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L.A. battles Clippers again in clutch time

Here's how the Lakers fared after failing too late against the Clippers, and went on to have three straight losses to their city rivals this season. (Author: Gardener)

ClippersIt was a back-and-forth in the first quarter as both teams struggled to gain momentum, but the Clippers batted first and took a 16-point lead in the second quarter. But the Lakers used a 31-15 advantage in the third to charge back and reclaim the lead, leading to another exchange of blows in the final 12 minutes. After several long last-minute evaluations, the Lakers had two chances to either win the game or force overtime, but both Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James failed on their 3-point attempts. Here's how the Lakers, now 27-32 on the season, individually ranked the loss: He shot 9-of-21 overall, 0-of-3 from Deep and 0-of-2 from the Charity Stripe for 18 points to go with three rebounds, one Assist and a steal. Austin Reaves earned his first career start, and he's played the high-IQ games the Lakers expect him to do. His vigorous defensive sequence while guarding Reggie Jackson resurrected both the Lakers and fans, which helped spark the comeback. Reaves finished the game with six points, three assists and two blocks. Trevor Ariza only played 18 minutes, the lowest of any starter. The veteran striker shot 1 of 5 overall and missed all three of his 3s to fail this game. He had terrible shooting game for his standards and only managed 6 out of 17 (35%) for 21 points overall. The king added 11 rebounds, three assists, a steal and a block to his stat line, but he also turned over the rock six times. Dwight Howard started Anthony Davis, and he produced on an unexpectedly large scale. Howard hit a double-double in the first half and finished with 14 points, 16 rebounds, three blocks, an assist and a steal in 26 minutes, but some of those rebounds came from his own putbacks because he shot 5 of 11 overall. If the Lakers can get that kind of production from him, it will definitely ease the strain of not having Davis available. Carmelo Anthony got off to a slow start but dropped the rock the longer the game went on, which was to be expected given he hadn't played since Feb. 3, the last game against the Clippers. Anthony finished the game with 18 points off the bench on 7 of 14 shots overall and 4 of 9 from deep, adding three assists, a steal and a block in 28 minutes. However, it will be his deep rainbow 3 hand that takes the lead in those final seconds that fell short that will be remembered. Talen Horton-Tucker also started slow, but picked up momentum as the Lakers made a comeback. He lost 16 points in 6-of-9 shooting and touched the entire net with both of his 3s. Horton-Tucker put down three rebounds, two steals and one assist, so the Lakers need him to sustain those kinds of performances to add another hit to the rotation. Malik Monk had a night of shooting to forget, walking 3 of 9 overall and missing all four of his 3s. But he made up for it with six assists, one of his better playmaking nights of the season. Stanley Johnson rounded out the nine-man rotation tonight, but he played the lowest of any Laker (14). He missed both shots (one going in and out from mid-range) and had two rebounds and two assists.

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Clippers beat the Lakers in a fight to the end

The Clippers return to .500 with a 105-102 loss to the Lakers as LeBron James misses a last-second jumper that could have sent the game into overtime. (Author: Gardener)

ClippersLakers center Dwight Howard punches Clippers forward Robert Covington in the face while struggling for a rebound. LeBron James faded the baseline and floated a jumper through the basket on first possession of Friday's Lakers-Clippers meetup. The final stretch of the season could finally start with a cheer instead of that deafening rumble since they played before last week's All-Star break. Was he mad that the Lakers didn't make a trade for the NBA date? Was that a shot at Lakers GM Rob Pelinka? Or leave Los Angeles to join any team that ends up with his son Bronny? Dubbed "just noise" by a member of the team's senior management, the situation was serious enough by the time James' agent Rich Paul met with Lakers owner Jeanie Buss and Pelinka, who confirmed to the Times that they were aware of the situation. The meeting, first reported by ESPN, was intended to reaffirm James' commitment to the Lakers, who have him under contract for this season and next, and to clarify any perceived issues between the sides. Buss, Pelinka and Paul were all at Friday's game against the Clippers and witnessed the Lakers fight, then comeback and tumble shot at the end, losing 105-102. Marcus Morris made a late-game jump to give the Clippers the lead, and after a Russell Westbrook miss, the Lakers lost a crucial call challenge that nullified a LeBron James rebound and handed the ball back to the Clippers. Carmelo Anthony had a chance to make a go-ahead basket before James had an opportunity to equalize after Reggie Jackson took two free throws for a three-point lead, and both times the Lakers missed. For a team looking forward to giving everyone something new to talk about, it ended up being more of the same. The Lakers' problems, particularly with no game action to equalize one of them, took center stage and at least outwardly dominated the break. "We don't pay as much attention to these things as you all do in the media," said Lakers coach Frank Vogel ahead of Friday's game. Friday, as with most Lakers games this season, celebrations were fairly sparse in the Crypto.com Arena. The off-court issues that have dominated the recent NBA news cycle have been quickly overtaken by the on-court issues that have defined the Lakers. But the early struggles gave way to a monster third quarter in which the Lakers bested the Clippers 31-15, more reasons to shrug this season. In the first half, younger, fitter players on the Clippers roster like Terance Mann made the Lakers look old and slow. The Clippers' experienced, more comfortable players made the Lakers look out of place and marginalized. Ahead of Friday's game, while everyone else was talking about some behind-the-scenes drama, the Lakers preached to focus on a game that was incredibly important to their season. With less than a quarter of the season remaining, the Lakers spoke openly about approaching this stretch with a different, better energy than they had displayed in most of the 58 games leading up to the All-Star break. "We're ready for the second half of the season," Anthony said after Friday's shooting. Lakers forward LeBron James attempts a layup while being defended by Clippers guard Luke Kennard and center Isaiah Hartenstein. (Christina House / Los Angeles Times) Of course, the Lakers (27-32) still have to go there. They sit 2 1/2 games behind the Clippers (31-31) in eighth place in the West — one of two spots in the play-in tournament that guarantees a team has two chances to advance to the playoffs. While James started the game with a made shot, much of the early game against the Clippers revolved around the Lakers' misses. Thankfully for the Clippers to get into a rhythm, the Lakers stayed in the game in the first half even after missing their first 11 three-pointers. However, the Lakers, as they have done all season, showed enough struggle to keep hope alive.

