dodgers

5/1 Mon           SF                           Hershiser's Scoreless Coin/Teacher Night

5/2 Tue          SF                           Military Appreciation Night

5/3 Wed          SF                       Vin Scully Ceremony & Microphone Statue

5/8 Mon           PIT                         Chips and Salsa Dish

5/9 Tue           PIT                         Mexican Heritage Night

5/10 Wed        PIT                         Kenley Jansen Bobblehead

5/18 Thu          MIA                       Kershaw's No-Hitter Coin/Japan Night

5/19 Fri            MIA                       Friday Night Fireworks

5/20 Sat           MIA                       Dodger Pullover/Pups at the Park

5/21 Sun          MIA                       Kids Sunglasses

5/23 Tue          STL                         Joc Pederson Bobblehead

5/24 Wed      STL                       Korea Night

5/25 Thu          STL                       Weekender Bag/ Hello Kitty Night

5/26 Fri            CHC                       Friday Night Fireworks

5/28 Sun          CHC                       Viva Los Dodgers

6/5 Mon         WSH                     Firefighter Appreciation Night

6/6 Tue            WSH                       Justin Turner Bobblehead

6/7 Wed          WSH                   Mid-Day Matinee Game

6/9 Fri CIN                       Friday Night Fireworks/LGBT Night

6/10 Sat           CIN                       Old-Timers Game

6/11 Sun          CIN                       Kids T-Shirt

6/19 Mon         NYM                       Brooklyn Cap/African-American Night

6/20 Tue          NYM                       Tote Bag

6/21 Wed        NYM                     Andre Ethier Bobblehead

6/23 Fri            COL                       Friday Night Fireworks/Fillipino Night

6/24 Sat           COL                       Beach Towel

6/25 Sun          COL                     Kids Water Bottle/ Viva Los Dodgers

6/26 Mon         LAA                       Gibson 1988 World Series Homer Coin

6/27 Tue          LAA                       Clayton Kershaw Jersey T-Shirt

7/4 Tue            ARI                         4th of July Fireworks

7/6 Thu            ARI                       Dave Roberts Bobblehead

7/7 Fri              KC                           Friday Night Fireworks/Star Wars Night

7/8 Sat             KC                       Bluetooth Speaker

7/9 Sun            KC                         Kids Replica Corey Seager Bat

7/20 Thu          ATL                       1984 Olympics Coin

7/21 Fri            ATL                         Friday Night Fireworks

7/22 Sat           ATL                         Movie Night

7/23 Sun          ATL                         Kids Pillow Case

7/24 Mon         MIN                     Justin Turner Replica Jersey

7/25 Tue       MIN                       Clippers Night

7/26 Wed        MIN                     Clayton Kershaw Bobblehead                    

7/28 Fri            SF                           Friday Night Fireworks

7/30 Sun          SF                       Dodger Bandages/Viva Los Dodgers

8/11 Fri             SD                     Friday Night Fireworks

8/12 Sat           SD                           Sandy Koufax Perfect Game Coin

8/13 Sun          SD                         Kids Back-to-School Backpack

8/15 Tue          CHW                   Gil Hodges Bobblehead

8/16 Wed        CHW                       Socks

8/25 Fri            MIL                         Friday Night Fireworks

8/26 Sat           MIL                       Rick Monday Coin/LA Kings Night

8/27 Sun          MIL                       Kids Hamper/Viva Los Dodgers

9/4 Mon           ARI                       Labor Day BBQ Gloves

9/6 Wed          ARI                       Adrian Gonzalez Bobblehead

9/7 Thu         COL                   Law Enforcement Appreciation Night

9/8 Fri              COL                       Friday Night Fireworks

9/9 Sat             COL                       Fernandomania Coin

9/10 Sun          COL                     Kids Trash Can

9/22 Fri            SF                           Friday Night Fireworks

9/23 Sat           SF                         La Gran Fiesta

9/24 Sun          SF                           Fan Appreciation Day

9/26 Tue          SD                         Final Bobblehead Giveaway

9/27 Wed      SD                       Hispanic Heritage Night



Photo Credit: Matthew Moreno]]>
<![CDATA[The New Food Items at Dodger Stadium for 2017 Season]]>Mon, 03 Apr 2017 05:58:44 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/180*120/DodgerBurger2.JPG

It's bon appetite at the ballpark this season.

The Los Angeles Dodgers have a new executive chef for the 2017 season, and he's already making a lot of changes to the food items at the ballpark.

The new menu, in partnership with Levy restaurants is the vision of Ryan Evans, who plans to take the ballpark dining experience to the next level this year.

The biggest change, is the new King's Hawaiian Grill in the Left Field Plaza which officially has taken over the old "Think Blue BBQ," which has been moved to the right field Reserve level.

The new restaurant will incorporate the famous King's Hawaiian products (like their sweet bread), along with other traditional items with a tropical twist.

There will be chicken wings, but instead of regular BBQ, they are called the "Big Island Lava Wings," and will come with French fries, celery sticks, and carrots.

Also at the new King's Hawaiian Grill will be pulled pork sliders on the world renowned sweet rolls. Pulled pork nachos and King's Hawaiian Dodger Dogs will also be available.

Budweiser, will also have more of a presence at the ballpark this year as new branded concession stands will appear down the third-base line.  The stands will be called "Bud & Burgers," and will feature Chef Evans' newest creation, the "Dodger Burger." 

The "Dodger Burger" is a traditional ground beef burger patty with the world famous grilled Dodger Dog on top. According to those who've tried it, it's a can't-miss item this season.

Here are the other new dishes fans can try throughout the stadium:

BaseBowls (pun intended): Poke bowls, Teriyaki Chicken, Kalua pork and the Vietnamese Rice Noodle Bowl. Located on the third-base side of the Field Level near Aisle 45.

Chick-N-Tots: Homemade marinated chicken bites dressed to your liking with chili cheese, Buffalo sauce, garlic, oil and parmesan cheese.  Located on the first-base side of the Field Level near aisle 8.

Shock Top Bratwurst: A spicy pork bratwurst infused with Shock Top beer and served warm on a bun with caramelized onions and spicy brown mustard. Located on the Field, Loge and Reserve Levels.

For the health conscious fans out there, Dodger Stadium has continued to improve their menu for the more nutritious of the bunch. Mediterranean Quinoa salads and Strawberry and beat salads will be available throughout the stadium as will fresh sandwiches and grilled vegetable flatbreads.

For Dodger fans with a sweet tooth, you can now enjoy funnel cakes topped with powdered sugar, chocolate drizzle and whipped cream. Dessert fans will also love the new glazed churro, with Dodger blue ice cream. Fried fans can also enjoy deep fried Oreos and Twinkies. Located on the first-base side of the Field level.

Whether you're a foodie, a stadium connisseur or just like trying new things, you're definitely going to enjoy your dining experience at the ballpark this year.



Photo Credit: Michael Duarte/NBCLA]]>
<![CDATA[Kings Eliminated From Stanley Cup Playoff Contention]]>Sun, 02 Apr 2017 23:05:07 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/206*120/Kings+Mathematically+Eliminated.png

It's officially over. 

The Los Angeles Kings were mathematically eliminated from Stanley Cup Playoff contention after they were defeated by the Arizona Coyotes, 2-1, on Sunday night at Staples Center. 

The Kings were unable to overcome two early goals by the Coyotes, including a second-chance goal in the final 15 seconds of the first period. 

Seconds after the Kings challenged an early power-play goal by Arizona because of a missed offsides call, Burmistrov was waiting on the far post for Ekman-Larsson's pass to put the Coyotes ahead 1-0 with 13 seconds left in the opening period. Pouncing on the rebound after Quick stopped his initial shot, Burmistrov scored his third power-play goal of the season.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Quick, but not quick enough. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/BeatLA?src=hash">#BeatLA</a> <a href="https://t.co/GgL6PonW86">pic.twitter.com/GgL6PonW86</a></p>&mdash; Arizona Coyotes (@ArizonaCoyotes) <a href="https://twitter.com/ArizonaCoyotes/status/848738636493332481">April 3, 2017</a></blockquote>
<script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

Anthony Duclair then followed up his own shot early in the second, recording his first goal since Dec. 29th, to give the Coyotes an insurance goal and silence the Staples Center crowd. 

Kings' defenseman, Alec Martinez, scored on a bizarre goal from beyond the blue line that kept the Kings playoff chances alive, but L.A. was unable to convert on three consecutive power play opportunities at the end of the third period and lost 2-1. 

"With the amount of power plays we had in the third period, we should have finished them," said Kings' captain Anze Kopitar. "It's not good enough to score one goal at home, but that's been the story of the whole season. It's a very empty feeling and a very sour taste."

Martinez intended to dump the puck into the Coyotes' zone on a slap shot from center ice when it deflected off Jordan Martinook at the blue line and into the open goal, cutting the Kings' deficit to 2-1 with 15:39 remaining. Smith was leaving his crease to play the puck behind the net and could not respond in time to the unlikely change in direction.

Jonathan Quick made 13 saves for Los Angeles, which needed to win its final five games and have Nashville lose each of its last three in regulation in order to reach the playoffs.

"We knew what the situation was last few games," continued Kopitar. "We gave it our all, it wasn't good enough."

Mike Smith made 34 saves for the Coyotes, who followed an impressive win over the Washington Capitals, by playing the role of spoiler against the Kings.

"We want to win. We want to beat somebody, and when you have the chance to eliminate a team out of the playoffs, we have to take our chance," said Burmistrov.

"They were on their last life," added Smith. "We knew we were in for a good battle tonight, and it turned out to be one."

Not even a glimmer of hope to make the postseason could energize the Kings' dismal offense, which was held to two goals or fewer for the ninth time in their last 11 games. Los Angeles rarely challenged Smith, who has won four straight at Staples Center.

The highlight of the night came when Quick delivered a remarkable kick save in the opening period to deny Peter Holland's shot into an open net, sticking out his left leg parallel to the ice and keeping out the puck with his pads.

"Other teams are finding ways to win 2-1 or 1-0, from my end, I wonder why we can't win 1-0 or 2-1. I don't think it's all on the goal scoring."

The Kings have won just one postseason game in the last three seasons since winning two Stanley Cup trophies in three years from 2012-14. The Kings failed to make the playoffs in 2015, were elminated by the Sharks in the first round 4-1, last season, and missed the playoffs again this season.

Referee Mike Leggo officiated his 1,213th and final game of his 21-season career and the Kings (and their mascot Bailey) paid tribute to Leggo during a timeout in the third period.

UP NEXT

The Kings host the Oilers on Tuesday.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: AP Photo/Richard Hartog]]>
<![CDATA[Dodgers Have 4th Lowest Ticket Prices in MLB]]>Sun, 02 Apr 2017 23:13:39 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/200*120/Dodger+Stadium+Opening+Day.png

Los Angeles might be the fourth most expensive city to live in the country, but tickets to see their baseball team are not.

According to Tick Pick, the Los Angeles Dodgers have the fourth lowest ticket prices than any other team in the Major Leagues, with the Angels, the second lowest. 

The prices are based on a national average ranging from the most expensive seat, to the least expensive seat and how many of each are available.

The Dodgers list an average ticket price of $44.99 per home game, pennies compared to the reigning World Series Champion Chicago Cubs whose average ticket to a game sells for a whopping $150.63.

The Yankees ($106.05) and Red Sox ($102.09) sport the second and third most expensive tickets, respectively, followed by the Atlanta Braves ($101.08), a team that will christen their new stadium, Sun Trust Park, on Monday night.

The cheapest ticket in the league belongs to the Chicago White Sox, who despite being located just 10 miles away from Wrigley Field have an average ticket price of just $30.26.

The Dodgers have led the season in attendance for the past four seasons with over three million fans entering the turnstiles each and every year the team has won the National League West Division Title.

The reasonable cost of admission is surely the cause behind this trend, as is the capacity at Dodger Stadium, which seats over 56,000 people, the largest stadium capacity in all of baseball.

Fans will be happy to learn that the price of parking has not gone up in the offseason, and that parking passes can be pre-purchased online. Pre-paid passes are just $10, and parking at the gate is $20. Fans can purchase their passes at www.dodgers.com/parking

If you're a Dodgers' fan who only attends a handful of home games every season, the chart beloew shows the most expensive tickets to games at Dodger Stadium for the 2017 season.

Monday's Opening Day is the most expensive ticket, costing a whopping, $226.30 on average. No surprise, home games against the Giants are the next most expensive tickets, and finally the Dodgers three-game homestand during the final weekend in May against the reigning World Series Champion, Chicago Cubs, also made the list, with tickets costing nearly $100 on average.



Photo Credit: Harry How/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Dodgers Promotional Items For 2017 Season]]>Mon, 03 Apr 2017 06:28:45 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/166*120/Dodgers+2017+pullover+giveaway.JPGPhotos of some of the Dodgers promotional giveaway items for the 2017 season.

Photo Credit: Matthew Moreno]]>
<![CDATA[Julio Urias Has to Wait For Sophomore Season]]>Sun, 02 Apr 2017 18:49:57 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/203*120/Julio+Urias+Has+To+Wait.png

The "Teenager" is becoming a young adult, but that doesn't mean he's ready for the bright lights of Opening Day.

Julio Urias, the Los Angeles Dodgers' highly touted left-hander, turned heads in his debut season last year, but he'll be turning phrases in extended spring training this April.

The Dodgers opted to put Urias on ice to start their 2017 campaign, rather than have their future ace start the season in the Opening Day rotation.

Last Tuesday, the team announced that Urias will start the season at Camelback Ranch in Arizona for an extended spring training.

"He's not going to open with us," Dodgers' manager Dave Roberts told reporters before the team departed Camelback Ranch for a preseason Freeway Series with the Anaheim Angels. "He's going to come to Los Angeles with us and just kind of be in that environment. We've already had internal discussions about his program going forward."

This is not a knock on Urias' talent or skillset, but rather, a cautious approach to one of the more prized arms in the game. Urias went 5-2 with a 3.39 ERA in his inaugural season, but he threw nearly 83 innings at the major league level, not including the 45 he threw in the minor leagues.

That's over 128 innings pitched for a boy who's not even old enough to legally drink alcohol. His body is still developing, and his golden left arm is still fragile.

Therefore, the front office will have a strict innings limit on their young star for the 2017 season. Neither President of Baseball Operations, Andrew Friedman, or General Manager, Farhan Zaidi, have stated what that limit could be, but it's more than likely at or around 150 innings.

If you're a fan of Urias, and anxious to see him at Chavez Ravine this season, fear not. It's not a matter of if Urias pitches in the big leagues this season, but when. Urias proved in his last 16 appearances last season, including the playoffs, that he has what it takes to pitch at the major league level, but with a bevy of talent on the roster, the Dodgers are in no rush call him up.

