<![CDATA[NBC Southern California - Sports]]>Copyright 2018https://www.nbclosangeles.com/news/sports http://media.nbcnewyork.com/designimages/NBC4_40x125.png NBC Southern California https://www.nbclosangeles.comen-usTue, 20 Mar 2018 01:07:21 -0700Tue, 20 Mar 2018 01:07:21 -0700NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Dodgers Clayton Kershaw Turns 30]]> Mon, 19 Mar 2018 23:13:53 -0700 https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/174*120/GettyImages-81233378.jpg Clayton Kershaw celebrated a historic milestone on Monday. No, it was not on the mound, but the three-time Cy Young Award winner and former MVP turned 30 years old. Kershaw has not allowed a run in Spring Traning and hit an RBI double on Sunday as fans serenaded him with "Happy Birthday."In honor of his birthday, we thought we'd look back at his career with the Dodgers.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Dodgers' Justin Turner Suffers Broken Wrist]]> Mon, 19 Mar 2018 22:16:25 -0700 https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-926893952.jpg

The Dodgers just got a case of the Monday blues.

After a relatively uneventful spring training, the Los Angeles Dodgers were dealt some devastating news when it was announced that All-Star Justin Turner suffered a broken left wrist after he was hit by a pitch in the bottom of the first inning against the Oakland Athletics on Monday.

"It felt worse than any other one," Turner said of getting hit by the pitch. "It's part of the game. It's unfortunate. I'll do everything I can to get back as fast as I can."

Turner screamed in pain when he was hit, and an audible noise could be heard throughout the stadium after contact. The third baseman immediately went to the ground, writhing in pain before the team's trainer came out to check on the wrist.

Turner did not take his base, or stay in the game, instead immediately left to receive X-Rays which revealed the fracture.

"It's a small non-displaced fracture," a visibly disappointed Turner said. "Obviously, this close to opening up the season it's not ideal, but we have a lot of good ballplayers and I don't think anyone is going to feel sorry for us. This is an opportunity to step up."

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said that he expects Logan Forsythe to move over to third base. The second baseman started 31 games at the hot corner for the team last season.

"An initial thought as far as a defender is Logan [Forsythe] is our best defender with an ability to play third," said Roberts. "Obviously, we have a lot of options at second base. Kiké [Hernandez], we have Chase [Utley], Barnsey [Austin Barnes] is a guy who can play second base. For right now, those are the thoughts."

Roberts hinted that Chase Utley and utility player Kiké Hernandez could see time at second base if Forsythe moves to third, and even noted that catcher Austin Barnes could play second base, possibly opening up an opportunity for catcher Kyle Farmer to make the Opening Day roster.

Turner was batting .333 with two doubles, two home runs and three RBI in 14 Cactus League games this spring and will see Dr. Brian L. Shafer, a sports orthopedic surgeon who specializes in bone and joints on Tuesday. That is when the team expects a clearer picture on what kind of timetable Turner is looking at it.

Normal recover time can be anywhere from six to ten weeks.

"It's baseball. Stuff happens," said Turner. "I'm going to do everything I can to get back as fast as I can and in the meantime there's a lot of good baseball players in here that I don't think we'll miss a beat."

Photo Credit: Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Here's How You Can Sit in the 'Kirk Gibson Seat']]> Mon, 19 Mar 2018 18:59:04 -0700 https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-451993122.jpg

"High fly ball into right field…She is…Gone!"

It was a roll of the dice in 1988, but 30 years later, it will cost you a roll of dollars. 

The Los Angeles Dodgers announced on Monday, that they will pay homage to one of the most historic home runs in baseball history, by creating a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to sit in the heralded seat where Kirk Gibson hit his game-winning walk-off home run in Game 1 of the 1988 World Series. 

The seat is located in the Right Field Pavilion, and for years has been known as the "Kirk Gibson seat" to fans, but this season, it will literally be the Gibson seat as the former 1988 National League MVP will autograph the seat, which will be painted blue and located in Section 302, Row D, Seat 1.

"Every time I walked into Dodger Stadium, I always looked at the seat where the ball landed, and I'd say, 'Hey, look, there's Seat 88," said Gibson on a conference call Monday morning. "I'm not sure if that's what they're going to call it, but that's what I'm begging for them to call it."

Instead, the name will remain as the "Kirk Gibson seat," and will cost fans $300 to sit in the historic location. The package includes a companion ticket, two commemorative t-shirts, and all-you-can-eat food and drink.

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The 2018 season marks the 30th anniversary of Gibson's infamous home run and also the 60th anniversary of the team being in Los Angeles. Gibson, is also slated to throw out the ceremonial first pitch on Opening Day at Dodger Stadium on March 29.

"Kirk Gibson was part of one of the greatest moments in Dodger history, and we’re thrilled to partner with Kirk to help him and his foundation raise funds and awareness in fighting Parkinson’s Disease," said Executive Vice President & Chief Marketing Officer Lon Rosen.

The following day, all fans in attendance will receive a Kirk Gibson bobblehead as the Dodgers square off with the rival Giants in the Opening Series at Chavez Ravine.

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In addition to revenue from the seats, the Dodgers will also auction off 88 autographed bobbleheads along with game-worn jerseys signed by Gibson, with all proceeds going to Gibson's foundation for Parkinson's research. 

Gibson was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in 2015, shortly after his stint as manager of the Arizona Diamondbacks. 

He splits his time as the television announcer of the Detroit Tigers and raising money for his foundation.

For fans too young to remember, Gibson hobbled to the plate on October 15, 1988, in Game 1 of the World Series as a pinch-hitter with two outs in the bottom of the ninth against Oakland Athletics' All-Star closer Dennis Eckersley.

Gibson was battling injuries to his hamstring and ankle during the playoffs, and could barely move in the batter's box. Nonetheless, he smashed a back-door slider on a full count into the pavilion in right field for a walk-off, game-winning home run.

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The Dodgers would go on to win the World Series, with the home run and Vin Scully's call, going down in infamy as one of the most iconic in sports history.

"Over time, you realize the impact it had on the game and its place in history with the fans and the city," said Gibson. "We all got humbled by that home run. But it I can do it, others can. I'm not invincible." 

Ironically, on the day of the announcement, the Dodgers are playing the Athletics at Camelback Ranch in Glendale, AZ.

You can purchase the pair of tickets to sit in the "Kirk Gibson seat," at www.Dodgers.com/Gibson

Photo Credit: Ralph Freso/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Pacers Out Run Lakers 110-100]]> Mon, 19 Mar 2018 18:42:13 -0700 https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Lakers-vs-Pacers-3-19-18.jpg

On Monday evening, the Los Angeles Lakers started a four-game road trip in Indiana with a loss, 110-100.

Five different Pacers scored in double figures, led by Myles Turner scoring a team-high 21 points and grabbing seven rebounds. Victor Oladipo finished the night with 20 points, while Thaddeus Young converted nine of his first 10 field goal attempts for 18 points, nine rebounds and four assists in the win.

To start the game, the Lakers looked sharp and pushed the basketball up the court with fluidity. In the flash of an eye, Lonzo Ball collected six assists within the first eight minutes of the game, and the visitors looked to be rolling. Ball ultimately finished the night with eight assists in total, hinting at how the game progressed after the Lakers' fast start.

At their height, the Lakers led by 12 points in the final minute of the first quarter.

Brook Lopez and Kyle Kuzma, in particular, seemed like they were in the mood to attack on the offensive end. Lopez finished the game with 23 points, eight rebounds and three assists, while Kuzma tabbed a game-high 27 points, along with eight rebounds.

Unfortunately, the Lakers failed to close the first quarter, and the 12-point lead evaporated to eight points by the start of the start of the second quarter. Over the second and third quarters, Indiana took hold of the contest and changed the narrative of the night by outscoring the Lakers 63-43.

Starting from final minute of the first quarter and going until the first two minutes of the fourth quarter, the Pacers outscored the Lakers by 26 points over 27 minutes to turn a 10-point deficit into a 16-point lead.

If one had to point to a single quarter, LA seemingly lost the game in the third quarter, when Oladipo, Young and Lance Stevenson led the home team in an onslaught that finished with a 35-point quarter for the Pacers and a 21-point quarter for the visitors.

By the time the fourth quarter came around, the Lakers trailed by 12 points and faced a mountain to climb. Almost immediately, the difference jumped to 16 points, and the result was no longer in doubt. Only the final score had not yet been determined.

LA cut the margin to single digits momentarily, but the Lakers never truly threatened the Pacers in the fourth quarter, and Indiana cruised to a 10-point victory.

With the defeat, the Lakers fell to 31-39 on the season. Meanwhile, Indiana improved to 41-30.

Notes: Julius Randle continued his strong play for the Lakers with 21 points, nine rebounds and three assists in the loss. Isaiah Thomas struggled with his shot for the second game in a row, starting 1/6 from the field. Thomas eventually finished shooting 4/14 for 11 points, three rebounds and three assists. Stephenson's 16 points off the bench outscored all of the Lakers' reserves combined.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Martina Navratilova Calls Out BBC For Gender Pay Discrepancy]]> Mon, 19 Mar 2018 09:55:00 -0700 https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/martina2.jpg

Tennis legend Martina Navratilova says the BBC paid John McEnroe 10 times what she was paid for their work as commentators during Wimbledon.

