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Facebook move will play out in long-term, analysts say

NEW YORK -- Facebook's move to highlight posts from friends and family over those from brands and publications follows months of turmoil for the social network and will result in lower advertising revenue -- at least in the short-term, analysts said. Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced the shift in the configuration of the News Feed on Thursday, saying it would reduce engagement by users at first but would lead to their improved "well-being." While Zuckerberg described the move as being designed to bring people closer together and foster more "meaningful social interactions," analysts noted that it comes amid criticism of the world's leading social network on various...Keep on reading: Facebook move will play out in long-term, analysts say.....»»

Category: newsSource: inquirer inquirerJan 13th, 2018

Draymond Green’s intensity, leadership pushes Durant, others

By Janie McCauley, Associated Press OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Draymond Green and Kevin Durant bet on just about anything. “Life,” Green explained, “who drives home faster from the practice facility, who gets to the game earlier. You want us to tell you our whole life?” KD and Dray have formed quite a bond since way back, when Green was part of the strategic recruiting process to bring Durant to the Bay Area from Oklahoma City before last season. They’ve had a few heated moments, too, and both say they are better for it. And there’s no official count — that has been shared, anyway — on who owes who what for losing those friendly wagers. “Yeah, I’m not in those bets,” teammate Shaun Livingston said. “It could be a shot to start the practice, in the corner, anything. It doesn’t matter. Wherever. They just walk up to each other all the time, ‘Bet, bet it, bet it.’” Green, part of the Warriors contingent in the Hamptons to meet with Durant before the big July 4 decision announcement last year, lit into Durant during a loss to Memphis back in January. Then they got into it again in a three-point defeat at Sacramento on Feb. 4 (Feb. 5, PHL time). “Hollered at me? Ha! We’re grown men, ain’t nobody hollering at me,” Durant said good-naturedly after a recent practice when asked about the animated back-and-forth, as surrounding media members erupted into laughter at his response. He then chose far more colorful language — and expletives — to describe their heated exchange during a timeout. Green acknowledges being mad that night. He and Durant are thriving now. “It just shows the trust that we have in each other, the relationship we have that we can go at each other,” Green said. “No one takes it personal. You say what you got to say, I say what I got to say. We figure it out and then we move on. That’s kind of what that was. You want to grow from moments like that if you’re a strong team, if your chemistry’s strong, you grow from moments like that. Chemistry’s not so strong, you’re not much of a together team, you can crumble from situations like that. But our chemistry is one of the things that makes us special.” Golden State seemed to build from those moments, and the defending NBA champs withstood Durant’s absence for 19 games shortly thereafter because of a knee injury. Livingston is the guy who stood between them that night in the Golden 1 Center, and notes, “They’re cut from the same cloth in a sense.” “It’s good to have that type of relationship, honestly, because when adversity strikes and things hit, they’re not afraid to say anything to each other,” Livingston said, “and you need that.” The Warriors’ emotional leader has been doing a bit of everything. After a recent outing, Green stole a look at his stat line and grinned. He certainly appreciated that performance: 10 points, 10 rebounds, seven assists, a season-best five blocked shots, two steals and just one turnover in 31 impressive minutes. “I like a line like that,” he said. “It kind of shows that you did everything on the floor and not just one thing. I definitely enjoy having a stat line like that if it means anything.” It means plenty to the Warriors, who are still working to find a consistent flow this season. They have struggled at times to take care of the ball and handle the basic fundamentals. That’s also typical Green, who lately is also having games in which he catches defenses off guard by knocking down three-pointers. His teammates love it all. “I knew he would make my job way easier and I knew I could help him,” Durant said. “I knew that his intensity was going to up the level of everybody on the floor, the way he approaches the game, his passion and love for the game. That stuff stood out more than anything. Obviously he’s quick for his position, he’s got long arms, he can shoot the 3, he can pass, he can rebound, but just his passion and love for the game that kind of shines bright, and it’s contagious.” Green raised his right arm in the air on back-to-back possessions in the fourth quarter of a Nov. 13 (Nov. 14, PHL time) win against the Magic, knocking down a three-pointer from the top of the arc before a layup moments later. “He’s unique from the standpoint of Steph, Klay and KD are guys that can go for 60. But Draymond just impacts the game in so many ways that you’ve just got to compete against him. You’ve got to understand that he can do it all,” Orlando coach Frank Vogel said. Green and Durant spent time together as 2016 Olympians in Rio. KD couldn’t wait to play with Green regularly — even if they went at it back on Feb. 4 (Feb. 5, PHL time) in Sacramento. “It’s just two teammates in the heat of the moment, both needed, at that point, that game, we were all bad,” Durant said. “We needed energy somehow. We kind of both sensed that. We came back to the huddle and got after it.” Still, that fire is what Durant loves about his intense teammate. Not to mention the work he puts in shooting from every spot on the floor. “It means a lot,” Green said. “You have to have those guys’ trust. If somebody sees you working, they have more trust in that. Obviously as one of the leaders of this team, you should be one of the hardest workers.” In the past three seasons, Green has notched five games with at least five points, five rebounds, five assists and five blocks. “You understand how impactful he can be without really scoring a lot of points or having any ooh or aah moments on the offensive end,” Stephen Curry said. “He has a lot of ooh and aah moments with the hustle plays and defensively. It seems like he’s always kind of in the play somehow. We appreciate every little bit of that effort and the results he prides himself in every single time he’s out there on the floor. His stat lines sometimes look like this where he’s so well-rounded across the board — points, rebounds, assists, blocked shots and whatnot — and he’ll bang down three, four triples every once in a while. You appreciate what he brings to the squad every single night and his energy and his passion.”.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 24th, 2017

