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The Sports Report: LeBron James takes over to seal Lakers' win

Howdy, I’m your host, Iliana Limón Romero, filling in for Houston Mitchell, who is probably calculating how many Dodger Dogs he reasonably should eat this season. Let’s get right to the news.

From Dan Woike: The Brooklyn Nets had just cut the Lakers’ lead to single digits, erasing three quarters of mostly forgettable basketball by the home team with a quick run against the second unit.

Momentum had swung, the Lakers’ once 26-point lead down to only eight.

But LeBron James had more than the ball in his hands. He had the rope, and the NBA’s all-time leading scorer can still swing momentum back in a blink.

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James made a three-pointer and then another, two of his nine threes in the game, calmly jogging back like a player who knew danger had been avoided.

“The long ball in our game is definitely a momentum-shifter,” James said.

James finished with 40 points — scoring 17 in the fourth — as the Lakers beat Brooklyn 116-104. It’s the team’s 42nd win this season, assuring that they’ll finish with a winning record.

For James, it was a career night — the nine threes tying the most he’s ever had in a game. He missed only one attempt from deep, hitting shots in the fourth that had escalating degrees of difficulty.

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Lakers-Nets box score

NBA scores

NBA standings

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CLIPPERS

Clippers forward Paul George (13) drives into Charlotte Hornets center Nick Richards, left, as forward Brandon Miller looks on Sunday in Charlotte, N.C.

(Nell Redmond / Associated Press)

From the Associated Press: Paul George knocked down eight three-pointers and finished with a season-high 41 points, leading the Clippers to a 130-118 over the Charlotte Hornets on Sunday for their fifth straight road win.

George made 14 of 21 shots from the field and eight of 12 from beyond the arc to help the Clippers beat the Hornets for the 12th consecutive time.

Ivica Zubac had 24 points and 12 rebounds while Kawhi Leonard chipped in with 23 points for the Clippers (47-27).

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Clippers-Hornets box score

DODGERS

Dodgers third baseman Max Muncy celebrates after hitting a two-run home run

Dodgers third baseman Max Muncy celebrates after hitting a two-run home run during the eighth inning of a 5-4 win over the St. Louis Cardinals at Dodger Stadium on Sunday.

(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

From Bill Shaikin: The home run might be on its way out. The commissioner’s office might prefer more stolen bases, more doubles, more racing around the bases and less trotting.

Tell it to another team. The Dodgers lead the major leagues in home runs one week into this season, and they hit two more in one inning Sunday, transforming what would have been a sloppy and dispiriting defeat into a dramatic 5-4 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals at Dodger Stadium.

The Dodgers were five outs from defeat, five outs from a .500 start to perhaps the most anticipated season in team history, when Teoscar Hernández and Max Muncy homered in the eighth inning.

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MORE DODGERS:

Motivated by move to shortstop, Dodgers veteran Mookie Betts is on a tear

Hernández: Forget the loss. Dodgers starter Yoshinobu Yamamoto proves he can pitch in MLB

MLB SCORES AND MORE:

Dodgers-Cardinals box score

MLB scores

MLB standings

USC BASKETBALL

USC guard JuJu Watkins poses for a photo with a fan after the Sweet 16 win over Baylor on March 30, 2024.

USC guard JuJu Watkins poses for a photo with a fan after the Sweet 16 win over Baylor on Saturday. Up next is a matchup against Paige Bueckers and UConn.

(Jenny Kane / Associated Press)

From Thuc Nhi Nguyen: It’s the star-studded matchup TV executives dreamed about. Paige Bueckers, Connecticut’s senior star, against USC’s freshman phenom JuJu Watkins. The headliners will surely help obliterate any women’s basketball TV ratings records during Monday’s Elite Eight contest. Yet a different matchup will decide who advances to the Final Four.

“It’s USC vs. UConn,” Connecticut head coach Geno Auriemma said, “not Paige vs. JuJu.”

Watkins’ top-seeded Trojans face No. 3 Connecticut at 6 p.m. PDT (ESPN) in the Portland 3 Regional final on Monday at Moda Center in a potential changing of the guard in women’s basketball. Since USC last made the Elite Eight in 1994, the Huskies have won 11 national championships to rise as the dominant power that was a magnet for almost every top recruit.

The stars just aren’t aligning in Storrs, Conn., as they had. Monday’s Elite Eight games will feature four of the sports biggest names, all playing on different teams. Iowa’s Caitlin Clark faces Louisiana State and Angel Reese in the Albany 2 Regional final that is a rematch of last year’s national championship game that drew nearly 10 million viewers. The winner advances to play Watkins’ Trojans or Buecker’s Huskies in the Final Four in Cleveland on Friday.

