USC’s Boogie Ellis electrifies crowd in victory over Utah

LOS ANGELES — Midway through the first half, the USC student section at the Galen Center began lifting their arms in anticipation every time guard Boogie Ellis went into his shooting motion.

And for the most part, the Memphis transfer obliged, with 19 points on 7-for-12 shooting in a 93-73 victory over Utah in the Trojans’ Pac-12 opener on Wednesday night.

“When he gets hot, he gets hot,” guard Max Agbonkpolo said of Ellis. “When he gets hot, we try to give him the ball as much as we can because if we can keep on scoring off him, everything will work out.”

The game quickly got out of hand at the end of the first half as the Trojans closed on a 23-7 run before heading to the locker room, finishing 13 for 14 from the field. The Utes were short-handed upon arrival in L.A. with eight scholarship players available, and it only got worse when forward Branden Carlson left with a leg injury.

But fully healthy or not, it might not have mattered with the way No. 20 USC, and Ellis specifically, shot the ball on Wednesday.

As the Trojans (7-0 overall, 1-0 Pac-12) put some distance between themselves and the visitors, Ellis was in the middle of it all. He howled at the student section after a steal and one-handed dunk. That was soon followed by an Isaiah Mobley layup off the glass to push USC’s lead to eight and force a Utah timeout.

That did little to help the Utes (5-2, 0-1) regroup, and soon Ellis hit back-to-back 3-pointers and then stole a pass from Rollie Worster and took it the distance for another tomahawk dunk to push USC’s lead to 17 with 1:14 left in the half, the crowd of 3,754 rollicking with every bucket and steal.

“It’s extremely fun, especially after a year of (what) I call silence,” Mobley said. “Everyone’s happy and we’re trying to keep it that way and we’re trying to build on that momentum.”

Ellis finished the first half with 16 points on 6-for-9 shooting.

It wasn’t entirely Ellis’ show. Mobley had an easy time scoring with post moves and hook shots to the tune of a team-high 21 points on 8-for-14 shooting. Drew Peterson had a couple of nice spin moves on drives to the paint to free himself up for easy layups. Joshua Morgan added four blocked shots off the bench.

And the Trojans did what they do best, namely defend and rebound. USC held Utah to a 1-for-7 start from the floor and the Utes went 11 for 37 in the first half.

Meanwhile, USC won the rebounding battle 51-32, Mobley leading the team with a career-high 13 for his second double-double in as many games. The junior forward also added two of USC’s nine blocked shots.

“He was a complete player tonight,” head coach Andy Enfield said. “It was great to see.”

When the Trojans went without a field goal for 4:08 in the second half and the Utes got within 16, Enfield inserted Ellis back into the game. Ellis promptly dribbled around a screen at the top of the arc and calmly sank a deep 3-pointer.

Still, USC was having trouble closing out the Utes as it missed 10 second-half free throws and allowed Utah guard Both Gach to score a career-high 28.

But Mobley put the game away with five straight points and a blocked shot to set up an Ellis lob to Agbonkpolo, who scored 11 of his 16 points in the second half to help close it out.

“We withstood it, and we shared the ball on offense and we did what we had to do,” Enfield said.

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Clippers fall to Pelicans again as Valanciunas enjoys career night

LOS ANGELES — Outrebounded and out-​​Valanciunas’d, the Clippers finally shot well but still came up short on Monday night in a deflating 123-104 loss to the New Orleans Pelicans.

Jonas ​​Valanciunas, New Orleans’ bearded big man, scored 29 of his career-high 39 points in the first half, when he shot 7 for 7 from 3-point range.

“It’s always good,” the Lithuanian center said, “to see the shot going in.”

Later, ​​Valanciunas chased down an errant Clippers pass and went soaring in for a right-handed dunk that punctuated a memorable night – for him – and pushed the Pelicans’ lead to 107-92 with 4:10 left.

It was a performance the Clippers might rather forget. They lost despite shooting 51.4% (37 for 72) from the field – the fourth time all season they shot better than 51% and the first time since they defeated Minnesota on Nov. 13.