Roethlisberger throws 4 TDs, Steelers drill Titans 40-17

By Will Graves, Associated Press PITTSBURGH (AP) — Ben Roethlisberger threw for 299 yards and four touchdowns, three to Antonio Brown, and the Pittsburgh Steelers pulled away from the Tennessee Titans in a 40-17 victory on Thursday night. Running the no-huddle offense extensively for the first time all season, Roethlisberger completed 30 of 45 passes to help the Steelers (8-2) win their fifth straight. Brown caught 10 passes for 144 yards and the three scores, including an acrobatic grab in the back of the end zone in which he pinned the ball to his helmet before bringing it in to put Pittsburgh up 20 in the fourth quarter. Marcus Mariota ran for a touchdown and threw for another but also was picked off four times as the Titans (6-4) saw their four-game winning streak come to a crashing halt. Mariota finished 22 of 33 for 306 yards but was under pressure much of the night, absorbing five sacks and rarely finding room to move outside the pocket. Still, Tennessee appeared to be in it when Mariota hit Rishard Matthews with a 75-yard touchdown pass on the first play of the second half to get to 16-14 but Pittsburgh's long-sputtering offense finally came to life. Roethlisberger dropped some very not subtle hints that he wanted the freedom provided by the no-huddle after the Steelers used it to pick the Colts apart during the winning drive last Sunday in Indianapolis. Offensive coordinator Todd Haley appeared to be listening. Pittsburgh opened in the no huddle and needed just six plays to take the lead as Roethlisberger took advantage of a free play and hit Brown with a 41-yard rainbow. Mike Hilton then returned Mariota's interception to set up the first of Chris Boswell's four field goals and the Steelers appeared on the verge of another prime-time blowout at home. The blowout did eventually arrive, just not quickly. The offense ground to a halt for the rest of the half, held in check by former defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau. The Hall of Famer spent 12 years building a defense that helped Pittsburgh to a pair of Super Bowl victories before being ushered out in favor of protege Keith Butler in January, 2015. The 80-year-old is in the middle of his latest project with the steadily improving Titans. Yet the gap between Tennessee and Pittsburgh remains significant. The proof came after Mathews' long catch-and-run appeared to give the Titans momentum. It didn't last. The Steelers, with Roethlisberger deftly at the controls, finally showcased the firepower they've only flirted with this season. The 35-year-old who has struggled with his accuracy at times was near perfect over the final 30 minutes. He finished 20 of 23 for 185 yards in the second half as Pittsburgh's $92-million offense sprang to life but scoring on four straight possessions. Roethlisberger found a leaping Brown for a 5-yard score to put Pittsburgh up 23-14, executed a perfect play-action fake that the goal line before flipping it to a wide-open Jesse James for a 1-yard touchdown and put the Titans away with a lob to the back corner of the end zone that Brown somehow hauled in from 10 yards out that made it 37-17. Pittsburgh rookie JuJu Smith-Schuster knelt down and bowed to Brown during the giddy celebration. Hard to blame the 20-year-old. For the first time all season, the Steelers put it all together and looked every bit like a team with a legitimate threat to play deep into January and beyond. UP NEXT Titans: Visit Indianapolis on Nov. 26. Tennessee beat the Colts 36-22 on Oct. 16. Steelers: Welcome the Green Bay Packers on Nov. 26, the second of four straight prime-time games for Pittsburgh......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 17th, 2017

Towns leads Timberwolves past floundering Mavericks 112-99

MINNEAPOLIS -- Karl-Anthony Towns had 31 points and 12 rebounds, Andrew Wiggins added 23 points on 9-for-14 shooting and the Minnesota Timberwolves beat the floundering Dallas Mavericks 112-99 on Saturday night for their first four-game winning streak in nearly five years. Holding Mavericks star Harrison Barnes scoreless in the second half, the Wolves enjoyed a blowout for once after the margin of their previous five victories totaled just 17 points. The last time they won four games in a row was Dec. 7-15, 2012, when Towns was just a junior in high school. Coming off a career-low two points Wednesday at New Orleans, when foul trouble against bulwarks DeMarcus Cousins and Anthony Davis limited him to 22 minutes, Towns responded like the Timberwolves needed him to and thought he would. He had seven points and two rebounds during a 13-0 run late in the third quarter that pushed their lead to 25 points. Barnes finished with 17 points for the Mavericks, who have the worst record in the NBA and their first 1-10 start since the 1993-94 season when they staggered out of the gate at 1-23 and finished 13-69 in coach Quinn Buckner's only year on the job. With franchise cornerstone Dirk Nowitzki not the same as his younger self, they've been relying heavily on their bounty of point guards. Dennis Smith Jr. had 18 points and Devin Harris (15 points) and J.J. Barea (14 points) provided a few sparks off the bench, but there's just not enough production to be found. The Mavericks entered the game with the third-lowest scoring average in the league. The Wolves improved to 6-1 with linchpin Jimmy Butler on the floor, having lost both games the tenacious, versatile small forward missed with a virus, but the upside to this one was that they won with minimal impact from their offseason headliner acquisition. Butler averaged 21.3 points over the previous three games, but the player getting the third-most minutes per night in the NBA was able to rest more than usual down the stretch with the Wolves in command from the middle of the first quarter on. Butler finished with a season-low four points in 34 minutes. Taj Gibson picked up some slack with 12 points and 10 rebounds, and Jeff Teague had 11 points and 10 assists. The reserves, playing as a five-man unit for long stretches, contributed often, too. Nemanja Bjelica and Tyus Jones each sank a pair of 3-pointers in the second quarter. Jamal Crawford used a shake-and-bake move for a 20-foot pull-up jumper he swished for a 90-62 lead that was the largest of the game for the Wolves. ROUGH ROAD AHEAD The Mavericks might have to wait a while longer for that next win. Their next 10 games include two matchups each with Oklahoma City and San Antonio and one against Cleveland, and all but one of them are against teams that made the playoffs last season. The vastly improved Timberwolves are the only outlier. They visit Dallas on Nov. 17. TIP-INS Mavericks: Nowitzki had seven points on 3-for-8 shooting in 22 minutes. ... Salah Mejri started at center for the first time this season and only the 18th time in 114 career games. The 7-foot-2 Tunisian, who had 13 rebounds and five blocks against the Pelicans, went scoreless in nine minutes of action while picking up three fouls. Timberwolves: Bjelica is second in the NBA in 3-point shooting, behind Oklahoma City's Raymond Felton. He's the only player on the team with at least one make from behind the arc in all nine games this season. ... The Wolves have attempted more free throws than their opponent in all nine games. UP NEXT Mavericks: Travel to Washington to play the Wizards on Tuesday night, their only game in the next six days before hosting the defending Eastern Conference champion Cleveland Cavaliers next weekend. Timberwolves: Stay home for the second half of a back-to-back set, hosting the Charlotte Hornets on Sunday night before a road trip to face the defending NBA champion Golden State Warriors on Wednesday night......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 5th, 2017

