For all-star forward Blake Griffin and the rest of his Los Angeles Clippers teammates, Thursday night’s 123-84 blowout of the visiting Brooklyn Nets at Staples Center paled in comparison to the news earlier in the day that Griffin was voted a starter in next month’s All-Star Game extravaganza at Madison Square Garden in New York. At the moment, he’s the best physical entertainer in the entertainment capital of the world – Los Angeles.
Being voted to his fifth all-star game by the fans, Griffin showed his appreciation leading all scorers with 24 points in just over 24 minutes of play breaking out an arsenal that included jumpers as well as his signature high-flying dunks.
Griffin received 700,615 fan votes giving the Clippers leading scorer his fourth-straight start for the Western Conference. Joining him as a starter are Lakers guard Kobe Bryant – who likely will be replaced after suffering a torn rotator cuff in his right shoulder, Memphis center Marc Gasol, Anthony Davis of the New Orleans Pelicans and Steph Curry of the Golden State Warriors.
“It is a great honor to make the All-Star team,” Griffin said. “I want to thank all of the fans who voted for me as a starter. I am excited to represent the Clippers and Los Angeles in New York City next month.”
To hear more from Griffin on being named a starter for the West in the 64th All-Star Game next month, click on the video with this story.
Currently eighth in the league in scoring, Griffin leads the Clippers averaging 23 points per game. He also pulls down 7.5 rebounds per contest and a career-high five assists. He’s the only player in the NBA who can boast about such numbers he’s averaging in those three categories this season.
Griffin led five Clippers (29-14) in double figure scoring in Thursday’s blowout over the Nets (18-25). Center DeAndre Jordan worked another double-double with 14 points and 12 boards. J.J. Redick and Jamal Crawford each poured in 17 and Glen “Big Baby” Davis joined Crawford off the bench adding ten.
Perennial all-star Chris Paul dished out 17 assists in under 25 minutes, scoring just six points in the end. He and his head coach Doc Rivers are just two of three NBA players that can say that.
“It’s a huge honor to join Doc Rivers in any statistical category,” said Paul who’ll have to wait to be added to the All-Star team by the coaches. “Doc was maybe a lot better than most of us thought he was (laughter).”
“I did notice that,” said Rivers when asked if he noticed that particular stat. He added, “I welcomed Chris to the club. He though it was a big deal until he saw my name up there, and that went away.”
Los Angeles trailed early by three at 17-14 in the first to the Nets who played without injured starters Kevin Garnett and Deron Williams. After that it was all Clippers who led by as many as 46 points.
The Clippers are in Phoenix Sunday afternoon to take on the Suns and return home Monday hosting the Denver Nuggets in the second game of a back-to-back.
With the game’s slogan being For the players By the players many current and former members of the National Football League Players Association are here to help mentor the draft-eligible players trying to impress the many NFL – and CFL – scouts eyeing the new talent from the stands.
The coaching staffs of both teams include former players and coaches with local Los Angeles NFL ties. Let’s not forget the Rams called L.A. home for 49 years prior to their move to St. Louis in 1994 and the Raiders had a “cup of coffee” playing at the Coliseum for 13 seasons prior to moving back to Oakland in 1994 as well.
Convenient because it appears Los Angeles’ exile from the NFL is just about done with talks the Rams could be moving back as early as this coming season but with 2016 a more realistic targetdate.
The American Conference team is coached by Super Bowl champion Mike Holmgren. Included on his staff for the game are ex-L.A. Rams safety Nolan Cromwell as well as ex-L.A. Rams assistant coach Gil Haskell.
The National Conference team is coached by former St. Louis Rams head coach and assistant Mike Martz. His staff includes former L.A. Rams Jackie Slater and Keith Lyle who also played in St. Louis. Ex-St. Louis Rams Az-Zahir Hakim and Jeff Zgonina are also on his staff.
Milling through the stadium as scouts and mentors the list includes Ex-L.A. Rams running back Lawrence McCutcheon, current Rams running back Tre Mason as well as Rams defensive coordinator Gregg Williams.
Of course the hot topic this week besides the game is the possible Rams move back to Los Angeles. I was able to ask some of these current and former Rams about a possible move. To hear what they had to say click on the video with this story.
