Raiders open Las Vegas stadium with win vs Saints

  • The Las Vegas Raiders kick off to the New Orleans Saints to start an NFL football game, Monday, Sept. 21, 2020, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken)

  • Jalen Richard #30 of the Las Vegas Raiders celebrates after scoring a touchdown against the New Orleans Saints during an NFL football game, Monday, Sept. 21, 2020, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Jeff Bottari)

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  • New Orleans Saints wide receiver Tre’Quan Smith (10) breaks a tackle from Las Vegas Raiders free safety Erik Harris during the first half of an NFL football game, Monday, Sept. 21, 2020, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken)

  • A screen shows the Las Vegas Raiders inaugural season logo during the NFL game against the New Orleans Saints, Monday, Sept. 21, 2020, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Jeff Bottari)

  • A screen shows Las Vegas Raiders win logo after defeating the New Orleans Saints in an NFL football game, Monday, Sept. 21, 2020, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Jeff Bottari)

  • A screen shows the game score after the Las Vegas Raiders defeated the New Orleans Saints 34-24 in an NFL football game, Monday, Sept. 21, 2020, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Jeff Bottari)

  • Las Vegas Raiders wide receiver Zay Jones, left, catches a touchdown against New Orleans Saints free safety Marcus Williams (43) during the first half of an NFL football game, Monday, Sept. 21, 2020, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/David Becker)

  • New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) drops back to pass against the Las Vegas Raiders during the first half of an NFL football game, Monday, Sept. 21, 2020, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/David Becker)

  • Las Vegas Raiders linebacker Nicholas Morrow (50) celebrates after making an interception against the New Orleans Saints during the first half of an NFL football game, Monday, Sept. 21, 2020, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken)

  • Las Vegas Raiders play against the New Orleans Saints during the second half of an NFL football game, Monday, Sept. 21, 2020, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken)

  • New Orleans Saints cornerback Marshon Lattimore (23) tackles Las Vegas Raiders tight end Darren Waller (83) during the first half of an NFL football game, Monday, Sept. 21, 2020, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken)

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LAS VEGAS (AP) — Derek Carr and the Las Vegas Raiders delivered a performance worthy of their fancy new home.

Too bad none of their fans were able to see it in person.

Carr threw three touchdown passes and the Raiders gave their new fans in Las Vegas plenty to celebrate even if they weren’t allowed in the stadium by beating the New Orleans Saints 34-24 on Monday night.

The new $2 billion stadium in the desert held its first event following the Raiders’ move from Oakland without any fans because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Hopefully our fans, even though they couldn’t be here tonight, hopefully see something they like,” coach Jon Gruden said. “We can’t wait to get them back in this place. It’s such a great place to see a game.”

That was one of the few things that didn’t go right for the Raiders (2-0), who overcame an early 10-point deficit to the Saints (1-1) and opened the season with two straight wins for the fourth time in the past 25 seasons.

“This organization means everything to me,” Carr said. “They’ve stuck behind me through some hard times. Through some times our team, we struggled, there’s no doubt about it. But when you can get on the other side of things, be 2-0, as the Las Vegas Raiders, that’s a pretty cool thing.”

Carr was in control for most of the night, completing 28 of 38 passes for 282 yards. Darren Waller had 12 receptions for 103 yards as Carr’s most trusted option.

Carr engineered four straight scoring drives in the second and third quarters to turn a 10-0 deficit into a 24-17 lead.

“Derek Carr was awesome tonight,” Gruden said. “He made some some plays today that very few guys that I’ve coached could make. I tip my hat to him.”

Picking apart the New Orleans defense with short passes, the Raiders controlled the clock and kept Drew Brees and the Saints off the field. Las Vegas converted 10 of 17 third downs and also went for it successfully twice on fourth down.

The Raiders even survived a fumbled pitch by Jalen Richard by stopping the Saints and then scoring on the ensuing drive on a 20-yard run by Richard.

After being gashed on the ground early, the Raiders did a good job against Brees, who struggled without his injured No. 1 receiver Michael Thomas.

Brees went 26 for 38 for 312 yards with one touchdown and a key interception at the end of the first half that set up a field goal for the Raiders.

“If there’s one thing I wish I could take back from the game it would be that,” Brees said. “Otherwise, we had a lot of metal errors. I felt like we were not playing as fast and just as sure and confident.”

After the Saints cut the deficit to 31-24 on Alvin Kamara’s second TD run, the Raiders took advantage of a pass interference call against Janoris Jenkins and then iced the game with a 54-yard field goal by Daniel Carlson.

“We got to do a better job coaching,” coach Sean Payton said. “I don’t think it’s going to be a real pleasant film to watch — for some of our star players as well.”

AVERTING DISASTER

The Raiders almost had a big blunder on the opening drive of the third quarter when Carr fumbled a snap on third down from the 1. Alec Ingold recovered for Las Vegas and Carr threw a 1-yard TD to Waller on fourth down to give the Raiders their first lead of the game at 24-17.