LeBron James scores 57, Cavaliers top Wizards 130-122, end skid

WASHINGTON -- Just in case there were any questions about Eastern Conference supremacy, LeBron James poured in 57 points -- the second-highest total of his career and an NBA-best this season -- to help the Cleveland Cavaliers end a four-game losing skid by beating the Washington Wizards 130-122 Friday night. James hadn't scored this much since getting a career-high 61 for the Miami Heat on March 3, 2014, against the Charlotte Hornets. And the four-time league MVP did it efficiently Friday, making 23 of 34 field-goal tries and all nine free throws, while adding 11 rebounds and seven assists. James did it with style, too. He hurdled over a seated Bradley Beal while dribbling, swatted a shot by John Wall off the backboard, and looked for a camera to wag both index fingers in the midst of a three-point play. James didn't need much help, but teammates Derrick Rose (20 points) and Jae Crowder (17) each managed to top their season highs before the third quarter was done. Cleveland finally looked like a team that has been to the NBA Finals three consecutive years, thanks in large part to James. "It's, like, it's `his' Finals. Seems like every year he's there," Wizards coach Scott Brooks said before tipoff. "I can imagine there's no, like, panic in their locker room." A Cavs club that had lost its four preceding games by a total of 64 points, the worst such stretch James has experienced since he was a rookie, broke out against a Wizards club that keeps insisting it is ready to reach the East finals for the first time in four decades. And while Beal backed up that sort of talk, scoring 36 points, Wall was not at his peak. Yes, he handed out 15 assists, but he scored only 13 points, shooting 4 for 13, and was even surprisingly bad on free-throw attempts, going 5 for 12. In his season debut, Wizards forward Markieff Morris had two points, four rebounds and one flagrant foul on Crowder in 16 minutes. Morris missed the start of the season because of sports hernia surgery, then missed one game because of a league suspension. Morris got in on the action right away Friday, turning over the ball on Washington's first possession, before scoring the team's first points with an inside move a minute into the game. James scored eight of 10 points for Cleveland during one early stretch and closed the first quarter with 15 on 6-of-7 shooting. Rose also went 6 for 7 in the period, scoring 13, as the visitors went up 42-36. There was All-Star Game-caliber defense -- which is to say, none whatsoever -- by both teams in that period. The Cavs shot 77.3 percent, the Wizards 66.7. This was more of the same old problem for Washington, which had allowed 107 points over the final three quarters of its previous outing, when it wasted a 22-point lead and lost to the Phoenix Suns. By halftime, Cleveland's lead was 74-66 on 66 percent shooting. James already was at 24 points, with Rose at 18. It was 102-93 heading into the fourth. TIP-INS Cavaliers: Iman Shumpert (sore right knee) missed his third game in a row, while Tristan Thompson (strained left calf) sat out for the first time in what could be a month's absence after getting injured in Wednesday's loss to Indiana. ... James reached at least 10 points for the 800th game in a row; Michael Jordan (866) is the only other NBA player with a streak that long. ... James, 32, also became the youngest player to reach 29,000 career points in the NBA. Last season, he became the youngest to reach 27,000, and then the youngest to reach 28,000. Wizards: F Kelly Oubre Jr. showed up to the arena wearing a jacket with a curse word sewn onto the back. ... F Otto Porter Jr. returned to the starting lineup after missing one game because of an illness. He had 15 points. ... Wizards coach Scott Brooks on Morris before the game: "It's good to have him back. He gives us that edge that I like. ... It's going to give us a boost." UP NEXT Cavaliers: Host the Atlanta Hawks on Sunday. The Hawks entered Friday with the worst record in the Eastern Conference. Wizards: At the Toronto Raptors on Sunday, before returning to Washington for a four-game homestand......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 4th, 2017

BLOGTABLE: Time to sound the alarm in Cleveland?

NBA.com blogtable We've seen this before, early season struggles for the Cavs. But are these the same Cavs? Or are these early struggles something Cavs fans should be frightened by? * * * David Aldridge: Call me in April. Seen this movie too many times to be moved by Cleveland's defensive indifference in October. The age of this year's top Cavs, combined with the shorter preseason, does lead one to believe that they're not in great shape yet, and players that use the season to try and improve their conditioning tend to be susceptible to injury. So we need to keep an eye on that. But the only long-term significant question for Cleveland is what Isaiah Thomas shows up on the floor when he returns from his hip injury. If it's Boston Isaiah -- an elite scorer with devastating fourth-quarter closeout ability -- the Cavs will be fine. That Isaiah is the perfect complement to LeBron and Kevin Love, and will make Cleveland impossible to stop in a seven-game series. But the limited Isaiah of the Eastern Conference finals last spring would be nothing but a target for whoever the Cavs play in June. Steve Aschburner: More concerned about than frightened by, I think. I was counting on all the new faces in Cleveland to grab the Cavaliers’ attention this season in a way last year’s returning crew never fully engaged with its first 82. Between adapting and adjusting to Derrick Rose, Dwyane Wade and Jae Crowder, then shifting gears again when Isaiah Thomas returns, I thought that -- and an alleged MVP push by Kyrie-inspired LeBron James -- would carry the Cavs through these six months. They remain my pick to reach The Finals but this lackluster start only emboldens challengers, from near-contenders in Boston, Washington and Toronto to early-round upstarts like Milwaukee or, given history and matchups, even Detroit. Golden State can get away with this in a way Cleveland cannot. Shaun Powell: This start seems bizarre, and the wipeouts suffered by the likes of the Brooklyn Nets downright unreal. Usually the Cavs wait until March to become bored; maybe they're just getting it out of the way early this year. Of course, I tend to ignore pretty much anything weird that happens before Thanksgiving. Besides missing Isaiah Thomas, the Cavs don't feel the need to finish with the best record in the East -- or the top two, for that matter. They need to stay healthy. If LeBron was hurt, then I'd be frightened for Cavs fans. John Schuhmann: Last season taught us that the regular-season Cavs and the playoff Cavs are two very different teams. But this season's Cavs are different too, and while defensive malaise is to be expected, there's reason to be concerned about the offense. They've added three guys -- Jeff Green, Derrick Rose and Dwyane Wade -- who have shot a combined 28 percent from three-point range over the last three-plus seasons. That's not the best way to complement LeBron James. Floor spacing and three-point shooting have been the Cavs' bread and butter over the last three seasons and both have been compromised with the changes they've made. So far (small sample size alert), the Cavs have been better offensively with none of those guys on the floor (108 points scored per 100 possessions) than they've been with one (105) or two (100). They have time to figure out a new way to succeed offensively, but it's certainly not a sure thing that they'll be as good as they were last season. Sekou Smith: When the Cavaliers were younger, from top to bottom, their temporary struggles didn't bother me as much. You knew there was method to whatever madness a LeBron James-led team was going through and that he would get them through it. LeBron is still doing LeBron-like things ... but he's working with a much older crew than normal. So there could be cause for concern, and Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue has said as much. I don't frighten as easily, though, so I'm in no rush to push the panic button on the Cavaliers. If they don't have these issue solved by Thanksgiving, then I'll be ready to take another look. Yes, the core of this team has played to the final game in each of the past three seasons -- so there has to be some mental, physical and emotional wear-and-tear involved. That's no excuse. It's just a reality for any team trying to climb the mountain to The Finals for a fourth straight season......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 2nd, 2017