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UCLA BASKETBALL

UCLA players react on the bench during the fourth quarter of their Sweet Sixteen loss to LSU Saturday in Albany, N.Y.

UCLA players react on the bench during the fourth quarter of their Sweet 16 loss to LSU on Saturday in Albany, N.Y.

(Mary Altaffer / Associated Press)

From Ben Bolch: Whenever she wants to pass on a workout, give in to the urge to linger on the couch instead of going to the gym to take more shots, Gabriela Jaquez will revisit the way she felt amid the hush of UCLA’s locker room inside MVP Arena.

The pain. The disappointment. The anguish at not getting it done for the teammates who won’t be back.

“When I’m feeling lazy at times, think about this because I don’t want to be here again, I don’t like losing,” Jaquez said after the Bruins’ season ended Saturday with a 78-69 loss to Louisiana State in a semifinal of the Albany 2 Regional of the NCAA women’s basketball tournament. “I think I just need to get better in the offseason and keep working.”

Improvement was a theme sounded by players and coach Cori Close alike after UCLA lost during the NCAA tournament’s second weekend. The Bruins have reached the Sweet 16 five times under Close, with an additional trip to the Elite Eight in 2018.

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ANGELS

Angels starting pitcher Reid Detmers delivers a pitch from the mound

Angels starting pitcher Reid Detmers delivers against the Baltimore Orioles during the first inning of the Angels’ 4-1 victory Sunday at Camden Yards.

(Steve Ruark / Associated Press)

From the Associated Press: Reid Detmers gave the Angels some much-needed effectiveness on the mound, giving up one run in five innings to help them avoid a season-opening sweep with a 4-1 win over the Baltimore Orioles on Sunday.

The Angels were outscored 24-7 in their first two games against Baltimore, which prompted a team meeting after Saturday’s 13-4 loss. Then Detmers (1-0) took the mound and quieted the Orioles, and the Angels scored two runs in each of the first two innings.

“That starting job that he gave us, we needed it very, very badly,” said manager Ron Washington, who was hired by the Angels in November. “And he gave it to us.”

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Angels-Orioles box score

SOCCER

Galaxy midfielder Riqui Puig celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal

Galaxy midfielder Riqui Puig (10) celebrates with teammates after scoring during a win over San Jose on March 2. The Galaxy are off to their best start to a season since 2010.

(Bob Drebin/ISI Photos / Getty Images)

From Kevin Baxter: The Galaxy have gotten their groove back.

Less than a year ago the team was being boycotted by its three main supporters groups and being booed off the field by the fans who did show up. It had no spirit, little hope and just one win in its first 10 MLS games.

But after Saturday’s 1-0 win over the Seattle Sounders the Galaxy are unbeaten six weeks into a season for the first time since 2010, lead the Western Conference standings and share the best record in the league. Twice they have rallied from two-goal deficits in the final 25 minutes to stay undefeated.

Attendance at Dignity Health Sports Park is averaging 25,184 through three games, higher than in any full season since 2008; striker Dejan Joveljic is second in the league in scoring; and only one team in MLS has more goals than the Galaxy’s 13.

After arguably the most frustrating and disappointing season in team history, all of that counts as progress. But the real difference between then and now isn’t just the results, it’s the attitude. Belief has replaced doubt, there’s optimism where once there was pessimism and confidence where once there was uncertainty.

“Not having stuff floating around on the outside that’s stressful for everybody helps,” coach Greg Vanney said. “The guys come out and they train, they get after it. When they play, they look like they enjoy playing together. And when results come, good things come.

“All those things kind of fit together into a group that’s feeling really confident.”

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DUCKS

Seattle Kraken center Jaden Schwartz celebrates after scoring past Ducks goaltender Lukas Dostal.

Seattle Kraken center Jaden Schwartz celebrates after scoring past Ducks goaltender Lukas Dostal during the first period of the Ducks’ 4-2 loss Thursday night.

(Jason Redmond / Associated Press)

From the Associated Press: Dakota Joshua scored twice and the Vancouver Canucks held on for a 3-2 victory over the Ducks on Sunday, a day after clinching a playoff berth.

Brock Boeser added a first-period power-play goal for the Canucks and J.T. Miller contributed a pair of assists.

The Ducks got third-period goals from Olen Zellweger and Mason McTavish.

Vancouver goaltender Arturs Silovs made 20 saves in his first NHL action since March 6, 2023.

Lukas Dostal stopped 27 of 30 for the Ducks, who lost their fifth consecutive game and were coming off a 6-1 road loss to the Edmonton Oilers.

