12.03.18: Five things you should plan for the week ahead based on unscientific evidence of guaranteed importance

1oneIt’s not too little or too late for this “L.A. Football In Prime Time” run to play out as the NFL season comes to the realization that both the Rams and Chargers remain viable NFC and AFC contenders. In Week 14, the NFC West champs Rams are in a flexed-in game at Chicago going to NBC (Sunday, 5:20 p.m., Channel 4). This comes after the Week 11 Rams-Chiefs 54-51 historic matchup and the Week 13 Chargers’ appearance on “Sunday Night Football” at Pittsburgh. Coming up: A Chargers at Kansas City Week 15 matchup on a Thursday night just before the Rams play host to Philadelphia on a Sunday night, the Chargers at home on a Week 16 Saturday night against Baltimore, and on the final Sunday of Week 17 we have both the Rams (home vs. San Francisco) and Chargers (at Denver) are in two of the three late-afternoon de-facto spotlight games (up against Arizona-Seattle) for national attention. But by that point, both teams will have likely clinched a playoff spot and be trying to make sure it’s injury free before the Jan. 5-6 playoff schedule begins.
Are we getting too far ahead of ourselves?
While the Rams have this Sunday night spot, the Chargers’ home game against Cincinnati (Sunday at 1:05 p.m., Channel 2) could be problematic. If StubHub was announced a sellout in Week 12 when the Chargers faced Arizona, and that didn’t pass the eye test, this can’t be much better from an optics standpoint. There’s always the last resort by the Tampa Bay Bucs: Give away tickets at this point. It could be as “brilliant” as the Atlanta Falcons’ reduced concession prices.
Just throwing that out there like a Philip Rivers’ toss over the middle.
The end of Week 13:
* Washington at Philadelphia, Monday at 5:15 p.m., ESPN
The rest of Week 14:
* Jacksonville at Tennessee, Thursday at 5:20 p.m., Channel 11/NFL Network/Amazon Prime
* Philadelphia at Dallas, Sunday at 1:25 p.m, Channel 11
* Atlanta at Green Bay, Sunday at 10 a.m., Channel 11


1twoHow the Clippers measured up from their first game until the end of November: At 15-6 (.714), atop the Western Conference, 9-1 at home, 10-4 in the conference, 3-0 in the division. An 11-3 record in November, winners in nine of their last 10.
A reason: As FiveThiryEight.com points out, the Clippers have been holding opposing starting guards to 40.9 percent shooting, and Tobias Harris tied for the league’s best effective field-goal percentage among wing players with at least 300 shot attempts.
How the Lakers measured up from their first game until the end of November: At 13-9 (.591, tied for second best in the entire league), sixth in the Western Conference (tied with Portland), 8-4 at home, 9-6 in the conference, 2-0 in the division. A record of 10-4 in November, including games of 51 and 44 from LeBron James.
A reason: They first went 5-1, and finished 9-3 for November, after picking up 36-year-old Tyson Chandler. In his first game, a 114-110 win over Minnesota that lifted the Lakers to a 5-6 mark, Chandler played 23 minutes and had eight rebounds and a plus-six measure (better than starting center JaVale  McGee’s minus-two in 25 minutes). And after that Luke Walton-Magic Johnson meeting of the minds in late October, things shook up a bit.
Coming up for the Clippers, three more on the road:
* At New Orleans, Monday at 5 p.m., Prime Ticket
* At Memphis, Wednesday at 5 p.m., Prime Ticket
* At Staples Center vs. Miami, Saturday at 7:30 p.m., Prime Ticket
Coming up for the Lakers:
* At Staples Center vs. San Antonio, Wednesday at 7:30 p.m., Spectrum SportsNet and ESPN
* At San Antonio, Friday at 5:30 p.m., SSN
* At Memphis, Saturday at 5 p.m., SSN