TALE OF TWO QUARTERS

The Raiders first game in Las Vegas didn’t get off to a great start with the Saints driving for scores on their first two drives to take a 10-0 lead on Kamara’s first TD run. The Raiders punted on their first two drives before Carr and the offense got going in the second quarter.

Carr went 14 for 18 for 139 yards in the quarter, throwing a 3-yard TD pass to Ingold and a perfectly placed 15-yarder to Zay Jones. The TD was capped by Jones gathering his teammates and pretending to give them all hand sanitizer.

Nicholas Morrow then intercepted Brees late in the half, setting up Daniel Carlson’s 28-yard field goal that made it 17-17.

UNMASKED MEN

Both head coaches often did not wear masks on the sideline despite an edict earlier in the week to do so. A person with knowledge of the punishment told The Associated Press that at least three coaches have been fined $100,000 for violating the league’s rules that they wear face coverings on the sideline.

Gruden apologized while revealing for the first time that he had contracted the coronavirus.

“I’ve had the virus. I’m doing my best,” Gruden said. “I’m very sensitive about it. I’m calling the plays. I just want to communicate in these situations. I apologize. If I get fined, I will have to pay the fine.”

OPENING NIGHT

Al Davis’ widow Carol Davis got the honor to light the ceremonial torch in honor of her late husband before the game. Her son, Mark, who runs the team, didn’t attend the game as he has said he won’t come until fans are allowed at the new stadium.

 

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Alexander: This is why Anthony Davis is a Laker

  • Los Angeles Lakers players celebrate at the end of an NBA conference final playoff basketball game against the Denver Nuggets Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. The Lakers won 105-103. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Los Angeles Lakers’ Anthony Davis (3) tries to block a shot by Denver Nuggets’ Nikola Jokic (15) during the first half of an NBA conference final playoff basketball game Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

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  • Los Angeles Lakers’ LeBron James (23) reacts to a call during the first half of an NBA conference final playoff basketball game against the Denver Nuggets Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Los Angeles Lakers’ LeBron James sits on the bench during the second half of an NBA conference final playoff basketball game against the Denver Nuggets Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Los Angeles Lakers’ LeBron James (23) reacts to a call during the first half of an NBA conference final playoff basketball game against the Denver Nuggets Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Denver Nuggets head coach Michael Malone reacts on the bench during the first half of an NBA conference final playoff basketball game against the Los Angeles Lakers Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Los Angeles Lakers’ Alex Caruso dunks the ball during the first half of an NBA conference final playoff basketball game against the Denver Nuggets Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Los Angeles Lakers’ LeBron James (23) drives past Denver Nuggets’ Jerami Grant (9) during the second half of an NBA conference final playoff basketball game Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Los Angeles Lakers’ Anthony Davis (3) shoots a 3-point basket over Denver Nuggets’ Nikola Jokic (15) at the end of an NBA conference final playoff basketball game Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. The Lakers won 105-103. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Denver Nuggets’ Jamal Murray (27) celebrates during the second half of an NBA conference final playoff basketball game against the Los Angeles Lakers Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Denver Nuggets’ Nikola Jokic (15) drives to the basket around Los Angeles Lakers’ Alex Caruso, right, during the second half of an NBA conference final playoff basketball game Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Los Angeles Lakers’ Anthony Davis (3) celebrates after an NBA conference final playoff basketball game against the Denver Nuggets Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. The Lakers won 105-103. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Los Angeles Lakers’ LeBron James (23) celebrates with teammate Anthony Davis (3) after an NBA conference final playoff basketball game against the Denver Nuggets Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. The Lakers won 105-103. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Los Angeles Lakers’ Anthony Davis (3) watches his last second 3-point basket between Denver Nuggets’ Nikola Jokic (15) and Jerami Grant (9) in an NBA conference final playoff basketball game Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. The Lakers won 105-103. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Los Angeles Lakers’ LeBron James (23) drives past Denver Nuggets’ Jerami Grant (9) during the second half of an NBA conference final playoff basketball game Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Los Angeles Lakers’ Anthony Davis (3) shoots a 3-point basket over Denver Nuggets’ Nikola Jokic (15) at the end of an NBA conference final playoff basketball game Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. The Lakers won 105-103. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Los Angeles Lakers’ LeBron James (23) reacts to a call during the first half of an NBA conference final playoff basketball game against the Denver Nuggets Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Los Angeles Lakers players celebrate at the end of an NBA conference final playoff basketball game against the Denver Nuggets Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. The Lakers won 105-103. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Los Angeles Lakers’ Anthony Davis (3) tries to block a shot by Denver Nuggets’ Nikola Jokic (15) during the first half of an NBA conference final playoff basketball game Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Los Angeles Lakers’ Alex Caruso dunks the ball during the first half of an NBA conference final playoff basketball game against the Denver Nuggets Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Los Angeles Lakers’ Anthony Davis (3) shoots a 3-point basket over Denver Nuggets’ Nikola Jokic (15) at the end of an NBA conference final playoff basketball game Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. The Lakers won 105-103. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Los Angeles Lakers’ LeBron James (23) celebrates with teammate Anthony Davis (3) after an NBA conference final playoff basketball game against the Denver Nuggets Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. The Lakers won 105-103. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Los Angeles Lakers’ Anthony Davis (3) shoots a 3-point basket over Denver Nuggets’ Nikola Jokic (15) at the end of an NBA conference final playoff basketball game Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. The Lakers won 105-103. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Los Angeles Lakers’ Anthony Davis (3) reacts after making a 3-point basket during the second half of an NBA conference final playoff basketball game against the Denver Nuggets Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

