Play It Forward: Feb. 17-23 on your sports calendar — fire off the final skyworks for Sochi, with hockey pucks ablazin’


During the Opening Ceremonies of the Sochi Winter Games on Feb. 7, fireworks could be seen over the Olympic Cauldron. What's in store for the Closing Ceremonies?  (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

During the Opening Ceremonies of the Sochi Winter Games on Feb. 7, fireworks could be seen over the Olympic Cauldron. What’s in store for the Closing Ceremonies? (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

Sunday at 8 p.m., Channel 4 (delayed):

President Obama has dispatched tennis legend Billie Jean King with former Olympic speed skaters Bonnie Blair and Eric Heiden as part of the U.S. delegation for the final celebration. Ralph Lauren has also whipped up a new sweater design for the American athletes to wear when they march in for the last time — something a little less garish than those opening-ceremonies garb.olympicsweater_closeup
The build up to Putin’s closing number could be heightened by a few circumstances that play into how the Americans are viewed as they wave goodbye and good riddance —  such as whether Jonathan Quick and his U.S. men teammates figure out a way to make it clear to the hockey gold medal game (Sunday, 3:30 a.m., Channel 4), if there’s a U.S.-Canada final again in the women’s hockey gold-medal contest (Thursday at 9 a.m., Channel 4) and if Gracie Gold polishes up a sparkling performance in women’s figure skating (Wednesday at 7 a.m., NBC Sports Net; 8 p.m., Channel 4 delayed). If Bob Costas is around to see it through, all the better. If he plays his cards right, he could even get to carry in the U.S. flag if he’s gained enough sympathy from those who’ve missed him during his first-week eye issues.



Figure skating ice dancing final:  7 a.m., NBCSN; 8 p.m., Channel 4 (delayed):
So Meryl Davis and Charlie White think they can dance?


NBA: CLIPPERS vs. SAN ANTONIO, Staples Center, 7:30 p.m., Prime Ticket:
There are still measurements to be taken in the Western Conference race before a winner is declared.

Women’s bobsled: 8 p.m., Channel 4 (delayed):
Lolo Jones sprints across the ice with medals on her mind.

Out on news stands:
ADCO-superJumboNow, it starts to get a little creepy for the 50th anniversary issue — males asked to oogle over an iconic doll? In an interesting marketing move by Mattel, the toy company has taken out a four-page ad and hired famed photographer Walter Iooss Jr., to take shots of Barbie in different bikinis. This will include Mattel selling a limited edition SI Barbie through Target as well. According to a story in the New York Times, “Mattel is trying to do for Barbie what Sports Illustrated has sought to do for years on behalf of the issue: leave behind perceptions of babes in bathing suits and compare Barbie to swimsuit alumna like (Tyra) Banks, (Christie) Brinkley, Kathy Ireland and Heidi Klum, who are celebrated for their accomplishments as entrepreneurs and career women. ‘We’re focusing on the legendary women of Sports Illustrated who, like Barbie, launched their careers in a swimsuit,’ said Lisa McKnight, senior vice president of marketing for North America at Mattel in El Segundo. OK, but how is Ken taking this? That’s the next exclusive for Keith Olbermann. Meanwhile, because David Letterman is on vacation, Jimmy Kimmel gets to host the real covergirls on his Monday show.

UCLA vs. CAL STATE NORTHRIDGE, Jackie Robinson Stadium, 6 p.m.
USC vs. CAL STATE FULLERTON, Dedeaux Field, 6 p.m., Pac-12 Network:
The defending national champion Bruins opened their 2014 season over the weekend and continue a run of eight in a row at home against the Matadors. The Trojans, who played three at home against Northwestern, have this TV appearance.

Make sure Albert Pujols doesn’t do something too crazy too early.


NBA: LAKERS vs. HOUSTON, Staples Center, 7:30 p.m., TWC SportsNet, ESPN:
The Dwight Howard storyline is so stale by now, we’re not even certain that the Lakers fans attending home games by this season actually remember him.

UCLA at CAL, 7:30 p.m., Pac-12 Network:
If the Pac-12 conference regular-season standings mean anything — aside from seeding for the post-season tournament in Vegas — than this one could lock down a No. 2 seed behind Arizona. The Bruins’ 12-point win over the Bears on Jan. 22 came after a 21-12 run in the final seven minutes to pull away. At the time, that gave UCLA and Cal a second-place tie in the standings.

GOLF: WGC ACCENTURE MATCH PLAY, at Marana, Ariz., Golf Channel, 9 a.m.:
In theory, the game’s best 64 are paired up in a bracket to see who wins and survives to Sunday. But three potential No. 1 seeds have passed — no Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson or Adam Scott at Dove Mountain near Tuscon. But a few you may recognize from this past weekend at Riviera Country Club, including this event’s defending champ, Matt Kuchar.  Golf Channel is live Thursday and Friday (11 a.m.), as well as Saturday (9 a.m.) and Sunday (6 a.m.). CBS has Saturday and Sunday at 11 a.m.