1threeStaples Center frowns upon you hiding out in the men’s room trying to watch a Clippers afternoon game followed by a Lakers’ prime-time encounter. So here’s your three-for-one deal at Staples Center for the season – something that can be in addition to putting on skates and checking out the LA Live rink across the street during time outs: Friday’s third annual Basketball Hall of Fame Classic has USC as a feature game against Texas Christian (6:30 p.m., FS1), with New Mexico vs. Saint Mary’s as the 4 p.m. opener and Arizona State vs. Nevada as the 9 p.m. night cap (ESPN2).
The next day, check out UCLA vs. Notre Dame (Saturday, 7:30 p.m., Pauley Pavilion, ESPN2).
The rest of the college hoop schedule in Southern California:
* Long Beach State: Vs. Southern Utah, at the Walter Pyramid, Wednesday at 7 p.m.; at Fresno State, Saturday at 4 p.m.
* Cal State Northridge: At Pepperdine, Monday at 7 p.m.; At Matadome vs. Cal State San Marcos, Wednesday at 7 p.m.; At San Diego, Sunday at 1 p.m.
* Loyola Marymount: At Cal State Fullerton, Wednesday at 7 p.m.
* Pepperdine: vs. Cal State Northridge at Firestone Fieldhouse, Monday at 7 p.m.; At UC Riverside, Thursday at 7 p.m.; vs. Jackson State at Firestone Fieldhouse, Saturday at 7 p.m.
The national highlights:
* Monday: Iowa at Michigan State, 3:30 p.m., FS1
* Wednesday: Hartford at Duke, 4 p.m., ESPN2; Washington at Gonzaga, 8 p.m., ESPN2
* Saturday: Michigan State at Florida, 9 a.m., Channel 2; Kentucky at Seton Hall, 9 a.m., Channel 11; Yale at Duke, 2:30 p.m., ESPN; New Mexico State at Kansas, 5:30 p.m., ESPN2; San Diego State at Cal, 7:30 p.m., Pac-12 Network.
* Sunday: Gonzaga vs. Tennessee at Phoenix, noon, ESPN; Nevada vs. Grand Canyon at Phoenix, 2:30 p.m., ESPNU; Purdue at Texas, 3 p.m., ESPN2.


1fourThe final week of the college football season – we call it Week 15 for those keeping track – has the annual Army-Navy game (at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Saturday at noon, Channel 2), followed by the Heisman Trophy announcement at the New York Marriott Marquis in Times Square (ESPN, 5 p.m.)


1fiveSunday, the Baseball Hall of Fame will announce the results of a vote taken by its 16-member Veterans Committee on those from the “New Era” (covering 1988 to 2018) that will be included in the Class of 2019 induction. Orel Hershiser, who was on the ’17 ballot, gets consideration again, but … in that ’17 election, he finished with fewer than five votes (that’s as detailed as the committee will get) as did Mark McGwire, Davey Johnson, Harold Baines, Albert Belle, Will Clark and George Steinbrenner. They lost out to John Schuerholz (who got all 16 votes) and (ahem) Bud Selig (he got 15) as the two who were elected. This piece by Craig Calcaterra makes the best pro-and-con case for Hershiser making it (or likely, not making it) this time around, on a 10-man ballot that again has Steinbrenner, Lou Pinella (he finished third to Schuerholz and Selig last time), Baines, Belle, Clark and Johnson, drops McGwire, and adds Charlie Manuel, Lee Smith and Joe Carter. Hmmm…

static1.squarespace.com++ News of the week for the Kings: They got their first power play goal on the road last Thursday in Edmonton. It still didn’t matter in a 3-2 loss, but …
The Kings this week get to stay home:
* vs. Arizona, Tuesday at 7:30 p.m., FSW
* vs. New Jersey, Thursday at 7:30 p.m., FSW
* vs. Vegas, Saturday at 1 p.m., FSW
The Ducks as well have a week at home:
* vs. Chicago, Wednesday at 7:30 p.m., NBCSN
* vs. Carolina, Friday at 7 p.m., Prime Ticket
* vs. New Jersey, Sunday at 5 p.m., Prime TIcket

++ The 23rd MLS Cup: Portland vs. Atlanta at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Saturday at 5 p.m., Channel 11, UniMas. Portland won this in 2015; Atlanta is trying to become the 13th different team to win the league title in just its second year of existence and will likely be playing for the last time under coach Tata Martino, expected to take over as Mexico’s national team coach.

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