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Los Angeles Times – December 25, 2017

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© 2017 WSCE
seek a
to stay
in U.S.
Across the country,
immigrants facing
deportation due to
low-level crimes ask
governors for help.
By Kurtis Lee
Christina House Los Angeles Times
CRAIG SWANSON of Victorville, Calif., is spending the Christmas holiday at Dockweiler State Beach with his family, including canines
Penny, left, and Teddy. For downtown Los Angeles, this is shaping up to be the driest March-through-December period on record.
on tap
From San Francisco
to L.A., California
stands to suffer an
unusually dry winter.
By Rong-Gong Lin II
California’s dismally dry autumn paints a bleak outlook
for the state’s rainy season,
unless the weather this
winter makes a big aboutface.
The situation is a major
turnaround from last year,
when Northern California
was battered by a series of
“atmospheric river” storms
that helped end the state’s
five-year drought. When it
was over, California’s northern Sierra Nevada experienced the wettest winter on
record, with some ski resorts
staying open through the
The dry conditions are
partly to blame for the worst
fire season on record in California. Low humidity and
lack of rain coupled with
high winds fueled destructive wildfires from Mendocino down to San Diego this
fall. In wine country, more
than 40 people died and
more than 10,000 homes
were lost. To the south, the
Thomas fire in Ventura and
Santa Barbara counties became the largest wildfire on
record in California.
If the trend continues,
forecasters say California
could see, come spring, a
light Sierra Nevada snowpack, a key source of water
for the state during the dry
The weather station in
California with the longest
record of recording rainfall,
San Francisco, has measured just 3.4 inches of rain
since the start of July. That’s
only 44% of average for this
time of year, said meteorologist Jan Null.
So far this December,
San Francisco has received
only 0.15 inches of rain.
San Francisco is already
close to the halfway point in
its rainy season: Jan. 19. In an
average year, the city would
have received 11.83 inches by
then, halfway to the annual
average of 23.65 inches, Null
Null said he analyzed rain
records going back to the
oldest precipitation record
on file for California, the
1849-50 season in Gold Rush[See Rain, A5]
Lucasfilm Ltd.
“THE LAST JEDI” is poised to be 2017’s biggest film. But the number of tickets sold this year could drop 4%.
Moviegoing audience may keep
fading despite ‘Star Wars’ surge
Blame the falloff on flops, streaming, rising ticket prices
The falloff in ticket sales
can mostly be explained by a
handful of movies that
flopped, especially during
the summer season that
posted the worst results in
more than two decades.
Even such massive hits as
“Wonder Woman,” “Thor:
Ragnarok” and “It” couldn’t
make up for a lackluster
summer lineup populated
by rickety franchises (“Alien:
Covenant”) and poorly reviewed
But the long-term decline in attendance reflects
systemic challenges facing
the industry. Audiences are
spending less time going to
the movies and are consum[See Movies, A12]
By Ryan Faughnder
Hollywood is celebrating
the end of 2017 with astronomical sales from “Star Wars:
The Last Jedi,” which is on
track to soon exceed $1 billion in global ticket sales and
eventually become the biggest movie of the year. But
that won’t be enough to
write a happy storyline for
the industry.
Although 2017 movie
ticket sales in the U.S. and
Canada are expected to dip
just below last year’s record
of $11.38 billion, the number
of tickets sold is projected to
drop 4% to 1.26 billion — the
lowest level since 1995, according to preliminary estimates from studio execu-
Gurley takes
NFC West
for Rams
The running back
leads the win over the
Tennessee Titans and
secures the Rams’
first division title
since 2003. SPORTS, D1
Church raises
money, spirits
for fire victims
Ventura’s Mission
Church offers relief
after state’s largest
wildfire on record.
Periods of sun.
L.A. Basin: 68/49. B6
James Kenney Associated Press
The two Cambodian refugees living in Northern California had been convicted of
crimes years ago and, under
the Trump administration’s
more aggressive immigration enforcement policies,
those offenses had placed
them on a path toward deportation.
But on Saturday, Gov.
Jerry Brown announced the
pardons of both men —
Mony Neth of Modesto and
Rottanak Kong of Davis —
saying they had paid their
debts to society and now
lived honest and upright
Immigration is a federal,
not state, responsibility, but
attorneys for the men hope
the pardons will eliminate
the rationale for deporting
them. Across the country,
immigration attorneys are
doing the same: seeking gubernatorial pardons in lastditch attempts to forestall
deportations or allow the
deported to return to the
criminals for deportation
isn’t a new idea; it was a priority
Obama, who deported more
people than any of his predecessors. But during the
Obama administration, only
those with serious crimes on
their records were targeted
[See Immigrants, A4]
Activists stash hot
chocolate, bullhorns
in case Trump fires
the special counsel.
By Chris Megerian
WASHINGTON — Organizers have stashed bullhorns in apartments and offices near Manhattan’s
Times Square. They’ve
stockpiled hot chocolate
mix and sleeping bags in
Salt Lake City. And they’ve
started arranging carpools
in Houston.
Across the country, activists are making plans, collecting supplies and raising
money to swiftly launch hundreds of street protests if
Robert S. Mueller III, the
special counsel who has
Trump administration.
“The last thing we want is
to be caught unprepared,”
said Elizabeth Beavers, a
Washington-based policy
manager for Indivisible, one
of several liberal groups involved in the protest plans.
“We’re on red alert,”
agreed Zac Petkanas, a
working with the organizers.
Never mind that Trump
and his legal team insist
there’s no plan to oust
Mueller or otherwise interfere with the investigation
into whether the president’s
associates helped Russia
[See Mueller, A10]
MON DAY , D E C E M BER 25, 2017
with Matt DeButts
Photographs by
Matt DeButts For The Times
AGENT Zhong Xu, left, examines fliers seeking actors in the lobby of the Floating Home hotel. Many of the
fliers are out of date. “Three to five new studios still arrive per week,” he said. “It’s still worth coming here.”
A hotel for zombie monks,
aliens, rom-com couples
It’s the hub of China’s rising internet film industry, at least for now
itting on a white
twin bed, Yi Yao
handed the casting
director a packet of
glamour photos and
her acting portfolio. Like
dozens of other aspiring
actors, Yi had come to an
obscure, red-brick hotel in
east Beijing for a fleeting
shot at the big screen.
Well, not that big. A
computer screen. And these
days, her chances of getting
a role are slimmer than ever.
For years the Floating
Home hotel has been the
undisputed hub of China’s
$150-million online film
industry. The industry’s
predominantly low-budget
films, with costs rarely
exceeding $150,000, used
Floating Home as their
all-purpose marketing
department, casting office
and studio headquarters.
Studios rented a room,
placed a flier in the lobby,
then propped open the
bedroom door. Actors wandered the halls looking for a
Now that industry is
changing: China’s online
film market is growing,
revenue from subscription
services is up and major
studios are increasingly
paying attention to this
obscure corner of China’s
multibillion-dollar film
industry. For online viewers,
greater investment has
meant more movies with
higher quality. But for
Floating Home’s lowbudget studios and inexperienced actors, growth
has been a mixed blessing.
Consumers are gravitating
toward flashy big-budget
films. Floating Home’s
low-budget films — and the
actors who feature in them
— are struggling to survive.
“The quality here isn’t
great,” said Yi, 22, loitering
in the Floating Home lobby
with her agent, Zhong Xu,
31. Like many of Floating
Home’s actors and actresses, she has higher
ambitions than B-list internet movies. “But you can’t
rule them all out. There are
still some good ones.”
On a Thursday afternoon, a ragtag group of
actors gathered in the hotel
lobby, craning to study the
audition lists. Zhong took
pictures of the rooms he
wanted to visit: “The
Strange Record of Republican China,” “Holy Land,”
“Alliance of Heroes.” One
poster depicted an alien
spaceship abducting a
figure from Beijing’s Forbidden City. “After the Emperor
Disappeared,” read the
English translation. Zhong
snapped a picture.
In the early days of online-only film and TV dramas, China’s censorship
regime — focused on bigbudget films and massaudience TV shows — largely ignored Floating Home’s
B-list productions. As a
result, online-only studios,
though they self-censored
to stay on the authorities’
good side, produced a dizzying array of content: zombie
monk films, vulgar comedies, quasi-pornographic
erotic movies. Industry
insiders borrowed a pingpong term to describe how
ZHONG and his client Yi Yao discuss roles in a hotel room-turned-casting office.
A director has pinned photos of famous actors under the roles he is looking to fill.
A MOVIE poster hangs
on a door. “The quality
here isn’t great,” Yi said.
they skirted the boundaries
of permissible speech. Just
as pingpong players hit
shots that clip the corner of
the table while remaining in
play, these studios were
playing “edgeball.”
“The censors are always
one step behind,” said Stanley Rosen, a USC professor
who studies the Chinese
film industry. “Online films
are a fast-moving target.”
In 2016, online films broke
into the mainstream. The
industry grew by more than
1,000%, churning out an
astonishing 2,200 movies, or
more than six a day. Major
studios began eyeing the
viewership numbers, which
exceeded 200 million in
some cases. As the big studios got involved, highquality professional content
began appearing on videostreaming websites such as
iQiyi and YouKu. Lowbudget films got nudged to
the side.
“Anyone who says online
movies are low-class,”
quipped the headline of a
recent iQiyi news story, “is
obviously not watching
online movies.”
As the industry grew, the
censors began paying attention. Stricter censorship
guidelines came into effect
in March. In June, as President Xi Jinping oversaw a
movement to tighten ideological controls across
China, Beijing issued a new
regulation requiring all
online films to submit to
“double approval”: Censors
must approve the script
before shooting commences, then approve the
video before it is broadcast.
“Because some online
programs have manifested
distorted values, hedonism,
inferior quality, vulgar content, debased style, and
indiscrete language …
strengthened guidance is
urgently needed,” the regulation read.
With greater investment
and increased censorship,
the online film industry has
begun to look more like the
Chinese film industry overall. Budgets occasionally
reach the $1-million mark,
the minimum for most
box-office movies. Biggerbudget films also gobble up
most of the revenue; in 2016,
the top 500 internet films
attracted more than 80% of
all total views. The remaining 1,700 films split 20%
among them.
At the same time, fewer
films are playing edgeball.
Gone are the days of zombie
monks and erotic films. In
2016, nearly two-thirds of all
films were comedies or love
“Online films are more
professional now, less creative,” said Liu Yalan, cofounder of San Sheng, a
media organization covering China’s entertainment
industry. “Money is changing the rules of the game.”
Though no one is sure
how Floating Home became
the industry mecca, Liu
guesses its location played a
role. The hotel is in Beijing’s
Chaoyang district, not far
from the Communication
University of China, a
source of industry talent.
Other, larger studios are
Location may no longer
be enough. The new titans
of the online film industry,
major studios such as Huayi
Bros. or iQiyi’s production
arm, invest huge resources
and expect big returns.
These studios cultivate a
dedicated stable of actors to
cast in films. They don’t
take risks on unknown
actors whom they met in a
Beijing budget hotel.
“Professional circles still
rely on a strong internal
social network in creating
the new generation of directors or actors,” said Wu Jing,
a professor in the School of
Journalism at Peking University.
circles, such as Floating
Home’s low-budget films,
struggle to compete. The
hotel has seen a decline in
studios renting rooms.
Movie posters linger for
weeks, advertising tryouts
for films that have long since
departed. To save money,
some studios even forgo
Floating Home entirely,
opting to find new actors via
social media.
“Websites will have their
own stars, they will have
their own studios,” said Liu,
describing the future of the
industry. “The value of
Floating Home will be less
and less.”
Outside Floating Home’s
front portico, Zhong lighted
a cigarette and stared down
at his phone. For Zhong,
film is a second career. He
sailed the South China Sea
for nearly a decade on a
commercial fishing boat,
learning bits of English from
his Philippine shipmates.
He became an agent because he liked the hours and
the work and had a friend in
the industry. Today his
maritime past is invisible,
save for puka shell hair clips
embedded in his mane of
“Quantity is down, quality is down,” said Zhong,
reflecting on the declining
fortunes of Floating Home.
“That’s basically it.”
Night had fallen. Zhong
and Yi said goodbye on
Floating Home’s front
“Three to five new studios still arrive per week,”
Zhong said. “It’s still worth
coming here.”
Today’s work was over,
however. He walked to the
subway. Beijing’s Central
Business District glittered
behind him, its riches just
out of reach.
DeButts is a special
MONDAY , DEC EMB ER 25, 2017
Fujimori pardon
draws suspicion
Disgraced Peruvian
ex-president is granted
release from prison as
soon as medically fit.
By Adriana Leon
and Chris Kraul
LIMA, Peru — Peru’s
granted disgraced former
President Alberto Fujimori
a pardon on humanitarian
grounds, signaling the end
of a decade of imprisonment
for corruption and human
rights charges.
Fujimori was president
from 1990 to 2000 but was
forced from office after
charges emerged that he
was involved in illegal search
operations, mass murder of
leftists and the payment of
millions of dollars to his
former security advisor
Vladimiro Montesinos. He
was serving a 25-year prison
Rumors that a pardon
was in the works emerged
Thursday after current
Kuczynski narrowly survived a congressional vote to
oust him after opponents
fell short of a two-thirds
majority needed for removal. Legislators were
reacting to “moral incapacity” charges related to
$782,000 in payments made
to his investment firm by the
construction firm.
Kuczynski, who said he
knew nothing of the payments, survived the vote because 10 members of the opposition bloc of congress
members controlled by Fujimori’s son Kenji unexpectedly abstained from voting.
Congressman Clayton
Galvan told a TV interviewer
on Friday that the abstaining members were reacting
to a plea that the elder Fujimori made from jail not to
remove Kuczynski because
it would derail the pardon
that he expected to receive
this week.
Neither Kuczynski nor
his advisors have confirmed
that a deal was made in
which Fujimori, who is
reported to be in poor
health, would be pardoned
in exchange for Kuczynski
staying in office.
Fujimori, 79, was transferred
from Barbadillo prison to a
Lima hospital for treatment
of heart problems. On
Sunday, one of his doctors
said he had been moved to
the intensive care unit of
Clinica Peruana Japonesa.
The government said
that the pardon is effective
immediately and that Fujimori can go free as soon as
his doctors say he is medically fit to leave the hospital.
Fujimori and his family
have been campaigning for a
pardon for several years. His
daughter Keiko is overall
leader of the majority Fujimorista faction in congress
and twice an unsuccessful
candidate for president.
The disgraced former
president enjoyed enormous popularity in Peru in
the 1990s for his successful
military campaign to rid the
nation of the leftist Shining
Path rebel group. He also
dedicated public funds to
build new schools and roads
in remote areas of the
But reports of videotaped bribes paid by
Montesinos to judges and
politicians and other corrupt practices turned public
opinion against Fujimori
shortly after he began serving his third presidential
term in 2000.
Rather than face justice,
Fujimori resigned and fled
to Japan. In 2005, he went to
Chile and tried to negotiate
his return to politics with Peru’s then-president, Alejandro Toledo. Instead, the Chileans arrested him and
extradited him to Peru in
2007 to face trial.
The pardon is certain to
spark outrage from some
Peruvians who say his
crimes, which included the
alleged backing of secret
death squads and the sterilization of thousands of indigenous and peasant women, were serious enough to
warrant life in prison.
Kuczynski, whose administration was weakened
by the congressional vote
last week and who still faces
an inquiry on alleged corruption, may be further debilitated by the political fallout
from the pardon.
Special correspondents
Leon reported from Lima
and Kraul from Bogota,
Martin Mejia Associated Press
FORMER PRESIDENT Alberto Fujimori, who was
granted a medical pardon Sunday, attends a hearing
at a police base on the outskirts of Lima, Peru, in 2013.
Majdi Mohammed Associated Press
FATHER Pierbattista Pizzaballa, center, called U.S. Vice President Mike Pence’s visit to Israel “a problem.”
Christians sharply split
on Jerusalem declaration
Trump’s recognition
of the city as Israel’s
capital is met with
scorn and praise.
By Noga Tarnopolsky
JERUSALEM — One recent night, Pastor Bruce
Mills of the Jerusalem Baptist Church appeared before
a group of clergy of various
Christian denominations.
They wanted him to explain
why American evangelical
Christians were so elated by
President Trump’s decision
to recognize Jerusalem as
Israel’s capital.
“I was shocked,” he said,
“because they had no idea.”
The divide between evangelicals and other Christian
denominations reflects two
views of Jerusalem — one
traditional and political, the
other literal and theological.
The key to understanding
this rift is the evangelical belief in what is necessary to
pave the way for the second
coming of Jesus.
For many Holy Land
Christians, Trump’s declaration was about as welcome
as a biblical curse.
For American evangelical Christians, it has
largely been welcomed as an
auspicious sign from on
Hours before the declaration on Dec. 6, Jerusalem’s
Orthodox Christian patriarchs and heads of local
churches sent Trump a
letter predicting that “such
steps will yield increased
hatred, conflict, violence
and suffering in Jerusalem
and the Holy Land, moving
us farther from the goal of
unity and deeper toward
destructive division.”
And yet, across the
ocean, Tony Perkins, president of the conservative
Christian Family Research
Council, said on a White
House visit that “evangelical
conservatives are grateful”
to Trump for his decision on
“My sense is that American evangelicals are viewing
this in purely theological
terms,” said the Rev. Paul
senior vice president of
Auburn Seminary, a 200year-old New York institution that is active in the
multi-faith movement for
social justice, “whereas
Christians who live in the region are viewing this in more
political and social terms.”
“If you view the world in
terms of a grand cosmological drama, of which this is a
plot point that seems favorable to the return of Christ,
this is a wonderful thing, and
it makes it easier to disregard whatever implications
it may have for Christians on
the ground in the region,”
Raushenbush said.
Mills, the Baptist pastor,
is a native of Los Angeles
and acolyte of the Rev. Billy
Graham. He has been based
in Jerusalem since 1971 and
was invited to address his
colleagues at the Ecumenical Circle of Friends on
“It’s very simple,” he said.
“The formation of the state
of Israel was not because of
Jews. The formation of the
state of Israel was because of
evangelicals.… The whole
idea is Jews coming back to
For anyone outside the
fold of evangelical Christianity, this idea may not appear
as intuitive. The excitement
of Trump’s evangelical voters stems from their belief
that the Jewish return to Israel is part of a larger plan in-
volving the second coming of
Christ and the Jews’ acceptance of Jesus as the messiah,
a notion difficult to square
with the Israeli government’s
strengthens Israel’s hold on
Jerusalem as the “eternal
and united capital of the
Jewish people.”
Israeli Prime Minister
Benjamin Netanyahu has
repeatedly thanked Trump
for his declaration, on Friday saying that he believed
“many other countries will
do the same.” The day before, the United Nations had
voted overwhelmingly to
denounce the declaration,
with just nine countries, including Israel and the
United States, voting no.
“My sense is that for the
Jews who are grateful for
this support, of course they
don’t buy any of this stuff
about Jesus coming back,”
Raushenbush says. “They’re
not really interested in that
quest; they’re interested in
who is going to give them the
political heft they desire. I’m
pretty sure that on both
sides, once you go into theology, they have vastly different theologies and beliefs.”
But the division between
Christians and Jews is no
less dramatic than the discord among Christian denominations.
When Vice President
Mike Pence announced that
he would be visiting Israel —
a visit that was later postponed — many members of
the local Christian clergy
said they would refuse to
meet with him. On the
Wednesday before Christmas, at an annual gathering
with journalists, Father
Pierbattista Pizzaballa, one
of the most senior Catholic
officials in the Holy Land,
called the visit “a problem.”
Pence is one of the
Trump administration officials most closely identified
with the evangelical movement. His Mideast tour was
originally conceived by the
White House as a visit of
solidarity with beleaguered
Christian communities in
the Middle East.
Pizzaballa, the apostolic
administrator of the Latin
Patriarchate of Jerusalem
(which covers all Catholic dioceses in Israel, the Palestinian Authority, Jordan,
Syria, Lebanon, Cyprus,
Egypt and Rhodes), said of
Pence that “even the biggest
sinner in the world cannot
be told not to come to church
if he wants to pray.” But neither, he said, can Christians
ignore the political consequences.
“The local Christians
Pizzaballa added. “Their
vision about Jerusalem is as
Palestinians. As Christians,
of course, we also have something that goes beyond a
political vision, universality
and religious symbolism,”
but the views held by his
worshipers and American
Christians are, he said, on
the whole “two completely
different approaches.”
According to Mills, evangelical Christians constitute
less than one-tenth of 1% of
the population of Israel. The
Israeli government does not
keep statistics on affiliation
with specific Christian denominations, but the vast
majority of Israeli Christians, about 700,000, or 2% of
the country’s population,
belong to what Mills calls
“the historic churches,” the
Orthodox and Catholic denominations that trace their
roots to the time of Jesus.
Tarnopolsky is a special
M O N DAY , D E C E M B E R 2 5 , 2 017
L AT I M E S . C O M
Immigrants seek governors’ help
[Immigrants, from A1]
Trump has cast a much
wider net.
Shortly after his inauguration, Trump signed an
executive order directing
the Department of Homeland Security to prioritize
the removal of people in the
U.S. illegally who have criminal convictions. In addition
to speeding up the deportation of convicts, Trump’s orders also called for quick removal of people in the country illegally who are charged
with crimes and waiting for
And federal officials began to act swiftly.
In June, immigration authorities
rounded up more than 100
Iraqi nationals with criminal
backgrounds. A month later,
about 40 of them asked Republican Gov. Rick Snyder
for pardons.
Among those seeking a
reprieve was Usama Hamama, 54, who co-owns a market in the Detroit area.
Hamama, who came to the
United States as a refugee
when he was 11, was convicted of felony assault and
carrying a gun in a vehicle in
1988. He was sentenced to
two years in prison. Since
1992, he has faced the threat
of deportation, but that
hadn’t been a real possibility
until the Trump administration.
Hamama’s attorney, Bill
Swor, who works closely
with the local chapter of the
American Civil Liberties
Union, described his client’s
crime as a low-level road
rage incident. Since then, he
said, Hamama has raised a
family and opened his small
“A pardon would wipe
clean this offense and his
record,” Swor said of
Hamama, who is being held
in a federal immigration detention facility in Michigan.
“He was in the country legally when the offense occurred, so a pardon takes us
back to that status.”
Last month, Hamama’s
12-year-old daughter, Lindsey, wrote a letter to a federal
judge overseeing her father’s
case. She also sent a copy to
Andy Alfaro Modesto Bee
MONY NETH, center, is surrounded by family and friends . Gov. Jerry Brown pardoned Neth last week.
John Gibbins San Diego Union-Tribune
Tanya Moutzalias Ann Arbor Detroit
LINDSEY HAMAMA has written to Michigan Gov.
MARCO ANTONIO CHAVEZ, right, last week
Rick Snyder to pardon her father, Usama, a grocer.
returned to the U.S. from Mexico after a pardon.
the governor.
“All I want for Christmas,” she wrote, “is my dad
home and nothing else.”
The governor’s office has
not made a decision on a
Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner, a Republican, received
a similar plea — this one
from an Army veteran with a
felony drug conviction.
Miguel Perez Jr., 39, joined
the military in 2001 as a legal
permanent resident and
served two tours in Afghanistan.
In 2008, he was convicted
of distributing less than 100
grams of cocaine. Perez, a
native of Mexico, served half
of his 15-year prison sen-
tence but had his residency
revoked as a result of the
conviction and is being held
in a detention center in Wisconsin.
Rauner hasn’t decided
whether he’ll grant the pardon.
Gubernatorial pardons
don’t guarantee an immigrant facing deportation
could remain in the U.S., but
they might have an effect,
said Jason Cade, an associate professor of law at the
University of Georgia, who
characterized it as a caseby-case issue.
For example, Cade said, if
an immigrant has a drug
conviction that makes them
subject to deportation and
that conviction is pardoned,
then deportation should no
longer be an option.
“The bottom line is that
full and unconditional pardons should absolutely be
effective as a defense against
deportation in cases where
the conviction triggers certain removal categories —
specifically those targeting
aggravated felonies … or
multiple criminal convictions,” said Cade, who has
written extensively on immigration law.
Though the federal government may still have
grounds to deport someone,
Cade said, a pardon might
lead authorities “to exercise
favorable discretion.”
But that hasn’t always
This year, Virginia Gov.
Terry McAuliffe, a Democrat, pardoned Liliana Cruz
Mendez, a mother of two
who lived in the suburbs outside Washington. Cruz Mendez, who was in the country
illegally from El Salvador,
was stopped for a minor traffic infraction in 2014; her car
had a blown-out headlight.
George Escobar, senior
director at CASA — an immigrant rights group in the
Washington area — called
McAuliffe’s pardon “a show
of solidarity for her cause
and the belief she should not
have to leave this country.”
“We had hoped that it
would sway” Immigration
and Customs Enforcement,
said Escobar, who had
worked to secure her pardon. “Unfortunately that
was not the case.”
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Federal immigration officials deported Cruz Mendez
this summer.
But for others, especially
people with green cards or
other legal status, pardons
have helped. Another common thread: living in a state
with a Democratic governor
who perhaps is looking to
push back against the
Trump administration.
In May, Colorado Gov.
John Hickenlooper, a Democrat, pardoned Rene
Lima-Marin, who in 2008
was mistakenly released
early from prison, where he
was serving time for a robbery conviction. Lima-Marin, who had fled Cuba in the
1980s, got married, had a son
and started working. Six
years later, in 2014, Colorado
officials realized the mistake
and took him back into custody.
This year, days after a
judge released Lima-Marin,
him. Even so, Lima-Marin
sits in an immigration detention center, though his
attorneys are hopeful he will
be released.
“In terms of rehabilitation, he demonstrated an
ability to contribute to the
fabric of his community and
said during a news conference around the time of the
pardon. “He rebuilt his life.
He’s become a law-abiding,
productive member of his
But in a different case
this fall, Hickenlooper denied a pardon request from
Ingrid Encalada Latorre,
who has found sanctuary in
churches throughout Colorado for much of the last
year. Latorre, a native of
Peru, has been living in the
United States illegally for 15
“We carefully look at each
case and take a holistic approach when considering an
application,” Hickenlooper
said in an email. “Clemency
is not the solution to our
country’s broken immigration system.”
In California, Brown, a
Democrat, has issued pardons that touched the lives
of those facing deportation
as well as those already removed from the country.
In 2015, Brown pardoned
Eddy Zheng, an immigrant
fighting deportation after
spending more than two
decades in prison for a robbery conviction. Zheng and
his family immigrated to the
U.S. in the 1980s from China.
He remains in the U.S. and
became a naturalized citizen
in this year.
The pardons announced
Saturday were granted to
Neth, who was convicted on
a felony weapons charge in
1995, and Kong, who was
convicted on felony joyriding
in 2003. In his pardon message, among several dozen
issued, Brown said that
since Neth and Kong left
prison, both had gone on to
become “law-abiding citizens.”
Of Kong, he added, “Indeed, several individuals
wrote in support of Mr.
Kong, describing him as
kind and generous, and as a
role model to those who face
insurmountable challenges
in their lives.”
Last spring, Brown pardoned two former Marines,
Erasmo Apodaca Mendizabal and Marco Antonio
Chavez, as well as former soldier Hector Barajas Varela.
All three had received honorable discharges from the
military but later were convicted of crimes and eventually deported.
An immigration judge reinstated Chavez’s green card
in November after Brown’s
pardon. On Thursday, after
15 years in Mexico, Chavez
returned to the U.S.
Moments after walking
across the border near San
Diego, he told reporters that
he could hardly believe that
this year his Christmas
morning would begin with a
hug from his relatives.
Twitter: @kurtisalee
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90012. The readers’ representative office is online at
MONDAY , DEC EMB ER 25, 2017
Odds aren’t
good for
a wet year
[Rain, from A1]
era San Francisco. He found
that there were 22 years in
which San Francisco at this
point in the season had similar anemic — but not
abysmal — rainfall, between
2.9 inches and 3.9 inches.
And what Null found was
bad news: Of those 22 years,
only four of them caught up
in the remainder of the rainy
season and finished above
the average.
“Those aren’t very good
odds,” Null said.
As in Southern California, San Francisco has also
been struggling with a giant
mass of high pressure that is
deflecting storms away from
California — a pattern that
has remained consistent
throughout December.
“How long this will continue, I don’t think anyone
knows,” Null said.
The situation is even
more grim in Southern California.
On average, downtown
L.A. gets more than an inch
of rain in November and
more than 2 in December.
But this year, only one-hundredths of an inch of rain fell
in November, and the same
amount fell in December. In
fact, there has been no substantial rainfall in downtown Los Angeles since February.
Since Oct. 1, downtown
L.A. has seen only a measly
0.12 inches of rain.
It’s part of a larger
weather trend for Southern
California: Over the last seven years, maximum temperatures during the fall have
gotten hotter and there has
been less rain.
This October and November were the hottest in
122 years of record keeping
‘We’ve only had
one major storm
— it brought us an
abundance of
precipitation —
but it wasn’t good
for the snow
— Scott McGuire,
meteorologist at the National
Weather Service’s Reno office
for the region.
For downtown Los Angeles, this is shaping up to be
the driest March-throughDecember period on record,
with a paltry 0.69 inches
beating out the 1.24 inches
that fell during the same 10month period in 1962.
“We’d have to have a
dramatic turnaround to
have a wet winter,” said climatologist Bill Patzert of
NASA’s Jet Propulsion
Laboratory in La Cañada
“It’s certainly not an auspicious start,” said UCLA
climate scientist Daniel
The longer that California sees the late fall and winter go by without seeing
some decent storms, the
worse the outlook is for a wet
winter, much less an average
“Essentially in California,
especially Southern California, we’re reliant on a pretty
small number of precipitation events to … bring most
of the water,” Swain said.
“And it’s easy to miss out on
just a couple of events and
have a dry year.”
And the outlook continues to be dry and mild, setting up a boring time for meteorologists in Southern
California. The forecast for
downtown L.A. between
Christmas and New Year’s
Eve calls for partly cloudy or
sunny skies, with highs
mostly in the 60s to 70s.
San Francisco is also not
expected to see significant
storms for the next week.
In contrast to Los Angeles, Northern California did
have somewhat of a decent
November, depending on
your perspective. San Francisco received 2.83 inches of
rain, close to the average November amount of 3.16 inches.
That resulted in snow in
the Sierra Nevada, home to
the state’s greatest mountain range that not only provides powder for ski resorts
but stores California’s water
supply as ice to be used during the dry season.
But unfortunately, the
one major storm that did get
warm. So although precipitation in the Sierra is close to
average, much of it is falling
as rain in the lower elevations where snow would normally accumulate, said meteorologist Scott McGuire of
the National Weather Service’s Reno office.
That means that the
snowpack is pretty small;
the amount of water contained in the snowpack is
only about 34% of average for
this time of year because
snow is accumulating only at
the highest elevations.
“The low elevations don’t
have a big snowpack at all,
they’re well below average
for this time of year … so the
snowpack has suffered as a
“We’ve only had one major
storm — it brought us an
abundance of precipitation
— but it wasn’t good for the
snow cycle.”
If things don’t change
soon, McGuire said, “we’ll
start to worry about the low
Twitter: @ronlin
Pope’s homily puts
focus on migrants
associated press
Francis in Christmas Eve remarks Sunday likened the
journey of Mary and Joseph
to Bethlehem to the migrations of millions of people today who are forced to leave
homelands for a better life,
or just for survival, and he
expressed hope that no one
will feel “there is no room for
them on this Earth.”
Francis celebrated late
evening Christmas vigil
Mass in the splendor of St.
Peter’s Basilica, telling the
faithful that the “simple
story” of Jesus’ birth in a
manger changed “our history forever. Everything that
night became a source of
Noting that Mary and Joseph arrived in a land “where
there was no place for them,”
Francis drew parallels to
contemporary time.
“So many other footsteps
are hidden in the footsteps of
Joseph and Mary,” he said in
his homily. “We see the
tracks of entire families
forced to set out in our own
day. We see the tracks of millions of persons who do not
choose to go away but, driven from their land, leave behind their dear ones.
“In many cases this departure is filled with hope,
hope for the future; yet for
many this departure can
only have one name: survival,” the pope said.
Referring to the king of
Judea who was depicted as a
tyrant in the New Testament, Francis said some migrants are “surviving the
Herods of today, who, to impose their power and increase their wealth, see no
problem in shedding innocent blood.”
Francis, who has made
concern for economic migrants, war refugees and
others on society’s margins
a central plank of his papacy,
expressed hope that people
see Jesus in “all those who
arrive in our cities, in our histories, in our lives.”
At midday Monday, tradition calls for Francis to deliver the Christmas Day
message urbi et orbi — Latin
for “to the city and to the
world” — from the central
loggia overlooking St. Peter’s Square. The speech
often is a review of the world
events and conflicts.
Christina House Los Angeles Times
SUNNIE GAO of Sunnyvale, left, and Fredrik Wong of South Pasadena play at Dockweiler State Beach.
M O N DAY , D E C E M B E R 2 5 , 2 017
L AT I M E S . C O M
GOP threat in 2018: suburban voters
White college grads,
turned off by Trump,
could flip Republican
control of Congress.
By Michael Finnegan
White college graduates in
America’s suburbs have
turned hard against Republicans in elections around
the country and threaten to
upend the party’s control of
midterm election.
Put off by Donald
Trump’s presidency, they
have been shunning Republicans in congressional and
state legislative contests.
Their support was crucial in
electing Democrats as governor in Virginia and U.S.
senator in conservative Alabama.
Republican hopes for
keeping control of the U.S.
Senate next year will hinge
on affluent, mainly white
suburbs such as Summerlin,
Nev., where Trump’s unpopularity is weighing on GOP
Sen. Dean Heller in his run
for reelection.
It’s an open question
whether the Republican
Party — encumbered by
charged cultural appeals to
blue-collar voters — has repelled well-educated whites
for the long term.
“This is a big group of
people, and they’re growing,
and if they turn into a base
group for the Democratic
Party, that really changes
things a lot,” said Ruy Teixeira, a demographics expert
at the left-leaning Center for
American Progress. “If
there’s anyone who can do
that, it’s Donald Trump.”
