Simone Biles will not defend Olympic all-around gymnastics title

TOKYO

Tokyo—Only minutes into the Olympic Games team final Tuesday, Simone Biles, the greatest gymnast of her generation or any other, lost her special awareness on a vault and stumbled on the landing.

Biles, the four-time Olympic and 19-time World champion, walked to where Team USA had gathered and informed her teammates and coaches she was withdrawing from the competition, citing mental health concerns, knocking these Olympic Games of their already shaky bearings.

Biles rocked the Tokyo Olympics again Wednesday afternoon with the announcement that she will not defend her all around time Thursday and a decision that raises the likelihood that the Games and NBC will lose their biggest star before the most troubled Olympics in 40 years even hit their halfway point.

“After further medical evaluation, Simone Biles has withdrawn from the final individual all-around competition,” USA Gymnastics said in a statement. “We wholeheartedly support Simone’s decision and applaud her bravery in prioritizing her well-being. Her courage shows, yet again, why she is a role model for so many.”

The statement did not address whether will compete in the individual apparatus finals which start Monday. Jade Carey, Biles’ U.S. teammate, will replace her in the all around competition.

Jade Carey, who finished ninth in qualifying, will take Biles’ place in the all-around. Carey initially did not qualify because she was the third-ranking American behind Biles and Sunisa Lee. International Gymnastics Federation rules limit countries to two athletes per event in the finals.

Even before Biles’ most recent announcement the Games were still reeling from her initial withdrawal the night before.

“It’s not really about the scoring, it’s not really about the medals,” Biles said late Tuesday night “I understand some people will say something, but at the end of the day, we are who we are as people.

“I say put mental health first, because if you don’t, then you’re not going to enjoy your sport and you’re not going to succeed as much as you want to. It’s OK sometimes to even sit out the big competitions to focus on yourself because it shows how strong of a competitor and a person that you really are, rather than just battle through it. … Hopefully I’ll get back there and compete a couple more events. We’ll see.”

The first sign of trouble came on Biles’ vault. She planned to do a Yurcenko 2 1/2, but only managed 1 1/2 rotations before stumbling on the landing. She received a 13.766 score, well before her usual marks in an event in which she is the Olympic champion and a two-time Worlds gold medalist.

“I did not choose to do a one-and-a-half,” Biles said laughing. “I tried to do a two-and-a-half, and that just was not clicking. It’s very uncharacteristic of me, and it just sucks that it happened here at the Olympic Games. With the year that it’s been, I’m really not surprised how it played out.

“So it definitely wasn’t my best work.”

Biles said she has increasingly felt pressure from being the face of these Olympic Games. She is also a survivor of sexual abuse by former U.S. Olympic and national team coach Larry Nassar has been a vocal and persistent critic of USA Gymnastics, the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee and FBI’s handling of the Nassar case.

“In the back gym, coming in today, it was like fighting all those demons, ‘I have to put my pride aside, I have to do it for the team,” Biles said. “At the end of the day, I have to do what’s right for me and focus on my mental health, and not jeopardize my health and well-being. …

“I just don’t trust myself as much as I used to. I don’t know if it’s age. I’m a little bit more nervous when I do gymnastics. I feel like I’m also not having as much fun, and I know that this Olympic Games,” she continued starting to weep, “I wanted it to be for myself.

“I was still doing it for other people, so it hurts my heart that doing what I love has been kind of taken away from me to please other people.”

More to come on this story.

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Saugus’s Abbey Weitzel first from Southern California to win a medal at Tokyo Olympic Games

SAUGUS — Abbey Weitzeil of Saugus on Satruday, July 24, became the first Southern Californian to win a medal at the Tokyo Olympics, winning a bronze medal by swimming the second leg on the U.S. women’s 4X100-meter freestyle relay team.

The U.S. was sixth in the field of eight after Erika Brown swam the opening leg in 54.02 seconds. Weitzeil swam her leg in 52.68 seconds, the fastest among the four U.S. relay team members, moving the Americans into fourth.

Natalie Hinds swam the third leg in 53.15 and Simone Manuel the anchor leg in 52.96 as the U.S. completed the race in 3:32.81, .03 of a second behind second-place Canada. Australia won in 3:29.69, breaking its previous world record of 3:30.65.

The medal was the third for Weitzeil, who won a gold medal as part of the 4X100 medley relay team and a silver on the 4X100 freestyle relay team in the 2016 Olympics.

The 24-year-old Weitzeil is next scheduled to compete Wednesday in a heat of the 100 freestyle, which she won at the U.S. Olympic trials.

Weitzeil graduated from Saugus High School in 2015 and deferred entering the University of California, Berkeley for a year to train for the Olympics. She swam for the Golden Bears from 2016-2020, winning the 2019 NCAA championship in the 50 freestyle and was the recipient of the 2020 Honda Sport Award for swimming, given to the national swimmer of the year.

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Senior Living: Calming computer jitters — help for seniors who aren’t tech-savvy

Six months ago, Cindy Sanders, 68, bought a computer so she could learn how to email and have Zoom chats with her great-grandchildren.

It’s still sitting in a box, unopened.

“I didn’t know how to set it up or how to get help,” said Sanders, who lives in Philadelphia and has been extremely careful during the coronavirus pandemic.

Like Sanders, millions of older adults are newly motivated to get online and participate in digital offerings after being shut inside, hoping to avoid the virus, for more than a year. But many need assistance and aren’t sure where to get it.

A recent survey from AARP, conducted in September and October, highlights the quandary. It found that older adults boosted technology purchases during the pandemic but more than half (54%) said they needed a better grasp of the devices they’d acquired. Nearly 4 in 10 people (37%) admitted they weren’t confident about using these technologies.

Sanders, a retired hospital operating room attendant, is among them. “Computers put the fear in me,” she told me, “but this pandemic, it’s made me realize I have to make a change and get over that.”

With a daughter’s help, Sanders plans to turn on her new computer and figure out how to use it by consulting materials from Generations on Line. Founded in 1999, the Philadelphia organization specializes in teaching older adults about digital devices and navigating the internet. Sanders recently discovered it through a local publication for seniors.

Before the pandemic, Generations on Line provided free in-person training sessions at senior centers, public housing complexes, libraries and retirement centers. When those programs shut down, it created an online curriculum for smartphones and tablets (generationsonline.org/apps) and new tutorials on Zoom and telehealth as well as a “family coaching kit” to help older adults with technology. All are free and available to people across the country.

Demand for Generations on Line’s services rose tenfold during the pandemic as many older adults became dangerously isolated and cut off from needed services.

Those who had digital devices and knew how to use them could do all kinds of activities online: connect with family and friends, shop for groceries, order prescriptions, take classes, participate in telehealth sessions and make appointments to get covid vaccines. Those without were often at a loss — with potentially serious consequences.

“I have never described my work as a matter of life or death before,” said Angela Siefer, executive director of the National Digital Inclusion Alliance, an advocacy group for expanding broadband access. “But that’s what happened during the pandemic, especially when it came to vaccines.”

Other organizations specializing in digital literacy for older adults are similarly seeing a surge of interest. Cyber-Seniors, which pairs older adults with high school or college students who serve as technology mentors, has trained more than 10,000 seniors since April 2020 — three times the average of the past several years. (Services are free and grants and partnerships with government agencies and nonprofit organizations supply funding, as is true for several of the organizations discussed here.)

Older adults using digital devices for the first time can call 1-844-217-3057 and be coached over the phone until they’re comfortable pursuing online training. “A lot of organizations are giving out tablets to seniors, which is fantastic, but they don’t even know the basics, and that’s where we come in,” said Brenda Rusnak, Cyber-Seniors’ managing director. One-on-one coaching is also available.

Lyla Panichas, 78, who lives in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, got an iPad three months ago from Rhode Island’s digiAGE program — one of many local technology programs for older adults that started during the pandemic. She is getting help from the University of Rhode Island’s Cyber-Seniors program, which plans to offer digital training to 200 digiAGE participants in communities hardest hit by covid-19 by the end of this year.

“The first time my tutor called me, I mean, the kids rattle things off so fast. I said, Wait a minute. You have a little old lady here. Let me keep up with you,” Panichas said. “I couldn’t keep up and I ended up crying.”

