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Lakers cope with playoff elimination
03/23/2019 2:29am

Los Angeles Lakers players JaVale McGee, LeBron James, and Rajon Rondo discuss being mathematically eliminated from the playoffs after their 111-106 loss to the Brooklyn Nets, and what they can do for the final 10 games of the season.

Lakers Officially Eliminated from NBA Playoffs
03/23/2019 2:30am

The inevitable has happened: the Lakers have officially been eliminated from the postseason.JaVale McGee scored a career-high 33 points, but it was not enough, as the Los Angeles Lakers lost to the Brooklyn Nets, 111-106 on Friday night at Staples Center.The Lakers were in fourth place in the Western Conference on Christmas Day, but after LeBron James missed the next 17 games with a left groin strain, the Lakers sank out of the playoff picture and were never able to climb back into the hunt.The Lakers have lost five consecutive games and 12 of their last 14 overall, making Fridays loss more of a formality than a surprise. The team has been in tank mode for the month of March, and have been closer to a lottery pick than they have a playoff spot.Weve been struggling in March, said Lakers point guard Rajon Rondo. Its been pretty bad. We just focus on trying to win, playing with pride, and trying to get a W.A lot was made before the game about the return of former Lakers guard DAngelo Russell to Staples Center.Russell was drafted by the Lakers with the second overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft, but was traded before the 2017-2018 season after Magic Johnson took over as team president.This is definitely where I started, said Russell, who was iniatially upset about Johnsons comments that he was not a leader after the trade was finalized.Its definitely a place that gave me an opportunity. Not many guys started somewhere and then that was forgotten throughout their career. You know, Chauncey Billups, the Steve Nashes of that group, so Im trying to consider myself one of those guys.The trade allowed Johnson to draft point guard Lonzo Ball and clear enough cap space to sign LeBron James this past summer. Most people thought the decision to trade Russell was smart at the time, but with the Lakers spiraling back into mediocrity and Russell leading the Nets to the playoffs, many question the decision in hindsight.While it seems obvious on paper: would you rather have LeBron James and Lonzo Ball or DAngelo Russell The answer might not be so cut and dry.James is a declining asset, whereas Russells stock is on the rise. Ball has missed significant time with ankle injuries over the last two seasons, and thus far has not lived up to his pre-draft hype.Of course, Friday was not the first time Russell had faced his former team, but it did mark the first game against the Lakers where he was an NBA All-Star and the leader of a playoff-bound team.Additionally, Russell was coming off a career-high 44 points, and led one of the largest comebacks in NBA history as he helped the Nets erase a 28-point deficit to rally to beat the Sacramento Kings on Tuesday.That was huge, Russell said of the back-to-back wins against the Kings and Lakers. We knew how big these games were for us. With our record and where we are in the standings...we went out there and handled business.Russell finished with less than half that total on Friday, scoring 21 points and dishing out 13 assists against his former team, but perhaps there was a hint of poetic justice in the fact he was able to eliminate the team that shipped out of town from playoff contention.Sounds good on paper, but at the end of the day, were not playing them, Russell said about mathematically elminating the Lakers. Were not competing against them for seeding, so the win is good enough.The reigning NBA three-point Champion, Joe Harris, drained six three-pointers in the contest and finished with a team-high 26 points.Thats my job, Harris said of his six triples. Thats what im out here to do. Im happy to get a couple of shots to fall early and allowed my rhythm to be there. It gave me a little more confidence and taking a couple more aggressive looks.Jarrett Allen had a double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds and DeMarre Carroll chipped in 15 points.It was not Picasso out there by an means it wasnt beautiful, said Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson of the victory. Give the Lakers credit. Obviously they got LeBron James out there, theyre very talented. It was good to close it out, it wasnt easy.McGee led the Lakers with 33 points, 20 rebounds 12 offensive and six blocks, becoming the first Lakers player to post a stat line like that since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar did it with the Purple and Gold in 1978.Ive always loved blocking shots, but I think I had 12 offensive rebounds, that might be a career-high for me, said McGee of his career night. Everybody was focusing on LeBron and he was setting it up for me to be succesful out there.James finished one rebound shy of a triple-double with 25 points, 14 assists, and nine rebounds. Kyle Kuzma had 18.Its been a tough season for all of us, James said. Its not what we signed up for. Throughout the year, things happen. Suspensions, injuries, and us just not being able to play sustainable basketball for 48 minutes. You dont even try to wrap your head around it. You just keep playing and try to get better and go from there.With James back on the court following a scheduled off day in Milwaukee on Tuesday, the Lakers were in the game from start to finish.We gave ourselves a chance to win tonight, said Lakers head coach Luke Walton. I thought we did a lot of things to a level that when you do, you will win NBA games at home...I give our guys a lot of credit for coming and competing like that again tonight. Unfortunately, it ended up in a loss again.The back-and-forth battle featured 16 ties and 23 different lead changes before Brooklyn held on to the victory and swept the two-game seasons series with Los Angeles.The Lakers trailed by just three points with thirty seconds remaining in the game, but James slipped along the baseline and fell out of bounds causing a turnover. The Nets would seal the game with free throws from there.The Lakers have missed the playoffs in six consecutive seasons, but this year will mark the first time LeBron James will not be in the postseason since 2005.Ive played a lot of basketball over the last 16 years, said LeBron as he faced the idea of not playing in the postseason. For me to be able to go into an offseason as healthy as possible it gives me a lot of time to recalibrate my body, recalibrate my mind as well, and get ready for next season.The Lakers missed the playoffs that year as well, their first without Shaquille ONeal and Phil Jackson after a reign of four straight NBA Finals appearances. Ironically, current Lakers head coach Luke Walton was in his sophomore season with the Lakers at the time.Notes and NextLonzo Ball left ankle sprain, Josh Hart right knee, Lance Stephenson left toe and Brandon Ingram shoulder all missed the game due to injuries.The Lakers will host the Sacramento Kings on Sunday night at Staples Center.Photo Credit: Mark J. Terrill/AP