Nuggets, Bucks go against NBA’s guard-heavy grain

By Shaun Powell, NBA.com They’ve become the must-have accessory in the NBA (just ahead of designer headphones and hoodie warmups), the one player no team can do without, the one player that no team seems to lack. Yes, quality point guards are a dime-a-dozen group now in the NBA. They’re populating the league in such abundance that the Phoenix Suns didn’t flinch when they told disgruntled starter Eric Bledsoe to stay home or the hair salon -- whichever he preferred. It’s hard to find a serious playoff contender that doesn’t have one (and some have two). And then there are the Denver Nuggets and Milwaukee Bucks, who arguably have none. Partly by necessity and partly by choice, both teams are running their offenses through gifted big men and getting reasonably decent results. These two teams are building for a big run while also going against the NBA’s trend … and, by no coincidence, are the two most logical landing spots for Bledsoe in a trade. Pump the brakes, though. Neither seems to be in a rush because they’re weighing the merits of using young, non-traditional point guards as compliments to the centerpieces: Giannis Antetokoumnpo with the Bucks and Nikola Jokic with the Nuggets. Both are solid passers and act as triggers while their point guards orbit around them, defer to them and pick spots to command the ball. But when, if ever, will either team get cold feet and fall in line with the rest of the NBA? The Suns would like to know, but it could be a long wait if the Bucks get the right results from reigning Kia Rookie of the Year Malcolm Brogdon and the Nuggets likewise from Jamal Murray. Their teams are taking a wait-and-see approach with their development while leaning heavily on Antetokounmpo and Jokic’s respective playmaking. Their coaches are saying all the right things: Jason Kidd of the Bucks: “Malcolm knows how to play the right way. He’s getting better. We’re lucky to have him.” Michael Malone of the Nuggets: “I believe in him and [Murray] has to believe in himself.” Yet both coaches are acutely aware that Murray and Brogdon, because of their size, can also play off the ball. Murray, for one, might be better suited as a game-finisher anyway. Both teams are in play for Bledsoe or perhaps a veteran addition either at the trade deadline or in free agency next summer. Brogdon surprised the NBA in winning Rookie of the Year while Ben Simmons missed last season and Joel Embiid played only 31 games. Still, that doesn’t diminish what Brogdon delivered last season and his value to the Bucks now. He’s wiser than most NBA sophomores because he stayed all four years in college and, as a second-round pick, his sense of urgency and hunger was greater than that of lottery picks. Brogdon is a self-made grinder, a consistent player who rarely screws up and is already one of the Bucks’ better defenders. The Bucks know what they’re getting from him on a nightly basis. “I’m a lot more confident,” Brogdon said. “When you have a year of experience and also the experience of playing in the playoffs, it just makes a world of difference. I know what my role is. I feel I’ve found my niche with this team.” Yet, Brogdon’s four assists per game (in 32.1 minutes per game) ranks 38th among starting point guards mainly because of Antetokoumnpo, who handles the ball and runs the offense much like LeBron James does. Brogdon’s ability and willingness to blend with Antetokounmpo is helpful to a system that plays off the young superstar’s multiple skills. Giannis is off to an MVP-like start and the last thing the Bucks want to do is slow his roll. But Kidd also wants Brogdon to sharpen his point guard instincts as well. “We talked about it last year, understanding when it’s time to score, being able to play-make, understanding how to get a teammate a shot, just being consistent when learning how to run the show,” Kidd said. “He’s been able to run the offense and be a leader. “And really, it’s all about that, and understanding who hasn’t touched the ball. That’s what makes a point guard special in this league. Figure out how to get the ball to the right people at the right time. That’s the next step for Malcolm.” The Nuggets waited until the eve of the season to name their starter at point guard, although it was clear last year that Murray had pole position. He assumed the role late in the season from Emmanuel Mudiay (who started 55 games) and Jameer Nelson (40 starts) and kept the ball, starting seven games. That wasn’t the plan when the Nuggets took him No. 7 overall in the 2016 Draft. Mudiay was their point guard of the future and Murray, who didn’t play the position in college at Kentucky, was projected as a scoring guard. But Mudiay’s erratic shooting, limited range and inconsistent playmaking opened up the job, which Murray won almost by default after the Nuggets waived Nelson. Malone admitted that Muray’s edge on Mudiay, a superior athlete, was shooting. Malone wanted someone with deeper range next to Gary Harris to space the floor for Jokic and newcomer Paul Millsap. Problem is, Murray’s shooting (37.1 percent) has been Mudiay-like here in the early season. From Oct. 21-27, he missed 16 straight three-pointers and is making just 18.2 percent of his three-pointers (after shooting 33.4 percent in 2016-17). His defense remains an issue at times (100.6 Defensive Rating this season) and part of the Nuggets’ slow start could be pinpointed to Murray’s growing pains. “I think they drafted me for a reason,” Murray said. “I just go out there and play basketball. I’m not worried about missing. I just got to be thinking about the next shot.” Malone and the Nuggets are taking the long view and realize Murray, 20, is trying to master NBA point guard play on the fly. But if they’re anxious to make a significant move in the tough West this season, the Nuggets’ point guard position might need an upgrade at starter or backup. “He showed me he’s not afraid of the moment,” Malone said, who added that part of the learning experience for players such as Murray means to deal with the not-so-good days and “let them play through it.” The Nuggets and Bucks are hesitant to include Murray or Brogdon in trade talks for good reason: Both are on cheap rookie deals and are big parts of each team’s future. Teams rarely move players this quickly unless there’s a serious issue (think Chris Webber after his rookie season in Golden State) or a deal is too good to skip. It wouldn’t be a surprise if the Nuggets are trying instead to unload Mudiay in a package to Phoenix and the Bucks are selling some combination of John Henson and Matthew Dellavedova. There’s risk, too, in acquiring Bledsoe himself. He went rogue with the Suns and teams usually shy away from players with flapping red flags. If he came to Milwaukee or Denver and didn’t mesh with Giannis or Jokic, it would be a disaster. Until further notice, the Bucks and Nuggets are good to go with the status quo. Teams can gawk all they want at their lack of a true point guard … and then deal with the sight of a 6’11” Antetokounmpo reaching the rim in three steps, or with the sight of 6’10” Jokic throwing Bill Walton-like backdoor passes from the key. Veteran NBA writer Shaun Powell has worked for newspapers and other publications for more than 25 years. You can e-mail him here or follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 2nd, 2017