<![CDATA[See the 2018 Los Angeles Marathon in Photos]]> Mon, 19 Mar 2018 10:11:16 -0700 https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/180*120/AP_18077660693072.jpg More than 24,000 runners participated in the Los Angeles Marathon. Scroll down for photos from along the route, which extended from Dodger Stadium to Santa Monica Sunday March 18, 2018.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Martin Truex Jr. Grabs 1st Win of NASCAR Season at Fontana]]> Sun, 18 Mar 2018 17:54:21 -0700 https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/191*120/AP_18077843319959.jpg

Martin Truex Jr. saw nothing but clean air and green flags down the stretch in his first victory of the new NASCAR Cup season.

Truex didn't get much of a look at Kevin Harvick, whose bid for four straight wins was ruined by an early crash at Fontana.

So even while Truex's Furniture Row Racing Toyota team celebrated, it was a wee bit disappointed not to get a duel with the early-season king.

"I think we would have had something for him today," team owner Barney Visser said.

Truex roared to victory at Fontana on Sunday, beating Kyle Larson by 11 seconds to claim the first win of the season for last year's series champion.

Truex won both stages before rolling to the checkered flag on his 16th career victory and his first since that glorious championship day at Homestead last November. His first career victory at Fontana even moved Truex into the overall points lead, thanks to Harvick's woes.

Harvick dragged his damaged car to a 35th-place finish after early contact with Larson ruined his day. But after dominating at Auto Club Speedway, Truex's team was no longer certain Harvick has the fastest ride in the field.

"It just feels good to win," said Truex, who became the third driver to win from the pole at Fontana. "I don't really worry about who else is fast. Obviously (Harvick) has been quick. They've got a great team, and Kevin is an awesome driver. But as we've seen today, we can put together a run as well."

Truex took the lead for good with 32 laps left by getting past Kyle Busch, who finished third. Brad Keselowski was fourth.

"People kept asking, 'When are you going to win again?'" said Truex, who led 125 laps overall. "'When are you going to win any stages?' Well, here you go."

When Truex got a series of post-race questions about Harvick, the defending champ suggested that Furniture Row proved early on that it can hang with Stewart-Haas Racing.

"That first pit stop was under green, and he came in pretty close (to me)," Truex said. "We left pit road, and I drove away from him. That was the only gauge I really had of that. ... I'm sure we'll have plenty of chances to race each other throughout the rest of the season."

Here are more things to know about the race at Fontana:

KEVIN'S SMACK: Harvick's bid to become the 14th driver ever to win four straight races ended when he hit the wall after side-to-side contact with Larson on the 37th lap. Harvick's flapping bumper was the most obvious problem, but he made a nice save down the track to avoid an interior wall.

Harvick took the blame for the mistake.

"I went down to side-draft and (Larson) was coming up and we touched, and it just knocked the thing to the right and spun out," Harvick said. "I don't know that it's his fault. I think that's my fault for coming down the racetrack right there and trying to side-draft, and then as we touch, it just came back up the racetrack. I was just trying to get a little too much right there."

Harvick's car was repaired, and he managed to earn two standings points. Harvick had won in Atlanta, Las Vegas and Phoenix before arriving in his home state for an attempt to become the second driver in this century to win four straight.

CLEAN SWEEP: Truex won both stages and a race for the third time in his career. He also accomplished the feat at Las Vegas and Chicagoland during his championship 2017 season. "I would have liked to be one spot better, but I couldn't even see Martin," said Larson, the race's defending champion.

JJ IN 9TH: Six-time Fontana champ Jimmie Johnson finished ninth for his first top-10 finish of the season, ending a 10-race skid outside the top 10 — the worst such stretch of his career. Johnson's winless streak reached 28 races, also his longest in a career that began in 2001.

BACK AND FORTH: Truex and Busch traded the lead during the final stage, but Busch had a problematic pit stop that left his car handling poorly. Truex passed Busch for good with 32 laps to go. Busch was less than pleased afterward.

WHO'S HOT: Larson didn't let that early contact stop him from recording his best finish in 13 races since last season.

WHO'S NOT: Trevor Bayne's day ended on the 108th lap when he smacked the wall.

UP NEXT: Martinsville on March 25.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Find Out When Streets Will Reopen After LA Marathon]]> Sun, 18 Mar 2018 08:34:15 -0700 https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/la-marathon-2017-generic.jpg

Street closings will begin at 4 a.m. Sunday for the early stages of the 33rd annual Los Angeles Marathon, then reopen as early as 9 a.m., depending on the location.

Streets further west on the course will be closed and opened later.

The Los Angeles Department of Transportation and other agencies will strictly enforce a restricted, non-parking policy, including citing and impounding vehicles parked on the temporarily restricted, no-parking streets, at designated times.

During the closures, the major open east-west routes will be the Santa Monica (10) Freeway; Olympic Boulevard between Santa Monica and downtown Los Angeles; Wilshire Boulevard from Santa Monica to Santa Monica Boulevard; Beverly Boulevard between Fairfax Avenue and Silver Lake Boulevard; Santa Monica Boulevard between Fairfax Avenue and Myra Avenue; and Sunset Boulevard between Pacific Palisades and Doheny Drive.

The major open north-south routes will be Bundy Drive between Olympic Boulevard and Wilshire Boulevard; the San Diego (405) Freeway; Fairfax Avenue between Olympic Boulevard and Santa Monica Boulevard; and the Hollywood (101) and Harbor (110) freeways.

The race will start at Dodger Stadium, before heading through downtown Los Angeles, Echo Park, Hollywood, West Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Century City, West Los Angeles, Brentwood and Santa Monica.

An interactive map showing what streets and intersections will be closed, when they will be closed and when they are scheduled to reopen is available at www.commuterama.com/lamarathon.

The following streets will be closed from 4 a.m. to specified times:

  • Vin Scully Avenue from Dodger Stadium and Sunset Boulevard (reopening at 9 a.m.);
  • Sunset Boulevard from Innes Avenue to Figueroa Street (reopening at 9:20 a.m.); and
  • Cesar Chavez Avenue from Bunker Hill to Alameda Street (reopening at 9:32 a.m.)

The following streets will be closed from 4 a.m. to 9:35 a.m.:

  • Broadway from Cesar Chavez Avenue to Alpine Street;
  • Alpine Street from Hill Street to Alameda Street;
  • Spring Street from College Avenue to Second Street; and
  • Ord Street from Hill Street to Alameda Street.

The following streets will be closed from 4 a.m. to 9:50 a.m.:

  • Main Street from Cesar Chavez Avenue to Third Street;
  • First Street from Hope Street to Alameda Street;
  • Central Avenue from First Street to Third Street; and
  • Second Street from Alameda Street to Broadway.

The following street will be closed from 4 a.m. to 10:05 a.m.:

  • Grand Avenue from Cesar Chavez Avenue to Second Street.

The following streets will be closed from 4 a.m. to 10:20 a.m.:

  • Temple Street from Alameda Street to Glendale Boulevard;
  • Edgewater Road from Temple Street to Boston Street; and
  • Bellevue Avenue from Sunset Boulevard to Glendale Boulevard.

The following street will be closed from 4 a.m. to 10:40 a.m.:

  • Glendale Boulevard from Temple Street to Sunset Boulevard.

The following street will be closed from 4 a.m. to 11:10 a.m.:

  • Sunset Boulevard from Echo Park Avenue to Virgil Avenue.

The following streets will be closed from 4 a.m. to noon:

  • Hollywood Boulevard from Hillhurst Avenue to La Brea Avenue; and
  • Orange Avenue from Hollywood Boulevard to Sunset Boulevard.

The following streets will be closed from 5 a.m. to 12:45 p.m.:

  • Sunset Boulevard from Highland Avenue to Doheny Drive.

The following streets will be closed from 5 a.m. to 1 p.m.:

  • San Vicente Boulevard from Sunset Boulevard to Melrose Avenue;
  • Santa Monica Boulevard from La Cienega Boulevard to Sierra Drive;
  • Doheny Drive from Nemo Street to Wilshire Boulevard;
  • Burton Way from Robertson Boulevard to Rexford Drive;
  • South Santa Monica Boulevard from Rexford Drive to Moreno Drive;
  • Rodeo Drive from Santa Monica Boulevard to Wilshire Boulevard; and
  • Wilshire Boulevard from Beverly Drive to Santa Monica Boulevard.

The following streets will be closed from 5 a.m. to 1:50 p.m.:

  • Beverly Glen Boulevard from Wilshire Boulevard to Santa Monica Boulevard; and
  • Santa Monica Boulevard from Wilshire Boulevard to Sepulveda Boulevard;

The following streets will be closed from 5 a.m. to 2:04 p.m.:

  • Sepulveda Boulevard from Santa Monica Boulevard to Wilshire Boulevard.

The following street will be closed from 5 a.m. to 1:50 p.m.:

  • Santa Monica Boulevard from Wilshire Boulevard to Sepulveda Boulevard.

The following street will be closed from 5 a.m. to 2:04 p.m.:

  • Sepulveda Boulevard from Santa Monica Boulevard to Wilshire Boulevard.

The following streets will be closed from 5 a.m. to 2:20 p.m.:

  • Westbound lanes of Wilshire Boulevard to Barry Avenue;
  • Barry Avenue from Wilshire Boulevard to Goshen Street; and
  • Goshen Street from Barry Avenue to San Vicente Boulevard.