"I felt ready, I felt comfortable," Urias said of his 2016 season during an interview with NBC LA during spring training in Glendale, AZ. "I'm just trying to get better with the pitches I have."

We anticipate to see Urias around May, but that timetable could change depending on injuries and performance of the current starting rotation.

"It's very different. I feel more comfortable. It's not that I have to stop fighting for a position on the team, but I feel more comfortable."

In the meantime, the 20-year-old Mexican sensation just wants to play baseball. He understands what the Dodgers are doing, and he respects their decision, but needless to say, he yearns to be on the mound again for the boys in blue.

"You leave it up to the team," Urias said of the decision to stay in extended spring training through the use of an interpreter. "If that is what happens, you just have to go with it and respect whatever decision they make. My mind is in preparation and I will continue to work."



Photo Credit: Harry How/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Dodgers Opening Day Roster]]>Sun, 02 Apr 2017 18:35:31 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/198*120/Opening+Day+Dodgers+Kershaw.png

It's official.

The Los Angeles Dodgers finished up their preseason with on Saturday night with a 4-4 tie against their neighbors to the south the Anaheim Angels.

With the Freeway Series wrapped up, all eyes focus on the team's Opening Day 25-man roster, which was formally announced on Sunday.

Here are the 25 players that will don Dodger blue at Chavez Ravine on April 3:

Catchers: Yasmani Grandal (starter), Austin Barnes.

Infielders: Adrian Gonzalez (1B), Logan Forsythe (2B), Corey Seager (SS), Justin Turner (3B) and Chase Utley (2B).

Outfielders: Yasiel Puig (RF), Joc Pederson (CF) Andrew Toles (LF) and Franklin Guiterrez.

Utility Players: Kiké Hernandez, Scott Van Slyke.

Relief Pitchers: Kenley Jansen, Sergio Romo, Grant Dayton, Chris Hatcher, Luis Avilan, Alex Wood, and Ross Stripling. 

Starting Pitchers: Clayton Kershaw, Kenta Maeda, Rich Hill, Brandon McCarthy and Hyun-Jin Ryu.

Disabled List: Pedro Báez, RHP (10-day, right wrist contusion, retroactive to March 30), Andre Ethier, OF (10-day, lumbar disk herniation, retroactive to March 30), Yimi García, RHP (60-day, right elbow surgery), Scott Kazmir, LHP (10-day, left hip strain, retroactive to March 30), Josh Ravin, RHP (10-day, right groin strain, retroactive to March 30), and Brock Stewart, RHP (10-day, right shoulder tendinitis, retroactive to March 30)



Photo Credit: Harry How/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Lakers Beat Grizzlies, Russell Scores 28 Points]]>Sun, 02 Apr 2017 17:20:12 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/DAngelo-Russell-Lakers-Grizzles-4-2-17.jpg

On a Sunday afternoon home game, which came on the back end of a back-to-back, the Los Angeles Lakers finished with seven scorers in double figures, three players pulling down double-doubles and a rare victory, 108-103.

The Memphis Grizzlies rested Vince Carter, while Marc Gasol sat out with shoulder soreness, and Deyonta Davis missed the contest with a left foot strain. While the Grizzlies could point to injuries to explain the loss, the Lakers were without Ivica Zubac and Tarik Black due to an ankle and knee injury, respectively.

Lakers coach Luke Walton opted to go with Larry Nance Jr., Julius Randle and Brandon Ingram in the front court, though Ingram was on a minutes restriction due to his own knee issue.

Ultimately, though, Sunday provided D'Angelo Russell the perfect opportunity to bounce back following a two-point performance only 24 hours earlier. Russell started with four turnovers and looked awful in the first quarter, but the 21-year-old regained his bearings and entered the halftime intermission with nine points on 4-7 shooting from the field.

Thankfully for the Lakers, Thomas Robinson had a standout performance for the second day in a row. The backup center is a beneficiary of Zubac and Black going down injured, and Robinson finished with 16 points and nine rebounds in the loss to the Clippers on Saturday.

On Sunday, Robinson recorded his first double-double of the season with 12 points, 10 rebounds, two steals and an assist in only 20 minutes. Robinson went coast-to-coast a couple times in the first half and led LA in the scoring department at the intermission.

In the third quarter, Russell got aggressive and took charge of the game. The second-year combo guard scored 10 points in the period to go along with three assists and only one turnover in the 12 minutes following the halftime team talk.

In the fourth quarter, Russell entered a one-possession game with six and a half minutes remaining in the contest. Immediately, the no. 2 pick in the 2015 NBA Draft drained a three-pointer. Russell added nine points over the final six and a half minutes, which helped cancel out a 14-point fourth quarter from Grizzlies guard Mike Conley Jr.

"I've seen more consistency in his professionalism and in his affecting the outcome of games, whether he is struggling or hitting shots recently," Walton said about his young guard after the game.

Conley, who finished the game with 20 points and 12 assists, hit back-to-back three-pointers in the final minute of the contest to give Memphis a chance to tie the game late. The Grizzlies' point guard got one more look at a potential game-tying three-pointer in the final 10 seconds, but his attempt did not draw iron.

Following Conley's air ball, Julius Randle marched down and converted a couple free throws to ice the game with 5.3 seconds remaining. Randle finished as one of three players with a double-double, as the third-year forward finished with 18 points and 11 rebounds. Nance finished with 12 points and 14 rebounds, and Robinson's 12 points and 10 rebounds completed the inadvertent promotion for In-N-Out double-doubles.

LA collected its 22nd win of the 2016-17 NBA season. Only five games remain, and LA is now tied with Phoenix for the worst record in the Western Conference and the second-worst record in the NBA.

If the Lakers and Suns finish in a tie, the Lakers will have a 51.6 percent chance of finishing in the top three of the NBA Draft Lottery. If LA finishes outside the top three, the Lakers will give up their first round pick to the Philadelphia 76ers, so as much as Walton and his players seemed relieved to claim a rare victory, fans had to be a bit conflicted on whether or not this was a win worth celebrating.

Inside the locker room, though, the mindset in approaching the final handful of games of the season is clear. The players are focused on improving on the court, rather than planning out their vacations. Sunday provided another example of the Lakers competing with a playoff team.

"How you finish is how you start the next [season]," Nance said after Sunday's game. "We just want to finish strong. Whether that results in wins or losses, we aren't so worried about that, but we have our group of guys that are going to be together for the next couple of years. We just want to grow and get better chemistry and flow into next year on a high note."



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Clippers Beat Lakers 115-104]]>Sat, 01 Apr 2017 16:01:13 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/205*120/Lakers+and+Clippers+in+Hallway+Series.png

Basketball is a game of runs.

The Los Angeles Clippers opened the game scoring 17 straight points, before inner city rivals, the Lakers, rallied off an 18-2 run of their own to take the lead. 

Inescapably, the cream rose to the top and the Clippers dominated the second half to beat the Lakers, 115-104, in the fourth installment of the heralded Hallway series between Staples Center co-tenants.

The Battle for L.A. lived up to expectations as the Clippers commanded the pace and took control of the game early, but the scrappy young Lakers fought back, showing flashes of talent and inspirational play that could pay dividends in the years to come.

Yes, there were moments of immaturity as well, like when the Lakers sleep-walked through the first five minutes of the game, only to wake up to the snooze alarm going off, down 17 points. 

Inevitably, the team with the three NBA All-Stars prevailed in the end, as they continue to fine-tune their well-oiled machine before the playoffs.

Blake Griffin led the way with a game-high 36 points as he became the first player in franchise history to surpass 10,000 points as a Clipper.

Chris Paul carried the team as well, finishing with 29 points and 12 assists in his matchup with no. 2 overall pick in 2015, DeAngelo Russell.

Russell was awful on Saturday. Shooting 1-for-9 from the field for a paltry two points against Paul. Russell did not make himself available to the media after the game.

Rookie Brandon Ingram was one of the lone bright spots for the 16-time NBA Champion Lakers. Ingram had 18 points and Julius Randle chipped in 14. 

Local legend, David Nwaba, continued to reward the Lakers' front office for his new contract, scoring 19 points off the bench, but it didn't matter as the Lakers continue to lose, dropping 18 of their last 20 games.

One of the most storied franchises in NBA history is now left to cross their fingers and toes, as they hope that the Ping-Pong balls bounce their way and they're able to retain their top three pick for the upcoming NBA Draft.

"We need to try and finish out strong," said Randle after the game. "That requires energy and focus."

Despite the victory, everything did not turn up roses for the title-less Clippers. It may sound like a broken record, but the defense off the bench has continued to weaken the team. On Saturday, the reserves were a combined -61 against the Lakers, a problem that continues to haunt head coach Doc Rivers.

"I'm not going to talk about it, but I see it," said Rivers of his bench's effort on the defensive end of the floor. "We have to do better. We'll figure it out."

Up Next:

The Clippers will get a few days off before they host the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday night at Staples Center. 

The Lakers will have no time to rest as they're back on the court tomorrow afternoon against the Memphis Grizzlies.



Photo Credit: AP Photo/Ryan Kang]]>
<![CDATA[LA Kings Keep Faint Playoff Hopes Alive]]>Fri, 31 Mar 2017 23:10:49 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/203*120/Kings+shutout+Canucks.png

Jarome Iginla scored his 625th career goal and Jonathan Quick made 35 saves for his second shutout of the season as the Los Angeles Kings beat the Vancouver Canucks 2-0 on Friday night.

Tyler Toffoli also scored for Los Angeles, which is clinging to slim playoff hopes and now sits eight points behind Nashville for the second wild card in the Western Conference with five games remaining for each team.

Iginla's milestone goal tied Joe Sakic for 15th place on the league's all-time list.

Ryan Miller made 24 stops for Vancouver, which was eliminated from postseason contention last week and was shut out for the 10th time this season.

Iginla got the Kings on the board on the power play with 7:17 left in the second period by deflecting a shot from Alec Martinez past Miller for his 14th of the season and third goal in three games. It was also Iginla's fourth game-winning goal of the season and the 101st of his career.

Acquired from Colorado prior to the NHL trade deadline, the 39-year-old has six goals in 14 games with Los Angeles after scoring just eight times in 61 contests with the Avalanche.

Toffoli doubled the Kings' lead 3:50 later on a 3-on-2 rush, beating Miller high over the blocker with a perfect shot off the crossbar and in for his 19th.

The Canucks — now 2-8-2 over their last 12 games — had a great chance to jump in front less than two minutes into the second on a power play of their own, but rookie forward Brock Boeser, who came in with two goals in his first three NHL games, missed a wide-open net with Quick out of position.

The Kings were coming off a 4-1 victory in Calgary after picking up just one win over their last five (1-4-0), a stretch that helped put the club's playoff hopes on the brink of elimination.

Quick, who missed 59 games earlier this season with a groin injury, picked up his 44th career shutout after going 4-4-0 over his last nine starts, with 16 goals-against over that span.

He made a nice pad save on Canucks defenseman Luca Sbisa from the slot about five minutes into the third.

Miller kept the Canucks in it midway through the period when he stopped Adrian Kempe all alone in front on a 2-on-1 break before Quick stoned Daniel Sedin moments later.

Vancouver held an early 6-0 lead in shots before Los Angeles forced Miller into a save, but Martinez rang a seeing-eye effort through traffic moments later that found iron and stayed out.

NOTES: Griffen Molino, who signed a two-year contract as a college free agent with Vancouver on Tuesday, made his NHL debut. The 23-year-old forward had 15 goals and 18 assists in 40 games with Western Michigan University this season. ... Canucks F Drew Shore and brother Nick Shore, a forward with the Kings, played against each other in the NHL for the first time. Drew Shore picked up an assist on L.A.'s second goal. ... Vancouver backup G Jacob Markstrom, who hasn't played since injuring his right knee during the team's skills competition in late February, will have surgery next week and is out for the year.

UP NEXT

Kings: Host Arizona on Sunday to open a four-game homestand before visiting Anaheim in the season finale.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Rich Lam/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Blake Griffin, Clippers Hand Suns 10th Straight Loss]]>Thu, 30 Mar 2017 22:02:06 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/200*120/DJ+Dunks+on+Suns.png

Blake Griffin scored 31 points, Chris Paul added 29 points and 10 assists and the Los Angeles Clippers held on to hand the Phoenix Suns their 10th loss in a row, 124-118 on Thursday night.

The Clippers could look at the glass half full or half empty after their victory in the Valley of the Sun. L.A. has won 6 of their last 8 games overall, but could easily have won all eight of those games after late-game collapses to the Mavericks and Kings, respectively. 

The Clippers (46-31), coming off a home win over Washington on Wednesday night, pulled within a game of Utah (46-29) for the No. 4 playoff spot in the Western Conference.

Despite the two back-to-back victories, the Clippers defense has been suspect, allowing 125.5 points per game over that span. The finger can be pointed at the Clippers bench, which has the ability to score in bunches, but has coughed up leads late in games. 

On Thursday, the Clippers bench was a combined -11 on the court, less than 24 hours after posting a -27 in their win over the Wizards. 

Jamal Crawford was the only player with a postive number off the bench, the Clippers' shooting guard was a +4 in the game and scored 19 points off the bench. 

The Clippers led by as many as 12 points in the third quarter, but Suns' star Devin Booker was on fire from beyond-the-arc, closing the gap to just one-point heading into the fourth quarter.

Booker fouled out with 4:45 left in the game, but finished with 33 points, and a season-high nine assists in front of his former college coah, Kentucky's John Calipari.

Booker was just three games removed from his 70-point outburst in Boston, was back in the lineup after missing Tuesday's game in Atlanta with a sore right ankle.

Without Booker, the Suns kept the game close, trailing by just six points before Paul drained a jumper with 48 seconds left, to send Phoenix off into the sunset.

Up Next:

The Clippers will host their co-tenants, the Los Angeles Lakers, on Saturday afternoon at Staples Center.



Photo Credit: AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin]]>
<![CDATA[Ricky Rubio Sets New Career-High Vs. Lakers]]>Thu, 30 Mar 2017 19:45:04 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/212*120/Ricky-Rubio-Lakers-Timberwolves.jpg

On Thursday, the Minnesota Timberwolves beat the Los Angeles Lakers, as Karl-Anthony Towns, Andrew Wiggins and Ricky Rubio put on an offensive clinic. Rubio tabbed a new career-high with 33 points, along with 10 assists, two steals and five rebounds. Wiggins finished with 27 points and Towns added 3 points and nine rebounds. 

The Lakers trailed by double digits in the first quarter but managed to close the gap and even led briefly early in the second stanza. By halftime, the Timberwolves led 67-60, as defense was not an emphasis for either team on this particular night.

