Candace Parker sits with a strained left knee. Sparks beat Indiana, 77-73.

•July 28, 2014 • Leave a Comment
Sparks star Candace Parker, sidelined with a strained left knee,  grimaces during L.A.'s 77-73 win over Indiana Monday night at Staples Center.

Sparks star Candace Parker, sidelined with a strained left knee, grimaces during L.A.’s 77-73 win over Indiana Monday night at Staples Center.

LOS ANGELES – Suffering from a strained left knee that’s hampered her since just before the All-Star break, Sparks leader and reigning WNBA MVP Candace Parker couldn’t go Monday night at Staples Center against the Indiana Fever.

Los Angeles responded as Nneka Ogwumike led four starters in double figures pouring in a game-high 21 points to go with eight rebounds in the Sparks’ 77-73 win over Indiana.

Wearing pink uniforms for Breast Cancer Awareness Night the Sparks (12-14) recorded a second straight win and broke a five-game home losing streak. Los Angeles’ last home win was a 90-83 victory over Chicago way back on July 1st.

The decision to sit Parker for the entire game actually came from Parker herself saying she couldn’t go after testing the knee during pre-game warm-ups.

Sparks vice president, general manager and now head coach Penny Toler – who took over the coaching reigns after relieving Carol Ross of her head coaching duties on July 20th – agreed with her star keeping her in uniform and on the bench for the entire ballgame.

The L.A. Sparks wore pink uniforms in Monday's 77-73 win over Indiana at Staples Center for Breast Cancer Awareness Night.

The L.A. Sparks wore pink uniforms in Monday’s 77-73 win over Indiana at Staples Center for Breast Cancer Awareness Night.

Since taking over, Toler has now guided L.A. to two straight wins after opening with two straight losses.

To hear from Toler, Ogwumike and guard Alana Beard on the importance of breaking that home losing skid, click on the video below for their post game video comments.

There were 16 lead changes in the ballgame. The key was a second quarter where L.A. only allowed the Fever (12-14) to score eight points holding Indiana to  4-for-14 from the floor – a 29% shooting clip – while the Sparks shot 59% in the frame hitting 7-of-12 from the field registering 20 points and grabbing a 35-31 halftime lead.

Nine-time WNBA all-star and three-time Olympic Gold medalist Tameka Catchings led Indiana with 16 points in the loss. Erlana Larkins registered a double-double in a losing effort with 10 points and 10 boards.

The Sparks got great efforts from all their starters. Guard Alana Beard registered 17 points to go along with seven rebounds and six assists. Jantel Lavender added 13 points. Kristi Tolliver had 10 and Armentie Harrington – getting the start in place of Parker – finished with nine and 10 rebounds.

 

The Sparks currently hold the fourth and final playoff spot in the western conference with eight games remaining in the regular season. if the season ended today they’d have a first-round match-up with Britney Griner and the west’s top team – the Phoenix Mercury – who have won all three regular season games against L.A. so far.

Barring a severely sore left knee, Parker will be back in the line-up Tuesday night when they head to the Valley of the Sun for the final regular season game with Griner and the Mercury. A win in that final match-up in Phoenix would give L.A. its second three-game win streak of the season and go a long way confidence-wise heading into a playoff series against the Mercury.

Tip-off is set for 7pm in Phoenix.

 

 

Candace Parker out with left knee strain. L.A. Sparks host Indiana Fever tonight.

•July 28, 2014 • Leave a Comment

LOS ANGELES – Clinging to the 4th and final playoff spot in the WNBA Western Conference the L.A. Sparks (11-14) host the Indiana Fever (12-13) tonight at Staples Center.

Sparks leader Candace Parker is on the bench with a left knee strain against the Indiana Fever tonight at Staples Center.

Sparks leader Candace Parker is on the bench with a left knee strain against the Indiana Fever tonight at Staples Center.

