TheDailySportsHerald.com presents our quick truths on today's top headlines in the world of sports. The truth shall set you free ...
HEADLINE: UCLA Women's Basketball team loses Kacy Swain to ACL knee injury
TRUTH: The Bruins have lost two key role players already to ACL injuries in Swain and guard Kari Korver. Swain was expected to log significant minutes at forward, but her injury leaves the Bruins with just two healthy players at the position to start the year.
Still, the truth is that despite those injuries, the Lady Bruins could have more success this season than the men's team. See below . . .
HEADLINE: UCLA Men's Basketball recruit Trevon Bluiett de-commits
TRUTH: The demanding Bruin alumni are getting a little antsy over new coaching hire Steve Alford. Alford signed a long term deal that will make a buyout costly and difficult, so he is here to stay in Westwood, for better or for worse.
Despite Alford's track record of success, he has not made a great impression thus far on the job, as USC-hire Andy Enfield and his uptempo system have taken much of the local basketball buzz to the other side of town. Enfield already has landed some quality recruits, while Alford has had Bluiett, a highly-regarded 6-6 forward from the coach's home state of Indiana, slip through his fingers.
Alford's pull in the basketball-mad Hoosier state was considered an added bonus when he was hired, but his top priority ultimately will be to land the elite recruits in talent-rich California. Thus far, Enfield is winning that war.
HEADLINE: LA Kings win season opener over Minnesota, 3-2
TRUTH: Great way for the Kings to open the season with a tough shootout road win playing their style of hockey -- great goaltending by Quick and just enough offense to pull off the victory. The return of defenseman Willie Mitchell, finally healthy after his knee injury, is an added bonus.
HEADLINE: Cleveland Browns defeat Buffalo Bills, 37-24
TRUTH: Prior to this season, nobody would have believed that after 5 games, Cleveland would be in first place in the AFC North. Especially if you were to tell them that running back and former first round pick Trent Richardson would be traded to the Colts early in the season.
But the truth is that every season the NFL has a surprise team that comes out of nowhere to make a playoff run, and this year the Browns could be that squad. With traditional division power Pittsburgh struggling at 0-4, a revamped roster in Baltimore, and a solid Browns' defense getting excellent play from its secondary, Cleveland could make a run at the division title.
Even more surprising, Cleveland has been doing it all despite a fluctuating situation at the quarterback position, as backup Brian Hoyer, who had rejuvenated the team in recent weeks, injured his knee Thursday night. Former starter Brandon Weeden came off the bench cold and didn't miss a beat, rallying the team to victory.
HEADLINE: UCLA Bruins get six interceptions and earn tough 34-27 road win over Utah
TRUTH: The reality in the Pac-12 Conference is that there are three elite teams capable of playing for a national title -- Oregon, Stanford, and UCLA. And UCLA has the best quarterback of the three in Brett Hundley.
Hundley had an excellent performance, throwing for a score, catching a touchdown pass off a trick play in the red zone, running for the final clinching touchdown, and even punting off a quick-kick play to pin the Utes deep in their own end.
The Utes competed well defensively and were excellent against the Bruins running attack up until Hundley's final 36-yard scamper, often forcing the Bruins to punt and limiting UCLA's points off turnovers as best they could. A late pick six by the Utes' D off Hundley enabled them to tie the score in the fourth quarter.
But the real story in this game was the growth shown by the UCLA defense. Senior Anthony Barr provided his usual clutch heroics with a fourth quarter sack and a tackle for loss, but now the youngsters are picking it up as well.
Freshman defensive lineman Eddie Vanderdoes frequently got penetration into the backfield, and linebacker Myles Jack continued to show his blazing speed and playmaking ability, deflecting a pass when rushing the QB on one play, and then making the final game-winning interception dropping back into coverage on another.
More importantly, UCLA's young secondary is developing before our eyes, getting multiple interceptions against the Utes, competing aggressively all night, and never becoming tentative with the game on the line.
HEADLINE: LA Dodgers take Game 1 on road over the Braves, 6-1
TRUTH: LA got another great performance by Clayton Kershaw -- the best pitcher in baseball -- who went 7 innings and gave up only one earned run while striking out 12.
In addition, the Dodgers received timely hitting from A.J. Ellis (two doubles), Mark Ellis (two hits), and Adrian Gonzalez (two hits, including a two-run blast).
But the key to this game was rookie sensation Yasiel Puig, who set the tone early in the game by displaying his multiple tools.
In the second inning, Puig hit a 1-out single up the middle to get on base. Once on board, he rattled pitcher Kris Medlen with his speed, as Medlen began throwing to first multiple times to thwart Puig. Juan Uribe then hit a routine single up the middle, and Puig, with his aggressive style of play and blazing speed, advanced to third without drawing a throw from outfielder Jason Heyward.
Skip Schumaker then sent a fly ball to center, allowing Puig to tag up and score to put LA ahead. Heyward surprisingly tried to throw out the speedy Puig, and Uribe seized the opportunity to go into scoring position at second. An A.J. Ellis double would bring Uribe home for a 2-0 lead, more than enough run production with Kershaw on the hill.
Puig did his part defensively in the second as well, catching two fly ball outs and doubling up Evan Gattis to end the inning and kill an early Atlanta opportunity.
With Puig leading the way early, Kershaw was able to settle down after a somewhat shaky start, locking in during the later innings to strike out six consecutive batters, and nine of the last eleven he faced.
By Mike Elliott
Staff Editor for TheDailySportsHerald.com