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LeBron vents, says he's committed to the Lakers

Addressing comments he made over the weekend, LeBron James said he sees himself with the Lakers "as long as I can play" and that he is "very confident" in the team's front office. (Author: Gardener)

the weekendLOS ANGELES — After eyebrow-raising comments from LeBron James leading up to the trade deadline and throughout All-Star Weekend had the basketball world speculating about his future with the Los Angeles Lakers, James made a few things big on Friday clear night. First, he wants the Lakers -- the team he's played for the last four seasons of his 19-year career -- to be the last franchise he plays for. I'm here," he said after the Lakers' 105-102 loss to the LA Clippers. Along with that goal, James, who has another season under his belt at LA, is eligible for a two-year extension to Summer's Worth of over $97 million, would love to play in the NBA alongside his 17-year-old son, Bronny, who is currently a junior in high school.I don't even know if it's possible - if I play with my son If I could, I'd love to," said James, 37. "Is that something no man should want in life? That's about the coolest thing that can happen. It doesn't mean I don't want to be in this franchise -Star Weekend in Cleveland: "My senior year is being played with my son. I would do anything to play with my son for a year. While what the next two years would do for Bronny's draft stock remains to be seen." there's a lot of machinations for LA to position itself to acquire him if he becomes eligible for the NBA through Trades or James' agent, Rich Paul of Klutch Sports Group notifying other teams that Bronny will be prevented from joining his father in LA by drafting him, could make it more difficult to do business with other Klutch customers in the future. James also said he wanted to make it clear that his role with the Lakers was that of a player. Lakers vice president of basketball operations and general manager Rob Pelinka could consult with James and Anthony Davis on personnel decisions, but according to James, the money rests with Pelinka and the rest of the Lakers' front office, not him. "I'm not pushing the buttons," James said. “You ask for my opinion and I speak my mind and what I believe. That's what our front office is for and that's what our leadership group is for. James also said that his recent praise of Los Angeles Rams and Oklahoma City Thunder GM Les Snead GM Sam Presti had nothing to do with his opinion of Pelinka's performance on the job: "When I comment on or compliment OKC's GM – I really think he did a phenomenal job. And you guys give me that credit and say Rob isn't doing a great job," James said. And I believe the same. Now how does that address Rob and the Lakers franchise? Rob did the same. He obviously didn't bother with picks either." James said the Lakers' disappointing season — Friday's loss dropped them to 27-32 with 23 games remaining — has been the cause of much speculation about his future. He said that Injuries sabotaged the chance for him, Davis and Russell Westbrook to build any kind of cohesion in hopes of becoming a contender.is 11-9 in the 20 games they've been in the lineup together this season wish we would just play better basketball and be on the floor between me, AD and Russ at the same time," James said. "It's the biggest disappointment so far that the three of us because we all wanted to see that work. James is the No 3 in league history and has four championships, four Finals MVPs and four regular-season MVPs in his storied career, and he said the Lakers are giving him an opportunity n and continue to give him the opportunity to make it happen, adding that he is "very confident" in the team's front office. You showed me that," James said. "Since I arrived here, in the front office of Jeanie [Buss], Linda [Rambis], Kurt [Rambis], everyone has welcomed me with open arms and given me the opportunity to play for a historic franchise and welcome my family "And I'm just trying to give my part of the game back and inspire kids and inspire people who want to follow the Lakers and bring them back to a level they're used to." Earlier on Friday, sources said Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN that Paul met with the Lakers front office on Tuesday and had a positive, no-nonsense type of session to get the sides back in sync following James' public comments. Asked about the meeting, James said, "I think it it's important that it's always transparent between us and we don't really care about the sounds from outside I mean, I think a lot of people are, to be honest, just jealous of the relationship that Rich z around the front office and with this team and the relationship I have that I've built over the past four years. I mean, that's what I think it boils down to."

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Clippers beat Lakers 105-102 for 6th straight rivalry victory

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Terance Mann had 19 points and 10 rebounds, Amir Coffey added 12 of his 14 in the fourth quarter and the Los Angeles Clippers returned from the All-Star break with a 105-102 win over the Los Angeles Lakers back Friday night. Luke Kennard scored 18 points as the Clippers earned their sixth straight win over the Lakers in the recent clash between the two underperforming, injury-plagued NBA franchises in Los Angeles while... (Author: Gardener)

LOS ANGELESLos Angeles Clippers forward Robert Covington, right, shoots while Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James defends in the first half of an NBA basketball game Friday, February 25, 2022 in Los Angeles. LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Terance Mann had 19 points and 10 rebounds, Amir Coffey added 12 of his 14 in the fourth quarter and the Los Angeles Clippers returned from the All-Star break with a 105-102 win over the Los Angeles Lakers back Friday night. Luke Kennard scored 18 points as the Clippers clinched their sixth straight win over the Lakers at the latest meeting between the two underperforming, injury-plagued NBA franchises in Los Angeles as they begin the next push to save their season. The Clippers were also a game ahead of the Lakers in the loss column and secured the win of the season series in this local derby. Both of these advantages could be important at playoff time for two teams that appear to be headed for the play-in tournament, if they even make it to the postseason. Los Angeles Lakers center Dwight Howard, left, shoots while Los Angeles Clippers forward Robert Covington blocks the shot during the first half of an NBA basketball game Friday, February 25, 2022 in Los Angeles. "When we got down five or six, we just kept our composure, kept our poise and kept playing," said Clippers coach Tyronn Lue. "In that third quarter I thought we were going to miss the game but to keep our composure and come back and get a win I thought it would be great for us." Los Angeles Clippers guard Terance Mann, right , attempts to shoot while Los Angeles Lakers guard Austin Reaves defends during the first half of an NBA basketball game Friday, February 25, 2022 in Los Angeles. Carmelo Anthony missed a long go-ahead jumper with 4 seconds left and LeBron James missed a 3-point try on the buzzer for the Lakers, who fell five games under .500 with their fourth loss in five games. James had 21 points and 11 rebounds while Anthony and Russell Westbrook had 18 points each for the Lakers, who trailed 16 points late in the first half before going by a small lead for most of the fourth quarter. Anthony hit four 3-pointers in his first game since February 3 after missing three weeks with a strained Achilles tendon. Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James, right, shoots during the first half of an NBA basketball game Friday, February 25, 2022 in Los Angeles while Los Angeles Clippers center Ivica Zubac, left, and forward Nicolas Batum defended. After Coffey's free throws put the Clips 1:05 ahead, the Lakers regained the lead on Austin Reaves' two free throws, but Marcus Morris drilled a jumper under tight defense. After two long replay reviews, the Clippers committed an 8-second breach with 17.8 seconds to go, but Anthony missed a 3-pointer from well behind the line with 4 seconds to go. Los Angeles Clippers guard Terance Mann, right, shoots while Trevor Ariza of the Los Angeles Lakers defends during the first half of an NBA basketball game Friday, February 25, 2022 in Los Angeles. The initial review left Lakers coach Frank Vogel muted by the decision that James had been out of bounds at the baseline. Lue and the Clippers strongly believed the review was correct. "I couldn't disagree more strongly with the verdict," Vogel said. Reggie Jackson hit two free throws and James couldn't tie it with his last throw. Jackson scored 17 points for the Clippers, who won three of four before the break despite being without their top three players: Kawhi Leonard, Paul George and newly acquired Norman Powell. "We're going to do everything we can to keep it going and put it on their shoulders when they come back," Jackson said. "The thing about this team is that we understand that the light is at the end of the tunnel and they're going to come back eventually." Talen Horton-Tucker scored all 16 of his second-half points while Dwight Howard had season-highs of 14 points and 16 had rebounds as the Lakers started another stretch without Anthony Davis, who sprained his right foot in their last game before the break nine days ago. Davis will be out for at least another month after missing 21 of the Lakers' first 58 games with other issues. The Lakers trailed 49-33 in the first half with three minutes left, but they rallied to take a 72-70 lead on Horton-Tucker's 3-pointer with two minutes remaining in the third quarter. Clippers: The city rivals' season series ends on Wednesday evening with a home game. Seven players in the nine-man rotation scored in double figures. Lakers: Reaves scored six points in his first career start. The draft rookie from Oklahoma also catalyzed the Lakers' biggest surge when he dramatically blocked Jackson's shot in the third quarter. They missed their first 10 3-point attempts, all in the first quarter. James' All-Star weekend exploits were overshadowed by various comments that were perceived as indicating dissatisfaction with the Lakers front office. James and his agent Rich Paul both made efforts to contain those narratives on Friday, with James reaffirming his commitment to the Lakers and their championship aspirations both this season and beyond. "I don't understand how some of my comments from the weekend were taken in a completely different direction," James said, later adding, "I see myself in purple and gold for as long as I can play."