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The seeds of Sunday night’s madness in the Orlando bubble, and the latest addition to the Laker franchise’s gallery of postseason moments, were planted June 15, 2019. That was the day the Lakers landed Anthony Davis from the New Orleans Pelicans, the day Davis and LeBron James got their wishes, and the day that sometimes quixotic quest for the franchise’s 17th title again got serious.

“This,” Davis told TNT’s Allie LaForce Sunday evening, “is what they brought me here for.”

Davis’ buzzer-beating three-pointer – officially a 26-footer according to the play-by-play sheet – for a 105-103 victory over Denver didn’t win a championship or even a series. There is still way too much work to do during this Western Conference Finals showdown with the stubborn Nuggets, never mind anything beyond that.

But given the circumstances  – down a point, 2.1 seconds left when the ball was inbounded, against a team that has established it has no quit in it – this may have been the most inspiring L.A. walkoff since … well, you’ve got Kirk Gibson’s home run in 1988, Alec Martinez’ Stanley Cup-winning goal for the Kings in 2014, Robert Horry’s shot to beat Sacramento in the 2002 Western Conference Finals and Tyus Edney going the length of the floor for UCLA against Missouri in 1995. Not too many others leap to mind.

Not to brag, but I wrote it last summer, the day the trade went down:

This is what the Lakers should be doing. It’s part of their DNA … (It) tells their fans and their city that this franchise still means business, even if there is still reason to question their front office structure.”

Nobody is questioning it now, of course. Moments like this – and in fact a season like this, elongated as it has been – have created a collective amnesia about those seven seasons in the playoff desert, those years when we sometimes weren’t sure exactly what the Lakers stood for beyond the gauzy memories of the past.

Games and series like this remind us of what that franchise does stand for. And there is but one regret about this particular buzzer-beater.

“The one thing I wish A.D. had tonight with the shot that he made, I wish we were playing at Staples,” LeBron James said. “I mean, we miss our fans so much. And I can only imagine. It probably would have blew the roof off Staples Center, A.D. hitting that shot tonight in Staples with our crowd. I would have loved for him to have that moment, because I know what it felt like for me.”

James’ reference was to Game 2 of the 2009 Eastern Conference finals, when he hit a 25-footer with no time left, at home, to give Cleveland a 96-95 win over an Orlando team led by current Laker teammate Dwight Howard. But I suppose we should stop that comparison right there, because Orlando won that series in six (en route to losing in the Finals to the, um, Lakers).

Davis wanted this type of pressure, and this type of responsibility. That’s why he forced his way out of New Orleans. The Pelicans got to the second round once while he was there, but there was no assurance that it was going to get any better.

“Just because his teams haven’t been good enough to reach this moment (before now) doesn’t mean that he’s not that caliber of player,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel said. “We saw that tonight. No surprise (to) me. No surprise (to) our whole group.”

There were no guarantees in L.A., either, when he arrived. But Davis teaming up with James provided the 1-2 punch that enabled Rob Pelinka to fill in around them, and the general manager has gone from presumed doofus to an Executive of the Year candidate – and I’d assume inquiries about his ring size – as a result.

The shot Davis made Sunday night was similar to one he took in the Lakers’ last pre-pandemic game, a three-pointer in front of the visitors bench with time running out against Brooklyn on March 10. That one he missed, in a 104-102 loss.

“LeBron will tell you,” Davis recalled. “I mean, probably the first four days I was like, ‘Damn, I should have made that shot. I’ve got to make that shot.’ He said, ‘You’re fine, you’re fine.’

“But I put more pressure on myself than anybody. I feel like every shot I take is supposed to go in, and I have enough confidence in my shot to make those type of plays.”

This one, he acknowledged, was the biggest of his career, and his first buzzer-beater for a victory. Again, that’s why he’s here.

“When I left (New Orleans) I just wanted to compete for a championship, and I know that moments like this come with it, especially in L.A., the biggest market in basketball,” he said.

It’s part of the Lakers legacy. And so is this: The Lakers wore their “Mamba Black” uniforms Sunday night, and Vogel was caught on the telecast telling his team it was a “Mamba shot,” one that Kobe Bryant would hit.

“We just play a little different” in those jerseys,” Davis said. “Our swagger is a little different. Every time we put on those jerseys, we’re representing him.