In the third quarter, which has been particularly problematic for the Lakers all season long, the Timberwolves ballooned their advantage to 14 points. By the end of three quarters, Minnesota had already scored 96 points.

In the fourth quarter, the home team did not exactly blow the roof off the building, but the Lakers failed to take advantage of a low scoring quarter from Tom Thibodeau's men.

Ultimately, though the Lakers did cut the game to a single digit deficit, the Lakers failed to get within touching distance of the Timberwolves in the fourth quarter. Minnesota eventually won by a final score of 119-104.

With the loss, the Lakers fell to 21-54 on the season and remained in last place in the Western Conference.

On the night, Jordan Clarkson finished with 18 points to lead the Lakers, and the combo-guard also recorded seven assists but his four turnovers didn't help the Lakers' cause. As a team, LA committed 16 turnovers compared to Minnesota's 10, with D'Angelo Russell the biggest offender. Russell scored 14 points and dished six assists, but his five turnovers overshadowed the 21-year-old's positive contributions.

LA was also struck an early blow when starting rookie center Ivica Zubac rolled his ankle and left the game after only a couple minutes on the court. Tarik Black came in for the injured rookie, and Black finished with 15 points and nine rebounds in 23 minutes, which included the bulky center hitting his first six shots and finishing 7-8 from the field.

Thomas Robinson also got a bit of run in for the Lakers, and Robinson finished with 12 points in 14 minutes on 6-9 shooting. Over all, seven different Lakers finished scoring in double figures, including every starter save for Zubac.

Next the Lakers play against the LA Clippers as a road team on Saturday.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[LaDainian Tomlinson Rejoins Chargers as Special Assistant]]>Thu, 30 Mar 2017 12:56:10 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/178*120/GettyImages-146521596.jpg

Former running back LaDainian Tomlinson rejoined the Chargers on Thursday as a special assistant to the owner.

The Los Angeles Chargers made the move to reunite the San Diego sports hero with the franchise that employed him for his first nine NFL seasons. Tomlinson will be a public representative of the Chargers and will participate in community outreach programs while the franchise moves north after 56 seasons in San Diego.

"L.T. is one of the most beloved and iconic Chargers of all time," owner Dean Spanos said. "His active involvement in our fight for Los Angeles is vital, and he represents the very best of what it means to be a Charger on the field and in the community."

The 37-year-old Tomlinson will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in August. He was elected in his first year of eligibility after rushing for 13,684 yards and 145 touchdowns on the ground in an 11-year career.

Tomlinson was a five-time Pro Bowl selection and the NFL MVP in 2006, when he set a league record with 28 touchdowns on the ground. He led the NFL in rushing twice, and he holds 28 Chargers team records.

"I spent the most memorable and exciting years of my career as a Charger," Tomlinson said in a statement. "Joining the franchise as it makes the move to Los Angeles, and helping to rally new and familiar Chargers fans alike, is an honor and a privilege. I'm looking forward to working alongside the Spanos family once again."

Tomlinson finished his career with the New York Jets in 2011. The Chargers retired his No. 21 in 2015.

The franchise will play the next two seasons at StubHub Center in Carson, California, before moving into the opulent Inglewood stadium being built by the Los Angeles Rams in 2019.

Tomlinson will continue to be an NFL Network analyst while working for the Chargers. The network is headquartered in Culver City, just north of Inglewood.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Blake Griffin Wears Shoes Designed by 11-Year-Old]]>Thu, 30 Mar 2017 01:22:58 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Blake+Griffin+Shoes.png

Blake Griffin and the Los Angeles Clippers want to Make March Matter.

September may be Childhood Cancer Awareness month, but the team and their star player are doing their best to help children with cancer throughout the month of March as they raise money for Children's Hospital Los Angeles.

The team has been using the hashtag, #MakeMarchMatter all month and Griffin did his part by teaming up with an 11-year-old Leukemia patient named Justice Griffith to design a special edition pair of Nike sneakers that Griffin would wear in a game.

Griffin and Griffith coined the shoes, "The Super.Fly 5" and the All-Star power forward donned the shoes on the court for the team's game against the Washington Wizards on Wednesday night at Staples Center.

In the shoes, Griffin messed around and nearly got a triple-double, finishing with 26 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists as the Clippers defeated the Wizards, 133-124, in a shootout.

After the game, Griffin discussed the experience of working with Justice on the shoe design.

"They were awesome," Griffin said of the finished product. "I was completely blown away by Justice's vision for the shoe and how exact he wanted it. I can't even decide what shirt to wear, and he knew everything he wanted and knocked it out. It was really cool to see his creativity come to life. The shoe was awesome. I got a lot of compliments from people who didn't even know he designed it."

Justice was just 10 years old when he found out he was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia and has been undergoing chemotherapy, and radiation since. He underwent a bone marrow transplant last year, but continues to play football and basketball.

Griffin is going to auction off the shoes for his initiative, #BlakeKicksCancer with proceeds from the auction going to Children's Hospital Los Angeles. The Clippers also will match the bid up to $25,000.



Photo Credit: Harry How/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Clippers Escape With Win Over Wizards]]>Wed, 29 Mar 2017 23:06:38 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/210*120/Clippers+and+Wizards.png

The Clippers definitely know how to keep it interesting. 

Los Angeles lost a 19-point lead late in the fourth quarter, but escaped with a 133-124 win over the Washington Wizards on Wednesday night at Staples Center.

For the first time in franchise history, four of the Clippers starters each scored over 20 points as Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan, Chris Paul and J.J. Redick combined for 107 total points.

Redick led the way in his first game back from an ankle injury, scoring a team-high 31 points connecting on 7-of-11 from beyond the arc.

"It was an offensive game, neither team was getting stops," said Redick. "For me, obviously I had a four days of rest, so I felt really fresh. I got into a good rhythm early, not just shooting, but making plays, driving and throwing lobs for uncontested dunks."

Griffin fell one assist shy of a triple-double, finishing the game with 26 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists. DeAndre Jordan had 23 points and 18 rebounds for his 36th double-double of the season.

In a matchup of two of the NBA's top point guards, Chris Paul posted 27 points and 13 assists, compared to the Wizards' John Wall who had a game-high 41 points and eight assists.

"I was just trying to be aggressive and keep making shots while opening up the floor for my teammates," said Wall after the game. "Even though we didn't play great defense, we all had plenty of scoring opportunities to cut the lead down and decrease their advantage. We lived and died by the deep ball tonight."

The backcourt combination of Wall and Bradley Beal combined for 68 points.

The Clippers gave their fans a brief moment of déjà vu early in the fourth quarter when the Wizards quickly erased a 19-point deficit, cutting the lead to just six before Doc Rivers took a timeout and inserted all his starters.

On Sunday, the Clippers coughed up an 18-point lead in the final five minutes in a monumental collapse against the Sacramento Kings.

"We have to figure out a way to finish games off and not play the score, but play the game," said Clippers' center DeAndre Jordan. "We've done that the past few games and it's come back to bite us. We have to be able to sustain leads and that's going to continue to hurt us if we don't fix it."

For the second straight game, the Clippers' bench struggled to play with the lead, posting a combined -27 when they were on the court, compared to a +65 for the starters.

"Our bench was great in the first half, but they just didn't close the game," said Rivers. "We didn't have our normal bench tonight and looking back, I should have put our normal bench on the floor."

Rivers was without the services of his son, Austin, the team's shooting guard off the bench. They younger Rivers strained his left hamstring in the first quarter and did not return to the game.

The Wizards had most of the morning to soak up some of the Southern California sunshine after defeating the Lakers, 119-108, a night prior.

The Clippers kept pace with the Utah Jazz and Oklahoma City Thunder who each won on the night. The Jazz currently hold the fourth seed in the Western Conference, 1.5 games ahead of the Clippers who are in fifth, just one game ahead of the Thunder who sit in sixth.

"Obviously, we let one get away the other day," said Paul about the team playing with urgency with the way the standings sit. "We came out tonight and competed. I think we played the right way and it was a good win for us. It's about consistency. We have to do it again and again."



Photo Credit: Harry How/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[LA Kings Will Play Two Preseason Games in China]]>Wed, 29 Mar 2017 21:36:22 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/180*120/Screen+Shot+2017-03-29+at+9.34.31+PM.png

The NHL will play its first games in China this fall when the Los Angeles Kings and Vancouver Canucks meet in Beijing and Shanghai.

The preseason games will take place Sept. 21 in Shanghai and Sept. 23 in Beijing. Commissioner Gary Bettman announced the launch of the NHL China Games at a news conference Thursday morning at Le Sports Center.

China is expected to be a large focus of the league's international ventures. Next season, the NHL is playing two regular-season games in Sweden between the Colorado Avalanche and Ottawa Senators.

Bettman called it a historic moment for the league and said the NHL's commitment to China goes beyond the 2022 Winter Olympics that are taking place in Beijing. He and other league officials have said it's a long-term arrangement with China that also includes contributions to growing grassroots hockey in the country.

"We look forward to our first games in China and to a variety of initiatives that will inspire generations of Chinese players and fans to enjoy our sport," Bettman said in a statement announcing the games. "We recognize the importance of helping China build a strong national hockey program and are committed to supporting that priority in every way possible."

NHLPA executive director Mathieu Schneider said players have reached out to him to express interest in going to China and helping teach the game there. The Canucks, Kings, Boston Bruins, Montreal Canadiens, New York Islanders, Toronto Maple Leafs and Washington Capitals have already conducted camps for young Chinese players.

The NHL has not committed to sending players to the 2018 Olympics in neighboring Pyeongchang, South Korea. International Ice Hockey Federation president Rene Fasel has said the NHL can't pick and choose which Olympics to go to and that discussions about Beijing can wait until the situation in Korea is settled.



Photo Credit: L.A. Kings PR]]>
<![CDATA[The LA Kings Still Have Playoff Pulse]]>Wed, 29 Mar 2017 21:26:21 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/204*120/Kings+Beat+Flames.png

So you're saying there's a chance. 

The Los Angeles kept still have a pulse when it comes to the Stanley Cup Playoffs after they defeated the Calgary Flames, 4-1, on Wednesday night at the Saddledome Arena. 

Trevor Lewis, Jarome Iginla, Anze Kopitar and Jeff Carter all scored for the Kings who need to win the remaining six games on their schedule and hope that either Calgary or St. Louis lose most of their games in order to make the NHL Playoffs.

Calgary opened up the scoring just 3:04 into the first period on a Dougie Hamilton goal, his 13th of the season. 

The Kings tied the game exactly nine minutes later as Lewis lit the lamp for his 10th goal of the season, the first time in his nine-year career he has reached double-digit goals in a single year.

Former Flames' legend, Jarome Iginla, gave the Kings the lead at the end of the second period when from his back he poked at the puck that just slipped through the crease for the go-ahead goal. 

The Kings piled on in the third period with goals by Kopitar and Carter. Each came on a beatiful 3-on-2 break and Carter's was his team-leading 32nd goal of the season.

Ben Bishop started in net for Los Angeles on the second night of a back-to-back and stopped 25 shots to earn the win. Brian Elliot got the loss for the Flames allowing four goals on 33 shots. 

The Kings are currently 11 points behind Calgary with six games remaining in the regular season. The Flames have five games remaining, including one more against the Kings. 



Photo Credit: Derek Leung/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[John Wall, Wizards Comeback Vs. Lakers]]>Tue, 28 Mar 2017 23:03:10 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-657773940.jpg

Leading by 16 points with 14 minutes remaining in Tuesday's ball game, the Los Angeles Lakers appeared destined to put down the Washington Wizards and claim a rare victory over a playoff team.

By the time the final buzzer sounded, the Lakers had magically handed the Wizards an 11-point victory, 119-108. The Lakers only had 21 victories entering the night, and the purple and gold exited Staples Center with the same number of victories thanks, largely, to Wizards superstar point guard John Wall.

Wall finished the night with 34 points, 14 assists, four steals and three rebounds, including eight points, three steals and two assists in the fourth quarter alone. In fact, Wall's final stint on the court consisted of seven minutes and two seconds during which time the Wizards outscored the Lakers by 15 points.

In truth, the Lakers crumbled for the duration of the fourth quarter. LA only scored 13 points over the final 12 minutes, while the Wizards put up 37. Coincidentally, the Lakers scored 37 points in the third quarter after hitting 15 straight shots as a team, but that offensive rhythm evaporated faster than LA's 16-point lead.

Before the fourth quarter collapse, Lakers guard D'Angelo Russell had put together an impressive night. Russell scored 24 points, handed out seven assists and pulled down five rebounds through the first three periods en route to what appeared to be a possible triple-double performance.

Then, the 21-year-old simply could not find the bottom of the net. Russell played all 12 minutes of the fourth quarter and only made one of his seven field goal attempts. Over those final 12 minutes, Russell and the Lakers were outscored by 24 points as Wall orchestrated the magical turnaround.

Save for the final quarter, the Lakers played well. Jordan Clarkson finished with 22 points, and five Lakers finished in double figures.

"The fourth quarter, when it's winning time, the intensity gets to a whole other level," Lakers coach Luke Walton said after the game. "I thought our guys did a good job of playing for most of the night, and once (the Wizards) got back that momentum, we didn't do a good enough job to stop them."

Russell summarized the night far more succinctly: "We were making shots; we were getting stops. Then, we stopped making shots, and we stopped getting stops."

Lottery Watch

With the loss, the Lakers fell to 21-53 on the season and remain in last place in the Western Conference, only half a game behind the Phoenix Suns, 22-53. LA is still five games ahead of the NBA worst Brooklyn Nets, 16-58.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Oilers Clinch Playoffs, LA Kings on Brink of Elimination]]>Tue, 28 Mar 2017 21:21:02 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/204*120/Oilers+Clinch+Playoffs.png

The Edmonton Oilers clinched their first playoff berth in 10 years by virtue of their 2-1 victory over the Los Angeles Kings at the Rogers Place in Edmonton on Tuesday night. 

Connor McDavid and Eric Gryba bookended a Jarome Iginla goal as the Oilers qualified for their first appearance in the Stanley Cup Playoffs since 2006. 

Meanwhile, the Kings are headed in the opposite direction, losers of six of their last eight games, and on the brink of being eliminated from the playoffs themselves. 

It's likely not a matter of if, but when as the LA Kings find themselves 11 points behind their closest competitor, the St. Louis Blues with seven games left in the regular season. 

The Kings are 13 points behind the Calgary Flames, their opponent on Wednesday. A Kings loss, coincided with a Blues victory, and the Kings will be officially eliminated from the Staley Cup Playoff picture. 

