HBO banks on Lampley putting up his dukes with ‘The Fight Game’

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HBO will give longtime boxing blow-by-blow man Jim Lampley his own series aptly called “The Fight Game With Jim Lampley” starting May 12, one that the network promises will be “a provocative, engaging and informative experience that delves into intriguing storylines, newsmakers and issues that are top-of-mind in boxing.”

Lampley, a part of the HBO family since 1988 (and pictured above with Jim Nantz at a USC panel discussion recently about the Olympics and television), said today that the network has plenty of promotional vehicles in place to market live bouts, so this series is far from that. He’ll have the freedom to explore all issues in the fight-game in a format that could be better compared, he said, to what a Rachel Maddow does on MSNBC.

“Upper management came to me and asked if I would consider doing an all-boxing show that would best service the needs of the network, and if a show like that was going to appear anywhere, it should be at the network that most associate with the sport,” said Lampley, the former KCBS-Channel 2 sportscaster and news anchor living in Del Mar these days working with his own production company.

“At the end of the day, we have enough (on HBO) to air in relationship to the promotional side, but we have a chance here to follow more in the tradition of ‘Real Sports,’ from a network that thrives on the provocative and directly states that. It’s not another promotional vehicle but one that is a candid, straight-forward look at boxing and I’ve been assured we can talk about fights on other networks.

“Think in terms of the immediacy of a cable news channel in a 24-hour news cycle, adding blunt honest. I can’t imagine we’ll shy away (from personal commentary). The opportunity will be there to be editorial and not go out of our way to do it. This is no place to be plain vanilla.”

The first two installments in May and June will air at midnight, following the HBO replay of the Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Miguel Cotto fight as well as the Manny Pacquiao-Timothy Bradley fight, respectively, to capture a bigger boxing-related audience. Future shows, Lampley said, would air more in the 9-to-10 p.m. time slot.

Lampley readily admits that boxing has remained “a cult sport that rarely breaks out and achieves a real cross-cultural broad penetration. But if you’re a premium pay cable channel and the thing you show live is boxing, you’re dealing with a cult and encouraging that cult to show their adulation and devotion, so you try to amplify that base.”

Emmy nominated filmmaker Peter Berg will serve as one of the executive producers, along with Lampley and HBO’s Rick Bernstein. Lampley was an executive producer on Berg’s recent HBO series “On Freddie Roach.”

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Donde esta FSN’s Spanish channels? Aqui

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Fox Sports Net says it will produce more than 100 Dodgers, Angels and Clippers games in Spanish this year, with their own broadcast teams, graphics and production. But this is not an apparent reaction to Time Warner Cable’s plans to start a new English and Spanish cable channel when it takes over coverage of the Lakers later this season.

The Sports Business Journal quotes FSN executive vice president Jeff Krolik as saying that, despite TWC’s pending network launch, “we’ve been doing Spanish-language games for two years. We’re not in the business of reacting to anyone else.”

The channels are going to be offered to cable and dish systems with basic-tier level access and not expected to cost customers any more on their monthly bills.

The Dodgers said their 50 Spanish-language games will be in coordination with English-language telecasts on Prime Ticket. This is the third season the Dodgers have made Spanish-language games available, and they had been using the call of Jaime Jarrin (above) on KTNQ (1020).

This year, Jarrin’s son, Jorge, will do play-by-play and join Manny Mota on all the Spanish TV games. The first Dodger Spanish telecast is April 11, the second game of the new home schedule. Jaime Jarrin will be back with Pepe Yniguez and Fernando Valenzuela on the radio side.

The 50 home-game Angels broadcasts starts April 6, going with Amaury Pi-Gonzalez on play-by-play and Jose Mota, in his 11th season with the franchise’s broadcasting team, doing the analysis.

The Dodgers’ and Angels’ Spanish-language TV games will be on Time Warner, Bright House and Cox, while discussions with other providers are ongoing.

The Dodgers report that more than 40 percent of their franchise’s fans are Hispanic and “each season the Dodgers host more than one million fans of Hispanic descent.” The team started its Spanish-language radio broadcasts in 1958.

According to Nielsen Media Research, Los Angeles has the largest Hispanic TV demographic in the U.S. with more than 1.8 million television homes.

