Tagged in: Los angeles

Los Angeles Dodgers taking time to build Clayton Kershaw back up for return, Dave Roberts says

The Los Angeles Dodgers started the second half of their season on Friday with lingering uncertainty over the status of longtime ace Clayton Kershaw, who is on the injured list with inflammation in his left forearm.

Kershaw has been working out, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said, but there’s still no telling when he will resume throwing and begin to build back up for a return to the rotation.

Kershaw, who has a 3.39 ERA with 127 strikeouts and 19 walks in 106 1/3 innings this campaign, last pitched on July 3 and underwent an MRI less than a week later that revealed only inflammation in the area of his pitching elbow.

“We’re gonna take this time to give him a breather,” Roberts said. “This is something that, with the soreness and then taking some time here to build back up for the sprint, I think, makes sense, and Clayton’s on board with that.”

The Dodgers, two games behind the National League West-leading San Francisco Giants, went into the season with an abundance of starting-pitching depth but entered the All-Star break with serious questions about their rotation.

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With Kershaw on the IL, Dustin May opting for season-ending Tommy John surgery and Trevor Bauer on administrative leave at least until July 27 while facing sexual assault allegations, the Dodgers are down to four healthy starters.

One of those four, David Price, is just now being stretched out after spending the first three-plus months of the season in the bullpen.

Josiah Gray, the Dodgers’ top prospect, is among the internal options the Dodgers are considering for the vacant rotation spot, Roberts said.

Gray, 23, dealt with a shoulder injury earlier this year but has pitched six scoreless innings in two outings since his return for Triple-A Oklahoma City.

Roberts indicated that Kershaw’s rehab process is rooted mostly in pragmatism. “That is something that once it kind of came about, it made sense to take the time to cut some of the season off and save some bullets for the rest of the season and throughout out the postseason,” Roberts said.

“We feel good about it. I’m not sure exactly when he’s gonna start playing catch again, but I feel good about the process.”

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George leads Clippers over Paul and Suns, 106-92 in Game 3

Paul George scored 27 points and the Los Angeles Clippers pulled away in a dominant third quarter, beating newly returned Chris Paul and the Phoenix Suns 106-92 on Thursday night in Game 3 of the Western Conference finals.

The Clippers cut their series deficit to 2-1, ending the Suns’ franchise-record playoff winning streak at nine games.

Kawhi Leonard remained out with a right knee sprain, leaving George to carry the load again. After missing two crucial free throws in a one-point loss in Game 2, Paul had 15 rebounds and eight assists and played a game-high 43 minutes. He made 6 of 7 free throws.

The Suns got Paul back after he missed the first two games while being sidelined since June 16 because of the NBA’s health and safety protocols. The former Clipper, who was booed heartily during intros, had 15 points and 12 assists, but was 5 of 19 from the field.

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Deandre Ayton led the Suns with 18 points.

Reggie Jackson added 23 points for the Clippers, and Ivica Zubac had 15 points and tied his career playoff high with 16 rebounds.

Game 4 is Saturday night at Staples Center.

After Phoenix won the first two games by a combined seven points, the teams played a close first half. Then the Clippers went to work in front of their raucous, Thunder Stix-pounding fans.

They took control with the biggest run of the game, a 21-3 spurt that left them leading 71-56 in the third. Terance Mann got it going with six straight points and Jackson scored four in a row before George scored inside. Zubac dunked off George’s pass and made a pair of free throws. The Suns were limited to a 3-pointer by Paul.

Devin Booker picked up his third and fourth fouls in a 42-second span during the Clippers’ run. Booker — wearing a clear mask to protect his nose that required stitches after he and Patrick Beverley banged heads in Game 2 — was 5 of 21 from the field, making only one of seven 3-point tries, and finished with 15 points.

Jae Crowder, who assisted on Deandre Ayton’s winning dunk on Tuesday, fouled out with 4:51 remaining. He had nine points, six rebounds and six assists.

George capped the third by banking in a 3-pointer from just inside midcourt, and it beat the buzzer, stunning the fans and sending the Clippers into the fourth leading 80-69. He nearly bobbled the ball along the right sideline, with Booker and Cam Johnson pressuring, before getting the shot off.

Luke Kennard opened the fourth with a 3 from the right corner, getting fouled and making the free throw. Marcus Morris hit a three before George got fouled. He confidently made both, keeping the Clippers ahead 89-71.

Cameron Payne, who so ably filled in for Paul in the first two games, went down with a left ankle injury after playing four minutes and didn’t return.

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Booker has first triple-double, Suns beat Clippers 120-114

Devin Booker’s first exposure to playoff basketball continues to be a revelation.

Not necessarily for him, but for the rest of the NBA.