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Roman Reigns and Brock Lesnar's contract signing turns chaotic

Reigns and Lesnar have set the terms for their Champion vs. Champion match at WWE WrestleMania (Author: Gardener)

Roman ReignsRoman Reigns and Brock Lesnar put pen to paper for their WrestleMania 38 Superfight on Friday's episode of WWE SmackDown. Reigns and Lesnar sat opposite each other under the supervision of authority figure Adam Pearce to cement their champion versus champion match on the grandest stage of them all. Reigns and Lesnar emerged from Elimination Chamber as blue and red brand champions, respectively. Friday's marquee segment was the tried-and-true contract signing for a big-stakes matchup. Lesnar entered the fight solo; Meanwhile, Reigns was joined by his special counsel, Paul Heyman, and SmackDown Tag Team Champions The Usos (Jimmy Uso and Jey Uso). SmackDown also has three matches scheduled for the next week: an intercontinental championship match, The Usos vs. The Viking Raiders for the SmackDown Tag Team Titles, and Ronda Rousey's first singles match since March 2019. A World Champion sat across from one another for the closing segment of SmackDown for a contract signing for WrestleMania. Lesnar insisted that he alone, not WWE safety, was responsible for Reigns and Heyman's health. The WWE Champion claimed his patience is a result of knowing he's getting paid to beat up both Reigns and Heyman at WrestleMania 38. Heyman insisted that Lesnar would not make it to WrestleMania as champion, pointing to his upcoming WWE title defense against a yet to be determined opponent at the house show at Madison Square Garden on March 5. Both parties signed the deal, securing their WrestleMania headliner. Reigns, Heyman and The Usos exited the ring. Reigns claimed he was the star of SmackDown and that everyone in the arena belonged to him. Cue the security guards who turned and surrounded Lesnar. The Bloodline and Heyman watched in horror as Lesnar cleared the ring. Why are Lesnar and Reigns signing contracts for a Champion vs. Champion match when Lesnar has a title defense ahead of WrestleMania? More importantly, why would Heyman make Lesnar lose the WWE Title at MSG? Lesnar earned his universal title shot by winning the 2022 men's Royal Rumble match. If Lesnar loses at MSG, he still gets a title shot against Reigns; However, Reigns will no longer be able to claim the WWE Title. Why didn't The Bloodline join the security forces to attack Lesnar? * Charlotte Flair and Sonya Deville ambush Ronda Rousey. Rousey opened up SmackDown by expressing her intention to be a role model for her young daughter. Flair interrupted the segment and Deville attacked Rousey from behind. Flair aimed for the knee, but Rousey ended the segment by flipping Deville with a monkey. Later in the show, a matchup between Rousey and Deville was scheduled for next week. * New Day (Big E and Kofi Kingston) def. * The Viking Raiders ambushed The Usos backstage. Jey Uso and Jimmy Uso interviewed Sam Roberts about their feud and the signing of Reigns and Lesnar. A SmackDown Tag Team Title match next week between The Usos vs. Viking Raiders was later confirmed by WWE. Natalya pinned a crescent kick. Li expressed her nervous confidence in a pre-game interview. * Johnny Knoxville challenges Sami Zayn for the Intercontinental Championship. * Intercontinental Championship Match: Zayn vs. Ricochet confirmed for next week's SmackDown after Authority Figure Adam Pearce granted Ricochet's match request. * Defeated Sasha Banks. Naomi, who acted as commentator during the game, subsequently revealed that Banks and Naomi have teamed up in hopes of winning the women's tag team titles. * Drew McIntyre defeated. Madcap Moss via pinfall after flattening him with a claymore kick.

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WWE SmackDown Results - WrestleMania 38 Contract Signing, Xia Li In Action, Ronda Rousey, More

Welcome to our WrestlingINC.com Live WWE SmackDown Viewing Party. Tonight's show comes from the GIANT Center in Hershey, PA. (Author: Gardener)