For now, the Trump
backlash is endangering
House Republican incumbents in well-off suburban
districts nationwide, includ-
Michael Reynolds European Pressphoto Agency
EXPERTS attribute President Trump’s ties to the GOP’s right wing as a factor in
why some college-educated white voters are turning away from the party.
ing more than half a dozen in
Southern California. Republican Reps. Dana Rohrabacher of Costa Mesa and
Darrell Issa of Vista are two
of the Democrats’ top targets for 2018.
It also puts at risk the Republicans’ one-vote majority
in the Senate.
Heller is widely seen as
the party’s most vulnerable
senator, and his reelection in
this closely divided state depends on convincing white
voters in upscale swing suburbs that Trump’s shortcomings should not be held
against the senator.
It won’t be easy. Republican Judy Lehman, 77, regrets voting for Trump.
“At the time I thought it
was a very good thing — now
I’m not so sure,” Lehman, a
retired corporate concierge,
said as she walked her Shih
Tzu-bichon frise puppy in
Summerlin recently. “I’m
starting to wonder if he’s
really stable.”
Befitting the boom-andbust economy of Las Vegas,
Summerlin, named after the
grandmother of aviation
mogul Howard Hughes, is a
place of explosive population growth.
Just 30 years ago, it was
an open slope of desert,
bought by Hughes in the
1950s, near Red Rock Canyon. Now, more than 100,000
people live in its strictly
planned neighborhoods of
homes in shades of peach,
tan and beige, many of them
in gated communities.
Part of what’s pushing
white-collar suburban voters away from the GOP is
Trump’s alliance with his
party’s right wing on abortion, immigration and climate change, said Mark
Mellman, a Democratic pollster who worked for former
Senate Democratic leader
Harry Reid of Nevada.
“The Republicans have
become an anti-science,
anti-fact, anti-immigrant,
and that is just very unappealing to college-educated
voters,” Mellman said.
Republicans have also
positioned themselves, he
said, as “anti-diversity” in an
era when college-educated
whites have largely welcomed civil rights advances
for women, racial minorities
and LGBTQ Americans.
“I’m pushed away by the
anti-gay, white nationalist
side,” said Shayna Smith, a
30-year-old nurse who lives
in Summerlin. “My generation is a little more open.”
She is a Republican who
voted for Trump but plans to
back someone else in 2020 “if
they have a heartbeat.”
The Senate race is shaping up as an epic test of Heller’s agility. His GOP primary rival, businessman
Danny Tarkanian, is a
staunch Trump man.
But the more Heller appeals to the rural Trump
fans who dominate the pri-
mary, the more ammunition
he provides to the Democrat
in November, most likely
freshman Rep. Jacky Rosen.
If Heller survives the primary, he will face brutal attacks — focused on his ties to
Trump — from the powerful
campaign built by Reid and
the Culinary Workers Union,
which represents 57,000
cooks, housekeepers and
other hospitality workers.
“Heller is damned if he
does and damned if he
doesn’t — every single day,”
said Jennifer Duffy, an election analyst at the nonpartisan Cook Political Report.
Heller’s hand-wringing
Trump’s urging, he voted to
repeal it — captured the
senator’s quandary. Although he opposed Trump
in the 2016 primaries, Heller
has largely backed the president since he took office.
Republicans know that
suburban whites turned off
by Trump pose a daunting
challenge, especially when
women, African Americans,
Latinos and other core
Democratic groups are
highly motivated to vote.
“I think it has more to do
with reaction to who’s in the
White House than anything
else,” said GOP pollster
Glen Bolger.
Trump’s unpopularity —
about 38% of Americans approve of his job performance
— is a boon to Democrats,
but the economy’s strength
gives him cover.
Despite the growth in minority voting, whites remain
the dominant force in presidential elections. In 2016, 71%
of the voters were white, 12%
black, 11% Latino, 4% Asian,
and 3% another race, according to exit polls.
Since World War II, white
voters with and without college degrees voted roughly
the same way in White
House contests.
Since Barack Obama’s
election as president in 2008,
however, whites have split.
Those with college degrees
have tilted toward Democrats, and those without
have leaned Republican.
Trump’s electoral college
victory was driven by a surge
of support from whites with
no college degree in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. The same dynamic
played out in Nevada, where
whites without a college degree were more supportive
of Trump than those with a
Trump does have support from some white college
graduates in the suburbs.
“Build that wall — more
money to the Border Patrol,” said Democrat Frank
Bianca, 67, a retired airline
pilot who lives in Henderson, another high-end suburb of Las Vegas.
Bianca wants all immigrants who entered the U.S.
illegally to be deported, fears
the Black Lives Matter
movement will ruin the
country, and does not welcome the country’s growing
Still, it’s Republicans like
Gale and Brenda Fraser, a
recently retired Summerlin
couple, that Heller and others in the party need to fear.
The Frasers, both 63,
wince at Trump’s derogatory comments about Muslims, they don’t appreciate
his call for firing football
players who take a knee during the national anthem to
protest police brutality, and
they were turned off by his
support for Roy Moore after
the Alabama Senate hopeful
was accused of sexual assault.
As for the immigrants
that some want expelled
from the U.S., Brenda Fraser
said, “I think they have just
as much a right to be here as
Twitter: @finneganLAT
M O N DAY , D E C E M B E R 2 5 , 2 017
L AT I M E S . C O M
put on
Corporate tax cut,
upbeat holiday season
should provide huge
boost to bottom lines.
By Sarah Halzack
Photographs by
Genaro Molina Los Angeles Times
“IF YOU GIVE consumers a choice of returning something via mail or in person, they overwhelmingly prefer to return in person,” says
David Sobie, co-founder of Happy Returns, above at the start-up’s “return bar” at the Santa Monica Place shopping center.
A bid to make returning
e-commerce items easier
Start-up lets shoppers
get refunds for online
goods at malls, bricksand-mortar stores.
By Tracey Lien
SAN FRANCISCO — Every week, dozens of people
walk into Petals N Wax, a
Marina del Rey gift store, to
return items they bought
from online retailers.
They bring in blouses
from Eloquii, shorts from
Chubbies and bags from Everlane.
Instead of telling them to
buzz off, Evelyn Taplin, who
runs Petals N Wax, gladly
takes their items and issues
refunds to their credit cards.
The practice would be totally bizarre were it not for
the fact that Petals N Wax is
partnered with Happy Returns, a Santa Monica startup trying to make money by
making it easier for people to
send back e-commerce purchases.
The company sits at a
unique intersection of frustrations: Customers who
buy things online don’t like
the arts-and-crafts experience (packing tape, shipping labels, boxes) of online
returns. Online-only retailers, feeling pressure from
the likes of Zappos and Amazon to offer free returns, are
bleeding cash to do the
same. And bricks-and-mortar stores losing foot traffic
to online competitors are
struggling to entice people
Happy Returns frames
itself as a solution to each of
those problems.
“If you give consumers a
choice of returning something via mail or in person,
they overwhelmingly prefer
to return in person,” said
David Sobie, who cofounded Happy Returns
with Mark Geller.
About 8% of items
bought in the U.S. end up being returned, according to
the National Retail Federation. In 2015, this translated
to $260.5 billion in goods returned, not including the
cost of processing and shipping. In online retail, the retail federation estimates
that the figure for returns is
15% to 30%. For some online
clothing retailers, it can be
as high as 40%.
Despite the considerable
ALEXIS VALDEZ waits for customers returning online purchases at the “return bar.” The refund is processed on the spot. The items are sent to Happy Returns’ warehouse and then shipped back to the online seller.
number of e-commerce returns, online retailers have
struggled to make returning
items as easy as buying
Happy Returns is among
the first to build a business
off returns. The start-up has
so far partnered with 20 online retailers and has 50 “return bars” across the country that include the concierge desks at malls operated
by Westfield, Simon and
Macerich, Taplin’s Petals N
Wax store in Marina del Rey,
and three Eloquii stores in
Ohio, Chicago and Washington, D.C.
Under the Happy Returns system, customers can
take items they’ve bought
from partner online retailers
(such as Everlane or Chubbies) to a partnering mall or
The refund is processed on
the spot. The partnering
mall or store then bundles
together returned items and
ships them to Happy Returns’ warehouse in Santa
Monica, where the company’s 25 employees sort and
ship the goods back to the ecommerce seller. Online retailers pay Happy Returns a
fee per item returned. Sobie
and Geller declined to reveal
how much the company
charges, but said it’s cheaper
than if online retailers were
to handle returns themselves.
Happy Returns doesn’t
pay the bricks-and-mortar
stores and malls it works
with, but store owners like
Petals N Wax’s Taplin aren’t
complaining: Since partnering with Happy Returns in
August, she said, she’s seen a
10% increase in her own
store’s sales. She estimates
that of the 20 to 50 people
who come to her store each
week to return goods via
Happy Returns, nearly 50%
end up buying something
from her store.
“The whole transaction
takes us two to three minutes,” Taplin said of the returns. Happy Returns provided her store with an iPad,
training and tech support.
The company also provides
return bags and shipping labels. UPS visits her store
once a day to pick up the returns.
Happy Returns doesn’t
yet have direct competitors,
but Amazon’s recent acquisition of Whole Foods signals
that online retailers are increasingly interested in obtaining a bricks-and-mortar
presence to handle both
pickups and returns, according to venture capital
investors. And whereas
start-ups such as Shyp pick
up, package and ship items
— removing some of the hassle of online returns — customers have to pay to use the
service. Happy Returns is
free for customers.
“Returns are the next
battleground for the next
generation of commerce,”
said Greg Bettinelli, a partner at Los Angeles venture
capital firm Upfront Ventures, which along with Lowercase Capital, Maveron,
Brilliant Ventures, U.S. Venture Partners and other private investors has helped
Happy Returns raise $14 million.
“These returns are driving foot traffic, and the foot
traffic is converting into
sales,” he said. “Most retailers are killing to get more
traffic into their stores.”
They’re also proving
popular with shoppers.
Fashion retailer Eloquii,
which has three bricks-andmortar stores and does
most of its sales online, partnered with Happy Returns
when the service launched
in early 2016. In that time, its
volume of returns has remained steady, but the number of customers returning
items through Happy Returns has increased twentyfold.
More than a third of all of
the calls and emails Eloquii
used to get were about returns,
Mariah Chase said.
‘Where’s my return? When
am I going to get my refund?
How do I track my return
package?’ ” Chase said. “It’s
a pain point for us, and working with Happy Returns
eliminated that pain point.”
Happy Returns declined
to discuss its revenue, but
Geller and Sobie said the
volume of returns handled
by the company has doubled
every two months this year,
and it plans to expand into
more locations with more
partners in 2018.
“Free shipping is now table stakes,” Sobie said. “We
see the same things happening with in-person returns.
This will become the expectation
whether you have a store or
Twitter: @traceylien
This year brought us no
shortage of harbingers of the
retail apocalypse. Megachains such as Toys R Us,
Payless ShoeSource and
H.H. Gregg filed for bankruptcy. The likes of Sears
Holdings, Gap and Gymboree announced they were
shutting hundreds of locations.
But as 2018 nears, retail is
better positioned than it has
been in a long time to resist
impending doom.
That’s partly because
Republicans just passed a
giant corporate tax cut that
President Trump signed
into law last week. There is
arguably no policy goal for
which retailers have fought
harder in recent years, and
the changes are sure to provide a major boost to their
balance sheets.
There are other upbeat
signs, too, including that the
industry appeared to be
cruising to its best holiday
season since before the
Great Recession.
Forecasts were optimistic coming into the
annual shopping blitz, and
we’re getting hints the cheer
was justified: The Commerce
reported that November retail
sales were up a robust 0.8%
from the previous month,
blowing past analyst expectations. Online spending
has been strong, with
e-commerce sales up 14.7%
from a year earlier in the
early part of the holiday
rush, according to data from
Adobe Digital Insights.
These holiday-season indicators don’t just matter
because they suggest it will
be a holly-jolly fourth quarter. They matter because
they add to evidence U.S.
consumers are in good
During and after the
recession, retailers felt
forced to crank up the promotions because pennypinching shoppers wouldn’t
spend otherwise. But that
has largely faded. Retailers
are broadly facing a more
receptive audience.
And perhaps most importantly, we know the retail
curse is avoidable because
we’ve seen some remarkable
turnarounds in 2018.
The stock of Wal-Mart
Stores Inc. remains close to
the all-time high it hit in November, when the retailer
announced its strongest
quarterly U.S. comparable
sales growth in eight years.
seemed like McDonald’s
Corp. and Olive Garden
were going to be decimated
by the fast-casual dining
trend? Yeah, not so much.
Both chains are sizzling,
proving that — surprise! —
people will buy cheeseburgers and never-ending
pasta even in these healthconscious times if the price,
taste and customer service
are right.
And it’s worth noting
that insurgent retailers, too,
are finding a way to get traction.
At Home, a furnishings
and decor chain, has expanded rapidly to 144 stores
and, in the latest quarter,
saw its comparable sales
increase a strong 7.1% over a
year earlier.
Of course, it’s still tough
out there for retailers, and
we will doubtless see more
bankruptcies and store closures.
But retailers are playing
with a much better hand
than they had in the recent
past. It’s up to them to make
the most of it.
Halzack is a Bloomberg
Gadfly columnist covering
the consumer and retail
M O N DAY , D E C E M B E R 2 5 , 2 017
L AT I M E S . C O M
Warner Bros.
Mark Rogers Twentieth Century Fox
HUGE HITS such as “Thor: Ragnarok” couldn’t
HORROR movies such as “It” had a banner year. It
CONSUMERS clearly rejected aging franchises such
make up for Hollywood’s lackluster summer lineup.
scored $327 million despite its September release.
as “Alien: Covenant,” especially during the summer.
Moviegoing could hit 22-year low
[Movies, from A1]
ing more entertainment on
small screens and through
streaming services such as
Netflix and Amazon that are
spending billions of dollars
on original video content.
At the same time, while
higher ticket prices have
helped to offset attendance
declines, they have made
consumers pickier about
what movies they’re willing
to go see. And those increasingly discerning consumers
turn to social media and
Rotten Tomatoes to decide
what’s worth their time and
“You cannot pull a fast
one on the audience,” said
Greg Foster, chief executive
of Imax Entertainment.
“The tools that are available
for consumers to decide how
and where to spend entertainment dollars are so vast.
Consumers know what
works and what doesn’t long
before the product becomes
Challenges at the box office are helping to fuel a wave
of media consolidation. Walt
Disney Co. this month announced a blockbuster deal
to buy entertainment assets
from Rupert Murdoch’s 21st
Century Fox for $52.4 billion.
Murdoch’s surprise decision to sell the bulk of his media empire was at least
partly motivated by concerns about the future of the
movie business in a world
dominated by streaming,
analysts said.
Cinema chains also are
bulking up to better compete. Regal Entertainment
Group, the nation’s secondlargest theater owner, last
month agreed to sell itself to
British theater company
Cineworld for $3.6 billion.
For studios, the box office
has become a land of princes
and paupers, with a handful
of movies and a couple of
studios increasingly dominating the business. As of
Dec. 17, Walt Disney Co. and
Warner Bros. accounted for
40% of domestic market
share. In 2012, the top two
studios (Sony and Warner
Bros.) took up only 30% of
the industry total.
Of the 165 wide-release
movies this year, the top 20
claimed 51% of ticket sales in
2017, representing an increase of two percentage
points from last year, according to estimates from
distributors. Five years ago,
the 20 biggest movies accounted for about 40% of annual grosses.
“It’s a really binary business between the haves and
the have-nots,” said Jeff
Goldstein, head of domestic
distribution for Warner
Nowhere was that trend
clearer than last weekend,
when the animated Fox
movie “Ferdinand” opened
against Disney’s “The Last
Jedi.” The $111-million kids’
film about a fighting-averse
bull opened with a pitiful
$13 million, due to a lack of
audience interest in the
story and competition from
Pixar’s hit computer-ani-
Clay Enos Warner Bros.
THE THREE highest-grossing films of 2017, including “Wonder Woman,” were led by female protagonists.
Universal Pictures
FEW PEOPLE wanted to see “The Mummy,” which was supposed to kick-start a series of monster movies.
mated movie “Coco.” By
contrast, the new “Star
Wars” opened with $220 million — nearly 17 times “Ferdinand’s” debut.
Hollywood’s lack of fresh
ideas also dampened ticket
sales. Consumers clearly rejected aging franchises and
retreads of old concepts and
characters, especially during the summer months.
Few people wanted to see
Paramount’s R-rated “Baywatch” revival or Universal’s
reboot of “The Mummy,”
which was supposed to kickstart a series of monster
movies. Ditto for the fifth
“Transformers” movie.
“The films that underperformed were the fifth or
eighth in the franchise,” said
Eric Wold, an entertainment
and media analyst with B.
Riley FBR Inc. “Those franchises were already on the
decline, so you can’t expect
people to go run to them.”
On the other hand, movies with the right combination of originality and quality scored big numbers.
Disney’s well-reviewed
“Beauty and the Beast” and
Warner Bros.’ “Wonder
Woman” scored with audiences, grossing $504 million
and $412 million, respectively, in the U.S. and Canada. Both offered fresh takes
on beloved characters that
audiences wanted to see on
the big screen. New “SpiderMan” and “Thor” movies
similarly avoided franchise
It also helped if the movies appealed to women,
who’ve been underserved by
the studios. The three highest-grossing films — “Star
Wars: The Last Jedi,”
“Beauty and the Beast” and
“Wonder Woman” — were led
by female protagonists.
“Girls Trip,” an R-rated
romp that centered on four
black women, was the highest-grossing
comedy of the year in a
moviegoing climate that was
not kind to comedies.
“We continue to hear that
comedies are dead, but
great content will disprove
many current ‘rules’ as ‘Girls
Trip’ did,” said Jim Orr,
president of domestic distribution for Universal Pictures. “The audience is often
saying, show us something
new, something we haven’t
seen before or done in a new
and exciting way.”
Horror movies, which
benefit from being seen in a
dark room with a big crowd,
had a banner year. New
Line’s “It” defied all expectations by scoring $327 million,
despite hitting theaters in
the moviegoing dead zone of
September. Universal Pictures’ “Get Out,” a social satire that’s now a front-runner
for awards consideration,
became a cultural phenomenon earlier in the year by
tapping into a national conversation about race relations. It took in $175 million
“Look what happens
when you put out a good film
that people want to see. It
breaks records,” said Phil
Zacheretti, chief executive of
Phoenix Theatres Entertainment, which operates 13
movie theaters. “When you
put out mediocre product,
people aren’t stupid.”
Contributing to the winners-and-losers
was the rise of social media
and review aggregation sites
such as Rotten Tomatoes
that let moviegoers determine whether a movie is
good or bad before it’s re-
leased. Some producers
have estimated that a very
high or very low Rotten Tomatoes score can cause a
movie to miss or exceed prerelease estimates by as
much as 50%. Critical reviews this year damaged
Sony’s “The Dark Tower,”
Warner Bros.’ “Geostorm”
and Universal’s “The Snowman.”
The international box office remains a bright spot for
moviegoing. The global box
office, which includes domestic and international
revenue, is expected to hit
roughly $39.4 billion this
year, up 2% from 2016, studio
executives said. China is still
a lucrative market despite a
substantial slowdown there.
“We have some huge challenges in the years to come,
and there’s no question
we’re facing huge competition,” Goldstein said. “But
when you look at a global
box office of $39 billion
worldwide, there’s clearly a
lot of interest in motion pictures.”
AMC, owned by China’s
Dalian Wanda Group, recently signaled its plans to
expand into Saudi Arabia after the kingdom lifted its ban
on movie theaters.
Beyond looking overseas,
major theater chains are
spending billions of dollars
on improvements to their
auditoriums, adding recliner seats as well as expanded menu options and
even alcohol.
“If we had sat on our
hands five years ago and not
started to upgrade our theaters, I would think we’d be
down a lot more,” said
Zacheretti of Phoenix Theatres, which is based in
Knoxville, Tenn.
The investments in premium services, however,
have made moviegoing more
expensive. The average
ticket price during the three
months that ended in September hit a near-record
$8.93 in the U.S. and Canada,
according to the National
Assn. of Theatre Owners.
People in cities such as Los
Angeles and New York often
pay double that amount.
To attract patrons, some
theaters are abandoning
their traditional opposition
to offering discounts.
Plano, Texas, and the nation’s third-largest theater
circuit, recently unveiled a
subscription program that
gives members a credit of
one ticket a month, plus discounts on concessions, for a
monthly fee of $8.99. The
program is the industry’s
first direct answer to MoviePass, a fast-growing New
York start-up that lets people see a movie a day for $9.95
a month.
“We want to make moviegoing a little more affordable
and let people take a little
more risk when they go to
the movies,” Cinemark Chief
Executive Mark Zoradi said.
Twitter: @rfaughnder
Judge grants ACLU access to U.S. citizen held in Iraq
American military
has detained the man
without charges for
three months.
By Joseph Tanfani
citizen being held without
charges in Iraq must be allowed to meet with a lawyer
to see whether he wants to
challenge his detention, a
federal judge has ordered.
The man, who is accused
of fighting for Islamic State,
has been held as an enemy
combatant by the military
ever since he surrendered to
a U.S.-backed militia in Syria in September.
The man hasn’t been
charged with a crime, but
the U.S. government has
continued to detain him
while officials try to decide
how to handle his case.
In a ruling issued Saturday night, U.S. District
Judge Tanya Chutkan ordered that the American
Civil Liberties Union be given immediate access to the
detainee, either in person or
by teleconference, to see
whether he wants the ACLU
or a lawyer to represent him.
She also said the government could not monitor the
conversation and barred the
military from transferring
the man to another country.
The New York Times reported last week that the
man has both U.S. and Saudi
citizenship and that Trump
were discussing sending him
to Saudi Arabia. In a filing,
Justice Department lawyer
Kathryn Wyer acknowledged that a transfer to another country is among the
options under consideration.
The government argued
in court that there was no evidence the man wanted the
ACLU to represent him and
said the law gives the military a “reasonable” period to
decide the disposition of
prisoners captured on the
But the judge called that
position “disingenuous at
best,” because the man had
already asked for a lawyer.
She said “the depart-
ment’s position that his request should simply be ignored until it decides what
to do with the detainee and
when to allow him access to
counsel is both remarkable
and troubling.”
Jonathan Hafetz, a senior staff attorney for the
ACLU, said that “the ruling
says immediate access and
that is what we will be demanding the government
provide us.”
“This is a critical ruling
that rejects the Trump administration’s unprecedented attempt to block an
American citizen from challenging his executive imprisonment,” he said.
Wyn Hornbuckle, a Justice Department spokesman, said the government
was reviewing the decision
and had no further comment.
In recent years, the government has been using the
federal criminal courts to
handle captured terrorism
suspects. But in this case,
the government appears to
have struggled to come up
with evidence to file criminal
charges. The man talked to
intelligence officers, but a
second interrogation, for law
enforcement purposes, never began because the man
asked to see a lawyer first.
When agents said they
didn’t know when he could
see a lawyer, the man replied
“that it was OK, and that he
is a patient man,” according
to a government court filing.
The only other case of a
U.S. citizen being held in military detention involved
Yaser Esam Hamdi, who
was held at the U.S. naval
base at Guantanamo Bay,
Cuba, after his capture in Afghanistan. His case was resolved after Hamdi renounced his U.S. citizenship
and was sent to Saudi Arabia. In that case, the
Supreme Court ruled that
such detainees must have
access to U.S courts.
In this case, Justice Department lawyer Wyer said
in her filing that no one has
been talking to the detainee
about renouncing his U.S.
Twitter: @jtanfani
M O N DAY , D E C E M B E R 2 5 , 2 017
L AT I M E S . C O M
Protests unlikely to influence Trump
[Mueller, from A1]
meddle in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
don’t buy the denials, especially as some Republican
lawmakers and conservative
commentators have escalated demands for Mueller
to get the boot.
The president’s lawyers
have been expected to meet
with the special counsel’s office as Trump seeks a public
exoneration to remove the
cloud over his presidency.
Few outside legal experts
believe Mueller would offer
that promise while the investigation remains underway.
That leaves Mueller’s fate
a potent issue for organizing
and fundraising in an era
when protest politics have
become the norm and a
midterm election looms on
the calendar.
“I went into shock [after
the presidential election]
and I became politically active almost immediately,”
said Mary Louise Ochoa, a
retired University of Houston staff member who is
helping to organize in the
city. “There’s been no respite
since then.”
The protests began on
Jan. 21, the day after Trump
was sworn into office, when
hundreds of thousands of
women gathered in Wash-
ington and other cities in a
kind of counter-inauguration.
After Trump tried to ban
immigrants and refugees
from seven Muslim-majority
countries in his first week,
thousands of protesters
flocked to Los Angeles
International and other airports. Courts blocked the
executive order, although
the Supreme Court recently
allowed a modified version
to take effect.
Next came protests and
lawsuits against Trump’s
immigration crackdown, his
attempt to ban transgender
people from the military and
his rollback of clean air
standards. There was a
March for Science to oppose
cuts to research budgets and
environmental regulations,
and a March for Truth to
support an independent investigation into allegations
of Russian collusion.
Indeed, Trump has turbocharged the country’s
left-leaning activists. Liberal groups focused on issues
such as climate change and
the sexual abuse of women
have been flooded with new
members and money, just as
conservative and tea party
groups beefed up to oppose
President Obama’s policies.
In perhaps the most
dramatic example, the
American Civil Liberties
Marcus Yam Los Angeles Times
HUNDREDS of thousands of women marched in Washington on Jan. 21, the day
after President Trump was sworn in. His presidency has fired up liberal activists.
Union raked in $24 million in
online donations in just one
weekend after Trump took
office. That was six times the
$4 million it normally raises
online each year.
Emily’s List, which supports pro-choice Democratic
announced Wednesday that
25,000 women have contacted the organization
since the election to discuss
running for office. That compares with 920 women in the
two years before the 2016
“What we’re seeing now is
like nothing we’ve seen before in our history,” said Alexandra De Luca, the Emily’s List press secretary.
“This is building a pipeline
for cycles to come.”
Organizers said that firing Mueller would mobilize
Trump’s opponents as few
issues have done in the past.
“This is different from the
kind of overreaches we’ve
seen from the Trump administration already,” said
David Sievers, campaign director for, a liberal advocacy group.
So far, Mueller’s team has
against four former Trump
aides. Trump’s former cam-
paign manager Paul Manafort, and his deputy, Richard
Gates, have pleaded not
guilty to money laundering,
Michael T. Flynn, who
served 24 days as Trump’s
national security advisor,
and George Papadopoulos,
a campaign advisor, have
pleaded guilty to lying to the
FBI and have agreed to cooperate with prosecutors.
As the investigation advances, Republicans have
increasingly tried to portray
Mueller’s team as fueled by
partisan animus. Fox News
talk show host Jeanine
Pirro, a former judge and
prosecutor, called for a
“cleansing” at the Department of Justice with some
officials taken “out in handcuffs.”
The scathing rhetoric
has rattled activists, who remember how Trump boasted that he fired FBI Director James B. Comey in
May because of “this Russia
thing.” Top Democrats have
suggested Mueller is investigating Comey’s ouster as
possible obstruction of justice.
History suggests protests are unlikely to affect
the president’s decisions, at
least in the short term. Hundreds of thousands of
Americans regularly protested the Vietnam War in
the late 1960s, but U.S. combat troops were not withdrawn until 1973 and U.S. involvement dragged on for
two more years.
Protests also erupted
during the Watergate scandal when President Nixon
tried to fire independent
special prosecutor Archibald Cox in 1973. Atty Gen.
Elliot Richardson and Deputy Atty. Gen. William Ruckelshaus resigned rather
than do so. The acting attorney general, Robert Bork,
carried out Nixon’s order,
completing the so-called
Saturday Night Massacre.
Some protesters gathered outside the White
House holding signs that
read, “Honk if you want him
impeached.” (Police handed
$5 citations for “excessive
noise” to some drivers who
honked.) But Nixon’s use of
executive power led to a
harsh backlash in Congress
and public opinion.
“The reaction from the
media, the Democrats and
even some Republicans was
so fast and furious that
Nixon backed down pretty
fast,” and Bork appointed
Leon Jaworski as another
special prosecutor, said
David Greenberg, a Rutgers
University professor who
has studied the Watergate
Still, Nixon did not resign
for 10 more months.
David S. Meyer, a UC
Irvine sociology professor
who wrote a book called
“The Politics of Protest,”
said there are some signs
that anti-Trump demonstrators are producing the
kind of electoral energy that
would be needed for Democrats to retake control of
Congress in 2018 and the
White House in 2020.
“The connection between protest politics and
mainstream politics is the
challenge for people going
out into the streets right
now,” Meyer said. “It’s always an uphill battle.”
But organizers face a
challenge waiting for Trump
to move on Mueller. For
starters, they don’t know
when or if they will be
“We don’t actually want
this to happen,” said Shannon Stagman, 33, who has
been preparing a New York
protest with Empire State
Indivisible. “The best-case
scenario here is that all of
this planning was for naught
and we don’t need to hold
these events.”
If Mueller is fired before 2
gather at 5 p.m. If it happens
after 2 p.m., they would start
at noon the next day.
As soon as the news
breaks, Stagman said, organizers would hold a conference call to plan next
steps. Then they’d collect
their bullhorns and tell protesters to make a beeline for
Times Square, where they
would march about two
miles downtown to Union
They’ll have extra signs
ready. But they’re still
scrounging up lighting in
case their rally happens after dark.
“It’s going to be kind of
last minute,” Stagman said.
Twitter: @chrismegerian
M O N DAY , D E C E M B E R 2 5 , 2 017
L AT I M E S . C O M / O P I N I O N
More room at
the inn for the
A supportive housing project
funded by last year’s Proposition
HHH just broke ground. It’s a first.
he dusty mound of earth in
East Hollywood may not look
like much this Christmas morning, but it will soon give rise to
the first tangible evidence of the
commitment Los Angeles city voters have
made to housing homeless people. Last
week officials broke ground on a 122-unit
housing project on that site, the first project
subsidized by the Proposition HHH bonds
approved last year to begin construction.
The work is the second phase of a 187-unit
venture by the nonprofit group People Assisting The Homeless that will ultimately
provide 141 dwellings for homeless people,
along with apartments reserved for veterans and low-income Angelenos. The project
is slated to open in relatively short order, in
the spring of 2019.
The groundbreaking offers a glimmer of
hope for the long, difficult venture to combat homelessness that the city and its residents have embarked upon. What’s particularly heartening is that this project designates so many of its units for homeless people — the most difficult to house and the
most desperate for permanent housing. It’s
an ambitious start worth celebrating, which
may explain why a clutch of elected officials,
shovels in hand, happily stood on that pile of
dirt and smiled for cameras.
Of course, the problem of homelessness
is orders of magnitude larger than any one
project. We all know that. The city’s homeless population rose 20% in 2016, to about
34,000, according to the annual count conducted in January, and the county’s went up
23%, to nearly 58,000. (Who knows what the
numbers will be when we do the count,
again, next month.)
The city government hasn’t been ignoring the shortage of housing for the homeless, but progress has been slow. Over the
last decade, more than 2,000 units of permanent supportive housing — the kind of units
that come with treatment and counseling
services — have been completed, and more
than 1,000 are in early stages of development
with the help of city financing, according to
officials of the Los Angeles Housing and
Community Investment Department.
One reason for the languid pace is the
complex process of financing these projects.
The PATH Metro Villas Phase 2 project entered the city’s affordable housing pipeline
two years ago this month. That’s how long it
can take to assemble the patchwork of funding sources necessary for these projects before even getting the final commitment from
the city. In this case, $3.5 million of the $54
million budget came from HHH (although
the project has other city funding as well).
But the guaranteed source of funding that
HHH provides for qualifying projects
should help quicken the pace significantly
— especially since HHH funds can cover a
higher percentage of the project cost, which
means that developers will not need to seek
as many funding sources for each project.
The time required to go from proposal to
grand opening should not discourage developers from building projects like these. Yes,
the city and developers should also pursue
quicker routes to new units; the two they are
exploring involve converting motels into
housing and assembling prefab units. One
thing the city should not do in its haste for
solutions, though, is discard permanent
housing in favor of building more shelters.
City officials and nonprofits point out
that in the coming year, construction should
ramp up. Eight developments with significant funding from HHH money are expected to start construction this coming
year. Those will create nearly 500 more units
for homeless and very low-income people.
And, while massive projects with hundreds of units for the homeless may not
make sense for either developers or residents, we do need to build projects with
more than just two or three dozen units for
homeless people. Otherwise, we will never
reach the scale we need to house them.
That’s why it’s frustrating to watch neighborhoods — and some elected officials — impede the progress of well-designed, even
modestly scaled projects.
Every community in the city needs to be
open to having a portion of the 10,000 units
that voters committed to financing through
Proposition HHH. It’s true that the homeless crisis has only gotten worse in the past
couple of years and encampments have
mushroomed. Imagine what the city will
look like if we don’t build this housing with
some urgency.
Born in straw poverty
By Robert Barron
ne of the best
Christmas sermons
I have ever read
appeared some
years ago in the
pages of Rolling Stone magazine. In the course of a wideranging interview, the Irish
rocker Bono, leader of the
group U2, spoke of his religious
faith. Prompted to articulate
why he embraces Christianity,
Bono said, “I believe that there
is a logic that stands behind all
things, and as a poet, I see the
wonderful appropriateness
that this awesome power would
express itself as a baby born in
straw poverty.”
Any number of religious and
philosophical systems would
hold to the first part of Bono’s
statement. They would teach
that an intelligent power is
responsible for the order and
intelligibility of the universe.
What makes Christianity distinct is the puzzling and subversive assertion that this
creative mind, this high metaphysical principle and first
cause, looks like “a baby
wrapped in swaddling clothes
and lying in a manger.”
Mary and Joseph, two nobodies in a dusty corner of the
Roman Empire, made their
way from the tiny hamlet of
Nazareth to the little town of
Bethlehem. They were too poor
and unimportant to secure
lodging, even in the pathetic
travelers’ hostel, and thus were
compelled to take shelter in a
cave, surrounded by animals.
In that dirty and forgotten
place, the baby who is God
came into the world.
Stated as bluntly and directly as that, the claim seems
weird, doesn’t it? It is meant to.
For it expresses the poetic
reversal that Bono invoked.