24 NBA questions before 17-18 tips off

By David Aldridge, TNT analyst The season starts on Tuesday night (Wednesday, PHL time). You’ve been waiting patiently all summer with your questions. Fire away.     1. So … what’s the point of playing this season? The Golden State Warriors are still the prohibitive favorites to repeat this season, next season and into the foreseeable future. But it was good to see a good chunk of the Western Conference -- the Houston Rockets, Oklahoma City Thunder and Denver Nuggets, to name three teams -- not fold before the first card is dealt. That fact alone is incredibly important. The Warriors are still the best team in the West, without question. But if teams don’t even try to get better, or spend money to compete, the whole rationale for playing fades away. The Thunder could have rode Russell Westbrook alone to another first-round playoff loss, watched him walk out the door in free agency next summer and thrown up its hands, plead ‘woe is us and all small-market teams,’ and enjoyed a luxury tax-free life for the next few years. The Rockets could have just kept selling tickets to fans to watch James Harden and his pals shoot 50 threes a game for the next two or three years. It’s an appealing brand of basketball. Denver could have just kept building through the Draft, climbing a few more wins here or there for a while, and snuck into the eighth seed, choosing to be comfortable rather than bold. But they didn’t. They’ve called and raised. In all likelihood, it won’t be enough to beat Golden State. But those teams can sleep well at night. They’re not cheating their players, or fans. 2. So, is OKC now a legit threat to the Warriors? The short answer: no. But it’s closer. Carmelo Anthony will be as good a third option as anyone in the league has, though; he will eat regularly on the weak side as defenses scramble to handle Westbrook-Paul George pick and rolls; a quick seal and ‘Melo will be off to the races. If coach Billy Donovan goes small ball with Patrick Patterson at the five, there will be many nights when OKC drops a 130 spot. Yes, the Thunder’s defense is going to be an issue; while Enes Kanter was a sieve off the bench, he was coming off the bench, playing behind Steven Adams. Anthony will be starting and playing big minutes, many at the four. But it won’t matter most nights when the Thunder is up 20 to start the fourth quarter, after 36 minutes of Westbrook sorties, George 3-pointers and transition dunks, and Carmelo post-ups and spot-ups (he shot 44.8 percent last season on catch and shoot shots. Among forwards who played 30 or more minutes last season, per NBA.com/Stats, only Kevin Durant, Otto Porter and Kawhi Leonard shot better). The Thunder can guard you with George, Andre Roberson and Adams and they can outscore you with Westbrook and George and ‘Melo. They have a solid bench (Patterson, Ray Felton, Jerami Grant, Alex Abrines) and Westbrook won’t be physically spent by the end of the 2018 playoffs. Wait; what am I saying? Of course he’ll be spent. But he’ll also be playing way deeper into May. 3. Did not getting Anthony hurt Houston or nah? The Rockets -- okay, Chris Paul -- wanted this done bad. It won’t hurt Houston in the regular season, when Paul and James Harden will dominate. And while Harden didn’t like Kevin McHale’s critique of his leadership, Mac was spot on. That doesn’t make “The Beard” a bad guy or teammate -- people gravitate to their comfortable roles in life, and CP3 is a natural-born leader. Harden will, one thinks, be more comfortable with slightly less light on him. They’ll do fine playing together and off one another. But the shadow of the Rockets’ implosion from deep -- 29 of 88 on three-pointers the last two games against the Spurs in their Western Conference semifinals series -- still hangs over them. Ryan Anderson was negated in the postseason. There’s a reason CP3 pushed for ‘Melo so hard. The Rockets will need unexpected consistent offense from a P.J. Tucker or Luc Mbah a Moute in May if they have any hopes of playing in June. 4. Can we just start the Cleveland-Boston East finals now? Maybe Toronto, with C.J. Miles shooting 40 percent on 3-pointers to complement Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan, will break up what seems inevitable. Maybe Washington, with its super-solid starting five intact, now has the mental toughness to bust past the second round, where it’s been beached three of the last four postseasons. But it doesn’t feel like that. Boston, ultimately, should be a lot better this season than last. It will take a while for coach Brad Stevens to figure out the rotation and whether Jaylen Brown can really stick at the two, but ultimately, the Celtics have two dynamic playmakers/scorers in Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward, and with Al Horford providing the glue at both ends, they’re going to be a load by the end of the season. And while Cleveland will have to wait a while for Isaiah Thomas, the Cavs have more than enough firepower until Thomas can make his debut. Whatever Dwyane Wade has left will be accentuated playing with James, and Kevin Love (holy moly, is he underrated) will feast drawing slower, bigger centers out to him on the perimeter. J.R. Smith doesn’t like losing his starting job to Wade, and he should be ticked. But he nonetheless will help Cleveland’s bench, which will be incredibly difficult in its own right with Tristan Thompson and Kyle Korver complementing Smith. And that’s before Thomas returns, which will put Derrick Rose on that second unit. There won’t be any rest for defenses who’ll then have to contend with a rested James, et al, coming back. It says here that not only will the Cavs not miss Irving offensively, they could be even more diverse and difficult to guard this season. Not to mention that James is supremely motivated to make an eighth straight Finals. 5. Could Curry break his record of 402 3-pointers in a season? At first glance, with Durant and Klay and Draymond (and, now, Nick Young) all needing to get fed as well, it would seem impossible for Curry to best the mark he set two years ago, on the 73-9 regular season team. But consider: coach Steve Kerr thinks a new guy always blossoms in his second year with the Warriors, which means Durant should be even more lethal offensively this year, as the Warriors’ offense reaches an even higher level of efficiency. And the way they move the ball, it’s not a stretch to think that with defenses tripping over themselves to get to Durant, Curry could get into one of those ridiculous grooves that could leave him within striking distance of 402 by the end of the season. 6. Could the last one in the Eastern Conference turn out the lights? The New York Knicks were hardly a power in the East before trading Anthony, but his departure creates one more team that will struggle to win 35 games this season. With the paucity of talent there should be at least four 50-win teams in the East -- Cleveland, Boston, Toronto and Washington -- with the Milwaukee Bucks knocking on the door. 7. Who’s going to regret their offseason? The Bucks were fine off the court -- their new arena is already more than halfway constructed and looks like it’s going to be a gem -- although the surrounding mall that is supposed to be part of the complex is not going up as quickly. But the Bucks didn’t address their bigs-heavy roster and move some of the surplus -- how can coach Jason Kidd keep all of Greg Monroe, Jabari Parker and John Henson happy with Thon Maker scarfing up more and more frontcourt minutes? -- for the shooting Milwaukee still needs. The East is so open, and Milwaukee is so close to breaking through into elite status with Giannis Antetokounmpo an elite performer. 8. Rudy Gay -- sneaky good pickup? Gay says he’s cool starting or coming off the bench for the Spurs, but he’d best as San Antonio’s sixth man, at least to start things. Bringing Pau Gasol off the bench didn’t work so well, so if he’s starting at center, coach Gregg Popovich can’t go small ball with “Cousin” LaMarcus Aldridge at the five and Gay at the four alongside Kawhi Leonard. (Current state of Spurs fans’ cuticles here and here as they consider a season with an extended Klaw absence if this quad injury doesn’t improve soon.) The Spurs could have some serious firepower in reserve if Gay and Patty Mills come off the bench, but Mills or Dejounte Murray will likely have to start at the point until Tony Parker comes back. 9. Speaking of Popovich … Should he and Steve Kerr and Stan Van Gundy stick to sports? No. 10. Who’s gonna be Kia Rookie of the Year? I say Markelle Fultz. What, you thought I was gonna pick against a DeMatha Catholic man? (Actual unretouched photo of me as a sophomore at the most successful high school in the history of the United States may or may not be here). Playing off of Joel Embiid, J.J. Redick, Robert Covington … it’s hard to see Fultz not looking really good when he should have all kinds of room to operate. Lonzo Ball will put up bigger numbers, and Tatum will be on a better team. But Boston was good last year, and Jayson Tatum will likely not play as much as the others. The Sixers are poised for a big jump up in the standings, and that’s always a narrative that voters like and get behind -- which is what will hurt Dennis Smith Jr.'s chances in Dallas. 11. What does Dwyane Wade really have left? Now that the inevitable buyout of Wade’s $24 million deal by the Bulls has led to the equally inevitable trek to Cleveland to play with James, can the 35-year-old Wade still be a significant contributor on a title contender? Given the general dysfunction in Chicago last season, you can dismiss most of the good and bad numbers Wade put up, with two exceptions: he still averaged almost five free throw attempts per game, and he shot 31 percent on 3-pointers -- not great, but more than double his anemic 15.9 percent behind the arc in 2015-16, his last with the Miami Heat. Wade obviously knows the cheat code for how to most effectively play off of James, so he’ll use the regular season to learn his teammates and be ready for the playoffs. But can Wade hold up over seven games defensively if he has to chase, say, Bradley Beal around, or try to deny DeRozan his preferred mid-range spots, and still be productive offensively? 