WWE- The Post-Elimination Chamber Edition of WWE SmackDown on FOX begins with a video pack detailing the recent events between WWE Champion Brock Lesnar and WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns. He overdoes tonight's show and sends us to Michael Cole in the ring. – Michael Cole is in the ring with a microphone. He starts introducing Ronda Rousey and she stops bursting. Rousey slaps the hands of fans on the way to the ring at ringside. Cole asks Rousey why she decided to return to the WWE Royal Rumble after being away for three years. Rousey doesn't like dwelling on achievements as she's already focused on what's next and she's ready to knock out SmackDown Women's Champion Charlotte Flair. Cole mentions how she had an arm behind her back at WWE Elimination Chamber when she and Naomi defeated Flair and Sonya Deville. We see stills from the match and McAfee talks about how Flair focused on injuring Rousey in the match. The music stops before Rousey can speak and out comes Flair. She stops at the entrance and poses as the Pyro goes off. Flair takes the mic and speaks from the entrance, commenting on how much fun it was to give Rousey a little taste of his comeback last week. She comments on Rousey having an arm behind her back and says it won't be like that at WrestleMania 38 because that night will be amazing and she plans to lock Rousey in the figure eight. Flair says for the first time in Rousey's life that she will scream for mercy and run away, meaning that Flair will remain the champion. Flair says the silver lining for Rousey is that she can go home and work on baby #2. Flair is still at the entrance laughing and Deville hits the ring from behind and chop blocks Rousey down. Deville talks some rubbish while Rousey slowly gets back up. Flair smacks Rousey's leg around the ring post a few times while he's talking more trash. Deville accuses Rousey of more trash as she struggles to get up. Rousey still takes Deville down with a throw, sending her backing down to the ground. Standing upright as her music plays, Rousey screams and asks Deville if that's all she has. – We see Big E and Kofi Kingston riding a 4-wheeler backstage. - Back from the break and Adam Pearce is backstage with Sonya Deville watching what she just did to Ronda Rousey. Pearce is not happy and says that due to Deville's actions and Rousey's request, Deville vs. Pearce says the match has already been approved with upper management. We go back to the ring and out come Los Lotharios - Angel and Humberto. Next up are The New Day's Big E and Kofi Kingston. Big E drives his 4-wheeler and Kofi sits in the back. Cole says this is Kofi's birthday present to Big E. The bell rings as Kofi and Humberto trade. Kofi drops Humberto and gives him a 2 count. Big E switches to the corner for a big shoulder kick, then hops Kofi off his back to squirt into the corner. Large e-cover for a 2-count. Big E with a belly stretch to Humberto now. Fans sing The New Day while Big E works on Humberto in the hold. He fights back and goes on the offensive, but Big E knocks him out. Kofi switches back for more double teaming. Kofi covers but Humberto folds on 2. Kofi ends up kicking Humberto, but Angel distracts him from the apron and allows Humberto to kick him to the ground. Los Lotharios defeat Big E with a double team, then run to the other side of the ring and bring Kofi back to the ground. They pose at and on the commentary table as we return to the commercial. Back from the break, Angel works Kofi in the corner and flips him upside down. Humberto switches back and they double up on Team Kofi for another 2 count. Humberto enacts Kofi, but he slowly fights as the fans sing and rally for The New Day. Humberto drops Kofi and knocks Big E off the apron. Angel switches back for another doubles team, rolling Kofi on each of his legs and slamming the back of his head onto the mat. Angel now grounds Kofi in a one-legged crab. Kofi resists and breaks free, then nails a big running stomp for a pop. Big E is back on the apron now, gathering the crowd. Big E and Humberto enter at the same time. Big E ducks under Humberto and hits another belly to belly slam. Big E plays in front of the crowd and gets hyped, then hits the running splash in the center of the ring. Big E waits for Humberto as the fans gather. Angel deflects off the apron and superkicks Humberto over Big E. Angel tags in, but Big E catches him with the Uranage. Kofi walks in and they meet the midnight hour. Kof3i covers for 2 but Humberto comes in and parries just in time. Big E is sent by Humberto. Kofi drops Humberto out of the ring. Angel blocks the SOS sending Kofi down. Angel with a big suicide jump to the ground. Angel rolls Kofi back in, but now he goes to the quad, which is still running. Kofi runs and jumps off the steps of the steel ring, taking Angel down with him. Humberto comes over, but Big E hits the floor with a big belly to belly throw. Kofi backs up and jumps off the top, but Angel superkicks him in mid-air for a close 2-count. Angel goes upstairs to jump on Kofi, but he stops when he sees Big E sitting on the quad and threatens to run over Humberto at ringside while he's lying flat on his back. Kofi takes advantage and comes from behind, but Angel rolls through. Kofi equalizes Angel with a jumping knee. Big E tags back and they hit the midnight hour, then Big E covers to win the pin. - After the match, Kofi and Big E celebrate while the music plays. - We see Sam Roberts backstage chatting with the SmackDown Tag Team Champions The Usos. - Back from the break and Sheamus and Ridge Holland stop Big E and Kofi Kingston on the quad backstage. They taunt The New Day and Sheamus calls them to fight night, saying they would have to use the 4 wheel to carry their asses out. Big E and Kofi drive away, frustrating Sheamus and Holland. – Sam Roberts is backstage with SmackDown Tag Team Champions The Usos. Sam brings up today's WrestleMania 38 contract signing and Jey Uso says it's the greatest WrestleMania match ever. Jimmy Uso says WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns will use this work for WWE Champion Brock Lesnar just as they will for The Viking Raiders. Li says she worked so hard at WWE NXT and always dreamed of competing on SmackDown. We go back to the ring and out comes Xia Li for what Cole and Morant are calling her WWE debut. Li comes out with her unique performance and steps into the ring as we head back to the commercial. Back from the break and out comes Natalya. We see Shayna Baszler, Aliyah, Drew Gulak and Mansoor watching backstage as Cole says there is a lot of interest in Li's debut tonight. Natalya follows and hits Li in the hair. Natalya drops Li in the corner and stomps away when the referee warns her. Natalya whips Li in the corner and tries the same in the opposite corner, but Li jumps up and rolls onto the mat, then nails a dropkick for a 2 count. Natalya takes Li back to the corner and works on her. Natalya with a snap suplex in the middle of the ring. Natalya talks some rubbish and keeps dominating while the referee warns her. Natalya now has a stomach stretch and works on Li while she's in the hold while the fans boo and Natalya smiles. Li with two big knees and a kick to corner Natalya. Natalya eventually goes to the Sharpshooter, but Li kicks her away. She attacks Natalya, leveling her with a big spinning heel kick. - After the game, Li stands upright while the music plays. She has her arm raised as Natalya watches from the ring. Li bows to the crowd on all sides as Natalya yells at her from ringside. - This week's Match Flo video, sponsored by Progressive, looks back at Sami Zayn winning the WWE Intercontinental Championship from Shinsuke Nakamura last week. - We go back to the ring and out comes the new WWE Intercontinental Champion Sami Zayn as Samantha Irvin introduces. Zayn wears a suit as he walks to the ring for a championship celebration. Zayn poses on the apron as we return to commercials. Back from the break and Zayn is in the ring decked out in a red apron. Zayn has balloons on display at the ring post and his Intercontinental Title belt in the center of the ring. Zayn says the title is finally back where it belongs. He keeps talking about the conspiracies against him and where he finally is now, but then complains that the balloons and the ring apron aren't the colors he wanted, but oh well. Sami yells at the fans to show him some respect as the new Intercontinental Champion, but they give him the "What?!" treat and boo him Sami says he's happy to give Shinsuke Nakamura a rematch, but he's still raising parts his kneecap, which Zayn shattered. Sami says that unlike Nakamura, he's happy to defend that title against all comers, anyone brave enough to step into the ring against him. Sami now says that he got that out of the way, let's get to the celebrations. The Jackass theme song interrupts and out comes Johnny Knoxville with a bang. Knoxville takes the mic as the fans chant "Johnny!" now. Sami gets fans to turn up for Knoxville again. He says Knoxville got his reaction, so why is he here now? Knoxville says Zayn crashed his Jackass Forever movie premiere so here he is now. Knoxville says hello to Sami. Zayn says they can talk later, but for now he's going to ask Knoxville to get the fuck out of his ring. Knoxville thought he heard Zayn fighting for the title, so let's do