The creator of the universe is
not a cold and impersonal
force. It is a love that makes
itself vulnerable for the sake of
the other.
The logic that lies behind all
things is an infant too weak to
raise his own head.
This poetic and theological
illumination compels us to
think differently about many
things, but especially about the
nature of power. The maker of
the cosmos in its entirety is
undoubtedly a supreme power,
but now we know that authentic power is not a matter of
domination and manipulation,
but of nonviolence. Willing the
good of the other (the classical
definition of love) is moving
with the deepest rhythms of
creation and with the very
The Christmas
story illuminates
the nature of
Christian power.
nature of God. And this is precisely why it can transform
society. If you doubt me, look at
the Rev. Martin Luther King
Jr.’s remaking of American
culture or Mahatma Gandhi’s
revolution in India — both
prompted and sustained by
love, not violence.
St. Augustine offered, in the
4th century, a pithy definition
of sin: libido dominandi (the
lust to dominate). Although it
applies to any and all types of
sin, Augustine’s characterization is particularly compelling
in regard to the sins that have
been on public display these
last months and years. What we
see in the abuse of children, in
the exploitation of the weak, in
human trafficking, in cruelty to
the families of immigrants, and
in the sexual harassment of
women is, fundamentally, the
libido dominandi, the twisted
exercise of power.
There is an extraordinary
passage in the book of the
Robert Barron is auxiliary
bishop of the Archdiocese of
Los Angeles and the founder of
Word on Fire Catholic
Why do we fear the destitute?
By Warren Olney
message posted
website caught my
attention. It described a homeless woman
passed out on the sidewalk in
the middle of the day with an
open liquor bottle, her shopping cart in the street. The writer called “non-emergency” services to report the situation because it felt “unsafe.”
What was it about this pathetic scene that seemed “unsafe?” Even with the open liquor
bottle, did the passed-out woman pose some threat? Why were
called, when the woman might
have passed out from a heart attack or some debilitating disease? If another neighbor had
been found in a similar condition, would the writer have
called a real emergency service,
like an ambulance or the
No doubt the answers lie in
the perception that the woman
was homeless, with evidence
provided by that shopping cart
in the street.
On a recent visit, Philip Alston, the United Nations’ monitor on extreme poverty and human rights, concluded that Los
Angeles “is lagging behind
other cities in attacking its
homelessness problem.” The
Los Angeles Times quoted him
saying, “We want to see homeless people as losers, a low form
of life.” In other words, as people
who are entitled to no more
than “non-emergency” services
and who make us feel “unsafe”
even when they’re unconscious
and lying in the street.
Despite the proximity of a
major intersection, it would be
hard to declare our neighborhood unsafe. Since we moved
here in 1996, the value of our
home has multiplied by a factor
of four; so much that we
couldn’t afford to buy our own
house. We’re a mile from the
ocean and not far in two directions from Silicon Beach, and
we’re increasingly surrounded
by expensive condos. Occasionally there’s a minor crime.
We lost two computers in a burglary the LAPD termed “amateurish,” for example. But compared to many parts of the city,
this is an oasis.
On our street, there are several acres of city-owned property, which used to be a maintenance yard, but it’s been swept
Maria Alejandra Cardona Los Angeles Times
WILLIAM BUCE , 58, lives on skid row with his wife. When the United Nations’ Philip
Alston visited the area, he said L.A. lags behind other cities in tackling homelessness.
clean and enclosed by an expensive-looking metal fence. That
public land could be sold for a
few more mini-mansions, like
those fast replacing the old
beach cottages that are now
wildly overpriced (more than $1
million for 2 bedrooms and 1
There is an alternative: a
project for 29 families with an
additional 69 units for seniors.
That’s occupancy below what’s
allowed by the recently-passed
Permanent Supportive Housing Ordinance. Although the
most destitute couldn’t afford
it, it would create vacancies
lower on the economic scale,
and some number of homeless
people would have the chance
to be just people. The project
might create a “mixed” neighborhood, so residents from
somewhat different economic
strata could learn, as Rodney
King put it, to “just get along.”
But many of our neighbors are
so opposed to that possibility
that they’ve hired an attorney
for possible legal action.
Alston also stated that
America is rich enough to end
homelessness. He said the lack
of “political will” has created
hundreds of homeless encampments, including skid row,
those multiple blocks of appalling squalor in the heart of
downtown LA. Will the same
lack of “political will” obstruct
the opportunity for our neighborhood to become at least
somewhat more inclusive in a
city famously enriched by diversity?
As a journalist, I’ve reported
on the closing of mental hospitals and disabled veterans returning from unnecessary wars.
I’ve covered the concentration
of wealth, the criminalization of
Lewis D’Vorkin
Jim Kirk
Colin Crawford, Scott Kraft
Christina Bellantoni, Shelby Grad,
Mary McNamara, Kim Murphy, Michael Whitley
poverty and the people displaced by skyrocketing rents
due to the housing shortage.
These are among the root
causes of homelessness, and
they are not the building blocks
of a sustainable society.
Those issues won’t be easy to
resolve. But a final question remains inescapable: If neighbors
like mine feel “unsafe” because
of homeless people, what are
they really afraid of?
Warren Olney podcasts “To
the Point” for KCRW public
Please send letters to For
submission guidelines, see or call
1-800-LA TIMES, ext. 74511.
Ross Levinsohn
prophet Isaiah in which the
seer envisions the coming of
God’s reign, which will put an
end to suffering and injustice:
“The Lord bares his holy arm
for all the nations to see; to the
furthest corners of the earth,
he makes known his saving
power” (Is. 52:10).
The image is bold, even
aggressive — God pulling up
his sleeve and revealing his
mighty arm.
As the Anglican theologian
N.T. Wright pointed out, the
supreme irony of Christmas is
that the holy arm of the Lord
God is revealed as the tiny arm
of a baby emerging from the
crib of Bethlehem.
The power that made the
universe is not the assertion of
personal prerogatives; it is not
pushing people around; it is not
manipulating others for the
aggrandizement of one’s ego; it
is not preening self-display; it is
not the lust to dominate. The
logic that lies behind all things
is a baby born in straw poverty.
When we get that in our bones,
we will understand the meaning of Christmas.
With apologies to George Carlin, here are seven
words they can’t say at the CDC.
Democrats slam “bad” Trump judicial nominees, but they don’t like the good ones either.
Congress to “Dreamers”: You don’t matter to
Find these posts at
M O N D A Y , D E C E M B E R 2 5 , 2 0 1 7 :: L A T I M E S . C O M / C A L I F O R N I A
Three Santa Monica
board members face
scrutiny over possible
conflicts of interest.
By Adam Elmahrek
and Benjamin Oreskes
Wally Skalij Los Angeles Times
PARISHIONERS sing “Silent Night” during a Christmas Eve service on Sunday at Mission Church in Ventura. The church helped raise
money and collect supplies for evacuees and those who lost their homes to the Thomas fire, which has now burned 281,620 acres.
Keeping vigil in fire season
vex female
At church,
Thomas is
still a topic
By Melissa Etehad
By Michael Livingston
Kelley Whitelens hiked a steep
hill toward the backyard of a home
on Coyote Road in Santa Barbara,
one hand wiping the sweat from her
face, the other pulling up her sagging pants.
Whitelens is the only female firefighter in a 19-person team from
South Dakota fighting the fierce
Thomas fire — which, at 281,620
acres spread across Ventura and
Santa Barbara counties, is California’s largest wildfire on record.
It’s unclear how many female
firefighters are on the front lines,
but with more than 8,000 firefighters battling the blaze at its peak,
many include women, who face the
same challenges as their male colleagues and one major addition —
navigating the heat and treacherous terrain in gear made for men.
“My uniform hangs on me and is
baggy,” Whitelens said as she sat
down, exhausted, on a wooden
bench. “It’s uncomfortable, but I’ve
learned to get used to it.”
Whitelens, 21, has been battling
wildfires across the country for
three years with the Rosebud Sioux
Tribe, and it was her eighth day on
the Thomas fire line.
[See Women, B5]
The largest wildfire on record in
California was largely tamed by
Sunday as Ventura residents raced
around for last-minute holiday
shopping and for Christmas Eve
church services.
But the devastation was never
far from the thoughts of many. Hundreds of people fled their homes as
the Thomas fire swept into the city
Dec. 4. The blaze continued to
threaten communities from Ventura to Montecito last week, when
the last of the evacuation centers finally closed.
The fire is 86% contained but is
not expected to be fully contained
until Jan. 7, officials said. The blaze
has burned 281,620 acres, destroyed
1,063 structures, and resulted in two
deaths, including that of a firefighter.
Roughly 1,600 firefighters remain on the line.
At Ventura’s Mission Church on
Sunday, the fire remained a subject
of discussion. The church was one of
many institutions that helped raise
money and supplies for those who
lost their homes or were evacuated.
The church collected tens of
thousands of dollars for gift cards.
[See Fire, B5]
Marcus Yam Los Angeles Times
HUMBOLDT COUNTY firefighter Bobby Gray, left, hoses down
flames in a burning home in Montecito as Kellee Stoehr looks on.
Wally Skalij Los Angeles Times
ORNAMENTS hang from a burned-out car in Ventura. Roughly
1,600 firefighters remain on the line against the Thomas blaze.
A Santa Monica school
district’s conflict of interest
investigation has grown to
include three of the board’s
seven members, a school
district official confirmed
The Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District’s
inquiry initially focused on
Maria Leon-Vazquez, whose
husband worked as a paid
consultant to at least two
district vendors.
launched its investigation
after The Times revealed
last month that LeonVazquez cast a series of
votes spanning several years
covering hundreds of thousands of dollars in contract
approvals with her husband’s clients, the financial
advisory firm Keygent LLC
and TELACU Construction
That investigation has
widened to include board
members Ralph Mechur and
Oscar de la Torre, a district
spokeswoman said. The district is looking into possible
conflicts of interest related
to Mechur’s work as an
architect for Leon-Vazquez’s
home remodel and a nonprofit involving De La Torre,
said spokeswoman Gail
The district will publicly
release a “summary of findings” in the next few weeks,
she wrote in an email to The
She said once the investigation is complete the district will commission an outside agency — probably the
California School Boards
Assn. or the state Fiscal Crisis and Management Assistance Team — to conduct an
independent review.
Prosecutors with the
public integrity unit of the
Los Angeles County district
attorney’s office have also
opened a review.
husband, Tony Vazquez — a
Santa Monica councilman
and a candidate for a state
Board of Equalization seat
— was paid to open doors at
[See District, B6]
DOMINIC LUONG, 1940 - 2017
Santa can’t fix 1st Vietnamese-born bishop
these problems
in sacramento
Several items
on my Christmas political
wish list never
got delivered.
Maybe next
year. But probably not.
Some of the
items are just too expensive
politically for the legislative
elves to package up and give
For example:
8 One thing all Californians need is a new, modern
state tax system to mesh
with the federal tax law
passed last week by Congress. But we’ve actually
needed it for decades.
The old-fashioned system we have is like one of
those 1950s model train sets
that keeps running off the
track. It’s too volatile. The
revenue flow is five times as
volatile as the state’s personal income itself, nonpar-
tisan analysts say.
It leans too heavily on the
state income tax. When the
economy is good, that produces strong revenue flow.
When it’s bad, the flow slows
to a trickle. So it’s either
boom or bust for state services such as educating kids
and fighting wildfires.
The state income tax
produces 70% of state general fund revenue and the
sales tax less than 20%. In
the 1950s, it was the opposite.
California has the nation’s highest state income
tax. That burden has been
softened until now because
we’ve been allowed to
deduct state taxes on our
federal tax returns. But not
so much starting next year.
State income and local
property tax deductions will
be capped at $10,000 total.
That’s only roughly half of
what average tax itemizers
have been deducting. So the
state income tax is going to
[See Skelton, B4]
in U.S. ‘drew people to him’
By Anh Do
n 1975, when refugees
from Vietnam began arriving in America by the
thousands, Dominic Luong saw his future.
The freshly ordained
priest left the seminary in
Buffalo, N.Y., where he was
teaching biology and working as a hospital chaplain,
and headed to New Orleans
— a port of arrival for many
forced to flee their homeland
after the fall of Saigon.
There he helped found
what would be the first Vietnamese American parish in
the U.S., Mary Queen of Vietnam Church. For years he
tended to the needs of the
refugees and immigrants,
those whose lives years later
would be uprooted again
when Hurricane Katrina
devastated the city.
Luong’s work was so tireless and his passion so evi-
Mark Boster Los Angeles Times
Dominic Luong was appointed auxiliary bishop of
the Diocese of Orange in 2003.
dent that Pope John Paul II
appointed him auxiliary
bishop of the Diocese of Orange in 2003, making him the
first Vietnamese-born Roman Catholic bishop in the
U.S. and an immediate spiritual leader in the country’s
largest Vietnamese American community — Little
After years of service in
Orange County and months
of declining health, Luong
died Dec. 6. He was 77.
“He was someone gentle
who drew people to him and
to the church. He never
judged,” said Tai Nguyen, a
parishioner who spent more
than 14 years working with
Luong, sometimes as a personal assistant, occasionally
as the bishop’s chauffeur.
Father Thai Nguyen, director of the Vietnamese
Catholic Center in Santa
Ana who worked closely with
the bishop, said Luong gave
[See Luong, B5]
M O N DAY , D E C E M B E R 2 5 , 2 017
L AT I M E S . C O M
Filled with
holidays a
risk to pets
Dogs are more likely
to get poisoning from
chocolate around
Christmas, study finds.
It may be the most wonderful time of the year for
people, but it’s a time of peak
peril for our pets.
Dogs, in particular, face a
heightened risk of chocolate
poisoning during the Christmas season. According to a
new study, the risk is nearly
five times greater than at
holiday-free times of the
Researchers came to this
conclusion by scouring patient records from 500 clinics
that are part of the United
Kingdom’s Small Animal
2.7 million records of dogs
seen from November 2012 to
May 2017 and identified 386
cases of “chocolate exposure” suffered by 375 animals.
The study authors, from
the University of Liverpool,
hypothesized that these illnesses
around holidays known to
feature chocolate: Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Easter
and Halloween.
To see if this was indeed
the case, they compared vet
records during four “risk periods” — one week before
and two weeks after each of
the holidays — with records
from other, “non-festival
Sure enough, they found
that cases of chocolate poisoning were 4.74 times more
common during the Christmas risk period than during
less wonderful times of the
year. In addition, the risk of
chocolate poisoning nearly
doubled during the Easter
risk period compared with
the holiday-free baseline.
According to the patients’ files, the most common sources of chocolate
were candy bars and gift
boxes (35 cases), followed
closely by Easter eggs (31
cases). Chocolate cupcakes
came in third (22 cases) and
chocolate oranges were
fourth (15 cases).
A combined category of
chocolate rabbits, Santa
Claus figurines, Advent calendars and Christmas tree
decorations accounted for 10
cases of poisoning, and six
more were blamed on Toblerone consumption. Then
there were five dogs who
liqueurs and one who lapped
up a hot chocolate drink.
Typically, the amount of
chocolate consumed was
deemed “small,” but the
study authors noted one exception: a dog that ingested
“a garden of Easter eggs hidden for a large party of children.”
Chocolate is dangerous
for dogs (and cats as well)
because it contains a chemi-
Mary Altaffer Associated Press
DOGS ARE NEARLY five times as likely to get chocolate poisoning during Christmastime, a U.K. study says.
In addition, the risk was nearly doubled during Easter, another holiday traditionally laced with cocoa sweets.
Chocolate is
dangerous for
dogs (and cats as
well) because it
contains a
chemical called
which comes from
cocoa beans.
cal called theobromine,
which comes from cocoa
beans. Humans can metabolize this, but it’s not so easy
for our four-legged friends.
When too much of the
chemical gets into their canine systems, the result can
be seizures, tachycardia (an
abnormally fast heart rate),
vomiting or other problems.
None of the 386 poisoning
cases in the U.K. study were
fatal. But they were undoubtedly uncomfortable
for the dogs.
Nearly one-third of them
(121 cases) were treated with
activated charcoal to absorb
the theobromine and reduce
its circulation through the
body. Activated charcoal is
administered through a
stomach tube or a large syringe.
About as many dogs (114)
were treated with the drug
apomorphine to induce
Intravenous fluids and
antiemetics (drugs to counteract vomiting) were also
reported in the treatment of
a smaller number of cases.
The data suggest that
chocolate-eating dogs have
learned from their mistakes.
Dogs considered “old” (past
their eighth birthday) were
58% less likely to need treatment than their young
counterparts (those who
had not yet turned 4 years
old), the researchers reported.
There was no relationship between dog breed and
vulnerability, they added.
Studies from the United
States and Germany have
found spikes in chocolate
poisoning around Valentine’s Day and Halloween,
but this pattern did not hold
up in the United Kingdom.
That may be due to “alternate
choices (or more fastidious
curation by their recipient)
and different festival priorities,” the University of
Liverpool team wrote.
But when it comes to
Christmas, let there be no
doubt: Dog owners should
be extra careful not to leave
chocolate lying around in reach of their furry friends.
The results were published last week in the journal Vet Record.
Twitter @LATkarenkaplan
M O N DAY , D E C E M B E R 2 5 , 2 017
L AT I M E S . C O M
Asian residents seek citizenship
Fears over Trump’s
immigration policy
prompt many to
solidify their status.
By Caitlin
Yoshiko Kandil
After last year’s presidential election, Saranya
Cheapchon panicked.
Born in Thailand, the
Irvine mother of two has
lived in the U.S. since she
was 4 and has been a legal
permanent resident since
age 10. Her husband and children are U.S. citizens. But all
of a sudden, she felt
“At that point, I understood that anything could
happen,” she said. “We could
be out of the country and,
who knows, legal residents
could be barred from entry.
Especially with children, I
couldn’t take that risk.
There’s such instability for
immigrants at this time.”
Cheapchon decided to
apply for citizenship, seeing
it as the best way to protect
herself and her family during
times, she said, citing President Trump’s travel ban
that bars entry for people
from several Muslim-majority countries and restricts
the number of refugees
allowed into the U.S.
“I started thinking about
Drew A. Kelley
ANTHONY PARK gets help filling out his U.S. citizenship application during a 2015 event hosted by Asian
Americans Advancing Justice in Irvine. This year, 400 Asian-born permanent residents sought such aid.
the Japanese internment,”
Cheapchon said of the
120,000 Japanese and Japanese Americans held in concentration camps during
World War II, “and you think
that things can’t happen —
but really, they can.”
Cheapchon was one of
400 Asian-born legal permanent residents who sought
through a series of clinics
hosted by Asian Americans
Advancing Justice Orange
County. The effort included
15 workshops offering free legal services and guidance
through the process in English, Korean, Vietnamese,
Mandarin, Khmer, Chinese
and Spanish.
Katelyn Ogawa, the
Orange County policy coordinator for the civil rights
group, said concerns about
immigration policies were a
top issue for clients.
“People had felt good
enough being legal, permanent residents and green
[card] holders; they felt that
they were safe,” she said.
“But when Trump lumped
them all together [with undocumented immigrants],
they felt like they needed to
become citizens so that they
could never be deported and
to give them that extra level
of security.
“There’s just this heightened fear and this feeling
that they’re next.”
County ends
late fines for
young readers
By Howard Blume
Leilany Medina, 11, loves
books so much that she’d
like to become a librarian.
But even she sometimes forgets to return books on time,
especially if she hasn’t quite
finished. And she’s racked
up some late fines.
But L.A. County libraries
are providing a way out for
such book lovers, and creating new lures for other
children who haven’t caught
the reading bug, by doing
away with late fees, automatically signing up students for library cards
through their schools and allowing them to “read away”
their fines and fees.
The most recent move
was a vote last week by Los
Angeles County supervisors
to end late fees for patrons
younger than 21 at countyrun libraries, effective immediately. That did not help
Leilany because officials offered no amnesty for past
So on Thursday, Leilany
went to the East Los Angeles
Library, a county facility, to
read off $4 in late fees. Students can eliminate debt at a
rate of $5 an hour under a
program that took effect in
“You tell them you’ll read
and they’ll sign you in and
you start,” said Leilany, a
fifth-grader at Morris K.
Hamasaki Elementary in
East L.A. “When your head
starts losing the book you
can stop reading and they
tell you how much money
they took away.”
She’s fond of fairy tales
and Megan McDonald’s
“Judy Moody” series, about a
third-grader with many notable emotional states.
In an era where screen
time dominates the lives of
children, librarians and others haven't given up on instilling a love of books and libraries. They also want to
make sure there isn’t a “library gap” between the
more prosperous and the
poor. The program for “reading away” library debt is especially important because
the cost of damaged or lost
materials can be high.
A library debt of $10 results in suspended borrowing privileges. Since “Read
Away” went into effect, the
county library system has
cleared 3,500 blocked accounts, said Darcy Hastings,
the county’s assistant library administrator for
youth services.
Even fines of 15 cents a
day per book can push children away.
“When charges accrue on
a young person’s account,
generally, they don’t pay the
charges and they don’t use
the card,” Hastings said. “A
few dollars on their accounts
means they stop using library services.”
In random surveys, 80%
of parents said they are
more likely to let children
check out materials because
of the more lenient policies.
Which is not to say libraries
have gone completely soft:
Patron debts of $50 or more
are turned over to a collection agency.
“We do try to work with
families before it gets there,”
Hastings said.
At least 100 students a
week read away their debt at
East L.A. Library, children’s
librarian Aleah Jurnecka
“The parents express
gratitude and relief,” Jurnecka said. “It lessens the
burden on a lot of families.”
Most children in the
county use one or more of
three library systems: L.A.
city, L.A. County or a school
The state of school libraries varies by location
and school district. L.A. Unified has only one elementary
library, for example, that it
considers fully staffed, with
a full-time librarian and a
part-time aide. But for
about a year, district students have automatically received city library cards that
accrue no overdue fees. Students can check out three
books at a time. About 15,000
have used the new cards.
(Thousands of others already had library cards.)
The city of Los Angeles
does not have a read-away
program for fines. Other cities with library systems set
their own fee policies.
Leilany needs little encouragement to get to the library, and she’s logged more
reading time than necessary
to retire her debt. That’s
what happens with a book
like “Because of Winn-Dixie”
by Kate DiCamillo.
“I like doggies,” Leilany
said, “and this dog, WinnDixie, was like lost.”
Nancee E. Lewis
THIS LOGGERHEAD was missing part of her shell when she was rescued four
years ago. She had curvature of her spine, and her rear flippers were paralyzed.
Rescued turtle gets
a brace for her shell
By Deborah
Sullivan Brennan
SAN DIEGO — Just in
time for the holidays, a loggerhead sea turtle at Birch
Aquarium in La Jolla got a
perfectly fitting gift.
The turtle, rescued in
2013 with a broken shell and
twisted spine, this month received a 3-D printed brace
that fills a gap in her carapace, the upper portion of
her shell.
Gliding recently in her
tank at the aquarium, she
swam up to the glass to investigate visitors and eagerly munched fish her handlers provided.
It’s a big improvement
from her condition four
years ago, when she was
found in the canal of a New
Jersey power plant, emaciated and injured.
She weighed less than 100
pounds and her shell was
cracked, with a plate-sized
chunk missing from the
right rear side. She had both
scoliosis and lordosis —
sideways and vertical curvature of her spine — and her
rear flippers were paralyzed.
Rescuers didn’t know
how she got hurt, but they
transferred her to an aquarium in South Carolina.
There the staff stabilized her
for transfer to a permanent
facility after determining
that she could never be released to the wild.
“Birch agreed to take her
knowing she would be a
would require care as long as
we had her,” said Jenn
Moffatt, senior director of
animal care for the aquarium, which is part of Scripps
Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego.
That could be quite a
while. Her handlers aren’t
certain of her age, but estimate that she’s a 10- to 15year-old juvenile. Loggerheads, known by the scientific name Caretta caretta,
reach maturity at 35 years,
according to the National
Oceanic and Atmospheric
Administration. Authorities
say their life span is over 50
years and possibly up to 100.
The turtles are found
around the world and are
listed as endangered.
“So we want to protect
every one,” said Jennifer
Frohlich, a veterinarian with
UC San Diego who assisted
with the turtle’s care.
Birch Aquarium received
the loggerhead in November
2014, and after running blood
work and other tests, introduced her to the tank where
she is on display.
She grew from 75 to 215
pounds, approaching her expected adult weight of about
250 pounds. But the growth
aggravated her condition,
putting her at risk for complications, Moffatt said.
Aquarium team members
knew they would eventually
have to fix her shell to keep
her healthy and prevent further damage to her spine
and organs.
Consulting with doctors,
veterinarians and other experts at the university, they
considered various procedures, including surgery
and external bracing. They
were seeking the least invasive option, and hit upon 3-D
printing several months ago.
Since her arrival at UC
San Diego’s Thornton Hospital, the turtle has twice received a CT scan to monitor
changes in her shell, the
aquarium said. The team
members used those CT
scans and their own 3-D
scanning techniques to design a rigid plastic brace
that molded to her shell.
Researchers tested several prototypes and identified one that fit perfectly.
They fabricated the final
version using 3-D printers,
which create a three-dimensional object from a digital
model. They chose an epoxy
that was safe for the turtle
and would hold the piece securely. Two weeks ago, they
fixed it to her shell, where it
set underwater.
The procedure went
smoothly, they said, and had
the benefit of restoring her
to neutral buoyancy; previously, her rear end tended to
float up because of her damaged shell.
Over the last couple of
weeks, the young loggerhead
is as hungry, alert and curious as ever, Frohlich said.
“Loggerheads are very
charismatic, very friendly,”
she said. “They’re the Labrador dog of sea turtles.
She’s very charismatic and
knows when people are in
front of the tank, and she
hams it up.”
Brennan writes for the San
Diego Union-Tribune.
About 220,000 Orange
County residents are eligible
for naturalization, according to Advancing Justice,
and nearly 30% of them are
of Asian origin.
As of Sept. 30, more than
15,000 people in Orange
County applied this year for
naturalization, according to
data from U.S. Citizenship
and Immigration Services.
Tammy Kim, co-founder
of the Korean American
Center, which co-hosted one
of Advancing Justice’s clinics, said that despite a growing interest in naturalization, language and cost
remain barriers for many.
“It’s very cost-prohibitive,” she said, citing the
$725 application fee. “Not
just filing paperwork, but if
you don’t understand how to
navigate through the process, which documents to get
— because one slip-up, one
missed paper can delay
everything — then you opt to
hire an attorney who can
help you. And all those
things start adding up.”
The clinic offered free
legal services in English and
“What we’re trying to do
is minimize the obstacles,”
Kim said.
Edward Park, a music
teacher at Irvine Valley College who attended the clinic
with his parents and
brother, said the on-site attorneys were helpful in navigating the complexities of
the application, particularly
for his parents, who “don’t
know English that well.”
Tricia Nguyen, chief executive of Southland Integrated Services, said trust is
another barrier.
“We say, ‘We don’t know
how things are going to
change, so let’s get your citizenship — it’s like a safety
ticket,’ ” Nguyen said.
Fear isn’t the only motivation.
Tam Phung, a Fountain
Valley resident and Coastline Community College student who attended one
clinic, said citizenship for
her is about being a better
parent: “My son is a U.S. citizen, so I also want to be a citizen to raise him better.”
And after being sworn in
as a citizen Sept. 20, Cheapchon said she looks forward
to the benefits of citizenship,
including a greater sense
of security, ease during
international travel — and finally being able to cast a ballot.
“I’m really looking forward to voting in the next
election,” she said.
Kandil is a contributor to
Times Community News.
Lottery results
For Saturday, Dec. 23, 2017
SuperLotto Plus
Mega number is bold
1-4-7-34-40—Mega 1
Jackpot: $8 million
Winners per category:
5 + Mega
4 + Mega
3 + Mega
2 + Mega
1 + Mega
Mega only
No. of
of prize(s)
Powerball number is bold
1-3-13-15-44—Powerball 25
Jackpot: $300 million
California winners per category:
5 + P-ball
4 + P-ball
3 + P-ball
2 + P-ball
1 + P-ball
P-ball only
No. of
of prize(s)
Winning jackpot ticket(s) sold in other
states: None
For Sunday, Dec. 24, 2017
Fantasy Five: 3-5-16-33-39
Daily Four: 6-6-7-8
Daily Three (midday): 9-4-4
Daily Three (evening): 3-2-5
Daily Derby:
(11) Money Bags
(7) Eureka
(3) Hot Shot
Race time: 1:46.90
Results on the Internet:
General information:
(800) 568-8379
(Results not available at this number)
M O N DAY , D E C E M B E R 2 5 , 2 017
L AT I M E S . C O M
A naughty
list soaked
in politics
[Skelton, from B1]
hit many Californians much
A nice late Christmas
present the Legislature and
Gov. Jerry Brown could
deliver would be a new
system that substantially
lowers income tax rates
while broadening the sales
tax to include services such
as auto repairs and legal
fees. While at it, also lower
the sales tax rate.
“Democrats are whining
and whining” about limiting
the federal deduction for
state and local taxes, says
Republican consultant
Wayne Johnson. “Why don’t
they recognize that the
state income tax is an
anachronism? We’re going
to have to find other ways to
fund government. This is an
urgent need. Let’s have a
revenue-neutral tax reform.”
But the governor and
lawmakers of both parties
aren’t interested. Too tough.
Too politically risky.
Instead, state Senate
leader Kevin de León (DLos Angeles) announced
Friday that there will be
legislation to “mitigate the
damage” of the new federal
tax law. “The Republican
tax scam disproportionately harms California
taxpayers,” he asserted.
No details. But one idea,
according to his office, is to
reduce state personal income taxes and replace the
revenue by charging businesses a “payroll tax” for
each employee. Unlike
individual taxpayers, businesses could write off the
payroll tax on their federal
But that seems like a
headache for business and a
sure way to discourage it
from hiring new workers.
Another idea is to allow
individuals to voluntarily
donate money to the state.
Then they could deduct it
on their federal return as a
charitable contribution.
That really sounds cockamamie.
Back to my Christmas
list. These are the other
things that should be filling
California’s stocking.
8 A clearly written rule
book on sexual harassment
in the state Capitol. A guide
that spells out what’s forbidden and the consequences
for harassers, predators and
plain pigs.
Sure, this is tricky. But,
come on, there are basics:
Hands off. Shut up about
sex. Be professional. “No”
means no.
Remember what our
mothers taught us.
Whistleblowers must be
protected. Investigations
need to be conducted by
trained outsiders, not foxes
in the henhouse. Punishments range from losing
committee posts to being
booted from the Legislature.
And culprits must always be publicly exposed,
not hidden behind confidential settlements funded by
Rich Pedroncelli Associated Press
THE CAPITOL Christmas tree glows in Sacramento. A nice late Christmas present lawmakers could deliver
would be a new system that substantially lowers income tax rates while broadening the sales tax.
8 Along with that, we
need a more efficient, less
expensive system of replacing legislators who resign.
Two assemblymen accused of harassment — Raul
Bocanegra (D-Pacoima)
and Matt Dababneh (DWoodland Hills) — have
announced their resignations while denying the
charges. Special elections
will be needed to replace
A special election costs
taxpayers up to $1 million or
more. In the last 12 years,
there have been 46, including some runoff contests, to
replace 30 state lawmakers
who quit for various reasons. Most ran for higher
office and won. Some took
high-paying jobs with special interests.
It takes months for a
resigning lawmaker to be
replaced so the district’s
citizens can again be represented in Sacramento.
The solution is to allow
the governor to fill the vacancy. He already does that
for vacancies in the U.S.
Senate, any statewide office
or a county supervisor.
Legislators resist this
idea. They fear the governor’s power. But that could
be crimped by requiring a
governor to replace the
resigning lawmaker with
someone from the same
party. Also allow the affected legislative house to
veto the selection.
My idea would be quicker
and cheaper.
8 Lastly, I coveted a
California-relevant Rose
Bowl game on New Year’s
Day. Instead, Santa delivered Oklahoma vs. Georgia,
a real gift-return item.
That game doesn’t cut it
for those of us who aren’t
college football addicts, but
simply desire a familyoriented, traditional match
between champions of the
Pac-12 and Big Ten conferences.
Yes, I know, the Sooners
and Bulldogs are playing for
a spot in the college championship game. They’re ranked Nos. 2 and 3, respectively. So what?
No. 8 USC and No. 5 Ohio
State should be playing in
Pasadena. Instead, they’re
competing in the Cotton
Bowl in far off Arlington,
Texas. And it’s not even on
New Year’s Day.
Bah humbug.
11th woman accuses officer of misconduct
San Diego sheriff’s
deputy groped her,
she says in lawsuit that
echoes other claims.
By Jeff McDonald
SAN DIEGO — An 11th
woman has come forward
with allegations against a
San Diego County sheriff ’s
deputy, saying he groped her
during an encounter in
Lakeside almost two years
The latest complaint
against the San Diego
County Sheriff ’s Department and Deputy Richard
Fischer was filed in San Diego County Superior Court
on Thursday. Ten other
women have filed claims or
lawsuits against the county
accusing Fischer of sexual
Fischer has declined requests for interviews. The
Sheriff ’s Department and
the district attorney’s office
say they are investigating
the claims as quickly as they
can and note that Fischer
was placed on administrative duty in October and on
formal leave last month.
The lawsuit was filed by a
woman identified only by
her initials, M.Y. According
to the complaint, she was
waiting outside a 7-Eleven
store in late February or
early March 2016 for her
boyfriend to pick her up.
Fischer knew she was
subject to immediate search
based on past encounters
and conducted a search, the
complaint says.
“Fischer also searched
her pockets and had M.Y.
pull up her bra (but not exposing her breasts) to determine if she was holding anything illegal,” the lawsuit
The deputy found nothing improper and offered the
woman a ride to her
boyfriend’s home, which she
accepted, the suit states.
“Before she could put the
seat belt on, Fischer reached
across her body, put the seat
belt on and intentionally
touched her crotch area,”
the complaint states. Later,
“he rubbed his left arm
across her breasts,” the suit
adds. “As Fischer did this, he
said, ‘I hope your boyfriend
doesn’t mind this.’ ”
The allegations are similar to many encounters described by other victims.