The latest report by’s John Hollinger and how he projects things to fall into place in the NBA this spring, the Lakers have a zero percent chance of making the playoffs. Stop the presses. That said, forward Pau Gasol’s future with the team may also be zero. If rumors continue to heat up that he’ll be on his way to Phoenix for a draft pick and/or the injured Emeka Okafor, are you for it? Does it depend on whether Gasol’s groin injury is healed enough for him to get into at least one game before this deadline lands? There’s also rumbling about the Lakers making a deal with Chicago for former USC star Taj Gibson.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: USC at STANFORD, 8 p.m., Pac-12 Network:
The smart money is usually on the Cardinal, but it needed seven of Chasson Randle’s 17 points in overtime a few weeks ago to outlast the Trojans, 79-71, in overtime at the Galen Center.

They may be far from the best in the West Coast Conference standings, but their rivalry remains relevant. The Waves continued their dominance over the Lions by winning for the 15th time in the last 16 meeting in Malibu, 89-69, on Feb. 1. Pepperdine ended a three game losing streak at LMU when it claimed a 60-57 win last season.


Women’s slalom: 8 p.m., Channel 4 (delayed):
Can 18 year old Mikaela Shiffin make us remember Lindsay Vonn?

NBA: CLIPPERS at MEMPHIS, 5 p.m., Prime Ticket:
Yeah, those good ol’ playoff matchups from years past …

NBA:  LAKERS vs. BOSTON, Staples Center, 7:30 p.m., TWC SportsNet, ESPN:
Yeah, the good ol’ days. So, who’s been traded away at this point?


UCLA at STANFORD, 3 p.m., ESPN2:
The Bruins have won nine of their last 11 against the Cardinal, including a 91-74 triumph recently as Tony Parker scored 22.

Men’s slalom: 8 p.m., Channel 4 (delayed):
It’s Ted Ligety’s chance to shine again.

At Mandalay Bay Events Center, in Las Vegas,  7 p.m., PPV ($54.95):
Almost a year to the day, Rousey put herself on the major mixed-martial arts radar with the widely watched triumph over Liz Carmouche. The encore continues. This time, both Rousey (8-0) and McMann (7-0) have perfect records, and both were Olympic medal winners – Rousey, a judo bronze in 2008; McMann had silver in freestyle wrestling in 2004. But oddsmakes don’t give McMann much of a shot, as Bovada has Rousey a -450 favorite. Rousey’s bantamweight title bout can be taken in this co-feature that was to include Rashad Evans against Daniel Cormier for the light heavyweight men’s championship, but an injury has pushed Evans out and brought in Patrick Cummins to salvage things.


Carl Edwards (99) drives clear of a wreck involving Denny Hamlin (11), Jimmie Johnson (48) Kyle Busch (18) and Jeff Gordon (24) and others during the NASCAR Sprint Unlimited race at Daytona International Speedway on Feb. 16, 2013 (AP Photo/Rob Sweeten)

Carl Edwards (99) drives clear of a wreck involving Denny Hamlin (11), Jimmie Johnson (48) Kyle Busch (18) and Jeff Gordon (24) and others during the NASCAR Sprint Unlimited race at Daytona International Speedway on Feb. 16, 2013 (AP Photo/Rob Sweeten)

At Daytona Beach, Fla., 10 a.m., Channel 11:
The best way for Danica Patrick to answer her critics — or at least a legendary racer’s twisted criticism — is to start this season with a victory in the sports’ Super Bowl opener. She started on the pole a year ago and only went backward, finishing sixth behind Jimmie Johnson, which kicked off his sprint to a sixth Sprint Cup championship

NBA: CLIPPERS at OKLAHOMA CITY, 10 a.m., Channel 7:
They’ve both won on their own home courts in the previous two meetings, the last amounting to a 105-91 OKC win way back on Nov. 21. The Thunder isn’t apologizing for a 23-3 home record so far this season. That means from the start of the 2010-11 season, OKC is 143-28 at the 18,203-seat Chesapeake Energy Arena. The Clippers’ last win there was 100-98 in April, 2012.

NBA: LAKERS vs. BROOKLYN, Staples Center, 6 p.m., TWC SportsNet:
There’s little net gain by a victory over the Nets at this point.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: USC at CAL, 5 p.m., Fox Sports 1:
Going into tonight’s game against Colorado, the lone Trojan victory in their last 10 games, and their only one in the Pac-12 this season came against the Bears, a 77-69 surprising triumph as Nikola Jovanovic scored a career-best 23 points.

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