it. Fans bang and Zayn starts to seethe. Zayn thinks about it and says Knoxville doesn't seem to be learning anything. Sami says he's told Knoxville that before, but he'll say it again - Knoxville doesn't belong in this ring. Sami gives Knoxville some credit for meddling in his head, but says he sees through it and it won't work. Knoxville asks Sami if he wants to be Fighting Champion or if he doesn't have enough balls? They threw away their mics and now face each other in the center of the ring while chatting about trash. Sami says he won't fight and then goes past Knoxville. Fans chant for Knoxville and he gets distracted by the chants when Sami comes back and drops him with a cheap shot. Sami punches Knoxville and then corners him for a helluva kick. Sami yells in his face as officers smack the ring to pull him away. Sami delivers another Helluva Kick and Knoxville is knocked down. Zayn lifts the title and some of his balloons as the boos get louder. Sami taunts Knoxville even more as he exits the ring. - Before that, Roman Reigns and Brock Lesnar will make their WrestleMania 38 match official. - We go backstage and Sami Zayn berates Adam Pearce about what he just did to Johnny Knoxville. He knows Sami and Pearce are very busy right now, but overheard Sami say he wants to be a Fighting Champion and he's here to climb the ranks. Sami Zayn with the WWE Intercontinental Title at stake for next Friday. We go back to the ring and out comes Sasha Banks to a big bang for her return. She walks in the ring and poses for Pyro as the fans cheer her on. Shotzi is already in the ring staring at Banks. Before the game can begin, the music plays and Naomi comes out. Shotzi punches Banks and yells at her, greeting her back. Banks takes Shotzi down with a headlock. Shotzi grabs her hair and talks some more trash, but Banks punches her and gets to work. Banks with a suplex in the middle of the ring. Shotzi counters a move and rams Banks over the top rope. Shotzi now stomps away on Banks and then covers for a 2 count. Shotzi leaves Banks against the ropes and nails the stage dive to the neck. Banks kicks out at 2 and Shotzi shows some frustration. Banks tries to flip it but Shotzi kicks out at 2. Banks eventually hits a large Meteora from above. Banks plays for a pop in front of the crowd, then double knees into Shotzi with a new offensive move. - After the match, Banks stands upright while the music plays. Naomi applauds her and gets up from the commentary booth. Naomi enters the ring and takes the mic. She announces that she and Banks are the next WWE Women's Tag Team Champions. - Megan Morant is backstage with Happy Baron Corbin and Madcap Moss. We see Drew McIntyre win the Falls Count Anywhere match against Moss in the WWE Elimination Chamber last Saturday, including the reverse Alabama slam bump that Moss took. Corbin jokes about how Moss used his head. He says it's good that Moss has a strong head. Corbin goes on to say that Drew has to take care of him tonight. Corbin says this is a WrestleMania caliber match, and now it's on SmackDown. Corbin says we saw Drew get upset trying to use a sword on Corbin. He says you can't disrespect Corbin or his friends like that and get away with it. Corbin will show Drew tonight who the real warrior is, and this is no joke. Cole says Corbin called an audible and will be up against Drew tonight instead of Moss. We go back to the ring and out comes Drew McIntyre with his sword Angela. McIntyre poses in the corner and raises his sword as the Pyro shoots out of the ring posts. Back from break comes Happy Baron Corbin with Madcap Moss. Corbin takes the mic and reminds us how he said this was a WrestleMania match and asks Drew if he really wants to embarrass himself in front of that crowd in Hershey, PA. Corbin says these people are pathetic. Corbin says nothing would make him happier than stomping Drew to a pulp, but his friend Moss is a real inspiration as he landed on his head and kept fighting. Corbin tells Moss to step onto the apron and show everyone just how good he really is. Moss poses for boos. Corbin says why Moss isn't taking on this rematch because he deserves it. Corbin says it's just Drew, Moss can take him. Corbin dumps McIntyre with a cheap start. McIntyre is now double teamed. The bell rang and Moss ran across the ring with a big corner kick to Drew. Moss now, which was the originally announced plan before it was changed to Drew vs. Drew, comes right back with a huge Glasgow Kiss headbutt, throwing Moss into the far corner. Drew wants another Alabama Slam, but Corbin begs from ringside and yells a no at Drew. Moss holds on to the rope and quickly crawls to the ground to regroup with Corbin and dodge the Alabama Slam. Drew yells at her from the ring as we head back to the commercial. Moss drops Drew as Corbin cheers for him from ringside. Moss leveled Drew with a shoulder tackle for a 2 count. Moss stomps away trying to capitalize but Drew knocks him down and they both go down. They slowly get up and now trade big strikes in the middle of the ring. McIntyre is cornered but comes out with a heavy clothesline. Moss stands up with a clothesline. Draw with a big toss across the ring, then another. Drew with a neckbreaker and then a kip up for a big pop. Drew calls for the claymore kick, but Corbin hits the apron as a distraction. Thumbs Moss in the eye as the ref gets distracted by Corbin. Moss sends Corbin shoulder-first into the ring post, then drops him for a tight 2-count. Moss and Corbin are now frustrated. Moss screams while beating Drew with his fists. Moss runs the ropes but Drew lands a big claymore kick out of nowhere. Corbin looks on in shock as Drew covers the pin to win this Elimination Chamber rematch. – After the match, McIntyre stands upright while his music plays. Drew now poses in the corner with Angela and points this out while Corbin watches from ringside. - We see what happened in the opening segment with Ronda Rousey, SmackDown Women's Champion Charlotte Flair and Sonya Deville. – Morant is backstage with Ronda Rousey. She asks about next Friday's game against Sonya Deville. Rousey says for all the times Deville has messed with her and bullied Naomi, next week she's going to show everyone what happens when authority figures step out of line. - Returning to the ring for today's WrestleMania 38 contract signing, first up is The Bloodline - WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns, Paul Heyman and SmackDown Tag Team Champions The Usos. Heyman hands Reigns the title and he holds it up as the Usos hold up their gold and the Pyro goes off. Reigns comes in the ring as we go back to commercials. Back from the break and Adam Pearce is seated at the table for a contract signing. Reigns takes a seat at the table. Heyman takes the mic and goes on to share what this Winner Takes All Title Unification match at WrestleMania 38 is like. Fans boo Heyman's comments that this is bigger than those three legendary games. Heyman continues to cheer the match, saying these security guys are here to protect The Beast from his own impulsiveness, and to protect him from his own tribal chief, Reigns. Back from hiatus and WWE Chairman & CEO Vince McMahon is announced for next Thursday's Pat McAfee Show. We go back to the ring and out comes WWE Champion Brock Lesnar. Lesnar walks to the ring and enters. He puts the strap on the table, stares at Reigns, and then starts laughing. Lesnar takes the microphone and addresses Reigns as Mr. Acknowledgment and Heyman as Mr. Dick. Lesnar introduces himself as the new, reigning and defending WWE World Heavyweight Champion... Brock... Lesnar! Lesnar says he needs to back off a bit here. He admits he's very impulsive and says if they believe for a second those non-slip security guards are stopping him from jumping over the table and kicking Reigns and Heyman/The Usos' butts, they still have something before. Lesnar says that Brock Lesnar is the only thing stopping him from getting over the table and kicking their ass. Lesnar says he's going to sign this contract because he's going to kick their ass at WrestleMania and you can bet he'll get paid for it. Next, Pearce hands the contract over to Lesnar. Heyman rants about how he's sick of Lesnar. Heyman says this won't be a Unification Match because Lesnar won't have the WWE Title when he comes to WrestleMania 38 because he loses it at Madison Square Garden next Saturday. Reigns accepts the contract and signs it now. Pearce walks away with the contract. Reigns says Lesnar the farm boy must be confused because this WWE title is owned by Reigns. Reigns stands up and keeps talking about how he's going to smash Lesnar, that this is his ring, his cameraman, Cole and McAfee work for him, the WrestleMania sign is his because he is WrestleMania. Reigns continues how he runs everything and everyone works for him. Lesnar now stands up in the ring. Reigns says from ringside that everyone is working for him, including ring security. Lesnar turns the table over and begins destroying the large group of security guards. Lesnar swings furniture around and delivers his signature moves to clear the ring. Lesnar drops two guards with F5s while The Bloodline watches from the entrance, looking a bit concerned. SmackDown goes off the air and Lesnar stands upright in the ring. WWE unifies titles with Brock Lesnar Vs. Roman reigns at WrestleMania 38

