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

1oneWho’s in charge of the NFL’s AFC West with three weeks to play? The 10-3 Chargers, who’ve won nine of 10 coming off a Week 3 loss to the Rams, are still looking up at 11-2 Kansas City. Add to that the Chiefs’ season-opening 38-28 win at StubHub Center in Carson over the Chargers. This Week 15 rematch at Arrowhead Stadium in K.C. (5:20 p.m., Channel 11) has a chance to figure out how the AFC will shake out, considering the Chiefs are also No. 1 in the conference (with New England at No. 2, Houston at No. 3 and Pittsburgh at No. 4 based on leading their respective divisions, which makes the Chargers at No. 5 and Baltimore at No. 6). The Chiefs, by virtue of a 27-24 OT win over Baltimore, have secured a playoff bid, and the Chargers can pretty much do the same with a win here. If the Chargers win on Thursday and draw even in the standings, the Chiefs would hold the tie-breaker at that moment with a better division record. The Chiefs would be 4-1, the Chargers 3-2.
If the Chiefs win on Thursday, they’ll clinch the division, having swept the season series with two games remaining, and then it will be a matter of getting the best seed possible.
Meanwhile, the 11-2 and NFC West secure Rams have another Sunday night prime-time contest against the defending Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles (5:20 p.m., Channel 4) at the Coliseum. These two also faced off at the Coliseum in Week 14 last season, and the Eagles pulled away with a 43-35 win that was marked by Carson Wentz throwing for four TDs before he tore his left ACL and missed the rest of the season.
The end of Week 14:
* Minnesota at Seattle, Monday at 5:15 p.m., ESPN
The rest of Week 15:
* Houston at N.Y. Jets, Saturday at 1:30 p.m., NFL Network
* Cleveland at Denver, Saturday at 5:20 p.m., NFL Network
* New England at Pittsburgh, Sunday at 1:25 p.m., Channel 2
* Dallas at Indianapolis, Sunday at 10 a.m., Channel 11
* Oakland at Cincinnati, Sunday at 10 a.m., Channel 2 Continue reading “12.10.18: Five things you should plan for the week ahead based on unscientific evidence of guaranteed importance”


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

************** Continue reading “12.03.18: Five things you should plan for the week ahead based on unscientific evidence of guaranteed importance”

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

1oneYour San Diego Chargers of Los Angeles (8-3), now a full game back in the AFC West and sporting a 4-1 road record, were supposed to play the Steelers in Pittsburgh in a Sunday morning game in Week 13. Things changed — NBC flexed it into a “Sunday Night Football” experience (5:20 p.m., Channel 4), so make sure you’re not at LAX too early to welcome the Chargers’ players back from their trip. Seems most important to send Philip Rivers in bubblewrap and make sure he’s not damaged in any travel situation at this stage.
Meanwhile, the Rams will have had almost two full weeks to rest, recover and reconcile the true meaning of their 54-51 win over Kansas City at the Coliseum on Nov. 12, which came with a convenient bye week attached to it, since the original plan was to allow players to relax through Thanksgiving week in case there were any cases of Montezuma’s Revenge from a trip to Mexico City. All clear. Picking things up for the last five weeks, the Rams (10-1) can lock up the NFC West in Week 13 with a trip to Detroit (Sunday, 10 a.m., Channel 11) in what hopefully doesn’t smell like Thanksgiving leftovers at Ford Field.
The end of Week 12:
* Tennessee at Houston, 5:15 p.m., ESPN
The rest of Week 13:
* New Orleans at Dallas, Thursday at 5:20 p.m., Channel 11/NFL Network/Amazon Prime
* Kansas City at Oakland, 1 p.m., Channel 2
Minnesota at New England, 1:25 p.m., Channel 11


