The Sports Report: LeBron-less Lakers defeat the Spurs

The Sports Report: LeBron-less Lakers defeat the Spurs

Howdy, I’m your host, Houston Mitchell. Let’s get right to the news.

Broderick Turner on the Lakers: The Lakers have decided to take “a marathon approach” with LeBron James and the sore right ankle that kept him out of Tuesday night’s game against the San Antonio Spurs.

So even with a back-to-back game Wednesday night at Oklahoma City, Lakers coach Frank Vogel said James will be listed as “questionable” for that game and will be day-to-day going forward.

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James missed 26 games last season with a right ankle injury, an injury that the forward said didn’t completely heal until the summer. Vogel said this current ankle injury is the “same ankle,” but a “different spot” and a “different injury.”

“Going to see how he feels,” Vogel said. “He’s just day to day and he’ll get evaluated again tomorrow and see what the soreness is like and make a decision then.”

That left James on the Lakers bench wearing a gray sweatshirt, gray hat and dark gray shorts, giving instructions and watching his other two stars, Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook, carry the load in his absence during a thrilling 125-121 overtime victory over the Spurs.

Davis had a scary moment when he went down late in the fourth quarter with a left knee injury, but he still was a force with 35 points, 17 rebounds and four blocks in 42 minutes.

Westbrook came up two assists short of his first triple-double with the Lakers, producing 33 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists in 40 minutes.

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Chuck Schilken on the Trojans: Mike Tomlin is happy as coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers.

He has no interest in the USC coaching job.

And he has absolutely no tolerance for questions on that matter.

Tomlin made himself perfectly clear on all of the above while speaking to reporters Tuesday, a day after the longtime Steelers coach was thrust into the USC conversation when former Trojans great Carson Palmer mentioned him as a “wild-card” candidate.

Tomlin responded to a question regarding the Trojans job with an impatient tone and an angry look on his face.

“Hey, guys, I don’t have time for that speculation,” Tomlin said Tuesday, as his 3-3 team prepares for a game Sunday against AFC North rival Cleveland. “I mean, that’s a joke to me. I got one of the best jobs in all of professional sport. Why would I have any interest in coaching college football?”

“That’ll be the last time that I address it. And not only today, but moving forward. Never say never, but never. OK? Anybody else got any questions about any college jobs? There’s not a booster with a big enough blank check.”

CHARGERS

Jeff Miller on the Chargers: The Chargers touted Tristan Vizcaino’s leg strength and potential when he made the team this season.

Six games later, they released him.

The rookie was waived Tuesday in favor of veteran Dustin Hopkins, who was let go by Washington last week.

Vizcaino missed five extra points over the last four games. He was six for seven on field-goal tries for the season.

Coach Brandon Staley continually expressed confidence in Vizcaino, including as recently as Monday. But he also noted that the Chargers would “keep all of our options open at that position.”

Hopkins, an eight-year NFL veteran, made three of four field-goal attempts — missing from 51 yards — for Washington against the Chargers in the teams’ season opener last month.

For the year, he is 12 for 14 on field-goal tries and 10 for 12 on extra points.

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NFL roundtable: Did Rams’ win over Lions validate Stafford-Goff trade?

LAFC

Kevin Baxter on LAFC: Unlike many soccer players, Cristian Arango is familiar with the concept of playoffs. Three times in his five seasons in Colombia’s first division, Arango played for a club that qualified for the league’s postseason tournament.

And success, he found, wasn’t always determined by which team had the best players.

“It’s the mentality,” said Arango, who is battling long odds to get LAFC to the MLS postseason this fall. “This is what we’ve been working for. God is in charge of our destiny, but this is what we’re working for.”

LAFC might not need divine intervention if it continues to play as it did Tuesday, when Arango’s 13th goal of the season followed first-half scores from Brian Rodríguez and Latif Blessing in a 3-0 win over the Seattle Sounders. The victory extended the team’s unbeaten streak to a season-high five games and lifted LAFC (12-12-8) into a playoff spot with two regular-season games remaining.

DUCKS

Paul Stastny and Nikolaj Ehlers scored 19 seconds apart in the third period as the Winnipeg Jets rallied for a 4-3 victory over the Ducks.

The Jets trailed 3-2 late in the third period before Ehlers tied it with 1:20 remaining after a scramble following a faceoff deep in the offensive zone. Stastny then scored the winner with 1:01 left off a deflection.

Trevor Zegras and Sonny Milano had a goal and an assist, and Josh Manson also scored for Anaheim. John Gibson stopped 21 shots for the Ducks, who have dropped five of their last six.

ANGELS

Jack Harris on the Angels: Shohei Ohtani made a World Series appearance this year after all.

Before Game 1 on Tuesday night, Ohtani was honored with the Commissioner’s Historic Achievement Award for his two-way performance this season.

The 27-year-old Angels star became the 16th recipient of the honor, which was first handed out in 1998, and the first to be given the award since commissioner Rob Manfred became commissioner in 2015.

“Over the next few years, I know that there are going to be many, many awards and accolades that come your way,” Manfred said during a news conference at Minute Maid Park, with Ohtani by his side. “But I felt that 2021 was so special that it was important to recognize the historic achievement.”