Last week, three of the
women told the San Diego
Union-Tribune they were
afraid that county officials
were protecting the deputy
from arrest because he is a
sworn officer.
The Sheriff ’s Department and district attorney’s
office rejected the assertion
and said they are conducting a thorough and expedited investigation.
McDonald writes for the
San Diego Union-Tribune.
M O N DAY , D E C E M B E R 2 5 , 2 017
L AT I M E S . C O M
DOMINIC LUONG, 1940 - 2017
‘A man who was always giving’
[Luong, from B1]
so freely it sometimes worried friends and associates.
“You had to sort of make
a fence around him to protect him,” Thai Nguyen said.
“We have lost a man who was
always giving.”
Luong seemed to have little use for material goods
and often lived in spartan
apartments or rooms he
rented in the homes of acquaintances. Friends said
he preferred to focus his full
attention on his faith and
community projects. And in
Orange County — with 62
parishes and an estimated
1.3 Catholics — he had his
hands full.
Luong grew up the second youngest in a family of 11
children. He was born Dec.
20, 1940, in Minh Cuong,
more than an hour’s drive
from Hanoi, and came to the
U.S. in 1956 as a young seminarian to continue his studies.
He was ordained in 1966
in New York before earning a
bachelor’s degree in physics
and a master’s in biology
and psychology and returning to junior seminary in
Buffalo to teach.
‘You had to sort
of make a fence
around him to
protect him.’
— Father Thai
describing the way Dominic
Luong gave so freely that it
sometimes worried his friends
Luong’s commitment to
immigrants and refugees in
New Orleans, where he
served as the head of Archdiocesan Vietnamese Apostolate, spurred the pope to give
him the title monsignor.
“Troubles come to him
and he offered solutions,”
Thai Nguyen said.
Often separated from his
family — first during the Vietnam War and then by his
immigration to the U.S., Luong sometimes battled loneliness.
“He loved having guests.
People would visit from Vietnam, yet once here, did not
have enough money to fly to
see other family or friends
out of state and he would
just give them the airfare,”
Nguyen said.
Luong loaned his name
and support to social-justice
causes, including Education
for the Poor, a nonprofit
whose volunteers concentrated on improving English
skills and boosting academics in rural Vietnam.
“If anyone donated to
him or gifted him a sum, he
would in turn share it with
Phuong Van, the group’s cofounder. “That’s his heart. I
never heard him say anything unkind.”
Luong retired in 2015 but
continued to be active at St.
Bonaventure Church in
Huntington Beach. The
man who entered the priesthood because he said it was
“a great vocation to serve
people” won distinction as
the first Vietnamese priest
to take the role of vicar of
charities for Catholic Charities Orange County.
“In everything I do, I just
tried my very best,” Luong
said in October when he attended ceremonies at Christ
Cathedral to congratulate
his successor, Thanh Thai
Nguyen, who was ordained
last week.
“I did not grow up in California, but to minister to
people it does not matter
where you are from,” he said.
“What matters is how you listen.”
Twitter: @newsterrier
Karen Tapia–Andersen Los Angeles Times
Before Dominic Luong became a spiritual leader in Orange County’s Little Saigon, he worked for years in New Orleans, tending to the
needs of Vietnamese refugees and immigrants, and co-founded Mary Queen of Vietnam Church.
Fighting fires, ill-fitting uniforms
[Women, from B1]
Fighting fires runs deep
in her family; her brother
and nephews are also firefighters. It’s a career she envisions for herself. But
there’s one aspect she
wishes she could change: her
Her complaint is not uncommon. Numerous women
on the Thomas fire said they
have little choice but to wear
uniforms that are made for a
man’s body.
Rolling up oversized
jacket sleeves or pulling up
pants so the crotch doesn’t
hang below the knee is not
merely uncomfortable, but
adds another element of
danger to front-line duty.
Jessica Hannah, 33, who
has been a firefighter with
Snohomish County, Wash.,
for four years, said the mental and physical challenges
of the job excite her. There’s
been nothing more rewarding than being surrounded
by other firefighters battling
the Thomas fire who share
the same passion and drive
to help people, she said.
But as she stood near a
booth of donated food late
recently at the Ventura
County Fairgrounds — the
command center for firefighters bucking the fierce
blaze — Hannah said she too
would obtain a better uniform if she could.
Although her fire department would support Hannah getting customized
clothing, she is hesitant.
“Our gear is made to last
years, so it would be a financial loss for the department,” she said.
Other women on the line
said they’ve gotten used to
wearing protective gear designed for men.
As Amber Anderson
stood with her hands inside
the pockets of her blue
pants, her blond hair pulled
HANNAH KEY rescues a snake during a fire in the Sequoia National Forest in
2016. Key has been surveying fellow female firefighters about their uniforms.
back into a bun, the 36-yearold fire investigator for the
Santa Barbara City Fire Department said that although
the pants were big on her,
she isn’t bothered by the fit
and finds the extra legroom
“It’s fine. I’ve heard female colleagues talk about
it, but I’m used to it,” she
Although the number of
female firefighters in the
United States is growing, it
remains a male-dominated
industry. There are about
77,000 female firefighters in
the United States, according
to the National Fire Protection Assn.
Hannah said she’s “noticed a movement to make
more female gear.”
“I’ve heard more women
talking about how they want
their own gear because of
how baggy, heavy and hot
the uniforms feel on us,”
Hannah said.
For the last six months,
Hannah Key, a firefighter
with the Sierra National Forest and a fire captain on the
Thomas fire, has gathered
hundreds of surveys from female firefighters across the
nation about their body
measurements, gear and improvements they hope to
Her efforts stemmed
from an email she sent during the Cascade fire in the
spring of 2016 complaining
about the lack of fire gear
made for women. “Within
the hour, I had three people
from the company on the
phone with me telling me
that they’d like to make
equipment for women,” Key
Low winds a big help to firefighters
[Fire, from B1]
It received so many donations of toiletries, clothing,
food and water that church
officials said the lobby began
to resemble a shopping center. “We wanted to be a part
of the solution,” said church
member Jen Oakes.
Low winds continued to
help firefighters make progress against the Thomas fire
on Sunday, and favorable
weather should provide fur-
ther relief over the Christmas holiday.
Winds are expected to
stay below 15 mph until
Tuesday night, said Dave
Bruno, a National Weather
Service meteorologist.
“It looks really good, as
far as winds go,” he said.
There also is no rain forecast
for the days ahead.
Since then, Key has been
gathering testimonials from
female firefighters in California, Oregon, Texas, Florida
and other states, gauging
their needs and issues
they’ve encountered in the
“The response has been
overwhelming,” Key said.
“There’s a market for this.”
Key, 27, has been a firefighter for 10 years.
In some instances, her
uniform got in the way of her
work out on the field, she
said. She often grabs her
pants from the waist to avoid
tripping when she hikes or
crawls over rocks, which
slows her down.
During a Yosemite fire in
2010, Key said she fell from a
rock after she lost her grip
trying to use one hand to
hold up her pants and the
other to lift herself.
“A lot of profanity was going through my head. I felt
very frustrated,” Key said.
While mopping up hot
spots in Ojai, Key wore a uniform designed for her body.
Her yellow shirt fit snug
around her petite frame, and
green cotton pants hugged
her legs, giving her more mobility and control.
Still, she said improvements could be made.
“The pockets still aren’t
in the right place, so when I
sit down things fall out,” Key
said, “but it’s definitely
helped me when I’m out
there on the field.”
Twitter: @melissaetehad
M O N DAY , D E C E M B E R 2 5 , 2 017
L AT I M E S . C O M
Business ties draw scrutiny from district
[District, from B1]
school districts by using his
political access to arrange
meetings with high-level district executives, he testified
in a sworn deposition obtained by The Times.
This included a meeting
he set up three years ago between a TELACU executive
and then-Santa MonicaMalibu Supt. Sandra Lyon,
according to the deposition.
He also said his income from
TELACU started at $1,000
per month but peaked at
$8,000 a month around the
time he was asked to arrange
TELACU and Lyon, according to the deposition.
Since the Times article
was published, the district’s
retired head of business Jan
Maez acknowledged she
also had a meeting with
Vazquez in 2012 about financial advising and construction management involving
whose affiliations she could
not recall, Pinsker said.
The Times also found
business ties between LeonVazquez and Mechur. His
architecture firm Ralph
Mechur Associates designed
home remodel and worked
for the couple between 2001
and 2005, according to city
records and interviews with
Mechur. The construction,
which building permits
show included a second floor
addition and a remodel of
the first floor and basement,
was valued in city records at
$200,000. Mechur was not on
the board at that time.
‘Just take my word
for it. I had a
contract and they
— Ralph Mechur,
Santa Monica-Malibu Unified
School District board member
The district is also looking into Mechur’s work for a
nonprofit that employed De
La Torre, Pinsker said.
“It’s the same scenario as
with Ms. Leon-Vazquez. We
are looking into both situations in our review,” she
Between 2003 and 2006,
Mechur’s firm received
nearly $30,000 in purchase
orders for work at the district’s Washington West Preschool playground, according to district records.
In 2007, Leon-Vazquez
joined in a vote to appoint
Mechur to the board, according to school board
meeting minutes. De La
Torre was absent for the
vote, the minutes show.
In an earlier interview
with The Times, Mechur
said he did not see a conflict
of interest in his work for
Leon-Vazquez. He also said
he charged Leon-Vazquez
and her husband a marketrate flat fee for the work on
their home remodel but refused to disclose the amount
that the couple paid.
“Just take my word for it. I
had a contract and they
paid,” Mechur said.
OSCAR de la Torre said
he questioned “the legitimacy” of the inquiry.
RALPH Mechur said he
Photographs by Kent Nishimura Los Angeles Times
THE DISTRICT’S inquiry first focused on board member Maria Leon-Vazquez,
didn’t see a conflict in his
work for Leon-Vazquez.
whose husband worked as a paid consultant to at least two district vendors.
The district’s review of
potential conflicts of interest involving Mechur and
Vazquez began after The
Times asked the district
about the business relationship. Mechur could not be
reached Friday to comment
on new information that he
worked on De La Torre’s
youth center building. LeonVazquez also could not be
reached for comment.
De La Torre said Mechur
was hired in 2001 by a nonprofit called Community
Partners and the city of
Santa Monica to design
what would later become a
youth center he runs. De La
Torre said he was an employee of Community Partners
at the time and didn’t have
the authority to approve
Mechur’s contract.
Mechur was paid about
$2,000 to design the framing
of the building, a fraction of
the $8,000 to $10,000 market
rate for the project, De La
Torre said. He said the discount was given because it
was for a nonprofit.
De La Torre said that
work by Mechur was an entirely different scenario than
Leon-Vazquez’s home remodel. He said he didn’t personally benefit and that at
the time he wasn’t a board
member or considering running for the board.
De La Torre said the district’s release of this information makes him “question the legitimacy of the
“They’re putting the
information out there when
it’s irrelevant,” De La Torre
M O N D A Y , D E C E M B E R 2 5 , 2 0 1 7 :: L A T I M E S . C O M / S P O R T S
Chargers’ victory over Jets
combined with Titans loss
keeps them in the hunt, but
more help will be needed.
By Dan Woike
Wesley Hitt /Getty Images
TODD GURLEY, hurdling safety Kevin Byard as linebacker Wesley Woodyard closes in, helps his MVP campaign with 276 yards
from scrimmage and two scores. Gurley was again the difference for L.A., rushing for 118 yards and catching 10 passes for 158.
In an amazing
Gurley makes
case to be MVP
NASHVILLE — Gurley. Gurley.
The Rams’ Todd Gurley was a
runaway train against the Tennessee
Titans on Sunday — and the guy who
deserves to run away with the NFL’s
most-valuable-player award.
Until Gurley, the Titans hadn’t
allowed a 100-yard rusher in more than
a year.
Gurley ran for 118 and finished the
day with a staggering 276 all-purpose
yards, and that’s against a team that
was desperately fighting to keep its
own playoff hopes alive. He’s the third
player in NFL history to have at least
100 yards rushing and 150 yards receiving in a single game, joining Ollie Matson (1954) and Herschel Walker (1986).
As he has all season, Gurley came
through huge, and the Rams sauntered away with their first NFC West
title since 2003.
It was the clinch that saved Christ[See Farmer, D5]
Running back
carries Rams to
first NFC West
title since 2003
How the Rams have fared in the playoffs
during the Super Bowl era:
Year W-L-T How far team went
Team located in Los Angeles
1967 11-1-2 Lost in divisional round to Green Bay 28-7
Lost in divisional round to Minnesota 23-20
Lost in divisional round to Dallas 27-16
Lost NFC championship to Minnesota 14-10
Lost NFC championship to Dallas 37-7
By Gary Klein
1976 10-3-1 Lost NFC championship to Minnesota 24-13
Lost in divisional round to Minnesota 14-7
Lost NFC championship to Dallas 28-0
Lost in Super Bowl XIV to Pittsburgh 31-19
Lost in NFC wild-card to Dallas 34-13
Lost in divisional round to Washington 51-7
1984 10-6
Lost in NFC wild-card to N.Y. Giants 16-13
Lost NFC championship to Chicago 24-0
1986 10-6
Lost in NFC wild-card to Washington 19-7
1988 10-6
Lost in NFC wild-card to Minnesota 28-17
Lost NFC championship to San Francisco 30-3
Team located in St. Louis
Won Super Bowl XXXIV over Tennessee 23-16
2000 10-6
Lost in NFC wild-card to New Orleans 31-28
2001 14-2
Lost in Super Bowl XXXVI to New England 20-17
2003 12-4
Lost in divisional round to Carolina 29-23 in OT
Lost in divisional round to Atlanta 47-17
NASHVILLE — Postgame attire for
Rams players typically ranges from
flashy suits to casual sweats. But Sunday’s sartorial choice was heavy on
blue T-shirts and gray and black caps.
Both items were emblazoned with
“NFC West Champions” after the
Rams clinched their first division title
since 2003 with a 27-23 victory over the
Tennessee Titans before an estimated
crowd of 50,000 at Nissan Stadium.
“It was exciting, man, breathtaking,” Todd Gurley said of the celebratory locker room scene, adding,
“That’s what football’s all about.”
Jared Goff passed for 301 yards and
four touchdowns, including the gamewinner to Cooper Kupp early in the
fourth quarter, but Gurley was the focal point of a victory that improved the
Rams’ record to 11-4 and guaranteed
them a home playoff game.
The third-year running back
[See Rams, D4]
By John Cherwa
Even by his own admission, Santa Anita’s top executive realizes the sixmonth meet that starts
Tuesday may be the most
critical in the track’s more
than eight-decade history.
“We have to see the business turn around,” said Tim
Ritvo, who was sent to Arcadia from the East Coast to
try to revitalize the underperforming track for its
owner, the Stronach Group.
“This is the time some of the
implemented changes will
kick in. There is no silver bullet. It’s a grind process. We
hope to see the trajectory in
the right direction.”
On the eve of the track’s
83rd birthday — it opened
on Christmas Day 1934 —
Ritvo hit on many topics as
to its future and the direction he wants to send it.
Such as:
8 The unexpected statistic that the group of trainers with five or fewer horses
is the largest population on
the track.
8 The idea that anyone on
staff who isn’t in sync with
his mission may be without a
8 The construction of up
to 800 new barns on the area
currently a parking lot in
back of the track.
8 The three-day race
week is currently off the table.
8 And, he’s open to discussing an experiment of
lower takeout, but only if the
Thoroughbred Owners of
California (TOC) and the
(ADWs) agree to cut their
share, too.
When Ritvo arrived in
May, he promised changes
but only after he had time to
evaluate how the track was
[See Santa Anita, D3]
Bill Kostroun Associated Press
rushed for 81 yards on 19
carries, scored the go-ahead
touchdown for the Chargers.
He’s telling Santa
what he wants
Santa Anita and its
new boss are facing a
season of change at
the 83-year-old track.
The “Fight for L.A,” the rallying cry
created by the Chargers to introduce themselves to their new city,
has been waged without many allies.
Critics saw empty seats in a
miniature stadium in the preseason and scoffed. They saw latearriving crowds and they cackled.
In some cases — and definitely
worse — they didn’t care at all.
Kickers missed kicks. Opportunities got wasted. And all — almost
— was lost.
But in the penultimate week of
the NFL season, the Chargers finally got themselves some help.
And, in a Rod Serling-esque twist,
the Los Angeles Rams, of all people, stepped in to help tag-team the
Chargers closer to a spot in the
Minutes after the Chargers
gritted through a 14-7 win against
the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium, players inside the locker
room locked their eyes to television
screens and smart phones, watching the final seconds of the Rams’
game with Tennessee.
With the Chiefs already victors,
clinching the AFC West with a win
over Miami, a Titans comeback
would’ve eliminated the Chargers
from the postseason picture. With
Marcus Mariota scrambling to
[See Chargers, D6]
Rookie guards like Ball can learn
from past experiences of others
By Tania Ganguli
Sean M. Haffey Getty Images
LONZO BALL, a point guard with the Lakers, is in
familiar territory. He has faced great expectations as
a rookie, just like many other players in the NBA.
What’s changed are the
names, the numbers, the
hairstyles and the salaries.
What’s changed is the
way they communicate with
each other and about each
What’s changed is that
impatience has permeated
every part of society and social media, which means
that impatience is impossible to escape.
What hasn’t changed?
Point guards still tiptoe into
the NBA as fresh meat, and
often they’re expected to
lead from the start. They
come in as teenagers or men
in their early 20s, as presumed saviors, and not all of
them can shoulder the burden.
What hasn’t changed is
that succeeding as a first-
Lakers vs.
TV: TNT, 7:30.
Ball injured: Shoulder
injury will sideline Lonzo
Ball tonight. D9
year point guard is demanding, and that week after
week these young men will
face players with more skill,
more experience and more
In their stories lie lessons
for Lonzo Ball as he works
through the weight of outsized expectations as the
[See NBA, D9]
M O N DAY , D E C E M B E R 2 5 , 2 017
L AT I M E S . C O M / S P O RT S
Kings chasing Knights
By Helene Elliott
What we learned from the
Kings’ 2-0 loss at San Jose on
Saturday night:
Shade denotes home game
9:30 a.m. Akron vs. Davidson
11:30 a.m. Princeton vs. Hawaii
3 p.m.
Championship: USC vs. New Mexico State
5:30 p.m. Third place: Middle Tennessee vs. Miami
9 a.m.
Philadelphia at New York
Cleveland at Golden State
2:30 p.m. Washington at Boston
5 p.m.
Houston at Oklahoma City
7:30 p.m. Minnesota at Lakers
1:30 p.m. Pittsburgh at Houston
5:30 p.m. Oakland at Philadephia
TV: 7
TV: 7
TV: TNT R: 710,
TV: 4, NFL R: 570
R: 570
By Eric Sondheimer
Rk. School (W-L)
Next opponent (last week’s ranking)
1 BISHOP MONTGOMERY (8-0) vs. Van Nuys, Tuesday (1)
vs. South Eugene in Portland, Wednesday (2)
vs. Canyon at Hart,Tuesday (6)
at Torrey Pines tourney, Thursday (3)
5 FAIRFAX (8-2)
vs. St. Augustine at Torrey Pines, Wednesday (5)
vs. Cajon at Damien, Tuesday (4)
vs. Central Catholic at Damien, Tuesday (7)
8 DAMIEN (9-1)
vs. St. Bernard, Tuesday (8)
9 ST. JOHN BOSCO (9-0)
vs. Alemany at Damien, Tuesday (9)
10 CRESPI (10-1)
vs. Jesuit in Portland, Wednesday (10)
at Slam Dunk to the Beach, Wednesday (11)
vs. Birmingham at Damien, Tuesday (12)
13 OAK PARK (7-3)
vs. Culver City at Damien, Tuesday (14)
14 ETIWANDA (9-1)
vs. Taft at Damien, Tuesday (16)
15 TAFT (12-2)
vs. Etiwanda at Damien, Tuesday (13)
vs. Pasadena at Damien, Tuesday (17)
17 MAYFAIR (9-2)
at Torrey Pines tourney, Wednesday (20)
18 ST. ANTHONY (8-1)
at Torrey Pines tournament, Wednesday (19)
19 PASADENA (5-3)
vs. Corona Centennial at Damien, Tuesday (15)
20 CHINO HILLS (5-4)
at Huntington Park tourney, Jan. 2 (18)
vs. Vista at Damien, Tuesday (21)
22 DOMINGUEZ (6-3)
vs. Leuzinger at Damien, Tuesday (NR)
at Orange tournament, Wednesday (22)
24 ALEMANY (8-2)
vs. St. John Bosco at Damien, Tuesday (24)
vs. Los Osos at Tustin Classic,Tuesday (25)
When: 3 PST.
On the air: TV: ESPN2.
Update: The Trojans have struggled for much of the season,
but a victory over the Aggies would give them a muchneeded boast, as well as the Diamond Head Classic tournament title, heading into Pac-12 play. USC (8-4) has victories
over Akron (84-53) ) and Middle Tennessee (89-84) in the
tournament in Honolulu. New Mexico State (11-2) beat
Davidson in its first game in Hawaii 69-68, then handed No. 6
Miami its first loss of the season 63-54. USC hosts Washington on Friday in the conference opener for both teams.
Darryl Oumi Getty Images
CHIMEZIE METU is averaging 21.5 points in USC’s
two victories in the Diamond Head Classic.
They’ll spend Christmas
second in the Pacific Division and the Western
Considering the Kings
missed the playoffs last season, that’s pretty impressive. So are their 22-11-4
record for 48 points and their
plus-24 goal differential
(they’ve scored 109 and allowed 85). They’re tied with
the Vegas Golden Knights in
points but the expansion
Golden Knights have a better winning percentage because they’ve played fewer
games (34), to the Kings’ 37.
(St. Louis also has 48 points
but has played 38 games). A
win on Saturday would have
put the Kings alone in first in
the division and the conference, but former King Martin Jones stymied them by
making 28 saves.
“A lot of credit to him, but
I think we could have done
more, for sure. Absolutely,”
Kings center Anze Kopitar
said. “Which is always the
case, anyway. They played
good. They didn’t give us too
“The first was pretty
good on our part, the second
period we got stalled with
the penalties, and taking a
few more in the third is not
going to create any momentum, and that’s what happened.”
Marcio Jose Sanchez Associated Press
KINGS GOALIE Jonathan Quick stops a shot from San Jose right wing Jannik
Hansen next to Kings center Anze Kopitar during a game Saturday night.
The holiday break is coming at the right time
They need a chance to
heal and catch their collective breath, and they’ll get it
because they don’t play
again until Thursday, when
they face the Golden
Knights at Staples Center.
The Kings on Saturday put
forward Kyle Clifford (upper-body) back on injured
reserve and recalled goaltender Jack Campbell from
Ontario (Calif.) of the
American Hockey League
on an emergency basis before the game. Coach John
Stevens said afterward that
a flu bug was going around
the team and he wanted
Campbell as insurance,
though he wouldn’t say
which goalie was ailing. Jonathan Quick played and
Darcy Kuemper was the
backup, so it became a moot
point. Still, a few days off will
be welcome. “It’s definitely
going to come in handy,” Kopitar said. “It’s that time of
the year where the bumps
and bruises come out a bit,
so to take some time off it’s
definitely going to do us
good to rest up and get ready
for the next stretch of
The road is getting
After playing a schedule
that was heavy on Eastern
Conference opponents, the
Kings will dive into a Westheavy stretch.
Their loss to San Jose on
Saturday was their first of
eight in a row against West
opponents, and it left them
7-6-3 against the West (including a 3-4-2 record
against Pacific Division rivals).
They’re 15-5-1 against the
So they should enjoy the
holiday while they can, because the intensity will pick
up after Christmas.
Twitter: @helenenothelen
New season brings changes
[Santa Anita, from D1]
running and who was running it. He always targeted
the signature Winter-Spring
meeting as the time when
fans would start to see the
It took just seconds to
identify field sizes, which
lead to lackluster mutuel
handles, as the most immediate problem.
The concern was that
even though there were
plenty of horses, trainers
and owners weren’t running
them and instead using
Santa Anita as a free training and stabling facility.
In a survey of the 155
trainers at Santa Anita,
made public for the first
time, 32% of them have five
or fewer horses; 20% have between six and 10; 19% have
between 11 and 20; and 29%
have more than 20.
A lot of the trainers with
small barns weren’t getting
the kinds of races written for
them. To answer that, the
track is adding restricted
maiden special weight races
for horses that are homebred and sold at public auction for $100,000 or less.
There also will be restricted
claiming races for horses
three years and older for
trainers who have stalls of 20
horses or fewer.
“When trainers bring in
their 2-year-olds, they get rid
of older or lower claimers,”
Ritvo said. “We need to make
opportunities for those
Ritvo also made two
high-level appointment in
the past few weeks, sold as
adding resources to needed
areas, but clearly sending
messages that those who
may feel comfortable in their
jobs need to pick things up.
Daniel Eidson, a veteran
racing official, has been
named racing director.
While his appointment was
said to be to help Rick Hammerle, vice president of racing, it will turn up the heat in
the racing office if the fields
aren’t full because of writing
the wrong races.
“What I’m asking is that
we look at every race that
was written on that day last
year, and make sure a better
one is written this year,”
Ritvo said.
Ritvo also named John
Perrotta as vice president of
operations. His job is to help
increase the handle. Perrotta has spent time in both
the racing and entertainment industries. He was one
of the chief writers on the illfated HBO series “Luck,”
filmed at Santa Anita.
“I want to see people here
have the passion to resurrect this place to the glory
that it should be,” Ritvo said.
“Santa Anita should be the
America. If [the people here]
believe in the mission, they
will have a nice career, and if
they don’t, they’ll need to
find another place to work.”
So far, the only executive
Patrick T. Fallon For The Times
TIM RITVO , tasked with its turnaround, says “Santa
Anita should be the premium racetrack in America.”
to exit Santa Anita was Joe
Morris, senior vice president
for West Coast operations of
the Stronach Group. He
served essentially as general
manager and many of his duties were taken over by
There are also plans to
add between 600 and 800
barns to the back of the
track. Once those are built
there will be a transition
from the old barns to the
new ones, with the hope being that the old ones also
would be rebuilt or refurbished in some way.
“We need to have stables
for the smaller guys,” Ritvo
said. “We’re meeting with
the city to try and get the
process going. This is not to
make the big guys bigger,
but to have someplace to introduce new trainers.”
Once construction starts
it should take between six
months and a year before
the new stables are operational.
Shortly after Ritvo got
here, he told The Times that
it was more likely than not
that the track would go to a
three-day racing week.
“I’m confident that Rick
[Hammerle] has done a
good enough job that we can
run four days a week,” Ritvo
said. “That’s what we want.
It’s about creating more for
the customer than the
horsemen. It all comes down
to creating opportunities for
the bettor.”
One obstacle that Ritvo
did not anticipate is the formidable power of the TOC,
which has the ability to block
many initiatives related to
racing and betting.
“We’re getting to understand each other,” Ritvo
said. “For us to be successful,
we have to move together as
one business unit. I know I’m
the new guy in town. Some
people look at Gulfstream
[where Ritvo revitalized the
racino] and say how impressive it is. Others say we’ve
cheapened the product.
“The part the TOC is
missing is that lesser quality
[non-stakes races] pay for
stakes racing. The claiming
races infuse money into the
purse account. I just want to
mix it in. … All I want is the
TOC to have confidence and
trust in me. And I hope they
give me a chance to earn it.”
The purses are down
about $600,000 this meeting.
Ritvo called it a management review of what’s working and what’s not. The biggest hit is the Santa Anita
Handicap, which went from
$750,000 to $600,000. But the
race known as the Big ’Cap
has suffered greatly since it
now competes with the $10million Dubai World Cup.
There is a popular theory
that if takeout, the amount
the track cuts from the pot,
were reduced, more money
would be bet and it would
more than offset the initial
takeout loss with greater
mutuel handles. It’s similar
to the thinking of some parts
of the latest government tax
plan, except the people getting the extra money, the
bettors, would essentially
trickle-up to the track.
“Over time, as we work
together, we can definitely
review it,” Ritvo said. “The
track cannot reduce takeout
without the TOC agreeing.
No one wants to try it in a
[long] meet. But as the relationship grows, maybe we
can try it in the 19-day meet.
Let’s see how it works.”
Any way you look at it,
Ritvo is trying to enlist
change to aid a sport that is
often very resistant to it.
“I’m not going to stick
around for a paycheck; I
want to accomplish something,” Ritvo said.
The clock starts on Tuesday.
M O N DAY , D E C E M B E R 2 5 , 2 017
L AT I M E S . C O M / S P O RT S
RAMS...........................6 7
Tennessee.....................3 10
7 7 —27
7 3 —23
Kicker starts off on the wrong foot
First Quarter
RAMS — Gurley 3 pass from Goff (kick
failed), 8:54. Drive: 4 plays, 53 yards,
2:07. Key plays: Goff 11 pass to Gurley,
Goff 34 pass to Kupp.
RAMS 6, Tennessee 0.
Tennessee — Field goal Succop 25, 1:13.
Drive: 14 plays, 62 yards, 7:41. Key plays:
Mariota 18 pass to C.Davis on 3rd-and-6,
Mariota 13 pass to J.Smith, Mariota 13
pass to Decker, R.Quinn 0-yard defensive
holding penalty on 3rd-and-1.
RAMS 6, Tennessee 3.
Second Quarter
Tennessee — Woodyard 4 fumble return
(Succop kick), 5:20.
Tennessee 10, RAMS 6.
RAMS — Gurley 80 pass from Goff (Ficken
kick), 4:24. Drive: 2 plays, 79 yards,
00:56. RAMS 13, Tennessee 10.
Tennessee — Field goal Succop 37, :19.
Drive: 11 plays, 56 yards, 4:05. Key plays:
Henry 10 run, Mariota 14 run, Mariota 11
pass to C.Davis, Mariota 15 pass to
D.Walker. RAMS 13, Tennessee 13.
Third Quarter
RAMS — Watkins 3 pass from Goff (Ficken
kick), 6:40. Drive: 7 plays, 65 yards, 2:57.
Key plays: Gurley 34 run, Goff 2 run on
3rd-and-3, Gurley 10 run on 4th-and-1.
RAMS 20, Tennessee 13.
Tennessee — Murray 6 run (Succop kick),
4:23. Drive: 5 plays, 44 yards, 2:17. Key
plays: Jackson 57 kickoff return to RAMS
44, Mariota 25 pass to Matthews on
3rd-and-6. RAMS 20, Tennessee 20.
Fourth Quarter
Tennessee — Field goal Succop 27, 14:46.
Drive: 9 plays, 64 yards, 3:40. Key plays:
Mariota 25 pass to Decker, Mariota 23
pass to Matthews on 3rd-and-3.
Tennessee 23, RAMS 20.
RAMS — Kupp 14 pass from Goff (Ficken
kick), 11:51. Drive: 6 plays, 68 yards, 2:55.
Key play: B.McCain 31-yard defensive pass
interference penalty.
RAMS 27, Tennessee 23.
FIRST DOWNS ........................20
Rushing ..................................5
Penalty ...................................1
THIRD DOWN EFF ................6-14
FOURTH DOWN EFF................1-2
TOTAL NET YARDS .................402
Total Plays.............................66
Avg Gain ..............................6.1
NET YARDS RUSHING ............116
Rushes .................................26
Avg per rush .........................4.5
NET YARDS PASSING .............286
Sacked-Yds lost ..................1-15
Gross-Yds passing ................301
Had Intercepted .......................0
Yards-Pass Play .....................7.2
PUNTS-Avg. .....................4-50.0
Punts blocked..........................0
FGs-PATs blocked ..................0-0
Punt Returns ........................1-3
Kickoff Returns....................4-85
Interceptions ........................1-2
FUMBLES-Lost ......................2-1
TIME OF POSSESSION ........30:04
RUSHING: RAMS, Gurley 22-118, Brown
1-4, Goff 3-(minus 6). TENNESSEE, Murray
15-48, Henry 8-25, Mariota 3-24.
PASSING: RAMS, Goff 22-38-0-301,
Hekker 0-1-0-0. TENNESSEE, Mariota
RECEIVING: RAMS, Gurley 10-158, Kupp
4-65, Woods 3-33, Watkins 3-30, Higbee
2-15. TENNESSEE, Davis 6-91, Decker
6-73, Walker 3-33, Murray 3-11, Matthews
2-48, Smith 1-13, Henry 1-6.
TENNESSEE, Jackson 2-12.
TENNESSEE, Jackson 3-109.
9-0-0, Joyner 6-0-0, Johnson 5-2-0,
Johnson 4-1-0, Littleton 3-4-1, Barwin
2-2-0, Donald 2-0-0, Robey 2-0-0, Walker
2-0-0, Brockers 1-3-0, Thompson 1-0-0,
Ogletree 0-5-0, Quinn 0-1-0, Westbrooks
0-1-0, Christian 0-1-0. TENNESSEE, Smith
6-1-0, Orakpo 5-1-0, Byard 4-1-0,
Williamson 4-1-0, Casey 3-3-0, Brown
3-2-0, Woodyard 3-0-0, Williams 2-2-0,
Walden 2-1-0, Cyprien 1-2-0, McCain
0-1-0, Johnson 0-1-0, Morgan 0-1-0, Dodd
TENNESSEE, Succop 45.
Officials — Referee Walt Anderson, Ump
Carl Paganelli, HL Jerod Phillips, LJ Byron
Boston, FJ John Jenkins, SJ Laird Hayes, BJ
Greg Wilson, Replay Billy Smith.
Attendance — 60,097.
Receiver Sammy Watkins is
making short touchdown
catches on slant routes a
habit. He executed another
against the Titans, scoring
midway through the third
quarter to give the Rams a
20-13 lead. It was Watkins’
team-best eighth touchdown catch. He finished
with three receptions for 30
— Gary Klein
Linebacker Connor Barwin
pursued Marcus Mariota
until he finally caught up
with the Titans quarterback
on fourth down with under
two minutes to play. With
Barwin dragging him down,
Mariota threw an incomplete pass and the Rams
took over on downs to close
out the game. Barwin finished with four tackles.
— Lindsey Thiry
Ficken, in his first
game with the Rams,
misfires in first quarter
but finishes strong.