Kickoff for Saturday’s 4th Annual NFLPA Collegiate Bowl is set for 1pm PST, 4pm EST. If you’re not attending the game you can watch t on ESPN2. Plenty of tickets are available and can be bought at the StubHub Center ticket office as well as on-line at collegiate.nflpa.com/ticketsandgear. Group discounts as well as discounts for the military are available.
The L.A. City’s Division 2 top-seed Hamilton Yankees will host the eight-seed Lincoln Tigers tonight in a quarter final football playoff match-up at Hamilton High School.
The Yankees (8-3) opened the playoffs last week at Al Michaels Field on the Hamilton campus by taking down the Reseda-Cleveland Cavaliers, 27-8. They are undefeated at home improving to 7-0 with the first round win.
The Western League Champion Yankees – who won their first league title since 1980 – were led by quarterback Armani Rogers. The 6’ 5” junior passed for 271 yards and two touchdowns in the win. He was also picked off twice in the contest.
A furious three-minute, three touchdown scoring barrage by Hamilton erased a slow, jittery start to the game by the Yankees.
Trailing the Cavs 8-7 late in the second quarter, Hamilton would score on its next three possessions. The Yankees put together a drive that was capped off by a four-yard touchdown run by senior Kyshawn Richards. That gave Hamilton a 13-8 lead after a missed extra point with about 2:30 left in the first half. The Yankees never looked back.
Hamilton’s defense was able to force Cleveland to a three-and-out on the ensuing drive. After a short Cavalier punt, the Yankees got the ball first-and-ten at the Cleveland 37.
Hamilton wasted little time from there. Rogers went up top on first down finding senior Kyree Wallace for the touchdown just inside the right, goal-line pylon. The extra point gave the Yankees a 20-7 lead going into halftime.
Hamilton received the second half kickoff and put the game away. Senor Russell Shaw took the opening kickoff and worked the reverse handing the ball to senior Jericho Flowers. He took off and raced down the right sideline for an 83 yard touchdown giving Hamilton the 27-8 lead and that was that.
For hi-lites of the game and post game interviews, click on the video.
The Lincoln Tigers (7-4) enter tonight’s contest after beating Granada Hills in last week’s playoff opener, 42-35. Hamilton’s football field doesn’t have lights so the school will bring in portable lights for the 7pm kickoff.
Last time Hamilton hosted a playoff game under portable lights was five years ago. The Yankees went on to win their first ever city championship taking the title in 2009.
The winner advances to next week’s semi-finals and will take on the winner of the other quarter final match-up between South Gate and University high school.
This is the third early season test for the Clippers against one of the NBA‘s elite teams. L.A, lost the first two to Golden State and the defending champion San Antonio Spurs.
Coming off of a 99-90 loss to Indiana the Bulls (7-3) will be without guard Derrick Rose who is doubtful for the second straight game due to a hamstring injury. Due to the well-documented knee injuries the Clippers ( haven’t gone up against Rose since December 2011. Rose has averaged 31 points and 12 assists in his last three games against the Clippers.
Without him in the line-up Chicago’s a much different team relying on that front line of Joakim Noah and newly acquired big man and former L.A. Laker Pau Gasol.
Gasol has had a rebirth of sorts with the Bulls after the last three seasons with the Lakers where he felt unappreciated being included in many different trade proposals. The Spaniard is averaging 19 points, 12 assists and three blocked shots.
Unfortunately for the L.A. basketball fans, they’ll have to wait to catch Gasol in his bright red Bulls uniform. The two-time NBA champion with the Lakers was a late scratch because of a calf strain suffered in the loss to Indiana.
“It just felt sore and it was like tight.”” said Gasol prior to tonight’s game. “I was able to finish the game anyway. Limited but finished. It just didn’t recover quickly.”
Gasol went through shoot-around this morning at UCLA in hopes of playing tonight against the Clippers but the muscle cramped up and was even more sore.
“I really wanted to play this team (Clippers) badly.”
His next visit to Staples Center is January 29th when the Bulls will take on his former team, the Lakers.
The Clippers (5-3) are coming off of a 120-107 win over the Phoenix Suns at Staples Center which saw them play their best game of the season thus far.
Los Angeles is led by its “Big 3” of point guard Chris Paul (18 pts, 10 asst per game), forward Blake Griffin (24 pts, 7 rebs, 4 assts) and center DeAndre Jordan (9 pts, 12 rebs, 3 blks).