Sophomore sensation McDavid scored 14:44 into the first period to give the Oilers an early lead. After an earlier goal was disallowed by a Kings' coaches challenge, McDavid scored when his attempted pass bounced off L.A. defenseman Derek Forbort and past quick. 

The Kings tied the game less than a dozen minutes later when he picked up the loose pick in front of the net and went top-shelf for the game-tying goal. 

Gryba gave the Oilers the lead in the second period when the Edmonton defenseman bounced a puck past Quick that pinballed through the crease. 

The Kings had plent of scoring opportunities in the third period, but were ultimately denied the chance to send the game to overtime. Instead, Edmonton was able to celebrate on their home ice, whereas the Kings are left scratching their head on a third straight disappointing season.



Photo Credit: Derek Leung/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Lakers Rookie Ivica Zubac Raising Eyebrows]]>Tue, 28 Mar 2017 01:55:02 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/207*120/Ivica-Zubac-Lakers-1.png

Only a couple days removed from his 20th birthday, Los Angeles Lakers rookie center Ivica Zubac sat in front of his locker. The team had practiced on the center's birthday, but seemingly no one had remembered, and the kid escaped the Saturday practice without embarrassingly singing in front of the team while reporters filmed from the sidelines.

Instead, the center marked the end of his teenage years with a helicopter ride over Los Angeles, a city where Zubac has quickly become a fan favorite.

Prior to nearly every game, Zubac owns the space in front of his locker like he currently owns the starting center position for the Lakers. Unlike the majority of his older teammates who often hide away in the players-only lounge, decline to speak to the media pregame or joke around while making arrangements for tickets, Zubac sits stoically at his locker half playing on his phone. If asked for an interview, the center generally obliges and answers questions honestly without dropping the flurry of clichés that seemingly live in professional sports locker rooms.

While the professionalism the 7-foot 1-inch center displays regularly is commendable and notable, he is still in the infancy of his NBA career. Zubac only recently moved into the starting lineup and expects to start his ninth straight game on Tuesday night against the Washington Wizards. Since becoming a starter, Zubac is averaging 12.4 points and 6.25 rebounds on 60.8 percent shooting in 23.9 minutes per game.

"I got to prepare more for the games," Zubac speaks about his transition to the starting lineup in his thick Eastern European accent. "I got to be ready for better players and starting lineups, just get a bit more focused, more prepared and got to be in better shape."

Before celebrating his 20th birthday, Zubac became the first Lakers' teenager to ever score 25 points and pull down 10+ rebounds in the same game. Far from a finished product, though, the 20-year-old understands where he needs to improve the most: "I got to be better on defense, so I'll keep working on that until the end of the season."

The center adds, "Every area: pick and roll defense, post defense, closing out. Everything."

Lakers coach Luke Walton, who credited Zubac's hard work in practice and in the NBA Development League as the driving factors in pushing the then 19-year-old into the starting lineup, also pointed to the defensive side of the ball when asked about what areas to big Bosnian-born Croatian needed to work on entering the summer.

Walton said, "He needs to get defensively ready to make plays. His reactions are a little slow. I think it's because he's constantly standing upright. He needs to do a better job of staying low when he's away from the ball. When he's engaged in the play, he's pretty good as far as being active and reacting to what's happening. But a lot of times, he gets either fouls or beat because he has to react to once he sees the action, and that takes too long in this league."

The coach added, "I think he'll continue to get stronger, which will obviously help. He's got a real good feel for protecting the rim and getting block shots."

With regards to getting stronger, Zubac's offseason focus is precisely on building up his body. While the Croatian's pronunciation of the word "muscles" is endearing and forces an exercise in reporters' face muscles, the young center seems to understand that his offseason work in the weight room is of the utmost importance.

"We're going to work hard on my body, put on some muscles," Zubac tells NBCLA.com about his summer plans. "That's going to help me a lot to run faster, to move quicker, to jump higher. So that's where we should start. There's a lot of work to do. I think every part of my body needs improvement."

Zubac adds, "In Europe, I didn't do a lot (of weight training), maybe once a week or something like that. And it was very light. And now, I'm doing every day in the weight room. It's really different. I like it. It helps me a lot. I think this summer I'm going to spend a lot of time in weight room, and next season is going to be much better."

While Zubac contends that players in Europe are more physical due to the style of play, the Croatian says that NBA players are quicker and more athletic than their European counterparts. The weight training is a means to help Zubac close that gap. After all, he is only 20.

Asked how he can work on quickness and defensive speed over the summer, Zubac offers an answer that is the opposite of the sports cliché and yet sounds like the perfect response every coach and team would love to overhear from a player: "To be honest, I don't know. My coaches know. They're going to know everything. I just got to listen to them. They know what they do. I think that's the only way I can improve: to work hard, to listen to my coaches. Not to question anything."

Zubac summarizes succinctly, "Coaches say what to do. I do it."

Thus far, Zubac's mature attitude and strong work ethic has resulted in a degree of growth so pronounced that high priced center Timofey Mozgov may be in serious danger of losing his starting spot at the start of the 2017-18 season. While fans will point to Mozgov's $16 million salary with disdain, the truth is that the Russian center losing his starting spot would have more to do with Zubac's sudden unexpected rise than Mozgov's decline.

Walton will likely face a tough decision entering the 2017-18 season. When the coach drones about Zubac's strengths, though, the coach adds to the rim protection and shot blocking with the far more offensive strengths: "He's got great touch obviously. I think he'll continue to improve as far as finding his spots on the floor."

In fact, Walton called a play for Zubac to shoot a three-pointer at the end of the first half on Sunday night. The shot missed, but the fact that Walton ran the play suggests the coach acknowledges that his 20-year-old 7-footer could be a three-point threat sooner rather than later. After the game, the center reminded reporters that he's made three-pointers in the NBA Development League and shoots the shot in practice.

Ivica Zubac and Larry Nance Jr. practice 1-on-1 in Philadelphia

Zubac's biggest fan and best friend on the team is undoubtedly second-year forward Larry Nance Jr. Nance is the guy that decided to spit out a flurry of nicknames like "Zu Alcindor" and "Zu-pac" when the Croatian put on a couple positive performances earlier in the season. In fact, the pair actually bought t-shirts that featured Zubac's face imposed on a 2Pac-style image—bandana and all. As a note, Zubac said he did not know the people making the t-shirts, but he was not upset about it and liked the shirts.

"I think Zu and Larry got great chemistry on and off the court," Walton says with a laugh. "They're buddy-buddy."

Even if the team forgot to celebrate the Croatian's 20th birthday, Nance didn't forget. He met Zubac for lunch to mark the occasion.

"Confidence," Nance responds with one word when asked how he's seen his big buddy change over the course of the season. "He came into the year not sure about himself, about measuring up against these guys. I was there two years ago. You watch them on T.V. and they seem like juggernauts but now you're here and you're competing against them, and it's like, ‘Hey, they're human too.' I think you've gotten to see his confidence grow and he's starting to feel himself and get to his shots a little bit more."

Nance added, "There's still part of his game you guys haven't seen. He can shoot. He can shoot all the way from three pretty consistently. And I'm hoping he gets to show these last couple games. He's got a pretty complete arsenal. I'm looking forward to seeing it."

While the summer timeline has not yet been set since the Lakers still have nine games remaining on the docket, Zubac plans to spend the majority of the offseason working out in LA.

"First, going home to spend time with my family and my friends," Zubac says when quizzed on his post-season plans. "And then, I look forward to working out. I want to work out a lot. I want to improve a lot over the summer, so I'm going to be dedicated and good things will happen."

Asked if he'll be joining his buddy for workouts over the summer, Nance says he hasn't thought about anything but resting following the season. Then, the forward adds with a knowing smile, "We'll both be out here (in LA), so I'm sure we'll get some work in."



Photo Credit: Shahan Ahmed]]>
<![CDATA[Ex-Dodger Matt Kemp Auctioning San Diego Mansion]]>Mon, 27 Mar 2017 10:25:03 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/matt-kemp-poway-mansion.jpgMLB player Matt Kemp listed his mansion in San Diego for $11.5 million in December.

Photo Credit: Antis Real Estate Photography/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Lakers Crash and Burn Against Blazers]]>Sun, 26 Mar 2017 22:58:59 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/212*120/Damian-Lillard-Lakers-Blazers-3-26.jpg

The Portland Trail Blazers continued their fight to claim the final playoff spot in the Western Conference with a convincing 97-81 victory over the LA Lakers on Sunday night at Staples Center.

With the loss, LA remained glued to the bottom of the West and fell to 21-52 on the season.

In what has become all too familiar a sight recently, the Lakers fell behind big at the start of the second half and failed to make the game competitive. The purple and gold managed to only trail by seven points after the first quarter despite only scoring 17 points. In the second quarter, LA only scored 15 points but somehow only trailed by eight points at the intermission.

All in all, it was an ugly first half for both teams, and the Blazers led 40-32.

In the third quarter, though, the visitors came to life offensively and scored 37 points behind Portland point guard Damian Lillard's 14 points in the period. The Lakers scored 24 points in the third quarter, which was their best scoring quarter of the game thus far, but that hardly mattered as the Blazers led by as many as 21 points during the period.

Lillard eventually finished with 22 points, seven rebounds and four assists to lead the Blazers, while Allen Crabbe finished with 18 points off Portland's bench.

In the fourth quarter, the Blazers increased the difference to as many as 26 points before the game clock mercifully ran out with the score board reading "97-81."

With the win, the Blazers improved to 35-38 and into a tie with the Denver Nuggets for the eighth and final playoff sport. The Lakers, meanwhile, remained a half game behind the Phoenix Suns and in last place in the conference.

Next, the Lakers play the Washington Wizards on Tuesday night at Staples Center. Only nine games remaind in the Lakers' season.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Clippers Stunning Collapse Against Kings]]>Sun, 26 Mar 2017 16:00:31 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/206*120/Kings+Shock+Clippers.png

A royal collapse.

The Los Angeles Clippers blew an 18-point lead with less than five minutes remaining as the Sacramento Kings stole a stunning victory, 98-97, on Sunday afternoon at Staples Center.

In what may go down as their worst loss of the season, the Clippers led 95-77 with less than five minutes remaining in the game before Sacramento went on a 21-2 run to complete the comeback.

"This is a bad loss," said Chris Paul after the game. "The worst one we've had in the regular season by far."

Los Angeles missed their final nine field goals of the game, including a three-pointer by Chris Paul at the buzzer.

"I caught it ready to shoot," said Paul of the final shot. "It felt good, I'll take that shot any day of the week."

The crushing loss moves the Clippers a full game behind the Utah Jazz (two in the loss column) for fourth place in the Western Conference playoff picture.

The Clippers were playing on the second day of the rare back-to-back day games after defeating the Jazz just 24 hours earlier to take over the tiebreaker in the event both teams finish with the same record.

"We knew this game was going to be a fight," said Clippers' head coach Doc Rivers. "Second day of a back-to-back, both 12:30pm starts, and the final game of 8 in 12. We knew it wasn't going to be easy."

The Jazz and Clippers are currently seeded fourth and fifth in the Western Conference, respectively, with both teams likely to meet in the first round of the NBA Playoffs next month.

Los Angeles was sleepwalking through the first half, clinging to a 44-42 lead at halftime. They dominated the third quarter, leading by 11 points going into the final frame.

As the Clippers bench extended the lead to 18 points, coach Doc Rivers stuck with his reserves, but the Kings never surrendered, finishing the game on a 21-2 run with center Willie Cauley-Stein putting in the tip-back with 1.2 seconds left in the game to give the Kings their first lead of the second half.

"I just remember taking off and seeing Ben [McLemore] had a lay-up and the only thing I'm thinking is, 'If this ball comes off, I've got to grab it and put it up,'" said Cauley-Stein of the final Kings' possession. "Thankfully, it just came right to my hands."

"The blame goes all around on this one," said a frustrated Rivers after the game. "Should I have inserted the starters earlier? Left the bench in? The blame goes all around."

Sunday's game was a tale of two teams headed in opposite directions as the Clippers continue to battle for home-court advantage after clinching their sixth consecutive playoff appearance on Saturday. 

"These games should mean so much more to us than them," said Blake Griffin. "Nothing against them, but they're out of the playoff picture, and it looked the other way around in that fourth quarter."

Meanwhile, Sacramento is headed to the NBA Draft Lottery after trading away their All-Star center, DeMarcus Cousins, at the trade deadline. The Kings are currently 13th in the Western Conference and battling for a top-five draft pick.

Darren Collison scored 19 points to lead the Kings and Anthony Tolliver chipped in 15 points off the bench. 

A year ago today, Kings' guard Buddy Hield scored 37 points at the nearby Honda Center to lead his Oklahoma Sooners to the Final Four. One year later, he scored 11 points in the final few minutes against fellow Sooners alum, Blake Griffin.

"I think they thought they had it in the bag," said Hield. "But we could start to see them collapse, I think they were shook. It ain't over until the fat lady sings."

Griffin finished with 17 points, six rebound and four assists for the Clippers. Chris Paul had 17 points and nine assists.

"We're pros," said Paul, of having to come into the game in the final minutes after sitting for so long. "We have to come back in there and close the game out."

Clippers' guard Jamal Crawford reached a career milestone in the game, surpassing 18,000 points in his 17-year NBA tenure.

Jordan was the most dominant player on the court for either team, finishing with 20 points and 11 rebounds, a double-double, his 35th of the season.

Up Next:

The Clippers face a tough test on Wednesday when the Washington Wizards head to Staples Center for a matchup of teams with nearly identical records.

Please refresh this page for more updates, stats, and player reactions…



Photo Credit: AP Photo/Danny Moloshok]]>
<![CDATA[LA Kings on Brink of Playoff Elimination]]>Sat, 25 Mar 2017 22:24:56 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/199*120/Kings+Fall+to+Rangers.png

The Kings playoff chances are sinking faster than you can say, "Go Kings Go!"

Derek Stepan, Ryan McDonagh, and Rick Nash all scored as the New York Rangers shutout the Los Angeles Kings 3-0, on Saturday night at Staples Center.

L.A. needs every point they can pick up as their chances of making the NHL playoffs continue to sink with every loss they receive.

As of Saturday night, the Kings would need to win five more games in their final eight than the St. Louis Blues who have a favorable schedule down the stretch with two games each against the Coyotes and Avalanche. 

Once again, it was the offense that failed the Kings on Saturday night. New York's All-Star goalie, Henrik Lundqvist was out with an injury, and the Kings offense could not conjure a goal against backup goalie Antti Raanta.

"We had our chances and we didn't score. That's been a problem for us all year long," said the Kings best offensive player this season, Jeff Carter. "If I knew why, we wouldn't be in this situation, but when you don't score, you don't win too many games."

Raanta made 30 saves, shutting out the Kings for the 10th time this season despite L.A. firing more shots than the Rangers, 30 to 20.