By Lindsey Thiry
Ficken started the week
working at a brokerage firm
in Connecticut, having never
played in a regular-season
NFL game.
He ended it as a division
champion in the Rams’ 27-23
victory over the Tennessee
Titans on Sunday at Nissan
But the kicker’s performance wasn’t without struggle, leaving the Rams in a position to evaluate the future.
Ficken won a tryout to replace Greg Zuerlein, the
Rams’ “Mr. Automatic” and
the NFL’s leading scorer.
And the rookie overcame a
disastrous start, missing an
extra point and a field goal in
the first quarter before settling into a rhythm.
“He found a way to respond and came away being
able to make the rest of the
opportunities that he did
have,” coach Sean McVay
Ficken finished by making three extra points. The
rookie also handled kickoffs.
“With this being my first
game here I’d like to come in
and obviously have a clean
start,” Ficken said. “But that
didn’t happen and we
worked through it.”
Middle linebacker Alec
Ogletree praised Ficken’s resiliency.
“He came back, he kicked
at the end of the game, you
couldn’t ask for anything
better,” Ogletree said. “It
Wesley Hitt Getty Images
THE RAMS’ Sam Ficken missed an extra point and a field goal before settling
into a rhythm. “It was just a little rust or first-game jitters,” Ficken said
was a tough situation to step
in like that, but he didn’t
blink — just how [McVay]
preaches to us every week.
“He earned his respect,
and hope to continue to use
him. And he’ll get better for
As the Rams turn to a
against the San Francisco
49ers and begin to prepare
for their first playoff appearance since 2004, it remains
uncertain how long Ficken’s
run with the team will last.
McVay said the position
will be evaluated.
The Rams signed Ficken
last Wednesday after Zuerlein was placed on injured reserve because of a back injury that required surgery.
Ficken was among 12
kickers, including several
veterans, who tried out.
Special teams coordinator John Fassel said that
Ficken had the best workout, and that a lack of NFL
experience could bend in his
favor because he had no
“mental scars.”
But Ficken had not
kicked in a meaningful game
since he played at Penn
State in 2014. He attended a
few NFL minicamps in 2015,
went to training camp with
the Jacksonville Jaguars in
2016 and the Kansas City
Chiefs this season.
that there were some nerves
when he took the field.
“It was just a little rust or
first-game jitters,” Ficken
said, adding, “It was good to
kind of finish out the day
making a couple and kind of
getting my feet under me.”
Regardless of the kicking
situation, quarterback Jared Goff said the offense
knew it would need to score
touchdowns instead of settling for field goals to defeat
the Titans.
But the Rams left as
many as seven points on the
board as a result of kicking.
Their opening drive resulted in a turnover on
downs instead of the usual
long field-goal attempt when
punter Johnny Hekker took
the field on fourth down.
Hekker faked the punt and
threw a pass to Mike Thomas in the end zone, but the
pass was thrown short and
fell incomplete.
The following series,
Todd Gurley rushed three
yards for a touchdown to
give the Rams a 6-0 lead, but
Ficken’s extra-point attempt from 33 yards missed
wide right.
And Ficken’s luck didn’t
improve on the ensuing
drive when he came on to attempt a 36-yard field goal after Goff was sacked. The
kick looked good off of his
foot but drifted and bounced
off the upright.
“The first one moving the
way it did, I would say just [I]
rushed it,” Ficken said. “But
the second one, I actually
thought it was a pretty good
hit, maybe my alignment
was off.”
Hekker, who also holds
on kicks, said that Ficken remained confident despite
the initial miscues, and that
teammates offered encouragement.
“I told him to just treat
his next kick like it was his
first kick,” Hekker said.
“And he had the fortitude to
hang in there.”
Ficken found a rhythm in
the second quarter. He followed another Gurley touchdown with an extra point,
and repeated in the third
Watkins caught a touchdown pass to give the Rams
a 20-13 lead.
Ficken finished with an
extra point in the fourth
quarter to make it a fourpoint game after Cooper
Kupp caught the winning,
14-yard touchdown pass.
“I knew he needed to
warm up a little bit and get
him a little loose,” Goff said,
adding, “He finished up out
there for us pretty good.”
Twitter: @LindseyThiry
Win No. 11 guarantees home playoff game
[Rams, from D1]
amassed 276 yards from
scrimmage and scored two
touchdowns in the latest exclamation point in a turnaround season under firstyear coach Sean McVay.
“It’s a step in the right direction,” McVay said.
More like a giant leap.
The Rams were 4-12 last
season under Jeff Fisher,
who was in attendance Sunday.
Now, they could finish
12-4 under McVay.
“Just everything he’s
done since he got here Day 1,
it’s been so impressive,” said
Goff, who engineered his
first fourth-quarter comeback
changed a bit. Same to me
every day, and he goes about
his business the same way
every day.
“And I think it rubs off on
players, and it rubs off on me
for sure.”
Other players echoed
Goff ’s summation, especially veterans who suffered
through losing seasons with
a franchise that had not had
a winning season since 2003.
“Christmas came early —
for real this time,” said offensive lineman Rodger Saffold,
an eight-year pro and the
longest-tenured Rams player.
Quinn credited McVay and
defensive coordinator Wade
Phillips, who kept alive his
streak of taking teams that
hire him to the playoffs in his
first year on the job.
“They instill confidence
within the players, within
the system,” said Quinn,
drafted by the Rams in 2011.
“Guys just believed in what
they were preaching.
“Well worth the wait, I’ll
tell you that.”
Cornerback Trumaine
Johnson agreed.
“This is history right
here,” said Johnson, a member of the 2012 draft class. “A
stepping stone.”
Middle linebacker Alec
Ogletree, drafted in 2013, sat
at his locker trying to soak in
the moment.
“It means everything,” he
said. “We had a lot of down
years here, and for us come
in here and turn it around
like we did, you couldn’t ask
for a better story.”
Mark Zaleski Associated Press
JARED GOFF can celebrate his first division title after throwing for 301 yards and four touchdowns, includ-
ing the winner to Cooper Kupp in the young quarterback’s first fourth-quarter comeback victory.
The victory followed last
week’s rout of the Seattle
Seahawks, who’d won the division in three of the previous four seasons, and ensured that the Rams will finish 8-1 in games away from
the Coliseum.
It did not come easy
against a Titans team that is
fighting to keep alive its
playoff hopes.
With Rams kicker Greg
Zuerlein, the NFL’s leading
scorer,out for the season because of a back injury, recently-signed Sam Ficken
struggled early, enabling the
Titans to keep it close.
But for the second week
in a row Gurley was the difference, rushing for 118 yards
in 22 carries and catching 10
passes for 158 yards.
His biggest play came
late in the second quarter,
after Titans defensive tackle
Wesley Woodyard scooped
up a Goff fumble and returned it for a touchdown
and a 10-6 lead.
On the second play of the
caught a screen pass and
dashed 80 yards for a touchdown.
“When things don’t go
right, it seems like he always
comes out and adds a spark
or gives life back to the
team,” Quinn said.
The Titans kicked a field
goal to go ahead 23-20 early
in the fourth quarter, setting
the stage for Goff.
The Rams got a break
when the Titans were called
for pass interference, moving the ball to the Titans’ 28.
Five plays later, Goff lofted
the ball to the diving Kupp in
the back of the end zone.
The Rams defense made
it stand up, ending a final
threat when linebacker Connor Barwin chased quarterback Marcus Mariota on
fourth down and forced him
to throw an incomplete pass.
Barwin on the field.
“I was just so tired, I
couldn’t stand up, so I think
I fell,” Barwin said, laughing.
“But it was a tough game;
even that last play was
everything I had.
“Great for this organization, these guys and this
team to get this win.”
would be off Monday and
Tuesday and then return to
prepare for the season finale
at home against the San
Francisco 49ers. It remains
to be seen how many snaps
McVay gives key players in
the finale. But those decisions will come later.
The Rams are NFC West
“We’re certainly going to
enjoy this one right now,”
McVay said.
Twitter: @latimesklein
Age of Rams’ Sean McVay, who
became the youngest coach to
win the NFC West. Dick Nolan
was 38 when he set the previous
record in 1970 with the 49ers.
Year the Rams previously won
their division as representatives
of L.A., before the team moved to
St. Louis. The last time the L.A.
Rams made the playoffs was 1989.
Franchise record number
of points scored by the Rams
on the road. The previous
record of 250 was set by the
St. Louis Rams in 2001.
Turnovers forced by the Rams on
the opposition’s first possession.
Corey Littleton’s interception on
Titans’ first series made it four
games in a row and led to a TD.
M O N DAY , D E C E M B E R 2 5 , 2 017
L AT I M E S . C O M / S P O RT S
Wesley Hitt Getty Images
WIDE RECEIVER Cooper Kupp catches a pass from Jared Goff for a 14-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter. The play put the Rams ahead of the Titans to stay.
Kupp makes catch when it matters most
By Lindsey Thiry
and Gary Klein
Kupp overcame a critical
miscue Sunday to catch a
game-winning touchdown
pass in the Rams’ 27-23 victory over the Tennessee Titans at Nissan Stadium.
The Rams rookie reached over his shoulder in the
fourth quarter to catch the
14-yard pass from quarterback Jared Goff in the back
corner of the end zone. Kupp
dived as he caught the ball
and his momentum carried
him out of bounds.
Kupp said after the game
that he was uncertain if he
had scored.
“I was hoping that I got
my knee down,” Kupp said.
“I think I missed that second
foot by probably an inch or
two but luckily I got the knee
down in time.”
Coach Sean McVay said
he was not surprised by
Kupp’s play.
“That’s what he’s demonstrated,” McVay said, adding, “You really see the maturity for a rookie. That’s
pretty rare.”
Kupp also made a high-
light-reel catch in the first
quarter, when he came down
with a 34-yard reception and
managed to keep his second
foot in bounds. The play set
up an eventual touchdown
run by Todd Gurley.
With the game tied in the
dropped a mid-range pass
over the middle on third
down. Kupp expressed disappointment for failing to
convert a routine play, and
acknowledged that similar
mistakes had plagued an
otherwise outstanding season.
“That’s been kind of how
the season has gone,” Kupp
said. “You’ve got to flush it,
you’ve got to move on and I
thought like that game was
almost like a reflection on
how the year has gone for
In the fourth quarter
Kupp drew a pass interference on a deep pass that
moved the ball to the Titans’
23-yard line, helping to set
up his game-winning score.
Fisher attends game
Former Rams and Tennessee Titans coach Jeff
Fisher was in attendance for
Sunday’s game between the
last two teams he coached,
and said that he is looking to
coach again in the NFL.
“I have every intention of
getting back to coaching,”
Fisher, 59, said, adding, “I
feel young and charged up
and so I want to give it another shot.”
Fisher was fired by the
Rams with three games left
in the 2016 season. He has
tracked the Rams, and their
surge to an 11-4 record and
the top of the NFC West,
under first-year coach McVay.
“It doesn’t surprise me at
all,” Fisher said. “I’m really
excited for all the players I
knew. It was built right and
they were missing a few
pieces, and they did a great
“Sean is an outstanding
coach. We needed some offensive energy, and that’s
what we didn’t have. But we
also needed over the last
couple years explosive receivers and help for the offensive line. So I’m really
happy for them.”
Fisher was in the fifth
and final year of a contract
that paid him about $7 million a year when he was fired.
He received a two-year con-
tract extension before or
early in 2016 season.
Fisher, who went 31-42-1
with the Rams, said he had
“no hard feelings whatsoever” toward the Rams.
“I have respect for
[owner] Stan [Kroenke]
and I can look at myself in
the mirror knowing I did the
best I could. I wasn’t part of
the plan so that’s fine.”
Fisher has homes in
Nashville, Montana and
Southern California.
He said he remains in
contact with Rams players
and former players such as
Minnesota Vikings quarterback Case Keenum.
“When it’s all said and
done, that’s the most important thing to coaches is the
relationship with your players,” he said.
Littleton steps up
Linebacker Cory Littleton started in place of injured Mark Barron, who sat
out because of what McVay
described as an Achilles issue.
And Littleton made the
most of his opportunity, intercepting a pass and recording a sack, both career
“[Barron] told me before
the game that he felt comfortable with me filling in for
him,” Littleton said. “He
knows I was ready and him
basically just saying that
really proved that to me.”
Marcus Mariota threw a
pass intended for Rishard
Matthews, but Littleton
read the play and had plenty
of time to make the catch.
He returned it two yards to
the Rams’ 47-yard line and
Todd Gurley scored a few
players later to give the
Rams a 6-0 lead.
“The quarterback’s eyes
led me and I believed,” Littleton said, laughing. “It was
the best feeling ever.”
Later in the first quarter,
Littleton sacked Mariota for
a six-yard loss at the Rams’
five-yard line, forcing the Titans to kick a field goal.
“They gave me a look that
was really similar to what I’d
seen earlier in the game and
it was open, clearly it was
open,” Littleton said, “and I
took full advantage.”
Littleton has been a key
teams this season.
He blocked a punt that
Malcolm Brown returned
for a touchdown in a victory
over the Jacksonville Jaguars and he also blocked a
punt in a win over the New
York Giants.
Lost lineman
Left guard Rodger Saffold suffered a rib injury in
the fourth quarter when
Goff threw a screen pass to
Saffold walked off the
field with the training staff.
“It was new pain I never
had before,” Saffold said.
work throughout the week, I
think I’ll be fine.”
Austin Blythe, who has
filled in at center and guard,
took over at the position.
In the rotation
Backup safety Marqui
Christian was inserted in
the Rams’ goal-line defense.
Christian stopped running
back Derrick Henry at the
one-yard line on second
down. Christian, who also
plays special teams, later
suffered a shoulder injury
and was sidelined.
Twitter: @LindseyThiry
Twitter: @latimesklein
Teammate sees Gurley as ‘most complete back’ in NFL
[Farmer, from D1]
With a game to go, Gurley
leads the NFL in rushing
with 1,305 yards and 13
“He’s the most complete
back I’ve ever played with,
and he’s having the best
season of any back I’ve ever
played with,” Rams center
John Sullivan said.
Wait a second. Rewind
the tape. Sullivan blocked
for Adrian Peterson in Minnesota in 2012, when that
future Hall of Famer ran for
2,097 yards and won league
MVP — the only nonquarterback to win that
award in the last decade.
“The thing about Todd is,
he’s able to do it all,” Sullivan said. “He’s equally adept
at every single phase. He’s
great catching the ball out of
the backfield. He’s amazing
in the run game. He’s one of
the smartest players I’ve
ever played with. He’s got a
great natural feel for the
game, and he works at it.
Great in blitz pickup. In
protection, he’s second to
none. In every single phase
of the game, the guy is an
absolute superstar.”
Regardless, it would be
an upset if Gurley were to
win, considering how disproportionately often the award
goes to a quarterback. With
Philadelphia’s Carson
Wentz out with a knee injury,
it could certainly go to New
England’s Tom Brady or
Seattle’s Russell Wilson.
But there’s no question
Gurley has made a compelling case.
“A lot of people have been
comparing him to Marshall
Faulk,” said Rams guard
Rodger Saffold, referring to
the 2000 MVP winner.
“Shoot, look across the
league and the way he’s been
able to be the most complete
back in the NFL is just
Gurley’s signature play
Sunday — and maybe for his
season — came midway
through the second quarter
when his team was on the
ropes. The Titans had just
scored a strip-sack touchdown, taken their first lead,
and stuffed the Rams for a
one-yard loss when they got
Mark Zaleski Associated Press
TODD GURLEY is congratulated by coach Sean
McVay after scoring on an 80-yard pass reception.
the ball back.
Then, on second down,
Jared Goff retreated quickly
under blitz pressure,
dumped off a pass to Gurley
in the left flat, then watched
him go. Gurley turned upfield and tore through the
heart of the Tennessee
defense for an 80-yard
touchdown, outrunning a
pair of defensive backs the
final 20 yards.
“You could tell that their
PA announcer was excited
to announce that they were
winning the game,” Sullivan
said. “And then a minute
later, they weren’t. It was
great to kind of flip the
script on them real quick
like that.”
Two particularly memorable parts of that jawdropping play were Gurley
shooting up his hand in a
No. 1 sign just before he
crossed the goal line, and
that in his final steps he
mistakenly veered toward
former USC cornerback
Adoree’ Jackson, among the
fastest players in the league.
Gurley was using the
giant video board as a rearview mirror as he ran.
“I started looking up at
the screen, and that’s when I
turned because I saw [safety
Kevin Byard] behind me,”
he said. “I didn’t know I was
running into one of the
fastest dudes, Adoree’ right
behind me. It was a struggle
those last couple of yards,
but I got it done.”
The NFL releases milesper-hour statistics that
aren’t terribly useful absent
context, but Gurley’s 21.23
mph on that play was his
fastest speed as a ballcarrier
this season.
Tennessee hadn’t allowed a 100-yard rusher
since the Chargers’ Melvin
Gordon on Nov. 6, 2016. The
most they had surrendered
this season was 78 yards to
Oakland’s Marshawn Lynch
in the opener. They put the
clamps on a parade of backs,
among them Leonard Fournette, Jay Ajayi, and Le’Veon
“Man, that guy is shifty
and explosive,” Titans defensive tackle Jurrell Casey
marveled of Gurley. “You
don’t see too many running
backs like him. … We had a
visual on him, but he was
just making plays.”
Gurley caught some eyes
as he made his way to the
team bus, too. He was breaking in a pair of cobalt-blue
Christian Louboutin high
tops, covered in studded
spikes but for the smooth
red soles — with a phone
case to match. Nobody else
had shoes like that.
On his head, Gurley wore
a freshly minted NFC West
champions cap. Everyone
around him had one of
those, and he wouldn’t have
it any other way.
Twitter: @LATimesfarmer
Yards from scrimmage for Rams’
Todd Gurley, who ran 22 times
for 118 yards and caught 10 passes
for 158 yards. He averaged 8.6
yards per touch.
Yards on Gurley’s second touchdown catch, a Rams record for a
running back. The previous
record was 72, set by
Marshall Faulk in 2004.
Receptions of more than 20
yards by Cooper Kupp this season after snatching a 34-yarder
against the Titans. Kupp averaged 16.3 yards on four catches.
Touchdown passes for Rams’
Jared Goff this season, sixth
most in franchise history, after
he threw four against the Titans.
His QB rating was 118.4.
RAMS (11-4) VS.
Sunday, 1:15 p.m.
TV: Channel 11. Radio: 710.
M O N DAY , D E C E M B E R 2 5 , 2 017
L AT I M E S . C O M / S P O RT S
CHARGERS ...................0 7
N.Y. Jets........................0 0
7 0 —14
7 0— 7
Second Quarter
CHARGERS — Gates 3 pass from Rivers
(Rose kick), 8:55. Drive: 12 plays, 71
yards, 5:46. Key plays: Rivers 16 pass to
Ty.Williams on 3rd-and-9, Gordon 9 run
on 3rd-and-1, Rivers 27 pass to Gates,
B.Skrine 4-yard defensive pass interference penalty on 3rd-and-2.
CHARGERS 7, N.Y. Jets 0.
Third Quarter
N.Y. Jets — Powell 57 run (Catanzaro
kick), 10:00. Drive: 3 plays, 63 yards,
1:22. Key play: C.McCain 15-yard
unnecessary roughness penalty.
CHARGERS 7, N.Y. Jets 7.
CHARGERS — Gordon 1 run (Rose kick),
4:57. Drive: 8 plays, 75 yards, 5:03.
Key plays: Gordon 19 run, Rivers 12
pass to Allen, Rivers 15 pass to Gates,
Rivers 23 pass to McGrath.
CHARGERS 14, N.Y. Jets 7.
FIRST DOWNS ........................21
Rushing ..................................6
Penalty ...................................1
THIRD DOWN EFF ................5-15
FOURTH DOWN EFF................0-0
TOTAL NET YARDS .................379
Total Plays.............................70
Avg Gain ..............................5.4
NET YARDS RUSHING ..............89
Rushes .................................30
Avg per rush .........................3.0
NET YARDS PASSING .............290
Sacked-Yds lost ....................0-0
Gross-Yds passing ................290
Had Intercepted .......................0
Yards-Pass Play .....................7.3
PUNTS-Avg. .....................9-46.2
Punts blocked..........................0
FGs-PATs blocked ..................0-0
Punt Returns.......................3-29
Kickoff Returns......................0-0
Interceptions ......................1-32
FUMBLES-Lost ......................1-0
TIME OF POSSESSION ........32:58
RUSHING: CHARGERS, Gordon 19-81,
Oliver 8-9, Watt 1-3, Rivers 1-0, Benjamin 1-(minus 4). N.Y. JETS, Powell
19-145, Petty 3-33, Forte 8-19.
PASSING: CHARGERS, Rivers 22-40-0290. N.Y. JETS, Petty 15-28-1-119.
Allen 5-63, Williams 5-50, Gordon
3-47, McGrath 2-26, Watt 1-23. N.Y.
JETS, Anderson 5-51, Kearse 5-42,
Seferian-Jenkins 4-21, Forte 1-7.
3-29. N.Y. JETS, Natson 7-30.
N.Y. JETS, None.
Toomer 5-2-1, Addae 5-2-.5, Pullard
4-4-0, Boston 4-0-0, King 3-2-0, Bosa
3-1-0, Mebane 2-1-0, Rochell 2-0-1,
Hayward 2-0-0, Brown 2-0-0, Williams
2-0-0, Ingram 1-1-0, McCain 1-0-0,
Philon 1-0-0, Emanuel 0-1-.5. N.Y. JETS,
Adams 7-0-0, Maye 5-1-0, Davis 5-1-0,
Lee 4-4-0, Jenkins 4-2-0, Pennel 4-1-0,
Martin 3-1-0, McLendon 2-2-0, Skrine
2-1-0, Burris 2-0-0, Claiborne 2-0-0,
Cooper 1-1-0, Bass 1-0-0.
1-32. N.Y. JETS, None.
Rose 47.
Officials — Referee Clete Blakeman,
Ump Ramon George, HL Hugo Cruz, LJ
Dana McKenzie, FJ Joe Larrew, SJ Dyrol
Prioleau, BJ Steve Patrick, Replay Carl
Attendance — 77,562.
Sunday wasn’t Philip Rivers’ best outing. He barely
completed 50% of his
passes, took an intentional
grounding penalty, and led
the Chargers on just two
scoring drives. Still, he
didn’t turn the ball over
after throwing a trio of
interceptions last week. He
also completed passes to
Keenan Allen, Antonio
Gates and Sean McGrath in
crucial situations. And
Rivers continued his climb
up the NFL’s leaderboards
as he passed John Elway to
No. 8 in all-time completions. Rivers also surpassed
the 4,000-yard passing mark
for the ninth time in his
On the final play of the game
Sunday, the Jets completed
a short pass and lateraled
the ball around the field
hoping the defense would
make a mistake. It didn’t ...
and Casey Hayward even
stripped the ball loose and
recovered the fumble. While
the play resulted in a turnover, it wasn’t even close to
being the top-impact play
from the Chargers’ Pro Bowl
corner. Shadowing the Jets’
top receiver, Robby Anderson, Hayward forced key
incompletions and helped
limit Bryce Petty to 119 yards
passing. Hayward wasn’t
credited with any deflections, but used his physicality to get inside leverage
on Anderson on multiple
occasions and stop the Jets
from going long.
— Dan Woike
Flags fly on special teams
Chargers are
penalized five times,
affecting field position
and erasing points.
By Dan Woike
N.J. — Nick Dzubnar, a reserve linebacker and special-teams ace for the Chargers, doesn’t get a lot of opportunities to speak to the
So in the moments after
Sunday’s 14-7 win over the
New York Jets, he was going
to make sure he got one
thing clear.
“There’s no doubt in my
mind,” he said. “That was a
bad call.”
With his team up early in
the fourth quarter, Dzubnar
got flagged for a holding
penalty while Chargers punt
returner Travis Benjamin
danced through and ran
past the Jets. The penalty
ended up wiping out a 91yard return for a score.
Bad call or not — and
Dzubnar said even the Chargers coaches told him it was
a bad one — it was one of another handful of specialteams mistakes that continue to haunt the Chargers.
flagged five times on special
teams, affecting field position and taking points off the
“That will get you beat on
the road,” Chargers coach
Anthony Lynn said. “Penalties and rush yards [allowed] on the road will get
you beat. And so if we’re fortunate enough to continue
this season after next week,
that’s something that we
have to get corrected.”
Fixing the problem,
clearly, hasn’t been easy.
And, Dzubnar said, in some
ways, it’s not really a problem at all.
“Some penalties are
stupid. But, I think some of
the penalties, it’s because
we’re being really aggressive. I’d rather be a team
that’s aggressive than timid,” he said. “I know
Rayshawn [Jenkins] has a
handful of penalties this
Abbie Parr Getty Images
MARCUS MAYE of the New York Jets recovers an onside kick on the opening play of Sunday’s game against
the Chargers. The Chargers were caught off guard, one of several instances of special-teams miscues.
year, but he’s one of the most
aggressive players on our
team. I love the way he plays.
It’s hit and miss how badly
the penalties hurt. I don’t
want to slow anyone down
because they’re afraid to get
a penalty.”
Lynn understands that
these are sins born of aggression, but that doesn’t make
them the right plays.
“Guys don’t try to make
those penalties,” Lynn said.
“They’re trying to make
plays. They’re trying to
make blocks. They’re trying
to do a lot of things.”
At a certain point,
though, results matter.
The game opened with
the Jets catching the Char-
gers’ return unit on its heels,
easily recovering an onside
kick. The Jets were the first
team to recover an onside
kick in the first 30 seconds of
a game since the Philadelphia Eagles did so in 2012.
“We were caught off
guard,” Lynn admitted.
“We’re always looking for onside kicks … and [Jets kicker
showed it. He actually gave it
away that he was onside
kicking it, and we didn’t adjust very well.”
kicker, rookie Nick Rose, belted three touchbacks, which
was good. He also badly
missed a 47-yard field goal,
which wasn’t so good.
Rose is the fifth player to
attempt a kick for the Chargers this season, joining
Younghoe Koo, Nick Novak,
Drew Kaser and Travis
Coons. They’re a combined
19 for 28 on field-goal tries
and 32 for 36 on extra points.
“It’s not easy. It goes back
to again, me controlling
what I can control, us controlling what we can control,
being supportive of whoever
is out there kicking it,” Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers said.
“Is it a game of emotion,
do we all get fired up at
times? Yeah. It’s one of those
things you can’t control. Is it
a little more on edge when
you’ve dealt with a kicking
situation that we’ve dealt
with this year? No question.
I don’t know that I’ve been
around anything like it. So,
what can I do? Get more first
While the kicking issues
have persisted throughout
the season and even cost
them at least one win, the
punt and kickoff coverage
teams and, to a lesser extent,
return units have shown improvement.
Still, the flags are too
much for Lynn to accept.
“I think we just have to
play smarter and have more
awareness,” Lynn said.
Twitter: @DanWoikeSports
Chargers counting on outside help
[Chargers, from D1]
keep a play alive on fourth
down, the Rams’ defense
slammed the door.
Rams’] Connor Barwin,”
Chargers defensive tackle
Damion Square said.
The Chargers’ path to the
playoffs cleared a bit Sunday, thanks largely to the
Rams. The Chargers can
earn one of the AFC’s two
wild-card spots if they can
beat the Raiders at StubHub Center on Sunday, Baltimore beats Cincinnati and
the Titans lose at home to
The fact that the Chargers’ perceived “Fight for
L.A.” competitors helped
advance their cause is the
latest in a season full of improbabilities.
Teams that go 0-4 don’t
sniff the playoffs. Only one
team has pulled that off and
it happened 25 years ago. In
an improbable twist, the San
Diego Chargers were that
team. To handle the gutpunching losses, the lukewarm reactions and a recent
string of injuries, and still be
in it entering the final week
of the season doesn’t seem
But here they are.
“I think that’s all we can
ask for at this point — starting 0-4, digging the hole that
we dug, to have a chance to
be alive in Week 16,” Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers said. “Although there are
games that you’re sick
about, you’re excited to have
a chance.”
Even after wins, regret
has been a common theme.
Players inside the locker
room Sunday referenced
losses to Miami and Jack-
Bill Kostroun Associated Press
CHARGERS TIGHT END Sean McGrath, right, and Jets safety Jamal Adams
battle for control of the ball during the second half.
sonville earlier this season
as ones that are especially
haunting as they look at the
And, Sunday certainly
had that potential. too.
The Jets, playing backup
quarterback Bryce Petty,
skipped passes all over the
field, but seven points was
their biggest deficit.
“I’ll tell you what,” Chargers coach Anthony Lynn
said, “most games in the National Football League are
grind-it-out like that.”
In the first quarter, punts
for both teams outnumbered first downs. The Chargers finally managed to
score thanks to Rivers and
Antonio Gates connecting
for the second straight week.
But while the defense dominated, all it took was one
play, a 57-yard touchdown
run by Bilal Powell, to put
everything in peril. But unlike last week in Kansas City,
the Chargers stayed poised
in the face of danger.
“Looking back at [last
week], we all were — including me — like, ‘We’ve got to
do this,’ rather than just
played like we did when we
felt free, when we were digging ourselves out of an 0-4
hole,” Rivers said. “I thought
we did a better job of that to-
day. It was the same deal today. It was all on the line today. We lose today and it’s
over, regardless of what else
happened. I didn’t think we
played tight today. We
played free.”
Melvin Gordon scored a
go-ahead touchdown, the
defense held and the Chargers won — and then tightened right back up.
With the Rams clinging
to a lead, players and staff
members gathered in the
locker room around Rivers’
phone to catch the final moments in Tennessee before it
finally aired on the TVs.
When the Rams iced the
game, the room erupted in
“That wouldn’t have been
very fun to see the Titans
throw a touchdown pass
with a minute left, right after
we won a game, to essentially eliminate us,” Rivers
Sunday, it was the Rams’
turn to help a team that’s
largely had to help itself after
such a horrendous start.
“The 0-4 start sucked. It
really sucked. But I think it
brought us together as a
team,” Chargers tackle Joe
Barksdale said. “Everyone
on the outside is dogging
you, people have already given up on you, so it’s easier to
come together as a unit and
rely on each other. And I feel
like that same kind of resiliency is the same thing that
helped us go on that run and
helped us today.”
The Chargers will need
new allies next week to get
into the playoffs — Baltimore and Jacksonville at the
top of that list. They forfeited the right to fend for
themselves by getting walloped in Kansas City.
But they’re still fighting.
“We knew we were going
to battle,” Chargers cornerback Casey Hayward said.
“We started off so slow this
season. We’ve put ourselves
in a better position even
though we don’t control our
own destiny.
“But, we’re still in it.
You’re never out until they
say, ‘You don’t have a
chance.’ ”
And, shout-out to Connor Barwin, they haven’t
said it to the Chargers yet.
Twitter: @DanWoikeSports
Passing yards surpassed by
Chargers’ Philip Rivers for 9th
season (5th in a row). Other
totals: Peyton Manning (14),
Drew Brees (12), Tom Brady (9).
Rushing yards for Chargers’
Melvin Gordon this season, the
first time he topped 1,000 in
three-year career. He ran 19
times for 81 yards against Jets.
Times Gordon surpassed 100
yards from scrimmage this
season. He had 128 against the
Jets, topping the century mark
for the second week in a row.
Receptions this season for Chargers’ Keenan Allen, second most
in team history. He had five for
63 yards vs. Jets. LaDainian
Tomlinson had 101 in 2003.
M O N DAY , D E C E M B E R 2 5 , 2 017
L AT I M E S . C O M / S P O RT S
Gordon not coming up short again
just had to press that reset
button and stick together.”
By Mike DiGiovanna
N.J. — The 1,000-yard season
for a running back lost much
of its luster when the NFL
expanded its regular season
from 14 to 16 games in 1978.
But when you’ve never
reached that mark — and actually have fallen three yards
short of it — it becomes a little more significant.
That’s another reason
why Chargers running back
Melvin Gordon was in a celebratory mood after passing
the 1,000-yard mark with a
seven-yard run in the fourth
quarter of Sunday’s 14-7 win
over the New York Jets.
“It means a lot, man — a
lot of hard work,” said Gordon, who also scored the decisive touchdown on a oneyard run with about five
minutes left in the third
quarter. “It hasn’t been easy.
I was supposed to get it last
year and fell short.
“But kudos to my offensive line, the tight ends, the
receivers, the fullback ...
everybody’s been blocking
down the field. It’s a great accomplishment, but there’s
still more to come. … I’m not
content with getting 1,000
yards, especially with backs
out there getting 1,200 and
Gordon finished with 81
yards on 19 carries, giving
him 1,012 yards on the season. He also had three
catches for 47 yards, giving
him 52 for 445. He has 11 total
“It just means durability,
consistency and showing up
every week,” coach Anthony
Lynn said of Gordon’s rushing total. “That’s a little over
65 yards a game; something
like that. That’s what it tells
me, that the guy is available
and he’s consistent.”
Gordon said he wasn’t
sure if he would do something to thank his linemen.
Late hit by Bosa
Edge rusher Joey Bosa
committed a costly unnecessary roughness penalty on a
third-down play from the
Chargers’ 35-yard line with
four minutes left when he
appeared to hit Petty cleanly
but drove him into the
The call gave the Jets a
first down, but the Chargers
forced incomplete passes on
third and fourth down to essentially seal the win.
“Initially, I thought it was
a targeting [penalty], but
they told me it was the driving to the ground,” Lynn
said. “Joey’s going to have to
learn from that. We’re trying
to protect the quarterbacks
in our league. You can sack
them, but you can’t just
drive them into the ground.”
Solid sub
Seth Wenig Associated Press
MELVIN GORDON reaches 1,000 yards this season by rushing for 81 against Marcus Maye and the Jets.
No gifts are necessary, right
guard Joe Barksdale said.
“Melvin doesn’t owe us
anything,” Barksdale said.
“That’s our teammate.
Whether he takes us to dinner, gives us gifts or gives us
nothing, we’re just happy to
see the kid succeed.”
Gordon’s afternoon did
not end well. He got his left
foot caught in a pile with
about three minutes left and
limped off with what appeared to be a sprained ankle. He left the locker room
in a walking boot but was
confident he’d be able to
play in the season finale vs.
Oakland, with a playoff spot
possibly on the line.