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Play It Forward: March 19-25 on your sports calendar

Highlights of the week ahead in sports, both here and afar:

THIS WEEK’S BEST BET

NASCAR: Sprint Cup Auto Club 400 at Fontana, 11:30 a.m., Channel 11:

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The stock-car circuit’s only pit stop in the Southern California area is again a result of apparent low attendance numbers from previous years of staging two races at the Fontana track from 2005 to 2010. All NASCAR hopes for is not to have a repeat of 2008, when rain forced the stoppage of the then-Auto Club 500, which then bled into Monday morning before Carl Edwards gave everyone something to flip about with a victory. Ominously, this day is supposed to be cloudy, according to Weather.com. Kevin Harvick (right), who grew up in Bakersfield, will be defending his title. He started 24th and needed a last-lap pass of Jimmie Johnson to win for the first time at the 2-mile track in his 18th attempt. Saturday, the Nationwide Royal Purple 300 takes place (2 p.m., ESPN) with Danica Patrick expected to be in the field.

MONDAY

NHL: Ducks at San Jose, 7 p.m., Prime:

This one matters more to the Kings.

Series: “Dancing With The Stars,” 8 p.m., Channel 7:

Hopefully you aren’t lured into watching to see how quickly Green Bay Packers receiver Donald Driver or former tennis great Martina Navratilova are eliminated from Season 14. Urkel, on the other hand …

TUESDAY

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NHL: Kings vs. San Jose, Staples Center, 7:30 p.m., FSW:

The Kings meet up with the Sharks three times in their last nine games — appropriate since they’re two of the five teams (with Calgary, Phoenix and Colorado) trying to wedge their way into the eighth spot in the Western Conference.

NBA: Lakers at Houston, 5 p.m., Channel 9:

Sorry, but no tearful reunion with recently traded Derek Fisher, who’s been granted his release by the Rockets after they obtained him in a deal with the Lakers.

NBA: Clippers at Indiana, 4 p.m., Prime:

The first of three straight on the road. On three consecutive nights. Probably the Clippers’ biggest test of the year.

The Sullivan Award announcement, 4:15 p.m.:

The 82nd award honoring the top amateur athlete of the year is live from New York (www.livestream.com/therealaau). USC women’s volleyball player Alex Jupiter is one of six finalists.

WEDNESDAY

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NBA: Lakers at Dallas, 6:30 p.m., Channel 9, ESPN:

From a recent episode of “The Simpsons”: Homer is inside his head, arguing with his brain after he failed to control his bladder in bed. His brain complains that all he likes to do is watch reality shows. Homer responds: “I like to watch Lamar Odom play Xbox while his giant wife yells at him. Is that so nuts? Huh? Yeah, shut you up.” It could have shut up a lot of Lakers fans if the team had figured out a way to trade back for him at last week’s trading deadline, but it didn’t happen.

NBA: Clippers at Oklahoma City, 5 p.m., Prime:

A Blake Griffin homecoming, and another chance to posterize Kendrick Perkins.

College basketball: CollegeInsider.com Tournament quarterfinals: Loyola Marymount at Utah State, 6 p.m.:

The Lions of Westchester (21-12) are the only team around here we know of still in any kind of post-season games. For whatever this is worth.

THURSDAY

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College basketball: NCAA men’s tournament Sweet 16: Wisconsin vs. Syracuse, 4:15 p.m., Channel 2; Louisville vs. Michigan State, 4:47 p.m., TBS; Cincinnati vs. Ohio State, 6:45 p.m., Channel 2; Florida vs. Marquette, 7:15 p.m., TBS:

At least one of the four Ohio schools left at this point will be eliminated after this one, as the Bearcats face the East’s top-seeded Buckeyes in Boston.

NBA: Clippers at New Orleans, 5 p.m., Prime:

A homecoming of sorts for Chris Paul, right? See what kind of reaction he gets, and whether Chris Kaman tries to sneak on the Clippers’ flight out of town.

NHL: Kings vs. St. Louis, Staples Center, 7:30 p.m., FSW:

Who in the heck did these Blues climb to the top of the Western Conference? The reality is, these two could meet again in the first round of the playoffs. Take notes.

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LPGA: Kia Classic, Carlsbad, first round, 3:30 p.m., Golf Channel:

Sandra Gal — yes, that’s her above — outlasted Jiyai Shin to earn her first LPGA victory in this event a year ago. The German hotshot hit a wedge from 83 yards to two feet for birdie on the 18th hole to defeat Shin by a stroke.

Golf: PGA Tour Arnold Palmer Invitational, Orlando, Fla., first round, noon, Golf Channel:

We’ll see if Tiger Woods is good enough to limp into this field in his newest hometown as prep work for the upcoming Masters. He’s won this thing six times in his career, using the Monday-Tuesday Tavistock Cup as a test. Meanwhile, NBC Publishing, in partnership with Golf Channel, announced the release of a new eBook edition of “Arnold Palmer: A Personal Journey,” by Thomas Hauser. The launch coincides with this event in the city where Golf Channel’s headquarters reside.