1twoThe dust will settle on the conference championship games played out on Friday and Saturday, meaning they can settle on the final College Football Playoff poll, rankings and bowl assignments in a Sunday TV production (9 a.m., ESPN).
There will be no viewing party on the campuses of USC or UCLA.
What will lead into sorting all that out in Week 14:
Friday’s games:
* Pac-12 Championship at Santa Clara: Utah vs. Washington, 5 p.m., Channel 11
* MAC Championship in Detroit: Northern Illinois vs. Buffalo, 4 p.m., ESPN2
Saturday’s games:
* Big 12 Championship at Arlington, Tex.: Oklahoma vs. Texas, 9 a.m., Channel 7
* Sun Belt Conference Championship: Louisiana at Appalachian State, 9 a.m., ESPN
* Conference USA Championship: Alabama Birmingham at Middle Tennessee, 10:30 a.m., CBSSN
* American Athletic Conference Championship: Memphis at Central Florida, 12:30 p.m., Channel 7
* SEC Championship in Atlanta: Alabama vs. Georgia, 1 p.m., Channel 2
* Mountain West Conference championship: Fresno State at Boise State, 4:45 p.m., ESPN
* Big Ten Championship at Indianapolis: Northwestern vs. Ohio State, 5 p.m., Channel 11
* ACC Championship in Charlotte, N.C.: Clemson vs. Pitt, 5 p.m., Channel 7
Also games to be made up Saturday:
Stanford at Cal, noon, Pac 12 Network
Marshall at Virginia Tech, 9 a.m., ACC Network
East Carolina at North Carolina State, 9 a.m., ACC Network
Akron at South Carolina, 9 a.m., SEC Network
Drake at Iowa State, 9 a.m.


1threePromoters of this Deontay Wilder-Tyson Fury matchup at Staples Center (Saturday, card starts at 6 p.m., Showtime PPV, $65) call it the “most important heavyweight fight in the United States since Lennox Lewis took on Mike Tyson in 2002.” We gotta take a quick look at that one: It was held in Memphis because Nevada wouldn’t give Tyson a license after a press conference brawl he had with Lewis and admitted to biting Lewis on his leg, giving him $335,000 in restitution. Ring Magazine voted it the “Event of the Year” before the fight even took place between Lewis, with the WBC, IBF and IBO title belts, against Tyson, who used to hold all those titles and more. Lewis knocked Tyson out in the eighth round. Both won $17.5 million. Ring Magazine also called it the “Knockout of the Year.” Now there’s this: the 6-foot-7 Wilder (40-1, 39 KOs) as the WBC heavyweight champ from Tuscaloosa, Ala., against the 6-foot-9 the “linear (WBA, IBF, WBO, IBO, Ring)” heavyweight champ Fury (27-0, 19 KOs), who, when he was born in England in 1988, was named after Mike Tyson by his father. Staples Center won out over Las Vegas and New York in bidding to have the fight venue. “I’ve  worked my ass off to get to this very point in my life and now I’m here,” said Wilder. “Right now is the biggest fight in the world in the heavyweight division and we’re going to L.A. to do this thing and bring out all the stars.”


1fourBetween the Lakers and Clippers, only one of their games this coming week draws national attention. Don’t bother guessing: It’s the Clippers contest at Sacramento on Thursday (7:30 p.m., TNT).
Otherwise, the Clippers’ home game against Phoenix (Wednesday, 7:30 p.m. Prime Ticket) is their only Staples Center appearance this week during a stretch where six of eight are on the road.
Also this week: At Dallas, Sunday at 4 p.m., Prime Ticket
Meanwhile, the Lakers’ quick trip to Denver this week (Tuesday, 6 p.m., Spectrum SportsNet) interrupts a period where they’ll have six out of seven games at home.
The rest of the week:
At Staples Center vs. Indiana, Thursday at 7:30 p.m., SSN
At Staples Center vs. Dallas, Friday at 7:30 p.m., SSN
At Staples Center vs. Phoenix, Sunday at 12:30 p.m., SSN