They’ll have to end a five-game home losing streak without the services of defending league MVP and Sparks leading scorer Candace Parker who is out with a left knee strain that’s been nagging her since the All-Star break two weeks ago.

The Sparks will be wearing pink uniforms for Breast Cancer Awareness and Health Night.

Since Carol Ross was relieved of her coaching duties July 20th and replaced by Vice President and GM Penny Toler, the Sparks have lost tow of three finally getting into that win column with a 77-69 win in Seattle over the Storm for their 4th straight road win.

One of those four straight road wins came in Indianapolis with the Sparks recording 86-78 win over the Fever.

Parker registered a season-high 34 points in the win, her 11th career 30+ point regular season game.

In those four wins the Sparks have held the opposition to ten or less points during second-half quarter holding the Liberty to just four in the 4th quarter of a 68-54 win in New York. The Sparks held the Connecticut Sun and Seattle Storm to 10 third quarter points and the Fever to 10 fourth quarter points

Sparks guard Kristi Tolliver knocked down three three-pointers on her way to 22 points in the win at Indiana.

When Tolliver hits two or more three-pointers the Sparks are 5-4.

With nine games left in the regular season, Los Angeles holds a two-and-a-half game lead over the Tulsa Shock for the 4th and final playoff spot.

The Fever are led by nine-time WNBA All-Star and three-time Olympic Gold Medalist Tameka Catchings. She’s the league’s active career leader in rebounds, steals, free throws and double-doubles. Catchings is second among active leaders in scoring and block shots.

Through the last eight games Catchings is averaging 16 points and seven rebounds notching 20 points in five of those eight games. Indiana’s coming off of a 75-68 win over the Silver Stars in San Antonio Friday night.

Tip-off for tonight’s game is set for 7:40.

AFL: Turnovers, miscues plague LA KISS. Spokane Shock win, 64-46.

•June 28, 2014 • Leave a Comment
It's a rock 'n roll party at L.A. KISS AFL football games at Honda Center in Anaheim, CA.

It’s a rock ‘n roll party at L.A. KISS AFL football games at Honda Center in Anaheim, CA.

ANAHEIM, CA – The expansion L.A. KISS have changed players, held an open tryout and tried everything you can to produce wins in their inaugural season but turnovers and miscues continue to plague Los Angeles.

That was the case in Saturday’s 64-46 loss to the Spokane Shock in front of more than 11,000 fans at Honda Center.

The game was close in the first quarter. Quarterback Aaron Garcia threw two touchdown passes in the frame. The first an 11 yard hook-up with Brandon Thompkins tying the game at 7-apiece.

Then after an 11 yard TD connection from Erik Meyer to Rashard Carter put the Shock (8-7) back on top at 14-7, Garcia found Donovan Morgan over the middle for a 29 yard score. Kenny Spencer missed the extra point and the KISS trailed 14-13 after one.

Los Angeles (3-11) was shutout in the second quarter. In the meantime, Meyer – who completed 23 of 34 passes for 214 yards and six touchdowns – got one of them on a 17 yard hook-up with Carter again making it 21-13, Spokane.

On the ensuing drive Garcia was picked off Terrance Sanders resulting in another Shock touchdown.

When the KISS got the ball back, Garcia was driving them towards the Spokane endzone. On second and seven from the Shock 20, Garcia went back to pass and was hit by Paul Stephens – HARD. And according to head coach Bob McMillen Garcia was hit late.

Stephens wasn’t ejected from the game to McMillen’s displeasure. The team is planning to file a complaint with the league office for action against Stephens. To hear from coach McMillen and Garcia about the hit, click on the video with this story.

Garcia was down on the carpet for about five minutes with numbness in his shoulders. He regained feeling and was helped off the field replaced by Kenny Guiton (completed 5 of 9 passes, 82 yards, 2 TDs one INT) for the remainder of the drive and was unable to get six.

Garcia (16 or 25, 203 yards, 3 TDs, one INT), who was also sacked three times, came back just before halftime thaqt saw the Shock hit intermission with a 35-13 lead.