FRIDAY

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College basketball: NCAA men’s tournament Sweet 16: Baylor vs. Xavier, 4:15 p.m., Channel 2; North Carolina vs. Ohio, 4:47 p.m., TBS; Kentucky vs. Indiana, 6:45 p.m., Channel 2; Kansas vs. North Carolina State, 7:15 p.m., TBS:

The rematch between the Wildcats, top seeds in the South, and the Hooisers harkens back to Dec. 10, when Indiana won in Assembly Hall when Christian Watford hit a 3-pointer as time expired. It was Kentucky’s only regular-season loss. Meanwhile, North Carolina guard Kendall Marshall is a wait-and-see after his wrist injury last weekend.

NBA: Lakers vs. Portland, Staples Center, 7:30 p.m., FSW:

The Lakers beat the Blazers by 11 in their last meeting about a month ago in a game where they led 29-7 after the first quarter.

SATURDAY

College basketball: NCAA men’s tournament Elite Eight: 1:20 p.m. and 3:40 p.m., Channel 2:

The West Regional in Phoenix will have either Michigan State, Louisville, Marquette or Florida as its champ. Sorry, kids, but that’s how the geography works.

NBA: Clippers vs. Memphis, Staples Center, noon, Prime:

It’s the first of five in a row at home. And, yes, Clipper Darrell is back in his seat in Section 107, all apparent differences resolved.

NHL: Kings vs. Boston, Staples Center, 6 p.m., FSW:

The defending Stanley Cup champion Bruins, leaders in the Eastern Conference’s Northeast Division, has only three overtime losses this year, the lowest figure in the league.

SUNDAY

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College basketball: NCAA men’s tournament Elite Eight: 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., Channel 2:

A North Carolina vs. North Carolina State matchup looms in St. Louis. The Tar Heels’ No. 1 seeding in this Midwest Region wouldn’t really be all that intimidating for the Wolfpack, now would it?

NBA: Lakers vs. Memphis, Staples Center, 7:30 p.m., FSW, ESPN:

The unusual later starting time for a Sunday home game has to do with national TV coverage. So if you’re late for work on Monday …

IndyCar: Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, 9:30 a.m., Channel 7:

The first IndyCar event of the season … or, three weeks away from the Long Beach Grand Prix.

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So Josh Macciello isn’t going to be the Dodgers’ owner? Or is this story really over?

UPDATED at 5:45 p.m. with reaction from Macciello (below):

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Gene Maddaus of L.A. Weekly has the supposed latest on Josh Macciello, the Studio City father of three who claimed he had the resources to submit a $2.2 billion deal to buy the Dodgers at auction in a story we did on him more than a month ago (linked here).

Because of Maddaus’ background research on Macciello and his two main partners (both of which asked us to keep their names out of the story on him back on Feb. 11 to protect their privacy, and we honored that), the bid fell apart, claims Maccielo in this story (linked here).

It’s a convienent explanation as to why this story may have reached its end point. Of course, we had skepticism about Macciello from the very beginning when we reached out to him in the first place for our story. But it once it was on our radar, it was too good just to let go away. And there were two major reasons why we decided to go with it at that point.

Macciello had just come off of an appearance with John Ireland and Steve Mason on their 710-AM KSPN show, making a case that he should have been included in the accredited bidding process, but felt he was slighted.

What if Macciello was so frustrated and angry during all this that he filed a suit in bankruptcy court, and held up the entire sale process? He admitted to us that was a possibilty but he didn’t want to have to go there. We wanted to make sure we pointed that out first — here was someone with a chance to extend this Frank McCourt sale past its April 1 deadline and possibly delay everything.

Another possibility: McCourt could be keeping Macciello’s bid in his back pocket, waiting to spring it on the MLB owners at the very end, which would be (as we wrote) “the equivalent of some neighborhood kids lighting a paper bag on fire and setting it on their porch.” And you know what that bag was filled with.

Macciello admitted: “I’m counting on that as the winning factor.”

Why would that be below McCourt’s modus operandi?

Go back to those quotes and others in our story, which was never intended to be any kind of investigative piece. The line Macciello used when saying he wasn’t doing this for publicity, to be another Kardashian, was sassy enough to make it the front page of the Sports Business Daily on Feb. 13.

Said Macciello: “I feel that my ownership of the Dodgers will be more than just a guy fulfilling his dreams. It’ll impact this country, which has no guidance right now. People feel lost in this horrible time in America right now, that there’s no hope with big business and government and everyone else screwing them over. And then here comes this guy, who’s not part of all that, who wins this organization, the underdog.”