Panichas persisted, however, and when her tutor called again the next week she began “being able to grasp things.” Now, she plays games online, streams movies and has Zoom get-togethers with her son, in Arizona, and her sister, in Virginia. “It’s kind of lifted my fears of being isolated,” she told me.

OATS (Older Adults Technology Services) is set to expand the reach of its digital literacy programs significantly after a recent affiliation with AARP. It runs a national hotline for people seeking technical support, 1-920-666-1959, and operates Senior Planet technology training centers in six cities (New York; Denver; Rockville, Maryland; Plattsburgh, New York; San Antonio, Texas; and Palo Alto, California). All in-person classes converted to digital programming once the pandemic closed down much of the country.

Germaine St. John, 86, a former mayor of Laramie, Wyoming, found an online community of seniors and made dear friends after signing up with Senior Planet Colorado during the pandemic. “I have a great support system here in Laramie, but I was very cautious about going out because I was in the over-80 group,” she told me. “I don’t know what I would have done without these activities.”

Older adults anywhere in the country can take Senior Planet virtual classes for free. (A weekly schedule is available at seniorplanet.org/get-involved/online.) Through its AARP partnership, OATS is offering another set of popular classes at AARP’s Virtual Community Center. Tens of thousands of older adults now participate.

Aging Connected (agingconnected.org), another new OATS initiative, is focusing on bringing 1 million older adults online by the end of 2022.

An immediate priority is to educate older adults about the government’s new $32 billion Emergency Broadband Benefit for low-income individuals, which was funded by a coronavirus relief package and became available last month. That short-term program provides $50 monthly discounts on high-speed internet services and a one-time discount of up to $100 for the purchase of a computer or tablet. But the benefit isn’t automatic. People must apply to get funding.

“We are calling on anybody over the age of 50 to try the internet and learn what the value can be,” said Thomas Kamber, OATS’ executive director. Nearly 22 million seniors don’t have access to high-speed internet services, largely because these services are unaffordable or unavailable, according to a January report co-sponsored by OATS and the Humana Foundation, its Aging Connected partner.

Other new ventures are also helping older adults with technology. Candoo Tech, which launched in February 2019, works with seniors directly in 32 states as well as organizations such as libraries, senior centers and retirement centers.

For various fees, Candoo Tech provides technology training by phone or virtually, as-needed support from “tech concierges,” advice about what technology to buy and help preparing devices for out-of-the-box use.

“You can give an older adult a device, access to the internet and amazing content, but if they don’t have someone showing them what to do, it’s going to sit there unused,” said Liz Hamburg, Candoo’s president and chief executive.

GetSetUp’s model relies on older adults to teach skills to their peers in small, interactive classes. It started in February 2020 with a focus on tech training, realizing that “fear of technology” was preventing older adults from exploring “a whole world of experiences online,” said Neil Dsouza, founder and chief executive.

For older adults who’ve never used digital devices, retired teachers serve as tech counselors over the phone. “Someone can call in [1-888-559-1614] and we’ll walk them through the whole process of downloading an app, usually Zoom, and taking our classes,” Dsouza said. GetSetUp is offering about 80 hours of virtual technology instruction each week.

For more information about tech training for older adults in your area, contact your local library, senior center, department on aging or Area Agency on Aging. Also, each state has a National Assistive Technology Act training center for older adults and people with disabilities. These centers let people borrow devices and offer advice about financial assistance. Some started collecting and distributing used smartphones, tablets and computers during the pandemic.

For information about a program in your area, go to at3center.net.

Kaiser Health News is a nonprofit news service covering health issues. It is an editorially independent program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, which is not affiliated with Kaiser Permanente.

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Court says California must more quickly move mentally incompetent defendants out of jails

SAN FRANCISCO — California can’t lock up people for months in jails after they have been found mentally incompetent to stand trial, a state appeals court said.

In a 3-0 ruling Tuesday, a panel of the First District Court of Appeal upheld a 2019 lower court order that gave the state a 28-day deadline for placing defendants in state mental hospitals or other treatment facilities after they were found incompetent to stand trial because of psychological or intellectual disabilities.

The appellate court also included people charged with certain felony sex offenses, rejecting an exception carved out in the earlier Alameda County ruling.

The previous ruling had set a phase-in period that ends next year.

State law says people facing criminal charges but who are judged incompetent to face trial can be ordered committed for treatment to help them become capable of understanding trial proceedings.

Two years before the 2019 time limit was enacted, defendants waited 86 days on average after a judge issued the transfer order to get into a hospital, according to the appellate court.

California has “systematically violated the due-process rights” of these defendants by keeping them for longer periods in jails where they may suffer further problems because of crowding, violence and a lack of treatment, Presiding Justice J. Anthony Kline said in the ruling.

The decision involved a 2015 lawsuit filed against the state Department of State Hospitals and Department of Developmental Services on behalf of five relatives of defendants who were found incompetent to stand trial.

Due to lack of space, about 4,000 people each year who are declared incompetent to stand trial are placed on a waitlist for admission to facilities administered by those departments, and the list for admission to state hospitals alone soared to more than 1,600 people during the COVID-19 pandemic, an increase of 500% since 2013, according to the American Civil Liberties Union, which took part in the lawsuit.

The ACLU has urged use of community treatment centers to help ease the hospital bed shortage.

“The court recognized that California cannot continue to warehouse people in jail for months at a time while it denies them both their right to a trial and the mental health treatment they need to become competent to have a trial,” Michael Risher, counsel for the ACLU Foundation of Northern California, said in a statement.

“This ruling is a step in the right direction, and our family is very grateful,” said Stephanie Stiavetti, a plaintiff who said her brother was abused in jail during weeks of delay before his transfer.

“The state needs to recognize that there are far too many mental health patients suffering in jails, lost in a system that is rife with abuse and ill-prepared to care for them,” she said in a statement. “Immediate legislation is needed to ensure that people with mental health disorders receive treatment promptly and outside of the jail system.”

The Department of State Hospitals told the San Francisco Chronicle that it was reviewing the ruling.

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Alexander: Could Lakers have repeated under normal circumstances?

Championship DNA, for whatever it’s worth, doesn’t guarantee good health.

The Lakers might have been able to boast the former, the outgrowth of last season’s championship run in the bubble. But the latter failed them throughout this mad scramble of a shortened, compressed NBA season. And yes, when it comes to writing the story of the Lakers’ 2020-21 season, and the bid to repeat that fell short, there is blame to be laid and it’s not all internal.

That story ended Thursday night with a 113-100 elimination game loss to the Phoenix Suns in Game 6 of the first round, and it figured that the most important game of the season revolved around the injury report. Even then, good news turned out to be not so good after all.

After a couple of days of uncertainty, the Lakers received a blast of hope when Anthony Davis was deemed available to play before the game … only to have it doused when the All-Star big man limped off for good less than 5½ minutes into the game, his strained left groin making it impossible to continue after he’d visibly labored whenever he tried to run or jump.

The moment of truth came when Davis pursued the Suns’ Devin Booker on a drive to the basket, jumped … and came down awkwardly and agonizingly. Davis bent over in obvious pain, then limped to the sideline and plopped to the floor, head bowed in disappointment. Moments later he went to the locker room for treatment, and by halftime, the obvious had become official: He would not be returning.

Davis, of course, had provided the first clue that this Lakers season was going to be a grind when he limped off the court on Valentine’s Day night in Denver with the calf strain felt throughout Southern California. Davis missed 30 consecutive games with that injury and 36 all told in the regular season, hyperextended his left knee in Game 3 of the Suns series, then suffered the Grade 1 strain of his left groin in Game 4 on Sunday while trying to play through the knee issue. And yes, the knee injury led to the groin injury.

That in itself was a microcosm of what turned out to be a brutal end of the season, with Davis and LeBron James missing extensive time and a team that started out 21-6 and was seemingly in a great position to repeat suddenly having to battle for its playoff life.

It’s probably no coincidence that the Lakers and Miami, the last teams standing in the Orlando bubble last October, were also among the first ones gone this spring. With a short offseason followed by a 72-game schedule crammed into 146 days, with few off days, little time for real practices and an array of continuing COVID-19 protocols and restrictions … well, what did you expect?