“Coach made sure we knew that in the huddle. He said, ‘Look at the jerseys you have on. He would have made big-time plays. So it’s time for us to make big-time plays.’ “

Done.

jalexander@scng.com

@Jim_Alexander on Twitter

 

 

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Chargers vs. Chiefs updates: AFC West matchup at SoFi Stadium

The Chargers host Kansas City Chiefs for the franchise’s first home game at SoFi Stadium at 1:25 pm Sunday on CBS.

A Twitter List by JHWreporter

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Kiszla: Yes, the Nuggets got punked by Lakers and NBA refs, but whining won’t win the series

The Nuggets got punked. By King James. And by NBA refs.

Cry foul into a crying towel, if you want. Whining about life (or the refs) not being fair won’t get Denver anywhere but a one-way ticket out of the playoffs.

After getting dunked on and dissed during a 126-114 loss in Game 1 on Friday in the Western Conference Finals, it’s obvious that the league regards the Nuggets as little more than props in this Lake Show, starring James and Anthony Davis, who hammered Denver with 37 points.

It was so ugly and frustrating the entire fourth quarter stunk like garbage time.

“I’m not going to sit here and blame it on the refs. That’s not what I’m doing,” Nuggets guard Jamal Murray said. “We’ve got to play through it and earn their respect.”

In 2020, when life’s not fair, in any way, it’s easy to think the world is conspiring against us. But think that way and it’s nearly impossible to overcome. The refs did the Nuggets no favors in this L. But Murray didn’t whine after the game. He’s a winner.

Lobby the refs all you want. But beg for their mercy? That’s not how it works in this league. Crying foul gets an up-and-coming team nowhere.

Yes, the Lakers attempted two dozen foul shots in the second quarter alone, when Los Angeles took control of the game, with a big assist from a very friendly whistle.

“They went to the foul line 24 times in one quarter. Twenty-four times in a quarter, which is an extremely high number, on pace for 100,” said Nuggets coach Michael Malone, who watched the refs with the same disbelieving eyes as many fans back in Denver.

There is Sistine Chapel artistry to the way James plays basketball, but when he lowers shoulders that are hard as anvils on a drive to a basket, a defender would have an easier time giving a hug to a bull in Pamplona than slowing down the King.

With the Nuggets employing their classic rope-a-dope strategy, L.A. blew them out of the Magic Kingdom with a 17-1 start to the second quarter. Maybe the worst moment in the period, at least in the eyes of Denver fans, was when LeBron made a dent in Murray, hit a shot and was given a free throw, as well.

Malone formally protested, demanding a video review by the refs. I get the idea of standing up for your guys. But you ain’t going to win that battle against the King. He who has the rings gets the calls.

Malone’s objection? Denied. Bron sank the free throw to put the Lakers up 56-41 with six minutes, 25 seconds, remaining in the first half.

If Malone is going to complain about refs showing James too much respect, I’m afraid he is going to be miserable for as long as it lasts. And it won’t last long.

Or as analyst Charles Barkley punked Nuggets Nation on the TNT telecast prior to opening tip: “I don’t even know if they can make it a series … I tell you what, America. Lakers in five!”

Bottom line: The refs didn’t beat the Nuggets.

Here’s what did: The Lakers shot way too often from point-blank range, taking great glee in slamming Denver with don’t-mess-with-us dunks. L.A. scored 54 points in the paint.

“We were giving up layups after scored baskets ourselves,” Malone said. “To me that indicates our sense of urgency to get back was not remotely anywhere close to where it needed to be.”

Belying his sweet Big Honey reputation, there’s a quietly stubborn competitiveness deeply embedded in the DNA of center Nikola Jokic. He won’t back down against the Lakers, as his 11 points during the opening 11 minutes of the first quarter reassured us all.

The problem? L.A. can send big bodies in waves at Joker, from JaVale McGee to Dwight Howard. This series is going to leave a dent.

If Denver is going to have any shot against the Lakers, Murray is going to have to take it. He needs to average at least 25 points per night. He scored 21 in Game 1. But it didn’t matter, because starters Paul Millsap, Jerami Grant and Gary Harris came up painfully small, shooting a meek 7-of-23 from the field.

After only four quarters in this best-of-seven series, the Nuggets are in a tough spot.

And guess what?

The refs aren’t going to bail Denver out.

Not only has Malone kept this team together when hope appeared gone, but he has also cracked the most memorable soundbites heard in the Nuggets camp since the prime of Doug Moe.

On the eve of this series, Malone quipped: “We petitioned the league to see if we could start the series down 3-1, save everybody a lot of time.”

The Nuggets have made us all believe that impossible is nothing. But go down 3-1 to the Lakers and it will be all over except the told-ya-so cackling by Sir Charles Barkley.

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Gig workers like and want flexibility, that’s why they became gig workers

Are gig workers ⁠— think Uber drivers or Door Dashers ⁠— seeking to trade their flexible occupations for a full-time, 40-hour-week job?

Two recent surveys suggest they’re not interested. A survey of 1,000 on-demand drivers, commissioned by Uber and conducted by a duo of polling firms representing clients on the political left and right, finds that 85 percent prefer some version of their current flexible arrangement. Another survey ⁠— this one of 1,000 independent contractors, and commissioned by Lyft ⁠— concluded that 71 percent want to retain their current status.