The story wrote itself.

Macciello knew his chances were slim from the beginning, but he talked a great game. He had no high-profile, public-friendly front man — he tried to play that part himself — but with the way the MLB is structured, he was simply rolling the dice with apparent resources that may or may not have been fully funded.

Somehow, if Macciello could have pulled it off, it would have been beyond ridiculous, but then again, stranger things have happened in this McCourt ownership and court-room dramas.

The Los Angeles Times has refused from the start to mention Macciello’s name in the whole MLB vetting process of potential ownership groups, but we know reporter Bill Shaikin has been in contact with Macciello, who actually told us during our interview and showed me that Shaikin had been calling him on his cell phone.

(Shaikin seemed vindicated when he tweeted Wednesday night with a link to the Maddeus story, saying: “For those who have asked why we have not written about Josh Macciello, here’s why.”)

Look, I’m not here trying to throw more dirt on the guy, who has a wife and family to support, has apparently been well off enough as a deal-maker to create a decent living for himself, and has to live with whatever world he created for himself. There were too many elements in his story that both made us smile, and gave us thought that he could somehow muck up the process.

We contacted Macciello on Tuesday afternoon, after the latest L.A. Times story laid out how the bidding pool was shrinking again, but that McCourt could have “new potential buyers” to add to the process. Macciello said he would contact us Wednesday to explain what was happening.

Macciello, who had told us back in February that he wasn’t going to talk to any other publication except the Daily News after we did our interview, never called back.

This emperor has no clothes? Well, at least he still has his Dodger jersey.

== More reaction on L.A. Observed (linked here and linked here), and at FishbowlLA.com (linked here).

== Update on a press release issued by Macciello (linked here)

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You’re out of ‘Luck’ if you didn’t latch onto the HBO horse racing series: It’s done

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HBO agreed to cancel its horse racing-based drama “Luck” after a third thoroughbred died during production of the series, the network said today.

The series debuted on Jan. 29, starring Dustin Hoffman and Nick Nolte, and there are two more episodes of the first season that will still air, HBO said, but it won’t return for a second season, one that began production last month at Santa Anita.

“It is with heartbreak that executive producers David Milch and Michael Mann together with HBO have decided to cease all future production on the series ‘Luck’,” HBO said in a release. “Safety is always of paramount concern. We maintained the highest safety standards throughout production, higher in fact than any protocols existing in horseracing anywhere with many fewer incidents than occur in racing or than befall horses normally in barns at night or pastures.

“While we maintained the highest safety standards possible, accidents unfortunately happen and it is impossible to guarantee they won’t in the future. Accordingly, we have reached this difficult decision.

“We are immensely proud of this series, the writing, the acting, the filmmaking, the celebration of the culture of horses, and everyone involved in its creation.”

HBO also supplied a reaction from Mann, the executive producer, and Milch, the show’s creator: “The two of us loved this series, loved the cast, crew and writers. This has been a tremendous collaboration and one that we plan to continue in the future.”

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Pac-12 officially leaves L.A. behind, points the men to Vegas and the women to Seattle

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From the Pacific 12 website (linked here):

LAS VEGAS – The Pac-12 Men’s Basketball Tournament has secured a new home beginning in 2013 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena under the bright lights of Las Vegas, Nevada, it was announced today.

The new agreement, which runs through 2015, brings the Pac-12 Tournament to one of the most popular and exciting travel destinations in the world, one that averages approximately 40 million visitors annually and showcases some of the most iconic entertainment events in the country. All tournament games will be televised nationally on ESPN, Fox and the Pac-12 Networks. The 2013 tournament will be played March 13-16.

“This is an exciting opportunity for us to create a new, dynamic atmosphere for our schools, our student-athletes and our fans,” Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott said. “Las Vegas is one of the most exciting destinations in the country and with our new partnership with Las Vegas Events, the MGM Grand Garden Arena and the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority we expect the stature and energy of the Pac-12 Tournament to continue to flourish.”

For the last 11 years, the Pac-12 Tournament has had an agreement to play at the Staples Center in Los Angeles which expired at the end of this year’s tournament. An extensive bidding process with a variety of cities over the last 10 months ultimately led the Pac-12 CEO Group to select Las Vegas as the new home for the Pac-12 Tournament.

Meanwhile …

The Seattle Times (linked here) reports that the Pac-12 women’s tournament will be at Seattle’s KeyArena” in ’13, in part because of the success there of the WNBA’s Seattle Storm. It has been at USC’s Galen Center since 2009. It will be a week before the men’s tournament in Las Vegas.