Booker had 40 points, 13 rebounds and 11 assists for his first career triple-double and the Phoenix Suns overcame Chris Paul’s absence to defeat the Los Angeles Clippers 120-114 on Sunday in Game 1 of the Western Conference finals.

“I don’t understand why everyone’s acting surprised at this point,” Suns forward Jae Crowder said about Booker’s big day. “This is his first time on this stage but he’s capable. He’s more than capable. He’re more than ready. He prepares like no other.”

Paul sat out because of COVID-19 health and safety protocols.

Clippers star Kawhi Leonard missed his third consecutive game because of a sprained right knee.

Tied at 93 to start the fourth, the Suns went on a 12-2 run and pulled ahead 105-95 on Cam Johnson’s dunk with 8:08 left. The Clippers wouldn’t go away, though, cutting a 10-point deficit in the final two minutes to 116-114 when Terance Mann hit a 3-pointer with 22 seconds left.

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But that’s where the rally stopped for Los Angeles.

“I have no excuse,” Clippers coach Tyronn Lue said. “I thought we played hard and competed. A little credit — they were making shots and we didn’t. But I loved our fight. I loved what I saw.”

Booker scored on a dunk on the next possession to seal Phoenix’s eighth straight triumph, getting a free lane to the basket on the blown defensive coverage.

The sixth-year guard was a surprising omission from the All-NBA teams released a few days ago but he certainly looked the part on Sunday.

He wasn’t worried about where this game ranks among his best performances.

Game 2 is on Tuesday night in Phoenix.

Booker continues to cement his superstar status and was productive and efficient in one of the best games of his career. He shot 15 of 29 from the field, carving apart a defense that had to play just 36 hours after closing out the Utah Jazz on Friday night.

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Cincinnati Bengals’ Joe Burrow on track to return for Week 1, Dr. Neal ElAttrache says

Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow, who underwent reconstructive left knee surgery in December, is “all systems go” for the Sept. 12 regular-season opener versus the Minnesota Vikings, according to Dr. Neal ElAttrache of Kerlan-Jobe in Los Angeles.

“He’s on track for full go for start of the season,” ElAttrache, who operated on Burrow in December, wrote in a text. “He’s doing all the work. He’s worked his tail off and been an amazingly mature participant in his recovery. He’s focused and great to work with.”

Burrow had told “The Cris Collinsworth Podcast” that he expected to be there for the first snap in 2021. But now ElAttrache is working with the Bengals’ medical staff on Burrow’s rehabilitation, and they consider that goal is well within reach.

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Doctors do not want any contact until nine months, which could lead to Burrow sitting out the preseason.

But the goal, now well within reach, is to be ready for the start of the regular campaign.

“We are very happy with his recovery to say the least,” ElAttrache said. “Notwithstanding the nature of his injury and extent of his reconstruction, his knee is performing perfectly.

“We just had him tested out here with a high-tech video and biomechanical evaluation and he was ahead of where we anticipated and well into the return to performance phase of his recovery. With him already performing this way, it’s ‘all systems go’ for the start of the season.”

Burrow suffered the injury during a Nov. 22 loss at Washington. He then underwent surgery Dec. 2. Before the injury, Burrow had validated his draft selection as the No. 1 overall pick in 2020, starting 10 games and completing 65.3% of his passes for 2,688 yards, 13 touchdowns and five interceptions.

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Packers host Rams with NFC championship game berth at stake

No NFL team scored more points during the regular season than the Green Bay Packers. Nobody has played better defense than the Los Angeles Rams.

That sets up an intriguing showdown of strength vs. strength when MVP favorite Aaron Rodgers and the Packers (13-3) host All-Pro defensive tackle Aaron Donald and the Rams (11-6) in an NFC divisional playoff match Saturday.

“This is what you love,” Rams coach Sean McVay said. “These are the type of matchups and opportunities that as a competitor, you can’t wait for.”

Both of these units are at the top of their game.

The Packers have won six consecutive games and have been held below 22 points just once all campaign. Los Angeles got to this point by sacking Russell Wilson five times in a 30-20 triumph at Seattle last week.

“They went to Seattle, played a familiar opponent and played really, really well, and they’re coming in with the confidence that they should have,” Rodgers said. “And we’re coming in with confidence as well, the season that we’ve had and what we believe we’re capable of.”

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Rodgers has set franchise single-season records for touchdown passes (48) and completion percentage (.707) this year while throwing just five interceptions for an offense scoring 31.8 points per game. Donald calls Rodgers a “great quarterback that’s playing lights out this year.”

Donald leads a defense that permitted the fewest points and yards of any team during the regular season.

