December 6, 2021

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The Sports Fanatics

The Sports Report: Rams add star receiver Odell Beckham Jr.

Howdy, I’m your host, Iliana Limón Romero, filling in for Houston Mitchell, who is off and likely watching some Brady Brunch reruns. Let’s get right to the news.

Sam Dean on Staples Center’s new name: Staples Center is getting a new name for Christmas: Crypto.com Arena.

The downtown Los Angeles venue — home of the Lakers, Clippers, Kings and Sparks — will wear the new name for 20 years under a deal between the Singapore cryptocurrency exchange and AEG, the owner and operator of the arena, both parties announced Tuesday. Crypto.com paid more than $700 million for the naming rights, according to sources familiar with the terms, making it one of the biggest naming deals in sports history.

The arena’s new logo will debut Dec. 25, when the Lakers host the Brooklyn Nets, and all of Staples Center signage will be replaced with the new name by June 2022.

Crypto.com’s chief executive, Kris Marszalek, hopes that the new name will come to be seen as a sign of the times.

“In the next few years, people will look back at this moment as the moment when crypto crossed the chasm into the mainstream,” Marszalek said when reached at his home in Hong Kong.

“This is just such a brilliant move from the guys at AEG, because the next decade belongs to crypto,” he said. “And this positions L.A. and this particular venue right at the center of it.”

More on the name change from Andrew Greif: ‘It’ll be weird.’ Clippers react to Staples Center name change to Crypto.com Arena

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CLIPPERS

The Clippers’ Paul George is fouled by the Spurs’ Derrick White, right, while driving to the basket as Drew Eubanks tries to help on defense at Staples Center Tuesday.

(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

Andrew Greif on the Clippers: In a rarity, the Clippers’ biggest problem Tuesday wasn’t falling behind by double digits.

It was holding onto a lead of that size in an eventual 106-92 win over the San Antonio Spurs.

Up 12 points in the first half, the Clippers’ advantage was whittled away as fast as it took Spurs guard Dejounte Murray to sprint from one end of Staples Center’s court to the other, as he so often did while helping turn turnover after turnover by the Clippers into a fast-break basket

The 6-foot-4 Murray is all legs, arms and stick-’em hands, and his layup after stealing a pass by Luke Kennard and dunk after swiping Paul George were hallmarks of a careless offensive performance in which the Clippers committed 12 first-half turnovers — only two days after committing 20 in a loss to Chicago — and got outscored by 15 in fast-break points.

“Careless turnovers,” Clippers coach Tyronn Lue said. “We’re doing it too much. Every game we have four or five turnovers trying to make the advance pass. Just got to be smarter than that.”

LAKERS

Los Angeles Lakers forward Carmelo Anthony rests on the bench before a game against the Chicago Bulls

Los Angeles Lakers forward Carmelo Anthony rests on the bench before a game against the Chicago Bulls at Staples Center Monday.

(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

Helene Elliott on the Lakers: Russell Westbrook stared at the box score from the Lakers’ 121-103 loss to the Chicago Bulls on Monday as if he might find a hidden explanation among the minus signs and poor three-point shooting percentage printed on the sheet of paper in front of him. Either that, or he hoped the intensity of his gaze would burn holes in it and destroy the evidence of another disappointing performance by the Lakers at Staples Center.

They opened the season with 12 of their first 15 games at home, a soft schedule that should have allowed them to build confidence while they built a winning record. They played the three road games on two trips — a back-to-back sequence at San Antonio and Oklahoma City, and a visit to Portland — so they were spared having to travel to the Eastern time zone.

Their depth should have kept them going even after LeBron James strained an abdominal muscle on Nov. 2 and exited the lineup. That’s why they loaded up on veterans last summer.

Not much has worked out the way the Lakers planned.

DODGERS

Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman talks with manager Dave Roberts

Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman, right, talks with manager Dave Roberts.

(Carlos Osorio / Associated Press)

Dylan Hernández on the Dodgers: When it comes to Trevor Bauer, what’s important is what the Dodgers aren’t talking about.

They aren’t talking about his future, which is as good a sign as any they don’t see him as a part of theirs.

Less certain is how much the Dodgers still have to pay the alleged modern-day Marquis de Sade. His contract is worth $64 million over the next two years.

The Dodgers don’t know when they will learn how Bauer will impact their budget. The amount they owe Bauer can be reduced if he is suspended without pay by Major League Baseball, which might not discipline the knucklehead pitcher until the Los Angeles Country district attorney’s office decides whether to file criminal charges related to sexual assault accusations made against him by a woman.