1fiveBecause this is the time we look forward to measuring up Southern California college basketball teams against each other, the most intriguing may turn out to be 7-0 Loyola Marymount’s trip to UCLA on Sunday (at Pauley Pavilion, 7 p.m., Pac-12 Network). The Lions are off to the best start in school history and includes some notable wins over Georgetown, UNLV and even a two-pointer over Central Connecticut with a couple of free throws with one second left. No. 17 UCLA comes into the week 4-2 after back-to-back losses to Michigan State at North Carolina in Las Vegas.
Other inter-sectional games in the region:
Long Beach State at USC, at Galen Center, Wednesday at 8 p.m., Pac-12 Network
Also this week for SoCal teams:
UCLA vs. Hawaii, Pauley Pavilion, Wednesday at 6 p.m., Pac-12 Network
USC vs. Nevada, Saturday at 1:30 p.m., Channel 11
Long Beach State at San Diego, Saturday at 7 p.m.
Cal State Northridge at Washington State, Tuesday at 8 p.m., Pac-12 Network
Cal State Northridge vs. Sacramento State at Matadome, Saturday at 7 p.m.
Loyola Marymount vs. Bethesda College, Thursday at 7 p.m.
Pepperdine vs. Idaho State at Firestone Fieldhouse, Monday at 7 p.m.
Pepperdine vs. Abilene Christian at Firestone Fieldhouse, Saturday at 5 p.m.
This week nationally:
Tuesday: Michigan State at Louisville, 4:30 p.m., ESPN; Indiana at Duke, 6:30 p.m., ESPN
Wednesday: North Carolina at Michigan, 6:30 p.m., ESPN
Saturday: Gonzaga at Creighton, 11 a.m., Channel 11; Stanford at Kansas, 2:30 p.m., ESPN

The Kings and Ducks have been told to leave town.
The Kings’ road trip this week: At Vancouver (Tuesday, 7 p.m., FSW); at Edmonton (Thursday, 6 p.m., FSW); at Calgary (Friday, 6 p.m., FSW). Then they return to Staples Center on Sunday: (vs. Carolina, 7:30 p.m., FSW).
The Ducks’ road trip this week: At Tampa Bay (Tuesday, 4:30 p.m., Prime Ticket); at Florida (Wednesday, 4 p.m., Prime Ticket), at Carolina (Friday, 5:30 p.m., Prime Ticket); at Washington (Sunday, noon, Prime Ticket).

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

1oneCrazy how life can change week to week. There’s a group packing passports for a Margarita-filled trip to Mexico City to join in the NFL experience South of any border walls that attempt to separate us all. Next, we’re trying to see if there are any first responders, fire fighters or displaces residents from pretty much anywhere in the San Fernando Valley heading toward Malibu in need of a ticket to a Rams game that may not seem as important as it once was trumpeted to be. Before we finalize Week 11 with a Rams-Chiefs game that’s been moved back to the Coliseum (Monday, 5:15 p.m., ESPN), featuring a pair of 9-1 teams that may not, at this point, even be playing the best ball in their respective conferences but are still expected by some to exceed the record-setting over-under of 65, we take a deep breath. Too much is happening around us. The earth is still moving below us. As someone pointed out, look how different Southern California has become since the Dodgers’ won an 18-inning World Series game about three weeks ago now. Happy Thanksgiving week. Continue reading “11.19.18: Five things you should plan for the week ahead based on unscientific evidence of guaranteed importance”

More from Jane Leavy on what made George Herman Ruth more than The Babe (or the Infant of Swategy) and if John C. Reilly is available to play him in a movie …

Jane Leavy gives the keynote speech at the 2016 Cooperstown Symposium on Baseball and American Culture entitled “Finding George: The Unique Challenge of Writing a Sports Biography.” (Milo Stewart Jr./National Baseball Hall of Fame)

Imagine Babe Ruth with a Twitter account.
When we asked author Jane Leavy if the New York Yankees’ Hall of Fame icon might have taken to the social media platform of choice by the current President of the United States to make his bold proclamations, she snatched up a copy of her book, “The Big Fella: Babe Ruth and the World He Created,” (Harper Collins, 656 pages, $32.50) and found of a photo of him standing next to a kid, Jack “Whitey” Stuart, who played the role of Ruth’s bat boy during an exhibition game in San Francisco in 1927.
noir IMG_4178“Look at the size of his hands,” Leavy said with amazement. “I describe them in the book as being the size of a back hoe. Twitter? I don’t think he’d have been able to Tweet with those hands.”
Ruth would have probably found other ways to become “The Babe.” Or hired a ghost-tweeter.
Leavy may be best equipped than anyone to re-imagine how Ruth could survive a 24/7, TMZ-driven existence in the celebrity world that exists as much for athletes as it does movie stars, social media celebrities or even someone with 15 minutes of fame in him or her. The one-time Washington Post sportswriter who covered the New York Yankees and had to battle all sorts of discrimination from players and manager in the process, said she would have loved covering Ruth back in his time. Only now would she likely get as much access.
In addition to our story in the Los Angeles Times on this subject, she added a lot more depth to this story: Continue reading “More from Jane Leavy on what made George Herman Ruth more than The Babe (or the Infant of Swategy) and if John C. Reilly is available to play him in a movie …”