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Play It Forward: March 12-18 on your sports calendar

Highlights of the week ahead in sports, both here and afar:

THIS WEEK’S BEST BET

College basketball: NCAA men’s tournament: Opening games at Dayton, Ohio, Tuesday (Western Kentucky-Mississippi Valley State and BYU-Iona) and Wednesday (Lamar-Vermont and Cal-South Florida), 3:30 p.m. and 6 p.m., truTV; Second- and third-round round games Thursday through Sunday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., Channel 2, TBS, TNT and truTV:

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Hello, friends. If you liked the conference post-season tournaments, you may also enjoy this annual event crowning the men’s basketball championships. Just wait a few more days and we’ll be all ready to begin the monotony.

Murray State coach Steve Prohm waited long enough. He helped his team cut down the nets after outlasting Tennessee State by two points in the Ohio Valley Conference tournament back on March 3. All he and his team done lately is tried not to get stale. Here’s a team with a 30-1 record, in the Top 10 among the AP rankings most of the season, and finally finding out they’ll have a rather seedy seed at No. 6 to open the field of 68 against 11th-seeded Colorado State on Thursday in Louisville as part of the West Region, with the winner facing Marquette. The Racers were a 13th seed when they beat fifth-seeded Vanderbilt in the first round of the 2010 tournament before losing to eventual NCAA runner-up Butler.

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“We can’t become too complacent, we can’t become too comfortable. Wherever we go, we’ve got to make sure we’re ready because from this point on, there’s no more chances,” point guard Dante Poole said. “It’s one and done, either you do what you’ve got to do and move on or you don’t and you lose.” It’s that simple. Long Beach State’s opener as a 12th seed on Thursday against New Mexico in Portland will have our attention, as will Cal (only one of two Pac-12 teams to make it) having to play in Wednesday in Dayton, Ohio.

MONDAY

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College basketball: NCAA women’s tournament selection show, 4 p.m., ESPN:

Don’t go looking for USC or UCLA here, either. Baylor (at 34-0), expected to be the top seed overall, needs six more wins to capture the title and become the first men’s or women’s team in major college basketball to go 40-0. This event starts Saturday.

NBA: Clippers vs. Celtics, Staples Center, 7:30 p.m., Prime:

The Clippers will count on Laker fatigue setting into the Celtics’ aging joints on the back end of their two-game L.A. visit.

NBA: New York at Chicago, 5 p.m., ESPN:

Could Carmelo Anthony find himself as trade bait this week, if only to open the Knicks up for cap space?

TUESDAY

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College basketball: NIT first round games, 4 p.m., ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU:

UCLA basketball coach Ben Howland said he’d be fine with one of the 32 NIT invites after the 19-12 Bruins lost in the second round of the Pac-12 tournament. Just one thing: The NIT (linked here) isn’t interested. It took regular-season champ Washington, plus Oregon, Arizona and Stanford, but left the Bruins by the wayside. Same with LMU, who ended up taking a bid from the CollegeInsider.com (linked here) post-season tournament and open against Cal State Fullerton at home on Wednesday. Then there’s the 16-team College Basketball Invitational (linked here), which has Washington State and Oregon State participating. Dayton-Iowa, Savannah State-Tennessee, UMass-Mississippi State, Akron-Northwestern, Texas-Arlington at Washington, Cleveland State-Stanford and LSU-Oregon open the NIT as TV fodder today on the three channels provided. Bucknell-Arizona airs Wednesday.

NHL: Kings vs. Detroit, Staples Center, 7:30 p.m., FSW:

The Red Wings’ 4-3 win over the Kings last week in Detroit shouldn’t have happened, considering they only had 15 shots (their lowest total in nearly eight years) and trailed 3-2 with about five minutes left. It was also the first time this season that the Kings lost in regulation after scoring at least three goals — they had been 20-0-2 before this. The Kings have also allowed more than three goals in a game just 10 times this season. Three of those games have been against Detroit, which translate to three straight wins.

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NBA: Lakers at Memphis, 5 p.m., Channel 9:

Last meeting: The Lakers won by eight at home on Jan. 8, despite scoring just 12 points in the fourth quarter. Pau Gasol (13 points, 15 rebounds) rarely guarded younger brother, Marc, who managed just two points on 0-for-9 shooting.

College baseball: USC vs. UCLA, Dodger Stadium, 6:30 p.m.:

The third annual Dodgertown Classic, which has been on a weekend, is moved to midweek, with UC Irvine-Pepperdine at 2 p.m. as the matinee game. An all-day ticket runs $7 in advance, $12 at the park. Parking is free.