Both surveys suggest that workers are happy with their “gig.” Don’t tell that to labor unions and their allies. To bolster their opposition to Proposition 22 ⁠— an initiative on the fall ballot that would solidify on-demand drivers’ and shoppers’ status ⁠— labor has pointed to a handful of comforting studies suggesting that gig workers are exploited.

The first, released through a San Francisco city commission, claimed that most gig workers work full-time schedules and earn poverty-level wages while doing so. But records requests, reported by the Washington Free Beacon, discovered that this conclusion was based on a convenience survey of respondents identified by a labor group–many of whom were paid for their answers. The study organizer acknowledged that the survey–which was drafted to “support organizing” ⁠— was “not representative” of gig workers’ experiences.

Speaking of unrepresentative: Labor and its allies have also hinged their case on a 2019 working paper from Veena Dubal, a law professor at the University of California-Hastings. In her paper, Dubal dismisses the numerous statistical surveys showing that on-demand drivers don’t want to be employees. Her own conclusions are based on “unstructured conversations with drivers in driver organizing meetings” ⁠— among other unrepresentative sources.

Got that? Having sought out the unhappy few among the on-demand shopper and driver community, Dubal concludes that all drivers in the state must feel similarly.

This anti-empirical stance by labor and its academic allies, and their unwillingness to acknowledge that shoppers and drivers prefer their “gigs,” has dangerous consequences.  In a recent legal brief, rideshare company Uber described in damning detail what would happen should it be forced to convert its independent drivers into full-time employees.

An estimated 75 percent of current drivers would lose access to the Uber employment model–resulting in one million lost employment opportunities. (The legal brief notes that these facts are undisputed by the company’s opponents.) Prices would increase for riders by anywhere from 20 to 120 percent; the company further explains that “at least a quarter of rides would no longer be available, with certain cities experiencing a decrease of 40-60 percent.”

The stories behind these statistics are heartbreaking. The Uber brief recites the story of one driver who uses the app to support her two children. One of her children has special needs, which means she can’t work a traditional schedule. If Uber in its current form was no longer available, she wouldn’t be able to support herself.

Another driver is the caregiver for her ailing husband and uses the on-demand app to earn extra income. Yet another has a wife in poor health and couldn’t work a 40-hour-per-week job even if he wanted to. The brief cites several other stories, noting that hundreds of thousands of other drivers have their own personal reasons for working in the gig economy.

The data are clear: For gig workers, flexibility is a perk of the job, not a bug. California legislators, and their constituents, should base their decisions about the future of the gig economy based on robust surveys that reflect this opinion ⁠— rather than flawed reports that tell their funders what they want to hear.

Jeff Joseph is a professor at the George Washington University School of Business

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Dodgers climb past Rockies with six-run seventh inning

It was a Colorado avalanche that buried the Rockies.

The Dodgers sent 11 batters to the plate and scored six times in the seventh inning (their season-high for any inning) to break open a tie game and give the Dodgers a 9-3 victory over the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field on Thursday night.

  • Los Angeles Dodgers’ Mookie Betts gestures to the dugout after his RBI single off Colorado Rockies relief pitcher Carlos Estevez during the seventh inning of a baseball game Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

  • Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Julio Urias works against the Colorado Rockies during the third inning of a baseball game Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

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  • Los Angeles Dodgers’ Will Smith follows through on a two-run double off Colorado Rockies relief pitcher Carlos Estevez during the seventh inning of a baseball game Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

  • Corey Seager #5 of the Los Angeles Dodgers completes the first half of a failed double play against Raimel Tapia #15 of the Colorado Rockies on a Charlie Blackmon single in the fifth inning at Coors Field on September 17, 2020 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

  • Colorado Rockies’ Raimel Tapia, left, scores on a sacrifice bly by Charlie Blackmon as Los Angeles Dodgers catcher Will Smith fields the throw during the first inning of a baseball game Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

  • Los Angeles Dodgers third base coach Dino Ebel, left, congratulates Corey Seager as he circles the bases after hitting a solo home run off Colorado Rockies starting pitcher Kyle Freeland in the fourth inning of a baseball game Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

  • Los Angeles Dodgers relief pitcher Dylan Floro works against the Colorado Rockies during the sixth inning of a baseball game Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

  • Los Angeles Dodgers relief pitcher Jake McGee warms up for the team’s baseball game against the Colorado Rockies on Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

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The win dropped the Dodgers’ magic number to clinch another NL West Division title to five. The second-place San Diego Padres were idle Thursday.

The Dodgers have now outscored their opponents 99-59 in the seventh inning or later this season.

“Just got some pitches to hit and put some good swings on them,” said Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager who had three hits in the win. “That’s all you’re trying to do. We did it a lot tonight, up and down the lineup. Hitting is contagious and when it happens like that you just want to keep it going.”

Showing up late has worked for the Dodgers’ offense. Maybe Julio Urias should try it.