12. Back to the Sixers -- how good will they be? My guess is they’ll pretty good in the 60 or so games I anticipate Embiid will play this season -- I’m assuming several designated off days for him during the season, not another injury. The mix of young talent (Fultz, Embiid, Ben Simmons, Dario Saric, Covington) and crafty vets (Redick, Amir Johnson) should mesh to make the 76ers a very tough team to defend. But Philly has to resolve the Jahlil Okafor situation, and in fairness to him, give him a fresh start somewhere else with a trade as soon as possible. If I were a good team that would be hard-pressed to add a free agent any time soon and feels a player short of true contention -- I’m looking at you, Memphis Grizzlies and Wizards -- I’d work hard to get the new, slimmed-down Okafor on my squad while he’s still on his rookie contract and make him the focal point of a kick-ass second unit. 13. Should we feel some kind of way about the Trail Blazers? I’m picking up what you’re putting down. A full season of the “Bosnian Beast” in the middle, it says here, will vault Portland into the top four in the West. Note I said “full season.” That means Jusuf Nurkic has to give coach Terry Stotts between 65-70 starts for the above premonition to be, as they say in the legal world, actionable. If so, Nurkic’s underrated scoring and passing out of the post will only make Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum that much more deadly out front, along with improving Portland’s defense. Per Basketball-Reference.com, the Blazers were 11.6 points per game better than the opposition with those three on the floor together and a +5 when their regular five-man lineup with Maurice Harkless and Al-Farouq Aminu joined the guards and Nurkic. And that’s pronounced, “Noor-kitch,” accent on Noor. 13. A little movie break ... Kevin Costner’s accent in “Robin Hood” -- worst ever, right? Yes, but Natalie Wood’s in “West Side Story” was painful, too. 14. Many have written the post-CP3 Clippers off. Should they? The Clippers are my darkhorse this season -- if they do the right thing and go small more often. They’re doing it more in practice so far than in games because Danilo Gallinari is working through a foot injury, but Blake Griffin at the five and Gallinari at the four could be spicy during the regular season. That would mean Sam Dekker and/or Wes Johnson would have to become credible and dependable at the three, allowing coach Doc Rivers to play a Pat Beverly-Milos Teodosic backcourt more often, which will just be fun. This would, of course, mean less DeAndre Jordan, and … that may not be the worst thing. Nothing against DJ, who is the best defensive big in the league, bar none. Unfortunately, the NBA isn’t about defense any more -- at least not in the traditional sense. Even someone like Jordan who doesn’t just block shots, but also helps snuff out opposing pick and rolls, becomes less valued by the league’s advanced stats crowd if he doesn’t contribute more offensively. The three has gone a long way to tyrannizing the defense-dominant big man out of the game. (Zach Lowe recommends the Wizards try to get Jordan via trade, and it’s not the first time I’ve heard that name mentioned in connection with Washington, the idea being the only chance the Wizards have of beating Cleveland or Boston is to slow them down enough defensively that Wall-Beal-Porter can try and keep up offensively. Washington is definitely a load when Wall gets locked in on D and creates turnovers, and the idea of Jordan inhaling lobs from Wall is enticing to think about. But the Wizards are not -- not -- going to take on a fourth big contract, and Jordan’s surely going to opt out after this season; he’s rightly expecting a massive payday in 2018, and the Clippers certainly now have motive and means to retain him.) Anyway, some Lou Williams, Austin Rivers and/or Teodosic and Willie Reed off the bench isn’t bad, either. 15. Could Kyle Kuzma be the best rookie on the Lakers this season? Don’t @me, LaVar. Kuzma has followed up a very strong Vegas Summer League with high notes in preseason, averaging better than 19 points per game for the Lakers. He’s been dazzling at times, displaying in-between skills that intrigue, and showing why so many teams were trying to trade back into the first round to get the Utah forward before L.A. snagged him with its second and much less heralded first-round pick last June. And there will be minutes available at the four this season. So far, Kuzma has displayed unusual strength for a rookie and confidence in his ability to score. Of course, he’s inexperienced, and like all rookies, has to differentiate between an open shot and a good shot. The other, more famous first-rounder, Lonzo Ball, will almost certainly be the better all-around player in time. For this year, though … hmmm. 16. What does a Hawks fan have to look forward to this season? Honestly, not much. But they’ll always be well-coached and get better. I’d pick one of the young players, like rookie John Collins or second-year small forward Taurean Prince, and concentrate on them during the season. See what they do with their minutes on the floor, and watch how they gradually expand their games at both ends. Seeing a young guy get better as he gains experience and accepts coaching is one of the great joys of watching the NBA every night. 17. Orlando? What gives there? The team’s new braintrust of Jeff Weltman and John Hammond will need some time to fix the roster -- a mélange of athletic wings that have trouble defending and guards that have trouble shooting. The former is addressed somewhat with the signing of Jonathon Simmons from San Antonio, but I don’t see a solution to the latter with any of the existing backcourt contributors. Unless coach Frank Vogel figures out some way to get more turnovers/runouts from his group, they just can’t get in transition enough for their length and legs to make a difference. 18. New Orleans? What gives there? The short answer is, I have no idea. All of NBA Earth has DeMarcus Cousins out of there one way or another (he’s an unrestricted free agent in ’18 and wants to be on a contender/the Pelicans will never pay him what he wants and will have to trade him by the deadline/no way he and Anthony Davis fit together/Wall agitates for a reunion with his former Kentucky big man in D.C./your departure theory here) by this time next year, but we’ll see what coach Alvin Gentry has come up with for “Boogie” and “the Brow” after a summer to think it over. Rajon Rondo being out hurts their depth, but I have to be honest -- I don’t see how he and Jrue Holiday can possibly work together in a backcourt, and Holiday’s the guy the Pelicans just gave $125 million to, so he should probably have the ball in his hands every night, shouldn’t he? I like Ian Clark and Frank Jackson down there, but that untethered three spot burns a hole in the New Orleans sun. Well, at any rate, should be more fun than watching reruns of My Life on the D-List. 19. Favorite D-List Muppet? Beaker. 20. LeBron is leaving Cleveland again after this season, isn’t he? Everything points to yes, and a relocation to Los Angeles to play with the Lakers or Clippers next year – except … what if the Cavs win it all again this year? That’s not an impossible scenario -- in fact, it’s a pretty simple one to lay out: Cavs run roughshod through the Eastern Conference in the playoffs again, get through a good but hardly great Boston team in the conference Finals and set up a fourth straight encounter with Golden State. It’s easy now to say the Warriors dominated the Cavs in last season’s Finals -- but only if you ignore the fact that Cleveland led by six with just more than three minutes remaining in Game 3, only to see the Warriors score the game’s last 11 points to take a 3-0 lead instead of 2-1. And given that Cleveland vaporized the Warriors in Game 4, a 2-2 series would have meant the Cavs just needed to win once in Oracle -- which they’d done twice in the 2016 Finals -- to have a real shot at repeating. The point is, the difference between the teams isn’t as big as Draymond Green would have you believe; the Cavs have no fear of the Warriors, and Jae Crowder gives coach Tyronn Lue a viable on-ball defender for Kevin Durant, leaving LeBron free to play off of Green. And: that unprotected Nets pick, whether one or three or five or seven, is Cleveland’s best recruiting tool. LeBron knows everyone in college basketball and he can literally pick whoever he’d like to finish his career with in Cleveland before handing over the reins. I’m not saying he’s definitely staying, either -- only that his departure isn’t the lead pipe cinch some would have you believe. The season to come will have a lot to do with his next decision. 21. So, how will the playoffs go this season? Eastern Conference (seeds No. 1-8): Cleveland, Boston, Washington, Toronto, Milwaukee, Miami, Detroit, Philadelphia Western Conference (seeds No. 1-8): Golden State, Houston, Oklahoma City, Portland, San Antonio, Memphis, Utah, Minnesota Eastern Conference semifinalists: Cleveland, Boston, Washington, Milwaukee Western Conference semifinalists: Golden State, Houston, OKC, San Antonio Eastern Conference finals: Cleveland over Boston Western Conference finals: Golden State over OKC (you heard me) NBA Finals: Golden State over Cleveland (in seven games) 22. Tell me something crazy that’s going to happen this season that no one’s predicting! Giannis Antetokounmpo. NBA MVP, 2017-18. 23. Are you high? No, ma’am. 24. So, why 24 questions? As always, we start the season with 24 questions (or predictions, or issues, whatever) in honor of Danny Biasone, the late owner of the Syracuse Nationals, whose discovery in 1954 helped save the league. At that time, the NBA was in the midst of a literal slowdown, in large part by teams that were desperate to figure out some kind of way to stay competitive with George Mikan, the league’s first superstar big man, and his team, the Minneapolis Lakers. Teams would hold the ball for minutes at a time without shooting in an effort to shorten the game and give them a chance to beat Minneapolis late. But the end result was boring -- very boring -- basketball. At the owners’ meetings that year, Biasone came up with an idea. NBA games were 48 minutes long. Biasone figured out that in a normal game, one not waylaid by the slowdown tactics, about 120 shots -- 60 per team -- were taken. So, why not just divide the number of minutes in every game -- 2,880 -- by the number of shots in an average game -- 120 -- to come up with some kind of a time limit in which a team had to shoot. And thus, the 24-second shot clock (2,800/120) was born. With the implementation of the shot clock in the 1954-55 season, scoring went way up, as did the quality of play. Teams were now running up and down the floor in order to try and beat the shot clock, complementing the “fast break” game that many colleges had played for years. But the new style in the pros was immensely popular with fans. And it still is. Plus, there’s just something iconic about that clock counting down every 24 seconds. It’s unique to the NBA. Thus, we ask 24 questions, in honor of the guy who owned a bowling alley as well as the Nationals for much of his adult life, and probably enjoyed the bowling more. Longtime NBA reporter, columnist and Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer David Aldridge is an analyst for TNT. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here and follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 17th, 2017