WEDNESDAY

NBA: Lakers at New Orleans, 5 p.m., Channel 9:

The league-owned Hornets have fallen to 29th in the league in scoring (88.5 points a game). What’s the league going to do about it? Trade for a shooter?

NBA: Clippers vs. Atlanta, Staples Center, 7:30 p.m., FSW:

The Hawks, who lost in Detroit on Friday night, 86-85, have dropped their last eight road games that were decided by one point, going back to March 2007. This marks the end of Atlanta’s six-game roadie.

Soccer: CONCACAF Champions League: Galaxy vs. Toronto FC, Home Depot Center, 7 p.m., Fox Soccer Channel:

The Galaxy rallied for a 2-2 tie in Toronto last week on Landon Donovan’s goal in the 89th minute, meaning they need a win or draw in this second leg to advance to the tournament semifinals.

THURSDAY

NBA: Clippers vs. Phoenix, Staples Center, 7:30 p.m., Prime:

In their only other meeting this year, the Suns won at home by three despite shooting 35 percent from the field. Heck, Steve Nash had only six assists.

FRIDAY

NBA: Lakers vs. Minnesota, Staples Center, 7:30 p.m., FSW:

What will this Lakers team look like following Thursday’s trading deadline? Maybe Michael Beasley will be wearing purple and gold instead of …. what’s that say across the Wolves’ shirts? Muskies? We don’t get it. And with Ricky Rubio now out for the season with a torn ACL, suffered last week against the Lakers, expect things to be a little easier to control.

NHL: Kings at Ducks, Honda Center, 7 p.m., Prime:

Just 12 games left in the regular season, and half are at home, including this one. This should be the last time Kings’ defenders have to mess with Teemu Selanne, expected to retire after this season. Selanne recently moved past his idol, Jarri Kurri, to No. 19 all time in points, and he’s 12th all-time in goals scored, with a decent shot of knocking Luc Robitaille out of the top 10 before his career ends. One more power play goal ties Selanne with Robitaille for third all-time. Last Kings-Ducks meeting marked Jeff Carter’s coming out party — two goals in a 4-2 win over at Staples Center last week — meaning the Kings have won four of the five meetings this season, giving more reason for Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson do get jiggy on the Dance Cam (as they did last Saturday, above) or even on the Kiss Cam (same night, below).

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Golf: PGA Champions Toshiba Classic in Newport Beach, 5:30 p.m. (delayed), Golf Channel:

A year ago, 54-year-old Nick Price shot a 60 in the first round, closed with a pair of 68s, and won this thing from start to finish. Not that it was all that easy. “It’s quite stressful when you shoot 60 on the opening day and everyone you see, they tell you, ‘Oh, you are going to win. You’re going to win.’ You’re only a third of the way through the tournament.” The $255,000 winners paycheck only came after Mark Wiebe missed a putt at 18 and allowed the World Golf Hall of Famer to take the thing by one stroke. Golf Channel has delayed coverage Saturday (4:30 p.m.) and Sunday (4:30 p.m.)

Golf: LPGA Founders Cup, Phoenix, first round, 3:30 p.m., Golf Channel:

After events to start the season in Australia, Thailand and Sinapore, the LGPA comes to the states to launch its fourth tournament. Golf Channel has live coverage Saturday (1 p.m.) and Sunday (1 p.m.)

SATURDAY

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NHL: Kings vs. Nashville, Staples Center, 7:30 p.m., FSW:

Maybe if the Kings scored one goal or more they’ll give out McDonald’s Shamrock Shakes to everyone in attendance.

NBA: Clippers vs. Houston, Staples Center, 12:30 p.m., Prime:

The Clippers outlasted the Rockets, 105-103 in OT back on March 3, beating Houston for just the eighth time in the last 33 meetings.

Exhibition baseball: Dodgers vs. San Francisco, Glendale, Ariz., Prime, 7 p.m.:

Vin Scully is supposed to be present to loose up his vocal chords, for this one as well as Sunday’s Dodgers-Angels game from Glendale (1 p.m., Channel 9).

SUNDAY

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Running: Los Angeles Marathon, 7 a.m., Channel 5:

For the third year in a row, it’ll start at Dodger Stadium, hit Olivera Street, go past City Hall, the Pantages Theatre, Hollywood & Vine, the Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, Whiskey A Go Go, Rodeo Drive and Palisades Park before ending near the Santa Monica pier on Ocean Avenue. Google Map it, or bring your iPhone GPS if you’re confused. There are 195 “Legacy Runners” who have done every single L.A. Marathon since the first in 1986, looking to extend their streak to 27. Or you can follow Daily News staff writer C.J. Lin as she trains and competes for her first marathon. Follow her on twitter.com/cjlindn.