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


1oneThe college football gods have determined that the 88th edition of what we once declared to be “The Hood vs. The ‘Wood” — USC (5-5, 4-4) taking it upon themselves to go to the Rose Bowl and have an extended tailgate with UCLA (2-8, 2-5) – shall begin at 12:30 p.m., and be televised by Fox (KTTV-Channel 11). While not officially the “can’t miss” game of Week 12 — these are the most combined losses for the two teams coming into this game in the series history — it certainly comes very early in the calendar year that we can remember for one of the nation’s top rivalry contests. For the record, only four other times has this been played on a Nov. 17 (2012 at the Rose Bowl won by UCLA 38-28; 2001 at the Coliseum won by USC 27-0; 1990 at the Rose Bowl won by USC 45-42 and 1984 at the Rose Bowl won by UCLA 29-10). Continue reading “11.12.18: Five things you should plan for the week ahead based on unscientific evidence of guaranteed importance”

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

1oneDo new laundry logos and a re-varnished home court make a college basketball team look better, feel better and play better? At Long Beach State, it’s another statement of another new direction for coach Dan Monson, starting his 12th season here. There may be affirmation of the first two parts of that question, but probably a long ways to go to resolve that third part. First, the 49ers have a new-look home floor with the retro “LB” for center court instead of the swirly “The Beach” stuff. They’ve also got new uniforms that change the “A” in “Beach” into some sort of … arrow-pointing-up statement? And “The LBC” jerseys may be making some other sort of proclamation.
But then there’s the roster assembled by Monson, who took Gonzaga to the Elite Eight 20 seasons ago but has had back to back 49ers teams with 15-19 and 15-8 overall records, each 9-7 in the Big West, and hasn’t been to the NCAA Tournament since a 25-9 run in 2012.
In Sports Illustrated’s annual preseason ranking of all 353 teams, the 49ers are slotted at No. 234. That’s no better than Air Force, but a step above something called University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley (which we didn’t even know existed, in the WAC, and thrown off by the fact it calls itself “UT-RGV” when the first two initials might signify “Utah.”0.
The 49ers are slotted a deep sixth in the Big West behind experienced-deep UC Irvine (104) and defending tournament champ Cal State Fullerton (118), with room to maneuver if they pull something together in a usually tough pre-conference schedule.
Who votes on all that anyway? Where is the transparency?
i_voted_stickerWhich leads to Election Day Tuesday. Someone decided this Tuesday would be a great time to launch the college basketball season. The 49ers are wise. They will wait for the commotion to die down and then launch their 2018-19 campaign at UCLA (Pauley Pavilion, Friday at 8 p.m., Pac-12 Network).
Which leads us to the Bruins, No. 21 in that SI ranking, highest of any Southern California school, because of the presence of returning sophomores Kris Wilkes and Jaylen Hands for coach Steve Alford, starting his sixth season with a 117-57 career mark in Westwood thus far, without a conference title but three Sweet 16 appearances. UCLA just found out it will also be without – again – Cody Riley, who, if it’s not academic trouble or stealing sunglasses in China, it’s an injured jaw that will do him for a few weeks. Shareef O’Neal (Shaq’s kid), Tyger Campbell and Alex Olesinki are three others who were thought could contribute right away but are also injured.
USC (No. 48 SI ranking), trying to replace Jordan McLaughlin and Chimezie Metu, is expected to be the Bruins’ main challenger to the Pac-12 title under coach Andy Enfield (94-76 in five seasons, including 24-12 last season and second in the conference at 12-6 but failing to get an NCAA Tournament bid). Enfield’s biggest guns could be sophomore Chuck  O’Bannon Jr., and freshman Kevin Porter Jr., plus returning senior Bennie Boatwright and junior Nick Rakocevic.
Loyola Marymount (No. 174), Pepperdine (No. 215) and Cal State Northridge (No. 312) help fill out the SI list, but the Matadors get special mention with this comment: “Why, exactly, did Northridge hire Mark Gottfried again? The coach whose tactics have brought NC State into the scope of the FBI’s investigation into college basketball will have a long road to relevance with a team that finished alone in last in the Big West a year ago.” Don’t forget, Jim Harrick is one of his assistants.
Tuesday’s openers:
* UCLA vs. Purdue-Fort Wayne, at Pauley Pavilion, 6 p.m., Pac-12 Network
* USC vs. Robert Morris, at Galen Center, 8 p.m., Pac-12 Network
* Cal State Northridge vs. New Mexico, at the Matadome, 7 p.m.
* Loyola Marymount vs. Westcliff University, at Gersten Pavilion, 5 p.m.
Also this week:
* Long Beach State at UCLA (Pauley Pavilion, Friday at 8 p.m., Pac-12 Network).
* USC vs. Vanderbilt, at Galen Center, Sunday at 6 p.m., Pac-12 Network
* Long Beach State vs. Menlo College at the Walter Pyramid, Saturday at 4 p.m.
* Pepperdine vs. Cal State Dominguez Hills, at Firestone Fieldhouse, Wednesday at 7 p.m.
* Pepperdine vs. Cal State Northridge, at Firestone Fieldhouse, Saturday at 7 p.m.
* Loyola Marymount at UNLV, Saturday at 5 p.m.
Games of national interest:
Duke vs. Kentucky in Indianapolis, 6:30 p.m., ESPN; Michigan State vs. Kansas in Indianapolis, 4 p.m., ESPN
Sunday: Army at Duke, 10 a.m., ESPN