“From the moment we entered the bubble to now, today, it’s been draining,” said James, a 36-year-old four-time league MVP. “Mentally, physically, spiritually, emotionally draining.”

The short offseason disrupted players’ routines, Davis noted, and “all around the league, guys didn’t handle that very well. … You usually take about a month or so off and you still have six weeks weight room training, and then you have another month, month and a half for on-court (work). We didn’t get that.”

Lakers coach Frank Vogel acknowledged that “none of our guys were prepared for training camp, and we tried to grind through it and get our legs under us,” another reminder that there’s a good reason why, under normal circumstances, players are expected to be in condition when camp begins.

The first-round series with the Suns finished with the No. 2 seed doing what it should do to a No. 7 seed. At 51-21 in the regular season, Phoenix was only one game behind Utah for the league’s best record, and the Suns might be capable of going the distance assuming future Hall of Famer Chris Paul gets his health back.

But Vogel had every right to wonder what if.

“This is a matchup, if we’re whole, that should probably take place in the conference finals,” he said. “But obviously the regular season was what it was with the injuries, and we slipped. I would like to see what our group could have done against this team if we were at full strength. But we weren’t. That’s sports. You gotta do the best you can and make the best of it.”

Not even James, with his personal streak of winning elimination games and his record of never having been knocked out in the first round in 14 previous tries, could save the day here. Then again, what was once a 29-point Phoenix lead in the first half was whittled to 10 late in the third quarter, thanks to a rally by a small lineup featuring LeBron at center.

“I was talking to Wes (Wesley Matthews) in the locker room just a few minutes ago, and I said the one thing that bothers me more than anything was we never really got an opportunity to see our team at full strength, either because of injury, or COVID, or something going on with our ballclub this year,” James said. “We could never fully get into a rhythm and never really kind of see the full potential of what we were capable of.”

That said, the Lakers’ early exit also means a full summer of rest, recovery and preparation. James seemed to indicate he’d skip the Olympics (while throwing in a sly plug for the “Space Jam” sequel coming out this summer).

Point guard Dennis Schröder put it another way, more colorfully than can be fully quoted in this publication, but the gist of it was: “You’ve got to get through the (garbage) to get to the good (stuff).”

If that’s true, wait until next year.

jalexander@scng.com

@Jim_Alexander on Twitter

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Stars carry Clippers in Game 4 rout of Mavericks that evens series

  • The Clippers’ Paul George stands by the bench celebrating a basket made by a teammate during the second half of Game 4 of their first-round playoff series against the Mavericks on Sunday in Dallas. The Clippers won, 106-81, to even the best-of-seven series. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

  • DALLAS, TEXAS – MAY 30: Kawhi Leonard #2 of the LA Clippers takes a shot against Boban Marjanovic #51 of the Dallas Mavericks in the fourth quarter in Game Four of the Western Conference first round series at American Airlines Center on May 30, 2021 in Dallas, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

  • Dallas Mavericks’ Kristaps Porzingis, top left, and Tim Hardaway Jr., right, sit on the bench watching the final minutes of Game 4 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series against the Los Angeles Clippers in Dallas, Sunday, May 30, 2021. The Clippers won 106-81. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

  • Los Angeles Clippers forward Marcus Morris Sr. (8) shoots and sinks a 3-point basket in the second half in Game 4 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series against the Dallas Mavericks in Dallas, Sunday, May 30, 2021. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

  • Los Angeles Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard breaks to the basket for a shot against the Dallas Mavericks in the second half in Game 4 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series in Dallas, Sunday, May 30, 2021. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

  • Los Angeles Clippers’ Kawhi Leonard (2) and Marcus Morris Sr. (8) celebrate a 3-point basket scored by Morris Sr., in the second half in Game 4 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series in Dallas, Sunday, May 30, 2021. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

  • Los Angeles Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard, left, attempts to steal the ball away from Dallas Mavericks’ Luka Doncic (77) in the second half in Game 4 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series in Dallas, Sunday, May 30, 2021. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

  • Los Angeles Clippers’ Kawhi Leonard is fouled going to the basket against Dallas Mavericks’ Tim Hardaway Jr. (11) and Dorian Finney-Smith, rear, in the first half in Game 4 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series in Dallas, Sunday, May 30, 2021. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

  • Dallas Mavericks’ Luka Doncic, left, shoots as Los Angeles Clippers’ Kawhi Leonard (2) and Ivica Zubac defend in the first half in Game 4 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series in Dallas, Sunday, May 30, 2021. The Mavericks’ Boban Marjanovic, right, looks on. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

  • Los Angeles Clippers’ Kawhi Leonard (2) and Reggie Jackson, middle, look on as Dallas Mavericks’ Dorian Finney-Smith (10) dunks in the first half in Game 4 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series in Dallas, Sunday, May 30, 2021. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

  • Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard dunks during the first half of Game 4 of their first-round playoff series against the Mavericks on Sunday night in Dallas. Leonard had 29 points and 10 rebounds in a 106-81 rout that evened the best-of-seven series. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

  • Los Angeles Clippers’ Kawhi Leonard (2) and Terance Mann (14) defend as Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic (77) drives to the basket in the first half in Game 4 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series in Dallas, Sunday, May 30, 2021. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

  • Dallas Mavericks’ Kristaps Porzingis (6) and Dorian Finney-Smith (10) walk up the court as Los Angeles Clippers guard Paul George (13) celebrates sinking a 3-point basket in the first half in Game 4 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series in Dallas, Sunday, May 30, 2021. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

  • Dallas Mavericks center Kristaps Porzingis (6) takes a shot overLos Angeles Clippers forward Marcus Morris Sr. (8) in the first half in Game 4 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series in Dallas, Sunday, May 30, 2021. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

  • Los Angeles Clippers head coach Tyronn Lue, left, talks with referee Eric Lewis, right, in the first half in Game 4 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series against the Dallas Mavericks in Dallas, Sunday, May 30, 2021. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

  • Los Angeles Clippers’ Nicolas Batum (33) defends as Dallas Mavericks guard Jalen Brunson (13) goes up for a shot in the first half in Game 4 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series in Dallas, Sunday, May 30, 2021. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

  • The Clippers’ Paul George and Nicolas Batum (33) celebrate going into a timeout during the first half of Game 4 of their first-round playoff series on Sunday night in Dallas. Batum joined the starting lineup for the first time in the series. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

  • Dallas Mavericks guard Jalen Brunson (13) shoots and sinks a three-point basket in the first half in Game 4 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series against the Los Angeles Clippers in Dallas, Sunday, May 30, 2021. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

  • Dallas Mavericks center Kristaps Porzingis (6) defends as Los Angeles Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard (2) attempts a shot in the first half in Game 4 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series in Dallas, Sunday, May 30, 2021. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

  • Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic, center, positions for a shot as Los Angeles Clippers’ Rajon Rondo, left, Terance Mann (14) and Ivica Zubac (40) defend in the first half in Game 4 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series in Dallas, Sunday, May 30, 2021. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

  • Dallas Mavericks’ Luka Doncic, left, is fouled by Los Angeles Clippers’ Paul George (13) on a shot attempt as Reggie Jackson (1) and Ivica Zubac (40) help defend on the play in the first half in Game 4 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series in Dallas, Sunday, May 30, 2021. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

  • Los Angeles Clippers’ Marcus Morris Sr. (8) and Kawhi Leonard, right, defend as Dallas Mavericks’ Boban Marjanovic (51) charges to the basket for a shot in the first half in Game 4 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series in Dallas, Sunday, May 30, 2021. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

  • Los Angeles Clippers’ Nicolas Batum (33), Kawhi Leonard, second from right and Marcus Morris Sr., right, defend as Dallas Mavericks center Boban Marjanovic positions for a shot in the first half in Game 4 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series in Dallas, Sunday, May 30, 2021. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

  • A fan wearing a veil cheers as the Los Angeles Clippers and Dallas Mavericks warm up before Game 4 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series in Dallas, Sunday, May 30, 2021. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

  • Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard glides to the basket as Mavericks center Kristaps Porzingis defends during the first half of Game 4 of their first-round playoff series on Sunday night in Dallas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

  • DALLAS, TEXAS – MAY 30: Luka Doncic #77 of the Dallas Mavericks controls the ball against the LA Clippers in the third quarter in Game Four of the Western Conference first round series at American Airlines Center on May 30, 2021 in Dallas, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