The following street will be closed from 5 a.m. to 5 p.m.:

  • San Vicente Boulevard from Wilshire Boulevard to Ocean Avenue. (San Vicente Boulevard will be opened at Montana Avenue at 2:36 p.m., at Bristol Avenue at 2:52 p.m. and at 18th Street at 3:08 p.m.)

The following street will be closed from 5 a.m. to 5 p.m.:

  • Ocean Avenue from Santa Monica Boulevard to Pico Blvd.

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<![CDATA[Kole Calhoun Earns Place in Core of Angels' Lineup]]> Sat, 17 Mar 2018 13:54:40 -0700 https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/kole+calhoun.jpg

Of the 10 players in the Los Angeles Angels' starting lineup for a recent spring training game, only one had been with the team longer than Kole Calhoun. 

That would be the face of the club, star outfielder Mike Trout. 

Calhoun enters his fifth full major league season as a constant presence in a lineup of players who are new to the Angels, or haven't been around as long. He doesn't get as much of the spotlight as Trout, Albert Pujols, Justin Upton, and certainly new two-way player Shohei Ohtani. But Calhoun is someone the Angels are counting on.

"Trust me, we don't take Kole for granted. He's part of this core and an important part of this core," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "We're happy to have him." 

Calhoun has been the Angels' everyday right fielder since 2014. Other players have come and gone, and even the right-field wall at Angels Stadium has changed. But Calhoun will be stationed in front of it yet again in 2018. 

"You kind of learn as you go and learn how to navigate this big league life. Different cities and different teams and better pitching and the game just keeps getting better and better," Calhoun said. "So you kind of grow with the game and learn on the job a little bit." 

Calhoun is coming off a season that saw him hit .244, the lowest batting average he's ever posted in his major league career. He hit 19 homers and drive in 71 runs.

With a group of proven hitters in front of him in the Angels' projected batting order -- including Ian Kinsler, Trout, Pujols and Upton, Calhoun is hoping to raise his average this season. He's been hitting over .400 this spring. 

"There was some things I worked out in the offseason. I wanted to see how they played out in the spring, and you know, it's going good so far," Calhoun said. "Using the whole field, got to be happy about that. 

"There's a lot of numbers that were still good, too. Everybody looks at the average. I look at the average and I don't like where it's at," Calhoun said of last season. "So yeah, you want to right after the season go home and get to work and try to get ready for another year." 

Calhoun won't get a chance to test out the new dimensions in right field until he returns with the Angels for an exhibition game against the crosstown Los Angeles Dodgers later this month. The Angels moved the home run boundary down from the top of the wall down 10 feet to a height of eight feet. 

That means balls the left-handed hitting Calhoun might have hit for extra bases could be home runs, and the same goes for opposing team's balls hit to the wall beyond Calhoun's reach. 

"Obviously it's going to change some games. There's a lot of balls that bang high off that wall and stay in play, now it's a run," Calhoun said. "We'll see when we get there. It'll be fun and interesting and kind of a new challenge."

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Brandon Ingram Gaining Confidence on Sidelines]]> Sat, 17 Mar 2018 13:33:30 -0700 https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Lakers-Brandon-Ingram-3-17-18.jpg

After suffering a groin strain in Miami on Mar. 1, Lakers forward Brandon Ingram has been sidelined for eight games, but the 20-year-old has been cleared to take part in non-contact work on the court.

"I feel really good, actually," Ingram said at Saturday's Lakers' practice in El Segundo. "[I] started getting back on the court for a few days, and [I'm] back smiling again, happy to be out here."

No set date has been circled for the return of the lanky forward, who often plays as a point guard when healthy, but Ingram explained the next steps in his return from injury.

"The next step for me is trying to get on the court and go against some of the guys, trying to ramp it up a little this week depending on how I feel," Ingram said.

The forward said that he hopes to be able to get in contact work in the upcoming week and sounded positive about how his body had been reacting to the on-court work he had been doing with regards to not being sore afterwards. Considering the Lakers travel on Sunday and play in Indiana on Monday, the next time the team gathers for practice will likely be in New Orleans ahead of Thursday's game in the Big Easy.

"I wouldn't be surprised if he plays on the road trip," Lakers coach Luke Walton said about Ingram. "He's feeling much better, he says, but we're going to keep being patient with him and make sure he goes through all the proper channels before we throw him back out there."

"Hopefully, I can get to practice in New Orleans and practice with the guys," Ingram said. "It's been a long time since I've practiced with them. So, hopefully I can get out there and do some contact drills."

While watching from the sidelines, though, the former Duke Blue Devil has gained greater appreciation for his teammates and the improvements they've made.

Asked what he's noticed while watching from the bench, Ingram responded, "How good Julius Randle is. I watch every night when he gets the basketball and some of the shots he makes and how strong he is going to the basket. Seeing that no one can really stop him. You know exactly what he's going to do, but no one can stop him."

Ingram also added to his answer, "How good Kyle Kuzma has been on defense lately—his individual defense."

Beyond gaining confidence in his teammates, Ingram also said his time on the sidelines had helped his own confidence levels.

"I think actually, sitting there and watching, I've actually gained confidence in seeing that I can make that play at the end of the game," Ingram said in reference to the Lakers losing by one point on a missed shot the night before.

Asked about what he would have done if he'd been on the court against Miami, Ingram responds confidently with a smile, "I would have shot the ball."

The young man affectionately called "Jugg" by his friends as a reference to his physical resemblance to Jughead Jones from the classic Archie comic books is notorious for being addicted to basketball.

"It has been boring," Ingram said when asked about life in street clothes, especially considering the forward was initially not even allowed to get on the court and shoot. "I don't do anything else but play basketball."

Ingram added, "I picked up on sleep a little bit. I went bowling. I shopped a little bit too much. That's really all I did. I got to be with my family a little bit more than usual, so I think that's a good side about it."

Did Ingram buy get anything good in his shopping excursions?

"I'm always going for clothes," Ingram said. "I'm a little fashion guy. I think I need to get back to basketball. I'm doing a little overspending a little bit."

Photo Credit: Shahan Ahmed]]>
<![CDATA[Dragic, Heat Burn Lakers 92-91]]> Fri, 16 Mar 2018 23:29:51 -0700 https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/212*120/Isaiah-Thomas-Lakers-lose-to-Heat.jpg

Isaiah Thomas had the ball in his hands, drove left and got a look at the basket but came up just short moment before the final buzzer sounded, as the Los Angeles Lakers lost 92-91 in a back-and-forth contest against the Miami Heat on Friday night at STAPLES Center.

"Isaiah got a clean look though," Lakers coach Luke Walton said after the game. "We can't complain about that. I think he was probably a little cold. He had been on the bench for a while, but if you get an open look for someone like I.T. at the end like that, you live with that."

Julius Randle and Goran Dragic played starring roles for their respective teams on the night, with Randle scoring 25 points and pulling down 12 rebounds. Dragic finished with a game-high 30 points, including the game-winning bucket with 15.2 seconds remaining in the game.

Instead of immediately calling timeout, Walton allowed his team to get the ball up the court and make something happen. With 7.5 seconds remaining in the game and the Lakers barely past half court, Walton called time out to design a play.

The coach wanted to get the ball in to Randle, but the Heat double-teamed the Lakers' player of the game, so Lonzo Ball in-bounded the ball to Thomas. The former University of Washington Huskie had only entered the game following Walton's late timeout after playing one of the more forgettable games of his Lakers' tenure.

Thomas ended up short on his attempt, and the game ended with the Lakers' backup point guard missing eight of his nine shots from the field on the night and recording five points, three assists and three turnovers.

In order to get Thomas into the game, Walton took out Brook Lopez. Lopez finised the night with 18 points, four rebounds and two assists, including four of six from three-point land.

Lopez and Travis Wear, the latter of which is on a 10-day contract, combined to hit seven of the Lakers' nine three-pointers on the night. Ball and fellow rookie Kyle Kuzma both made one of their three attempts from distance on the night.

Kuzma added to his tally after becoming the rookie record holder in made three-pointers a couple games earlier. Kuzma took the mantle from D'Angelo Russell, who made 130 deep daggers in his first season. Prior to that, the record had been held by Nick Van Exel for over 20 years.

With 132 three-pointers, Kuzma sat in front of his locker and said, "It's pretty special, anytime you have any record but especially with the Lakers. It's pretty special."

The 21-year-old forward added, "It's also pretty cool just the simple fact that everybody said, pre-draft, I couldn't shoot. It's pretty funny how it works."

Ultimately, the Lakers lost on Friday night in a close game against a team that has a winning record and looks like it will ease into the Eastern Conference playoffs. With the loss, the Lakers fell to 31-38 on the season, while the Heat improved to 37-33.

Walton, though, seemed particularly agitated with the loss and said, "They were tougher than we were tonight, which is really frustrating. I don't want to lose, but I don't mind losing when other teams make plays."

The Heat also collected five more offensive rebounds than the Lakers on the night. Walton lamented the team's 20 turnovers and the Heat's 18 extra field goal attempts on the night.

"We couldn't even make a post pass, which is the basic fundamentals of passing, so that is frustrating."

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Why Your Pre-Schooler Is Leading Your March Madness Bracket]]> Fri, 16 Mar 2018 16:00:47 -0700 https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/msrshallpup.jpg

Most people didn’t have Marshall upsetting Wichita State in the men’s NCAA Tournament — that is, unless you have a pre-schooler who happens to watch “Paw Patrol.” Find out how a cartoon pup may have your kid winning your bracket.