Kerr pushes Warriors to keep joy, chase repeat championship

em>By Janie McCauley, Associated Press /em> OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Steve Kerr recently threw out a perplexing question to his star-studded Golden State roster: What should he tell a team that has won championships in two of the last three years and still reached the Finals in the other? How might he spark improvement from a group that has won 67, 73 and 67 games the past three seasons? “It’s got to be about what’s important to us,” Kerr said. “The joy of coming to practice every day is important for our guys to remember, the process.” Kerr is already challenging his Warriors to find ways to get better. He is strategizing ways to make sure they don’t become complacent, maintaining the edge that has turned this franchise into a perennial contender with names such as Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant and Draymond Green leading the charge after decades of futility. “It’s been really smooth. There’s a chemistry and a certain expectation of how we’re going to play versus last year,” Curry said. “There were a couple unanswered questions going into camp and a feeling out process but Coach has challenged us to focus on the details in how we can get better from last year. He joked around: ’What do you tell a team that’s won 67 games or 65-plus the last three years, two championships, how do you tell a team like that to get better? Or what do you tell a team like that to get better? It’s basically about the details and the fine points of our offense, and cutting hard, setting screens for each other, the counters that we’re going to add to our offensive sets. All those little things are built on the foundation that we set last year and obviously Kevin’s a part of that. We all are. So it’s kind of good to put that in the right perspective.” What the franchise has accomplished the past three seasons isn’t lost on Green. “It’s a special thing,” he said. “And I think a lot of times in life we forget to live in the moment, especially in our day and age, social media — let me record this — miss everything I’m watching because I am looking at it through a phone. You forget to enjoy the moment. ... As much as I try to enjoy the moment, you’ll never fully understand it until it’s over.” Here are some things to watch for with the Warriors: strong>INVITE WITHDRAWN: /strong>Curry made headlines on media day last month when he reiterated he didn’t want to visit the White House under President Donald Trump, who then withdrew his invite to the champs a day later via Twitter. The Warriors have become a face for social advocacy in sports— specifically speaking up against racial injustice. “That’s the genesis of our stance and if you watched us all last year we stood for the national anthem,” Curry said. “Certain teams locked arms or had different demonstrations and the NFL’s taken a different approach. But it’s about the message, it’s not about the act. For the life of me if that doesn’t just get across to everybody, it’s not a disrespect at anything about the flag or the anthem and we can hopefully move in the right direction.” strong>KERR’S HEALTH: /strong> Kerr missed 11 games during the postseason dealing with neck pain, nausea and other symptoms stemming from a 2015 back surgery. He has made improvements but still feels discomfort at times. The 2016 NBA Coach of the Year is staying optimistic he will be on the bench all season. “It’s been a long odyssey ... and not easy, but I’m lucky to have the support of not only the players but Bob [Myers] and Joe [Lacob],” Kerr said. “Everybody is constantly so supportive, and I’m looking forward to the season. I’m excited. I think it’s going to go smoothly. I think I’ll be fine. But who knows. As Vin Scully once said, we’re all day-to-day.” strong>ROSTER INTACT: /strong>With so many familiar faces back — 12 to be exact — there are only a handful of players being integrated for the first time. “It’s a lot easier to pick up the system when you’re only one of two or three new guys instead of six or seven,” Kerr said. “Because all the other guys who have been here, they can help and everything flows more smoothly. So I think it’s a little easier job this year for the new guys to blend in because there are fewer of them.” strong>THREE CENTERS: /strong>Kerr can again use his three diverse centers in a deep rotation — beginning with Zaza Pachulia then going to alley-oop dunk man JaVale McGee or precision-passer David West. Pachulia said it’s much different this season with everybody understanding what to expect from each other and having already developed a trust level. “When something is working, let it work,” Pachulia said. strong>NEWBIES: /strong> Nick Young and Omri Casspi are two newcomers on an experienced roster, both capable shooters who will be counted upon to take pressure off the starting five when called upon for key minutes. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 12th, 2017