1twoThe previous two trips Pete Carroll made to the Coliseum wearing it as the Seattle Seahawks’ head coach have been somewhat memorable. In
In 2016, the Rams grinded out a 9-3 win on three Greg Zuerlein field goals – it was the Rams’ first game in L.A. in nearly 22 years, and Case Keenum was the quarterback. In 2017, the Seahawks pulled off a 16-10 win as the Rams turned the ball over five times, including a strip of Todd Gurley at the goal line to kill the Rams’ opening drive. The Rams were 3-1 coming into that contest and had been averaging 35 points a game.
The 8-1 Rams, coming off the heave-and-pray loss to the Saints in New Orleans, have the NFC West rival Seahawks this time (Sunday, 1:25 p.m., Channel 2) with memories of a tight 33-31 win in Seattle in Week 5 — where Sean McVay made a Carroll-like gutsy fourth-down call and less than a yard to go with 1:39 left— a Goff keeper — that effectively let the Rams run the clock out.
Meanwhile, the 6-2 Chargers, winners of five in a row after going to Seattle and registering a 25-17 win, reunited with the Raiders in Oakland (Sunday, 1 p.m., Channel 11). The Chargers already have logged a 26-10 win over the Raiders in Week 5 where Philip Rivers threw for 339 yards and a pair of TDs.
(And, yes, it’s odd that two NFC teams have a CBS broadcast, while two AFC teams have a Fox broadcast, but that’s this new art of cross flexing that … somehow, it all evens out).
To finish Week 9:
* Tennessee at Dallas, Monday at 5:15 p.m., ESPN
Also in Week 10:
* Carolina at Pittsburgh, Thursday at 5:20 p.m., Channel 11/NFL Network/Amazon Prime
* Dallas at Philadelphia, Sunday at 5:20 p.m., Channel 4