<![CDATA[Why a 4-Year-Old Is Winning Your Office Pool]]> Fri, 16 Mar 2018 16:08:27 -0700 https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/marshall-pawpatrol-split.jpg

The answer to winning your NCAA office pool might be to watch more "Paw Patrol." 

While No. 13 Marshall's historic 81-75 win over the No. 4 Wichita State Shockers shocked the world, the fact that the Thundering Herd were on a roll didn't surprise kids who picked the team to go all the way thanks to Marshall the pup from "Paw Patrol." 

It's well-known that some people make their bracket picks based on mascots or school logos. After the Thundering Herd caught fire from the three-point range late in Friday's game for the upset victory, some joked on Twitter that their bracket took a hit and maybe they should have listened to their kids.  

In "Paw Patrol," a 10-year-old character named Ryder leads a pack of rescue pups in training to help those in distress in a town called Adventure Bay. Each dog is “ inspired by real-world jobs like a firefighter, police officer, and construction worker,” according to the show’s website.

The pups all have corresponding vehicles and catch phrases. Marshall is a clumsy Dalmatian pup who has a firefighter hat and fire truck with a ladder. His signature line is “let’s fire it up.” 

The victory was the West Virginia school's first NCAA Tournament win in program history, 31 years after its last appearance.

"Paw Patrol" took to the airwaves for Nickelodeon in August 2013. The show's Twitter account has not yet weighed in on how fired up it was by the attention. 

Photo Credit: Getty Images, Nickelodeon
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<![CDATA[The Lakers' Julius Randle Free Agency Dilemma]]> Fri, 16 Mar 2018 11:14:37 -0700 https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/212*120/Julius-Randle-Free-Agency.jpg

The Ides of a March, which is the 15th of March, was traditionally deadline day for the Romans to settle their debts, but it's perhaps more famously known as the anniversary of the day a rather large group of powerful people got together and publicly stabbed Roman Emperor Julius Caesar.

Entirely unrelated to that random bit of history, the Los Angeles Lakers host the Miami Heat at STAPLES Center on the day after the Ides of March. The hometown's modern day gladiators, injured and exhausted, take that court on Friday night to perform for the fourth time in six nights.

With Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart and Channing Frye all ruled out for Friday night's game with various injuries, Alex Caruso reaching the maximum on his NBA days with his two-way contract and Kyle Kuzma's status up in the air with a sprained ankle, the Lakers are limping into a lengthy four-game road trip that won't see the purple and gold back at STAPLES Center for twelve days following Friday's game against Miami.

So, after 31 wins in 68 games, it's time to talk about Isaiah Thomas, Julius Randle and where the Lakers are heading after the four game road trip and the final 14 games of what has undoubtedly been a positive season for the purple and gold.

The past few days have been eventful, as Isaiah Thomas came out and told USA Today's Sam Amick that he's not a sixth man on the same night Lakers coach Luke Walton game the 29-year-old his first start with the Lakers. Watching Thomas play since his arrival in LA, his demeanor and confidence on the court left little doubt about Thomas' thoughts before he ever opened his mouth.

Overall, the Thomas in LA experiment has been working out, and Walton tends to play the experienced point guard late in games—occasionally when he probably shouldn't.

All that said, Thomas' decision in the upcoming free agency will likely be based on dollar value, and if the Lakers don't land all their targets, Thomas could fit as a short-term, big money contract, keeping the Lakers financially flexible for the summer of 2019. Of course, at age 29, Thomas could not be blamed for taking a longer-term contract elsewhere, rather than waiting around to see if the Lakers fail in free agency and offer him the leftover scraps on a short-term deal.

While not out of the question, Thomas' return to the Lakers seems unlikely.

While Thomas' future and fit with the Lakers may be a fun thought experiment, the current conversation clogging up the calculating zone of the Lakers' brains is figuring out how exactly Randle fits into the Lakers' future. The Lakers drafted Randle in 2014, though he broke his leg and didn't play his first complete game until the 2015-16 season—Kobe Bryant and Byron Scott's farewell tour.

Over the two seasons under Luke Walton that followed, Randle has improved immensely, and the player and coach seem to share a special professional relationship that mixes in positive messaging, along with tough love. More than any other player, Walton had tested and tried Randle, openly admitting that he treats the forward differently than he does other players on the team. Walton would talk about expecting more from Randle than any other player on the roster long before the unique forward began to turn heads.

Now, Randle suddenly looks like a player the Lakers can ill afford to watch walk away. Randle has been his own special form of beast on the court recently, with one struggling to find comparisons for his level of play.

Over the past 11 games, Randle is averaging 21.3 points, 10.1 rebounds and 3.9 assists per game and shooting 61 percent from the field. Over the stretch, the Lakers have won eight of 11 games, and the forward has seven double-doubles. With Randle starting and leading from the front, the Lakers have won 20 of their last 30 games despite a spattering of injuries taking hold of the team.

At age 23, Randle is still a full three or four years away from the age most players consider the prime of their careers. The former University of Kentucky forward, though, poses a bit of a conundrum for the team. If the Lakers truly believe they can get LeBron James and Paul George in the summer, the restricted free agent would have to be incredibly understanding not to sign an offer sheet if a team comes in at the start of free agency with an offer. Considering his recent play, one has to expect Randle will draw interest and an offer from other teams.

While James and/or George are still making their respective decisions, the Lakers may be forced to make their decision on Randle.

Only, Randle told ESPN's Ohm Youngmisuk in no uncertain terms that he'd welcome playing with James: Randle said, "I would love to play with Bron and learn the same things."

So, is it possible to keep both James and Randle, while also making space for George, who has seemed like the most likely free agent to commit to LA. Bleacher Report's Eric Pincus, who is widely regarded as a salary cap expert, explained that if the team renounced every single free agent not named Randle, including the non-guaranteed players, the team would have roughly $48 million in salary cap space.

Then, the team would need to stretch out Luol Deng's contract for either five or 11 years to maximize its salary cap space but still fall short on giving George and James maximum level contracts by $3.3-$6.8 million if they held onto Randle, according to Pincus.

A trade involving Deng and packaged with draft picks would help the Lakers out, but that doesn't appear to be likely before the start of free agency—if at all. So, the Lakers simply may have to make a decision on Randle while the man famous for his drawn out "The Decision" announcement about leaving Cleveland makes his latest decision about, well, possibly leaving Cleveland, again.

If the Lakers decide to keep Randle, they'll have to work out a deal with Randle's agent, who also happens to be George's agent and let him know that George can only get a maximum contract if James passes on the Lakers. Funny enough, James will likely be sitting at his $23 million Brentwood home when he decides on whether he wants to go back to Cleveland, join his buddy Chris Paul in Houston or take his talents to Venice Beach.

So, can the Lakers keep Randle? Will the Lakers keep Randle?

At the moment, even the Lakers probably don't know the answers to those questions. If Randle is sacrificed for George and James, however, the front office of Earvin "Magic" Johnson and Rob Pelinka won't shed any tears. They walked out smiling ear-to-ear when they traded Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr. to Cleveland for expiring contracts and a draft pick.

Noting that he's the last Laker remaining from Bryant's final season, Randle has slowly ascended to Caesar's throne as the team's leader on the court, and the Dallas native would be wise to keep alert to avoid being stabbed in the back in free agency.

With only 14 games remaining in the Lakers' season and the playoffs not a realistic target, deep dives ahead into free agency are inevitable. At the moment, the Lakers may not exactly know how to keep Randle, but one clearly gets the sense that the team wants to keep Randle.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Loyola Celebrates Buzzer-Beater March Madness Upset Win]]> Fri, 16 Mar 2018 04:52:53 -0700 https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/6A+VO+LOYOLA+TSE+-+00003719_31288943.png

What a victory. The Loyola Ramblers are making headlines nationwide after a dramatic upset win by the No. 11 seed over the No. 6 Miami Hurricanes in the NCAA Tournament Thursday.

An unexpected three-point buzzer-beater lifted them to March Madness victory and it's just what fans in Chicago were looking for.

Social media was buzzing after the game, with plenty of focus on guard Donte Ingram, who hit the game-winning shot.

He's being called a March icon, after picking the perfect spot to sink that final basket - standing on the March Madness logo as he sealed his team's 64-62 victory.

The 6 feet 6 inches tall senior is one of six players from Illinois on Loyola's roster, and a proud graduate of Simeon Career Academy, a Chicago Public School on the city's South Side.

"It's a great feeling," Ingram said after the game. "I thank Marcus you know, for making that pass. Any one of us could have hit that shot but I was just fortunate enough to be in that position. When I seen the shot and I had space, I was confident."

Chicago Public Schools gave Ingram a shoutout on Twitter after the game, while plenty of other notable names - including former President Barack Obama - joined in on social media to cheer for the Ramblers.

But for one of Loyola's biggest fans - Thursday's victory came as no surprise.

Sister Jean Dolores Schmidt, the team's 98-year-old chaplain, prays with the players before the games and gives them scouting reports during the day.

She was in Dallas to see the team's dramatic win and she said she was more thankful than shocked.

"Thank God, thank God you did it, because we knew we would do it," Sister Jean said after the game.

"When we were in the locker room ahead of the game we just knew that we would do this," she continued, adding, "Our team is so great and they don't care who makes the points as long as we win the game."

Sister Jean was already well-known on campus, but she's now a national celebrity - and she said she's already praying for the second round.