Jordan, who is playing in his 248th consecutive game, had 18 rebounds to go along with 12 points and seven blocks in Saturday’s win over Phoenix.
“D.J. is one of those guys that thankfully doesn’t miss games,” said Paul. “I almost couldn’t imagine him not out there, because he covers so much on the defensive end.”
To hear from Jordan and top Clippers reserve Jamal Crawford on tonight’s game and going up against a rejuvenated Pau Gasol click on the video with this story.
While there, Bateman spoke with British fans he discovered enjoy American football immensely but think the idea of putting a team in London permanently is a silly one.
I agree with the Brits. If a team is moved or an expansion team is awarded to London, would the league’s name be changed to the International Football League?
“Part of the appeal to the Brits is that each (International Series) game showcases different teams” said Bateman who added, “The NFL in the UK is a spectacle as much as it is a sport. Probably more so.”
He also discovered an NFL game represents everything the British love about America.
According to Bateman the Brits love the fact that we’re a show off nation.
Really, no sport or league shows off more than the NFL.
“It’s flashy, spectacular, the uniforms, the helmets, the cheerleaders, the endzone celebrations, the sack dances, all of that.” Said Bateman continuing, “But as a sport, to the Brits it can’t hold a candle to soccer or as they refer to it, real football.”
An 18-game schedule is something the Players’ Union isn’t too keen on for player safety and the extra two games don’t increase the players’ salaries.
What about a little compromise for all parties involved so the 32 team owners, the players and Britain’s annual economy can capitalize on the projected $255 million the NFL stands to generate should it have a permanent presence in London.
Since the Brits enjoy seeing different teams play each International Series game and the logistics of having a permanent team call London home seem a bit difficult to iron out, let’s give the Brits what they want.
At the same time, let’s expand the regular season from 16 to 17 regular season games with the extra game for each team played each week at Wembley Stadium in London.
So what if it’s an odd number schedule. Only thing affected is a team finishing .500 which isn’t a huge deal in the grand playoff scheme of things.
This way, only teams with winning records would qualify for the postseason.
You’ve added a game while having an entire regular season schedule – 16 weeks – in London with the Brits seeing all 32 NFL teams in different match ups each game and year.
It becomes a “pseudo Super Bowl” each week in London because the logistics time wise of having the Super Bowl in London – which has been discussed – just won’t work for NFL fans in the States who want to see the biggest game and spectacle on U.S. soil and rightfully so.
After all, it is America’s Game. Somewhere all 32 teams need to always call home.
If one were rating high school homecoming games on a scale of one to 10, last week’s at Hamilton High School would be off the charts rating an 11.
Led by six foot, six inch junior quarterback Armani Rogers, The Hamilton Yankees destroyed the crosstown rival Fairfax Lions, 45-0 at Al Michaels Field.
The play-by-play announcer for NBC’s Sunday Night Football telecasts is a Hamilton alumnus.
It was the Western League opener for both schools.
Rogers torched the Lions for over 250 yards through the air completing four touchdown passes and running for another.
Rogers is reminiscent of NFL Hall-of-Fame quarterback and Hamilton alum, Warren Moon. Moon went to Hamilton during the Nixon administration as did his agent and best friend, Leigh Steinberg.
Senior linebacker Anthonee Parker intercepted a Fairfax pass for a touchdown, returned a punt inside the Lions’ five yard line that led to another score and had numerous tackles including at least two quarterback sacks recorded on video.
Speaking of Hamilton linebackers, Oakland Raider and Super Bowl XV MVP Rod Martin is an alumnus having played with Moon during the Watergate years.
Senior wide outs Russell Shaw, Jericho Flowers and Trent Sadler caught the touchdowns with Shaw snaring two. Sadler also intercepted a pass.
Speaking of Hamilton wide outs New York Giants Super Bowl champion Stephen Baker The Touchdown Makeris an alumnus as well playing there in the early ’80s.
Junior tailback Malik Norman easily ran through the Lions defense for 100 yards like they were kittens.
With the win Hamilton evened its overall season mark at 3-3 with a 1-0 record in the Western League.
To hear from Hamilton head coach Ernest King on the Homecoming win, click on the video below.
Later this afternoon, they’ll host another crosstown rival – the University Wildcats – for first place in league.