“At any time, at any quarter of the game, a different guy could make a big-time play for us,” Donald said. “It’s not just one or two guys. When you’ve got a group of guys – all 11 out there – who are pretty much playmakers who can make that game-changing play at any time, you’ve got a great group.”

This will be the first time the NFL’s top-ranked scoring offense and scoring defense have faced off in the postseason since the New England-Atlanta Super Bowl on Feb. 5, 2017. The Patriots had the top-ranked defense and the Falcons had the No. 1 offense that year.

This also will be the Rams’ first playoff game at Lambeau Field. These two franchises have met in the postseason just twice before, with the Packers winning 28-7 in Milwaukee on Dec. 23, 1967, and the Rams winning 45-17 in St. Louis on Jan. 20, 2002.

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Los Angeles Lakers intend to acquire Dennis Schroder from Oklahoma City Thunder

Ahead of the lifting of the transaction window on Monday afternoon, the Los Angeles Lakers intend to obtain Oklahoma City guard Dennis Schroder, sources told ESPN.

The deal can be formally agreed to in principle Monday and finalized after the NBA draft on Wednesday night.

As part of the trade, the Lakers are preparing to send the player they select with the 28th overall pick and guard Danny Green to the Thunder, sources said.

Los Angeles cannot outright send the draft pick to Oklahoma City because there is a rule that restricts teams from trading first-round picks in consecutive years. Los Angeles sent the No. 4 overall pick in the 2019 draft to the New Orleans Pelicans as part of the Anthony Davis trade.

The Thunder already own the 25th pick in Wednesday’s draft.

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Schroder, 27, has been one of the most sought-after guards in the trade market, and he fortifies a Lakers backcourt that potentially could lose veteran guards Rajon Rondo and Avery Bradley in free agency.

Schroder has one year and $15.5 million left on his contract and would be acquired with the intention of eventually signing him to a new contract to stay with the defending NBA champions, sources said.

Oklahoma City got Schroder in 2018 from the Hawks in exchange for Carmelo Anthony and a lottery-protected 2022 first-round pick. If the pick doesn’t convey, it turns into two second-rounders, which is an increasingly likely scenario given the Thunder’s rebuilding plan beginning in action.

Schroder finished runner-up for Sixth Man of the Year last campaign, becoming a key component to one of the best combinations in the NBA, a three-point-guard lineup alongside Chris Paul and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.

Though he excelled in his role, averaging 18.9 points and 4.0 assists, Schroder was never shy about his wish to return to the starting lineup and the Lakers are poised to give him that chance.

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Ty Lue candidacy for Rockets job gains momentum after monday meeting

Clippers assistant coach Ty Lue’s candidacy for the Rockets’ head-coaching job has gathered significant momentum after a meeting with Houston’s ownership and management Monday, sources told ESPN.

The Rockets are competing with the Clippers for Lue and could try to extend an offer before Los Angeles has completed its search process, but that isn’t likely to happen before Houston meets with former coach Jeff Van Gundy this week, sources said.

Both Lue and Van Gundy are prominent parts of the Rockets’ and Clippers’ coaching searches — and Lue has been the Clippers’ front-runner since Doc Rivers was dismissed on Sept. 28, sources said.

Lue’s candidacy has the support of prominent players on both teams, sources said. Houston had originally wanted to hire Rivers to substitute Mike D’Antoni, sources said, but his talks with the 76ers moved quickly to a resolution.

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Van Gundy, currently an analyst for ESPN, has been a favorite of Rockets ownership and management, and he is known to prefer the idea of coaching in his adopted home city to avoid uprooting his family.

Van Gundy, 58, has been active as a coach with USA Basketball in recent years, but he hasn’t coached in the NBA since the Rockets fired him in 2007.

Van Gundy was 430-318 in the regular season and 44-44 in the postseason in parts of 11 seasons with Rockets and Knicks.

Lue coached the Cavaliers to the only championship in franchise history in 2016 and reached the NBA Finals in three consecutive years. He was fired by Cleveland after an 0-6 start in the 2018-19 campaign. Lue is 128-83 overall and 41-20 in the playoffs.

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Lakers run past Rockets for 3-1 West semifinals lead

Anthony Davis was the biggest player on the floor, and the Houston Rockets had no answers.

Davis had 29 points and 12 rebounds, LeBron James concluded one assist shy of a triple-double and the Los Angeles Lakers topped the Rockets 110-100 on Thursday night to take a 3-1 lead in their Western Conference semifinal series.

James had 16 points, 15 rebounds and nine assists for the Lakers, who outrebounded the Rockets 52-26. Alex Caruso scored 16 points and Rajon Rondo had 11 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists for the Lakers, who held on after frittering away most of a big second-half lead.

“Turnovers,” Davis stated. “We had too many turnovers.”