  • DALLAS, TEXAS – MAY 30: Kawhi Leonard #2 of the LA Clippers reacts against the Dallas Mavericks in the third quarter in Game Four of the Western Conference first round series at American Airlines Center on May 30, 2021 in Dallas, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

  • DALLAS, TEXAS – MAY 30: Luka Doncic #77 of the Dallas Mavericks takes a shot against Nicolas Batum #33 of the LA Clippers in the third quarter in Game Four of the Western Conference first round series at American Airlines Center on May 30, 2021 in Dallas, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

  • DALLAS, TEXAS – MAY 30: Kristaps Porzingis #6 of the Dallas Mavericks takes a shot against Paul George #13 of the LA Clippers in the third quarter in Game Four of the Western Conference first round series at American Airlines Center on May 30, 2021 in Dallas, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

  • DALLAS, TEXAS – MAY 30: Kristaps Porzingis #6 of the Dallas Mavericks takes a shot against Paul George #13 of the LA Clippers in the third quarter in Game Four of the Western Conference first round series at American Airlines Center on May 30, 2021 in Dallas, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

  • DALLAS, TEXAS – MAY 30: Paul George #13 of the LA Clippers takes a shot against the Dallas Mavericks in the second quarter in Game Four of the Western Conference first round series at American Airlines Center on May 30, 2021 in Dallas, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

  • DALLAS, TEXAS – MAY 30: Luka Doncic #77 of the Dallas Mavericks passes the ball against the LA Clippers in the first quarter in game four of the Western Conference first round series at American Airlines Center on May 30, 2021 in Dallas, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

  • DALLAS, TEXAS – MAY 30: Paul George #13 of the LA Clippers takes a shot against the Dallas Mavericks in the second quarter in Game Four of the Western Conference first round series at American Airlines Center on May 30, 2021 in Dallas, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

  • DALLAS, TEXAS – MAY 30: Paul George #13 of the LA Clippers controls the ball against Dorian Finney-Smith #10 and Tim Hardaway Jr. #11 of the Dallas Mavericks in the second quarter in Game Four of the Western Conference first round series at American Airlines Center on May 30, 2021 in Dallas, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

  • DALLAS, TEXAS – MAY 30: Reggie Jackson #1 of the LA Clippers takes a shot against Dorian Finney-Smith #10 of the Dallas Mavericks in the second quarter in Game Four of the Western Conference first round series at American Airlines Center on May 30, 2021 in Dallas, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

  • DALLAS, TEXAS – MAY 30: Luka Doncic #77 of the Dallas Mavericks reacts against the LA Clippers in the second quarter in Game Four of the Western Conference first round series at American Airlines Center on May 30, 2021 in Dallas, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

  • DALLAS, TEXAS – MAY 30: Kawhi Leonard #2 of the LA Clippers takes a shot against the Dallas Mavericks in the second quarter in Game Four of the Western Conference first round series at American Airlines Center on May 30, 2021 in Dallas, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

  • The Clippers’ Kawhi Leonard glides to the basket during the first quarter of Game 4 of their first-round playoff series against the Mavericks on Sunday night in Dallas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

  • DALLAS, TEXAS – MAY 30: Kawhi Leonard #2 of the LA Clippers makes a slam dunk against the Dallas Mavericks in the second quarter in Game Four of the Western Conference first round series at American Airlines Center on May 30, 2021 in Dallas, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

  • DALLAS, TEXAS – MAY 30: Ivica Zubac #40 of the LA Clippers makes a slam dunk against the Dallas Mavericks in the first quarter in game four of the Western Conference first round series at American Airlines Center on May 30, 2021 in Dallas, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

  • DALLAS, TEXAS – MAY 30: Paul George #13 of the LA Clippers takes a shot against the Dallas Mavericks in the second quarter in Game Four of the Western Conference first round series at American Airlines Center on May 30, 2021 in Dallas, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

  • DALLAS, TEXAS – MAY 30: Marcus Morris Sr. #8 of the LA Clippers takes a shot against Luka Doncic #77 of the Dallas Mavericks in the first quarter in Game Four of the Western Conference first round series at American Airlines Center on May 30, 2021 in Dallas, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

  • DALLAS, TEXAS – MAY 30: Ivica Zubac #40 of the LA Clippers takes a shot against Kristaps Porzingis #6 of the Dallas Mavericks in the first quarter in game four of the Western Conference first round series at American Airlines Center on May 30, 2021 in Dallas, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

  • DALLAS, TEXAS – MAY 30: Paul George #13 of the LA Clippers takes a shot against the Dallas Mavericks in the first quarter in game four of the Western Conference first round series at American Airlines Center on May 30, 2021 in Dallas, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

  • Dallas Mavericks’ Maxi Kleber (42) and Luka Doncic, rear, defend as Los Angeles Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard (2) drives to the basket in the first half in Game 4 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series in Dallas, Sunday, May 30, 2021. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

  • Dallas Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle, center, watches the closing minutes of Game 4 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series against the Los Angeles Clippers in Dallas, Sunday, May 30, 2021. The Clippers won 106-81. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

  • Los Angeles Clippers’ Ivica Zubac (40) throws his hands up as he shouts in the direction of an official after fouling out in the second half in Game 4 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series against the Dallas Mavericks in Dallas, Sunday, May 30, 2021. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

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A-plus tactical adjustments + a dinged-up Luka Doncic = a 25-point Game 4 rout.

Forty-nine combined points from All-Stars Kawhi Leonard and Paul George helped too, as the fourth-seeded Clippers ran the fifth-seeded Mavericks ragged on Sunday night in a 106-81 victory. With the resounding win, L.A. evened the best-of-seven first-round series, 2-2, returning the favor by beating Dallas a second time on its home floor at American Airlines Center in Dallas, packed Sunday with 17,761 fans.

The matchup returns to Staples Center for Game 5 on Wednesday night.

Clippers coach Tyronn Lue – who had maintained a determined air of calm confidence, even when his team trailed 2-0 in the series – tweaked the Clippers’ starting lineup for the second consecutive game, this time inserting 6-foot-8 Nicolas Batum for Ivica Zubac, the 7-foot center.

With no Clipper taller than 6-8 on the floor at tip-off, that small-ball lineup proved a big success, even with 7-3 Kristaps Porzingis playing for the Mavericks, and 7-4 Boban Marjanovic checking in for the first time this series with 6:47 to play in the first quarter.

“We finally have a good start!” Batum said postgame.

Indeed, their early 5-4 lead was the first in a first-quarter all series, and the start of an advantage that would grow steadily – to 12 before the end of the first quarter, to 19 in the second quarter and to as many as 28 points in the third.

Batum, who scored 10 points in his first playoff start since 2016, was a nightmare for the Mavericks, in turns solid and sneaky, the “glue guy” with sticky fingers. He finished with a career-playoff-high four steals, plus two blocked shots as he helped to douse Dallas’ greatest threat.

“He did a great job on Luka getting up the floor, trying to command the basketball, pressuring a little bit,” Lue said. “He had a block or two, just flying around, so you know, Nico starting today allowed us to switch more and do more defensively and that’s why we were able to hold them to 81 points tonight.”

Doncic was facing more than determined defense, though.

So spectacular until Sunday, having tallied 114 points, 26 rebounds and 27 assists to become the first player in NBA history to produce those numbers through their first three games of a playoff series, Doncic seemed to be feeling the effects of a cervical strain in his neck area that began bothering him halfway through Game 3.

“The pain is in the neck and then the nerve down,” Doncic said after the game, noting his neck actually felt better Sunday than it had Saturday – and that he nonetheless didn’t want to make an excuse. “I don’t think that matters right now. We lost by 20. And the injuries are part of basketball, but I was 100 percent. So I played terrible.”

Grimacing often, the 22-year-old superstar finished with an honorable, if mortal, 19 points on 9-for-24 shooting, including going 1 for 7 from 3-point range and 0 for 5 from the free-throw line in 36 tough minutes.

His teammates – who entered Sunday’s game shooting an astronomical 50.5% (55 for 109) from 3-point range – fell back to Earth in Game 4, their descent encouraged by more committed perimeter defense from the Clippers. On Sunday, the Mavericks shot just 5 for 30 (16.7%) from behind the arc.

