Morning Wrap: What to watch for in tonight’s Lakers-Rockets game; Clippers dominate late to beat Rockets

The Morning Wrap shares the day’s top five stories from our reporters at the Southern California Newspaper Group. … Sign up to have our top sports stories delivered to your inbox with our daily newsletters

ONE: What are the three trends that will define the Lakers, Rockets series as they prepare for Game 3 tonight after the Lakers won Sunday to tie the series, 1-1. Helping the Lakers cause on Sunday was a big game from reserve forward Markieff Morris, who admitted he needed to be better.

TWO: Paul George had a big game and Kawhi Leonard’s (middle finger) block late in the game helped the Clippers hold off the Nuggets to take a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven second round playoff series. The Clippers weren’t the best defensively, but they were when it mattered, writes columnist Mark Whicker.

 

THREE: With the NFL’s season opener on Thursday and its first full schedule on Sunday, reporter Kevin Modesti writes the league expects the unexpected when it comes to COVID-19 and how it will impact the season. Also, when the Rams open the season with the Cowboys on Sunday, they may try a three running back roation.

Expect the unexpected early in NFL season amid COVID-19

Rams plan three-running-backs ‘rotation’ vs. Cowboys, Sean McVay says

FOUR: Chargers reporter Gilbert Manzano notes that Sam Tevi has been named the starting left tackle for Sunday’s season opener against the Cincinnati Bengals. And here are some Twitter takes from Manzano.

FIVE: The Dodgers and Angels were both off Monday, but it wasn’t a vacation day for Dodgers reporter Bill Plunkett or Angels beat writer Jeff Fletcher. With the playoffs nearing, can the Dodgers’ bullpen be trusted this time, Plunkett writes. The Angels have won a season best five straight, and are even thinking the playoffs aren’t an impossibility. And one of the big reasons for the turnaround is the play of Justin Upton, writes Fletcher.