Angels, Dodgers Fans Will Get to Games Easier This Season
03/22/2019 9:52pm

Its going to be a lot easier for baseball fans to see their favorite teams this year in Southern California.Both the Anaheim Angels and the Los Angeles Dodgers announced partnerships on Friday to make fan commutes easier as baseball season makes its return this spring. Hello Kitty Hollywood Store Opens at Hollywood & Highland Right after signing center fielder Mike Trout with the largest contact in sports history, the Angels are teaming up with Metrolink to cut down traffic and parking trouble around their stadium during games.The Angels Express makes it cheaper for fans to travel by metro. One round-trip ticket is $7 for adults, $6 for seniors and disabled travelers or those receiving Medicare, $4 for kids aged 6-18, and free for children under 5. Where to Find Wildflowers: 11 Places That Are Not Lake Elsinore In this way, we have a fixed reduced fare for everybody who takes the service, said Paul Gonzales, a spokesman for Metrolink. Normally, when you go from a point to a point, you pay a are based on that distance.The transportation service begins on Monday when the Angels take on the Dodgers. Fans can use their tickets by taking the Metrolinks Orange County Line train, which starts at the Laguna Niguel/Mission Viejo Station. Passenger Spat Sends LA-Bound Flight Back to Hawaii Express tickets can be purchased through the Metrolink app or in-person at select Metrolink stations. The service will only be provided for the Angels home 49 games this season that start at 7:07 p.m.Meanwhile, starting on March 26, the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority will continue to transport Dodgers fans to and from their home stadium with their own express service.Any ticket holders can ride the Dodger Stadium Express for free. Fans will be picked up by a bus services at Union Station every 10 minutes or the Harbor Gateway Transit Center every 20 minutes.At Union Station, buses will begin their pickup 90 minutes before the game begins and end 45 minutes after it ends. For Harbor Gateway, buses will arrive two hours before starting time and run until 45 minutes after regulation.Photo Credit: Getty Images

No. 13 Seed UC Irvine Upsets Kansas State 70-64
03/23/2019 3:45am

UC Irvine got back-to-back 3-pointers from Evan Leonard to spark the deciding run in a 70-64 upset over Kansas State that marked the Anteaters first NCAA Tournament victory in school history.The Friday victory was the 17th consecutive for UC Irvine, which lost 57-55 to Louisville in 2015 in their only NCAA appearance. Updates: Download the NBCLA App Leonard and Max Hazzard each scored 19 points to send UC Irvine 31-5 into the second round of the South Region for a matchup against either Wisconsin or Oregon.One year after making a run to the Elite Eight, the fourth-seeded Wildcats 25-9 had a short stay in the tournament as they struggled to decipher the Anteaters zone defense and missed star forward Dean Wade, who was sidelined by a foot injury. Kamau Stokes led Kansas State, the co-champions of the Big 12, with 18 points.Despite that, Kansas State led by four points midway through the second half before the two long shots from Leonard turned the tides with a streak of 12 consecutive points. Robert Cartwright added another 3-pointer and Leonard made three free throws after being fouled on a 3-pointer to make it 59-51.The Wildcats cut the deficit to two points, before Hazzard hit a corner 3 with 1:25 to play to make it 66-61 and then struck a pose to the delight of the Anteaters fans who made the trip up from Orange County.Cartier Diarra hit a 3 for Kansas State off a tip pass from Xavier Sneed and the Wildcats had a chance to tie or take the lead but Barry Brown Jr. threw a pass away with 38.8 seconds to play.The Anteaters then sealed the game at the foul line.BIG PICTUREUC Irvine: Despite getting blown out early last season at Kansas State, the Anteaters were a confident team coming into this game thanks to 30 wins and the long winning streak. They used two big runs to stay close in the first half and forced the Wildcats into 11 straight misses to end the half. Hazzards buzzer-beater tied the game at 30 at the break.Kansas State: Wades injury had a big impact on the Wildcats, but they managed the long tournament run last year with him mostly as a spectator because of an injury. What hurt more was an off-night from leading scorer Brown. He played only 5:45 minutes in the first half after committing two quick fouls and didnt make his first basket until early in the second half. He finished with five points on 2-for-9 shooting.DRAWING CONTACTStokes drew fouls on 3-point shots three times in the game for the Wildcats. He drew two in the first half against Eyassu Worku, drawing the ire of Anteaters coach Russell Turner. Stokes then drew another in the second half against Robert Cartwright that had Turner complaining to the official instead. Stokes made seven of the nine free throws on those fouls.Stokes then committed a foul on a UC Irvine 3-pointer, sending Leonard to the line for three shots late in the first half.UP NEXTUC Irvine advances to play the winner of the game between Oregon and Wisconsin.Photo Credit: AP

Dodger Stadium Menu Gets Vegan, Gluten-Free Update
03/22/2019 1:44pm

This upcoming baseball season, the Los Angeles Dodgers Stadium food menu is getting an update. Photo Credit: Kim Baldonado

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