“There is no deal until there is a deal but Inglewood is well equipped for an NFLstadium.”
That’s the message mayor James T. Butts gave an overflow crowd of some 500 residents at a town hall meeting this past weekend, most of whom would like to lure an NFL team to what is known as the City of Champions – Inglewood, CA.
“We have the largest single continuous block of land in Southern California and there is interest in development of some type,” said Butts referring to St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke.
Hollywood Park Tomorrow is part of an almost 300-acre plot of land ready for development with ample parking.
There’s talk that Kroenke could eventually buy more land from the developers of the Hollywood Park Tomorrow project who might consider selling some of those 238 total acres.
“Inglewood is the only city that an NFL owner owns land in and we are very well situated,” explained Butts who was elected Mayor in 2011. “Inglewood is at the center of four major freeways (405 to the west, 105 to the south, 110 to the east and the 10 to the north) and is a mile-and-a-half fromLos Angeles International Airport.”
Inglewood is known as the City of Champions because of the racetrack, which opened in 1938 and had a 75-year run until it closed last year; the Fabulous Forum which opened in 1967 with its main tenants being the Los Angeles Lakers – who won six NBA Championships while calling Inglewood home until the team moved to Staples Center in downtown L.A. prior to the 1999-2000 season – and the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings who moved to Staples Center along with the Lakers.
Having been without a major professional sports franchise going on 15 years and counting, and with the closing of the racetrack last year, Mayor Butts and the residents of Inglewood – which number more than 110,000 people – would like nothing better than to be the home of L.A.’s NFL team as part of the city’s revitalization and keep that City of Champions moniker.
While all the residents are in favor of bringing the NFL to Inglewood some don’t want the traffic a team and football games would bring.
“It’s just 10 games a year,” said Butts not figuring in possible playoff games, possible college bowl games and the big prize – Super Bowls. He continued, “With any kind of development comes traffic and money. If you don’t want the traffic, you don’t want the money. You can’t have one without the other.”
The newly remodeled Fabulous Forum – owned by MSG Entertainment – is home to world class concerts.
Naming some of the restaurants in Inglewood, Mayor Butts, who spent two decades as an officer in the Inglewood Police Department, explained:
“When the Forum holds major events receipts are doubled and even tripled because of the traffic the events bring.”
While Butts told me he hasn’t spoken to the NFL or Kroenke about a stadium, when the billionaire owner of an NFL team buys 60 acres of prime developmental real estate in the middle of your city, you’re going to have discussions about what he plans to do with it.
To hear more of my interview with Mayor Butts click on the video with this article.
Los Angeles – the second largest media market in the country with more than 18 million residents and includes Ventura County to the north, Orange County to the south, the Pacific Ocean to the west, the Inland Empire to the east, and everything in between – has been without an NFL team since both the Rams and Raiders left after the 1994 season.
Many stadium proposals have come and gone over the past two decades in an attempt to bring the NFL back to the City of Angels. None more prominent than AEG’s Farmers Field proposal, which was to be financed privately by AEG in downtown L.A. in conjunction with the remodel of the Convention Center.
AEG won’t spend the almost $2 billion price tag to build the stadium without an agreement from any of the NFL team owners looking for better digs in return for a significant percentage of a team.
When I asked an AEG representative – who chose not to be identified – his thoughts on Kroenke’s purchase of 60 acres in Inglewood this is what he told me:
“Farmers Field is still the best option. We don’t think asking for 30 to 40 percent ownership of a team is too much to ask for in return for a new stadium we’re paying for out of our pocket.”
A third of a team for a stadium is a price tag none of the 32 owners is willing to pay.
And the clock is ticking because the deal between the City of Los Angeles and AEG to build Farmers Field expires in October of this year. If AEG doesn’t file for an extension by October 18th, Farmers Field is essentially dead.
Considering NFL officials have always toyed with the idea of building a Hall-of-Fame West and a stadium-site NFL Network studio, Los Angeles, home to Hollywood – the Entertainment Capital of the World – as well as Inglewood, is destined to be home to an NFL team sooner rather than later.
In a sixth inning that saw Arizona starter Trevor Cahill’s dreams of a no-hitter dashed by Dodger bats,Adrian Gonzalez hit his first of two, 3-run home runs leading Los Angeles (81-62) to a three-game sweep of the Arizona Diamondbacks (59-84) taking the series finale, 7-2.