Loyola will face No. 3 seed Tennessee next on Saturday, fighting for a spot in the Sweet Sixteen.

<![CDATA[New Orleans Saints and Pelicans Owner Tom Benson Dies at 90]]> Thu, 15 Mar 2018 15:17:20 -0700 https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/TombensonSaintsdead90_1200x675.jpg

New Orleans Saints and Pelicans Owner Tom Benson died Thursday afternoon at the age of 90 after a battle with the flu, according to the Saints website.

The businessman started off as a bookkeeper for a Chevy dealership and invested his money in car dealerships, local banks, and sports teams to amass a net worth of 3 billion dollars, according to Forbes

Benson purchased the Saints and the Pelicans in 1985, and 2012 respectively. The owner played an influential part in turning both franchises around and helping with recovery relief following the devastation of Hurricane Katrina.

As a philanthropist, Benson donated to a number of faith-based and educational causes in the New Orleans and South Texas communities. 

"Under Mr. Benson’s direction his businesses and sports teams annually have put millions of dollars back into the community in financial support, in-kind donations, charitable appearances and the donations of goods and services." the Saints said on their website. 

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell thanked Benson for his "legendary" contributions to the NFL and the city of New Orleans Thursday afternoon. 

"Tom loved New Orleans, where he was a generous and caring philanthropist. Within the NFL, he was a true leader among NFL owners." Goodell said in a statement.

"I know that the entire NFL family joins me in extending our most heartfelt condolences to Gayle Benson and the entire Saints organization." 

Photo Credit: Getty Images/Chris Graythen
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<![CDATA[Rookie Surfer Nails Rare Triple Barrel]]> Thu, 15 Mar 2018 13:45:03 -0700 https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/rookiesurfer.jpg

World Surf League rookie Griffin Colapinto accomplished a feat likened to a hole-in-one in golf at the Quicksilver Pro surfing event off the coast of Queensland, Australia.

<![CDATA[Map: See Street Closures for the 2018 LA Marathon]]> Thu, 15 Mar 2018 12:50:20 -0700 https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/la-marathon-2017-generic.jpg

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The Los Angeles Marathon is coming up on Sunday, forcing street closures across a swath of the city to accommodate the stadium-to-the-sea route.  

The 26.2-mile race is called "from the stadium to the sea" because it extends from Dodger Stadium to near the Santa Monica Pier, ending at the intersection of Ocean and California avenues. 

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The marathon runners cross several areas of Los Angeles County including West Hollywood, Beverly Hills and pass through tourist and historic points of the city such as Chinatown, Los Angeles City Hall, Dolby Theater, part of Route 66 and Rodeo Drive. 

The closing of the streets will begin at midnight. Roads will reopen between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Drivers are advised to avoid downtown Los Angeles. Metro service also can help avoid traffic headaches. 

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<![CDATA[Minor League Baseball Player Fired After Assault Video Surfaces]]> Wed, 14 Mar 2018 14:17:28 -0700 https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Danry+Vasquez+beating+video+still.jpg

A minor league baseball player for a Pennsylvania team has been fired after a video was released showing him beating his then-girlfriend inside a Texas baseball stadium in 2016.

Outfielder Danry Vasquez, 24, was released from the Lancaster (Pennsylvania) Barnstormers this week when management was made aware of the video, according to a team statement released Wednesday. 

The assault happened in August 2016 inside a stairwell at Whataburger Stadium in Corpus Christi, Texas. Vasquez was playing for the Corpus Christi Hooks at the time.

In the video, released this week to comply with an open records request made by NBC affiliate KRIS-TV, Vasquez can be seen striking a woman in the head four times and pulling her hair — forcing her to slip down the stairs.

The woman, Vasquez's longtime girlfriend, was hit so hard her glasses were sent flying off her face several times.

Vasquez was later arrested and charged with assault of a family member, a misdemeanor, according to court records. He entered a pre-trial diversion program, which he completed successfully, his attorney Les Cassidy told NBC10.

Cassidy said Vasquez was remorseful for the beating because it was "shameful." The victim and Vasquez had dated since they were teens and came to the United States together when he was recruited by Major League Baseball.

In the statement, Lancaster Barnstormers manager Ross Peeples said there was no choice but to release Vasquez. The Barnstormers are part of an independent league and not affiliated with any Major League teams.

“There is no choice but to sever the relationship,” Peeples said. “Neither I, nor the Barnstormers’ organization as a whole, can condone or associate with that behavior."

Vasquez is believed to have returned to his native Venezuela.

Photo Credit: Corpus Christi Police Department]]>
<![CDATA[Randle, Thomas Argue on Sidelines, Lakers Lose to Warriors]]> Wed, 14 Mar 2018 23:22:48 -0700 https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Lakers-lose-to-Warrios-Julius-Randle.jpg

For the first time in over 20 years, the Golden State Warriors swept the Los Angeles Lakers when the purple and gold fell, 117-106, at ORACLE Arena in Oakland on Wednesday night.

Both teams came into the night severely hobbled and trying out unfamiliar lineups. The Lakers were without the services of Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart, Kyle Kuzma and Channing Frye. Meanwhile, the Warriors did not have Stephen Curry, Draymond Green, Klay Thompson or David West available.

So, Kevin Durant expected to carry a heavier load than usual for the home team. While the former MVP led all scorers with 26 points on 10/19 shooting, along with six assists and five rebounds, Durant didn't have an especially dominating night.

Instead, the Warriors managed to get positive contributions across the board and finished with seven different players scoring in double figures, including all five starters. Former Laker Nick Young scored 18 points on the night, while Zaza Pachulia exemplified the Warriors' balance with 10 points, 12 rebounds and five assists on the night.

The Lakers, meanwhile, relied on a three-headed monster to do the bulk of their damage. Isaiah Thomas earned his first start since joining the Lakers, and the point guard finished the night with 20 points and seven assists. Brook Lopez added 20 points, six rebounds and five blocks from the center position, while Julius Randle continued his strong play with a team-high 22 points on 8/10 shooting from the field and 10 rebounds before fouling out late in the fourth quarter.

Lonzo Ball continued his shooting struggles and missed seven of eight three-point attempts on the night, which means the 20-year-old has only made four of his last 29 three-point attempts over a shooting slump that has extended to its fourth game.

Ball, though, continues to contribute all over the court and fill up the box score. On Wednesday night, the rookie finished the night with 11 assists, eight rebounds, eight points, two steals, a block and a memorable halftime buzzer beater.

Despite only getting two points from their bench during the first half, the Lakers miraculously entered the locker room level at 55-55 after Ball's tip-in.

Unfortunately for LA, the third quarter started with the Warriors going on a 15-4 run out of the gates. By the midway point in the quarter, LA trailed by a dozen points, and the game looked like it may get out of hand when Walton was forced to turn to his bench.

The Lakers' coach opted to insert Tyler Ennis into the rotation for the second half, and the move helped the second unit be more productive and stay in the game. Ennis finished the night as the only player off LA's bench to hit double figures with 12 points on 5/6 shooting from the field.

After three quarter, the Lakers trailed by seven points, and the idea of stealing a road game against the deformed Warriors didn't seem entirely crazy. Only, the Lakers didn't exactly look like themselves either, and the heavy minutes on back-to-back nights seemed to catch up with the short-handed Lakers.

After the Lakers drew within six points early in the fourth quarter, the Warriors expanded their advantage to double digits two minutes into the final quarter. From that point forward, the Lakers never got closer than eight points, while the Warriors led by as many as 15 points until the clock ran out with the home team leading 117-106.

Randle and Thomas Argue on Sidelines

Perhaps, the most meaningful moment of the game came during a timeout, when Thomas and Randle got into an argument and had to be separated by teammates.

"It's great, honestly," Randle explained the incident with Thomas to reporters in Oakland after the game. "We expect a lot out of each other. It's just communicating. We expect a lot out of each other. We want to win. We expect to win these games. We expect each other to play at certain levels, so it's just us being teammates. There's nobody I'd rather go to war with than I.T. (Thomas), so it's nothing personal. We're just trying to get the best out of each other and win the game."

Randle added, "It's great that we can come into games and really expect to win these games. We expect a lot out of each other. That hasn't always been the case in the past."

When asked about the incident after the game, Thomas explained the incident to reporters in Oakland as, "Just two basketball players competing. That's all it was--yelling."

After being told that his coach liked the incident, Thomas replied, "He should. We want the best for each other. We just want to win, and we're two of the leaders on a team that were competing.  And it was a misunderstanding at one point. And then, we talked about it, and we're good--as teammates should."

Thomas concluded, "I'm a leader. It's not me getting after anybody. It's just me leading. If I see something, I'm going to say something. And that goes vice versa. If they see something, they should say something. That's just how it's supposed to be on basketball teams."

Quotes via Spectrum SportsNet

Photo Credit: Harry How/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Rams Announce Aqib Talib and Marcus Peters]]> Wed, 14 Mar 2018 21:06:27 -0700 https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/205*120/DYSBBNrU8AEM3Ym.jpg

Meet the new members of the Mob Squad. 

The Los Angeles Rams introduced their two new cornerbacks Aqib Talib and Marcus Peters, at their training facility in Thousand Oaks on Wednesday. 

It didn't take long for the former Denver Bronco and Kansas Chiefs, old friends in the AFC West to start to act like best friends as they laughed and joked with members of the media during a brief press conference. 