Paul George went 10 for 20 from the field (though just 3 for 10 from 3-point range) en route to 27 points. And Reggie Jackson (19), Serge Ibaka (13) and Eric Bledsoe (10) all scored in double figures.

But the Clippers were done in by a lopsided discrepancy in second-chance points (18-4), a residual of New Orleans’ 18-4 offensive rebounding advantage.

By himself, ​​Valanciunas had more success than the Clippers combined on the offensive glass, where he collected seven of his 15 boards – becoming the first NBA player to record seven 3-pointers and seven offensive boards in the same game.

L.A. didn’t secure an offensive rebound until the third quarter.

Said Coach Tyronn Lue: “We played big, they got offensive rebounds. We played small, we got offensive rebounds.”

“That’s obviously our kryptonite,” said George, with a nod to the Clippers’ 8.8 offensive rebounds-per-game average, which ranks 28th in the league.

“Every team goes towards that, sending guys to the glass and they just think that they can do that and there’s no penalty to it because we haven’t been a great transition team once we get rebounds.”

To his point, the Clippers were outscored in transition Monday, 22-6 – even fewer fast-break points than the 9.6 they’ve averaged over the past nine games, of which the Clippers (11-10) have lost six after starting the season 8-4.

“It’s not a time to panic,” said George, who was responsible for seven of the Clippers’ 15 turnovers against New Orleans. “It’s not a time to panic. We know we’re not playing well, but like I said, all of it is kind of self-inflicted with our turnovers, starting with me. So we clean that up, we give ourselves a chance.”

The Clippers coughed it up a season-high 25 times against Golden State on Sunday afternoon, and the Warriors turned those mistakes into 31 points in their 105-90 victory. George had a career-high-tying eight turnovers in that game – for the third time this season.

On Monday, the Clippers cleaned up their act some and managed to erase much of what had been a 21-point Pelicans lead, getting the deficit to fewer than 10 in the fourth quarter. It was 95-87 with 7:21 left after an official review flipped an offensive foul on George into a basket and-1.

But they just couldn’t stop New Orleans (6-17), not at the outset, and not down the stretch.

And former Clipper Willie Green led his squad past Tyronn Lue’s for the second time this month. The Clippers also met the Pelicans on the second game of a back-to-back set and lost, 94-81, on Nov. 19 in New Orleans.

In front of 15,691 fans at Staples Center, they fell behind by as many as 19 points in the first quarter – despite making their first five shots. They finished the period shooting 3 for 12.

And their usually dependable defense failed to account for Valanciunas, who finished the game 15 for 24 from the field and became the fourth player in NBA history to record at least 35 points, 15 rebounds and seven 3-pointers in a game.

The 6-foot-11 center’s seven 3-pointers in 16 first-half minutes tied a New Orleans franchise record for most 3-pointers in any half.

Valanciunas has come a long way after making just one 3-pointer in four attempts through his first five NBA seasons.

This season, his 10th in the NBA, he’s leading the league in 3-point shooting, hitting at a 51.7% clip on 2.5 attempts per game from deep. What’s more, he is on pace to become the first center in NBA history to shoot 45% or better from 3-point range on more than two attempts per contest.

His percentage might be even higher if he faced the Clippers more often. He’s 12 for 17 against Lue’s squad this season – and a still-quite-good 18 for 41 against New Orleans’ other opponents.

“I just feel like I’m shooting the ball, I’m not hot or cold – I’m just, you know, taking what’s out there,” Valanciunas said. “If I have an open shot, I’ll take it. If I’m making it, I’ll keep taking it. Simple as that.”

He missed his only attempt from long range in the second half on Monday, but together, he and Ingram combined for 66 points on 27-for-42 shooting.

And the Pelicans – who, by the way, are expecting star forward Zion Williamson soon to begin participating in all team activities after undergoing offseason surgery on his fractured right foot – have won four of seven games, with victories over the Clippers as bookends.

They were 2-14 the first time they faced the Clippers on Nov. 19, and New Orleans has gone 3-2 since, with victories over Utah and Dallas.

The Clippers’ busy week continues Wednesday, when they host the Sacramento Kings – who, for all of their issues this season, rank eighth in offensive rebounding, hauling down 10.7 per game.