Meanwhile, Leonard and George answered the bell again by continuing their sparkling assault: Leonard’s line: 29 points on 11-for-15 shooting, 10 rebounds, two steals, two blocks in a series-low 35 minutes. George gave his side 20 points, including going 3 for 6 on 3-point attempts, to go with nine rebounds in 35 minutes.

“We’re playing great, that’s all I care about,” Leonard said on TNT after the game, downplaying his own series averages – 33 points, 8.5 rebounds, 63% shooting from the field, 47% from 3-point range.

“One, two players can’t win a championship or a playoff series, so I’m happy that we’re all playing well and playing better defense. … We need everybody, the whole five that’s out there, and the rest of the 11 that’s on the bench as well as the coaching staff and trainers.”

In his second consecutive start, Reggie Jackson chipped in with 15 points, his third game in double figures.

What a difference 7½ quarters made.

The Clippers were cratering on the precipice of disaster – seemingly headed, at least momentarily, for a never-before-conquered 3-0 series deficit – before their outlook shifted 180 degrees with a resurgent rally that wiped out the Mavericks’ 19-point first-quarter lead in Game 3.

“At that point, we really had nothing to lose,” Batum said. “So we just get our composure and play defense and be tougher.”

Since then – in sync with Serge Ibaka’s prophetically positive tweets from L.A., where the veteran center is treating his ongoing back injury – the Clippers have outscored the Mavericks 213-159.

Now they’ll return to L.A. having claimed momentum and reclaimed home-court advantage – with the caveat that, in this series, the home team has yet to win.

Conscious of that, Lue closed his postgame virtual news conference by pounding on a table in front of him and issuing a call to his team’s fans: “Clipper fans, if you’re listening, we need energy!”

Kawhi’s efficient double-double leads the @LAClippers to their 2nd straight win in Dallas, tying the series at 2-2. Game 5 is Wed. at 10pm/et on TNT.

29p | 10r | 2s | 2b | 11-15 shooting pic.twitter.com/yFOtnlEAIo

— NBA (@NBA) May 31, 2021

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California prosecutors sue over rules that could free thousands of inmates early

By DON THOMPSON

SACRAMENTO — Three-quarters of California’s district attorneys sued the state Wednesday in an attempt to block emergency rules that expand good conduct credits and could eventually bring earlier releases for tens of thousands of inmates.

The lawsuit objects on procedural grounds, arguing that Corrections Secretary Kathleen Allison used the emergency declaration to bypass the usual regulatory and public comment process.

The rules affecting 76,000 inmates, most serving time for violent offenses, took effect May 1, although it will be months or years until inmates accumulate enough credits to significantly shorten their sentences.

Forty-four of the state’s 58 district attorneys brought the lawsuit, which says the only stated emergency was the corrections department’s desire to follow the “direction outlined in the Governor’s Budget Summary” nearly a year earlier. Plaintiffs included district attorneys for Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino counties.

Notably absent were district attorneys in Los Angeles and San Francisco who have backed criminal sentencing changes.

The lawsuit asks a Sacramento County Superior Court judge to throw out the regulations and bar the department from granting any of the good conduct credits until it goes through the regular process.

“There is no actual emergency, and they cannot meet those emergency requirements,” the lawsuit contends. “Nowhere in the supporting documents is there an explanation of how last year’s budget has become an operational need for the adoption of the regulations on an emergency basis.”

The department said it acted under the authority given it by voters when they passed Proposition 57 in 2016, allowing earlier parole for most inmates.

It “filed regulations to promote changes in good behavior credits, and followed all policies and procedures by the Office of Administrative Law,” the department said in a statement promising to “continue to work with our partners to promote rehabilitation and accountability in a manner consistent with public safety.”

The emergency rules boost good behavior credits for a projected 63,000 inmates convicted of violent crimes, allowing them to prospectively serve two-thirds of their sentences rather than the previous 80%.

Another 10,000 prisoners convicted of a second serious but nonviolent offense and nearly 2,900 nonviolent third strikers would be eligible for release after serving half their sentences, down from two-thirds.

Inmate firefighters and minimum-security inmates in work camps, regardless of the severity of their crimes, are eligible under the new rules for a month of earlier release for every month they spend in the camp.

“Allowing the early release of the most dangerous criminals, shortening sentences as much as 50%, impacts crime victims and creates a serious public safety risk,” Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert said in a statement. She has led the opposition and is running for state attorney general as an independent.

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Josh Taylor’s left hand allows him to lift all four belts after he wins a decision over Jose Ramirez

  • Josh Taylor celebrates while holding his belts after defeating Jose Ramirez by unanimous decision in a junior welterweight title boxing bout Saturday, May 22, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)

  • Jose Ramirez hits Josh Taylor during a junior welterweight title boxing bout Saturday, May 22, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)

  • Jose Ramirez hits Josh Taylor during a junior welterweight title boxing bout Saturday, May 22, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)

  • Josh Taylor hits Jose Ramirez during a junior welterweight title boxing bout Saturday, May 22, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)

  • Josh Taylor celebrates while holding his belts after defeating Jose Ramirez by unanimous decision in a junior welterweight title boxing bout Saturday, May 22, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)

  • Josh Taylor hits Jose Ramirez, left, during a junior welterweight title boxing bout Saturday, May 22, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)

  • Josh Taylor knocks down Jose Ramirez during a junior welterweight title boxing bout Saturday, May 22, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)

  • Josh Taylor celebrates after defeating Jose Ramirez by unanimous decision in a junior welterweight title bout Saturday, May 22, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)

  • Josh Taylor celebrates after defeating Jose Ramirez by unanimous decision in a junior welterweight title boxing bout Saturday, May 22, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)

  • Josh Taylor celebrates after defeating Jose Ramirez by unanimous decision in a junior welterweight title bout Saturday, May 22, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)

  • Josh Taylor holds his belts after defeating Jose Ramirez by unanimous decision in a junior welterweight title boxing bout Saturday, May 22, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)

  • Jose Ramirez enters the arena before a junior welterweight title boxing bout against Josh Taylor, Saturday, May 22, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)

  • Josh Taylor celebrates after defeating Jose Ramirez by unanimous decision in a junior welterweight title boxing bout Saturday, May 22, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)

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LAS VEGAS — They put a historically juicy fight in a hotel theatre Saturday night, in front of 750 fans. It was like playing the World Series on Bad News Bears Field.

The music came on and Jose Ramirez and Josh Taylor entered the ring briskly. No frills, no smoke.

As it turned out, no mirrors either.

Taylor was the better of the two undefeated super-lightweights at the Virgin Hotel. He took Ramirez’s two championship belts and added them to his own pair, and he proudly held all four of those heavy accessories at fight’s end.

His unanimous decision was based on two belts, too. One was a left hand on Ramirez’s cheek that floored him in the sixth round. The next, in the seventh round, was a crisp, merciless uppercut on Ramirez’s chin while both fighters were coming out of a clinch.

Those 10-8 rounds provided the margin of victory on all three judges’ cards. Tim Cheatham, Steve Weisfeld and Dave Moretti all gave it to the Scotsman, 114-112. The only reason it was close was Ramirez’ bottomless heart, which propelled him to the end while Taylor was in four-corners mode. He recedes to 26-1 but is hardly diminished as a champion, and maybe he can start belt-hunting again when Taylor, as expected, moves up to the rich soil of the 147-pound division.

“I don’t know what’s next for me,” Taylor said. “But all I do know is that there’s a new warrior king, and he’s from Scotland.”

Such an event belonged in a sold-out Staples Center or T-Mobile Arena, but the rec-room atmosphere didn’t bother either fighter. Taylor, a left-hander, began the night with effective right jabs, but Ramirez turned up the offense in the third round, with right leads and uppercuts.

At that point Taylor and trainer Ben Davison showed their virtuosity. Taylor began nailing Ramirez with left-hand leads. He also held, muscled and leaned upon Ramirez at every chance, and all the strong-arming probably led to what happened next.

After Taylor had a good fifth round, he came out in the sixth and reacted to Ramirez’s wayward right with a hard left hook on the cheekbone. Ramirez got up without a problem and battled to the bell, but it was still a two-point round for Taylor.