"Oh, let's do it," Peters said of joining the Rams. "For me, I get to have another All-Pro corner on the other side, so now you don't know where you're going to go. And then when you've got a safety like Joyner and then you're adding Sam Shields and you keep Robey? Come on now. It's just going to be fun. You've got to find a way. Pick your poison."

Peters was referring to the team's re-signing of safety LaMarcus Joyner via the franchise tag, and Nickell Robey-Coleman who re-signed on Tuesday. Sam Shields was signed via free agency after playing with the Green Bay Packers the last seven seasons. 

The reigning NFC West champions began the offseaon by acquiring two of the best cornerbacks in the league in order to address a weak spot in the secondary which played its first full season under defensive coordinator Wade Phillips.

“This is a great day for our organization," said head coach Sean McVay "Anytime that you're able to acquire two players of this caliber, we'll take that all day. These guys are special players [and] they bring a great passion for the game."

The moves could not officially be announced until the 2018 NFL season oficially began on Wednesday.

"These guys are special players," head coach Sean McVay said. "They bring a great passion for the game. You can see these are both cerebral players, and then they have the physical talents to match up. Guys that love football, these are the types of guys we love to be around."

In order to assemble his arsenal in the secondar, Rams' general manager Les Snead needed to part ways with to stellar linebackers and fan favorites in Alec Ogletree and Robert Quinn in order to make room for Talib and Peters.

"It's rare to be able to acquire two players of this caliber," said McVay. "So when the opportunity does present itself, you want to be ready."

In additon to their defensive captain and leader in sacks behind Aaron Donald, the Rams lost cornerback Trumaine Johsnon after the signed a $15 million/year deal with the New York Jets. 

The Rams placed the franchise tag on Johnson each of the last two seasons, but were able to acquire Pro-Bowlers Talib and Peters for significantly less money that it would have cost them to re-sign Johnson. 

Talib and Peters are excited to finally be playing alongside each other, and the duo who have seven Pro-Bowl selections between them are even more thrilled to join an upstart Rams team that had one of the single greatest turnarounds in 2017 under McVay.

"I saw a bunch of guys having fun," Talib said of watching the Rams last season. "They were playing for somebody who they believed in. You watch half the teams in the league, they just go through the motions and kind of collect a check, but there's another half of those teams, and playoff teams, they've got a coach who they respect, and whatever he's preaching, he's got guys believing that they can really go do it."

Despite the fact that Talib and Peters are among the best in the game at their position, it's their attitudes on the field, and their off-the-field problems that have many fans concerned. 

Talib has had legal issues off the field over the last 10 years, and famously shout himself in the leg after the Broncos won the Super Bowl in 2015. Last season, his rivalry with Oakland Raiders receiver Michael Crabtree reached a boiling point when the two fought on the field, each ejected from the game, and suspended for the following week's game.

Peters, was kicked off his college team at Washington, and was suspended for one game last season after he threw the referee's flag into the stands following an overtime loss to the New York Jets. During that same game, Peters was caught on camera arguing with a Chiefs assistant coach. 

"When we look back into the game, passionate players have always been the ones that got the bad rep of not being a team player and being selfish," Peters said of his reputation. "That's not the case for me. My ultimate goal is to be a winner. I was born a champion."

Time will tell how the two passionate players pan out, but one thing is for certain, the duo will be a nightmare for opposing quarterbacks and receivers in 2018.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr"><a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/LARams?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#LARams</a> LIVE: Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib Introductory Press Conference <a href="https://t.co/JGLyq14XLY">https://t.co/JGLyq14XLY</a></p>&mdash; Los Angeles Rams (@RamsNFL) <a href="https://twitter.com/RamsNFL/status/974042823933673472?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">March 14, 2018</a></blockquote>
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Photo Credit: Nick Hamilton
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<![CDATA[Dodgers Renew Contracts of Seager, Bellinger, and Taylor]]> Wed, 14 Mar 2018 16:52:17 -0700 https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-865576410.jpg

The kids are alright.

The Los Angeles Dodgers renewed the contracts of four of their young stars as Corey Seager, Cody Bellinger, Chris Taylor, and Austin Barnes all reached agreements on Wednesday morning.

Seager, the 2016 National League Rookie of the Year winner will make $605,000 in 2018, with the reigning N.L. Rookie of the Year, Bellinger, receiving $585,000 for the upcoming season.

Both Seager and Bellinger were also given minor league salaries of $287,500 and $239,000 in the unlikely event that they are sent down during the season.

This is the second season in a row that the Dodgers renewed their contract on Seager who is eligible for arbitration next winter. 

"It is what it is," Seager said of the second year renewal.

Bellinger hit .267 with an N.L. record 39 home runs in his rookie season and will not be eligible for salary arbitration until after the 2019 season.

Seager has not started a Cactus League game at shorstop during spring traning, instead batting in the DH during the team's games. 

Seager experienced elbow discomfort at the end of last season, but opted not to undergo surgery in the offseason. Thus far, Seager has played two minor leagues at the position and said he hasn't experienced any pain in the elbow.

"It was good," Seager said of the elbow after playing seven innings in a minor league game on Wednesday. "It was fine. Nothing arm-wise. I'm just trying to get reps and reads off the bat. It's getting my timing back."

Center fielder and shortstop Chris Taylor will make $575,000 this upcoming season with Austin Barnes set to make $555,000.

The team also reached agreements with Kyle Farmer ($547,500), Andrew Toles ($555,000), Alex Verdugo ($547,500), Ross Stripling ($555,000), Dylan Baker ($547,500), Wilmer Font ($550,000), Scott Alexander ($555,000) and Adam Liberatore ($565,000).

Photo Credit: Harry How/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Adam Rippon Reflects on His Olympic Moments]]> Thu, 15 Mar 2018 06:31:03 -0700 https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Screen+Shot+2018-03-14+at+3.31.10+PM.png

Figure skater Adam Rippon became a star at the 2018 Olympic Winter Games, but his rise to stardom was not without political controversy. Rippon, the first openly gay U.S. Olympic figure skater, turned down an invitation to meet Vice President Mike Pence in Pyeongchang.

<![CDATA[Watch the 2018 Winter Paralympics]]> Wed, 14 Mar 2018 09:17:37 -0700 https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/slack-imgs7.jpg Watch live streams and get TV listings and schedule information for the 2018 Winter Paralympics in Pyeongchang.
View Full Story

Photo Credit: NBC Olympics ]]>
<![CDATA[Paralyzed Cal Rugby Player on Road to Recovery]]> Tue, 13 Mar 2018 18:55:48 -0700 https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/03132018RobertPaylor_2033378.JPG

It has been nearly a year when UC Berkeley rugby player Robert Paylor walked out on the field during a championship match and was carried off paralyzed.

His recovery since that life-changing moment has been nothing short of amazing.

Paylor recently returned to his home turf for the first time since being injured.

"I just remember when I got hurt," Paylor said. "There's really nothing good that you think could come out of this, but it's because of these amazing people and this place that the good far outweighs the bad."

The homecoming this past weekend at Witter Rugby Field gave Paylor a chance to reconnect with teammates and classmates.

"He's a real inspiration and it was really emotional for us to have Robert back on campus," Cal Rugby Head Coach Jack Clark said.

Clark, who has coached the rugby team at Cal for 35 years, said the strength of the program and its alumni is a big reason why Paylor's injury did not have the debilitating effect it could have. Clark added rugby alumni recently contributed more than $2 million in endowments.

"The proprietary knowledge is that rugby changes lives in a very profound way and once you know that it's pretty easy to ask that person to pay it forward," Clark said.

Paylor said he appreciates the support.

"I love them so much," he said. "They've been here to carry me through this entire process. And whenever I need somebody, they're always there to pick me up. It's just the kind of program where, should you fall, someone is there to pick you up and keep you going."

Paylor continues to rehab in Denver. His goal is to one day walk on his own again.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Lakers Beat Nuggets in Emotionally Charged Game]]> Wed, 14 Mar 2018 01:09:20 -0700 https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Kyle-Kuzma-Lakers-vs-Nuggets.jpg

On a festive Tuesday night at STAPLES Center, the Los Angeles Lakers beat the Denver Nuggets. 112-103, behind an impressive second half from rookie Kyle Kuzma and a vintage fourth quarter from Isaiah Thomas.

""It was a tough, physical game, and we were the tougher team, so we definitely took that from them," Thomas said after the game, though he laughed off the suggestion of the Nuggets and Lakers being a rivalry game.

Even if it wasn't a traditional rivalry game, the night began with a chorus of boos raining down on Denver's Jamal Murray during the introductions. The Lakers' faithful carried on expressing their distaste of the Nuggets' point guard throughout the game. In the latter stages, the crowd even took to chanting "Murray sucks," even when the Nuggets' guard wasn't at the free throw line or holding the basketball.

"Definitely heard the crowd, especially when we're shooting free throws," Lakers point guard Lonzo Ball said after the game. "I don't know if I like them screaming when we're shooting free throws, but I mean, I like the energy they had."

The aggressive atmosphere was reminiscent of Dwight Howard's visits to STAPLES Center following his decision to ditch town a half-decade ago.

Tuesday's game on the court, though, was anything but straight forward.

In the first quarter, the Lakers looked like they had revenge on their minds and jumped out to 13-point lead with Brook Lopez and Julius Randle leading the way with 11 points apiece. Lopez hit his first three trio of-pointers, and the Lakers looked ready to ride a supercharged STAPLES Center crowd to a victory.