In a recurring issue, Urias struggled through a ragged first inning, allowing two runs on three hits including a double by Trevor Story. In his 10 starts this season, Urias has allowed 10 runs in the first innings with opposing batters hitting .341 (15 for 44) with three home runs.

It took him 26 pitches to get through that first inning Thursday. His next 27 retired the next nine Rockies in order. Urias retired 13 in a row before Raimel Tapia reached base on an error to start the sixth inning.

After his first innings, Urias has allowed just nine runs in 39 innings, holding opposing batters to a .199 average (28 for 141).

“It was just a bad first inning with a lot of bad pitches,” Urias said through an interpreter.

“I continue working on that. I’m working with Mark (Prior, Dodgers pitching coach) and the rest of the coaches. They’ve really helped. I’ve just tried to make the adjustment for the first inning. Some times it’s just the circumstances of the game. But you can’t let that beat you. You have to understand that inning has passed and keep working and hopefully you work into the sixth or seventh inning. That’s the mentality, but I’ll keep working. It happened again today. But I’m going to continue to try and tackle that.”

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said the coaching staff has talked to Urias about making “adjustments” that might smooth the transition into the game.

“Talking to him on the bench afterwards, it’s more of getting that mindset like it’s the fifth or the sixth inning in the first inning,” Roberts said. “He started off slow, couldn’t get the ball out front, couldn’t spin the breaking ball, it was casting. Once he got loose and got that adrenaline or whatever you call it, it was a lot more crisp.”

The idea of having someone open for Urias, allowing him to enter the game in the second or third inning, didn’t seem to appeal to Roberts.

“It’s certainly a thought,” he said. “But it’s still the warm-up, the ramp up, whatever that is — if you’re still getting the same stuff in the third inning, it’s still the first time he’s out there on the mound. The key is when he gets out there on the mound he’s gotta be ready to rip it.”

That first inning put the Dodgers in the chase position and they caught the Rockies with two runs in the fourth inning against left-hander Kyle Freeland including a solo home run by Seager.

It stayed tied 2-2 until the seventh inning when the Dodgers broke the Rockies.

The Dodgers sent 11 batters to the plate against Freeland and relievers Carlos Estevez and Jairo Diaz. Seager, Will Smith and Kiké Hernandez had doubles. Mookie Betts broke the tie with an RBI single. The Rockies pitchers only made things worse with four walks and a run-scoring wild pitch. Catcher Tony Wolters was guilty of two passed balls.

“I think we had six, seven walks tonight,” Roberts said. “Our guys didn’t allow a walk. So some miscues they made, giving us extra outs — that’s good to see us capitalize. That’s how you have to play especially here.”

Seager finished the game a triple shy of the cycle, breaking out of a 2-for-16 stretch with the three-hit game. Smith continues on his tear. In 16 games since returning from a neck injury in late August, Smith is 21 for 57 (.368) with seven doubles, four home runs, 12 RBI and 12 runs scored.

Edwin Rios added a 427-foot solo home run in the eighth inning off Wade Davis, the 20th home run the Dodgers have hit off Rockies pitching in seven games this season.

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Anaheim man arrested after Placentia fire linked to marijuana honey oil operation

PLACENTIA — A 41-year-old Anaheim man was booked Wednesday on suspicion of manufacturing a controlled substance stemming from a blaze at a marijuana honey oil operation in Placentia, police said.

David Hoffman was found in front of a business that caught fire in the 700 block of Dunn Way about 8:40 a.m., Placentia police said.

Police said he told first responders there was a marijuana honey oil operation in the burning building and that there were several flammable chemicals on the premises, leading firefighters to evacuate workers in the Dunn Way Business Park as well as businesses on the 700 block of Orangethorpe Avenue.

No injuries were reported.

Anyone with information helpful to investigators was asked to call police at 714-993-8146. Orange County Crime Stoppers will accept anonymous tips at 855-TIP-OCCS.

Marijuana concentrates are a highly potent THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) concentrated mass that is similar in appearance to honey or butter, which is why it is sometimes referred to or known on the street as “honey oil” or “budder,” according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. It’s also known as “butane hash oil.” One method of manufacturing concentrates uses highly flammable butane to extract the THC from the cannabis plant.

The Register contributed to this story.

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Rare rough start for Dylan Bundy sends Angels to another loss

ANAHEIM — Dylan Bundy’s breakout season hit a speed bump.

Bundy, the most pleasant surprise on the Angels roster in this forgettable season, tossed a clunker in a 9-6 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks on Wednesday night.