After a scoreless first period, Stepan put the Rangers on the board when he knocked Brendan Smith's shot that bounced off the boards and right to Stepan on the left side of the net.

New York made it 2-0 in the third period just four seconds after Andy Andreoff was put in the penalty box for a double-minor for a high-stick to the face of Pavel Buchnevich. The Rangers captain blasted a slap shot as soon as the power play started and the puck bounced between Jonathan Quick's legs and into the net for the goal.

Nash added an empty-net goal late in the third period, it was his 21st of the season.

Quick took the loss, stopping just 17 shots. Kings' center Johnny Brodzinski made his NHL debut and attempted three shots on goal.

"We lost. That seems to be happening a lot lately," said Quick. "We just have to try and win the next one and not worry about the standings."

The loss puts the Kings nine points behind the St. Louis Blues for the second wild card spot in the Western Conference with just eight games remaining in the season.

UP NEXT:

The Kings travel to Canada for a three-game road trip against Edmonton, Calgary and Vancouver next week.

Please refresh this page for more stats, updates and player reactions…



Photo Credit: AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill]]>
<![CDATA[Clippers Clinch Playoffs, Inch Closer to Jazz]]>Sat, 25 Mar 2017 20:13:33 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/207*120/Clippers+Beat+Jazz.png

Jamal Crawford scored 28 points off the bench, and the Los Angeles Clippers beat the Utah Jazz 108-95 on Saturday to clinch a playoff berth for the sixth straight year.

The Clippers trail the Jazz by a half-game in their race for the No. 4 playoff seed in the West.

Blake Griffin added 15 points and DeAndre Jordan had 15 rebounds for the Clippers.

Rudy Gobert had 26 points and 14 rebounds for Utah, and reserve Joe Johnson added 17 points. The Jazz have dropped four of five.

Utah rallied in the third, putting together a 20-6 spurt to trim Los Angeles' lead to 72-70 heading into the final period. Gobert had nine points and Johnson scored seven during the run that included 10 straight points for the Jazz over one stretch.

Chris Paul and Crawford both got technicals while the Clippers struggled to score and defend.

But Los Angeles turned things around in the fourth, scoring the first eight points for an 80-70 lead. Crawford had 17 points in the quarter, scoring six in a row to push the Clippers' lead to 103-84. He was 9 of 9 at the free-throw line for the game.

The Clippers grabbed control early on, shooting 52 percent in the first quarter while building a 15-point lead.

The Jazz got within seven to start the second before the Clippers restored their 15-point margin and eventually led 49-41 at halftime.

Utah's top two scorers, Gordon Hayward and George Hill, struggled. Hayward, who averages 22 points, had 13 points on 5-of-12 shooting. Hill, who averages 17.1, had nine points while shooting 4 of 11.

TIP-INS

Jazz: Gobert was coming off a career-high 35-point, 15-rebound performance against the Knicks on Tuesday. ... G Sheldon Mack missed his 11th straight game with a left ankle sprain. ... F/C Derrick Favors remains out with a left knee bone contusion.

Clippers: Their six-year playoff run is the longest in franchise history. ... They have won 18 of 20 against the Jazz dating to Feb. 1, 2012. ... They won the season series 3-1.

UP NEXT

Jazz: Host New Orleans on Monday.

Clippers: Host Sacramento on Sunday in their next-to-last back-to-back of the regular season.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: AP Photo/Danny Moloshok]]>
<![CDATA[Lakers Beat T-Wolves in OT on Shaq Statue Night]]>Sat, 25 Mar 2017 00:38:48 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Jordan-Clarkson-career-night-3-25-17.jpg

With Shaquille O'Neal and a host of former Los Angeles Lakers in attendance to celebrate the former three-time NBA Finals Most Valuable Player's statue at Staples Center, the LA Lakers snapped a six-game losing streak and beat the Minnesota Timberwolves in overtime, 130-119.

Jordan Clarkson scored 35 points and made eight of his 10 three-point attempts, both of which set new career-highs for the third-year guard. The combo-guard who recently returned to the starting lineup also scored seven points in the overtime period and only missed out on game-high honors by a single point.

Andrew Wiggins, who fouled out in overtime, finished with 36 points in the loss.

What started out as a back-and forth contest witnessed the Lakers falling behind by 12 points at halftime. LA appeared headed for a seventh consecutive loss and trailed by as many as 15 points in the third quarter.

However, LA's backups worked to get the Lakers back into the game and closed the gap to only eight points entering the fourth quarter. Less than five minutes into the fourth quarter, the Lakers' reserves had chopped the deficit entirely and faced a tie ball game with the home crowd roaring to mark O'Neal's special night with a rare victory at Staples Center.

In particular, Corey Brewer fueled the comeback with energetic defense and 10 points in the fourth quarter against his former team. Still, when Lakers home P.A. announcer Lawrence Tanter repeated his customary notification of "Two minutes" remaining in the contest, LA trailed by five points and seemed destined to fall short.

Eighteen seconds later, Clarkson hit a three-pointer and got fouled for a four-point play. Suddenly, LA had all the momentum, and when the game went to overtime, LA rode the crowd and Clarkson's career night to a victory.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Shaquille O'Neal Gets His Statue...And It's Awesome]]>Sat, 25 Mar 2017 04:50:51 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Shaq-statue-Staples-Center-3-24-17.JPG

On Friday, Shaquille O'Neal finally got his statue at Staples Center.

The "Big Aristotle" earned a few jabs from LA Lakers royalty, as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar talked about O'Neal's memorable performance in Kazaam--memorable for all the wrong reasons, of course.

Jerry West, who is literally the logo of the NBA, arrived late due to traffic but offered a poignant speech about how O'Neal asked for $150 million from the Lakers, which was an absurd amount to request back in 1996. Instead, the Lakers gave the "Shaq" $120 million for a seven-year contract that yielded three NBA championships and three NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Awards.

While O'Neal's kids and Jeanie Buss spoke with emotion, feeling and humor, Kobe Bryant's presence on the stage next to his former side kick drew the most attention, and Bryant's speech drew the loundest cheers from the fans.

During his speech, Abdul-Jabbar even joked, "Some people thought the odds of Kobe Bryant showing up today were the same as Shaq making a free throw."

Bryant, though, gave a warm speech where he spoke about how dominant and great a basketball players O'Neal was, rather than the high character and larger than life personality the other speakers had focused in on. 

"I think we've heard a lot of stories about Shaq today, but what we haven't talked about is how good of a player he was," Bryant spoke over a crowd that had been chanting "Kobe! Kobe!" as he started speaking.

"The most dominant player I've ever seen," Bryant spoke about how O'Neal would be a fun loving guy, but before tip-off, the big center got serious and seemingly turned on a switch that showed that he wasn't out there to do work.

O'Neal played to win and to dominate.

When the big man took the microphone, he thanked all of his former teammates and told the story of how he came to LA. O'Neal thanked everyone in attendance. When he got to Bryant, O'Neal smiled.

"The next time we're out here for a statue, it'll probably be your statue," O'Neal said to Bryant.

Ultimately, though, the fan favorite finished with a focus on the crowd that had flooding behind the barricades.

"I just wanted you to know that I heard you in the games when I was missing free throws," O'Neal smiled. "I heard it. I heard you in the game when I wasn't rebounding like I was supposed to be. I heard it all, but thank you for staying on me. Thank you for motivating me."

O'Neal then continued by thanking familiar faces he saw in the crowd before turning out to the crowd of purple and gold assembled like they were once again celebrating a championship in 2000, 2001 or 2001.

"As I look here, I have to do it. You know what's coming," O'Neal primed the crowd that began to yell.

"Can you dig it!" O'Neal shouted.



Photo Credit: Shahan Ahmed]]>
<![CDATA[Dodger Stadium Bus Service to Return for 2017 Season]]>Fri, 24 Mar 2017 12:57:55 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/180*120/165202516_8.jpg

Metro announced Friday that it will again provide Dodger Stadium Express bus service from Union Station in downtown Los Angeles to Dodger Stadium for the 2017 baseball season.

The service will begin with exhibition play between the Dodgers and Los Angeles Angels on April 1, and for the regular season opener April 3 against the San Diego Padres. Metro will also offer Dodger Stadium Express service from Harbor Gateway Transit Center in the South Bay area.

The downtown service, which has been operating since 2010, will be provided to all home games under a grant from the Mobile Source Air Pollution Reduction Review Committee, while the Harbor Gateway service is funded by Metro's ExpressLanes Net Toll Reinvestment Grant Program.

The MSRC funding comes from a portion of the state vehicle registration fees set aside for projects that result in emission reductions from autos.

"This service has become a staple in getting in and out of Dodger Stadium without the hassle of traffic and parking, providing a real time savings for baseball fans," said Metro Board Chair John Fasana. "We are grateful to the continued funding by the MSRC that allows us to offer this popular service."

As part of the MSRC program, fans with a ticket to the game can ride the Dodger Stadium Express for free from Union Station or Harbor Gateway.

"Metro's system provides easy, convenient connections to get people to both Union Station and Harbor Gateway Center where they can then benefit from this direct service to Dodger Stadium," said Metro CEO Phillip A. Washington.

"This is a great example of how our overall system provides transit options to enhance the customer experience."



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Budweiser Introduces New 'Dodgers' Can]]>Mon, 03 Apr 2017 11:17:07 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/190*120/BudCans.jpg

The King of Beers is back with a new look.

Just in time for Opening Day, Budweiser has introduced new specialty team cans for most of the 30 MLB teams this season.

The cans feature designs by local artists who embody Budweiser's pursuit of the American dream, and celebration of America's pastime, baseball.

The new cans feature custom designs related to the cities and communities that the team's play in. For example, the Dodgers can features the famous palm trees of Los Angeles, and the St. Louis Cardinals' can features the Gateway arch.

“Baseball and the culture it created is a true celebration of the American spirit,” said Ricardo Marques, vice president, Budweiser. “This year, we wanted to leverage our long-standing partnership with MLB to raise a toast to the fans by giving them a piece of their hometown to enjoy right in the palm of their hand with our MLB designed team cans.”

The cans can be purchased in the following cities wherever Budweiser is sold; Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Cincinnati, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, New York, Oakland, San Diego, St. Louis, Tampa Bay and Washington D.C.



Photo Credit: Budweiser]]>
<![CDATA[Justice Department Settles Suit Over LA Dodgers Broadcasts]]>Fri, 24 Mar 2017 10:17:02 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/180*120/DodgerStadiumViewGame3NLCS.jpg

The U.S. Department of Justice said Thursday it has settled a lawsuit that accused AT&T's DirectTV unit of orchestrating a backroom deal with competitors to not carry the sole channel that broadcasts Dodgers baseball in Los Angeles.

The deal, while a seeming victory for deprived Dodger fans, will not necessarily lead to them seeing their team on TV more this season.

The suit claimed DirecTV swapped information with Cox Communications Inc., Charter Communications Inc. and AT&T — before it acquired DirecTV — during negotiations to carry the SportsNet LA, the network owned by the Dodgers.

Officials said the settlement will ensure that the companies will no longer make agreements to prevent competitors from offering the channel to lure customers. "We are pleased to have resolved this matter to the satisfaction of all parties," AT&T spokesman Fletcher Cook said Thursday.

Dodger fans were bitter they could only watch games through Time Warner Cable — now owned by Charter — the past three seasons. But that bitterness may continue. The government did not order AT&T to start carrying SportsNet LA, it only sought to prevent such dealing in the future.

The settlement also requires the companies to monitor certain communications their programming executives have with their rivals, and to implement antitrust training and compliance programs.

"When competitors email, text, or otherwise share confidential and strategically sensitive information with each other to avoid competing, consumers lose," Acting Assistant Attorney General Brent Snyder of the Justice Department's Antitrust Division said in a statement.

The government said DirecTV was the ringleader because it was the only company that unlawfully talked to multiple rivals, and said that DirecTV executives acknowledged that the satellite-TV company would be in a stronger position if competing TV providers also did not carry the Dodgers channel.

David McAtee, the general counsel for AT&T, which bought DirecTV in July 2015, said in November that cable and satellite TV providers chose not to carry the channel because the companies did not want to pass inflated prices on to customers for a channel devoted only to the Dodgers.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Jeff Gross/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Shaquille O'Neal Statue Unveiled Outside Staples Center]]>Fri, 24 Mar 2017 20:52:02 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/AP_17075474448220-shaq.jpg

A nine-foot, 1,200-pound bronze statue of Basketball Hall of Fame center Shaquille O'Neal was unveiled Friday outside Staples Center in front of a crowd of thousands that included former Laker greats Kareem Abdul-Jabaar and Kobe Bryant and coach Phil Jackson.

The statue is suspended 10 feet above the ground in Star Plaza and connected to Staples Center, depicting O'Neal throwing down one of his signature thunderous dunks.

"This moment is very unexpected," O'Neal told the crowd, noting that he believes there are "at least two Lakers ahead of me that definitely deserve a statute," referring to James Worthy and Wilt Chamberlain. "I definitely appreciate this honor very much," 

In addition to the Lakers, O'Neal thanked his family for standing by him while he was traveling so much during his playing career. Three of his six children spoke during the ceremony, and he told them, "The way you delivered those speeches -- you're going to law school, you're going to law school, you're going to law school.''

O'Neal recognized some of his former teammates in the crowd, but gave special thanks to Kobe Bryant, who spoke during the event. The former teammates had a famous falling out that led to O'Neal's departure from the team and they remained estranged for years before reconciling.

"Brother, thank you. We pushed each other, you know, we had our battles, we had our times. But we always had respect for each other and we were able to win three championships -- definitely couldn't have done it without you. I appreciate you very much,'' he said. "Next time we're out here for a statute, it'll probably be your statue, so thank you.''

The statue was created by Julie Rotblatt Amrany and Omri Amrany, who also created the statues of Abdul-Jabbar, Chick Hearn, Earvin "Magic" Johnson, Luc Robitaille and Jerry West in Star Plaza.

The statue is the eighth in Star Plaza. The others honor International Boxing Hall of Fame member Oscar De La Hoya and NHL all-time leading scorer Wayne Gretzky.

Prior to the unveiling, a street festival dubbed "Shaqtown," was held on Chick Hearn Court and Microsoft Square at L.A. Live, featuring a variety of interactive games, including Fireball Alley, Block-A-Shaq and Plinko, a Hall of Fame exhibit, specialty photo opportunities, a Ferris wheel, a mini Lakers basketball court and a DJ playing music.

O'Neal played for the Lakers from 1996-2004, leading the team to three consecutive NBA championships from 2000-2002, winning the NBA Finals MVP award each time.