Only, the second quarter featured 12 minutes where the Lakers missed 11 of their 12 three-point attempts and 15 of their 18 field goal attempts overall. At one point, the Lakers went nearly five and a half minutes without scoring a single point. Over that barren stretch for the purple and gold, the unusually loud first half home crowd lost its verve in concert with the Lakers losing their lead.

By halftime, the Lakers were caught up in a back-and-forth contests that saw LA leading by a single point entering the locker room.

After the intermission, the Lakers simply did not match Denver's energy, with Wilson Chandler particularly hot on the evening for the Nuggets. Chandler made 10 of his first 14 field goals and entered the fourth quarter with a game high 23 points and with his team leading by five points.

The Lakers would have trailed by significantly more entering the final quarter of regulation had rookie Kyle Kuzma not caught fire and scored 16 points in the third quarter. After only scoring two points over the first two quarters, the 21-year-old made three of five three-point attempts over his 12-minute shift in the third period.

"After that first half, I missed a couple of shots, I just tried to refocus on mechanics," Kuzma said after the game.

On the final play of the third quarter, however, Kuzma seemed to roll his ankle, and the rookie momentarily went to the locker room and had his right ankle taped up and was available to play.

"It kind of hurts now, but I just got x-rays, so I'm good," Kuzma confirmed that he had not suffered a fracture. "[I have to] just wake up tomorrow, see how it feels, run around."

While Kuzma was away, Randle scored five points in the first four minutes of the fourth quarter to lift the Lakers. When Ball hit his first three-pointer of the night with 7:40 remaining in the game, the Lakers took a 90-89 lead. Ball had missed his first six attempts from distance, but he hit a big shot for the Lakers in the fourth quarter.

"He hit a really big three for us, which is one of my favorite things about Lonzo: he likes the pressure of the game," Lakers coach Luke Walton said after the game. "But he also had eight assists and nine rebounds."

By the time Kuzma returned to the game with 6:50 remaining in the contest, the Lakers led by three points. Noticeably hobbling, the Flint, Michigan native nevertheless proceeded to hit his first three shots and helped the Lakers take a seven-point lead with five minutes remaining in the game.

The Nuggets continued to battle, but Isaiah Thomas wasn't interested in letting Denver back into the game. The guard that made his name scoring points in the fourth quarter came through in the clutch with 12 of his 23 points in the deciding quarter.

"If I play in the fourth quarter, I'll play and do things like I used to do," Thomas responded when asked if he's feeling like the "King in the Fourth" again. "[Walton's] giving me the opportunity to play and make plays, and the easy part is going out there and doing it."

Late in the game, Denver intentionally fouled Ball to mark the first time the Lakers had to deal with a "Hack-a-Lonzo" situation. Ball is an awful free throw shooter at 48.2 percent, so it's a wonder that more teams have not employed the strategy. The Lakers' point guard missed both foul shots.

"I'm not surprised at all," Ball responded when asked about the strategy to intentionally foul him, while also saying he had never dealt with that situation at any level of his career. "If I’m on the court, teams are probably going to do that. I just got to knock down free throws."

After that, the STAPLES Center crowd decided to voice its disapproval of Murray, who had drawn the ire of the Lakers' fans by his actions in previous meetings between the two teams. Eventually, Randle and Nikola Jokic had to be separated, and both earned technical fouls for their troubles.

Randle claimed Jokic tugged at his arm, and the Lakers' bruising forward did not appreciate the Nuggets' big man attempting the cheap tactic. Ultimately, cooler heads prevailed and no one was ejected from the game.

If nothing else, Tuesday night's game was chalk full of entertainment.

Notes: Chandler finished as the Nuggets' leading scorer with 26 points, while Murray tabbed 18 points, six rebounds and four assists in the loss. Both Randle and Kuzma finished the night with 26 points, 13 rebounds and two assists. 

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Lakers Beat Nuggets 112-103]]> Wed, 14 Mar 2018 01:03:51 -0700 https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/EW5_3809_1200x675_1185425475708.jpg

The Los Angeles Lakers beat the Denver Nuggets in a heated contest on Tuesday night at STAPLES Center with Kyle Kuzma scoring 24 of his 26 points in the second half (Shahan Ahmed)

<![CDATA[Former Raider Sean Smith Pleads Guilty to Pasadena Assault]]> Tue, 13 Mar 2018 15:23:07 -0700 https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-894491324.jpg

Former Oakland Raiders cornerback Sean Smith pleaded guilty Tuesday to assaulting his sister's boyfriend last July 4th in Old Town Pasadena, and was immediately sentenced to a year in jail and five years probation.

Smith, 30, was taken into custody after pleading guilty to one felony count of assault by means of force likely to produce great bodily injury and admitting an allegation that he inflicted great bodily injury on the victim, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office.

Smith assaulted and then stomped on the victim's head near the corner of Arroyo Parkway and Colorado Boulevard on Independence Day, according to Deputy District Attorney Christopher Stogel.

The longtime boyfriend of Smith's sister was trying to intervene in a dispute between the siblings, the prosecutor said.

Smith was released Monday by the Oakland Raiders after two seasons with the team. A Pasadena native who attended William Blair High School, he played three seasons of college football at the University of Utah, beginning as a wide receiver before moving to cornerback. He played four years with the Miami Dolphins and three years with the Kansas City Chiefs before going to the Raiders.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Lakers Host Nuggets Only Days After Bust-Up]]> Tue, 13 Mar 2018 15:11:26 -0700 https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Lonzo-Ball-Lakers-vs-Nuggets-3-13-18.jpg

The Los Angeles Lakers and Denver Nuggets have played three times, and all three of those meetings have provided memorable moments.

The first time the Lakers met the Nuggets, Lonzo Ball recorded his second triple-double with 11 points, 11 assists and 16 rebounds in a 127-109 victory at STAPLES Center to become the youngest player in NBA history to record multiple triple-doubles. That was back in November.

In the second meeting between the two teams, Ball again played in a role in making the game memorable, but this time, the Lakers lost 115-100 in Colorado. In the closing stages with the clock running down, Jamal Murray decided to dribble around Ball as the Lakers' point guard walked towards the bench with the game decided.

It was a showboating play from Murray, who had a 28-point outing and decided to show up the rookie in the closing seconds. Off the bench, center Andrew Bogut took exception and looked like he was going to get rush the court until Julius Randle decided to take a hard foul on Murray with 3.0 seconds remaining. The Lakers did not take kindly to Murray's antics.

Both those early meetings occurred in 2017, but Murray's dribble still seemed fresh when the teams met in Denver on Friday, Mar. 9. At one point, Lakers coach Luke Walton seemed to get agitated with Murray to the point that he appeared to be shouting expletives at the Nuggets' player and toward's the Nuggets' bench.

Speaking to reporters in Denver after the game, Ball called Murray's antics "circus stuff," but the rookie point guard didn't seem to be interest in getting involved in a war or words or getting sucked into mind games.

Ahead of the final meeting between the two teams, which comes only five days after the Walton lost his temper on the sidelines, the Lakers' coach downplayed Murray any bad blood between the teams.

"No different than any other team," Walton said on Tuesday morning, making a point to mention that the Nuggets and Lakers aren't traditional rivals with any notable history.

Walton and Ball both claimed that Tuesday's game did not provide any extra motivation, and the coach said that he did not anticipate any retaliation against the Nuggets from his team.

When asked if he's good at ignoring people trying to bait him, Ball responded, "For sure, it's been happening my whole life."

Ball did say that his team and coach coming to his defense meant a lot to him, and the 20-year-old rookie added regarding Murray's antics, "That's two times in a row that he's done it, so we're going to see what happens tonight."

Injury Updates

Josh Hart, Brandon Ingram and Channing Frye were all visible shooting on the court at Lakers' shootaround on Tuesday. Walton shared that Ingram would travel with the team to Golden State for the back-to-back on Wednesday night, while the other two members of the walking wounded would stay back.

Ingram has already been ruled out for Tuesday and Wednesday's games, and the 20-year-old is expected to be reevaluated for his groin strain on Thursday.

Hart suffered a fracture in his hand and underwent surgery, so his activity on the court did not necessarily translate into being available anytime soon. Walton pointed out that Hart's hand is still swollen, so Ingram will probably be the first of the injured contingent to return to the court.

Frye is out due to an appendectomy he underwent during All Star break. The veteran is improving according to his coach, but the sharp shooting forward has still only gone through non-contact work on the court.

Travis Wear Signs Second 10-Day

On Tuesday, the Lakers also announced that former UCLA Bruin Travis Wear had signed a second 10-day contract with the team, and Walton said that the 27-year-old had "earned" the contract with his play.

Wear is shooting 42.9 percent from the field and 35.7 percent from three-point land in five appearances since starting the first 10-day contract. Wear has been positive on the defensive side of the ball, too, and Walton cited the forward's defense and willingness to fill in the gaps when explaining the decision to fill up the Lakers' final roster spot.

The second 10-day contract will make the 6-foot 10-inch forward available for another five games. The Lakers will hope to have Brandon Ingram back available by the time Wear's second contract ends. Teams are not allowed to give the same player a third 10-day contract, so the Lakers would need to sign Wear for the remainder of the season if they wanted to continue utilizing the Southern California native's services.