NBA: Clippers vs. Detroit, Staples Center, 12:30 p.m., Prime; Lakers vs. Utah, Staples Center, 6:30 p.m., FSW:

At least there shouldn’t be much traffic trying to break through any L.A. Marathon road blocks to get to either of these two.

Tennis: BNP Paribas Open from Indian Wells: Women’s final, 11 a.m.; Men’s final, 1 p.m., Channel 7:

Top-seeded and defending champ Novak Djokovic suffered a straight-sets loss to Andy Murray last week in the Dubai semifinals. They’re on target to meet in the semifinals here before the winner would likely get Rafael Nadal or Roger Federer. “I (didn’t play) great there in that event, especially that day he was playing better,” Djokovic said of his loss to Murray. “I’m putting that aside. I’m moving on. I have very, very important tournaments ahead of me that I need to prepare for.” The men’s semifinals at Saturday (11 a.m., Saturday); ESPN2 has a men’s quarterfinal match Friday (1 p.m.) and women’s semifinal (7 p.m.).

MLS: Galaxy vs. D.C. United, Home Depot Center, 4 p.m., KDOC-Channel 56:

The league-opening loss to Salt Lake could sit as salt in the Galaxy’s wounds. Or it could unite them against United.

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Q-and-A with Pac-12 commish Larry Scott: Beyond ‘Brandini the Magnificent’

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In the three years since taking over as commissioner of the Pac-10-turned-Pac-12, Larry Scott has “emerged as the pivotal player driving an unprecedented geographic and financial transformation of college athletics.”

At least, that’s the way the 46-year-old Harvard grad and former tennis pro was described in a recent Bloomberg BusinessWeek magazine piece.

At a time when many wonder if college sports has become sidetracked by power-hungry leadership, Scott has been the communicator de lux in not much implementing change, but optimizing opportunity.

Adding two new schools to the Pac-10, negotiating the largest TV rights deal in college football history (12 years, $3 billion) and about to launch a conference seven-channel network, as well as trying to expand a footprint into China by staging games there as early as 2013 is all part of Scott’s agenda.

The Pac-12 may not be creating much of a self-serving buzz heading into the NCAA men’s basketball tournament, but Scott, who makes a reported $1.5 million a year in a contract just extended to 2016, remains more than willing to stay focused on ways to make that happen sooner rather than later, as he conveyed in our Q-and-A while at Staples Center:

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Weekly media column version 03.09.12

What’s in today’s version of the weekly media column (linked here): A look at ESPN’s presentation Sunday of “The Announcement,” a hour-and-a-half documentary that goes back to the 1991 relevation that Magic Johnson made about his HIV status and how far things have come to this point. There’s also some notes about the upcoming coverage of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament pairings, Galaxy coverage on TV, and new books to track down.

What’s not in the column:

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== Because the documentary that will surely prompt further discussion, ESPN announced this week that it added a half-hour interview follow-up show hosted by Bill Simmons called “The B.S. Special: Magic Johnson,” starting at 7:30 p.m. The first part of a podcast interview that Simmons, an executive producer on the “30 For 30″ series, did with Johnson is available on Grantland.com today (linked here).

== A Q-and-A with “The Announcement” director Nelson George, via ESPN’s PR blog (linked here).

== When Johnson announced his first retirement in 1991 — he came back for a short time in 1992, retired because he didn’t want to be a distraction, then came back again in 1996 — he kept a smile on his face and even told the assembled media that he was “going to be here to bug you guys for a long time.”
Somehow, Johnson kept his promise. He’s involved in the Broadway production of a play about himself and Larry Bird, launched a TV network with Comcast called Aspire and has aspirations of becoming the next owner of the Dodgers.
Today, he says he believed his own words back then “a hundred percent. I’m a competitor. You know me. I never thought I was going to die. I believe, besides the medicine, my mindset and attitude, and also working out, (that) has been the key for me being around for a long time.”

== Connor Schell, an ESPN Films executive vice president, said that the original concept for “The Announcement” documentary was to focus more on that day back in 1991, as the title implies. But as discussion on the storyline continued, everyone involved decided it was imperative to extend it to present day, not just re-hash the instant when Johnson stepped to the podium in a packed room at the Forum before local and national media as rumors had already leaked that he was retiring because had full-blown AIDS.

== The next ESPN Films project to be launched will be “26 Years: The Dewey Bozella Story,” airing Thursday, March 15, at 5:30 p.m. on ESPN. Bozella, sentenced to 20 years to life in prison for a murder he did not commit, turned himself into the light-heavyweight champ of Sing Sing Prison. When Bozella was honored with the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at The 2011 ESPYs in July, Oscar De La Hoya and Bernard Hopkins got together to arrange for him to fight for the first time as a free man, having received his boxing licence at age 52. Laurence Fishburne narrates the film.