O'Neal was selected for the All-Star Game seven times as a Laker and was the league's MVP for the 1999-2000 season.

During the statute-unveiling ceremony, Abdul-Jabbar compared himself with Shaq, saying, "We're both over 7 feet tall. We're both dashingly bald, and both famously outspoken." He also pointed to their acting careers -- noting their respective roles in "Airplane" and "Kazaam" -- but "both of us were suspiciously overlooked for the Academy Awards."

Bryant, meanwhile, hailed O'Neal's greatness on the court, calling him the "most dominating player I've ever seen."

"He's such a fun, outgoing guy," Bryant said. "Loves to tell jokes, loves to have fun with his teammates, practical jokes. But before the tip-off, something happens. The switch goes off for him. He's no longer joking around. He's no longer playing around. He's not smiling anymore. He's out there and he's trying to dominate.

"I remember the playoff series against San Antonio. We're going into the arena and he and I were sitting with each other in the back of the bus and he leans over to me and he goes, 'Bring it to me early tonight. Bring it to me early.' I look at him and I'm like, 'All right what's going on?' He said, 'When I was a kid, David Robinson wasn't very nice to me.' I said, say no more. This series is in the bag, man. That's it. That's it."



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Statue Day: Celebrating Shaquille O'Neal]]>Fri, 24 Mar 2017 20:40:32 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/3371092.jpgShaquille O'Neal got his statue in Star Plaza outside Staples Center on Friday, March 24, 2017. Take a look back at his career in photos.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Kings Ground Jets to Keep Pace]]>Thu, 23 Mar 2017 22:21:09 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/206*120/Kings+Ground+Jets.png

Drew Doughty, Marian Gaborik and Anze Kopitar each scored a power-play goal, and the Los Angeles Kings kept their slim playoff hopes alive with a 5-2 victory over the Winnipeg Jets on Thursday night.

Ben Bishop made 19 saves and Tanner Pearson and Jake Muzzin also scored for the Kings, who trail Nashville for the second wild card in the Western Conference by eight points with nine games to play.

Gaborik put the Kings ahead 2:01 into the third period, and Doughty doubled the lead 1:56 later as Los Angeles emphatically broke out of a 1-for-13 slump with the man advantage.

Pearson then added a short-handed goal with 10:38 remaining.

Patrick Laine and Mathieu Perreault each scored and Connor Hellebuyck made 31 saves for the Jets, who had their three-game winning streak ended along with whatever chances remained for an unlikely late playoff push.

UP NEXT

The Kings will hos the New York Rangers on Saturday night at Staples Center.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill]]>
<![CDATA[Clippers Lose on Late Steal to Mavericks]]>Thu, 23 Mar 2017 22:02:50 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/204*120/Clippers+Lose+on+Late+Steal.png

Harrison Barnes thrived in a new position on Thursday night, and so did the Mavericks.

Barnes made the go-ahead basket, then stole the ball from Blake Griffin with 3.9 seconds left as Dallas beat the Los Angeles Clippers 97-95.

Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle started a big lineup, with Barnes moving from power forward to small forward.

"I have a little bit more energy from not banging with as many bigs," Barnes said.

Barnes made a 14-foot jumper with 1:06 remaining for the game's 11th lead change, making it 96-95. After he stripped Griffin, Wesley Matthews made a free throw with 0.9 seconds to play before J.J. Redick missed a 3-point attempt that would have won it at the buzzer. His shot bounced off the far side of the rim.

"We had a great shot on the last play," Clippers coach Doc Rivers said. "That was great execution, and it was a 3, would have been a game-winner. Make, miss, we will live with that."

Griffin scored 21 points, including nine in a row in the fourth quarter, but he missed his last three shots and turned the ball over four times in the game.

"I got to take care of the ball on the last play of the game," Griffin said, "if you trust me with the last play of the game."

Dallas expected Griffin to have the ball.

"I have to give credit to our coaching staff," Barnes said. "They scouted that play well before the game. We knew it was coming to Blake. I just tried to play good defense, and I was in the right spot and the right time."

The Clippers had their three-game winning streak snapped. Dallas, battling from behind for a playoff berth, had lost four of six.

"I don't care about the race," Rivers said. "I care about how we play."

Seth Curry led Dallas with 23 points. Barnes finished with 21 and Dirk Nowitzki had 14.

The new lineup had Nerlens Noel starting at center and point guard Yogi Ferrell on the bench.

Curry started at point guard and had four assists.

"We're going to give this a look," Carlisle said. "It may be the rest of the year, it may not."

Noel finished with 12 rebounds, two blocked shots and two steals, including one in the final minute.

DeAndre Jordan had 14 points and 18 rebounds for the Clippers. Chris Paul scored 15 points and Austin Rivers had 13.

The Mavericks led by as many as 12 points in the second quarter. But after trailing 44-32, Los Angeles finished the first half on a 22-4 run for a 54-48 halftime lead.

Paul had 13 points in the first half, and Jordan already had a double-double with 10 points and 12 rebounds. Nowitzki and Curry each had 10 points for the Mavericks.

Dallas started the third quarter with a 13-2 run to regain the lead at 61-56. The Mavericks took a 79-77 lead into the fourth quarter.

TIP-INS

Clippers: Redick's four-point play in the second quarter was the 31st of his career. ... The Clippers outrebounded Dallas 25-15 in the first half, but only 20-19 in the second.

Mavericks: Barnes has scored 20-plus points 35 times this season. He totaled 19 games of 20-plus in his first four NBA seasons with Golden State. ... Dallas scored 21 points off 17 turnovers, nine in the second half. The Mavericks committed only nine turnovers for eight points.

THE LINEUP

Carlisle seemed pleased with the lineup change.

"We got to look at Curry at point with a really conventional team out there. We got a look at Noel with Dirk and Barnes. We got to see how things would shake out with Barnes at 3."

THE MIGHTY FALL

Dallas' J.J. Barea — listed at 6 feet, 185 pounds — was ejected with 5:29 to play in the third quarter after pushing the 6-10, 251-pound Griffin to the floor.

Crew chief Bill Spooner explained the call.

"The contact, in our judgment, was deemed unnecessary and excessive. The contact was to the shoulders and above to the throat. That is deemed as a flagrant penalty two."

UP NEXT

Clippers: Begin a three-game homestand on Saturday afternoon against Utah.

Mavericks: Play the third game of a four-game homestand vs. Toronto on Saturday.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez]]>
<![CDATA[USA Dominates Puerto Rico to Win First WBC Title]]>Thu, 23 Mar 2017 03:38:16 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/160*127/AP_17082181722984.jpg

America's pastime is back in the hands of the United States.

Ian Kinsler hit a two-run homer and Marcus Stroman threw six shutout innings as the United States dominated Puerto Rico, 8-0, to win their first ever World Baseball Classic Title.

It was a patriotic night at Dodger Stadium as the Americans outplayed the undefeated Puerto Ricans in every facet of the game, avenging a 6-5 loss in the quarterfinals last Friday in San Diego.

"We were prepared since we've already played them once," said Pittsburgh Pirates' outfielder Andrew McCutchen. "They got us the last time, we made mistakes in that game, but today, no mistakes were made. That's something we keyed on and we were able to do it. We made history today."

Kinsler got the scoring started for the United States when the Detroit Tigers second baseman teed off on a four-seam fastball from Seth Lugo in the third inning to give the Stars and Stripes and early 2-0 lead.

Earlier in the day, Kinsler sounded off on how Puerto Rico and other Latin American countries play the game, telling The New York Times, "I hope kids watching the World Baseball Classic can watch the way we play the game and appreciate the way we play the game as opposed to the way Puerto Rico or the Dominican plays. That's not taking anything away from them. That just wasn't the way we were raised."

The United States didn't give Puerto Rico a chance to celebrate on Wednesday night as Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Marcus Stroman had a no-hitter through six innings.

"I love pitching in these moments," said Stroman. "I love the atmosphere. I feel like the bigger the game, the more I'm able to get up, the more effective I am. I truly try to pride myself on being a big-game pitcher. This was probably one of the biggest if not the biggest game I've ever pitched in."

Stroman is of Puerto Rican descent, but ironically, opted to play for the United States over Puerto Rico in the WBC tournament. His mother, who is Puerto Rican, was harassed on social media earlier in the week for her son's decision to pitch for Team USA. 

"It definitely added a little fuel to the fire," said Stroman, who was named MVP of the tournament. "This is our first win. We've had a few early exits in the past. So each and every guy came into this with one goal, and that was to win it. I love these guys. It was an unbelievable experience, and I'll be back in four years to defend the title." 

Angel Pagan broke up the no-hitter with a double down the left field line to leadoff the top of the seventh. It was one of only three hits Puerto Rico would have on the night.

Andrew McCutcheon was 2-for-4 with two RBI and Brandon Crawford had a pair of RBI of his own as the U.S. hoisted the WBC trophy for the first time in it's fourth installment.

"It was a fun and great experience," said Crawford after the game. "Just to be on this team and around all these guys. They're All-Stars, Gold Glovers, Silver Sluggers, all that on this team. It was a lot of fun for me just to be a part of it, but the winning makes it even better."

The Americans relished their victory underneath a downpour of confetti on the field. Kansas City Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer carried a bald eagle statue on the stage for the trophy celebration and acknowledged the team had their sights set on winning it all before the tournament began.

"We wanted to get the U.S. back on top of the baseball world," he said. "We did that."

Lugo, a New York Mets minor league pitcher, took the loss for Puerto Rico, allowing four runs on five hits with four walks and seven strikeouts in four innings. Entering the game, Lugo was 2-0 in the tournament, but Puerto Rico lost for the first time in eight games.

Before the game, Puerto Rico had printed up t-shirts that read "WBC Champions," and reportedly had plans for a return flight to San Juan and a parade pre-scheduled.

That preemptive arrogance irked Baltimore Orioles outfielder Adam Jones.

"Do you want the truth? Before the game, we got a note that there were championship shirts made, a flight, and a parade, and it wasn't for us," said Jones. "That didn't sit well with us."

Most of the 51,565 fans in attendance chanted "USA! USA! USA!" as they draped themselves in American Flags. After the game, United States' manager Jim Leyland said this would be the last time he would put on a baseball uniform and dedicated the game to our country's military

"This is for the men and women who serve our country."



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Chargers Plan Costa Mesa Training Camp]]>Wed, 22 Mar 2017 09:20:27 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/5PM_PKG_LA_CHARGERS_OF__KNSD64PO_1200x675_420392515731.jpg

The Los Angeles Chargers have finalized a deal to hold the first training camp after their move north in Costa Mesa.

The Chargers announced their plans Tuesday night after the Orange County town approved the proposal in a city council vote.

The Chargers will train at Jack Hammett Sports Complex, which is only about 2 miles from the planned site of their regular-season base in Costa Mesa.

The team can use the facility for three to five weeks per year for up to 10 years. The Chargers agreed to make an estimated $1 million in improvements to the complex while paying $150,000 in annual rent.

The Los Angeles Rams held training camp last year at UC Irvine, about 5 miles away.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California

]]>
<![CDATA[Clippers Rout Lakers, Walton Benches Starters]]>Wed, 22 Mar 2017 00:47:53 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Clippers-crush-Lakers-3-21-17.jpg

The Los Angeles Lakers and the LA Clippers met in a game that pitted one team that experts consider a dark horse to make the NBA Finals and one team that is dead last in the Western Conference.

Predictably, the Clippers won, but the fashion of the 133-109 victory had the Lakers' home crowd at a loss for words and struggling to do more than launch into unified groans a various points during the game.

The game started with the Clippers scoring the first seven points and opening up a double-digit lead before the Lakers scored their second basket. However, the purple and gold appeared to be gaining their sea legs when the first quarter ended with the home team trailing by single digits.

Then, the second quarter hit.

Led by a massive rebounding edge, the Clippers out played, out worked and out scored the Lakers. In the blink of an eye, the Clippers led by 25 points at the midway point in the second quarter. When Chris Paul hit a buzzer beating three-pointer, the Clippers entered their locker room leading 70-40: a 30-point lead.

"They were aggressive," Lakers rookie Brandon Ingram said after the game. "They attacked first. They brought the physicality."

When the second half started, the Lakers came out with a new look. Lakers coach Luke Walton benched all five of his starters and started the second half with Tyler Ennis, David Nwaba, Corey Brewer, Thomas Robinson and Tarik Black.

Obviously, the Lakers' coach was trying to send a message.

"The most important [message] was that playing without a certain amount of effort isn't acceptable or tolarated," Walton explained his actions after the game.

Walton added, "We've had a lot of downs, but to come out in front of our home fans and give out that type of effort wasn't okay. It wasn't right."

While the Lakers did not play as poorly in the second half as they did in the first half, the Clippers cruised to victory and led by as many as 37 points on the night.

On the night, Paul stood out as the best player for either team and the Clippers' point guard finished with 27 points on 9/15 shooting to go along with eight rebounds and four assists in only 25 minutes of play.

With the win, the Clippers improved to 43-29, while the Lakers dropped to 20-51 with the loss. After a 10-10 start to the season, the Lakers have now lost 41 of their last 51 games.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Lakers Keeping David Nwaba, Sign to Multi-Year Deal]]>Tue, 21 Mar 2017 15:36:49 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/199*120/Lakers-David-Nwaba-Luke-Walton-2.png

On Tuesday, the Los Angeles Lakers agreed to sign 24-year-old guard and LA-native David Nwaba on a multi-year contract.

The University High School graduate went through two 10-day contracts with the team, which meant the Lakers had to make a decision on whether they wanted to sign the undrafted rookie for the remainder of the season after his contract expired on Monday.

Ahead of Tuesday's game against the LA Clippers, LA Lakers coach Luke Walton met with General Manager Rob Pelinka and President of Basketball Operations Earvin "Magic" Johnson to make a decision on whether the team wanted to sign Nwaba or bring in a different player on a 10-day contract.

Had the team opted to go with the latter option, Nwaba would have been available for other teams to sign and claim. Instead, the Lakers locked up the local kid.

"We have been impressed by David's focus and determination, especially on defense," said Pelinka. "He has a mentality about him that is infectious, and he works hard every day to improve himself. He has brought energy to both our Lakers and D-Fenders games, and has certainly earned his spot on the roster."

After the team's morning shootaround on Tuesday, where Nwaba was not present, Walton confirmed that if the team signed Nwaba, he would be available to dress and play against the Clippers on Tuesday night.

Per The Vertical at Yahoo! Sports, the Lakers agreed to sign Nwaba to a two-year contract with the team holding an option on the second year.

With Nwaba's signing, the Lakers have a complete 15-man roster, once again.