  • Justin Upton #10 of the Los Angeles Angels is welcomed into the dugout after hitting a home rung against the Arizona Diamondbacks in the seventh inning at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on September 16, 2020 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images)

  • Jo Adell #59 of the Los Angeles Angels catches a fly ball in right field hit by Daulton Varsho #12 of the Arizona Diamondbacks in the sixth inning at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on September 16, 2020 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images)

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  • Max Stassi #33 of the Los Angeles Angels watches as David Peralta #6 of the Arizona Diamondbacks hits a home run in the seventh inning at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on September 16, 2020 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images)

  • Dylan Bundy #37 of the Los Angeles Angels pitches in the first innings against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on September 16, 2020 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images)

  • Josh Rojas #10 of the Arizona Diamondbacks stands on the warning track while Los Angeles Angels players in the bullpen try to catch a home run ball hit by Justin Upton #10 of the Los Angeles Angels in the sixth inning at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on September 16, 2020 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images)

  • Arizona Diamondbacks relief pitcher Stefan Crichton throws during the ninth inning of the team’s baseball game against the Los Angeles Angels on Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

  • Los Angeles Angels’ Mike Trout reacts after flying out to Arizona Diamondbacks right fielder Kole Calhoun during the fifth inning of a baseball game Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

  • Los Angeles Angels’ Justin Upton, right, celebrates his two-run home run with Anthony Rendon, left, and Taylor Ward during the fifth inning of the team’s baseball game against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

  • Albert Pujols #5 of the Los Angeles Angels breaks his bat on a pitch by Taylor Clarke #45 of the Arizona Diamondbacks in the fourth inning at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on September 16, 2020 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images)

  • Justin Upton #10 of the Los Angeles Angels congratulates Max Stassi #33 on his home run in the second inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on September 16, 2020 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images)

  • Los Angeles Angels’ Jared Walsh, right, avoids a tag by Arizona Diamondbacks shortstop Nick Ahmed, advancing on a passed ball during the fifth inning of a baseball game Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

  • Jared Walsh #25 of the Los Angeles Angels rounds third base after hitting a home run in the fifth inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on September 16, 2020 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images)

  • Caleb Smith #31 of the Arizona Diamondbacks pitches against the Los Angeles Angels in the first inning at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on September 16, 2020 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images)

  • Stephen Vogt #21 of the Arizona Diamondbacks stands buy as Justin Upton #10 of the Los Angeles Angels congratulates Max Stassi #33 on his home run in the second inning at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on September 16, 2020 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images)

  • Albert Pujols #5 of the Los Angeles Angels breaks his bat on a pitch by Taylor Clarke #45 of the Arizona Diamondbacks in the fourth inning at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on September 16, 2020 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images)

  • Shohei Ohtani #17 of the Los Angeles Angels sits in the dug out in the first inning of a game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on September 16, 2020 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images)

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Bundy brought a 2.48 ERA into the game, having allowed more than two earned runs in just two starts, and only once allowing as many as four.

But he gave up that many in the second inning alone on Wednesday, failing to retire any of the first six hitters of the inning.

“It was just getting behind in the count and having to throw a non-competitive off-seed pitch or a fastball not located very well, and I got singled to death,” Bundy said.

Bundy was charged with two more runs after he left in the third inning, ending his worst start of the season.

It put the Angels in a hole they could not escape, as they lost for the second straight night to the last-place Diamondbacks. The Angels missed a chance to pick up ground on the Houston Astros, remaining 4 1/2 games back with just 10 games to go.

“It’s frustrating for everybody,” Manager Joe Maddon said. “The guys are engaged. It is frustrating but we gotta keep pounding on the door. Of course the opportunity is slipping quickly, but we gotta keep rolling. Our guys have been engaged. They are working. It just hasn’t played. We have to put ourselves in better position at the beginning of the game to grab a lead and hold on to it.”

The Angels had hoped that sending their best starter to the mound would be the ticket to a victory, but it didn’t work out.

Bundy pitched a perfect first, but in the second he gave up four singles and two walks to the first six hitters. Two more runs got tacked on to his line when reliever Hoby Milner issued a walk and gave up an infield single.

The Angels hung around in the game thanks to a few homers.

Max Stassi hit a two-run shot to cut the lead in half after Bundy gave up four.

Sizzling Jared Walsh then hit a solo homer in the fifth, his sixth homer in his last seven games. Walsh also had a single, his sixth straight multi-hit game. He is the first Angels player to have multiple hits in six straight games since Erick Aybar in 2014.

“He’s got electric hands,” Maddon said. “This is a moment for him to ascend and he’s taking advantage of it. I don’t think it’s a fluke. I think it’s how he’s capable of hitting.”

Justin Upton cut the deficit to 6-4 with a homer in the sixth. Upton also continues to climb out of his month-long slump. Upton is hitting .345 with five homers in his last 16 games.

Just when the Angels got back within striking distance, Patrick Sandoval gave up a two-run homer to Kole Calhoun and a solo blast to David Peralta in the seventh.

It was Sandoval’s first appearance since being recalled from Long Beach. Before the homers, he had pitched three scoreless innings.

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Whicker: Nuggets make history, Clippers flunk chemistry

Fourteen months after it was declared, the Basketball Battle of L.A. is over.

The Lakers won without firing a shot. It was easier to watch the Clippers miss theirs.

Sure, it was conceivable that the Clippers wouldn’t win the NBA title, since they still haven’t been to the Western Conference Finals in 50 years of occasionally trying.

