So Cal Sports: November
Halloween has passed and so the scariest thing facing Southern California sports fans is the prospects of the Los Angeles Lakers. Julius Randle, the Lakers’ very promising first-round draft pick, broke his leg on opening night and will be out quite a while. Steve Nash is out with a bad back, probably for the year—and may not play another NBA game. He will be replaced by one of the newest Lakers, Jeremy Lin. Lin is a bit of folk hero since his triumphant 2012 season with the New York Knicks, inspiring “Linsanity.”
You can watch Lin and all the Lakers—including Kobe Bryant as he battles his critics and age and tries to show us he is still a superstar—as November has them hosting the Phoenix Suns, Charlotte Hornets, San Antonio Spurs, Golden State Warriors, Memphis Grizzlies, Minnesota Timberwolves and Toronto Raptors. For tickets and details, visit nba.com/lakers/schedule.
The Lakers share the Staples Center with a team that used to be known as “the other team”: the Los Angeles Clippers. However, this year their team is loaded with talent, starting with Blake Griffin, and the Clippers have their eyes on the playoffs and maybe even a deep run. November finds them hosting the Sacramento Kings, Utah Jazz, Portland Trail Blazers, San Antonio Spurs, Phoenix Suns and the Chicago Bulls. Full details can be found at nba.com/clippers/schedule.
Professional football is in full swing and until Los Angles finally gets a team again (an annual rumor turned urban legend), The San Diego Chargers are Southern California’s only option. They host the Oakland Raiders on Nov. 16 and the St. Louis Rams on the Nov. 23. Ticket information can be found on the Chargers website at chargers.com.
College football finds both the USC Trojans and the UCLA Bruins fighting to be in the Dec. 5 Pac 12 Football Championship game. The Trojans have home games (L.A. Coliseum) on Nov. 13 against the Cal Bears, and on Nov. 29 they renew one of college football’s great rivalries when the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame bring their national championship hopes to the Coliseum.
The Bruins’ home field (Pasadena’s Rose Bowl) will see Arizona on Nov. 1, and on Nov. 28 Stanford will be visiting. However, under the category of “must see” is UCLA hosting USC on Nov. 22. With both teams playing so well, playoff implications and citywide bragging rights for a year, this is a game designed for water-cooler discussion.
Hockey is now in full swing and the Los Angeles Kings have invited the Islanders, Canucks, Stars, Ducks, Panthers, Hurricanes and the Blackhawks to join them at the Staples Center (details available at kings.nhl.com). If your travels take you to Orange County, you can watch the Anaheim Ducks host the Islanders, Coyotes, Canucks, Kings, Panthers, Coyotes, Flames and Blackhawks. All the information on the Ducks Honda Center home games can be found at ducks.nhl.com
Soccer fans need to get to the StubHub Center in Carson on the Nov. 9 to see the Los Angeles Galaxy host Real Salt Lake. Unfortunately, Los Angeles’ other professional soccer team, Chivas USA, has ceased operations.
Fontana’s Auto Club Speedway is busy in November. From the NHRA Drags to Exotics to the Rusty Wallace Racing Experience, there is something for every auto-racing enthusiast. Details located at autoclubspeedway.com.
For more excitement, and something a little different, try mountain-bike races. Both the races and the views are breathtaking. The Vail Lake Resort is hosting the 2014 “12 & 6 Hours of Temecula” race on Nov. 8 and then the 2014 SoCal Enduro Race 3 the following day.
Please know that this short column only touches the surface of the various sporting events available for your attending and viewing pleasure. I’ve tried to cover the “bigger events” and a couple of those that might be less well known. While you’re visiting, should you find an upcoming event that you think would be of interest, or one I missed this month but should note it for next year, just drop me a line. Enjoy!