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SmackDown Scores Live Blog

Catch up on this week's episode of SmackDown with a contract signing, championship celebration, Elimination Chamber rematch and more! (Author: Gardener)

weekWWE SmackDown returns to our lives tonight (February 25, 2022) with a show from the Giant Center in Hershey, Pennsylvania, featuring all episodes of the Elimination Chamber event that took place in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia just this past weekend . Announced for tonight, Universal Champion Roman Reigns and WWE Champion Brock Lesnar will sign a contract for their title vs. title winner take-all match at WrestleMania 38. Elsewhere on the map: Sami Zayn will celebrate his new reign as Intercontinental Champion, and Drew McIntyre will fight Madcap Moss in a Elimination Chamber rematch. Come right back here at 8:00 p.m. ET when the SmackDown Live Blog kicks off once the show starts on FOX. The show begins with a recap of Brock Lesnar's win of the WWE Championship last weekend at the Elimination Chamber. She explains her long absence with a series of injuries, rehab and pregnancy and says that as soon as she got her due date she knew she wanted to target this year's Royal Rumble for her comeback. This goes on to talk about all of her accolades and victory in tag team action at Elimination Chamber. She says she showed a lot of mercy to Ronda on Saturday and she felt sorry for her, but it won't be like that at WrestleMania and she will send her home to work on baby number two. Sonya Deville attacks Rousey from behind and Charlotte repeatedly posts her knee! Sonya gets in her face asking why she's such a loser, but Ronda manages to knock her out of the ring! Back from the commercial, Adam Pearce is in his office scolding Sonya Deville for her actions and pointing out that she wasn't even wearing her jacket. Los Lotharios get their act complete with an annoyingly normative kissing cam. New Day runs strong early, double-teaming Carrillo, E uses the Cobra Twist! He keeps him isolated when Kofi comes back in, but Garza turns things around on the floor and takes his pants off to send us to the break. Back from the commercial, Kingston is isolated as Los Lotharios handles a lengthy heat segment. Kofi gets the pop-up stomp for a breakup and the way is clear! Tags done, E comes in hot and hits the trifecta of belly to belly suplexes on Carrillo! Big end denied, Garza runs interference and Humberto superkicks E in the chest! New Day manages to hit a double team, but Angel breaks it and the match collapses! SOS blocks, Garza hits Kofi with a suicide dive and approaches Big E's birthday ATV. This distraction is enough for Kingston to lunge at him and roll him back in, E hits Carrillo belly to belly and Kofi climbs...Big wants to run the ATV over Humberto, Angel begs, Kofi rolls him through, hits a knee and the day... New Day wins by pinfall with Midnight Hour on Angel Garza. A Toyota commercial with Shinsuke Nakamura and Rick Boogs kayaking follows and sends us to the break. Back from the commercial, Ridge Holland and Sheamus converse with New Day, admiring their ATV and threatening to hit them. They talk about signing Roman Reigns for the reunion game against Brock Lesnar later tonight and say they will transfer the work to the Viking Raiders just like their cousin will do with Lesnar. Viking Raiders attack while calling them stinky Vikings, knocking them down and claiming their title shot. She says she's been waiting for this moment her whole life, and she worked hard at NXT to get here. She is nervous but confident because she is the protector and Natalya will need protection tonight. Xia Li makes her appearance to send us to the break. Neidhart, with the discuslariat for two of her own, smashes Li into the corner and smacks her! Cobra Twist applied, Xia fights, catches a kick, elbows to the knee, knees jump in the face, stomach kick, corner knee into an overhead elbow and then a Northern Lights suplex for a near fall! Nattie with a double leg, step through, Li blocks the sharpshooter and kicks her to the side! We get a recap of Sami Zayn winning back the Intercontinental Championship. He comes on in a gold tuxedo jacket, because of course he does, and we go on intermission. Back from the commercial, Sami Zayn sits down at the mic and...my audio cuts out completely but I mean it's Sami Zayn celebrating getting his baby back, I don't really think we need a road map here. “Oh boy I'm Sami Zayn and I've overcome a year of conspiracies to win back the Intercontinental Championship. I should never have lost sight of myself, I'm so awesome, etc etc.” Eventually, Johnny Knoxville steps up and slides into the ring to confront Sami. Zayn jumps on him and knocks him down before hitting the Helluva Kick! He grabs his balloons and title belt and celebrates sending us on the break. Following is a synopsis of Sami Zayn beating up Johnny Knoxville. Sami complains to Adam Pearce backstage, Pearce berates him for breaking Johnny Knoxville, and Ricochet rolls up and steps forward to challenge the struggling champion. Adam says it's official, Ricochet gets to fight for the Intercontinental Championship next week! Naomi makes her entrance to join the commentary for this next one. Jawing, Shotzi tries a Shotei and gets caught, but fights his way out of Banks and muscled her in the flank! Snap suplex, another making the Three Amigos, but Blackheart supplexes them into the ropes and gets two! Sasha hits a Meteora, jumps off the ropes, Keller codebreaker connecting lung blasters... After the match, Naomi grabs the mic and says that she and Sasha are looking for the tag titles. Corbin laughs at Moss' defeat in Elimination Chamber and says Drew McIntyre has to deal with him in a WrestleMania match tonight. Drew McIntyre steps up to send us to the break. Back from the commercial, Corbin sits down at the mic in front of the bell and asks if Drew really wants to waste a WrestleMania match and be humiliated in front of those pathetic people in Hershey, Pennsylvania. Nothing would make him happier than pounding him to a pulp, and he talks about what an inspiration Madcap Moss is because he's so tough. He asks Moss to take the match back and he agrees and they attack McIntyre. McIntyre easily gets over an initial excitement from Moss and takes him to the Alabama Slam, but Madcap runs away and we go to the break. Back from the commercial, Moss is in control, back and forth, trading big lassos, overhead belly-to-belly suplexes from McIntyre! Jumping neck crusher, kip-up, countdown, Corbin running interference, Madcap thumb to eye and a DDT... Drew McIntyre wins by pinfall with the Claymore. Ronda Rousey is interviewed backstage and says she will show everyone what happens when an authority figure steps out of line and we learn she has been booked against Sonya Deville next week. The Bloodline perform and we go on break. Back from the commercial comments, a few upcoming games are being hyped. Roman Reigns is in the ring with the Bloodline and a bunch of security and begs Hershey to acknowledge him. Paul Heyman takes over to talk about Reigns/Lesnar as the greatest match in WrestleMania history, bigger than notorious racist Hulk Hogan vs. The Rock, bigger than Brock Lesnar vs. He keeps talking and we make a hard cut, um breaking what he refers to as a cliffhanger.