Los Angeles was forced to play catch-up which shortens an already short field for the opposition making it too difficult to come back.

The KISS host San Jose on Sunday, July 6th. Los Angeles lost the first two meetings against the SaberCats this season. Kick-off at Honda Center is set for 5pm.

2014 NBA Draft: L.A. Clippers select Washington sharp-shooter C.J. Wilcox with 28th pick.

•June 26, 2014 • Leave a Comment
Ex-Washington Huskie C.J. Wilcox is the newest L.A. Clipper. courtesy: NBAdraftblog.com

Ex-Washington Huskie C.J. Wilcox is the newest L.A. Clipper.
courtesy: NBAdraftblog.com

PLAYA VISTA, CA – Los Angeles Clippers head coach Doc Rivers – according to NBA pundits needing some front court help to spell Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan – went against the grain picking University of Washington sharp-shooter C.J. Wilcox with the 28th overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft.

Wilson – a 6’5” guard from Pleasant Grove, Utah – set the Huskies career record for 3-pointers with 301 during his senior year in Seattle. He’s one of just 3 players in PAC-12 history with 1800 points, 275 made 3-pointers and 400 rebounds over a four-year college career.

 “I just think shooting is a premium in our league,” said Rivers addressing the media after the selection. He added, “The more you have it (shooting) the better for us.”

The Clippers were near the bottom in the league in 3-point shooting last season which was brought up in the selection of Wilson who’s been compared to Miami Heat 3-point sniper Ray Allen.

“We were last in three’s but we led the league in scoring,” Rivers reminded everyone. “So, we’re not going to care where it came from as long as you’re scoring and you’re efficient, you’re pretty good.”

To hear more from Doc Rivers and C.J. Wilson during his conference call, click on the video with this story.

The Cleveland Cavaliers picking first overall for the second straight year choose Kansas’ Andrew Wiggins. Milwaukee selected Duke forward Jabari Parker with the second pick and the Philadelphia 76ers rolled the dice tabbing oft-injured Kansas center Joel Embiid with the third overall pick.

The Los Angeles Lakers added what some think was a top-5 prospect with 6’9” forward Julius Randle out of Kentucky with the 7th overall pick.

For the first time since 1979, three UCLA Bruins were drafted in the first round. Reserve guard Zach LaVine was chosen by the Minnesota Timberwolves with the 13th overall pick. Guard Jordan Adams was taken by the Memphis Grizzlies with the 22nd pick. The rich get richer as the newly crowned World Champion San Antonio Spurs took Kyle Anderson with the 30th overall pick.

WNBA: Sparks end 4-game losing streak. Beat Tulsa Shock, 87-77.

•June 19, 2014 • Leave a Comment
Sparks beat Tulsa, 87-77.

Sparks beat Tulsa, 87-77.

LOS ANGELES – Talk about June Gloom, and I certainly don’t mean the weather.

The Los Angeles Sparks have been in a free fall ever since the calendar turned to June losing 7-of-8 including the last four coming into Thursday night’s game against the Tulsa Shock at Staples Center.

A nice ray of sunshine for the Sparks who were led by Candace Parker’s game-high 24 points halting that losing skid beating Tulsa, 87-77.

The defense sparked the Sparks as they turned 15 Shock turnovers into 13 points with most of them coming in a first quarter that saw Los Angeles pull away early and never look back.

“We played well in the first couple of minutes of the game.” Said Parker who also grabbed 7 rebounds and dished out 6 assists. “It got us off to a good start. Got some easy buckets. Got some stops. I think that was the key.”

After Tulsa took the opening tip Jantel Lavender stole the ball pushing it forward to Parker for the 2-0 lead.

 

Candace Parker led everyone with 24 points in L.A.'s 87-77 win over Tulda.

Candace Parker led everyone with 24 points in L.A.’s 87-77 win over Tulsa.