The more decisive shot happened in the seventh, when Taylor and Ramirez clenched. As referee Kenny Bayless was moving them apart, Taylor suddenly lashed Ramirez in the chin, and this time Ramirez had major difficulty gathering himself. Had it happened earlier in the round, Taylor might have closed the show.

“He (Bayless) said he was going to break us,” Ramirez said, “and I broke, and Josh threw the uppercut. You saw it. I just have to handle those situations a little differently next time. Maybe be a little dirty.

Ramirez played it to the end, rocking Taylor in the 10th round with right leads, and Taylor courted disaster by running out the clock. Weisfeld and Moretti gave Ramirez three of the final four rounds, and Cheatham gave him all four.

“I wasn’t running, I was trying to keep boxing him,” Taylor said. “He showed he’s a great champion.”

The peaceful coexistence between Taylor and Ramirez was strained on Friday, when Taylor and some of Ramirez’s Fresno-based fans began woofing after the weigh-in. On Saturday, Taylor ended almost every round by raising his fist on the way back to the corner, and he got into Ramirez’s face after the bell rang to end Round 8.

After the decision, the two hugged in the middle of the ring and talked for several minutes.

What really stood up was the illusion of the tale of the tape, the fact that two 140-pounders aren’t necessarily equal. Both men weighed in at 139.6 pounds and Ramirez actually had a reach advantage. Both are 5-foot-10. But Taylor seemed bigger, broader, stronger, with better levers. He physically controlled Ramirez just as he walked down Regis Prograis, in a split-decision win that set up this unification.

Given the fact that Taylor will get no smaller, it’s doubtful that a rematch can really fly. There will be more intrigue in watching Taylor go after welterweight Terence Crawford, who, like Taylor, is promoted by Bob Arum’s Top Rank.

Ramirez, for his part, has entertained the idea of fighting unified lightweight champ Teofimo Lopez.

Crawford has been stranded by the news that Errol Spence, the IBF welterweight champ and the theoretical opponent in the Next Last Great Fight (cq), has instead decided to meet 42-year-old Manny Pacquiao in July. Pacquiao hasn’t been in the ring since 2019 and isn’t likely to walk upright out of the one that matches him with Spence.

Boxing fans all want resolution but they prefer to find it at the end of a stirring rematch or two. Josh Taylor’s verdict was undisputed. Now all he needs is a bigger jury box.

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Alexander: Lakers successfully navigate play-in weirdness

The Lakers started out Wednesday night’s play-in game as if they really didn’t want to be there. They ended it looking like a team that didn’t want to come back Friday.

“Hesitant” was the term All-Star big man Anthony Davis used to describe his team’s play in the first half of the play-in game against the Golden State Warriors, a half in which he, fellow All-Star LeBron James and starting point guard Dennis Schröder went a combined 4 for 28 from the field and a sluggish Lakers team trailed by 13 points.

Maybe it was just a matter of adjusting to the weirdness of a game that was urgent but not quite a Game 7, more like a Game 6. Maybe it was a matter of reminding themselves that they are, after all, still the defending champions, and the only thing worse than the indignity of playing in this round would be the indignity of having to play that second play-in game, the one in which the loser really does go home.

So they avoided it. LeBron James’ cold-blooded, 34-foot 3-pointer with 58.2 seconds left, moments after he’d been raked in the face by Draymond Green and poked in the eye, punctuated a 103-100 victory that enabled the Lakers to skip Friday, secure the No. 7 seed and proceed directly to a best-of-seven first-round series against the second-seeded Suns that begins Sunday afternoon in Phoenix.

Perhaps it shouldn’t have been unexpected. The Lakers have been sorting through potential rotations and trying to get James and Davis back into the mix after both missed extended stretches of the season with injuries, and the Warriors have been playing with urgency for a while. Others in the league might have used the final game of the regular season to, um, rest their stars, but the Dubs and the Memphis Grizzlies squared off Sunday for play-in seeding, trying to avoid the 9-vs.-10 matchup. They’ll meet again Friday night in San Francisco, and this time it truly will be an elimination game.

The Lakers wish them well, I’m sure.

It is a different animal, not quite a playoff game, not quite an elimination game, but one that could push you to the brink of summer vacation. Given (a) the unexpected bonus of a matchup between future Hall of Famers LeBron and Steph Curry and (b) the quality of the game that ultimately resulted, it seems a good bet that the NBA’s play-in round is here to stay. In time, its participants will figure out how to deal with it.

“I think from my perspective, it looked like we were almost just trying to play too perfect, instead of just going out there and kind of letting it hang and taking the results, whatever they were,” guard Alex Caruso said. “I think we were just trying to execute too much.

“And, you know, the Warriors’ last game was essentially their first play-in game, right? (They) already had dipped their toes in the water last game and they came out, knew their game plan, and were locked in.”

The visitors sensed it, too. ESPN’s courtside microphone picked up Golden State coach Steve Kerr telling his team during a first-half timeout, as he gestured toward the Lakers’ bench: “They got a lot of doubt down there. We got a lot of belief.”

A far more energized Lakers team emerged after halftime, and it turns out it wasn’t the coaches who lit a fire under them.

“You know, Duds (Jared Dudley) and Smooth (Markieff Morris) pretty much got on our (rears) at halftime,” James said. “They got on us and showed us that, you know, we gotta pick it up. … They brought the fight to our building, and we got to bring it right back. Guys like that, they speak, you listen. We took it to heart, didn’t take it personal. We just took it with us, and we improved our effort in the second half.”

Some of that might have been a reminder that they are, indeed, still the champs until somebody knocks them off. It has been a weird season throughout the NBA and particularly weird for the Lakers, who seemed eminently capable of rolling to a successful title defense until Davis and James were hurt.

The history is still daunting. No seventh seed has ever won the title. The closest thing, as we’ve noted, was No. 6 seed Houston in 1995, which had to regroup late in the season after trading for Clyde Drexler and wound up with Coach Rudy Tomjanovich reminding people, “Don’t ever underestimate the heart of a champion.” (As Tomjanovich mentioned at his Hall of Fame speech last week, Charles Barkley had compared those Rockets to a bunch of cockroaches that just wouldn’t die. Somehow, that wouldn’t have been nearly as poetic.)

Another apt comparison – and Laker fans of a certain age will hate this – would be the 1969 Boston Celtics. That team, with 34-year-old Bill Russell as player-coach and a bunch of other thirty-somethings in prominent roles, was 48-34, nabbed the last playoff spot in the East and seemed to be running on fumes as the playoffs began. But they won the whole thing, including a Game 7 in the Forum when the balloons then-Lakers owner Jack Kent Cooke had waiting in the rafters in anticipation of a championship wound up deflating on their own.

When you have the mindset of a champion, as those teams did and as these Lakers do, you’re expected to figure it out.

“This is a hell of a team, right?” Davis said.

“We had to remind ourselves at halftime, we’ve been here before. Let’s go and play our style of basketball. And we were able to do that in the second half. So we have to find that swag again, knowing that we’re defending champs and nothing’s gonna be easy for us because we do have a target on our back. Every team wants to beat us. So we got to know that.

“And, you know, we’ve got to come out a lot better against Phoenix.”