Photo Credit: Shahan Ahmed]]>
<![CDATA[Feel The Bern! Bernie Sanders Gives Yasiel Puig Batting Tips]]> Mon, 12 Mar 2018 16:30:22 -0700 https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/204*120/BernieandPuig2.png

Feel the Bern.

As the temperatures in Arizona creep up to triple digits, the Los Angeles Dodgers had the heat turned up on Sunday when Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders decided to visit the team's spring training facility at Camelback Ranch.

A native of New York, Sanders grew up a Brooklyn Dodgers fan and announced through his Twitter page that he was at the spring training facility to convince the Dodgers to move back to Brooklyn.

The Former candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination was in Arizona for a rally in Phoenix, and for one afternoon, was able to create a change of pace from the monotony that is spring training baseball.

"My memories of the Dodgers go back a little bit before L.A.," Sanders told a small group of reporters wearing a Brooklyn Dodgers hat. "We were in Brooklyn. The Dodgers were more than a team. They were a way of life. The team meant the world to the kids of Brooklyn. I'm sure that's the case now."

Sanders signed autographs for fans, spoke to players, and stopped by the batting cages to give Yasiel Puig a few pointers.

Puig hit a career-high 28 home runs last season, but after mentioning a few tweaks he could make in his swing, Sanders thinks Puig could hit 30 home runs in 2018.

After his hitting session with Puig, Sanders headed for the manager's office where he tried to coax Dave Roberts into signing him to play shortstop.

"The reason I'm really here," said Sanders with a smile. "I think it would be great for the team to have a 76-year-old shortstop. What do you think?"

Seeing as how former Rookie of the Year, Corey Seager, has not started at the position this spring due to a sore elbow, Roberts mentioned that the team could use his services.

"We need a 76-year-old," joked Roberts. "You're right. I just want you to catch what you can get to."

Sanders trip to spring training coincides with the reigning World Series champion Houston Astros visiting President Donald Trump at the White House on Monday.

The Astros famously beat the Dodgers in seven games at Dodger Stadium last November, with Games 1-6 proving to be arguably some of the best in the Fall Classic's history.

Nonetheless, that didn't stop Trump from incorrectly proclaiming during the press conference, "Game 7 of the World Series was one of the greatest games anyone has ever seen."

In his defense, he probably didn't watch any of the games.

Photo Credit: Twitter/@BernieSanders
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<![CDATA[Brandon Ingram Out At Least Two More Games]]> Mon, 12 Mar 2018 09:01:35 -0700 https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Brandon-Ingram-groin-injury-update.jpg

On Mar. 1 in Miami, Brandon Ingram suffered a groin strain when Miami Heat forward Justice Winslow fouled Ingram in an awkward fashion. After an MRI confirmed the injury, Ingram was set to be reevaluated in about a week's time.

On Sunday, a week had passed, and the Lakers announced that Ingram had indeed been reevaluated and was progressing but would not be available for Tuesday and Wednesday's back-to-back games.

Now, the forward is set to be reevaluated on Thursday.

NBCLA.com briefly caught up with Ingram in the Lakers' locker room ahead of Sunday's game against the Cleveland Cavaliers, and the former Duke Blue Devil expressed that he was feeling better and itching to get back on the court.

Ingram told NBCLA.com that he had not yet been shooting, running or doing anything more than resting, which left the North Carolina native feeling a bit stir crazy. Unlike fellow injured Laker Josh Hart, Ingram isn't into video games.

At one point, Ingram even said that he was thinking about putting on his game jersey before going in for a weight lifting session because he missed playing basketball so much. The 20-year-old forward, who is so much of a gym rat that he had to be locked out of the Lakers' practice facility over the summer at one stage, said that he was set to finally get on the exercise bike, which was a welcome sign of progress.

The next official progress report will come on Thursday, with the Lakers hosting Winslow and the Miami Heat on Friday at STAPLES Center.

Photo Credit: Shahan Ahmed]]>
<![CDATA[Julius Randle Outplays LeBron James, Lakers Beat Cavs]]> Sun, 11 Mar 2018 22:41:40 -0700 https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/EW5_3617_1200x675_1183323203970.jpg

Julius Randle scored a career-high 36 points an outplayed LeBron James on the night, as the Los Angeles Lakers beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 127-113 at STAPLES Center (Shahan Ahmed)

<![CDATA[Julius Randle Leads Lakers Over Cavs]]> Sun, 11 Mar 2018 23:37:42 -0700 https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Julius-Randle-Lakers-vs-Cavs.png

On Sunday night, Julius Randle was the best player on a court that featured LeBron James.

Randle led the Los Angeles Lakers in a 127-113 win over James' Cleveland Cavaliers with a national audience watching. James has been heavily rumored to be a top free agent target for LA, and the buildup to the game featured a fan putting up billboards around town to recruit the 33-year-old. At STAPLES Center on Sunday, one courtside fan even turned up with a custom Lakers' jersey with "James" written on the back.

While James finished with 24 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists on the night, Randle had a career night and was the best player on the night for either team, which included James. Randle scored a career-high with 36 points on 14-18 shooting to go along with 14 rebounds, seven assists, one steal and two blocks.

"He was really good tonight," Lakers coach Luke Walton said about Randle after the game, sharing a small joke he told the forward afterwards. "I told him it was nice having him back. I missed him for the last two games. But, he was pretty special, showed a lot of what he can do. The crazy thing is, I think he can still be better. He had some lapses on defense, where he had a hand down. I told him, I said, 'You are so gifted that if you want to do multiple things on every possession, you can.'"

Walton concluded, "He was unbelievable tonight and still has room for improvement."

Isaiah Thomas, who was facing the team that traded him earlier in the season, also had a standout performance off the bench with 20 points, nine assists and five rebounds.

After the game, Thomas insisted that his tumultuous tenure in Cleveland had not served as extra motivation, but the backup point guard had one of his best performances since joining the purple and gold.

"He was great tonight," Walton said about Thomas after the game. "The thing about Isaiah that's so good for our team is everything that we're yelling at the players from the bench about, he’s actually on the court telling them the same things, as far as getting them to the right sports. Some of those passes he was getting to Julius on Julius' role, that's what Julius needs to feel."

Walton added, "It's really nice having him out there as far as keeping us structured and organized with what we are trying to do."

Larry Nance Jr. and Jordan Clarkson, who joined Cleveland in the trade for Thomas and Channing Frye, also met the team that drafted them for the first time. Clarkson only made one of eight shots on the night and finished with four points and four assists in 16 minutes on the court. Nance, meanwhile, contributed 16 points and eight rebounds in 26 minutes as a starter.

"It was weird, but it was fun," Randle said about playing against Nance and Clarkson. "Took me back to the practice days, just talking trash and going at each other. So, it was fun."

"It was cool," Clarkson said about facing his former team. "I definitely wanted to win, but they played well tonight. It was a fun game to play."

In terms of game flow, the Lakers and Cavs played relatively evenly for the first half, with LA leading by five points at the intermission. In the third quarter, though, the Lakers looked to Randle and found separation. The bruising forward scored 10 points and grabbed seven points in the period, and the Lakers outscored the Cavs 33-22 over those crucial 12 minutes to carry a 16-point lead into the fourth quarter.

The final 12 minutes featured the Cavs never got closer than a 14-point difference, while the Lakers led by as many as 22 points over the final 12 minutes.

While James may have grabbed the attention in the lead-up to the game, Randle stole the spotlight and had fans talking about how the Lakers' current power forward would potentially look next to James.

It may have been James' weekend, but Sunday was Randle's night.

Notes: Lonzo Ball struggled with his shot and only made two of 11 attempts, including only 1-6 from three. The rookie did record seven assists, three rebounds and a steal with zero turnovers on the night. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope continued his strong play and made four of his eight three-point shots for 20 pints and six rebounds on the night. Kyle Kuzma added a double-double to the starting lineup with 14 points and 10 rebounds in 38 minutes. Rounding out the Lakers' starters, Brook Lopez scored 22 points on 10-18 shooting, which meant he scored 20-plus points for the third straight game, while shooting 55 percent or better from the field in each outing.

Photo Credit: Shahan Ahmed]]>
<![CDATA[UCLA, CSUF Have NCAA Opponents]]> Sun, 11 Mar 2018 16:50:13 -0700 https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/ucla+fullerton+basketball.jpg

The NCAA Tournament beckons, and both UCLA and Cal State Fullerton now know who their opponents will be.

At Sunday's NCAA tournament bracket unveiling, the Bruins drew St. Bonaventure, while the Titans will go up against Purdue University.

The Bruins head into the NCAA Tournament short of momentum after their 67-78 loss to Arizona in the Pac-12 Tournament semifinals on Friday. It should be noted, however, that Arizona did go on to win the Pac-12 Tournament outright after beating USC.

While they've drawn 11th-seeded St. Bonaventure in the East Bracket, the Bruins' is a "First Four" game at UD Arena in Dayton, Ohio, on Tuesday, meaning that should they win, UCLA will play sixth-seeded Florida in an East Region first-round game Thursday, March 15, in Dallas.

The Titans earned an automatic bid to the big dance after winning the Big West Tournament title for the first time since 2008 against UC Irvine on Saturday night. Fullerton put the Anteaters to the sword with a decisive 71-55 victory in which junior guard Kyle Allman Jr. earned Big West Tournament MPVP honors.

Fifteenth-seeded CSUF will take on second-seeded Purdue in the East Region on Friday, March 16 at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit.

Photo Credit: Associated Press]]>