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Winners, grades, reactions, highlights from February 25th

The main events focused on the blue brand champions. The February ... (Author: Gardener)

February 25thFriday Night SmackDown is headed to WWE WrestleMania 38. The February 25 edition of WWE SmackDown focuses on setting the map for the most amazing two-night event in WrestleMania history. Roman Reigns and Brock Lesnar were already on a collision course before the start of 2022, and The Beast Incarnate has done everything in his power to ensure he faces The Head of the Table as the WWE Champion. The two champions would sign the contract for their match on SmackDown. Sami Zayn holds championship gold again. He defeated Shinsuke Nakamura last week to become a three-time WWE Intercontinental Champion. He promised a celebration on SmackDown this week. After an intense and physical fight in the WWE Elimination Chamber against Madcap Moss, Drew McIntyre would finally get his hands on Happy Corbin in a one-on-one match. Charlotte Flair continued to dodge Ronda Rousey, but with her match scheduled for the main event of WrestleMania 38 night one, the Queen had to find a way to gain an advantage over The Baddest Woman on the Planet. WWE hasn't promised much on paper for this week's SmackDown, but anticipation is a steady stream of surprises heading into WrestleMania. Anything could happen this week. Michael Cold interviewed Ronda Rousey about her journey to return to WWE. Cole brought up the tag team match at WWE Elimination Chamber that produced Charlotte Flair. While the Queen was taunting The Baddest Woman on the Planet, Sonya attacked Deville Rousey from behind. The two women attempted to injure Rousey by chasing her right leg, but The Baddest Woman on the Planet struggled out of her grip, sending Deville to flee. Adam Pearce announced next week that Deville would fight Rousey next week in Miami. Later in the night, The Baddest Woman on the Planet promised to show the world what happens when the authority under her watch steps out of line. This was an awkward opening of the night. She is the Baddest Woman on the Planet in the ring but struggles to sell herself on the mic. She needs a manager sooner rather than later. The story appears to be that Charlotte will attempt to injure Rousey ahead of WrestleMania to win her SmackDown Women's Title. It makes sense, but it's still not a story big enough to cover Main Event Night 1 of WrestleMania 38. Big E and Kofi Kingston vs. Los Lotharios isolated Kofi early on in hopes of keeping E out of the action. However, The Power of Positivity found its opening to come on and take over. E caught Angel with a raised bulldog and Humberto could barely stop the pin attempt. E threatened to run over Humbero with his ATV outside, distracting Angel long enough for E and Kofi to catch him with the midnight hour to win. Sheamus and Ridge Holland challenged E and Kofi to a match backstage Solid tag team match, WWE continues to host these matches without any hype. It would be interesting to see how Angel and Humberto would pull off a surprise win in this rivalry, but instead, New Day remains the dominant force in the tag team division. As Los Lotharios is only going to lose and the games didn't have enough variety, these two should be separated immediately because of their momentum. Los Lotharios could be an interesting pair to aim for the tag titles soon, but the time is clearly not yet. Shinsuke Nakamura and Rick Boogs went for a test drive in a new Toyota Tundra and went on a kayak tour together. The Viking Raiders attacked the Usos during an interview, claiming the title match they deserve. The Queen of Harts attempted to lock in the sharpshooter, but Li kicked her out and hit a roundhouse kick for the win. It took over four months, but Li finally made her SmackDown debut. Natalya has always been good enough to allow anyone to look good, but she needs a great opponent to push her. The protector has done her job here, but she's just not the kind of performer who can uplift her opponents just yet. She has to work with some of the best in the women's departments to test them. For now, she got the victory she needed. Sami Zayn sang with delight as he finally broke the conspiracy to regain his WWE Intercontinental Championship. He promised Shinsuke Nakamura would get his rematch once his knee healed from the Great Liberator's brutal attack in their match last week. Johnny Knoxville arrived and heard Zayn's open offer to anyone for a shot at the WWE Intercontinental Championship. The Jackass star taunted The Great Liberator until he knocked Knoxville down and hit 2 Helluva Kicks. Adam Pearce questioned Zayn about his actions backstage, where Ricochet challenged him to a shot at the WWE Intercontinental Championship. Pearce made it official. While Knoxville isn't Zayn's most exciting competitor at WrestleMania, it was inevitable. His name is still in the spotlight thanks to Jackass Forever, so why wouldn't WWE want to capitalize on that?Zayn is an entertainer by any measure. He caused Zayn to lose his composure and perhaps just jumped the line for a title shot. Naomi joined this match as a commentator. Sasha Banks immediately sent Shotzi down to the mat and attempted to secure the bank statement, but her rival countered her. Shotzi also blocked the Three Amigos before hitting a running senton on the bottom rope. The Legit Boss responded with a meteroa and a running low double knee facebuster, followed by a backstabber. She completed the bank statement to win. Naomi went into the ring to announce that she and Banks would be aiming for the WWE Women's Tag Team Championships. This was better than the previous match but it was pretty one sided. It was just nice to see The Legit Boss back. You and Naomi can make a great tag team. However, it's disappointing that WWE has to constantly create tag teams in the women's division to keep the WWE Women's Tag Team Championships anywhere near relevant. This could have taken at least several weeks. Happy Corbin seemed ready to fight for Madcap Moss, who was still injured after WWE Elimination Chamber. However, once Corbin stepped into the ring, he relented and persuaded Moss to fight Drew McIntyre again instead. Corbin and Moss knocked out The Scottish Warrior before the match. Corbin distracted the ref and McIntyre to save Moss from a claymore. This allowed Moss to put a thumb in the eye and send McIntyre hard against the steel post to almost claim the win. However, when the heel came off the ropes to build steam, he ran straight into a claymore that sealed the win. This was another rematch that shouldn't have happened. The story makes sense as Corbin continues to use Moss to save himself, but these two men don't have enough chemistry to make these fights interesting. However, it was impressive that Moss was able to compete again after a brutal spot a week ago. This feud between McIntyre and Corbin has dragged on for months, covering McIntyre vs. At this point, WWE has no choice but to port it to the WrestleMania card because of too much TV time behind it. The best way McIntyre vs. Corbin can go is for The Scottish Warrior to win quickly and decisively to further establish him as a Roman Reigns challenger. Roman Reigns and Brock Lesnar Sign WrestleMania Main Event ContractPaul Heyman exaggerated why everyone needed to understand that Roman Reigns vs. Brock Lesnar was "the greatest WrestleMania match ever." Lesnar repeatedly taunted and disrespected Reigns before signing the contract. Visibly annoyed, the league leaders finally grabbed the microphone after signing the contract. Reigns revealed he bought ring security when they tried to attack Lesnar. He turned them all off. The pace of SmackDown was awkward throughout the night, but that was particularly odd given that there were two commercial breaks during that main event segment. Brock Lesnar didn't come out until there was less than 10 minutes left on the show. When Lesnar started things went as expected. The Beast Incarnate had fun playing the Heyman role in the ring before going through some light training where she tossed around a bunch of random people. The storytelling is simple and goes beyond the repetitive need to cheer the greatness of this match. WWE has often felt the need to tell people how they should feel and hyped this match beyond what it could deliver. Calling a match that's already happened twice at WrestleMania and even four months ago at WWE Crown Jewel "The Greatest WrestleMania Match Ever" won't make it.