Photo Credit: Shahan Ahmed]]>
<![CDATA[Lakers Host Clippers on Tuesday]]>Tue, 21 Mar 2017 01:43:34 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Lakers-vs-Clippers-3-21-17.jpg

Based on current form, the Los Angeles Lakers should have no chance against the LA Clippers on Tuesday night at Staples Center despite the fact that the Doc Rivers' guys are technically "visitors" in their home arena.

The Lakers have lost five games in a row and 13 of their last 14 overall. In contrast, the Clippers have won two in a row and suddenly have Chris Paul and Blake Griffin healthy less than a month away from the playoffs.

However, the Clippers are on the second night of a back-to-back, while the Lakers come in rested. In addition, the two teams have split their meetings thus far, with the purple and gold beating the red, blue and white in the previous home meeting on Christmas night.

On that holiday night, the Lakers snapped an 11-game losing streak with all five starters scoring in double figures. At the time, those starters included Luol Deng, Timofey Mozgov and Nick Young, all of whom expect to either be inactive or playing reduced roles.

For the first time since that Christmas night game, however, the Lakers finished with all five of their starters scoring in double figures against the world champion Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday night. D'Angelo Russell scored a career-high 40 points on the night, and the Lakers carry momentum into Sunday's game, even if they are still enter on a losing streak.

Kyrie Irving, LeBron James and Kevin Love may no longer be at Staples Center on Tuesday night, but the LA Clippers have their own healthy "big three" in D'Andre Jordan, Blake Griffin and Chris Paul.

Against the New York Knicks on Monday, Griffin scored 30 points in 31 minutes, while Paul and Jordan both managed double-doubles in a comfortable victory. Of course, Paul's double-double consisted of assists, while Jordan's incorporated rebounds.

For the Lakers to be successful on Tuesday, Julius Randle must use his physical style when matching up against Griffin, while Russell must follow his career night with an outing worthy of comparison to Friday night's 40-point eye opener.

Another key matchup will be 20-year-old rookie center Ivica Zubac facing the best defensive center in the NBA. Only a few days removed from being a teenager, Zubac already has more offensive moves than the Clippers' 28-year-old center, but Jordan's athleticism and experience should make for a fascinating battle between the two towering 7-footers.

More than likely, Lakers coach Luke Walton will match up Jordan Clarkson on Paul defensively, meaning Russell will need to chase and stick with sharp shooting J.J. Redick. Clarkson's attacking style, though, should work in the Lakers' favor on the offensive side of the ball.

While Randle may be a more interesting match up with Griffin, rookie Brandon Ingram expects to draw the Clippers' All-Star forward as well. Considering former UCLA Bruin Luc Mbah a Moute may possess too much strength for the 19-year-old, Ingram will need to use his length and foot speed to make up for Griffin's power from the opening tip.

After practicing on Monday, Nick Young expects to be back as an option off the bench on Tuesday. The 31-year-old, who previously played half a season for the Clippers, missed Friday night's game due to gastroenteritis.

For the Lakers to pull off an unlikely victory and snap thier five-game losing streak, the entire cast needs to play up to its potential. For the Clippers to win, they simply need an average night out of their stars.

The Lakers and Clippers tip-off at 7:30 p.m. Pacific Time.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Clippers Clobber the Knicks]]>Mon, 20 Mar 2017 22:36:51 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/210*120/Melo+and+BG.png

Blake Griffin scored 30 points, Chris Paul had 13 points and 13 assists and the Los Angeles Clippers beat the New York Knicks 114-105 on Monday night.

DeAndre Jordan added 14 points and 10 rebounds, and the Clippers blew the game open by outscoring the Knicks 34-19 in the third quarter for a 25-point lead.

The Clippers (42-29) pulled to within one game of the Utah Jazz for fourth in the Western Conference and homecourt advantage in the first round of the playoffs. They have 11 regular season games remaining.

"It's important, but I'm not going to focus on that," said Clippers' head coach Doc Rivers of getting home court advantage against the Jazz. "I'm going to focus on winning every game and at the end we'll see where we're at." 

The fading Knicks were led by Kristaps Porzingis' 18 points and 11 rebounds, while Derek Rose had 18 points and Carmelo Anthony had 16. Largely using their bench, they cut the 25-point deficit to seven points in final minutes.

Griffin got off to a hot start, hitting eight of his first 10 shots. Jordan was right behind, connecting on 5 of 6 to help the Clippers shoot 55.8 percent in the first half. Griffin had 20 points at the break.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: AP Photo/Ryan Kang]]>
<![CDATA[Kings Playoff Hopes on Life Support]]>Mon, 20 Mar 2017 21:05:12 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-483951293.jpg

The Los Angeles Kings are on life support. 

Matrick Maroon and Milan Lucic both scored as they Edmonton Oilers shutout the Kings, clamping down on L.A.'s slim chances of making the NHL Playoffs. 

Oilers' goalie Cam Talbot made 35 saves as the Kings lost their second straight game in as many nights, following a 5-2 loss to the Flames on Sunday. 

Oilers youngster, Connor McDavid, assisted on both goals. 

The Oilers have won four straight games and are now tied with the Anaheim Ducks for seocnd place in the Pacific Division as they leapfrogged the Flames. 

Meanwhile, the Kings find themselves in need of a miracle to make the playoffs this season. As of Monday, the Kings are six points behind the idle St. Louis Blues with just 10 games remaining in the season. 

Entering the weekend, Los Angeles had a slight chance of catching the Flames and Oilers as they had three games with each team remaining on the schedule, but following the back-to-back losses, the Kings trail the Flames by 11 points with 10 games left to play and the Oilers by 12 points with 10 games left to play. 

Needless to say, things are looking dire for the two-time NHL Stanley Cup Champions.



Photo Credit: Derek Leung/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[LA Local David Nwaba's Lakers' Dream Coming to End?]]>Mon, 20 Mar 2017 15:28:50 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/David-Nwaba-Lakers-10-day.JPG

Monday could be Los Angeles native and former University High School alumni David Nwaba's final day with the Los Angeles Lakers, the team the West LA kid grew up cheering for.

Nwaba’s fairy tale story of being an undrafted guard that went from trying out to play in Europe to getting a special invite to an NBA Development League tryout to eventually landing on the Lakers has lasted 20 long NBA days that passed in a blue. Nwaba's second 10-day contract expires on Monday, which means the team now faces the choice of signing the 24-year-old guard that specializes in defense and throwing down monster dunks for the remainder of the season or opening a roster spot to bring in a new player on a 10-day contract.

NBA rules only allow two 10-day contracts per player before the team is forced to make a decision, so Sunday may well have been the former Santa Monica College Corsair's final game.

Only, Nwaba didn't know that fact until Sunday night after the Lakers had already lost 125-120 to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Asked about it after the game, the guard told NBCLA.com that he had been told that he still had one more game with the team on Tuesday. After NBCLA.com counted the days and relayed the information, Nwaba paused and had a genuinely look of shock. He may never be back in the locker room where he stood following a nationally televised game against the world champions.

"Wow," Nwaba attempted to grasp the reality that Monday's practice did not guarantee a game on Tuesday. Asked if he had spoken with the team, he mumbled, "They haven't talked to me about it."

Nwaba said that he had not pushed to talk with the team, either, but he seemingly understood a choice was at hand. Three and a half weeks remain in the Lakers' season, so LA could theoretically bring in a new player and try him out for two complete 10-day contracts before the end of the season. The financial obligation is not an issue as much as the team must decide if it wants to further integrate the Cal Poly San Luis Obispo graduate into the squad with a view to the NBA Summer League and a training camp invite or if another player worth trying out is on its radar.

"I know," a rather conflicted Luke Walton said when NBCLA.com mentioned that Nwaba's second 10-day contract expired on Monday. The cameras were off and his post game interview was over, but Walton seemed a bit stressed when NBCLA.com brought up the topic Sunday night. "He's been playing well."

Wearing the difficult decision with the expression on his face, NBCLA.com asked Walton if the team had figured out what was next with regards to Nwaba: "No, we have not."

Back in front of the locker that read "Nwaba," the last player in the Lakers' locker room had completed his interview obligations for the night before he figured out Monday was the only guarantee he had with the Lakers.

"I definitely hope to stick around and just get the NBA experience, but if not, get back to the D-League, keep working hard, keep working on my game and see where that goes," Nwaba said.

He added, "It's been a great experience, just helping me build confidence and knowing I can play at this level. I just feel good out there and just hope they give me another opportunity to build and just grow as a player."

Almost poetically, the Lakers will likely make a decision on the LA-native ahead of Tuesday's city rivalry game against the LA Clippers.



Photo Credit: Shahan Ahmed]]>
<![CDATA[LA Kings' Uphill Climb to Playoffs Gets Steeper]]>Sun, 19 Mar 2017 21:45:48 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-519298294.jpg

The Los Angeles Kings' uphill battle to make the NHL Playoffs got even more steep after a 5-2 loss to the Calgary Flames on Sunday night.

Linemates Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan had a goal and two assists each to lead the Flames over the Kings on their home ice. 

Michael Stone, Mark Giordano and Kris Versteeg also scored for the Flames, and Brian Elliott made 19 saves for his 11th straight win to tie a club record set by Mike Vernon in the 1988-89 season.

Anze Kopitar and Nic Dowd scored for the Kings, who remain six points behind the Nashville Predators for the final Western Conference wild card.

Goalie Jonathan Quick started for the Kings but was replaced by Ben Bishop at 11:36 of the first period after giving up two goals on seven shots. Bishop stopped 14 of 16 shots.

The Flames moved into third in the Pacific Division past the Edmonton Oilers, who will host Los Angeles on Monday.

The Kings are six points behind the Nashville Predators and St. Louis Blues for the final wild card spot in the Western Conference with just 11 games left in the regular season. 

Entering the game on Sunday, L.A. had a slight chance to catch Calgary or the Edmonton Oilers with three head-to-head games between the two Pacific Division foes left on the schedule. 

However, after Sunday's loss the Kings are now 11 points behind the Flames and 10 points behind Edmonton with 11 games remaning. Even if the Kings swept the Oilers in their next three games, they would still be four points behind the Oilers with eight other games on the schedule. 

Needless to say, L.A. will need to win out or at the very least, go 8-3 the remainder of the way to have a shot at the playoffs. 

Up Next: 

Kings face a must-win on Monday night in Edmonton against Connor McDavid and the Oilers. 

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Derek Leung/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[UCLA Beats Cincinnati to Advance to Sweet 16]]>Sun, 19 Mar 2017 21:09:52 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/ucla-cincinnati-2017-ncaa-tournament.jpg

UCLA has shot its way into the Sweet 16.

The No. 3 seed Bruins beat sixth seeded Cincinnati 79-67 on Sunday night, capping off an exciting slate of games in the second round.

All five UCLA starters scored at least 10 points each. The Bruins hit 18 of their first 28 shots in the second half after struggling to find a rhythm in the first.

They will play in the South Regional in Memphis. It's the third trip to the Sweet 16 in four years under coach Steve Alford.

UCLA will play No. 2 seed Kentucky on March 24.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Lakers' D'Angelo Russell Scores Career-High 40 Point]]>Mon, 20 Mar 2017 02:25:25 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/DAngelo-Russell-Kyrie-Irving-Lakers-Cavs.jpg

D'Angelo Russell returned to the starting lineup on Sunday due to Nick Young sitting out with gastroenteritis, and the 21-year-old had a record night. Along with setting a career-high with 40 points, the 21-year-old Russell became the youngest LA Lakers' player ever to score 40 points in a regular season game.

The fact that Russell scored 40 points was impressive enough, but that he did it against LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love and the world champion Cleveland Cavaliers seemed to mean a bit more.

"I think it started with him knocking down shots," Lakers coach Luke Walton said about Russell's special night. "I think we've all seen him when he gets going, he's tough to handle. What was most impressive offensively to me, because I already know he can shoot the ball, he did a great job of mixing up and trying to get into the paint and play-making."

Walton added, "On offense, purposely calling certain plays to get people the ball and coming off picks and making the correct decisions...just his overall aggression was as good as I've seen."

In the end, the Cavaliers walked away 125-120 winners behind 46 points from Irving and 34 points, seven assists and six rebounds from James, but the talk for the young Lakers centered on how Russell and Jordan Clarkson fit into the backcourt together.

"We'll continue to try that lineup going forward and see if we can make that chemistry between the two of them a normal thing," Walton said after the game.

The coach revealed that the numbers behind the combination had been less than impressive statistically in the past, and when Clarkson earned his chance to start, the Lakers initially dropped Russell to the bench in a role that did not seem to suit him at all.

Russell's return to the starting lineup alongside Clarkson, though, now provides Walton and the Lakers a fresh look at the combination for the remainder of the season. The coach stated that Clarkson is still meant to act as the primary playmaker when the opposing team scores, but on misses, Walton wanted whichever player naturally was "floating near" the ball to take hold of the role.

Walton added that if Julius Randle is the big man that grabs the rebound, he has a tendency to push the ball anyhow, which served as a reminder of how versitile the Lakers could be with three players capable of bringing the ball up the court and serving as ball handlers.

"We think he can (play off ball)," Walton said about Russell but conceded, "Part of the reason we're doing this is to get more information on it."



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Trojans Eliminated From March Madness by Tough Baylor Bears]]>Sun, 19 Mar 2017 19:28:01 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/180*120/gettyimages-655379944.jpg

Johnathan Motley had 19 points and 10 rebounds, and No. 3 seed Baylor defeated No. 11 seed Southern California 82-78 on Sunday in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

Terry Maston scored 19 points, King McClure added 17 and Manu Lecomte scored all 12 of his points in the final 5 minutes for the Bears (27-7), who advanced to play Duke or South Carolina in the Sweet 16.

Chimezie Metu scored 28 points and Bennie Boatwright added 16 for USC (26-10), which was trying to make its first Sweet 16 appearance since 2007. The Trojans had rallied from second-half deficits to win their first two NCAA Tournament games.

A four-point play by Lecomte put the Bears up 69-67. Lecomte, who hadn't scored the entire game, scored eight points in 45 seconds to put the Bears up 73-67, and Baylor led the rest of the way.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[NBA Fines Lakers Nick Young, D'Angelo Russell]]>Sun, 19 Mar 2017 14:39:38 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/NBA-fines-Nick-Young-DAngelo-Russell.jpg

On Sunday, the NBA announced that Nick Young and D'Angelo Russell had both been fined for their parts in an scuffle that broke out of Friday night when the LA Lakers played the Milwaukee Bucks at Staples Center.

Young, who took exception to a hard foul by shoving Malcolm Brogdon, will now pay a $25,000 fine, while Russell will pay a $15,000 fine for "entering the altercation and pushing (Greg) Monroe."