1threeThe fact USC (5-4, 4-3) still has a shot at winning the Pac 12 South may not be surprising, consider the Pac 12 South has lowered the bar on what’s acceptable for division supremacy. The Trojans, coming off a decent show at Oregon State that could turn things around offensively, have three more left, two in conference, including this Week 11 homecoming game against Cal (5-4, 2-4) at the Coliseum (Saturday at 7:30 p.m., ESPN). If you want to go early, there’s UCLA (2-7, 2-4) playing out the string at Arizona State (5-4, 3-3) on Saturday morning (11 a.m., Pac-12 Network). This is the final appearance for both teams before the USC-UCLA game at the Rose Bowl on Nov. 17 (kickoff time to be determined).
Other key games in Week 11 (with rankings due to change after Tuesday’s College Playoff committee meeting):
Mississippi State at No. 1 Alabama, 12:30 p.m., Channel 2
No. 2 Clemson at No. 22 Boston College, 5 p.m., Channel 7
No. 3 LSU at Arkansas, 4:30 p.m., SEC Network
Florida State at No. 4 Notre Dame, 4:30 p.m., Channel 4
No. 5 Michigan at Rutgers, 12:30 p.m., Big Ten Network
Auburn at No. 6 Georgia, 4 p.m., ESPN
Oklahoma State at No. 7 Oklahoma, 12:30 p.m., Channel 7
No. 8 Washington State at Colorado, 12:30 p.m., ESPN
No. 9 Kentucky at Tennessee, 12:30 p.m., SEC Network
No. 10 Ohio State at Michigan State, 9 a.m., Channel 11
Oregon at No. 15 Utah, 2:30 p.m., Pac-12 Network
Oregon State at Stanford, 6 p.m., FS1
UNLV at San Diego State, 7:30 p.m., ESPN2


1fourThe Lakers/Magic Johnson/Luke Walton/LeBron James drama is already building. A 14-point loss (it wasn’t that close) to Toronto on Sunday night, coming off a four-point win (it was closer) in Portland, gave the Lakers some sense of a roller-coaster weekend. So what kind of Hollywood-like drama do the Minnesota T-Wolves bring to L.A. this week? With Jimmy Butler saga and a Derrick Rose redeption script. Butler says he will “let them know” whether he’s up for playing in back-to-back games after Minnesota’s 116-99 loss at Golden State on Friday. So, as both Butler and Rose sat out Minnesota’s 30-point loss in Portland on Sunday, who knows what’ll happen when the T-Wolves visit the Clippers on Monday at Staples Center (7:30 p.m., Prime Ticket).  Maybe they just drop one, or both, into the Clippers’ lap as a parting gift before they continue their road trip with another Staples Center visit with the Lakers (Wednesday, 7:30 p.m., Spectrum SportsNet, ESPN). Rose had that odd 50-point game in 41 minutes against Utah last Wednesday but hasn’t followed it up with anyone remotely special, battling ankle soreness. The 2011 NBA MVP is “still a superhero” according to LeBron James.
The rest of the Lakers week:
* At Sacramento, Saturday at 7 p.m., SSN
* At Staples Center vs. Atlanta, Sunday at 6:30 p.m., SSN
Also for the Clippers:
* At Portland, Thursday at 7 p.m., Prime Ticket
* At Staples Center vs. Milwaukee, Saturday at 12:30 p.m., Prime Ticket


1fiveAny other time, and maybe any other season, a Kings-Ducks Freeway Frozen Frenzy Folly might create more froth. Will this first of four meetings have any buzz when they meet up at Staples Center on Tuesday (7:30 p.m., Fox Sports West and Prime Ticket)? Maybe only because the Kings (4-8-1), last in the league in goals (28, vs. 45 allowed, for a minus-17) and tied with Florida with fewest points (9), have become the first to make a head coaching change. The Ducks (6-6-3, 15 points, 37 goals scored vs. 42 allowed and losers of a league-worst seven in a row before snapping that streak Sunday with an OT win against Columbus) really aren’t all that much better in a tightly-packed Pacific Division can can be flipped in a matter of weeks.
Oddly, the Kings and Ducks don’t meet again until March, 2019, where they then get in each other’s face in three of the Kings’ final 14 games.
Also this week for the Kings:
* At Staples Center vs. Minnesota, Thursday at 7:30 p.m., FSW
* At Staples Center vs. Calgary, Saturday at 7 p.m., FSW
Also this week for the Ducks:
* At Honda Center vs. Calgary, Wednesday at 7:30 p.m., NBCSN
* At Honda Center vs. Minnesota, Friday at 7 p.m., Prime Ticket

* The NHRA’s Auto Club Finals back at Pomona Fairplex wrap up the season (Thursday-Sunday).
* Del Mar’s fall season (Friday through Dec. 2) includes the Hollywood Turf Cup (Nov. 23), the Seabiscuit Handicap (Nov. 24), the Hollywood Derby (Dec. 1) and the Matriarch Stakes (Dec. 2).