“It’s nothing serious,”
Gordon said. “I just rolled it.
I do it a lot. I had rolled it ear-
lier but just kept playing
through it. I’ll be fine.”
Allen picks a pass
Keenan Allen is proud of
the fact he was a five-star defensive back recruit at
Northern Guilford High
School in North Carolina.
According to,
Allen was the highest-rated
high school safety in the
country in the class of 2010.
“I was a six-star safety!”
Allen boasted Sunday.
The Chargers’ leading receiver showed off those defensive skills just before halftime when he intercepted a
Hail Mary by Jets quarterback Bryce Petty at the goal
line and returned it 32 yards
before being flattened by offensive tackle Brandon
Shell, who suffered a concussion on the play.
“When the ball went up in
the air, I definitely was like,
‘It’s mine, no question,’ ” said
Allen, who practices with
the defense once a week. “I
was definitely trying to
score. I got killed. That
[tackle] hurt.”
Allen still managed five
catches for 63 yards. According to the NFL, Allen is the
first player in league history
with at least 90 receptions
and an interception in the
same season and the third
with 1,000 receiving yards
and an interception.
Score one for subs
The two linebackers
tabbed to replace the injured Denzel Perryman
teamed up on a key turnover
midway through the second
With the Jets trailing 7-0,
on the Chargers’ 20-yard line
and threatening to score,
Korey Toomer ripped the
ball from the hands of Matt
Forte, forcing a fumble that
teammate Hayes Pullard
“It was a great feeling,”
Pullard said. “We swarmed
to the ball, and I just jumped
on it.”
Overall, it wasn’t a great
day for the defense, which allowed Bilal Powell to rush
for 145 yards on 19 carries, including a 57-yard touchdown
run in the third quarter.
“Bilal is a great back, and
we knew he would get some
long runs,” Pullard said. “We
After testing his injured
groin before the game, left
tackle Russell Okung was
not activated. He was replaced by Sam Tevi, a 6foot-5, 315-pound rookie
from Utah. Tevi and his linemates did not allow Philip
Rivers to be sacked, and
Tevi was the lead blocker on
several good runs.
“Sam did pretty well,”
Okung said. “To step in
there in a critical game for us
and to keep the quarterback
pretty clean, thought he did
a great job. I’m real proud of
him. I worked with him all
Isaac Rochell, a 6-3, 280pound rookie defensive end
from Notre Dame, was activated for the first time since
Week 1 and sacked Petty late
in the second quarter for a
four-yard loss.
Twitter: @MikeDiGiovanna
Chargers’ Gates offers blast from the past
Tight end shows old
spark as he takes on
more prominent role.
By Mike DiGiovanna
N.J. — The torch seemed to
be passed this season from
an aging and supposedly
washed-up Chargers tight
end to a shiny, sleek new
model; from a future Hall of
Famer on his last legs to a
rising star with fresh legs.
Antonio Gates, the 37year-old
power-forwardturned-pass-catcher in his
15th NFL season, did his
best to block out the speculation that second-year pro
Hunter Henry was pushing
him toward retirement.
That proved tougher than
boxing out all those big men
while he played college
basketball at Kent State.
“I know the situation
when you have a guy as talented as Hunter and a guy
like myself, who’s been
around,” Gates said. “The
business side of it allows you
to see the transition — how
much I’m playing, how much
he’s playing — and sometimes it can tear a guy down;
you can lose your confidence.
“But I’ve always wanted
to be a part of something
special. It would have been
easy for me to sit here and
get upset all year, but I want
to win a Super Bowl, and I’m
willing to make the sacrifices
for that.”
The Chargers are longshots to reach the Super
Bowl, but their playoff hopes
continue to flicker, in part
because of the fire that still
burns in Gates.
Assuming a more prominent role after a season-ending injury to Henry, Gates
caught a season-high six
passes for 81 yards and a
Ed Mulholland Getty Images
THE CHARGERS’ Antonio Gates hauls in a touchdown pass amid defensive
pressure from the Jets’ Jamal Adams during the second quarter.
touchdown on Sunday to
help the Chargers to a season-saving 14-7 victory over
the New York Jets in MetLife
“You knew he would be
ready to go — he has been all
year,” said quarterback Philip Rivers, who completed 22
of 40 passes for 290 yards.
“Really, it needs to be commended the way he’s handled the whole thing all year.
“He’s been the guy for 14
seasons, and then to really
take a little backseat to
Hunter and play a limited
role, but still stay ready and
be the pro he’s been, he
should be commended for
catches, 831 yards and eight
touchdowns a season for 13
years (2004 to 2016), but he
entered Sunday with 20
catches for 189 yards and two
He averaged 20 snaps per
game over the previous five
weeks while Henry, who has
45 catches for 579 yards and
four touchdowns, got more
playing time.
But Henry, the former
Arkansas star, suffered a minor laceration of his kidney
at Kansas City on Dec. 16
and was placed on injured
reserve. The 6-foot-4, 255pound Gates eased Henry’s
loss by reconnecting with his
old-school teammate, the
36-year-old Rivers.
Early in the second quarter, on a second-and-14 from
the Jets’ 40-yard line, Gates
made a nice sliding catch of a
27-yard pass on a long outpattern for a first down.
“I could tell by the velocity of the ball that it would be
a little short, so I slid on purpose because the angle is a
lot better,” Gates said.
“You’re talking about two
guys who are not strangers
to these kinds of connections.”
Their next connection
was classic Rivers-to-Gates.
From the three-yard line,
Rivers tossed a jump ball
into the end zone, where
Gates, with 6-foot-1 Jets
safety Jamal Adams climbing up his back, made a leaping catch for a 7-0 lead.
“I’m used to being in a position where those guys are
6-9,” Gates said, “so it gives
me a kind of an edge at that
It was Gates’ 114th career
receiving touchdown, an
NFL record for tight ends,
and it marked the 87th time
Rivers and Gates connected
for a score, a record for a
quarterback/tight end duo.
Next on the list is New England’s Tom Brady and Rob
Gronkowski, who have combined for 75 touchdowns.
“Any time he scores a
touchdown and lengthens
the lead for the other potential contenders, it’s great to
see, because he’s that great
of a teammate and that
great of a human,” fellow
tight end Sean McGrath
said. “I’m ecstatic for him.”
Gates had a 15-yard catch
in the third quarter, and McGrath had a huge 23-yard
catch, outjumping Adams to
give the Chargers a firstand-goal at the two-yard
line, to set up the Chargers’
second touchdown.
It was only the third
catch of the season for McGrath, who said he has
learned from Gates how to
be a team player.
“One of our pillars is selflessness, and I think he’s a
great representation of
that,” McGrath said. “He’s a
future Hall of Famer, he’s
taken a young guy in Hunter
under his wing, and he
doesn’t complain, he doesn’t
bat an eye. I’m very fortunate to be in the tight-end
room with him.”
Gates said he will decide
after the season whether he
will retire or not.
“At the end of the day, I
just want to do my best, to be
in the present,” Gates said.
“I don’t care about what the
media has to say, if they say
I’m done. I don’t really listen
to it.
“It’s funny. I look at the
game itself, and I’m like,
‘Can I still do it? Can I still
beat a linebacker? Can I still
beat a safety? Do I still want
to do it? Do I still have a desire to put in the time it
takes?’ ”
For at least one chilly 38degree afternoon in northern New Jersey, the answer
to all of those questions was
Twitter @MikeDiGiovanna
Times the Chargers defense has
held opponent under 300 yards
this season (and fourth time in
five games). L.A. held the Jets to
295, including just 98 passing.
Average yards per pass play for
Jets, who averaged 6.6 yards per
carry (mostly because of Bilal
Powell’s 57-yard TD run). The
Chargers averaged 7.3 per pass.
Game-best tackles for Chargers
linebacker Hayes Pullard, who
was starting in place of the
injured Denzel Perryman.
Pullard also recovered a fumble.
Sacks allowed by the Chargers,
who ran nine more plays from
scrimmage than the Jets, held
the ball for nearly six more minutes and had zero turnovers.
Sunday, 1:15 p.m.
TV: Channel 2. Radio: 640.
M O N DAY , D E C E M B E R 2 5 , 2 017
L AT I M E S . C O M / S P O RT S
11 4 0 .733 465 295 7-4-0 4-0-0 4-1-0
9 6 0 .600 342 306 7-4-0 2-2-0 4-1-0
7 8 0 .467 269 337 4-7-0 3-1-0 2-3-0
San Francisco
5 10 0 .333 297 370 2-9-0 3-1-0 0-5-0
12 3 0 .800 359 242 9-2-0 3-1-0 4-1-0
8 7 0 .533 375 365 7-4-0 1-3-0 4-1-0
Green Bay
7 8 0 .467 309 349 5-6-0 2-2-0 2-3-0
5 10 0 .333 254 297 1-10-0 4-0-0 0-5-0
x-New Orleans
11 4 0 .733 424 295 8-3-0 3-1-0 4-1-0
11 4 0 .733 353 305 7-4-0 4-0-0 3-2-0
Tampa Bay
9 6 0 .600 331 305 8-3-0 1-3-0 3-2-0
4 11 0 .267 304 358 2-9-0 2-2-0 0-5-0
12 2 0 .857 438 279 10-1-0 2-1-0 5-0-0
8 7 0 .533 348 332 6-5-0 2-2-0 4-1-0
7 8 0 .467 332 370 5-6-0 2-2-0 1-4-0
N.Y. Giants
2 13 0 .133 228 378 0-11-0 2-2-0 0-5-0
y-Kansas City
9 6 0 .600 388 315 7-4-0 2-2-0 4-1-0
8 7 0 .533 325 262 5-6-0 3-1-0 2-3-0
6 8 0 .429 281 324 5-6-0 1-2-0 2-3-0
5 10 0 .333 265 355 4-7-0 1-3-0 2-3-0
11 3 0 .786 344 278 8-2-0 3-1-0 5-0-0
9 6 0 .600 368 272 7-4-0 2-2-0 3-2-0
6 9 0 .400 259 322 5-6-0 1-3-0 2-3-0
0 15 0 .000 210 382 0-11-0 0-4-0 0-5-0
10 5 0 .667 407 253 9-2-0 1-3-0 4-1-0
8 7 0 .533 319 346 7-4-0 1-3-0 4-1-0
4 10 0 .286 319 380 3-7-0 1-3-0 1-4-0
3 12 0 .200 241 391 2-9-0 1-3-0 1-4-0
y-New England
12 3 0 .800 432 290 9-2-0 3-1-0 4-1-0
8 7 0 .533 280 343 6-5-0 2-2-0 2-3-0
6 9 0 .400 265 371 5-6-0 1-3-0 2-3-0
N.Y. Jets
x-clinched playoff spot
5 10 0 .333 292 356 5-6-0 0-4-0 2-3-0
y-clinched division
Saturday’s results
at Baltimore 23, Indianapolis 16
Minnesota 16, at Green Bay 0
Sunday’s results
RAMS 27, at Tennessee 23
CHARGERS 14, at New York Jets 7
at Chicago 20, Cleveland 3
at New England 37, Buffalo 16
at Washington 27, Denver 11
at Carolina 22, Tampa Bay 19
at Cincinnati 26, Detroit 17
at Kansas City 29, Miami 13
at New Orleans 23, Atlanta 13
Seattle 21, at Dallas 12
at Arizona 23, New York Giants 0
San Francisco 44, at Jacksonville 33
Times Pacific
Pittsburgh at Houston ..............................................1:30
Oakland at Philadelphia...........................................5:30
Green Bay at Detroit ............................................10 a.m.
Houston at Indianapolis ..............................................10
Chicago at Minnesota..................................................10
New York Jets at New England.....................................10
Washington at New York Giants...................................10
Dallas at Philadelphia..................................................10
Cleveland at Pittsburgh ...............................................10
Carolina at Atlanta............................................1:15 p.m.
Jacksonville at Tennessee........................................1:15
Buffalo at Miami .......................................................1:15
New Orleans at Tampa Bay.......................................1:15
Cincinnati at Baltimore .............................................1:15
San Francisco at RAMS ............................................1:15
Oakland at CHARGERS .............................................1:15
Kansas City at Denver ..............................................1:15
Arizona at Seattle .....................................................1:15
Seahawks stay alive; Cowboys done
Seattle ................0 7 7 7—21
Dallas .................0 9 3 0—12
Second Quarter
Dal—FG Bailey 34, 14:11.
Dal—FG Bailey 51, 5:48.
Sea—Graham 3 pass from R.Wilson
(Walsh kick), 1:38.
Dal—FG Bailey 51, :03.
Third Quarter
Sea—Coleman 30 interception return
(Walsh kick), 11:19.
Dal—FG Bailey 39, 8:36.
Fourth Quarter
Sea—Baldwin 6 pass from R.Wilson
(Walsh kick), 11:59.
First downs .................15
Total Net Yards...........136
Passing ......................60
associated press
Punt Returns..............1-9
Kickoff Returns ...........0-0
Interceptions Ret.......2-31
Comp-Att-Int .......14-21-0
Sacked-Yards Lost.....3-33
Punts ...................7-46.1
Fumbles-Lost .............1-0
Penalties-Yards .....11-142
Time of Possession..27:10
ARLINGTON, Texas — Russell Wilson
didn’t have to do much to keep alive Seattle’s
hopes for a sixth straight playoff trip, despite
the return of star Dallas running back Ezekiel Elliott from a six-game suspension.
Justin Coleman put the Seahawks ahead
for good with a 30-yard interception return
for a touchdown, and they beat the Cowboys
21-12 in a playoff-elimination game Sunday.
Dak Prescott had two passes intercepted
and Dallas didn’t score a touchdown despite
the reunion with Prescott’s backfield mate,
the one he shared a remarkable rookie season with a year ago when the Cowboys had
an NFC-best 13 wins.
Now Dallas (8-7) is eliminated from the
postseason with the end of its three-game
winning streak, and the Seahawks (9-6) still
have life after Wilson threw for two touchdowns despite a career-low 93 yards passing.
“In these situations where it truly is a
must-win game, we don’t have to make anything up,” Seahawks receiver Doug Baldwin
said. “We’re well-prepared for it. The process
that we’ve gone through the whole season
really helped us today.”
Coleman gave Seattle a 14-9 lead in the
third quarter when he reached down to catch
Prescott’s badly overthrown pass to Elliott
and ran untouched 30 yards for a score.
It was the fourth pick-six of the season for
Prescott, who threw just four interceptions
last season when he was the NFL offensive
rookie of the year. He has 13 interceptions for
the season.
The Seahawks won despite gaining just
136 total yards — their fewest since getting
135 in a 14-9 win over the Rams in 2013.
Seattle’s first two offensive touchdowns
were set up by pass-interference penalties in
the end zone. The first was a three-yarder to
Jimmy Graham, the second a six-yarder to
Baldwin after running plays backed up the
Seahawks both times.
Elliott had 15 carries for 74 yards in the
first half and finished with 97 yards in 24
carries. He didn’t touch the ball when the
Cowboys had a first down inside the Seattle
five trailing by nine in the fourth quarter, and
the drive resulted in Dan Bailey missing a 34yard field goal.
Cardinals ...............23
Giants ........................0
Larry Fitzgerald had never completed an
NFL pass, from the throwing end of one anyway. He’d never been on the winning end of a
shutout, either. Both things happened and
more in Arizona’s dominant victory over
New York in what might have been Fitzgerald’s final home game.
He caught nine passes for 118 yards and a
touchdown. The 34-year-old became the
oldest player to top 100 receptions and 1,000
yards receiving in a season. He also threw a
pass for 21 yards after taking a handoff. “It’s
nice to play a game you love and be able to
do it at a high level still,” said Fitzgerald,
who last week said he’d take time to figure
out if he will come back for a 15th season.
Whether it was the weirdest interception
of Marshon Lattimore’s football life or a
ball-dislodging hit by Tyeler Davison near
the goal line, the New Orleans defense poetically tipped the scales in a long-awaited
playoff-clinching victory.
Shoddy defense was widely seen as the
reason the Saints missed the playoffs the
last three seasons.
Those days are over.
Lattimore corralled a momentum-turning interception off his backside, New Orleans made two defensive stands from inside
its two-yard line, and the Saints clinched
their first postseason berth since 2013 with a
victory over rival Atlanta.
Andy Reid addressed his team in a jubilant locker room dressed from head to toe in
a Santa Claus suit, which not only fit him
perfectly but also was perfectly fitting.
Alex Smith threw for 304 yards and a
touchdown, Kareem Hunt ran for 91 yards
and a score, and Kansas City clinched backto-back AFC West titles for the first time.
Tyreek Hill had six catches for 109 yards
and Marcus Peters recovered a fumble and
forced another to help dash Miami’s faint
playoff hopes.
“It’s hard to win football games only kicking field goals,” said the Dolphins’ Jay Cutler, who threw for 286 yards and a score.
New York .............0 0 0 0— 0
Arizona ...............3 7 6 7—23
First Quarter
Ari—FG Dawson 21, 5:29.
Second Quarter
Ari—Fitzgerald 13 pass from Stanton
(Dawson kick), 1:01.
Third Quarter
Ari—Jo.Brown 15 pass from Stanton
(kick failed), 9:25.
Fourth Quarter
Ari—Nkemdiche 21 fumble return
(Dawson kick), 14:50.
First downs ................12
Total Net Yards ..........293
Punt Returns ...........3-19
Kickoff Returns ........2-43
Interceptions Ret........2-1
Sacked-Yards Lost ....2-13
Punts ..................6-43.8
Time of Possession .26:47
Individual Leaders
RUSHING: New York, Gallman 10-18,
Perkins 3-10, Darkwa 6-10, Manning 1-5.
Arizona, K.Williams 16-51, Penny 8-24,
Stanton 2-1, Hill 1-(minus 2).
PASSING: New York, Manning 27-452-263. Arizona, Stanton 20-34-2-209,
Fitzgerald 1-1-0-21.
RECEIVING: New York, Gallman 6-44,
Shepard 5-45, Ellison 4-60, Lewis 4-40,
J.Adams 4-31, Sharp 2-25, Engram 1-12,
Rudolph 1-6. Arizona, Fitzgerald 9-119,
Foster 3-24, Jo.Brown 2-28, Ja.Brown 227, K.Williams 2-14, Penny 2-14, Gresham 1-4.
Rosas 33.
Tom Pennington Getty Images
hawks makes a catch against Jourdan
Lewis of the Cowboys in second half.
Punt Returns ...........3-29
Kickoff Returns ........2-45
Interceptions Ret. .....1-41
Sacked-Yards Lost ....5-24
Punts ..................5-46.8
Penalties-Yards ......10-91
Time of Possession .26:12
Atlanta................0 0 3 10—13
New Orleans ........3 10 7 3—23
First Quarter
NO—FG Lutz 40, 7:31.
Second Quarter
NO—FG Lutz 29, 1:19.
NO—Ginn 54 pass from Brees (Lutz
kick), :14.
Third Quarter
Atl—FG Bryant 37, 9:34.
NO—Ingram 26 run (Lutz kick), 2:52.
Fourth Quarter
Atl—FG Bryant 48, 10:18.
NO—FG Lutz 45, 3:38.
Atl—T.Coleman 14 pass from Ryan
(Bryant kick), 2:40.
First downs ................15
Total Net Yards ..........331
Individual Leaders
RUSHING: Atlanta, Freeman 11-36,
Gabriel 1-12, T.Coleman 6-12, Ryan 2-7.
New Orleans, Ingram 13-44, Kamara 1232, Ginn 2-14, Brees 4-(minus 4).
PASSING: Atlanta, Ryan 22-36-1-288.
New Orleans, Brees 21-28-1-239.
RECEIVING: Atlanta, J.Jones 7-149,
T.Coleman 4-40, Sanu 4-31, Hooper 318, Freeman 2-20, Gabriel 1-20, Hardy
1-10. New Orleans, Kamara 7-58, Ginn
4-76, Thomas 4-66, Ingram 3-22, J.Hill
2-11, Snead 1-6.
Miami.................3 10 0 0—13
Kansas City .........3 17 3 6—29
First Quarter
KC—FG Butker 31, 9:41.
Mia—FG Parkey 44, 3:29.
Second Quarter
KC—Kelce 9 pass from A.Smith
(Butker kick), 13:00.
Mia—FG Parkey 28, 8:11.
KC—K.Hunt 1 run (Butker kick), 3:37.
Mia—Grant 65 pass from Cutler
(Parkey kick), 3:22.
KC—FG Butker 32, :07.
Third Quarter
KC—FG Butker 21, 10:24.
Fourth Quarter
KC—FG Butker 29, 12:16.
KC—FG Butker 49, 3:41.
First downs ................15
Total Net Yards ..........345
Individual Leaders
RUSHING: Seattle, R.Wilson 9-29,
M.Davis 15-25, Rawls 5-20, Lockett 1-2.
Dallas, Elliott 24-97, Prescott 4-21,
R.Smith 2-10.
PASSING: Seattle, R.Wilson 14-21-093. Dallas, Prescott 21-34-2-182.
RECEIVING: Seattle, Baldwin 4-35,
M.Davis 4-18, P.Richardson 2-21, Willson
2-9, Lockett 1-7, Graham 1-3. Dallas, Witten 5-39, Williams 4-43, Elliott 4-21, Bryant 3-44, R.Smith 3-23, Beasley 2-12.
34, Bailey 48.
Punt Returns .............0-0
Kickoff Returns ........3-40
Interceptions Ret........0-0
Sacked-Yards Lost ......0-0
Punts ..................2-29.5
Penalties-Yards ......11-75
Time of Possession .22:07
Individual Leaders
RUSHING: Miami, Drake 13-57, Grant
1-3, Cutler 2-(minus 1). Kansas City,
K.Hunt 29-91, A.Smith 4-13, Hill 1-(minus 1).
PASSING: Miami, Cutler 19-38-0-286.
Kansas City, A.Smith 25-39-0-304.
RECEIVING: Miami, D.Parker 5-63,
Landry 5-51, Grant 4-107, Stills 4-54,
Derby 1-11. Kansas City, Hill 6-109, Kelce
4-47, D.Harris 4-34, K.Hunt 4-15, A.Wilson 3-36, West 3-28, Charles 1-35.
48. Kansas City, Butker 46.
In addition to the division champions, the remaining top two
teams in each conference advance to the playoffs as wild-card
entries, seeds five and six. First tiebreakers are head-to-head
games, division tiebreakers if division teams, best won-losttied percentage in conference games, best won-lost-tied
percentage in common games (minimum of four), strength of
victory, strength of schedule, best combined ranking among
conference teams in points scored and points given up.
Browns ......................3
Tom Brady passed for a pair of touchdowns, including Rob Gronkowski’s onehanded grab, and New England stayed on
track for home-field advantage throughout
the AFC playoffs with a win over Buffalo.
For Gronkowski, it was his 12th TD catch
in 13 career games against the Bills.
New England locked up a first-round bye
with Jacksonville’s 44-33 loss at San Francisco. The Bills need to win their finale at
Miami and get help to make the playoffs.
Cleveland got pushed to the brink of a
winless season, and the anger and embarrassment were as easy to spot as the mistakes the Browns made.
DeShone Kizer called it a low point in his
life. Coach Hue Jackson made his feelings
clear, too.
Kizer threw two more interceptions and
the Browns committed two turnovers in the
red zone on the way to a loss to struggling
One more loss and the Browns will join
the 2008 Detroit Lions as the only teams to
go 0-16.
Kizer called this “one of the more difficult
moments in my life.”
DION LEWIS, Patriots
Patriots ...................37
Bills ...........................16
Att Cmp
Att Yards
19 145
24 129
22 118
No Yards
10 158
7 149
9 119
Buffalo ................3 10 3 0—16
New England ........0 13 10 14—37
First Quarter
Buf—FG Hauschka 41, 5:30.
Second Quarter
NE—FG Gostkowski 21, 14:14.
Buf—Poyer 19 interception return
(Hauschka kick), 10:28.
NE—Gronkowski 17 pass from Brady
(Gostkowski kick), 7:06.
NE—FG Gostkowski 40, 1:55.
Buf—FG Hauschka 23, :00.
Third Quarter
Buf—FG Hauschka 30, 10:21.
NE—FG Gostkowski 34, 5:08.
NE—Gillislee 1 run (Gostkowski kick),
Fourth Quarter
NE—Lewis 12 pass from Brady
(Gostkowski kick), 9:27.
NE—Lewis 4 run (Gostkowski kick),
First downs .................17
Total Net Yards...........326
Passing ....................242
Punt Returns..............0-0
Kickoff Returns .........2-32
Interceptions Ret.......1-19
Comp-Att-Int .......21-38-0
Sacked-Yards Lost.....6-39
Punts ...................3-48.0
Fumbles-Lost .............1-0
Penalties-Yards .........4-83
Time of Possession..28:16
Individual Leaders
RUSHING: Buffalo, McCoy 17-71, Taylor 3-16, Cadet 1-0, Tolbert 3-(minus 3).
New England, Lewis 24-129, Gillislee 628, Bolden 2-20, Cooks 1-6, Brady 2-6,
Hollister 1-5, Hoyer 2-(minus 1).
PASSING: Buffalo, Taylor 21-38-0-281.
New England, Brady 21-28-1-224.
RECEIVING: Buffalo, McCoy 5-76, Benjamin 5-70, Thompson 4-91, Clay 4-37,
Tolbert 1-11, Tate 1-4, DiMarco 1-(minus
8). New England, Gronkowski 5-67, Lewis
5-24, Amendola 3-28, D.Allen 2-26,
Cooks 2-19, Dorsett 1-24, Britt 1-16,
Gillislee 1-15, Hollister 1-5.
Hauschka 50.
Maddie Meyer Getty Images
catches a pass in the end zone, but the
touchdown call was reversed on review.
Cleveland.............0 3 0 0— 3
Chicago ...............6 0 14 0—20
First Quarter
Chi—Howard 2 run (kick blocked),
Second Quarter
Cle—FG Gonzalez 48, :01.
Third Quarter
Chi—Howard 16 run (Nugent kick),
Chi—Trubisky 4 run (Nugent kick),
First downs .................12
Total Net Yards...........253
Passing ....................178
Punt Returns ............4-27
Kickoff Returns .........2-26
Interceptions Ret. .......0-0
Comp-Att-Int .......18-36-2
Sacked-Yards Lost.......1-4
Punts ...................7-47.7
Fumbles-Lost .............2-1
Penalties-Yards .........8-60
Time of Possession..26:46
Individual Leaders
RUSHING: Cleveland, Crowell 12-44,
Johnson 4-20, Kizer 3-8, Dayes 1-3. Chicago, Trubisky 7-44, Howard 22-44, Cohen 2-9.
PASSING: Cleveland, Kizer 18-36-2182. Chicago, Trubisky 14-23-0-193.
RECEIVING: Cleveland, Johnson 7-81,
DeValve 3-12, Higgins 2-20, Gordon 2-19,
Louis 1-35, Njoku 1-13, C.Coleman 1-3,
Crowell 1-(minus 1). Chicago, Wright 427, Bellamy 3-49, Cunningham 2-62, Inman 2-19, Cohen 2-12, Sims 1-24.
Redskins ................27
Broncos ....................11
49ers ........................44
Jaguars ...................33
Bengals ...................26
Lions .........................17
Buccaneers ............19
As his mind wandered to whether it was
his final home game as Washington’s starting quarterback, Kirk Cousins had a bigger
concern early against Denver and its topranked defense.
“After the first couple of possessions, I
didn’t know if we were going to get 100 yards
on them,” Cousins said.
Cousins and the Redskins rebounded
from losing two yards on their first two
drives to put up 386 yards and three touchdowns against the Broncos. Cousins finished 19-for-37 passing for 299 yards.
Jimmy Garoppolo threw for two touchdows and ran for a third against the defense
that allowed the fewest points in the league,
and San Francisco won its fourth straight
entering its season finale at the Rams.
The day wasn’t a total loss for Jacksonville, which clinched its first division title
since 1999 when Tennessee lost at home to
the Rams. But the defeat dealt a big blow to
Jacksonville’s hopes for a first-round bye.
Giovani Bernard ran for 116 yards and a
clinching touchdown as Cincinnati ended
Detroit’s playoff chances.
Matthew Stafford was only 19-for-35
passing for 203 yards with a touchdown and
an interception, but he rallied the Lions for
a fourth-quarter lead before they self-destructed with penalties.
The Bengals play their season finale at
Baltimore, which is in the thick of the playoff
chase. The Chargers also need a Ravens win
to keep their hopes alive.
Cam Newton scored on a wacky two-yard
touchdown run with 35 seconds remaining
to lift Carolina to a win over Tampa Bay and
help the Panthers secure a spot in the NFC
playoffs for the fourth time in five seasons.
Newton threw for 52 yards in the final
three minutes before turning a potential
debacle into a memorable touchdown.
Newton fumbled the shotgun snap, but
the ball bounced back up into his hands and
he alertly picked it up and dived across the
goal line for the go-ahead score.
Denver.................3 0 0 8—11
Washington ..........0 10 3 14—27
First Quarter
Den—FG McManus 31, 2:06.
Second Quarter
Was—FG Hopkins 26, 6:15.
Was—Crowder 15 pass from Cousins
(Hopkins kick), 2:07.
Third Quarter
Was—FG Hopkins 29, 3:30.
Fourth Quarter
Was—Doctson 48 pass from Cousins
(Hopkins kick), 12:07.
Was—V.Davis 31 pass from Cousins
(Hopkins kick), 4:21.
Den—C.Anderson 5 run (C.Anderson
pass from Osweiler), 1:18.
First downs .................18
Total Net Yards...........330
Passing ....................171
Punt Returns ............3-18
Kickoff Returns .........2-26
Interceptions Ret. .......1-0
Comp-Att-Int .......22-38-1
Sacked-Yards Lost.....4-22
Punts ...................6-41.2
Fumbles-Lost .............3-2
Penalties-Yards .........3-30
Time of Possession..30:27
Individual Leaders
RUSHING: Denver, C.Anderson 16-88,
Booker 8-47, Osweiler 4-27, Henderson
1-(minus 3). Washington, Perine 17-53,
Bibbs 7-26, Cousins 5-8.
PASSING: Denver, Osweiler 22-38-1193. Washington, Cousins 19-37-1-299.
RECEIVING: Denver, C.Anderson 7-45,
Booker 5-24, De.Thomas 4-52, Janovich
2-21, Taylor 1-22, Traylor 1-14, McKenzie
1-8, Henderson 1-7. Washington, Grant 485, Crowder 4-47, Perine 3-21, Doctson
2-61, V.Davis 2-42, Bibbs 2-28, Quick
1-9, Sprinkle 1-6.
Jacksonville ..........0 16 3 14—33
San Francisco.....10 6 7 21—44
First Quarter
SF—Garoppolo 1 run (Gould kick), 10:18.
SF—FG Gould 27, 5:42.
Second Quarter
SF—Johnson 50 interception return (kick
blocked), 11:03.
Jac—Fournette 1 run (Lambo kick), 5:10.
Jac—Strong 5 pass from Bortles (Lambo
kick), :10.
Third Quarter
Jac—FG Lambo 45, 10:57.
SF—Kittle 8 pass from Garoppolo (Gould
kick), 6:46.
Fourth Quarter
SF—Taylor 5 pass from Garoppolo (Gould
kick), 10:39.
SF—Hyde 6 run (Gould kick), 8:59.
Jac—Yeldon 1 run (Koyack pass from Bortles), 2:17.
Jac—O’Shaughnessy 11 pass from Bortles (kick failed), 1:50.
SF—Breida 30 run (Gould kick), 1:24.
First downs .................32
Total Net Yards...........472
Passing ....................380
Punt Returns..............0-0
Kickoff Returns .........3-64
Interceptions Ret. .......1-0
Comp-Att-Int .......32-50-3
Sacked-Yards Lost.......1-2
Punts ...................4-39.0
Fumbles-Lost .............1-0
Penalties-Yards .......12-99
Time of Possession..30:49
Individual Leaders
RUSHING: Jacksonville, Fournette 18-48,
Bortles 5-31, Yeldon 5-13. San Francisco,
Breida 11-74, Hyde 21-54, Garoppolo 3-3.
PASSING: Jacksonville, Bortles 32-50-3382. San Francisco, Garoppolo 21-30-1242.
RECEIVING: Jacksonville, Yeldon 7-64,
Cole 6-108, O’Shaughnessy 5-39, Westbrook 4-74, Strong 3-38, Fournette 3-22,
Koyack 2-10, Lewis 1-22, Mickens 1-5. San
Francisco, Juszczyk 5-76, Kittle 3-42, Goodwin 3-37, Hyde 3-19, Taylor 3-19, Murphy
1-17, Bourne 1-12, A.Robinson 1-12, Breida
Detroit.................7 0 3 7—17
Cincinnati ............0 6 7 13—26
First Quarter
Det—Ebron 33 pass from Stafford
(Prater kick), 4:54.
Second Quarter
Cin—FG Bullock 29, 7:35.
Cin—FG Bullock 27, :00.
Third Quarter
Det—FG Prater 23, 9:26.
Cin—Uzomah 1 pass from Dalton (Bullock kick), 5:52.
Fourth Quarter
Cin—FG Bullock 35, 14:13.
Det—T.Green 5 run (Prater kick), 9:49.
Cin—FG Bullock 51, 4:42.
Cin—Bernard 12 run (Bullock kick),
First downs .................15
Total Net Yards...........276
Passing ....................189
Punt Returns..............0-0
Kickoff Returns .......5-114
Interceptions Ret.......1-16
Comp-Att-Int .......19-35-1
Sacked-Yards Lost.....2-14
Punts ...................5-40.4
Fumbles-Lost .............0-0
Penalties-Yards .........9-74
Time of Possession..27:31
Individual Leaders
RUSHING: Detroit, T.Green 7-43,
Abdullah 6-21, Riddick 8-16, Stafford 1-7.
Cincinnati, Bernard 23-116, Hill 4-17,
Mixon 3-12, Dalton 3-(minus 1), Malone
1-(minus 2).
PASSING: Detroit, Stafford 19-35-1203. Cincinnati, Dalton 27-41-1-238.