== The pending launch of Fox Sports San Diego, a vehicle that will provide the city with its Padres coverage, is expected to keep Dick Enberg as the play-by-play man, as he was during the Cox Channel 4 days there. FS San Diego will be on DirecTV and Cox (Channel 56), but of course, there’s no deal yet with Time Warner, which has about 30 percent of the city’s cable market. Aside from carrying all Padres’ regular-season games, Fox Sports San Diego will provide much of what L.A. gets on Prime Ticket: The Clippers, Ducks and USC and UCLA sports.

== Having already locked up many CIF-Southern Section sports and state championship games, Time Warner announced a deal this week to be the official content distributor for high school sports in the Los Angeles City section, as well as the San Diego Section.

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== Former Galaxy player Kyle Martino, the lead analyst on the NBC Sports Network’s MLS coverage, starts with the FC Dallas-New York Red Bull game on Sunday at noon, with Arlo White on play-by-play. The unique part of Martino’s contribution will be that he’ll be on the field between the benches during the game instead of in the booth — mirroring what NBC does with its NHL “between the glass” coverage.
“I’ve called games off a monitor before, but the advantage will be now, with my fieldlevel vantage point, I can bring that sort of tactical analysis of breaking the game down,” Martino said. “I’ll be able to give that (analysis) along with hearing (Galaxy coach) Bruce Arena yelling at Landon Donovan to stay a little wider. Hearing Landon Donovan yell into David Beckham, saying, ‘Try to hit that first touch to me.’ Being able to see these oneonone individual battles, and grabbing more information than I was able to grab when I was up in the booth (it) actually enhances my commentary.”

== ESPN’s 17th season of MLS coverage starts with Philadelphia at Portland on Monday at 6:30 p.m. on ESPN2. Former MLS star Taylor Twellman begins his tenure as the game analyst with Adrian Healey on the call and Mnica Gonzlez on the sidelines. Alexi Lalas will be back in the studio with host Todd Grishman and Kasey Keller.

== Part of the new UFC deal with Fox includes having “The Ultimate Fighter Live” 13-week reality series, which launches tonight on FX with a 2 -hour premiere episode (9 p.m.) which, despite the title, is not live. Perhaps the three-hour finale on June 1 will be.

== Jack Whitaker, who for years has been known for his essays and coverage for ABC and CBS, will be honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award for Sports at the Sports Emmy ceremonies on April 30. ESPN president John Skipper says the 87-year-old Whitaker, who these days lives in Palm Springs, “brought thoughtful perspective, a sports fan’s passion and dignified gravitas to his every assignment, and his graceful prose elevated the presentation of sports’ biggest events.”

And finally:

== From our own Twitter posts Wednesday (as if it makes any sense to a non-Twitter reader): @CBKonFox How about dialing it back on the innocuous twitter updates during P12 tourney TV. Some of us would like to watch the game … (the) last time @lauramckeeman popped up, trying to make twitterverse seem relevant, we were driven to watch ‘around the horn” (on ESPN) Gulp.

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How TWC plans to give you Galaxy games without its two cable channels up and running

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Starting off their 10-year, $55 million deal to carry local Galaxy games, Time Warner Cable has a little situational problem: No cable channels to carry them on. Yet.

In the meantime, starting with Saturday’s opener at home against Real Salt Lake, the Galaxy can be found on KDOC-Channel 56 in English and KWHY-Channel 22 in Spanish.

Independent channel KDOC, which reaches 5.6 million homes in Southern California and has carried games for the NHL’s Ducks, MLS’ Chivas USA, Big 12 college basketball and SEC football, will have 18 of the 34 regular seasons games, including the July 4 game against Philadelphia and their home game against Chivas USA in the SuperClasico on Aug. 21. Eight games will be on ESPN (or ESPN2) and seven more are on NBC Sports Network.

Time Warner expects to have Galaxy games on its new English channel by Sunday, Oct. 21 when the team travels to San Jose for their final road contest of the regular season.

TWC also confirmed that former Galaxy star Cobi Jones will sign on as the lead game analyst. Mark Rogondino, who had been the game analyst the last six seasons for Fox Sports West, moves over to play-by-play.

KWHY is scheduled to carry 14 games (nine home and five road) that aren’t on ESPN Deportes or Galavision. TWC’s Spanish language regional channel won’t do games for the Galaxy until 2013. Adrian Garcia Marquez will do play-by-play with Francisco Pinto as the analyst.

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