What nobody suspected is that Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, the Clippers’ prize signings of July 2019, would be spectators at their own demise.

The Clippers’ house of assumptions disappeared into a Florida sinkhole Tuesday. They were even more fragile in their 104-89 Game 7 loss to the remarkable Denver Nuggets than they were in Games 5 and 6, when they were blown out by a total of 47 points in the two second halves. They lost the third and fourth quarters by 17 this time.

They played without a theme, failed to finish maybe a dozen 2-footers, and accepted their fate with few bangs and no whimpers.

You can only conclude that they lost to a better team. If you are suffering major fan remorse over the fact that the Clippers won’t play the Lakers in the Western final,  think how the Lakers must feel.


Los Angeles Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard (2) scores against the Denver Nuggets during the first half of an NBA conference semifinal playoff basketball game Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

“We had great shots all night,” coach Doc Rivers said. “I still didn’t think we trusted each other. Denver went through stretches like that, too. But they just kept playing. You could see us trusting less and less.

“On nights like that you hope you can lean on your defense. Even though numbers say we’re a good defensive team, we just never realized that from our group.”

The Clippers looked like a team that failed to plan, which means they essentially planned to fail.

They never established a thing offensively. The Nuggets roped-a-doped Leonard and made sure they didn’t foul him. Of all the statistical wreckage, the ugliest for L.A. was the total of free throw attempts by their best players. George had one, Leonard none.

That’s far worse than combining to miss 28 of 38 field goal attempts, which they also did. Leonard had averaged 7.8 FTAs in the previous 12 playoff games.

The Clippers were down by 13 in the fourth quarter, still with time, when Leonard found Nikola Jokic, and his four fouls, guarding him. Instead of taking him to the paint, Leonard passed off to Marcus Morris, whose first-quarter touch had long deserted him.

George was even worse. After JaMychal Green’s dunk attempt ricocheted into the backcourt, George fetched it and then threw it away. It took the Clippers seven-and-a-half minutes to get their first field goal in the fourth quarter, and that was with Jokic on the bench, nursing fouls. It barely mattered: Jokic had already written a triple-double across the sky: 16 points, 22 rebounds, 13 assists.

“We just got cold,” George said. “We tried to make them make turnovers and they did a good job of playing right through that.”

Defensively the Clippers continued to double-team Jokic, and Murray raged for 25 first-half points on 11-for-17 shooting. The best passers, and indeed the best players, are too good to double-team. They’ve seen that gambit all their lives. They certainly have no trouble with the obligatory doubles the Clippers were throwing out there, with inactive hands and weak rotations. The Clippers never even made Denver consider a Plan B.

Now the Nuggets prep for the Lakers, with Game 1 on Friday. They are the first NBA team to wipe out two 3-1 deficits in the same playoff season. This was also the fourth seven-game series in their past two seasons. Jokic has earned international praise for his extraordinary passing, but he has teammates who share his wavelength. They move confidently to the sweetest spots.

The Clippers, with plenty of garbage time to hone their spin, said that was the ultimate difference.

“We need to get smarter,” Leonard said. “We need to build some chemistry. When you’ve played together for a while, they know the exact places where everybody is, and it makes it easier.”

The problem with that, of course, is that the Lakers were asked to become a supergroup just as quickly. They came together as smoothly as Blind Faith.

Rivers pointed out that Montrezl Harrell, Lou Williams and Patrick Beverley all missed significant time in the bubble itself, and somehow that bled into their conditioning.

“We had guys asking to come out in the middle of Game 7,” Rivers said, “and I had to do it.”

But it wasn’t the Game 7 that was promised, two Julys ago.

“This was not a championship-or-bust year,” George said before walking away. His words, at least, were shooting 50%.

 

 

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Tesoro girls swimming coach Todd Conrad departing for Pennsylvania after stellar eight-year run

Tesoro High girls swimming coach Todd Conrad called it a “bittersweet” decision.

The former Orange County high school coach of the year and veteran club coach said Monday, Sept. 14 that he will be resigning and moving with his family to Pennsylvania.

“It was a hard decision,” he said, “but it’s the right move for the family.”

Married with two young sons, Conrad will relocate to Downingtown, a suburb of Philadelphia, and become the head age-group coach with Upper Main Line YMCA. The club has a silver medal-standing with USA Swimming and about 300 year-round swimmers.

“We’re excited to have a new adventure,” Conrad said.

He will take considerable experience on the trek. He guided Tesoro for eight seasons, leading the Titans to the past six consecutive South Coast League titles.

The Titans also have finished second to Santa Margarita at the past three CIF-SS Division 1 championships.

Conrad, the Register’s coach of the year in 2018, also was known for building tight-knit teams and his enthusiasm on the pool deck.

He has been serving as director of operations at FAST the past eight months. His signature post in O.C. club swimming was leading the Coto Coyotes for 14 years. He also was recently the general manager of the Mission Viejo Nadadores.

Conrad swam at UC Irvine and also coached with the Irvine Aquazot and Santa Margarita.

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