This day in sports: Lakers finish with best record in NBA en route to first title in L.A.

The Honda Center is said to have been one of four venues for the NCAA Basketball Tournament regional semifinals, which were canceled by COVID-19. Other Sweet 16 games would be played in arenas in Louisville, Washington, D.C., and Kansas City.

The Lakers and the Kings would continue their journeys to Cleveland and Nashville, respectively. The Lakers defeated the Cavaliers at Staples Center 128-99 on January 13 to improve their record to 33-7. LeBron James scored 31 points. The Kings last played the Predators on January 4 and lost 4-1 at home.

Patriotic bunting, the scent of Dodger Dogs and a landscape of Dodger Blue would have filled Chavez Ravine today when the Dodgers opened the 2020 season against the San Francisco Giants. The Angels would also start today, with the first of four games in Houston against the infamous Astros.

Here’s a look at memorable games and excellent sports performance on this date:

1946 Oklahoma A&M Aggies (now Oklahoma State) by Hank Iba defeated North Carolina 43-40 at Madison Square Garden for their second consecutive NCAA basketball title. Bob Kurland, considered the first big man of the game at 6 feet 10½, scores 23 points, including the first two dunks in NCAA tournament history. John Dillon leads Tar Heels with 16 points.

1969 – John Hall dedicates his column in The Times to USC assistant football coach Dave Levy. Levy, who joined John McKay’s staff in 1960, honors coaching at USC and plays for UCLA. He was a two-year-old letterman and Rose Bowl lineman for Red Sanders’ Bruins in 1952-53.

1972 – The Lakers won Seattle 124-98 to end the season 69-13, the best record in NBA history, until the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls finished 72-10. Gail Goodrich scores 24 points and Pat Riley adds 19. Bill Sharman’s club is said to beat the New York Knicks for the NBA title, the first since the franchise moved out of Minneapolis for the 1961 season.

1973 Bill Walton scores 44 points to help UCLA win the record seventh NCAA basketball championship with an 87-66 win over Memphis at the Arena in St. Louis. Jamaal Wilkes adds 16 points and Greg Lee has 14 assists for the Walton Gang. Larry Finch scores 29 for the Tigers.

1974 – George Foreman def.Ken Norton in round two in Caracas, Venezuela, to keep his heavyweight world title. It was Norton’s second straight loss after Muhammad Ali made a close decision to him seven months earlier. Foreman’s next defense would be in October against Ali in Kinshasa, Zaire, in their legendary “Rumble in the Jungle”.

1985 As the Angels pressurize spring, The Times’ Ross Newhan reports on manager Gene Mauch’s desire for short stop Dick Schofield and outfielder Gary Pettis, two dazzling defensive players, to make their batting averages shine as much as their game in the game. field, especially Schofield, who had hit only .193 the year before.

1995 – Nanci Bowen wins the Nabisco Dinah Shore at Rancho Mirage, her first LPGA win, by hitting Susie Redman. Bowen, who played her golf at the University of Georgia, takes the lead with a birdie on the par-three 17th hole. Nancy Lopez has a draw, but her third shot on the par-five 18th goes into the water.

1996 Mario Lemieux scores five goals and has two assists in his first game against Wayne Gretzky in more than three seasons, leading the Pittsburgh Penguins to an 8-4 win over the St. Louis Blues. It was the third time “Super Mario” had scored five times in a game, and the assists brought him to 800 for his career.

2002 John Stockton, Utah, turns 40 and becomes the 10th player in NBA history to play at that age. Stockton scores 20 points in the Jazz’s 109-105 win over Houston. Karl Malone, who consistently delivered with Stockton on the pick and roll, scores 23.

SOURCES: The Times, Associated Press

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