Howdy, I’m your host, Houston Mitchell. Let’s get right to the news.

Andrew Greif on the Clippers: When the Clippers arrived here Tuesday afternoon, they were not only thinking about the open shots they had missed or the defensive pressure that Minnesota posed.

There was a real sense that although only six games out of 82 had been played, time was ticking to make fixes before their record grew too dire, and the gap between them and the playoff contenders grew.

“We never wanted to be 1-4,” guard Reggie Jackson said. “We knew it wasn’t time to panic. But yeah, it was definitely time to fix things quickly and get your foot on the gas.”

Circumstances had contributed to the start. No Marcus Morris. No Kawhi Leonard. No Serge Ibaka. Yet on a roster with so many returners, there were no excuses for the games where the Clippers’ offense had stagnated or their rebounding had been non-existent. Less than two weeks into a seven-month regular season, and despite their talk about keeping a long-term perspective, an urgency had begun to set in for a team with conference-final standards.

“We got to start winning games, we got to start getting some momentum,” star Paul George said. “At some point things have to change for us. We’re not a young team, we’re not a team that’s, you know, ‘Let’s just wait for guys to come back.’ The time is now for us.”

If they play as they did in stretches during Wednesday’s 126-115 win against the Timberwolves, their turnaround could be quick.

With 32 points on 18 shots, Paul George continued his torrid start that has seen him average 28.9 points through seven games.

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KINGS

Arthur Kaliyev scored in the fourth round of a shootout and the Kings extended their winning streak to three games with a 3-2 victory over the St. Louis Blues.

Both teams scored twice in the first three rounds of the tiebreaker. Adrian Kempe and Alex Iafallo also converted for the Kings. David Perron and Jordan Kyrou made their shots for the Blues.

Kempe and Kaliyev scored third-period goals for Los Angeles, which trailed 1-0 after two. Jonathan Quick made 33 saves as the Kings avoided being swept in the three-game season series.

The Kings had an 8-0 shots advantage in overtime, but weren’t able to get the winning goal. Phillip Danault had the best chance on a one-timer with 2.2 seconds remaining, but Jordan Binnington stopped it with his left pad.

CHARGERS

Jeff Miller on the Chargers: After two of the least productive games of his NFL career, Justin Herbert is now also dealing with a hand injury.

The Chargers’ quarterback hit his hand on a New England defender on his follow through late in the game Sunday. Herbert was limited in practice Wednesday.

The situation wasn’t known publicly until the team released its official injury report.

Herbert hit his hand in a similar manner against Kansas City on Sept. 26 but missed no snaps and eventually threw a winning touchdown to Mike Williams in the final minute.

RAMS

Gary Klein on the Rams: The Rams built their team for a Hollywood blockbuster finish in Super Bowl LVI at SoFi Stadium.

And their newest star wasted no time getting into the spirit.

During his first availability with Los Angeles reporters Wednesday, eight-time Pro Bowl linebacker Von Miller used the same phrase five different times to describe his landing with the star-studded Rams.

“Feels like a movie,” he said.

Miller, 32, was acquired Monday in a trade with the Denver Broncos. The Rams gave up second- and third-round draft picks for a player that has 110½ career sacks and was the most valuable player of Super Bowl 50 after the 2015 season.

“Guys are very excited to be able to welcome Von with open arms,” coach Sean McVay said, “and we’re excited about it as well.”

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It’s Super Bowl or nothing for Rams: Takeaways from their many moves

Ben Bolch on the Bruins: Is winning as many games as you lose in college football worthy of a $10,000 bonus?

That’s how much UCLA coach Chip Kelly stands to make if his team can notch win No. 6 after having failed in its previous two attempts. Kelly’s contract, which guarantees him $5.6 million this season, calls for him to make an extra $10,000 if the Bruins (5-4 overall, 3-3 Pac-12) win six games, an additional $10,000 if they win seven games and another $10,000 if they win eight.

Should the Bruins qualify for a bowl — a near-certainty if they win one more game — then Kelly would pocket another $40,000.

Kelly said Wednesday he wasn’t aware he would get the $10,000 bonus for winning six games, something he hasn’t done at UCLA, going 3-9 in 2018, 4-7 in 2019 and 3-4 in 2020.

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Buried on the depth chart, UCLA’s Chase Griffin emerges as early endorsement star

SOCCER

Kevin Baxter on soccer: The women’s national soccer team will close out 2021 with a pair of matches this month in Australia, marking the team’s first trip to that continent in 21 years.

The U.S. is the two-time defending world champion and Australia is co-host of the next Women’s World Cup, which it will share with New Zealand in 2023. The Americans, ranked No. 1 in the world by FIFA, will play both matches against No. 11 Australia, the first in Sydney on Nov. 27 (Nov. 26 in the U.S.) and the second in Newcastle on Nov. 30.

“This trip and these games will be fantastic tests and learning opportunities,” coach Vlatko Andonovski said in a statement. “Having to deal with the travel and facing one of the best teams in the world is a great way to end the year.”

HORSE RACING

John Cherwa on horse racing: The irony was palpable when Josh Rubinstein, chief operating officer at Del Mar, opened up a Breeders’ Cup panel on health and safety protocols with news of a horse death Wednesday morning at a facility that is considered the safest big track in America.