The unresolved situation with Bauer further complicates what was already expected to be the team’s most arduous offseason since Andrew Friedman traded former franchise cornerstone Matt Kemp in his first winter as the president of baseball operations.

“The offseason is challenging in a lot of ways, in that the timing element of it is tricky to navigate,” Friedman said last week at baseball’s general managers’ meetings in Carlsbad.

ANGELS

The Mets' Noah Syndergaard pitches against the Miami Marlins on Sept. 28 in New York

The Mets’ Noah Syndergaard pitches against the Miami Marlins on Sept. 28 in New York.

(Frank Franklin II / Associated Press)

Jack Harris on the Angels: With their first big move of the offseason, the Angels are rolling the dice on one of the more intriguing free agents.

On Tuesday, the team agreed to a deal with starting pitcher Noah Syndergaard on a one-year, $21-million contract, according to a person with knowledge of the situation who wasn’t authorized to speak publicly, adding the former All-Star to their rotation for the 2022 season.

Once among baseball’s most promising young pitchers, the 29-year-old right-hander comes with question marks after being limited to only two innings the last two years following a Tommy John surgery in March 2020.

He was extended a one-year, $18.4-million qualifying offer by the New York Mets to return to the team next season.

The Angels, however, offered him more money, even though it will cost them a second-round draft pick (because of MLB rules pertaining to players who have been extended qualifying offers) and put another big salary on the books for 2022.

SOCCER

The United States' Tim Weah celebrates after scoring against Jamaica

The United States’ Tim Weah celebrates after scoring against Jamaica during a FIFA World Cup qualifying match in Kingston, Jamaica, Tuesday.

(Fernando Llano / Associated Press)

Kevin Baxter on soccer: KINGSTON, Jamaica — On the U.S. team’s charter flights during this fall’s three World Cup qualifying windows, each player was offered a copy of a crossword puzzle, something they also receive every day at lunch. It’s a practice Gregg Berhalter began when he took over as coach three years ago so it seemed appropriate after Tuesday’s 1-1 draw with Jamaica that Berhalter was asked to choose one word to describe his team’s performance eight games into the tournament.

“Resilient is a really good word,” he answered. “We talk about the roller coaster that it is, but we just kept slowly and steadily climbing. We’ve been resilient.”

Lucky is also a good word since the U.S. was fortunate Costa Rican referee Juan Calderon whistled Jamaica’s Damion Lowe for a foul, wiping out the apparent game-winning goal he scored in the 84th minute.

Tim Weah, meanwhile, chose a different adjective: positive. And happy, which is actually two words. But he insisted.

USC

USC quarterback Jaxson Dart talks to his teammates in a huddle

USC quarterback Jaxson Dart talks to his teammates in a huddle while they play Arizona at the Coliseum on Oct. 30.

(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

Ryan Kartje on USC: As the sun set over USC’s practice field Tuesday, Jaxson Dart stepped into his place at the helm of a slumping offense, taking the reins as if they’d been saved for him. The freshman was just named USC’s starting quarterback, and for the time being, his ascent was technically temporary. But as Dart took over ahead of what will be his first collegiate start Saturday, it was impossible to shake the feeling that a new dawn was beckoning even while the sun still was setting on USC’s season.

With junior Kedon Slovis still sidelined by a lower leg injury, USC interim coach Donte Williams said he had no other choice but to elevate Dart this week against UCLA. Whether that will remain the case afterward remains to be seen, but Williams offered no timeline for Slovis’ return on Tuesday. Again, he was cryptic about his usual starter’s status, suggesting both that Slovis “possibly” could miss the rest of the season and also that he might return to practice this week.

But after playing coy for months about his quarterbacks in the name of gamesmanship, Williams broke with his usual protocol to publicly declare Dart the starter Monday night.

CHARGERS

Chargers defensive end Joey Bosa tries to corral Vikings running back Dalvin Cook.

Chargers defensive end Joey Bosa tries to corral Vikings running back Dalvin Cook at SoFi Stadium Sunday.

(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

Jeff Miller on the Chargers: The Chargers could be without three-time Pro Bowl edge rusher Joey Bosa on Sunday after he was placed on the COVID-19 reserve list.

Another defensive starter, tackle Jerry Tillery, also ended up on the list Tuesday, leaving his status for the Chargers’ game against Pittsburgh at SoFi Stadium in doubt.

Bosa is unvaccinated and Tillery is vaccinated, according to a person with knowledge of the situation but not authorized to speak publicly.

DUCKS

The Ducks celebrate after defenseman Cam Fowler scored against the Washington Capitals

The Ducks celebrate after defenseman Cam Fowler scored against the Washington Capitals in Anaheim Tuesday.