RECEIVING: Detroit, Ebron 5-83, Golladay 4-28, M.Jones 3-50, Riddick 3-23,
Tate 3-14, Abdullah 1-5. Cincinnati,
Bernard 7-52, A.Green 6-81, Boyd 5-39,
LaFell 4-8, Mixon 2-20, Hill 1-34, Kroft
1-3, Uzomah 1-1.
Tampa Bay ...........3 6 7 3—19
Carolina...............3 9 3 7—22
First Quarter
Car—FG Gano 25, 8:13.
TB—FG Murray 31, 2:24.
Second Quarter
Car—FG Gano 28, 8:38.
TB—FG Murray 41, 2:58.
Car—D.Byrd 103 kickoff return (kick
blocked), 2:43.
TB—FG Murray 21, :02.
Third Quarter
TB—Wilson 18 pass from Winston
(Murray kick), 10:27.
Car—FG Gano 30, 4:49.
Fourth Quarter
TB—FG Murray 26, 14:57.
Car—Newton 2 run (Gano kick), :35.
First downs .................20
Total Net Yards...........392
Passing ....................326
Punt Returns..............0-0
Kickoff Returns .........1-13
Interceptions Ret.......1-28
Comp-Att-Int .......21-27-0
Sacked-Yards Lost.....6-41
Punts ...................1-50.0
Fumbles-Lost .............3-3
Penalties-Yards .......12-72
Time of Possession..29:30
Individual Leaders
RUSHING: Tampa Bay, Barber 13-51,
Martin 6-7, Winston 3-6, Rodgers 1-2,
Sims 1-0. Carolina, Newton 14-52, McCaffrey 9-39, Stewart 7-19, Whittaker 1-5.
PASSING: Tampa Bay, Winston 21-270-367. Carolina, Newton 16-25-1-160,
Anderson 0-1-0-0.
RECEIVING: Tampa Bay, Evans 6-107,
Godwin 3-98, Humphries 3-51, Brate 313, Martino 2-57, Barber 2-4, Sims 1-19,
Wilson 1-18. Carolina, Bersin 3-45, Olsen
3-27, Funchess 3-11, Clay 2-24, McCaffrey 2-19, D.Byrd 1-31, Whittaker 1-4,
Stewart 1-(minus 1).
Murray 51.
M O N DAY , D E C E M B E R 2 5 , 2 017
L AT I M E S . C O M / S P O RT S
Standings have been arranged to reflect how the teams will be determined for the playoffs. Teams are ranked 1-15 by record. Division
standing no longer has any bearing on the rankings. The top eight
teams in each conference make the playoffs, and the top-seeded
team would play the eighth-seeded team, the seventh team would
play the second, etc. Head-to-head competition is the first of several
tiebreakers, followed by conference record. (Western Conference divisions: S-Southwest; P-Pacific; N-Northwest; Eastern Conference
divisions: A-Atlantic; C-Central; S-Southeast).
Two-way players nearing limit
The Clippers announced Sunday that both Williams and Wilson
had been transferred to the Agua
Caliente Clippers.
If Williams or Wilson reaches
the 45-day limit, their contract has
to be transferred to a “regular”
NBA contract or they can’t play for
the Clippers anymore this season.
An NBA team must have a free
roster spot to add a player, which
the Clippers do because they have
a 14-man roster.
“We have a plan, but it’s not a
good one, I can tell you that,” Rivers said. “I’m dead serious. Of the
plans that we have, none are good.
They are not just good situations.”
By Broderick Turner
1. Houston
2. Golden State
3. San Antonio
4. Minnesota
5. Denver
5. Oklahoma City
7. New Orleans
7. Portland
GB L10
31⁄2 7-3
9. Utah
12. Sacramento
13. Phoenix
14. Memphis
15. Dallas
1. Boston
2. Toronto
3. Cleveland
4. Indiana
5. Detroit
6. Milwaukee
7. Washington
8. New York
GB L10
11⁄2 9-1
11⁄2 8-2
61⁄2 7-3
71⁄2 5-5
71⁄2 6-4
9. Miami
10. Philadelphia
11. Brooklyn
12. Charlotte
13. Orlando
14. Chicago
15. Atlanta
at New York
at Golden State
at Boston
7:30 p.m.
9 a.m.
2:30 p.m.
at Oklahoma City 5 p.m.
The Clippers could be facing a
dilemma with two players who
have been beyond helpful during
the team’s time of need in this injury-ravaged season.
Guard C.J. Williams and forward Jamil Wilson were signed to
two-way contracts by the Clippers
to play for the Agua Caliente Clippers of Ontario.
According to the rules, players
can spend up to 45 days in the
NBA, while spending the rest of the
season in the development league.
Because of injuries, Williams
and Wilson have spent a lot of time
with the Clippers this season.
Williams has appeared in 20
games and started six.
Wilson has appeared in 14
games and started nine.
Besides the games, they have
also practiced with the Clippers,
and that counts as part of the 45day time limit they have spent with
the team.
“Yeah, that’s a tough one,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said.
“That’s hard. It’s saved us so far.
But we’re going to run into problems very soon with that and that’s
an issue. That’s a major issue for
With Blake Griffin (left knee injury), Danilo Gallinari (left glute)
and Wesley Johnson (left foot) all
still out and with Patrick Beverley
(right knee) out for the season, the
Clippers have leaned on Williams
and Wilson.
Williams, a 6-foot-5 guard, is averaging 4.5 points in 16.1 minutes
per game.
He’s making 41.7% of his shots,
Jordan progresses at
free-throw line
Harry How Getty Images
THE CLIPPERS’ C.J. Williams drives on Phoenix’s T.J. Warren
during a game Dec. 20. Williams is averaging 4.5 points per game.
35.3% of his three-pointers.
Wilson, a 6-7 forward, is averaging 6.3 points and 2.2 rebounds in
from top
guards are
on point
Injured Ball won’t
play on Christmas
By Tania Ganguli
John Wall, first overall pick by the
Washington Wizards in 2010: “Every point guard I played. Even the
guys that weren’t a top-10 point
guard, top-15 point guard, those
guys are going to target you because they want you to understand
what this league is about. One
week I had Derrick Rose, [Rajon]
Rondo, then I went on the road and
had Steve Nash, Chris Paul and
Russell Westbrook.”
Stephen Curry, seventh overall
pick by the Golden State Warriors
in 2009: “[Chris Paul] kind of took
me under his wing when I was coming out of college. … When you play
against him, he’s known for being a
true dog on the court, a competitor. He didn’t have any friends out
there, that’s kind of his mantra. As
a friend off the court, I got that experience my first time playing him.
He don’t care who you are, whether
you went to dinner the night before
or not, when it was inside the lines
it was go time.”
Chris Paul, fourth overall pick in
2005 by the New Orleans Hornets:
“I already knew Steph. I may have
[come after him], I’m sure I did.
But that’s going to be the same
case for anybody who says that
they played against me. I always
tell a story about the first time I
played against Steve Nash. My
rookie year. I couldn’t sleep the
night before the game because he
was the point guard. MVP. I wanted
to go at him. Me — the way my mind
works over the years as I’ve been
one of the older guys — I look at the
rookie as being me. I’m not letting
him go at me.”
Lesson 1: You are a target. Accept
it, embrace it, prove you can take
Wall: “There was times when I was
just like, man, I want to go back to
college and just play. Let me get
paid and go play in college. I’m a
competitor, I always want to win.
What’ll make it difficult for you is
when your teammates don’t take it
serious about losing. They enjoy
the lifestyle, they enjoy just being
Twitter: @BA_Turner
[NBA, from D1]
point guard for the Lakers.
Jason Kidd, second overall pick by
the Dallas Mavericks in 1994:
“You’re playing against men. It’s a
job and there are men out there
that are trying to embarrass you. …
Opening night [for me] it was, I
think, Kenny Anderson. You have
John Stockton, Gary Payton,
Mookie Blaylock, the list of guards
[goes on], because they know the
tricks. For a rookie you’re just out
there playing on straight adrenaline and talent. And not knowing
how to win until you get older.”
18.2 minutes per game.
He’s making 44.4% of his shots,
39.3% of his three-pointers.
There have been small encouraging signs from DeAndre Jordan
regarding his free-throw woes.
When the Houston Rockets intentionally fouled Jordan late in
Friday night’s game, the Clippers
center calmly knocked down all
four free throws.
When the Phoenix Suns intentionally fouled Jordan in the previous game, he made both of those
free throws.
So in a Hack-A-DJ moment,
Jordan was six for six from the freethrow line.
He is shooting a career-best
55.2% from the line.
“I just think he works hard on
it,” Rivers said. “Listen, he has the
form. Now it’s all between the ears
and just his confidence and seeing
the ball go in helps a lot.”
Rich Pedroncelli Associated Press
LAKERS COACH Luke Walton made Lonzo Ball his starting
point guard from the beginning of the season.
able to say they’re in the NBA. That
can get frustrating to you but I put
all that to the side and understand
what my ultimate goal was and
that was to be great in this league.
“I never lost that much in my
life. Having veterans around the
league that I met and that mentored me, they told me don’t ever
accept losing.”
with literally not playing. Sitting
fourth quarters or little things like
that. … That’s a learning experience to try to stay patient, not let it
kill your confidence but not let it
kill your spirit, either.”
Lesson 3: Coaches can teach you
and they can challenge you. Make
that work for your future.
Mike Conley, fourth overall pick
by the Memphis Grizzlies in 2007:
“I’m used to winning all my life.
Just coming off going to the national championship and having a
great year at Ohio State as a team,
to coming to the league and we may
have won 20 games, I’m not even
sure. I don’t even like thinking
about it. It was depressing for sure.
… I think with losing you learn what
not to do.
“After you go through a season
where you do lose 60 games or so,
you come back the next year
understanding in the fourth quarter we can’t turn the ball over or in
the beginning of the third quarter
we have to be ready to go. Can’t just
have a 10-point lead and think it’s
going to be over.”
Lesson 2: Only bad teams had the
chance to draft you, so you will
lose more than you’ve ever lost
before in your life. Hate it and remember it.
Paul: “[Then-Hornets coach Byron Scott] never let me off the
hook. When I say that I mean if we
were playing against the Phoenix
Suns, I had to guard Steve Nash. If
we were playing against the New
Jersey Nets, I had to guard Jason
Kidd. I had to guard Allen Iverson.
You know. That was fun and I think
that made me the competitor I am
Curry: “I had a stretch where I literally didn’t play probably 30 seconds. It’s a shell shock. In college
you’re the best player on your team
and have been for a while. All these
new types of situations — you have
to figure out how to deal with it
mentally but also stay ready for
when your time comes.
“I wouldn’t say it killed my confidence, more so it checks you. You
looked at high school, most guys
who get to this level they had a solid
college career. You don’t really deal
Wall: “I always had pressure on me
since I became the No. 1 player in
the country my junior year. Every
time I went on the court, everybody
wanted to take my title from me. So
I’m like, ‘OK I want to earn it.’ I
wanted to go out there and get it.”
Damian Lillard, sixth overall pick
by the Portland Trail Blazers in
2012: “I mean, I guess that’s good
pressure. For me, I come in here
and I took a lot of pride in wanting
to be a huge part of that change. I
guess when that’s what’s tagged to
your name and what people expect
of you, you’ve gotta embrace it and
you’ve gotta have fun. Because if it
doesn’t happen, it doesn’t happen.
If it doesn’t work out, at the end of
the day it’s a team game, the right
pieces have to be in place to be successful.
“When you embrace it and you
know in your mind it’s going to
work out because that’s the only
option, you tend to work a little bit
harder and you’re more dedicated
to it because you want to be as sure
as possible that it goes that way.”
Lesson 4: This franchise needs
you to change its future, find
strength in the pressure.
Conley:“You’re like 19 years old,
they’re supposed to be listening to
a young guy like you. It was [hard]
trying to figure out how to do that. I
had some great veterans on our
team. Damon Stoudamire was
there with me. Mike Miller. I really
just asked a lot of questions. How
can I be better? What’s the best
way to go about being a leader for a
team? How can I make myself better as a player? … The game is all
about confidence and being able to
go out and play your game. Once I
felt it, everybody believed in me.”
Wall: “It was a lot [more] difficult
for me because we had the stuff
Lonzo Ball won’t play in his first
Christmas Day game.
The Lakers point guard had an
MRI exam Sunday on his left shoulder, which he injured on Saturday
night during a 95-92 loss to the
Portland Trail Blazers. He suffered
the injury shortly before halftime
and left the court with Lakers
trainer Marco Nunez. Ball returned
to the game after an examination
and said he was fine.
“I am not really sure what happened but definitely felt it pop kind
of,” Ball said Saturday. “I’ll just ice
it and be ready to go Christmas.”
Further testing proved otherwise.
Overall this season, Ball has
shot 35% from the field and 29%
from three-point range. During a
five-game span heading into Saturday night, Ball made 47% of his
The Lakers say Ball will be
reevaluated in one week. That
could mean he misses five games.
During the next week the Lakers
will play Minnesota (twice), the
Clippers, Houston and Memphis.
Frustrating officiating
There isn’t a coach in the NBA
who has been assessed more technical fouls than Lakers coach Luke
But Walton doesn’t typically express his frustrations in his
postgame interviews.
That changed Saturday night.
“Every night I hear different
rules about what’s a foul and what’s
not a foul,” Walton said. “I got a
technical tonight. I didn’t know
that if you try to draw a charge and
you flop, the flop is a defensive foul.
I guess I was wrong on that.”
Walton was frustrated by some
calls Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
didn’t get.
“James Harden shot 20 free
throws doing the same things
against us,” Walton said.
“[Lonzo Ball] gets his shoulder
ripped. It’s frustrating. We’re trying
to teach this young team how to
play and what to do and do it prop-
that happened with Gilbert [Arenas] and those guys, dealing with
that, then a lot of the veteran guys
were gone. That got a lot of veteran
guys out of there by the time I came
in, so it was basically me trying to
Lillard: “A couple of my assistants
would tell me you gotta talk more,
you gotta be more vocal. I did it as I
got more comfortable. The more
situations I saw myself in, lategame situations or blown coverages or situations where I noticed what type of defense or what
kind of coverage the other team is
in, then I can go to my teammates
and say, ‘When they do this I need
you to roll into the gap because
then the help-side is going to come
over and it’ll be a three on the opposite side.’
erly, and it just feels like every night
it’s a different excuse on why we’re
not getting calls. … [Kyle] Kuzma
shot a three late in the game and
I’m sitting there watching, his
whole shooting arm gets hit. He
can’t even follow through. We’re up
one. Three free throws. Maybe we
win that way, we could have won
the game.”
After his measured rant, Walton
added that his own players could
have done more to avoid the whistles from the officials.
The elephant in the room
Many of the men who play for
the Lakers today probably won’t be
part of the team in the near future.
That’s a reality of this season, as
the Lakers haven’t been shy about
wanting to add two max contracts
to their roster this summer.
That creates an awkward situation for some of the players whom
the Lakers might try to move in order to get the necessary salary-cap
space, or those who they’ve already
tried to move like Jordan Clarkson
and Julius Randle.
“We laugh about it but you just
can’t let it affect you,” Andrew
Bogut said. “It is hard to tell young
guys — 18, 19, 20 — that come from a
great college environment that are
usually great cultures that are built
on team first. And then you come
into a situation like this sometimes
where ... guys don’t know if they are
coming or going.
“That is just the way it is in professional sports. You have to just
come in and do your job to your
best ability.”
When: 7:30.
On the air: TV: TNT; Radio: 710,
Update: Minnesota comes to Los
Angeles on a three-game winning
streak. The Timberwolves (20-13)
are a young team on the rise and
currently fourth in the Western
Conference after the Warriors,
Rockets and Spurs.
“Stuff like that I had to be out
there and be thrown into the fire
over, I guess, a period of time so I
could recognize what I needed to
say. What I needed to be vocal
Paul: “It can be tough. It can definitely be tough. But you gotta try to
figure it out. I remember I had
some really good assistant
coaches, Darrell Walker, Kenny
“Those guys used to always tell
me to be more assertive. … My
coaches used to stay on me. ‘Go.
Play. Lead.’ ”
Lesson 5: Find people who can
help because, ready or not, your
team will need you to lead.
Twitter: @taniaganguli
M O N DAY , D E C E M B E R 2 5 , 2 017
L AT I M E S . C O M / S P O RT S
Bulldogs win Hawaii Bowl
McMaryion has
career day as Fresno
State earns first 10-win
season in five years.
associated press
McMaryion threw for a career-best 342 yards and
Jimmy Camacho made four
field goals to help Fresno
State beat Houston 33-27 on
Sunday in the Hawaii Bowl.
McMaryion completed 33
of 48 passes to tie the Hawaii
Bowl record for completions
set by Hawaii’s Colt Brennan against Arizona State in
2006 and also matched by
Fresno State’s Derek Carr
against Southern Methodist
in 2012.
The Bulldogs (10-4) had
their first 10-win season in
five years and completed the
biggest turnaround in the
Football Bowl Subdivision
this season. They went 1-11
last year, and became just
the second team in FBS history to go from double-digit
losses one season to doubledigit wins in the next.
The Cougars (7-5) were
seeking their fifth consecutive season of eight or more
Camacho was kept busy
in his final game for Fresno
State. He attempted six field
goals, with makes of 27, 38, 26
and 33 yards, but missed a
56-yarder in the second
quarter — which would have
been a career long — and had
a 24-yard try blocked and returned for a Houston touchdown in the third quarter.
Camacho broke the Hawaii
Bowl record for field goals
Fresno State finished
with 480 yards of total offense to Houston’s 341.
Defensive tackle Ed Oliver, the first underclassman
to win the Outland Trophy,
had his first career carry — a
one-yard touchdown run —
to cap Houston’s first scoring drive in the first quarter.
KeeSean Johnson caught
eight passes for 95 yards for
Fresno State and went over
the 1,000-yard mark for the
Steven Dunbar, one of
two senior receivers for the
Cougars, had seven receptions for 168 yards.
McMaryion and Dunbar
were selected as the game’s
most valuable players.
Heart of Dallas: Utah vs. West Virginia
Tuesday, 10:30 a.m., ESPN
Utah by 61⁄2
Quick Lane: Duke vs. Northern Illinois
Tuesday, 2:15 p.m., ESPN
Duke by 51⁄2
Cactus: Kansas State vs. UCLA
Tuesday, 6 p.m., ESPN
Kansas St. by 61⁄2
Independence: Southern Miss. vs. Florida St.
Wed., 10:30 a.m., ESPN
Florida St. by 17
Pinstripe: Iowa vs. Boston College
Wed., 2:15 p.m., ESPN
Iowa by 21⁄2
Foster Farms: Arizona vs. Purdue
Wed., 5:30 p.m., Ch. 11
Arizona by 31⁄2
Texas: Texas vs. Missouri
Wed., 6 p.m., ESPN
Missouri by 31⁄2
Military: Virginia vs. Navy
Thursday, 10:30 a.m., ESPN Navy by 11⁄2
Camping World: Virginia Tech vs. Okla. St.
Thursday, 2:15 p.m., ESPN
Okla. State by 4
Alamo: Stanford vs. Texas Christian
Thursday, 6 p.m., ESPN
TCU by 2 1⁄2
Holiday: Washington State vs. Michigan State
Thursday, 6 p.m., FS1
Mich. State by 1
Belk: Wake Forest vs. Texas A&M
Friday, 10 a.m., ESPN
Wake Forest by 3
Sun: North Carolina State vs. Arizona State
Friday, Noon, Ch. 2
N.C. State by 61⁄2
Music City: Kentucky vs. Northwestern
Friday, 1:30 p.m., ESPN
N’western by 7 1⁄2
Arizona: Utah State vs. New Mexico State
Friday, 2:30 p.m., CBSSN
Utah State by 4
Cotton: USC vs. Ohio State
Friday, 5:30 p.m., ESPN
Ohio State by 71⁄2
TaxSlayer: Louisville vs. Mississippi State
Saturday, 9 a.m., ESPN
Louisville by 6
Liberty: Iowa State vs. Memphis
Saturday, 9:30 a.m., Ch. 7
Memphis by 4
Fiesta: Washington vs. Penn State
Saturday, 1 p.m., ESPN
Penn State by 11⁄2
Orange: Wisconsin vs. Miami
Saturday, 5 p.m., ESPN
Wisconsin by 51⁄2
Outback: Michigan vs. South Carolina
Jan. 1, 9 a.m., ESPN2
Michigan by 71⁄2
Peach: Central Florida vs. Auburn
Jan. 1, 9:30 a.m., ESPN
Auburn by 91⁄2
Citrus: Notre Dame vs. Louisiana State
Jan. 1, 10 a.m., Ch. 7
LSU by 31⁄2
Rose: Georgia vs. Oklahoma
Jan. 1, 2 p.m., ESPN
Georgia by 2
Sugar: Alabama vs. Clemson
Jan. 1, 5:45 p.m., ESPN
Alabama by 3
College Football Championship
Jan. 8, 5 p.m., ESPN
Celebration: N.C. A&T 21, Grambling 14
New Mexico: Marshall 31, Colorado State 28
Las Vegas: Boise State 38, Oregon 28
Camellia: Middle Tenn. 35, Arkansas State 30
Cure: Georgia State 27, Western Kentucky 17
New Orleans: Troy 50, North Texas 30
Boca Raton: Florida Atlantic 50, Akron 3
Frisco: Louisiana Tech 51, So. Methodist 10
Gasparilla: Temple 28, Florida International 3
Bahamas: Ohio 41, Alabama Birmingham 6
Idaho Potato: Wyoming 37, Central Mich. 14
Birmingham: South Florida 38, Texas Tech 34
FRESNO STATE quarterback Marcus McMaryion
Armed Forces: Army 42, S.D. State 35
Dollar General: Appalachian St. 34, Toledo 0
dives into the end zone in the Hawaii Bowl.
Hawaii: Fresno State 33, Houston 27
Eugene Tanner Associated Press
Serena Williams to return
to the court on Saturday
No. Team
1. Vegas
3. St. Louis
4. Nashville
5. Winnipeg
6. Dallas
7. San Jose
No. Team
1. Tampa Bay
2. New Jersey
3. Columbus
4. Washington
5. Toronto
6. Boston
7. NY Islanders
8. NY Rangers
wire reports
Serena Williams is returning
to competition with an exhibition match Saturday in Abu
Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
against French Open champion
Jelena Ostapenko.
Williams has not competed
since winning the Australian
Open last January while she was
pregnant. She will face Latvia’s
Ostapenko at the Mubadala
World Tennis Championship in
the first year that women will be
taking part, tournament organizers announced Sunday.
“I am delighted to be returning to the court in Abu Dhabi for
the first time since the birth of
my daughter in September,” the
36-year-old Williams said in a
Williams is expected to compete for her 24th major championship at the Australian Open,
which starts Jan. 15. She gave
birth to a girl named Alexis
Olympia Ohanian Jr. on Sept. 1.
She married Reddit co-founder
Alexis Ohanian in November.
Overtime or shootout losses are worth 1 point.
Dita Alangkara Associated Press
SERENA WILLIAMS , who had a baby in September, will
play Jelena Ostapenko in an exhibition in Abu Dhabi.
for the 2018 NFL draft. He made
his announcement on his Instagram account.
Coutee led the Big 12 Conference in receiving yards (1,429),
ranked second in catches (93)
and placed fourth in touchdown
catches (10).
He had 11 receptions for 187
yards and a touchdown Saturday in the Red Raiders’ 38-34
loss to South Florida in the Birmingham Bowl.
Texas Tech star
declares for draft
Texas Tech wide receiver
Keke Coutee said he would give
up his senior season and declare
Arizona State hired San Diego State’s Danny Gonzales as
defensive coordinator. Gonzales
spent the last seven seasons with
the Aztecs. He was the safeties
coach until being promoted to
defensive coordinator in 2017.
Gonzales replaces Phil Ben-
nett, who opted not to join new
coach Herm Edwards’ staff because of personal and health reasons.
San Diego State finished the
season 11th nationally in total defense under Gonzales, allowing
303.5 yards per game, and ninth
against the run at 110.4 yards.
Jerry Kindall, the first man
to win College World Series titles
as both a player and a coach, died
Sunday. He was 82. The University of Arizona said Kindall
died of complications from a
stroke suffered Thursday. Kindall coached Arizona to national
titles in 1976, 1980 and 1986 after
starring at shortstop on the University of Minnesota’s 1956 championship team.
1956 — Corky Devlin of Fort Wayne goes 0for-15 from the field against the Minneapolis Lakers to tie an NBA record.
1971 — Garo Yepremian's 37-yard field goal at
7:40 of the second overtime gives the Miami Dolphins a 27-24 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs
in the first round of the AFC playoffs. At 82:40,
it's the longest game in NFL history.
1984 — Bernard King of the New York Knicks
scores 60 points in a 120-114 loss to the New
Jersey Nets.
1995 — Emmitt Smith of the Dallas Cowboys
scores his 25th touchdown of the season in a
37-13 win over Arizona, breaking the record for
most TDs in a season. Smith passes John Riggins
of Washington, who scored 24 in 1983.
1999 — Hawaii beats Oregon 23-17 in the
Oahu Bowl to cap a remarkable turnaround for
the Rainbow Warriors. Hawaii improves from 012 in 1998 to 9-4 — the greatest single-season
improvement in NCAA history.
2002 — Katie Hnida becomes the first woman
to play in a Division I football game when she
attempts an extra point following a New Mexico
touchdown in the Las Vegas Bowl. Hnida, a walkon junior, has her kick blocked in the 27-13 loss
to UCLA.
2008 — The Lakers beat Boston to end the
Celtics' franchise-record winning streak at 19
games. Kobe Bryant scores 27 points and grabs
nine rebounds to lead Los Angeles in the 92-83
win. Lakers coach Phil Jackson reaches 1,000
victories. Jackson, the sixth coach to reach
1,000, has a career record of 1,000-423.
2008 — New Orleans guard Chris Paul has his
NBA-record steals streak end at 108 games in
the Hornets' 88-68 loss to Orlando.
2012 — The Clippers extend their franchiserecord winning streak to 14 games with a 112100 win over the Denver Nuggets.
2016 — Ben Roethlisberger shakes off a pair
of interceptions to throw two late touchdowns to
lift the Steelers to a 31-27 victory over the Baltimore Ravens. The win is the 600th regular-season victory in franchise history.
Dec. 30
At Yokohama, Japan, Naoya Inoue vs. Yoan
Boyeaux, 12, for Inoue's WBO junior-bantamweight title; Ken Shiro vs. Gilberto Pedroza,
12, for Shiro's WBC junior-flyweight title; Satoshi
Shimizu vs. Filipino Edward Mancito, 12, featherweights; Takuma Inoue vs. Kentaro Masuda, 10,
Dec. 31
At Tokyo, Milan Melindo vs. Ryoichi Taguchi,
12, Melindo's IBF and Taguchi's WBA junior-flyweight titles; Hiroto Kyoguchi vs. Carlos Buitrago,
12, for Kyoguchi's IBF strawweight title; Sho
Kimura vs. Toshiyuki Igarashi, 12, for Kimura's
WBO flyweight title.
Jan. 27
At Riga, Latvia, Oleksandr Usyk vs. Mairis
Briedis, 12, for WBO Usyk's and Briedis' WBC
World cruiserweight titles (World Boxing Super
Series semifinals).
At the Forum, Inglewood (HBO), Lucas
Matthysse vs. Tewa Kiram, 12, for the vacant WBA
welterweight title; Jorge Linares vs. Mercito
Gesta, 12, for Linares' WBA lightweight title.
Feb. 17
At Mandalay Bay Events Center, Las Vegas
(SHO), Danny Garcia vs. Brandon Rios, 12,
welterweights; David Benavidez vs. Ronald
Gavril, 12, for Benavidez's WBC super-middleweight title.
Feb. 24
At the Forum, Inglewood (HBO), Wisaksil
Wangek vs. Juan Francisco Estrada, 12, for
Wangek's WBC super-flyweight title; Carlos
Cuadras vs. McWilliams Arroyo, 10, junior-bantamweights.
KINGS — Assigned D Kevin Gravel and G Jack
Campbell to Ontario (AHL).
Arizona State — Named Danny Gonzales defensive coordinator.
Line (O/U)
9 (451⁄2)
9 (461⁄2)
Line (O/U)
11 (OFF)
7 (OFF)
Green Bay
21⁄2 (OFF)
3 (OFF)
New Orleans
81⁄2 (OFF)
17 (OFF)
NY Jets
1 (OFF)
3 (OFF)
12 (OFF)
3 (OFF)
7 (OFF)
7 (OFF)
4 (OFF)
Kansas City
6 (OFF)
San Francisco
Updated odds available at
Hawaii 79, Davidson 71
No games scheduled Sunday
Diamond Head Classic
Akron vs. Davidson, 9:30 a.m.
Princeton vs. Hawaii, 11:30 a.m.
USC vs. New Mexico State, 3 p.m.
Middle Tennessee vs. Miami, 5:30 p.m.
No games scheduled
No games scheduled for men or women
No. 1 Villanova at DePaul, 4:30 p.m.
No. 9 Xavier at Marquette, 5:30 p.m.
San Diego Christian at CS Northridge, 7 p.m.
Air Force at New Mexico, 6 p.m.
San Diego State at Wyoming, 6 p.m.
San Jose State at Utah State, 6 p.m.
Colorado State at Boise State, 6:30 p.m.
Nevada at Fresno State, 7 p.m.
Morgan State vs. Grand Canyon (in Las Vegas), 6
Limestone at South Carolina, noon
Bulter at Georgetown, 3:30 p.m.
Eastern Michigan at Syracuse, 4 p.m.
Florida Gulf Coast at Rhode Island, 4 p.m.
Delaware State at Pennsylvania, 4 p.m.
Coppin State at Georgia Tech, 4:30 p.m.
CS Bakersfield at Arkansas, 5 p.m.
Chicago State at Wisconsin, 6 p.m.
Central Florida at Southern Methodist, 6 p.m.
Delaware State at Florida, 11 a.m.
Sam Houston State at LSU, 4:30 p.m.
M O N D A Y , D E C E M B E R 2 5 , 2 0 1 7 :: L A T I M E S . C O M / C A L E N D A R
Fabio Lovino TriStar Pictures
A DRAMATIC chapter in Getty family history is told in “All the Money in the World.” Christopher Plummer portrays J. Paul Getty, Charlie Shotwell his grandson.
‘Money’ in the bank
Ridley Scott enlists A-team actors to look at wealth’s darker side
KENNETH TURAN FILM CRITIC >>> When you want to accom-
plish the unprecedented and make it look routine, it helps to
have the skill, experience and committed collaborators Ridley
Scott commands in “All the Money in the World.”
The 80-year-old veteran director, responsible for everything
from “Blade Runner” and “Alien” to “Gladiator” and “Thelma
& Louise,” made a decision last month to replace embattled
principal Kevin Spacey with Christopher Plummer with just
six weeks to go before the film’s scheduled December release.
He’s done it so successfully in this propulsive story of the notorious 1973 kidnapping of John Paul Getty III that the movie is
only a few minutes old before the whole issue fades from your
That’s partly because of the impeccable craft and complete
success of Plummer in the role of the victim’s grandfather, J.
Paul Getty — a.k.a. “the richest man in the history of the world”
— who refuses to pay so much as a penny of ransom out of a
bizarre combination of parsimoniousness and principle.
Plummer, much closer in age to Getty than Spacey was in the
role, makes a marvelous miser, never as disappointed by beautiful objects as he is by fallible people. “If you can actually count
your money,” the real Getty once said, “then you’re not a rich
Also key to getting this job done is the director’s high-functioning production machine, including cinematographer Dariusz Wolski (this is his sixth film with Scott) and editor Claire
Simpson, capable of reshooting and integrating 22 new scenes
into the finished product in record time at a reported cost of
$10 million.
Though its theme of the corrosive influence of unimaginable
wealth is not exactly news, “All the Money” benefits, in much
the same way that Scott’s similar (and underappreciated)
“American Gangster” did, from the director’s expertise at
bringing pace and interest to stories he cares enough about to
sink his teeth into.
It also helps, obviously, to have an involv- [See ‘Money,’ E6]
A strangely spellbinding ‘Thread’
The wondrously
perverse love story
shows Paul Thomas
Anderson at his best.
One of the most exquisite
moments in Paul Thomas
Thread,” a film composed
entirely from exquisite moments, features a delicious
riff on boy-meets-girl.
The boy is having breakfast at a country inn; the girl
is waiting on him. She trips,
charmingly, on her way to his
table, then jots down his order — a feast of Welsh rarebit, scones and sausages —
while returning his warm
smile with a nervous, playful
one of her own.
“Will you remember?” he
asks, confiscating her notes.
She will indeed.
Much of the pleasure of
this spellbinding movie, set
in England during the 1950s,
[See ‘Phantom,’ E8]
Laurie Sparham Focus Features
“PHANTOM THREAD’S” dressmaker (Daniel Day-Lewis) and muse (Vicky Krieps) share an intense bond.
portrays an organizer of
high-end card games.
‘Molly’s Game,’ like
the world around
which it revolves,
takes risks to win big.
“Molly’s Game,” Jessica
Chastain almost never
raises her voice. She speaks
with a calm and clarity that
pull you in, conveying intimacy and authority in the
same breath.
It’s a shrewd tactic that
guarded temperament of
her real-life alter ego, Molly
Bloom, a ferociously smart
cookie who at 26 found herself running a high-stakes
poker empire — a job she
landed by safeguarding secrets, instilling trust and
avoiding the kind of spotlight that writer-director
Aaron Sorkin has now
thrown upon her.
Chastain’s measured delivery may also be due to the
fact that she has an ungodly
amount of dialogue to plow
through — did I mention it’s
an Aaron Sorkin movie? —
and an excess of volume
would have almost certainly
cost her in speed, coherence
and stamina. At 140 minutes,
this movie qualifies as some[See ‘Game,’ E4]
M O N DAY , D E C E M B E R 2 5 , 2 017
L AT I M E S . C O M / CA L E N DA R
The breakout stars of 2017
BY SONAIYA KELLEY >>> In 2017, we needed entertainment more than ever — as both a way to make sense of the chaos going on in the
world, and as a salve and means of escape. Some of the highlights: Jordan Peele’s indie darling “Get Out,” which did blockbuster numbers at the box office ($175 million, to be exact) and ushered in a robust year for indie films (”Lady Bird”! “Three Billboards”! “The Big
Sick”!). We saw “around the way girls” Tiffany Haddish and Cardi B defy the odds and conquer 2017 armed with big dreams and a
killer sense of humor. And women in both titular and in supporting roles stole the show in the year’s biggest blockbusters (we’re
looking at you, Gal Gadot and Kelly Marie Tran). Here are our picks for the biggest breakouts of the year:
matter like substance
abuse, rape and suicide.