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Ducks-Canucks box score
NHL scores
NHL standings

WOMEN’S NCAA TOURNAMENT SCHEDULE

Women’s bracket

Women’s schedule
All times Pacific

Monday
REGIONAL 2
No. 1 Iowa vs. No. 3 LSU, 4 p.m., ESPN
REGIONAL 3
No. 1 USC vs. No. 3 Connecticut, 6 p.m., ESPN

Final Four: April 5 (Cleveland)
Championship: April 7 (Cleveland)

MEN’S NCAA TOURNAMENT SCHEDULE

Men’s bracket

Men’s schedule
All times Pacific

FINAL FOUR
Saturday
No. 11 North Carolina State vs. No. 1 Purdue, 3:09 p.m., TBS
No. 4 Alabama vs. No. 1 UConn, 5:49 p.m., TBS

Monday:
Championship (Glendale, Ariz.), TBS

THIS DATE IN SPORTS

1930 — American golfer Bobby Jones starts his Grand Slam season by winning the Southeastern Open.

1938 — Joe Louis knocks out Harry Thomas in the fifth round in Chicago to retain his world heavyweight title.

1940 — Governor Herbert Lehman of New York signs the Dunnigal bill, which legalizes pari-mutuel wagering and outlaws bookmakers at the state’s racetracks.

1954 — Detroit Red Wings right wing Gordie Howe scores 2 goals and an assist, and sets a Stanley Cup playoff record for fastest goal from the start of a game (:09).

1972 — The first collective player’s strike in major league history begins at 12:01 a.m. The strike lasts 12 days and cancels 86 games.

1973 — Boston’s John Havlicek connects on 24 field goals and finishes with 54 points the Celtics defeat Atlanta, 134-109, in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals.

1978 — NY Islanders RW Mike Bossy becomes first NHL rookie to score 50 goals in a season.

1981 — Edmonton C Wayne Gretzky has an assist (his 103rd) to break Bobby Orr’s 10-year mark for most assists in a single NHL season.

1984 — Southern Cal beats Tennessee 72-61 for the NCAA women’s basketball title.

1985 — Villanova shocks Georgetown with a 66-64 victory to win the NCAA basketball title. The Wildcats, led by Dwayne McClain’s 17 points, shot 79 percent from the field, making 22 of 28 shots, and added 22 of 27 free throws.

1989 — Jim McAllister of Glassboro State hits four home runs and drives in nine runs in four at-bats in a 21-5 five-inning rout of Delaware State.

1990 — Betsy King holds on for a two-stroke victory over Kathy Postlewait to win the LPGA Dinah Shore tournament.

1991 — Duke ends years of frustration with a 72-65 victory over Kansas for its first national title in five championship game appearances and nine trips to the Final Four.

1992 — A week before the Stanley Cup playoffs are set to begin, the NHL players strike for the first time in the league’s 75-year history. The strike lasts 10 days.

1996 — Kentucky wins its first national title in 18 years with a 76-67 victory over Syracuse.

1999 — Detroit Pistons G Joe Dumars becomes 10th player in NBA history to play 1,000 games with the same team.

1999 — Philadelphia 76ers head coach Larry Brown wins his 900th pro game.

2000 — Michelle Kwan wins her third World Figure Skating title by pushing through all seven triple jumps. The triple toe-triple toe lifts Kwan above Russians Irina Slutskaya and last year’s champion, Maria Butyrskaya.

2001 — 20th NCAA Women’s Basketball Championship: Notre Dame beats Purdue, 68-66.

2002 — With Juan Dixon and Lonny Baxter leading the way, Maryland wins its first national championship with a 64-52 victory over Indiana.

2007 — Morgan Pressel becomes the youngest major champion in LPGA Tour history with a game well beyond her 18 years, closing with a 3-under 69 at the Kraft Nabisco Championship. Pressel plays her final 25 holes over Mission Hills without a bogey as Suzann Pettersen blew a four-shot lead with four holes to play.

2007 — American super swimmer Michael Phelps smashes his own world record in the 400m individual medley (4:06.22) to win his record 7th gold medal at the World Championships.

2011 — Jarome Iginla scores his second goal of the game with 5:03 left to reach 1,000 points and help Calgary rally to beat St. Louis 3-2.

2016 — Golden State Warriors consecutive home winning streak ends at 54 games.

2018 — Arike Ogunbowale hits a 3-pointer with a tenth of a second left to give Notre Dame a 61-58 win over Mississippi State and its first women’s national championship since 2001. Notre Dame, trailing 30-17 at halftime, pulls off the biggest comeback in title game history, rallying from a 15-point deficit in the third quarter and a five-point deficit in the final 1:58.

2020 — All England Lawn Tennis Club cancels Wimbledon for the first time since World War II because of the COVID-19 pandemic; entire grass-court season abandoned.

Compiled by the Associated Press

And finally

LeBron James (40 points) and Paul George (41 points) both delivered big games Sunday. Click on these links to check out highlights from the Lakers’ and Clippers’ wins.

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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