It was the fifth racing or training fatality at the track this year, which is well below most major tracks. According to the Equine Injury Database, Del Mar has the lowest percentage of racing fatalities at a major track. But the EID does not count training deaths, which made up four of Del Mar’s five this year.

Set the Tone, a 2-year-old filly, lost her rider during training, the bridle came loose and the saddle slipped underneath her. As she tried to exit the track, she hit a pole on a fence causing a wound and an unrepairable shoulder injury. She was immediately attended to by veterinarians and the decision was made to euthanize her. The filly, trained by Bob Hess, had run three times, finishing second twice. She was not entered in any Breeders’ Cup races.

ANGELS

Nathan Fenno on the Angels: The trial of former Angels communications director Eric Kay in the overdose death of pitcher Tyler Skaggs has been pushed to late January.

In a brief order issued Wednesday in Fort Worth, Texas, U.S. District Judge Terry Means granted the motion by Kay’s attorneys to delay the trial that had been scheduled to start Monday.

Means wrote that “a failure to grant the requested continuance would deny counsel for the defendant the reasonable time necessary for effective preparation, taking into account the exercise of due diligence.”

NFL

Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers is in the NFL’s COVID-19 protocol and will miss Sunday’s game at Kansas City.

Green Bay coach Matt LaFleur confirmed Wednesday that Rodgers was in the protocol, but would not say if Rodgers had tested positive nor if the reigning NFL most valuable player has been vaccinated.

“I’m not going to get into any of our coaches’ or players’ vaccination status,” LaFleur said.

Multiple news outlets, including NFL Network and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, reported that Rodgers had tested positive and that he has not been vaccinated.

BASEBALL

San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey plans to announce his retirement today, according to a person with direct knowledge of the decision.

The Giants said last month that they would exercise Posey’s $22 million club option for the 2022 season as long as the veteran catcher wanted to keep playing after a stellar year.

Posey hinted during the playoffs he might be done — the seven-time All-Star ready to embrace more family time with four young children at home.

THIS DATE IN SPORTS

1934 — The Detroit Lions rush for an NFL-record 426 yards in a 40-7 rout of the Pittsburgh Pirates. The only bright spot for the Pirates is scoring the first touchdown against Detroit this season, ending the Lions’ shutout streak at seven games.

1951 — The U.S. wins six of eight singles matches and ties another to win the Ryder Cup 9½-2½ over Britain at Pinehurst in North Carolina.

1960 — Wilt Chamberlain of Philadelphia scores 44 points and sets an NBA record by missing all 10 of his free throws in the Warriors 136-121 victory the Detroit Pistons.

1976 — Baseball holds its first free agent draft with 24 players from 13 major league clubs participating. Reggie Jackson eventually signs the most lucrative contract of the group, $2.9 million over five years with the New York Yankees. Others free agents are Joe Rudi, Don Gullett, Gene Tenace, Rollie Fingers, Don Baylor, Bobby Grich and Willie McCovey.

1984 — Seattle’s Dave Brown returns two interceptions for touchdowns in a 31-17 triumph over the Kansas City Chiefs.

1989 — Sunday Silence holds off the late charge by favorite Easy Goer to win the $3 million Breeders’ Cup Classic by a neck at Gulfstream Park.

2000 — R.J. Bowers rushes for 128 yards to become the first player in NCAA history to gain 7,000 yards in his career, leading Grove City past Carnegie Mellon 14-10.

2000 — In the highest scoring Division I-AA game in NCAA history, Ricky Ray passes for 344 yards and three touchdowns and scores three more to lead Sacramento State over Cal State Northridge 64-61.

2001 — Luis Gonzalez’s RBI single caps a two-run rally off Mariano Rivera in the bottom of the ninth, and the Arizona Diamondbacks win their first championship by beating the New York Yankees 3-2 in Game 7.

2006 — Rod Brind’Amour of Carolina scores his 1,000th career point, assisting on a goal in the Hurricanes’ 3-2 win over Ottawa.

2007 — Adrian Peterson runs for an NFL-record 296 yards and three touchdowns in Minnesota’s 35-17 win over San Diego.

2009 — The New York Yankees win the World Series, beating the defending champion Philadelphia Phillies 7-3 in Game 6 behind Hideki Matsui’s record-tying six RBIs.

2012 — Andrew Luck breaks the NFL’s single-game rookie record by throwing for 433 yards in leading Indianapolis to a 23-20 win over Miami

2016 — Cam Atkinson, Nick Foligno, Scott Hartnell and Josh Anderson score two goals apiece and the Columbus Blue Jackets beat Montreal 10-0, matching the biggest loss in the Canadiens’ storied history.

2017 — Quarterback Ahmad Bradshaw rushes for a career-high 265 yards and Army ends Air Force’s 306-game scoring streak with a 21-0 victory.

2017 — With a 31-24 overtime victory over Nebraska, Northwestern becomes the first Football Bowl Subdivision program to win three consecutive overtime games.

Supplied by the Associated Press

And finally

The Yankees win the 2009 World Series. Watch and listen here.

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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