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Light snow falls on Portland streets Thursday morning; Afternoon clearing expected

Snow on nearby highways caused accidents early in the morning. The sky should clear up in the afternoon (Author: Gardener)

PortlandLight snow is expected to fall throughout the metro area through Thursday morning, particularly in the northern and eastern portions of Clark County. Accidents occurred on several highways around 5 a.m. as light snow blanketed the lanes. Interstate 5 was closed near Woodland due to a serious accident that blocked the freeway. The National Weather Service says this system should only bring a dust of snow to the valley floor as it moves rapidly south through the region. At higher elevations, an inch of snow could be seen sticking in the foothills of the Cascades and along the Coast Range. Some schools in the greater area have delayed opening due to the weather. How much snow are you expecting? In some places in the valleys there may be no snow at all, or maybe a light flurry or two. Early morning temperatures around Portland were at or below freezing in most locations, so any moisture that falls should be snow by later in the morning. The maximum temperature is around 43 degrees. Skies will be mostly clear into the evening and another round of cold temperatures will cool the region overnight. Forecasters expect frosty conditions early Friday. Friday will be mostly sunny and temperatures are expected to rise to 50 degrees as we slowly work our way out of this cold snap we've been under. The next wet system is scheduled for the weekend. Saturday begins dry but chilly, with snow depths of up to 600 feet. As the system makes its way, temperatures will be warmer and snow depth will increase to about 2,500 feet by the afternoon. The rain starts along the coast first and then moves into the valleys. Expect rain from 4 p.m. The maximum temperature is about 49 degrees. Overnight lows should remain in the low 40s, leaving little snow in the valley early Sunday. The rain will continue through the end of the weekend. The highs should be close to 51 degrees.

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Medvedev meets Nadal in the semifinals of the Mexico Open

Hours after securing first place in the ATP rankings, top seed Daniil Medvedev advanced to the semifinals of the Mexican Open on Thursday with a 6-2, 6-3 win over Yoshihito Nishioka. (Author: Gardener)

MedvedevACAPULCO, Mexico — As keen as Daniil Medvedev was to take over as No. 1 in men's tennis, he knew more serious things were about to happen in his native Russia on Thursday. A defeat for Novak Djokovic at the Dubai Championships meant the Serbian player would be relegated to second place, and Medvedev was sure to become the 27th man to occupy the top spot in the ATP - even before Medvedev's win reached the semis at the Mexico Open. It all happened on the same day as Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine that began with air and missile strikes on military installations before troops and tanks rolled across the borders from the north, east and south. "It wasn't easy watching the news from home, waking up here in Mexico," said Medvedev after beating Yoshihito Nishioka 6-2, 6-3. “As a tennis player, I want to promote peace around the world. Noting that the pair who won the doubles title at the Marseille Open last week included a Russian (Andrey Rublev) and a Ukrainian (Denys Molchanov), Medvedev said: "That was amazing because people have to stay together" Looking back on on the day, Medvedev added: “In those moments you understand that sometimes tennis is not so important. It wasn't easy to play and I'm glad I managed to win the match, but it was a bit of a rollercoaster day for me Medvedev said he had received congratulations from other players on his new ranking, which was released on Monday will officially come into effect: "Of course I'm happy to reach No. 1," said Medvedev, who will face Rafael Nadal in the semifinals. Medvedev lost to Nadal in the Australian Open final in January after squandering a two-set lead , a year after losing the final to Djokovic there honor and a great challenge. In Australia (against Nadal) I could have won, but the result was that I lost in the end," Medvedev said. Nadal beat Tommy Paul 6-0, 7-6 (5) to take his tally to 13-0 Nadal is a three-time Acapulco champion, where he has a 23-2 record. "[Medvedev] is a tough opponent, world No. 1 and we all saw in Australia how difficult he is to beat." said Nadal. Nadal also expressed his thoughts on the Russian invasion of Ukraine. "I can give an opinion as a citizen," Nadal said. I can't understand it and I wish it ends now because at the end of the day I think it's devastating and incomprehensible news." Third-seeded Tsitsipas plays Cameron Norrie, who went through a 6-1, 6 0-0 win over Peter Gojowczyk Defending champion Alexander Zverev was kicked out of the tournament after violently banging his racquet on the chair umpire's stands after losing in doubles Zverev was fined $40,000 and loses more than $30,000 in prize money and all ranking points from the Mexican Open.

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