Langford was nominated
for a Golden Globe for her
portrayal of Hannah Baker,
a high school student who
takes her own life, but not
before leaving behind recorded audio cassettes for
her bullies.
Tiffany Haddish
Following her hilarious
turn in July’s smash hit
“Girls Trip,” Haddish rose
from relative obscurity to
stardom in a matter of
months. The 38-year-old
made history as the first
black female stand-up
comic to host “Saturday
Night Live” in the show’s
42-year run, stepped into
Phoebe Buffay’s sticky
shoes in Jay-Z’s “Friends”inspired “Moonlight” video,
wrote a memoir (“The Last
Black Unicorn”), befriended
Taylor Swift and Barbra
Streisand and managed to
take Will and Jada Pinkett
Smith on a Groupon swamp
tour. Not to mention the
South-Central native took
home awards from the New
York Film Critics Circle and
African-American Film
Critics Assn. for her supporting actress role as Dina
in “Girls Trip,” along with
the rising icon award from
the American Black Film
Festival. Next up, Haddish
is in production with Kevin
Hart in the fall release
“Night School” and joins
Tracy Morgan in the TBS
comedy series “The Last
Desus and Mero
Comedy duo Desus Nice
and the Kid Mero, a.k.a. the
Bodega Boys, parlayed a
successful podcast into
Viceland’s first daily latenight show. The Bronx
natives bring their signature wit to “Desus & Mero”
and tackle all manner of
topics from politics to
sports and entertainment.
Lena Waithe,
“Master of None”
Waithe made history this
year as the first black woman to win an Emmy for
writing in a comedy series
for the much-lauded
“Thanksgiving” episode of
“Master of None.” The story
was inspired by Waithe’s
own experience coming out.
Now she’s helming her own
show, Showtime’s “The
Chi,” as creator and executive producer. She’s also
joining the cast of Netflix’s
“Dear White People” for its
second season.
Freddie Highmore,
“The Good Doctor”
Highmore went from
taking lives as Norman
Bates in “Bates Motel” to
saving lives in “The Good
Doctor,” ABC’s drama
about a young, autistic
surgeon. The 25-year-old’s
performance in the Daniel
Dae Kim-produced series
earned him his first Golden
Globe nomination.
Gal Gadot
Proving once and for all
that female superheroes are
just as bankable as men,
Gadot’s “Wonder Woman”
led the Patty Jenkins-directed blockbuster to $822
million in worldwide grosses
for Warner Bros. Gadot was
also crucial to the success of
“Justice League,” which so
far has grossed more than
$638 million worldwide.
That makes her 2017’s $1.5billion woman.
Robin Thede,
“The Rundown”
Formerly the head writer
of “The Nightly Show With
Larry Wilmore,” Thede now
has her own late-night talk
show, BET’s “The Rundown
With Robin Thede.” It’s the
only late-night show hosted
by a woman of color.
Greta Gerwig
After making her mark
as an actress in independent films (“Frances Ha,”
“Wiener-Dog,” “20th Century Women”), Gerwig
made a splash with her
directorial debut, “Lady
Bird.” A semiautobiographical take on her upbringing in Sacramento, the
film enjoyed a brief reign as
the best-reviewed movie of
all time on Rotten Tomatoes. It’s received four
Golden Globe nominations,
including acting nods for
Saoirse Ronan and Laurie
Metcalf, and is a best picture front-runner for the
Kirk McKoy Los Angeles Times
TIMOTHÉE CHALAMET appears in two buzz-worthy films: “Call Me by Your Name” and “Lady Bird.”
Daniel Kaluuya
The massive success of
Jordan Peele’s “Get Out”
was due in large part to
Kaluuya’s portrayal of Chris
Washington, a black man
meeting his white girlfriend’s parents (to disastrous results). A modern
“Guess Who’s Coming to
Dinner” with a horror-movie
twist, the satire is nominated for best comedy or
musical at this year’s Golden Globes. Even before “Get
Out,” he’d gotten notice for
his performance in
“Sicario,” and his “Black
Mirror” episode “Fifteen
Million Merits” was an
underground favorite. In
February, though, he goes
total blockbuster as he dons
a bionic arm as W’Kabi in
the highly anticipated
“Black Panther.”
Mel Melcon Los Angeles Times
Timothée Chalamet
Chamalet emerged on
the scene in two best picture
front-runners this year,
revealing chameleonic
versatility first as pseudophilosopher Kyle in “Lady
Bird” before starring in
Luca Guadagnino’s “Call
Me by Your Name.” His
performance as a 17-year-old
who falls in love with a handsome friend of his father’s
earned Golden Globe and
SAG Award nominations.
And Spain’s Pedro Almodovar called him “the revelation of the year.”
Jay L. Clendenin Los Angeles Times
“THE RUNDOWN’S” Robin Thede stands out as the
FEMALE superheroes got a big lift with Gal Gadot’s
sole woman of color on the late-night hosting front.
turn as Wonder Woman in two blockbuster films.
Cardi B
The story seems unlikely:
Cardi, a former dancer, went
from starring on VH1’s
reality series “Love & Hip
Hop” to emerging as one of
the top female MCs in the
span of a year. The Bronx
native’s smash hit “Bodak
Yellow” is nominated for two
Grammys and spent time at
the top of the Billboard Hot
100 chart, making her the
first solo woman rapper in
nearly two decades to do so.
She’s also the first female
rapper whose first three
singles landed among the
top 10 on the Billboard Hot
100. Plus, her romance with
Migos’ Offset has made her
one-half of rap’s latest
power couple.
The 27-year-old singersongwriter is up for five
Grammy Awards this year,
including new artist and
urban contemporary album
for her debut studio album
Luis Fonsi
Fonsi’s crossover Latin
track “Despacito” (featuring Daddy Yankee) became
YouTube’s most-watched
video and was the consensus “song of the summer.”
“Despacito” has already
won four Latin Grammys
and will compete for three
more Grammys on Jan. 28.
If Fonsi and Daddy Yankee
win for song of the year,
“Despacito” would be the
first Spanish-language song
to win the honor.
Dylan Minnette and Katherine Langford, “13 Reasons Why”
Netflix’s breakout teen
drama “13 Reasons Why”
brought suicide awareness
to the fore. Starring Minnette and Langford as starcrossed would-be lovers, the
show tackles tough subject
Rachel Brosnahan,
“The Marvelous Mrs.
Amazon Video’s “The
Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,”
which debuted in late November, has already been
nominated for two Golden
Globes — one for comedy
series and one for actress
thanks to Brosnahan’s
portrayal of Maisel, a soonto-be single mother who
discovers she has a knack
for stand-up comedy.
David Borrat EPA
Carolyn Cole Los Angeles Times
WITH THE Spanish-language “Despacito” in Gram-
“GET OUT” cemented Daniel Kaluuya’s clout, but an
my’s sights, there’s no slowing down for Luis Fonsi.
earlier turn on Netflix’s “Black Mirror” drew raves.
Twitter: @sonaiyak
M O N DAY , D E C E M B E R 2 5 , 2 017
L AT I M E S . C O M / CA L E N DA R
Michael Gibson STXfilms
THE HIGH-LEVEL cast of “Molly’s Game” is led by
Jessica Chastain in the title role. Idris Elba costars.
This game’s
hands are
all around
[‘Game,’ from E1]
thing of an endurance test,
crammed to the rafters with
voice-over narration, rapidfire banter and some gratifyingly cogent poker commentary. But as endurance tests
go, “Molly’s Game” is also an
incorrigible, unapologetic
blast — a dazzling rise-andfall biopic that races forward, backward and sideways, propelled by long,
windy gusts of grade-A
Drawn from Bloom’s 2014
memoir as well as episodes
and experiences she didn’t
include, the movie is a big,
brash tale of American striving as well as an identityblurring, chronology-fudging bit of storytelling business. It’s held in check, and
held together, by its cleareyed admiration of its protagonist and a genuine
sense of commitment to her
This is no small thing for
Sorkin, who, in his long and
productive career of writing
for film and television, from
the testosterone-heavy offices of “Sports Night” to the
narratives of “The Social
Network,” “Moneyball” and
“Steve Jobs,” has never before given us a proper female
lead. But he’s found a superb one in Bloom and a formidable, irresistible heroine
in Chastain, and he’s returned the favor by allowing
the character to tell her own
story from start to finish.
If incessant voice-over is
then “Molly’s Game” might
be the exception that proves
the rule. It may not have the
rich visual flourishes that a
David Fincher or a Danny
Boyle might have brought to
the table, but Sorkin, in a
solid directing debut, knows
instinctively how to shuffle
images, dialogue and music
together for maximum narrative drive.
A terrific opening sequence finds Molly narrating a painful flashback to
her days as a world-class
skier, specifically the painful
accident that dashed her
Olympic dreams. It’s a
sharp, teasing setup for a
tale of even higher stakes
and steeper falls from grace,
set in motion by an early
scene of Molly being arrested by the FBI for her alleged involvement in an illegal gambling racket.
Flash back a few years to
around 2003, when Molly
puts her law-school plans on
hold, leaves her Colorado
hometown and moves to Los
Angeles. There, she begins
working as a cocktail waitress and then an assistant to
a Hollywood insider, Dean
Keith (Jeremy Strong, nice
and sleazy), who soon has
Molly running his weekly
poker night out of the Cobra
Club (a stand-in for the notorious Viper Room), complete with $10,000 buy-ins
from a pool of hand-picked,
high-profile names.
The details of how she hijacks the operation and
gives it a stylish upgrade — a
suite at the Four Seasons,
multiple games per week,
millions of dollars on the table — make “Molly’s Game”
the most absorbing poker
movie in many a moon, told
with breathtaking dexterity
and an invaluable assist
from a crowded supporting
cast. The actors who plant
themselves at Molly’s table
include Michael Cera (a vicious stand-in for Tobey
Maguire), Brian d’Arcy
James, Chris O’Dowd and
Bill Camp, the last especially good as a seasoned
player who bottoms out
spectacularly in one of the
movie’s many cautionary
Even before a few Russian mobsters get in on the
action, taking this loaded
but legal enterprise in a
more sordid direction, Molly
has no shortage of greedy,
overconfident men to cajole,
spar with, counsel and occasionally turn the tables on.
But for the most part, she
remains on the sidelines, an
underplays beautifully, with
a level of nuance that
eclipses even her earlier
take-no-prisoners performances in films like “Miss
Sloane” and “Zero Dark
Thirty.” Chastain draws us
so deeply into Molly’s lightning-speed thought processes that you can almost
see her synapses firing,
making “Molly’s Game” not
just a biographical portrait
but a genuine thriller of the
mind. The thrill comes from
watching Molly figure everything out: She knows little
about poker or high-stakes
gambling when she’s first
getting started, but she has
an appetite for research, an
ease with technology and a
knack for calculating an
idea’s untapped potential.
If the movie emerges as a
celebration of its heroine’s
wits, it is also, ultimately, a
defense of her scruples —
through a deft combination
of “Social Network” structural gimmickry and “Steve
Jobs” sentimental back
story. For the movie’s purposes, the two most important men in Molly’s life are
her attorney, Charlie Jaffy (a
superb Idris Elba), who
both loathes and admires
her refusal to sell out her client list for a possible reduced sentence, and her demanding, emotionally distant father (Kevin Costner),
who materializes, in key
flashbacks, to teach and torment his daughter anew.
The most questionable
scene involves the fastidious
unpacking of Molly’s daddy
issues, sending Sorkin’s
penchant for overexplanation into overdrive and potentially chipping away at
the movie’s feminist bona
fides. At the risk of mansplaining myself, I’m not
sure that it does. Molly isn’t
reduced, simplified or sentimentalized by her reckonings with the past, and the
victory she wrests from the
closing scenes is nothing if
not fully earned. She’s a winner in a movie that proves
worthy of her.
‘Molly’s Game’
Rated: R, for language,
drug content and some
Running time: 2 hours, 20
Playing: In general release
M O N DAY , D E C E M B E R 2 5 , 2 017
L AT I M E S . C O M / CA L E N DA R
Photographs by
Fabio Lovino TriStar Pictures
A GETTY family drama is enacted by a cast that
includes Michelle Williams and Mark Wahlberg.
‘Money’ has
a wealth of
fine details
[‘Money,’ from E1]
ing script, and David
Scarpa’s work, which appeared on 2015’s Black List,
structures the Getty story in
a way that combines a history of family dysfunction
with a true-crime drama.
Adapted from John Pearson’s nonfiction work “Painfully Rich: The Outrageous
Fortune and Misfortunes of
the Heirs of J. Paul Getty,”
Scarpa’s script is true to the
broad outlines of the story
while feeling free to dramatize specific incidents.
In addition to Plummer,
“All the Money” is fortunate
to have Michelle Williams in
the cast. Her role as the victim’s grieving but resolute
mother, Gail Harris, is also a
standard one, but Williams
invests such passion in it
that her work elevates the
entire film.
Always expert at bringing conviction and reality to
her characters, Williams
makes Harris into a splendid
antagonist for Plummer’s
Getty, as her concern for human caring and emotion is
the perfect counterweight to
the older man’s rigid inflexibility.
Before these two have
any reason to clash, we’re introduced to the center of attention, 16-year-old John
Paul Getty III, known in real
life as “the Golden Hippie”
because of the cascading
blond hair he affected.
Charlie Plummer (star of
the festival hit “Lean on
Pete”) perfectly captures
the insouciance of young
Getty as he wanders the
late-night streets of Rome,
and the film uses his voiceover to make shrewd points
about the world he comes
“To be a Getty is an extraordinary thing,” young
John Paul says. “We look like
you, but we’re not like you.
It’s like we’re from another
Getty’s walk has barely
begun before he is snatched
off the streets of Rome by a
group of kidnappers from
Calabria connected to the
criminal syndicate ’Ndrangheta that ask Harris for
$17 million in ransom.
When the distraught
mother accurately says she
doesn’t have that kind of
money, Cinquanta (a spoton Romain Duris), the kidnappers’ contact person,
tells her to ask the boy’s
grandfather, the nominal
possessor of “all the money
in the world.”
Except Getty senior
doesn’t see himself that way.
Suspecting that the boy orchestrated his own kidnapping and pathologically attached to his oil wealth (we
see him washing his own
underwear in his luxury hotel room to save money),
Getty claims he doesn’t
want to set a precedent that
would put his other grandchildren at risk. But he’s also
capable of saying, with a
completely straight face,
“I’ve never been more vulnerable financially. I have no
money to give.”
To keep the boy’s mother
from causing a fuss, Getty
assigns Fletcher Chase (the
Wahlberg), one of his corporate troubleshooters, to get
a handle on the situation.
According to Pearson’s
book, Chase was “probably
the worst emissary the old
man could have chosen,” but
because “All the Money”
feels the need of a quasi-heroic masculine presence,
Chase’s missteps are minimized and his action-hero
credentials enhanced.
With as visual a director
as Scott at the helm, the film
is especially good at re-creating the frenzy and chaos
the Italian press whipped up
around the kidnapping, and
it never loses sight of the
pain Getty’s inflexibility
about his fortune causes his
“All the Money in the
World” doesn’t play the
Beatles’ “Can’t Buy Me
Love” over the final credits,
but that message comes
through loud and clear.
Twitter: @KennethTuran
‘All the Money
in the World’
Rated: R, for language,
some violent, disturbing
images and brief drug
Running time: 2 hours, 12
Playing: In general release
PORTRAYING the Getty grandson kidnapped at age
16 is Charlie Plummer. Ridley Scott directed the film.
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Day-Lewis showcase
Laurie Sparham Focus Features
THE 1950S-SET “Phantom Thread” stars Daniel Day-Lewis and Vicky Krieps.
[‘Phantom,’ from E1]
lies in how lovingly Anderson stitches together those
throwaway details. Even in
this sweet first encounter
between fashion designer
Reynolds Woodcock (Daniel
Day-Lewis and Alma (Vicky
Krieps), a young waitress of
unknown background, we
see the beginnings of a dynamic that will darken and
intensify: her clumsiness, his
appetite, her eagerness to
serve, his flirtation issued in
the form of a challenge.
Alma passes the first
test, and the next one as well.
After dinner with Reynolds
that evening, she goes home
with him and disrobes. But
what follows isn’t any ordinary consummation. He
studies her figure and takes
her measurements, rattling
them off to his sister and
business partner, Cyril (Lesley Manville), who, as she is
wont to do, has appeared at
his side like clockwork.
“You’re perfect,” he says,
noting her flat chest.
Cyril agrees, whispering,
“He likes a little belly.”
It’s a lot to take in, and
Krieps gives a performance
so emotionally responsive
and minutely detailed that
we can see Alma arrive at a
crushing realization — she’s
the latest model of many —
before settling just as
quickly into steely determination. Reynolds may be fitting her for a specific role,
but he, too, will soon know
how it feels to be whittled
down to size.
So begins the tender and
tempestuous love story of
“Phantom Thread,” a darkly
romantic comedy of manners and transporting invitation to a bygone world. It’s
also an unsurprisingly bravura showcase for Day-Lewis, who, in what will reportedly be his final screen performance, leaves us with
something indelible and at
times marvelously loathsome — a portrait of the artist as a fey, prickly, hyper-demanding middle-aged man.
Most of all, the movie is a
reminder that there are few
American filmmakers quite
like Anderson, who, after the
dazzling Altmanesque panoramas of “Boogie Nights”
and “Magnolia,” has followed his instincts in ever
more feverish and idiosyncratic directions.
His recent pictures, including the 1950s psychodrama “The Master” and the
’70s noir “Inherent Vice,” feel
less like stylized period
pieces than weird, indelible
relics of their respective eras
— impeccably crafted, rich
in mystery and attuned to
their characters’ turbulent
inner states. If Anderson’s
canvases have become more
brooding and self-contained
since “There Will Be Blood,”
his masterful 2007 collaboration with Day-Lewis, they
have also opened windows
onto vast and cavernous
psychic landscapes.
“Phantom Thread” is at
once a lush homage to vin[See ‘Phantom,’ E10]
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Unraveling ‘Thread’s’ subversive wonders
[‘Phantom,’ from E8]
tage romantic melodramas,
foremost Alfred Hitchcock’s
“Rebecca,” and a characteristically bold departure —
not merely because it’s Anderson’s first production set
outside the U.S.
Superbly shot by the director himself on 35-millimeter film, the movie pulls you
in immediately. Truth be
told, the cascading piano
scales of Jonny Greenwood’s
magnificent score could pull
you into a dentist’s chair.
What holds you isn’t just
the picture’s craftsmanship
but its unsettling, exploratory vibe — the sense it conveys that you’ve seen something like it before, even as
you assuredly haven’t.
To some extent, Alma
makes that confusion manifest. Before long she becomes Reynolds’ lover and
assistant and takes up residence in the Woodcocks’
London townhouse. She can
seem lost in this world of
tight corridors and stair-
cases winding their way to
infinity, where foreign princesses and local dowagers
come for their fittings. But
whether Alma is showing off
Reynolds’ creations on the
runway or standing silently
at attention, she’s always
quick to regain her footing.
On some level Alma
understands Reynolds better than he understands
himself; her fierce protectiveness of the House of
Woodcock’s reputation occasions the story’s most ardent romantic gesture. But
it’s when she decides to love
Reynolds in ways that don’t
conform to the house style
that she finds herself at sea.
Having once stood out
enough from the crowd to
catch his attention, she’s
now expected to integrate
herself into his routine.
It’s only fitting that DayLewis, known for his own exacting Method intensity,
should play a man so consumed by artistic commitment. The rewards of the ac-
tor’s process are plain to see
in the suavity of his bearing,
the devilish charisma, the
silver, slicked-back hair that
at times gives him the appearance of a debonair mad
scientist. But Day-Lewis
also lays bare the peevishness behind the smile —
the arrogance, the contempt
and, most of all, the childlike
fragility that both aggravates Alma and keeps her
coming back for more.
The fruits of Reynolds’
labors are even more wondrous to behold, in part because costume designer
Mark Bridges never seems
to be trying to wow us. With a
few delicate exceptions, like
a svelte, lacy red dress cleverly inspired by Alma’s waitress uniform, much of the
Woodcock couture looks
heavy and stiffly layered,
suggesting a buttoned-up
idea of society glamour. The
gowns are stunning all the
same, ravishments of lavender, green and gold, and almost architectural in their
Rated: R, for language
Running time: 2 hours, 10
Playing: Arclight Cinemas,
Hollywood; Landmark,
West Los Angeles
construction; it’s no accident that the assembly process, requiring numerous
technicians working silently
in white lab coats, brings
surgery to mind.
You can see why Cyril has
devoted her life to safeguarding this magnificent
enterprise, ensuring that
nothing and no one, least of
all the girl of the month,
shatters her brother’s concentration. Cyril is as tightly
coiffed and venomously
poised as Judith Anderson’s
Mrs. Danvers in “Rebecca,”
an association that only an
actress as formidable as
Manville could have borne
without collapsing under it.
It’s a triumphant performance, a near-silent symphony of alternately withering and sympathetic glances
cast knowingly at Alma.
But if Alma seems at first
the most wobbly and expendable leg of this codependent triangle, she also
has a gift for confounding
the Woodcocks’ expectations at every turn. Not unlike
Aronofsky’s “mother!,” “Phantom
Thread” emerges as a dry
comic allegory about selfabsorbed male artists and
the female muses who patiently love and nurture
them. Anderson’s film may
be less deranged, but if anything it surpasses Aronofsky’s in eviscerating the
weakness of a man who
deems his art more worthy
of his time than the woman
he shunts to the side.
This is hardly the first
time Anderson has slyly sub-
verted the power dynamic of
a marriage. Consider Amy
Adams’ glittering eyes in
“The Master,” silently asserting control over her cultleader husband. Nor is it the
first time he has drawn us
into relationships that look
doomed or destructive from
the outset, only to express a
surprisingly heartfelt optimism about their survival.
But what finally gives
“Phantom Thread” its subversive kick isn’t just its provocative theorizing about
the pursuit of genius, the desire for domestic fulfillment
and the sacrifices required
to balance the two. It’s that
Alma, in undertaking her
strange, singular mission, is
perversely elevated to the
standing of an artist in her
own right. She becomes this
movie’s most sublime creation and the living embodiment of its spirit — triumphant, audacious and
impossible to forget.
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By Frank Stewart
“My partner expects way
too much of me on defense,”
a fan writes. “If I were drowning 50 feet offshore, he would
throw me a 30-foot rope —
and contend that he’d met
me more than halfway.”
My fan was West in today’s deal and led his singleton heart against South’s
five diamonds. (As the cards
lay, East-West could have
brought home five spades.)
“My partner diagnosed
my lead. He took the ace and
returned the 10 for me to ruff.
But then I led a spade. Partner’s 10 of hearts (a high
heart) looked like a suitpreference signal showing
interest in the high-ranking
suit. And after all, he had bid
spades.” South produced
the ace of spades, drew
trumps and threw his club
losers on dummy’s hearts,
making five.
It’s a partnership game,
and East was oblivious to his
partner’s problems. A careful East cashes the ace of
clubs at Trick Two, then
leads a second heart. West
will ruff and take his king of
clubs for down two.
This week: protecting
Question: You hold: ♠ K 7
5 2 ♥ 2 ♦10 8 6 ♣ K 10 8 6 3. Your
partner opens one heart,
you respond one spade, he
bids two clubs. Now what?
Answer: Though partner
may have as many as 18
points for a nonjump change
of suit as opener, a raise to
three clubs would show
more values than you possess. If you raise, partner
may go on to a hopeless
game. Pass. If the next play-
er balances with, say, two
diamonds and two passes
follow, you can compete to
three clubs.
East dealer
N-S vulnerable
♠ Q J 10 8 6 4
♥ A 10
♦ 10 8 6
♣ K 10 8 6 3
All Pass
Opening lead — ♥ 2
Tribune Media Services
Their friend drives drunk
By Holiday Mathis
Aries (March 21-April 19):
Tonight features a scenario
that’s both unexplainable
and poetic.
Taurus (April 20-May
20): A happy family can
come in many forms, some of
them not genetic in the least.
Gemini (May 21-June 21):
The implications of the holiday will soften the behavior
of all, regardless of age or religious persuasion or any
other category.
Cancer (June 22-July 22):
In the very best sense, what’s
happening is a direct result
of what you thought about,
created and built.
Leo (July 23-Aug. 22):
There’s a buzzy, excited feeling that perhaps has to do
with getting to be around
people who make you happy.
Virgo (Aug. 23-Sept. 22):
Relax. Be nice to yourself
these last days of the year.
Your heart can be light if you
let it be.
Libra (Sept. 23-Oct. 23):
You feel as though you are
wanted but not desperately
needed. It’s the ideal dynamic — no pressure, just joy and
Scorpio (Oct. 24-Nov. 21):
Beautiful music will set the
right tone on this day to pull
loved ones closer, enjoy one
another and, above all, give a
free pass on petty stuff.
Sagittarius (Nov. 22Dec. 21): Things will go according to plan and unfold
with the feeling you had
hoped for.
Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan.
19): The action swings in and
out of the fairy tale zone.
Though there’s a fantasy
quality to the setting, the
basics bring you back and
ground you in what’s real.
Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb.
18): It’s a cozy, drama-free
day. Even the people who
usually find something to be
unhappy about will settle in
for some contentment. Expect love, sharing, music,
good food and more love.
Pisces (Feb. 19-March
20): You’re looking for the
brightest potential in each
person you encounter (and
in yourself, too), which is exactly what you’ll find. Inside
everyone is something to celebrate, and celebrate you
Today’s birthday (Dec.
25): You’ll spend this year
doing what makes you money, what makes you better
and what makes you happy.
There won’t be a whole lot of
room for anything extraneous, and you’ll find the intensity of focus invigorating.
Because your goal is to be a
better person, you don’t
have to chase success. It
finds you. Virgo and Cancer
adore you. Your lucky numbers are: 8, 20, 22, 30 and 1.
Holiday Mathis writes her
column for Creators
Syndicate Inc. The
horoscope should be read
for entertainment. Previous
forecasts are at
Dear Amy: “Calvin,” a 64year-old co-worker of my
husband’s, was on the verge
of being homeless, so we invited him to live in our home.
We now realize that
Calvin is an alcoholic. We are
now hiding our own alcohol
in a padlocked refrigerator
in our garage.
Calvin works only enough
hours to leave time to drink
at his favorite bar, which is
across from the store where
he and my husband work.
We usually drive him to
work, he works for about
four hours and then drinks
at the bar until my husband
picks him up to come home
(we live less than two miles
away from the store).
Calvin has four grown
children who live about an
hour away. Yesterday, one of
his kids gave Calvin a car. He
does not have a driver’s license, and today he drove
himself to work.
As I write this, it’s too
early in the day to know if he
stopped at the bar before
driving himself home. What
should I do, if anything?
Dear Worried: It is possible that “Calvin’s” grown
children don’t know that
their father is an alcoholic
with no driver’s license. You
and your husband are enabling Calvin to live this life,
but because his kids gave
him wheels, you should
share your concerns with
You should call 911 if you
suspect that someone is
driving under the influence.
Give a detailed description
of the car and provide the license plate number.
I assume Calvin doesn’t
have his license because of
previous infractions. Getting nabbed for DWI (hopefully before anyone gets
hurt) could lead to jail time
for him. This could (possibly) be a blessing in disguise, as it might force him
to dry out and get into some
sort of mandatory recovery
Dear Amy: My wife has a
phobia of interacting with
my family (parents, siblings,
etc.). She has always been
this way, and it’s to the point
where it is affecting my family and my marriage.
What’s most disturbing is
the fact that we only visit
them maybe once a month,
for gatherings, backyard
barbecues and family dinners.
Every single time, my
wife and I get into an argument. She says, “Do we have
to go? How long are we staying? I only want to be there
for a short amount of time,
or I just want to stay home.”
My family members are
not perfect people, but
whose family is? Every family has their faults and disagreements.
I am stressed about this
to the point of questioning
my marriage. I only want my
wife and my two daughters
to visit my family on a normal and regular basis without my wife and me arguing
about it.
What can we do?
Upset Husband
Dear Upset: No spouse
should force another to
spend excessive time with
their family of birth. This
should be negotiable. If you
want to take the kids to see
your family, you should. Your
wife might agree to accompany you half the time.
Wouldn’t this compromise
both eliminate her anxiety
and satisfy your need?
If possible, she should
have an “escape hatch” so
that she can exit quietly
without forcing you and the
kids to leave on her timetable. And you should accept her choice to limit interactions without fighting
about it.
Send questions to askamy@ or to
Tribune Content Agency,
16650 Westgrove Drive, Suite
175, Addison, TX 75001.
L AT I M E S . C O M / CA L E N DA R
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When Calls the Heart This
drama set in a small Canadian mining town in the
early 20th century returns
with a 90-minute Christmas episode. With Erin
Krakow, Daniel Lissing,
Lori Loughlin and Jack
Wagner. 8 p.m. Hallmark
Call the Midwife The imported period drama about
nurses and nuns who deliver babies in London’s
gritty East End offers its
holiday episode. Jessica
Raine and Jenny Agutter
star. 9 p.m. KOCE
Doctor Who The Twelfth
Doctor (the departing Peter Capaldi) faces regeneration but isn’t ready to
go just yet in “Twice Upon
a Time,” the venerable
British sci-fi drama’s
Christmas episode. Pearl
Mackie and “Game of
Thrones’ ” David Bradley
also star. 9 p.m. BBC
CBS This Morning (N)
7 a.m. KCBS
Holmquist; chef Lidia
Bastianich; Gwen Stefani
performs. (N) 7 a.m.
Good Morning America (N)
7 a.m. KABC
Good Day LA Chef Olivier
Russell; Fred Martin,
Compton Kids Club. (N)
7 a.m. KTTV
Megyn Kelly Today Faith
for the holidays; holiday
puppies. (N) 9 a.m. KNBC
The Ellen DeGeneres Show
11 a.m. KNBC
Rachael Ray (N) 2 p.m.
Dr. Phil 3 p.m. KCBS
Conan Bob Newhart; comic
Tom Segura; Sheryl Crow.
11 p.m. and 12:30 a.m. TBS
The Tonight Show Starring
Jimmy Fallon Zendaya;
Billy Crudup; Big Sean
and Metro Boomin perform. 11:34 p.m. KNBC
The Late Show With
Stephen Colbert Joe
Scarborough and Mika
Brzezinski; Andy Serkis.
11:35 p.m. KCBS
Jimmy Kimmel Live Jennifer Lawrence; Kim Kardashian; Linkin’ Bridge
Amanpour on PBS (N) 12:30
a.m. KOCE
The Late Late Show With
James Corden Miles
Teller; comic Whitney
Cummings; Fergie performs. 12:37 a.m. KCBS
Late Night With Seth Meyers Seth’s parents and
brother. 12:37 a.m. KNBC
Nightline (N) 12:37 a.m.
The KTLA Yule Log Images
of a roaring fire are accompanied by Christmas music supplied by local radio
station KOST-FM. 6 a.m.
Christmas Celebration
Julianne Hough, Nick
Lachey and Jesse Palmer
are the hosts, and Ciara,
Darius Rucker, Fifth Harmony, Fitz and the
Tantrums, Jason Derulo
and “Glee’s” Lea Michele
perform. 9 a.m. KABC
An American Journey Fox
News anchor Jon Scott revisits some lesser-known
episodes in U.S. history,
including the 1900 hurricane that nearly destroyed Galveston, Texas,
in this new special. 4 and 9
p.m. Fox News Channel
Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch
Stole Christmas Boris
Karloff narrates the animated classic. 8 p.m. ABC
A Very Soul Train Christmas Hosts Bill Bellamy
and LeToya Luckett present clips of memorable
moments from the longrunning music-and-dance
show. Midnight BET
A Christmas Story The annual dual marathon of
Simon Ridgway BBC
“DOCTOR WHO,” star-
ring Peter Capaldi, will
air its Christmas episode
on BBC America.
this 1983 comedy continues and concludes. With
Peter Billingsley. 6, 8 and
10 a.m., noon, 2, 4 and 6
p.m. TBS; 7, 9 and 11 a.m.,
1 and 3 p.m. TNT
Scrooged Bill Murray stars
as a ruthless TV executive
in director Richard Donner’s darkly comic 1988
update of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol.”Alfre Woodard, John
Forsythe, Carol Kane,
John Houseman, Robert
Mitchum and Karen Allen
also star. 6:15 and 10:45
p.m. SundanceTV
Bad Santa Billy Bob Thornton and Tony Cox play
crooks who team up to
fleece the halls of shopping malls at Christmas
time in this foul-mouthed
2003 comedy. Bernie Mac,
John Ritter and Lauren
Graham also star. 8 and 10
p.m. Comedy Central
A Christmas Carol (1984)
10:45 a.m. SundanceTV
GoldenEye (1995) 11:20 a.m.
The Shootist (1976) 11:30
a.m. AMC
Out of Sight (1998) 12 p.m.
White Christmas (1954) 1:15
p.m. SundanceTV
Catch Me if You Can (2002)
2 p.m. HBO
Carol (2015) 2 p.m. Showtime
(1989) 2:35 p.m. Freeform
The Shop Around the Corner (1940) 3 p.m. TCM
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969) 3:45 p.m.
Miracle on 34th Street
(1947) 4 p.m. SundanceTV
Rear Window 5 p.m. TCM
Basketball The 76ers meet
the Knicks; the Warriors
welcome the Cavaliers;
the Wizards challenge the
Celtics; the Rockets battle
the Thunder; and the Lakers host the Timberwolves. 9 a.m. ESPN;
noon, 2:30 and 5 p.m. ABC;
7:30 p.m. TNT
Football The Pittsburgh
Steelers take on the Houston Texans and the Oakland Raiders face the Philadelphia Eagles. 1:20 p.m.
NBC; 5:15 p.m. ESPN
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