Ty Lue on the loss to the Pelicans and Jonas Valanciunas’ unstoppable offense🎙#ClipperNation | @LAClippers pic.twitter.com/Ne4LhY3T4L

— Bally Sports West (@BallySportWest) November 30, 2021

39 PTS (career high)
15 REB
7-8 3PM (career high)@JValanciunas becomes the 4th player in @NBAHistory with 35+ points, 15+ rebounds and 7+ threes in a game! pic.twitter.com/LLxyuAk61C

— NBA (@NBA) November 30, 2021

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What the Puck? An Inside Scoop on the LA Hockey Season

“Whether you are new to hockey or a long-time fan, nothing replaces the live experience in-arena. Come to one game, and you are hooked,” said Los Angeles Kings broadcaster and former player Daryl Evans.

An L.A. Kings game is the best bet for Southern Californians interested in attending a hockey game. With the season schedule starting in October and ending in May, there is ample time to catch a game. Before purchasing tickets to a game, here is a quick guide to ice hockey and its history in the region.

Rules and Common Terms You Should Know When Watching Ice Hockey

Hockey is an exciting sport to watch. It’s fast-paced and aggressive. A game is divided into three 20-minute playing periods, each period having a 15-minute intermission. The total time is around 2.5 to 3 hours, making hockey an entertaining, speedy night out. The rules are also pretty simple when compared to other professional sports.

The National Hockey League (NHL) is responsible for influencing most of the hockey game rules. Aside from the basic rules, there are still a few terms that you should know before you tune in for the next game:

  • Icing is an infraction when a player shoots the puck over the center red line and the opposing team’s red goal line, and the puck remains untouched without scoring a goal.
  • High-sticking describes when a player purposely plays the puck with their stick above the height of their shoulders or above the crossbar of a hockey goal.
  • Power plays are when one team is permitted to have more players—usually a 5 vs. 4 playing structure—on the ice because one player on the other team is serving in the penalty box.
  • Penalty box is where players are sent after an infraction, resulting in a significant penalty; these infractions include spearing, fighting, butt-ending, charging, and boarding.

The History of Ice Hockey in Los Angeles 

California has a rich hockey history. The Kings first joined the NHL after being formed in 1967, after the League expanded from six teams. Over time the organization has provided L.A. with star athletes, great live entertainment, and a historical rivalry. 

Every sports team has its rivalries, and the Kings are no different. Their biggest rivals are another California team—the Anaheim Ducks. Dubbed the “Freeway Face-Off” because the cities of Los Angeles and Anaheim are separated by Interstate 5, this rivalry is something that any Los Angeles sports fan will understand. 

“The freeway face-off is the standard for Kings hockey. We’ve played [the Ducks] in the playoffs. We were fortunate to win, but the players definitely step up on those nights as games get a lot more physical for the guys,” says COO of AEG Sports and the Kings Kelly Cheeseman.

Fan Experience and Game Ticket Information

Hockey games have a lot of memorable and fun experiences to offer sports fans with various themed game nights. There are Hollywood-themed nights and themes to honor the cultural diversity of Los Angeles and the city’s close-knit sports community. 

There are a few options for purchasing tickets—single-game tickets and season ticket memberships—to accommodate any L.A. sports fan. The Kings have several season ticket packages available—full, half, and quarter season ticket memberships. Each membership option comes with unique benefits, including access to exclusive members-only events and member discounts at the TEAM LA store and at select L.A. Live restaurants and attractions with your Kings Membership Card. For a full list of season membership benefits, head to the Kings website.

If you can’t make it to a live game, don’t worry. Sports fanatics can catch a game on several streaming platforms, including Bally Sports West, the Kings iHeart Audio Network, and the Spanish radio station Tu Liga for select home games.

To get the entire hockey experience on and off the ice, be sure to follow L.A.’s team, the Kings, on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tik Tok. These accounts are snarky and entertaining and keep hockey fans engaged on social media during the regular and off-seasons. Don’t forget about Bailey—the team’s audacious mascot has his own Twitter and Instagram accounts. 

For more information on tickets and the Los Angeles Kings organization, visit www.nhl.com/kings.

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