Leading 19-10, Armentie Herrington got in on the thievery and pushed it to Alana Beard who got the hoop and the hack scoring three of her 20 points putting L.A. up by 12.

“We knew that we needed to come out and jump on them defensively,” said Lavender who registered a double-double with 18 points and 13 rebounds. “We knew if we handled them on the defensive end our offense would flow. We were making the extra passes and got into an offensive rhythm early in the game.”

Lindsey Harding added 18 for the Sparks who widened their lead to 23 in the third quarter.

Nneka Ogwumike was held to just two points and left the game in the third after getting stuck by an elbow in the nose. She immediately went to the locker room where x-rays taken were negative. Diagnosed with a severe bruise she’ll be evaluated later in the week.

The win improves the Sparks’ record to 4-7. Los Angeles plays host to the San Antonio Silver Stars Sunday afternoon at Staples Center. The Sparks were trounced in San Antonio last weekend, 101-74. Sunday’s tip-off is set for 12:30pm PDT.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kershaw goes 8 innings striking out 9. Dodgers beat White Sox, 5-2.

•June 2, 2014 • Leave a Comment
Cuban phenoms Jose Abreu (left) of the Chicago White sox and Yasiel Puig (right) of the Dodgers meet in a 3-game inter-league series at Dodger Stadium. Dodgers took the opener Monday, 5-2.

Cuban phenoms Jose Abreu (left) of the Chicago White sox and Yasiel Puig (right) of the Dodgers meet in a 3-game inter-league series at Dodger Stadium. Dodgers took the opener Monday, 5-2.

LOS ANGELES – Save for a couple of fat pitches in the 4th inning that were letter-high, Dodgers’ ace Clayton Kershaw pitched a superior 8 innings allowing just 2 runs on 4 hits striking out 9 as Los Angeles opened a 3-game inter-league series with a 5-2 win over the Chicago White Sox at Dodger Stadium Monday night.

After getting the first 10 White Sox batters out, Kershaw (4-2) gave up a single to Gordon Beckham who found right-center to get on base. The next batter was Jose Abreu – the “other” Cuban phenom – who crushed a 2-run home run to left field (16) right after being taken off the disabled list.

The White Sox led 2-0 with their starter – Jose Quintana – pitching as well as Kershaw but becoming the victim of a couple of fielding errors in the 6th inning that saw 10 Dodger batters come to the plate with Kershaw starting and endng the frame at the dish, plating 5 unearned runs for the Dodgers and that would be it.

To see Clayton Kershaw’s post game interview, click on the video with this story.

The hard-luck Quintana got the loss for Chicago pitching 6 innings, allowing 6 hits and 5 unearned runs. He struck out 5 Dodger batters.

The Dodgers improve to 31-28 while the White Sox fall to 29-30. Game 2 of the series is Tuesday back at Dodger Stadium with Chicago’s Hector Noesi (0-3, 4.33 ERA) facing the Dodgers’ Dan Haren (5-3, 3.28 ERA). First pitch is set for 7:10pm PDT.

“The Wild Horse” celebrates a year with the Dodgers.

•June 2, 2014 • Leave a Comment
Yasiel Puig's carried a big stick for the Dodgers since his call-up to the majors on June 3rd, 2013.

Yasiel Puig’s carried a big stick for the Dodgers since his call-up to the majors on June 3rd, 2013.

LOS ANGELES – My how time flies. The Cuban phenom Dodgers’ hall-of-fame broadcaster Vin Scully likes to call “The Wild Horse” is celebrating his first anniversary in the majors with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

It’s been a whirlwind year for Yasiel Puig who blasted onto the scene last year on June 3rd infusing a dose of life into a Dodgers team that was lifeless floundering in last place in the N.L. West with a 23-32 record 8-and-a-half games behind the then first place Arizona Diamondbacks when he was called up from double-A Chattanooga the day before.

To read the rest of the story and see the video, please click here.

 
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