Monroe came to Brogdon's defense and seemed to shove Young in the neck area and also got a bit of a slap in on Lakers rookie Brandon Ingram. The Bucks' big man will pay the league office $35,000, so financially speaking, he is the player hit with the harshest penalty in an incident where no one threw a punch and neither team had players leave their bench areas.

In the aftermath of the game, Lakers coach Luke Walton was left fuming at one of the Bucks' team employees pushing Ingram, and the Lakers' coach even seemed to go as far as to suggest that LA could add a bit of muscle on their bench for future incidents if the NBA didn't have a problem with the Bucks' employee placing his hands on the Lakers' rookie.

While a fine would have been expected for the Lakers' coach, the NBA doesn't seem interested in leveling a fine on the coach, suggesting that his post-game rant was not out of bounds.

Also, the NBA did not offer any language on the team employee who got involved, so the league is sending a slightly mixed message by not fining the coach for speaking out, while also not punishing the team for sending out a security guard during an on-court scuffle.

What does this mean? Well, maybe the Lakers will be hiring a bit of extra help on their bench, after all.



Photo Credit: Shahan Ahmed]]>
<![CDATA[The Reactions From Adam Jones USA Catch]]>Sun, 19 Mar 2017 18:07:17 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/214*120/Adam+Jones+Catch.png

It's only March, but already it feels like playoff baseball courtesy of the World Baseball Classic.

On Saturday night in San Diego, Team USA avenged an earlier loss to the reigning champions, the Dominican Republic, with a 6-3 win in front of over 41,000 fans at Petco Park.

The Dominican Republic took an early 2-0 lead in the game, but the Americans fought back, thanks to some "must-see" plays by Florida Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton and Baltimore Orioles outfielder Adam Jones.

First, Stanton belted a homer to tie the game. The obliterated ball shot off Stanton's bat like a cannon and hit the all-brick Western Metal Supply Building in left field.

Later, it was Jones, robbing his Orioles' teammate Manny Machado, with one of the more amazing home run stealing catches you'll ever see. 

Machado hit a deep fly ball to right-center that Jones tracked down and leaped into the stands to steal from a contingency of American fans. Jones' catch was not only spectacular, but considering USA led by just one run at the time, Machado's homer would have given the Dominican Republic the lead and may have changed the course of the final few innings of the game.

Instead, Jones' catch saved the Americans and eliminated the defending champions. 

The video of the catch (in case you haven't seen it yet) is below, but it is the fan reactions behind Jones that has everyone on the Internet buzzing on Sunday morning.

Never before have we seen so many different, yet amazing, reactions occurring simultaneously on the faces of baseball fans. From the girl screaming in the front right behind Jones, to the crushed look on the Yankees' fan's face after his souvenir was stolen from him.

This image shows the close up reactions of the different fans. From the gentleman on the right who looks like he's seen a ghost, to the guy with the bandana in the back who seems to have his eyes closed. On the far left, this longhaired fan with his hat backwards seems to be amused by it all.

The beauty of this image is the American flags in the back, the fact that one fan managed not to spill his beer in the ordeal, and the fan to the left of Jones seems to be in awe as he slowly reaches up to place his finger tips on the red, white and blue.

All in all, we agree with most of the Internet, this is art, and we love it. 



Photo Credit: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Clippers Crush Shorthanded Cavs ]]>Sat, 18 Mar 2017 20:13:19 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/200*120/Clips+beat+Shorthanded+Cavs.png

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Blake Griffin scored 23 points and the Los Angeles Clippers capitalized on the Cavaliers' decision to rest their top three players with an easy 108-78 victory over Cleveland on Saturday night.

LeBron James, Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving sat out for the Cavaliers, and the Clippers snapped their three-game losing streak by feasting on the defending champions' supporting cast.

J.J. Redick added 16 points for the Clippers, who swept their season series with the Cavs. Cleveland's personnel decision also allowed the Clippers to rest Griffin, Chris Paul and DeAndre Jordan for the entire fourth quarter while their reserves turned a comfortable win into a blowout.

Griffin sat out Thursday's loss at Denver to rest, and he poured in 13 points in the third quarter while the Clips pulled away.

Richard Jefferson scored 12 to lead the Cavs in their lowest-scoring game of the season.

Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue said Love already was scheduled to sit out this game in his comeback from left knee surgery, and Irving left Thursday's game at Utah early with tightness in his own left knee.

With the Cavs beginning a stretch of eight games in 14 days, Lue also decided to rest James instead of forcing him to play without his full supporting cast.

The result was not surprising — and perhaps just what the Clippers needed to shake up their team in a humdrum March. Los Angeles (41-29) had lost six of 10, and Oklahoma City is a half-game behind the Clippers for fifth place in the Western Conference.

The Cavaliers (45-22) have lost five of eight, but still lead Boston by 1 1/2 games atop the Eastern Conference.

THE LEFTOVERS

Channing Frye, Deron Williams and J.R. Smith started for Cleveland in the stars' place along with Iman Shumpert and Tristan Thompson. All five starters hit double figures.

The Staples Center crowd hated Lue's decision, reacting with confusion when the starting lineups were announced and then booing James when he joined the Cavs on the bench early in the first quarter. "We Want LeBron!" chants were taken up by much of the crowd on a few occasions.

NOT READY FOR PRIME TIME

For the second straight week, ABC's showcase Saturday night game was dampened by a coach's decision to sit his best players. Golden State's Steve Kerr sat Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala for a showdown with San Antonio last week.

Lue acknowledged the disappointed fans on TV and in the arena. He said James also didn't like the decision. But Lue felt he had justification beyond pure rest due to Love's recent return and Irving's new injury, and he didn't want James to play without his top two lieutenants.

Lue said his three stars all will return Sunday night against the woeful Lakers.

TIP-INS

Cavaliers: Shumpert played after spraining his left shoulder Thursday. ... Kyle Korver also missed his sixth straight game with a foot injury. ... Cleveland had won its last two road games against the Clippers.

Clippers: Coach Doc Rivers flatly rejected a widely reported rumor of a possible reunion with the Orlando Magic: "I have a past with the Magic. I have no future. My future is here." Rivers coached the Magic from 1999-03. ... James averages 23.9 points per game against the Clippers. That's his lowest mark against any opponent. ... Paul went 0 for 8 from the floor, but had seven assists. ... The Clippers are one win from clinching their sixth straight winning season. That's the same number of winning seasons that the erstwhile Buffalo Braves had in the franchise's first 41 years of existence.

UP NEXT

Cavaliers: At the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday.

Clippers: Host the New York Knicks on Monday.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: AP Photo/Jae C. Hong]]>
<![CDATA[Video: Angry Luke Walton: 'Don't Touch My Damn Players']]>Sat, 18 Mar 2017 04:19:15 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/234*120/Lakers-Bucks-fight-Luke-Walton-3-18-17.png

"Don't touch my damn players," Los Angeles Lakers coach Luke Walton protested following his team's 107-103 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks on Friday night at Staples Center.

The fact that the Lakers lost hardly came up because the coach was fuming about the fact that the referees had ejected Lakers guard D'Angelo Russell after the 21-year-old had come to the aid of his 31-year-old teammate, Nick Young.

Young, who had been frustrated enough to earn a technical foul earlier in the ball game for running his mouth at the officials, got fouled as he drove the basket. Malcolm Brogdon seemed to catch Young on his head, and the Lakers' veteran retaliated with a shove.

Already carrying a technical foul, so Young's ejection had effectively been sealed at that moment. Only, the drama didn't die there. In fact, that was only the starting point.

Bucks center Greg Monroe entered the equation and immediately seemed to shove Young by his neck.

In retaliation, Russell shoved Monroe in the back. As players and coaches from both teams came in, Monroe shoved Lakers rookie Brandon Ingram in the face.

Ingram, predictably, got upset and attempted to get involved, but a referee managed to push the lanky teenager out of the way. At this point, a staff member from the Bucks' bench got involved and proceeded to shove Ingram.

"You grab someone by the neck, that's not right," Walton sounded off. "And then, Monroe went and slapped Brandon in the face. So, he did all that, and he got the same penalty as what D'Angelo did for just shoving someone in the back that was defending a teammate. So, that's crap to me."

Walton continued, "One of their employees is on the floor, and he grabs Brandon by the jersey and shoves him--not holding him back--shoves him. And that doesn't get addressed either?"

Walton intimated that had he seen the replay while on the floor, he would have been far more upset. The fact that a staff member from the opposition had pushed his player did not sit well with the coach, and he proceeded to advance the point.

"Then, I have no problem finding some people to hire on our staff next time we get into a skirmish, I'll keep all of my players back because the fact that they don't get in trouble for that, the refs don't say anything about that, and he puts his hand on one of our players," Walton's rant gained steam. "He works for them. He can touch their players all he wants. Don't touch my damn players."

Walton closed, "Because if that's okay, I'm sure we can find a couple people here in LA that want that job working for the Lakers, too."

"I didn't even know he pushed me that hard," Ingram told NBCLA.com after the game. "But it won't happen again."

The coach didn't have a problem with his players coming to the aide of a teammate and instead said that he would have been upset at Russell if he hadn't shoved Monroe in that position.

"I love it," Walton said he was proud of the group that was on the court for responding. "That's what they're supposed to do. They're supposed to have each other's backs."

More than likely, Walton's aggressive comments will result in a sizable fine for the coach, but the 36-year-old got his point across, and the NBA will likely also hit the Bucks' staff with a fine because a staff members shoving an opposing player probably should not be skipped over.

While the Lakers won the ejection battle 2-1, they did lose the game on Friday night and fell to 20-49 on the season. Next, LeBron James and the NBA champion Cleveland Cavaliers visit Staples Center on Sunday.

]]>
<![CDATA[Dodgers Manager Dave Roberts' Father Dies]]>Fri, 17 Mar 2017 16:28:17 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/211*120/Dave+Roberts+Father+Passes+Away.png

The Dodgers family received some tragic news on Friday morning when it was announced that Waymon Roberts, father of manager Dave Roberts, had died at the age of 68.

Roberts immediately left the teams spring training facility at Camelback Ranch in Glendale, Arizona, to be with his father and the team released a statement that bench coach Bob Geren and Triple-A Oklahoma City manager Bill Haselman will manage the Dodgers two split-squad games on Friday night.

The last we saw Roberts' father was during his introductory press conference in December 2015. At the time, Roberts' father was asked about how he felt that his son was the first minority manager in Los Angeles Dodgers franchise history.

"We didn't talk about race," Waymon told reporters that day. "And we didn't talk about racism either."

The elder Roberts was referring to his family and how they were raised. Waymon Roberts hailed from Texas and was a member of the United States Marines Corp. He met his wife Eiko, while he was stationed in Japan and they gave birth to their son, Dave, in Okinawa in 1972. 

The family settled down in San Diego, California, where the Roberts family would reside for many years. No further details as to cause of death were given. 



Photo Credit: Victor Decolongon/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[USC Upsets SMU, 66-65, to Advance in NCAA Tournament]]>Fri, 17 Mar 2017 14:46:03 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/AP_17076772863398-2.jpg

Elijah Stewart hit a late 3-pointer for No. 11 seed Southern California as the Trojans upset sixth seeded SMU 66-65 Friday in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

SMU's Shake Milton missed a floater at the buzzer.

Stewart had 22 points for the Trojans (26-9). Bennie Boatright and Chimezie Metu each added 14 for USC, which advances to play Baylor in the second round of the East region on Sunday.

Semi Ojeleye had 24 points and 10 rebounds and Sterling Brown had 17 points for SMU (30-5), which had won 16 straight.

SMU was in the NCAA Tournament after being banned from postseason play a year ago for multiple violations, including academic fraud and unethical conduct.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Is it Too Little Too Late for the L.A. Kings?]]>Thu, 16 Mar 2017 23:44:49 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/203*120/Kings+Sabres.png

The Los Angeles Kings may be on the outside looking in when it comes to the NHL Playoffs, but thanks to a 2-0 shutout against the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday night, the Kings still have a pulse with a dozen games left in the season. 

Los Angeles is in the midst of a paltry seven-game homestand that saw the two-time Stanley Cup Champions go 4-2-1 during a time they need to win every game. 

Jarome Iginla and rookie Adrian Kempe scored in the third period, and Jonathan Quick earned his first shutout of the season on Thursday night, but the two teams the Kings are chasing for the final NHL Wild Card spots in the Western Conference also won, prompting the question: is it too little, too late for the L.A. Kings?

The Kings haven't given up on their playoff hopes despite sitting four points behind St. Louis for the final wild card spot in the Western Conference. Back-to-back losses earlier in the week, including a 3-1 loss to the Blues , allowed St. Louis to surge ahead with just 11 games to play, but the Kings have enough games left against their playoff rivals to keep them in the thick of the race — with a lengthy winning surge, of course.

"It's that time of year, right?" asked Dustin Brown, who had two assists. "We've just got to find ways to grind points out."

After getting two late goals as a reward for grinding through two scoreless periods, Los Angeles still failed to gain postseason ground with its latest blanking of Buffalo, since the Blues won 4-1 at San Jose at the same time.

In his 43rd career shutout, Quick made 26 saves while shutting out the Sabres for the third time in eight career appearances against Buffalo. The former Conn Smythe Trophy winner has allowed more than two goals just once in seven starts since returning from a 4 1/2-month injury absence.

Robin Lehner stopped 34 shots for the Sabres, who have lost six of seven and 10 of 12. Buffalo was shut out for the first time since Nov. 7 at Boston .

The Sabres are getting used to this fate at Staples Center: Their last four games in downtown LA have ended in 2-0 losses.

Buffalo hasn't scored a road goal against the Kings in more than 263 minutes of play.

"It was a game exactly like we thought it was going to be," Buffalo coach Dan Bylsma said. "It was going to be a hard-fought game. It was going to be a battle for every inch of ice. We were in that battle. It's just a sign of how tough it is against a playoff-caliber team."

Iginla connected 36 seconds into the third for his 622nd career goal on a slick pass across the crease from Anze Kopitar. The goal was Iginla's third in seven games with the Kings, who acquired the 39-year-old veteran from Colorado two weeks ago for the playoff push.

"Coming to a new team, you definitely want to find ways to help out," Iginla said. "I've got a great shot here. I'm going to keep working at it. There's room for improvement, but it feels good."

Kempe then got his second career goal with 5:20 to play, beating Lehner from a tough angle after Brown kept the play alive.

The Sabres lost 4-1 at San Jose on Tuesday in the opener of a four-game road trip that includes all three California clubs. Buffalo is wrapping up what's almost certain to be its sixth consecutive non-playoff season.

UP NEXT

The Kings have a chance to gain ground on two teams in front of them when they travel to Canada to face Calgary and Edmonton on Sunday and Monday.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: AP Photo/Jae C. Hong]]>