That was one of the few complaints the Lakers could make after Game 4. Russell Westbrook had 25 points and James Harden had 21 for the Rockets, who got 19 from Eric Gordon and 14 from Austin Rivers.

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The Lakers were up by 23 midway through the fourth, well on their way to a blowout victory.

That’s when Houston’s offense woke up.

Westbrook made a corner 3 with 3:01 left, Harden got a steal and a pair of free throws on the next possession, and the Rockets put together a 18-2 run to get within 103-96. The Lakers turned the ball over on four consecutive possessions during that stretch, unable to get anything going.

Smartly, though, on the biggest possession of the night as the clock ticked inside the two-minute mark, they went to Davis. Gordon, who stands about half-a-foot shorter than Davis, had no opportunity as the Laker All-Star scored in the lane to push the lead back out to nine and buy the Lakers a bit of breathing room.

Caruso’s 3-pointer off a pass from James with 34.6 seconds left made it 108-100, and the Lakers escaped.

The Lakers won Game 3 by holding Houston to 38 points in the second half — and set themselves up to win Game 4 by clamping down again, this time in the first half. It was 57-41 Lakers at the break, meaning Houston had scored 79 points in its last 48 minutes of basketball.

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Los Angeles Chargers’ Derwin James injures right knee

Los Angeles Chargers safety Derwin James, who missed 11 matches in the 2019 season, is likely to miss significant time with a meniscus injury he suffered during Sunday’s practice, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported.

The Chargers delivered an update regarding James’ condition on Monday, confirming that he “suffered a right knee injury during yesterday’s practice” and noting that “he will continue to be evaluated, and a timeframe for his return has not yet been determined.”

Now comes the waiting game of just how long it will be until James can return to the field.

With the waiting game comes options, pending further evaluation, though each of them would see James with an elongated absence. One possibility is a meniscus trim, which could be four or so weeks, or a full repair, which would bring upon several months on the shelf, Rapoport reported.

Multiple reports coming out of camp were that James left practice grabbing his right leg, clearly frustrated, and entered the medical tent.

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Regardless of just how long James is shelved, it’s a difficult turn of events for a burgeoning star who burst upon the NFL scene and has seen it halted by significant injuries in consecutive offseasons.

James started the 2019 campaign on injured reserve with a stress fracture of the fifth metatarsal in his foot.

He returned in Week 13 and started the last five games of the season, tallying 34 tackles.

In 2018, James was an All-Pro and Pro Bowler in a sensational rookie campaign in which he filled up the stat sheet to the tune of 105 tackles, 13 passes defended, 3.5 sacks and three interceptions.

While it’s another discouraging turn of events for James and a huge blow to the Chargers defense, it might well open the door for another opportunity to Earl Thomas, as pointed out by Rapoport. Current Bolts defensive coordinator Gus Bradley previously coached Thomas with the Seahawks. Within the roster, the most liable scenario is that Desmond King, Alohi Gilman and Nasir Adderly are the likely candidates to step into James’ starting role. Nonetheless, for James and the Chargers on a sunny Southern California Sunday, it quickly became a cloudy day ahead of a promising season once again.

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Mookie Betts agrees to 12 year extension with Dodgers

The Dodgers and outfielder Mookie Betts agreed to a 12-year, $365 million contract extension Wednesday that should keep Betts in Los Angeles for the rest of his career. The deal involves a $65 million signing bonus. Betts will make $10 million during this abbreviated season before the new deal starts in 2021.

The deal is the second-largest of all time, exceeded only by the 12-year, $426.5 million extension Mike Trout signed with the Angels in March 2019.

The development comes a day before the Dodgers open their 2020 season versus the San Francisco Giants at Dodger Stadium. The pandemic-shortened 60-game season was in jeopardy during the league’s shutdown and ensuing heated negotiations between owners and the union. Not staging a season could have meant Betts never would have played a meaningful game for the Dodgers.

Not only will he now play in Los Angeles in 2020, but through 2032.

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The club acquired Betts, a four-time all-star and the 2018 American League MVP, and left-hander David Price from the Boston Red Sox in exchange for outfielder Alex Verdugo and two prospects days before players reported for spring training in February.

Betts, 27, arrived as a potential one-year rental with free agency looming in the winter after turning down a $300-million extension offer from the Red Sox. The decision carried risk, but Betts was the elite player the Dodgers sought for their October push to end a 32-year championship drought.

They were confident they could persuade Betts to stay in Los Angeles. The contract would be the richest that Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman has given a player. The team has re-signed players to substantial contacts since Friedman took over in October 2014, but none has reached the $100-million threshold. Even in a depressed free-agent market this off-season, Betts would easily smash that ceiling.

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