(Ashley Landis / Associated Press)

The Associated Press on the Ducks: Trevor Zegras scored his second goal in overtime to extend the Ducks’ winning streak to eight — and notch the 1,000th franchise win — with a 3-2 victory over the Washington Capitals on Tuesday night.

Ryan Getzlaf reached 1,000 career points and Troy Terry extended his point streak to 15 games for the Ducks, who remain unbeaten in November and have won six straight at home dating Oct. 31. John Gibson stopped 28 shots for the Ducks.

It’s the second straight game Zegras has had two goals. His overtime winner with 45 seconds left came on a wrist shot to beat Washington goaltender Vitek Vanecek.

Garrett Pilon and Tom Wilson scored and Vanecek made 28 saves for the Capitals, whose four-game winning streak was snapped.

Getzlaf and Terry each had an assist on Cam Fowler’s goal early in the first period. Getzlaf became the 92nd player in NHL history to reach 1,000 points with the primary assist. He is also the seventh active player to reach the milestone.

THIS DATE IN SPORTS

1956 — Syracuse beats Colgate 61-7 behind halfback Jim Brown. Brown sets an NCAA-record for points by an individual player in a single game by scoring six touchdowns and kicking seven extra points for 43 points.

1959 — Syracuse’s Connie Dierking becomes the first player to foul out of a game in the first quarter, as the Nationals beat Cincinnati 121-116 at New York.

1968 — The “Heidi” television special starts on time and cuts off the NBC broadcast of the Oakland-New York Jets game in the final minutes, leaving viewers in the dark and unaware that the Raiders score two touchdowns in the last minute for a 43-32 comeback victory.

1975 — Ken Anderson of the Cincinnati Bengals passes for 447 yards and two touchdowns in a 35-24 victory over the Buffalo Bills.

1981 — Bill Cartwright of the New York Knicks ties a 20-year-old NBA record by hitting 19 of 19 free throws in a 124-110 loss to the Kansas City Kings.

1984 — Purvis Short of the Golden State Warriors scores 59 points in a 131-114 loss to the New Jersey Nets.

1990 — David Klingler of Houston throws an NCAA-record 11 touchdown passes as the Cougars trounce Eastern Washington 84-21. Klingler completes 41 of 58 passes for 572 yards and ties the NCAA record for touchdown passes in a season with 47.

1991 — Detroit offensive lineman Mike Utley suffers a spinal injury on the first play of the fourth quarter of a 21-10 victory over the Los Angeles Rams and is left paralyzed from the chest down.

2000 — Jason Kidd has a dubious quadruple-double — 18 points, 12 rebounds, 10 assists and 14 turnovers in the Phoenix Suns’ 90-85 loss to the New York Knicks. The turnovers tie the NBA record set by Atlanta’s John Drew on March 1, 1978.

2001 — Lennox Lewis knocks out Hasim Rahman in the fourth round to get back his WBC and IBF heavyweight titles. Rahman’s championship reign of 209 days is the shortest in heavyweight history.

2004 — New Orleans ties an NBA low by taking just two foul shots in a 95-84 loss to Phoenix.

2007 — Martin Brodeur becomes the second goalie in NHL history to win 500 career games by stopping 26 shots in New Jersey’s 6-2 win at Philadelphia. Patrick Roy won 551 games in his career.

2013 — Jimmie Johnson wins his sixth Sprint Cup championship in eight years. Johnson, who needed only to finish 23rd or better to wrap up the title, finishes ninth.

2013 — Sebastian Vettel wins the U.S. Grand Prix in easy fashion, setting an F1 season record with his eighth straight victory behind another blistering drive that gave the field no chance to catch him.

2014 — Amber Orrange makes a go-ahead jumper with 1:38 left in overtime and the tying 3-pointer with 1.4 seconds remaining in regulation, sending No. 6 Stanford to an 88-86 victory against top-ranked Connecticut to snap the Huskies’ 47-game winning streak. UConn, which went 40-0 last season, loses for the first time since falling to Notre Dame in the 2013 conference tournament.

2014 — Miami Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton agrees to terms with the team on a $325 million, 13-year contract. The contract tops the $292 million, 10-year deal Miguel Cabrera agreed to with the Detroit Tigers in March.

And finally

Paul George continues to light up the Clippers’ opponents this season. Watch George freeze the Spurs’ Dejounte Murray and step back for a long-range shot.

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 [email protected], and follow me on Twitter at @latimeshouston. To get this newsletter in your inbox, click here.