All that talk that the play-in round would give the Lakers an extra chance or two to figure it out? Maybe it wasn’t just rationalization. Maybe this really was the palate cleanser they needed.

jalexander@scng.com

@Jim_Alexander on Twitter

ALL-ANGLES of @KingJames‘ LONG DISTANCE GAME-WINNER! 🔥🤯@Lakers will be the West #7 seed in the #NBAPlayoffs and face #2 PHX in the First Round (Game 1 Sunday, 3:30pm/et on ABC) pic.twitter.com/CpEtashUc2

— NBA (@NBA) May 20, 2021

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Dodgers score 5 runs in 12th inning to beat Padres in opener

  • The Dodgers’ Max Muncy is safe at home plate after a throwing error by Padres shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. as catcher Luis Campusano applies the late tag during the sixth inning of Friday’s game at PETCO Park in San Diego. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

  • SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA – APRIL 16: Walker Buehler #21 of the Los Angeles Dodgers during the first inning of a game against the San Diego Padres at PETCO Park on April 16, 2021 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

  • SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA – APRIL 16: Ryan Weathers #40 of the San Diego Padres pitches during the first inning of a game against the Los Angeles Dodgers at PETCO Park on April 16, 2021 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

  • SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA – APRIL 16: Fernando Tatis Jr. #23 of the San Diego Padres taps Mookier Betts #42 of the Los Angeles Dodgers after tagging out on a double play during the first inning of a game at PETCO Park on April 16, 2021 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

  • SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA – APRIL 16: Walker Buehler #21 of the Los Angeles Dodgers during the first inning of a game against the San Diego Padres at PETCO Park on April 16, 2021 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

  • SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA – APRIL 16: Fernando Tatis Jr. #23 of the San Diego Padres tags out Mookie Betts #42 after Corey Seager #42 of the Los Angeles Dodgers hit into a double play during the first inning of a game at PETCO Park on April 16, 2021 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

  • SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA – APRIL 16: Fernando Tatis Jr. #23 of the San Diego Padres avoids a high pitch as Will Smith #42 of the Los Angeles Dodgers makes the catch during the first inning of a game at PETCO Park on April 16, 2021 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

  • SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA – APRIL 16: during the inning of a game at PETCO Park on April 16, 2021 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

  • SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA – APRIL 16: Walker Buehler #21 of the Los Angeles Dodgers looks on after Manny Machado #13 scored on a single by Luis Campusano #21 of the San Diego Padres during the second inning of a game at PETCO Park on April 16, 2021 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

  • SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA – APRIL 16: Luis Campusano #21 looks on as Ryan Weathers #40 of the San Diego Padres walks off the mound after being taken out during the fourth inning of a game against the Los Angeles Dodgers at PETCO Park on April 16, 2021 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

  • SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA – APRIL 16: Ryan Weathers #40 of the San Diego Padres walks off the field after being taken out of the game during the fourth inning of a game against the Los Angeles Dodgers at PETCO Park on April 16, 2021 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

  • SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA – APRIL 16: Justin Turner #10 of the Los Angeles Dodgers throws to first but is unable to get the out on a single by Wil Myers #5 of the San Diego Padres during the fourth inning of a game at PETCO Park on April 16, 2021 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

  • SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA – APRIL 16: Tommy Pham #28 of the San Diego Padres returns to the dugout after striking out during the fourth inning of a game against the Los Angeles Dodgers at PETCO Park on April 16, 2021 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

  • SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA – APRIL 16: Justin Turner #10 of the Los Angeles Dodgers throws out Jurickson Profar #10 of the San Diego Padres during the fourth inning of a game at PETCO Park on April 16, 2021 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

  • SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA – APRIL 16: Dan Altavilla #57 of the San Diego Padres looks on after allowing a solo homerun to Luke Raley #62 of the Los Angeles Dodgers during the fourth inning of a game at PETCO Park on April 16, 2021 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

  • SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA – APRIL 16: Luis Campusano #21 of the San Diego Padres looks on as Luke Raley #62 of the Los Angeles Dodgers touches the plate after hitting a solo homerun during the fifth inning of a game at PETCO Park on April 16, 2021 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

  • SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA – APRIL 16: Fernando Tatis Jr. #23 of the San Diego Padres hits a solo homerun as Will Smith #16 of the Los Angeles Dodgers and umpire Mark Ripperger #90 look on during the fifth inning of a game against the Los Angeles Dodgers at PETCO Park on April 16, 2021 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

  • SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA – APRIL 16: Fernando Tatis Jr. #23 of the San Diego Padres reacts after hitting a solo homerun as umpire Mark Ripperger #90 looks on during the fifth inning of a game against the Los Angeles Dodgers at PETCO Park on April 16, 2021 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

  • SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA – APRIL 16: Manny Machado #13 of the San Diego Padres congratulates Fernando Tatis Jr. #23 of the San Diego Padres after his solo homerun during the fifth inning of a game against the Los Angeles Dodgers at PETCO Park on April 16, 2021 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

  • SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA – APRIL 16: Jake Cronenworth #9 congratulates Fernando Tatis Jr. #23 of the San Diego Padres after his solo homerun during the fifth inning of a game against the Los Angeles Dodgers at PETCO Park on April 16, 2021 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

  • SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA – APRIL 16: Fernando Tatis Jr. #23 of the San Diego Padres leaps to field a single hit by Chris Taylor #3 of the Los Angeles Dodgers during the sixth inning of a game at PETCO Park on April 16, 2021 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

  • SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA – APRIL 16: Fernando Tatis Jr. #23 of the San Diego Padres leaps to field a single hit by Chris Taylor #3 of the Los Angeles Dodgers during the sixth inning of a game at PETCO Park on April 16, 2021 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

  • SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA – APRIL 16: Fernando Tatis Jr. #23 of the San Diego Padres overthrows first base on a single hit by Chris Taylor #3 of the Los Angeles Dodgers during the sixth inning of a game at PETCO Park on April 16, 2021 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

  • SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA – APRIL 16: Max Muncy #13 of the Los Angeles Dodgers is safe at home plate after a throwing error by Fernando Tatis Jr. #23 as Luis Campusano #21 of the San Diego Padres places the tag late while umpire Mark Ripperger #90 looks on during the sixth inning of a game at PETCO Park on April 16, 2021 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

  • SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA – APRIL 16: Max Muncy #13 of the Los Angeles Dodgers is safe at home plate after a throwing error by Fernando Tatis Jr. #23 as Luis Campusano #21 of the San Diego Padres places the tag late while umpire Mark Ripperger #90 looks on during the sixth inning of a game at PETCO Park on April 16, 2021 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

  • SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA – APRIL 16: Max Muncy #13 of the Los Angeles Dodgers is safe at home plate after a throwing error by Fernando Tatis Jr. #23 during the sixth inning of a game at PETCO Park on April 16, 2021 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

  • SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA – APRIL 16: Jake Cronenworth #9 congratulates Ha-Seong Kim #7 of the San Diego Padres after he scored on a throwing error during the seventh inning of a game against the Los Angeles Dodgers at PETCO Park on April 16, 2021 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

  • SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA – APRIL 16: Victor Gonzalez #81 of the Los Angeles Dodgers pitches during the eighth inning of a game against the San Diego Padres at PETCO Park on April 16, 2021 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

  • SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA – APRIL 16: Will Smith #16 scores on an RBI double by Zach McKinstry #8 of the Los Angeles Dodgers as Luis Campusano #21 of the San Diego Padres awaits the throw during the eighth inning of a game at PETCO Park on April 16, 2021 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

  • SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA – APRIL 16: Will Smith #16 scores on a double by Zach McKinstry #8 and is congratulated by Luke Raley #62 of the Los Angeles Dodgers as Luis Campusano #21 of the San Diego Padres looks on during the eighth inning of a game at PETCO Park on April 16, 2021 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

  • SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA – APRIL 16: Justin Turner #10 of the Los Angeles Dodgers connects for an RBI single as Luis Campusano #21 of the San Diego Padres looks on during the ninth inning of a game at PETCO Park on April 16, 2021 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

  • SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA – APRIL 16: Will Smith #16 congratulates Mookie Betts #50 after he scored on an RBI single by Justin Turner #10 of the Los Angeles Dodgers during the ninth inning of a game against the San Diego Padres at PETCO Park on April 16, 2021 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

  • SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA – APRIL 16: Fernando Tatis Jr. #23 and Jake Cronenworth #9 congratulate Manny Machado #13 after he scored on a single by Eric Hosmer #30 of the San Diego Padres during the ninth inning of a game against the Los Angeles Dodgers at PETCO Park on April 16, 2021 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

  • SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA – APRIL 16: Dennis Santana #77 of the Los Angeles Dodgers challenges Jorge Mateo #3 of the San Diego Padres after hitting him with a pitch during the tenth inning of a game at PETCO Park on April 16, 2021 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

  • SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA – APRIL 16: Will Smith #16 and Max Muncy #13 hold back Dennis Santana #77 of the Los Angeles Dodgers as he challenges Jurickson Profar #10 after hitting Jorge Mateo #3 of the San Diego Padres with a pitch looks on during the tenth inning of a game at PETCO Park on April 16, 2021 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

  • SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA – APRIL 16: Will Smith #16 and Max Muncy #13 hold back Dennis Santana #77 of the Los Angeles Dodgers as he challenged Jorge Mateo #3 after hitting him with a pitch as Jurickson Profar #10 of the San Diego Padres looks on during the tenth inning of a game at PETCO Park on April 16, 2021 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

  • SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA – APRIL 16: Will Smith #16 and Max Muncy #13 hold back Dennis Santana #77 of the Los Angeles Dodgers as he challenged Jorge Mateo #3 after hitting him with a pitch as Jurickson Profar #10 of the San Diego Padres looks on while umpire Mark Ripperger #90 intervenes during the tenth inning of a game at PETCO Park on April 16, 2021 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

  • SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA – APRIL 16: Third base coach Dino Ebel congratulates Corey Seager #5 of the Los Angeles Dodgers after his two run homerun during the twelth inning of a game against the San Diego Padres at PETCO Park on April 16, 2021 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

  • The Dodgers’ Corey Seager, right, is congratulated by teammate Mookie Betts as Padres catcher Victor Caratini looks on after Seager hit a tiekbreaking two-run home run during the 12th inning of Friday’s game at PETCO Park in San Diego. The Dodgers won the opener of the three-game series, 11-6. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

  • SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA – APRIL 16: Tim Hill #25, Fernando Tatis Jr. #23, Eric Hosmer #30, and Manny Machado #13 of the San Diego Padres look on from the mound during the 12th inning of a game at PETCO Park on April 16, 2021 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

  • SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA – APRIL 16: Manager Jayce Tingler relieves Tim Hill #25, as Jake Cronenworth #9, Eric Hosmer #30, Manny Machado #13, Luis Campusano #21 and Fernando Tatis Jr. #23 of the San Diego Padres look on during the twelth inning of a game against the Los Angeles Dodgers at PETCO Park on April 16, 2021 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

  • San Diego Padres shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr., right, goes over the top of Los Angeles Dodgers’ Max Muncy, as Muncy slides in safely to second base during the 12th inning of a baseball game Friday, April 16, 2021, in San Diego. Los Angeles Dodgers’ Chris Taylor grounded into a fielders choice, and Tatis picked up a fielding error on the play. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

  • Los Angeles Dodgers’ Justin Turner (10) reacts with teammate Luke Raley (62) after scoring off a single by Raley during the twelfth inning of a baseball game against the San Diego Padres, Friday, April 16, 2021, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

  • SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA – APRIL 16: David Price #33 of the Los Angeles Dodgers pitches during the 12th inning of a game against the San Diego Padres at PETCO Park on April 16, 2021 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

  • SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA – APRIL 16: Corey Seager #5 and Zach McKinstry #8 of the Los Angeles Dodgers hug as Wil Myers #5 of the San Diego Padres walks off the field after the Dodgers defeated the San Diego Padres 11-6 in a 12 inning game at PETCO Park on April 16, 2021 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

  • SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA – APRIL 16: Justin Turner #10, Mookie Betts #50, Corey Seager #5 and Zach McKinstry #8 of the Los Angeles Dodgers celebrate defeating the San Diego Padres 11-6 in a twelve inning game at PETCO Park on April 16, 2021 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

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SAN DIEGO — Did they leave anything for the second act?

With early-aughts ThunderStix apparently teleported in for the occasion, Friday’s first meeting between the Dodgers and their newly-minted NL West challengers did a better job of living up to Justin Turner’s spring prediction of 19 regular-season World Series games than down to the ho-hum, all-business attitude some Dodgers put on this week.

“Yeah, it felt like a rivalry tonight,” said Dodgers manager Dave Roberts, who rejected that label this spring.

The San Diego Padres came from behind with two runs in the eighth inning off Corey Knebel then did it again with a run in the ninth, down to their last strike against Kenley Jansen.

But Corey Seager finally decided things in the 12th inning, leading off with a two-run home run – an unholy phrase birthed by baseball’s new extra-innings rule – that sparked a five-run inning and gave the Dodgers an 11-6 victory over the Padres late Friday night at Petco Park.

“That was the most exciting thing I’ve ever been a part of,” said Dodgers rookie Luke Raley, who hit his first MLB home run but did not have to live a sheltered life before making that statement.

The first of seven meetings over 10 days (and 19 during the regular season) between the two teams expected to vie for National League supremacy, it was quite an opening act for the season-long drama ahead. The last inning featured Joe Musgrove – feted in a pre-game ceremony for throwing the first no-hitter in Padres history earlier this week – playing left field for the Padres and David Price collecting the second RBI of his 13-year career and first win with the Dodgers.

“It felt like a playoff game,” Roberts said. “They deployed a lot of guys. We deployed a lot of guys. The intensity was there. Man, I can look up and down my lineup card and everyone contributed.

“I’m just spent emotionally. … We responded. They answered back. They kept fighting. We kept fighting.”

In fact, they nearly did. The game even featured the first staredown of the rivalry when the Dodgers’ Dennis Santana hit Jorge Mateo with a pitch in the 10th inning – a duo not even on the board when predicting who would set off the first benches-clearing confrontation in this matchup.

“I was kind of thinking about that out in the bullpen,” said Price, a veteran of the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry. “All rivalries in baseball are really good. But once you get that first benches-clearing whatever happens – that’s when it goes to that next level.”

This one already had plenty of levels.

The Padres activated their star shortstop, Fernando Tatis Jr., from the Injured List for the series, reportedly advising him about the “danger points” and “high-risk plays” they hoped he would avoid – things like diving for balls – so he wouldn’t re-injure the shoulder he partially dislocated just 11 days ago.

He didn’t heed their advice.

With runners on first and third and two outs in the sixth inning, Tatis made a diving stop of Chris Taylor’s ground ball into the hole, rolled over and tried to throw to second base for an inning-ending forceout that would have preserved a one-run Padres’ lead – built on a Tatis home run.

His throw was wide of the base and scuttled off into right field as two Dodger runs scored. The error led to a three-run boondoggle and a two-run lead for the Dodgers to protect over the final three innings.

They couldn’t.

It turned into a one-run lead when the Padres scored on a throwing error by Zach McKinstry in the seventh, then a two-run lead again when McKinstry’s double over right fielder Wil Myers’ head drove in a run in the top of the eighth.

Knebel came in to protect that lead in the eighth and gave up a leadoff single to Manny Machado. It was the first hit off Knebel this season (by the 18th batter he faced).

Two batters later, Myers’ single was the second then Jurickson Profar’s double down the left field line was the third. Two runs scored on the double, tying the game.

Jansen came in and put out the fire with two runners on then the Dodgers gave him a new lead to protect. Mookie Betts led off the ninth with a single, went to second when Seager dribbled a ground out in front of home plate and scored when Turner lashed a single through the infield.

But Jansen had to go through the teeth of the Padres’ order to close it out in the bottom of the ninth. He didn’t quite make it. He walked Machado with two outs. Machado stole second to get into scoring position then advanced to third on a pitch in the dirt. Down to his last strike, Eric Hosmer drove a ground ball single into center field to tie the score again.

Santana loaded the bases in the 10th but froze Tatis on a called third strike to escape. In the 11th, Roberts turned to Thursday night’s closer, Price, who had pitched on consecutive days just twice before in his career. He went the final two innings, getting the win when the Dodgers broke the game open in the 12th on Seager’s home run, RBI singles by McKinstry and Luke Raley – and a sacrifice fly by Price.

­“I mean, it had everything. It really did,” Roberts said. “It was incredible. It’s hard for me to kind of process this one right now. I’ll take the win and I’ll probably not even try to think through this game again and get ready for tomorrow.”

First pitch swinging, see you later. 👋 pic.twitter.com/yMXU9AAP2L

— SportsNet LA (@SportsNetLA) April 17, 2021

Round 1 goes to the @Dodgers. pic.twitter.com/sv8GpcsDUm

— MLB (@MLB) April 17, 2021

DENNIS. SANTANA. pic.twitter.com/p8lJwB1HJN

— SportsNet LA (@SportsNetLA) April 17, 2021

Luke with a no-doubter. 💪 #Crushed pic.twitter.com/FyHtvyZhKE

— SportsNet LA (@SportsNetLA) April 17, 2021

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