For Gonzalez his pair of three-run jacks was his 16th career multi-homer game and tied his career-high for RBIs in a game. Ironically, the last time he collected six ribbies in a game came against the Dodgers as a member of the San Diego Padres in May of 2010.
His first home run in the sixth went straight-away over the center field fence measuring 442 feet. His second came in the following inning into left and was followed immediately by a Matt Kemp solo home run giving Los Angeles back-to-back homers.
“Gonzo’s three-run homers were huge,” said Dodgers’ manager Don Mattingly. “The first one gives us the lead and the second one allows us to catch our breath.”
This was the sixth multi-homer game for a Dodgers player this season and it’s the third time the Dodgers have gone back-to-back this year.
The two home runs for Gonzalez were numbers 21 and 22 on the season for the first baseman. His six RBIs on the day put him at 100 for the season giving him five consecutive 20 or more home runs and 100 or more RBI seasons and his seventh overall.
“A-Gone” hit his third round-tripper in two days. He hit a two-run home run in Saturday night’s 5-2 Dodgers win over the D’Backs.
Matt Kemp’s home run was his 19th of the season and extended his hitting streak to 13 games. For those 13 game’s Kemp is batting .346 with five doubles, four homers and 12 RBIs.
To hear post game comments from Gonzalez and Kemp, click on the video with this article.
Zack Greinke picked up the win improving to 14-8 overall for Los Angeles going six innings, allowing six hits, two runs and striking out four Diamondbacks.
Cahill suffered the loss (3-11) but was rolling through five frames until the sixth when everything fell apart with one out.
Pending the outcome of Sunday night’s Giants-Detroit Tigers game Los Angeles could find itself three games ahead of San Francisco for first place in the N.L. West and no worse than two up. The Dodgers begin a three-game series Monday night when they welcome the San Diego Padres to Dodger Stadium.
The sense of urgency the Los Angeles Dodgers are feeling with three weeks left in the regular season is an absolute real one.
That’s because their lead was just two games ahead of the rival San Francisco Giants in the N.L. West prior to Saturday’s action and with the G-Men beating the Detroit Tigers, 5-4 earlier in the day, the Dodgers faced a must-win situation hosting the second of a three-game set against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
The Dodgers are feeling the heat and continue to cook.
Adrian Gonzalez hit his 20th homerun of the season in the first inning with a runner on and Dee Gordon drove in the winning run on a two-out rbi single in the 8th as Los Angeles forged a 5-2 win over Arizona and stays two games up on the Giants.
Starter Hyun-Jin Ryu kept Arizona off the board through six innings, including in the second when the first three batters got aboard.
With the bases loaded and no one out, Ryu got Nolan Reimold to strike out. Carl Crawford made a diving catch in left for the second out robbing Tuffy Gosewich of some rbis. Then Ryu got Chase Anderson to strike out on a foul tip.
Threat averted and Ryu was sailing until he surrendered to runs in the top of the seventh tying the score at two-apiece.
The bullpen held and the Dodgers broke through in the eighth for three more runs including the game-winner from Dee Gordon who drove in one of the “September call-ups” – Roger Bernadina making his debut as a pinch-runner for the 3-2 lead.
Reliever Brian Wilson got the win while closer Kenley Jansen recorded his 41st save.
The finale of the three-game set is Sunday at 1pm.
Prior to tonight’s game against the Arizona Diamondbacks, Los Angeles Dodgers right-handed pitcher Josh Beckett confirmed he’s done pitching this season due to a torn labrum in his left hip that’s kept him sidelined since August 4th and is considering retirement.
A free agent at season’s end, Beckett had been working his best year since 2011 with the Boston Red Sox. The 34 year-old, who won World Series Championships with the BoSox and Florida Marlins, has started 20 games this season going 6-6 with a 2.88 ERA. He’s pitched 115 and two-thirds innings striking out 107.
Beckett recorded his first career no-hitter blanking thePhillies in Philadelphia back on May 25th which hi-lighted a solid first half of the season after missing most of last year with Thoracic Outlet Syndrome.
Dodgers’ manager Don Mattingly spoke with the media prior to Friday night’s game at Chavez Ravine against Arizona and addressed the situation with Beckett. Click on the video with this article to hear what Mattingly had to say.