Ohtani became one of the biggest stories in baseball when he hit 46 home runs and drove in 100 runs in addition to posting a 3.18 earned-run average and 156 strikeouts in 23 starts as a pitcher.

WORLD SERIES SCHEDULE

All times Pacific

Game 1: Atlanta 6, at Houston 2
Game 2: Tonight., Atlanta (Max Fried) at Houston (Jose Urquidy), 5 p.m., Fox, ESPN Radio
Game 3: Friday, Houston at Atlanta, 5 p.m., Fox, ESPN Radio
Game 4: Saturday, Houston at Atlanta, 5 p.m., Fox, ESPN Radio
Game 5*: Sunday, Houston at Atlanta, 5 p.m., Fox, ESPN Radio
Game 6*: Tuesday, Atlanta at Houston, 5 p.m., Fox, ESPN Radio
Game 7*: Wed., Nov. 3, Atlanta at Houston, 5 p.m., Fox, ESPN Radio

*-if necessary

THIS DATE IN SPORTS

1967 — New Mexico tight end Emilio Vallez catches 17 passes for 257 yards to tie an NCAA record in a 75-12 rout of Texas El Paso.

1973 — Four players rush for more than 100 yards as Alabama sets three NCAA records during a 77-6 romp of Virginia Tech. Alabama sets records with 823 yards total offense, 743 yards rushing and four 100-yard rushers. Jim Taylor gains 142 yards, Wilbur Jackson 138, Calvin Culliver 127 and Richard Todd 102.

1984 — Washington State’s Rueben Mayes sets an NCAA record with 357 yards rushing, 197 in the first half, and scores three touchdowns in a 50-41 victory over Oregon.

1984 — Iowa’s Chuck Long completes 22 straight passes to set an NCAA record in a 24-20 victory over Indiana.

1996 — After two humbling losses at home, the New York Yankees win their first World Series title since 1978 with a 3-2 victory over the defending champion Atlanta Braves in Game 6.

2001 — Joe Paterno wins his 324th game to pass Bear Bryant for the most victories by a Division I-A coach when Penn State rallies for a 29-27 win over Ohio State.

2002 — Emmitt Smith breaks the NFL career rushing yardage record held by the late Walter Payton on an 11-yard run in the fourth quarter. Smith has 109 yards and a touchdown in Dallas’ 17-14 loss to Seattle and ends the game with 16,743 career yards — 17 more than Payton gained.

2002 — Behind rookie pitcher John Lackey and a three-run double by Garret Anderson, the Anaheim Angels beat Barry Bonds and the San Francisco Giants 4-1 for the franchise’s first World Series title in 42 years.

2004 — The Boston Red Sox are World Series champions at long, long last. Johnny Damon homers on the fourth pitch of the game, Derek Lowe makes it stand up and the Red Sox win Game 4, 3-0, sweeping the St. Louis Cardinals for their first crown since 1918.

2005 — Curtis Joseph makes 13 saves to earn his 400th NHL victory and Mike Comrie scores twice as Phoenix edges Calgary 3-2.

2006 — The St. Louis Cardinals beat the Detroit Tigers 4-2 in Game 5 to wrap up their first Series title in nearly a quarter-century and 10th overall. The Cardinals, with 83 regular-season wins, is the fewest by a World Series champion.

2007 — Curlin posts an emphatic victory against his toughest rivals in the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic at Monmouth Park. Ridden by Robby Albarado, Curlin defeats Derby runner-up Hard Spun by 4 1/2 lengths.

2007 — Weber State beats Portland State 73-68 to set an NCAA all-division football record for points in a game. Back in 1916, Georgia Tech beat Cumberland 222-0, but that was before the NCAA kept track of records. q2012 — Matt Scott of Arizona gains 469 total yards and accounts for four TDs in the Wildcats’ 39-36 win over Southern California. Marqise Lee of USC, catches 16 passes for a Pac-12-record 345 yards and two TDs.

2013 — Matthew Stafford’s 1-yard lunge over a pile of linemen with 12 seconds left and Calvin Johnson’s 329 yards receiving lift the Detroit Lions to a 31-30 comeback win over the Dallas Cowboys. Stafford throws a 22-yard pass to Johnson, who had the second-most yards receiving in NFL history, to set up his winning score.

2013 — Serena Williams ends her best season in style, rallying past Li Na 2-6, 6-3, 6-0 for her second straight WTA Championship and 11th title of the year.

2015 — Alex Gordon hits a tying home run with one out in the ninth inning, Eric Hosmer hits a sacrifice fly against Bartolo Colon in the 14th and the Kansas City Royals beat the New York Mets 5-4 in the longest opener in World Series history.

Supplied by the Associated Press

And finally

The Angels win the World Series. Watch and listen here.

Until next time…

That concludes today’s newsletter. If you have any feedback, ideas for improvement or things you’d like to see, email me at houston.mitchell@latimes.com, and follow me on Twitter at @latimeshouston. To get this newsletter in your inbox, click here.

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