Aldridge still trying to find his place with Spurs

em>By Raul Dominguez, Associated Press /em> SAN ANTONIO (AP) — LaMarcus Aldridge admitted to feeling some frustration following an offseason filled with trade rumors. They troubled him enough to do something he hadn’t really done before. The 6’11” forward reached out to coach Gregg Popovich for a serious talk about his place on the team as it continues its transition, slowly but surely, away from the Tim Duncan/Big Three era. “The relationship has always been great, it’s no issue,” Aldridge said. “It’s just that I’m trying how to mesh who I was to who I am now and trying to get more out of me in the system.” The success of those talks could go a long way in determining if the Spurs can keep their place among the top teams in the rugged Western Conference. San Antonio essentially stood pat in the offseason, adding Rudy Gay and Joffrey Lauvergne while losing Jonathon Simmons and David Lee. The Spurs will again rely on veterans like Kawhi Leonard, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and Pau Gasol while anticipating improvement from younger players like Dejounte Murray, Davis Bertans and Bryn Forbes. Entering his 12th NBA season, Aldridge has averaged 18.0 and 17.3 points in two seasons with San Antonio. Those are respectable numbers, but not for a four-time All-Star with Portland who became the biggest free agent signing in Spurs history. “It was a probably a little bit of frustration at one point on my end because I felt like I wasn’t really fitting into the system as well as I could and I wasn’t helping to the level I felt like I could,” Aldridge said. The frustration grew in the postseason, which ended with a sweep by Golden State in the conference finals. Aldridge averaged 15.5 points against the Warriors, but only 11.3 points in the final three games after the Spurs lost Leonard to an ankle injury in Game 1. While fans and Aldridge himself are demanding more, Popovich and his teammates simply want more of the same. “I feel like he played well for us last year,” said Leonard, who sat out the entire preseason as a precaution to protect his right quadriceps. “Come in and be a presence on both ends of the floor be aggressive.” Aldridge said he is healthy after missing two games in early March due to a minor heart arrhythmia and playing with tendinitis throughout the season. He has looked comfortable and happy in the preseason, averaging 16.0 points, 4.0 rebounds and 2.8 assists in four games while taking on a greater leadership role. “Now we’ve got to help [Aldridge] out a little bit more so he’s comfortable in his own space offensively,” Popovich said. “I haven’t done a very good job with that [in the past].” Some other things to watch from the Spurs early this season: strong>PROMISING PARKER: /strong> Parker’s rapid recovery from a ruptured quadriceps tendon has astounded doctors, the Spurs and even himself. San Antonio’s veteran point guard plans to return by mid- to late-November, which is two to four months sooner than initially expected. Parker could not move for three weeks after suffering the injury May 4 against Houston in the second round of the playoffs. The 35-year-old had to re-learn how to walk and was told he might not be able to bend his knee as he had before. Parker is cleared for all activities, but was held out of full-contact practices. strong>MURRAY’S GROWTH: /strong>Murray is expected to start at point guard while Parker completes his injury rehabilitation. The second-year player out of Washington has averaged 9.3 points and a team-high 3.8 assists in the preseason. The 6’5” guard averaged 3.4 points and 1.3 assists in limited minutes last season. “I’m very optimistic about his future,” Ginobili said. “He’s going to be a great player, a potential All-Star, [but] you don’t know if it’s going to happen now or in five years. It depends a lot him, but he’s a very talented kid.” strong>MANU RETURNS: /strong> Ginobili returns for his 16th season after nearly retiring in the offseason. Admitting it was a “close call,” Ginobili opted to return to the only NBA team he has played for. Ginobili averaged 7.5 points last season, the lowest of his career, but enjoyed one of his most injury-free seasons. “I still had the appreciation for the game, I still enjoy being here every day,” Ginobili said. “Incredible organization and a place where I feel respected and listened to and appreciated and I appreciate it, too.” strong>YOUTH MOVEMENT: /strong> The Spurs are expected to rely more on their youth than in previous seasons. Second-year players Murray, Bertans and Forbes and rookies Derrick White and Brandon Paul are embracing that opportunity, even impressing San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich. strong>ONE PLAYER, MULTIPLE ROLES: /strong> Gay joined San Antonio after playing the past four seasons in Sacramento. After missing the final two months of last season following surgery to repair a torn Achilles tendon, the 12-year veteran has participated fully during the preseason. At 6-foot-8, Gay is expected to play multiple positions in the frontcourt in a role similar to the one filled by Boris Diaw. “It was a do or die point in my career,” Gay said. “I wanted to be with an organization that is known for winning and can help me raise my game to another level. So, I mean, where else do you go?” .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 12th, 2017

Tale of 2 cities: Olympics sponsors in Pyeongchang and Tokyo

em>By Youkyung Lee and Mari Yamaguchi, Associated Press /em> SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — The Winter Olympics coming to South Korea in February offer an example of the Olympian efforts often required to meet corporate sponsorship goals. Tokyo tells a different story: The coffers are already overflowing for the 2020 Summer Games. It's a tale of two cities and two Olympics — winter and summer. Pyeongchang is a little-known destination in one of South Korea's poorest provinces. It is the 'little town that could,' bidding twice unsuccessfully for the Winter Olympics before winning on its third try. A final push enabled it to reach its sponsorship target of 940 billion won ($830 million) in September, with just five months to go. Tokyo is an established global capital, and the Summer Games usually generate more excitement — and more money. Organizers have raised 300 billion yen ($2.7 billion) in sponsorship, twice any previous Olympics. International Olympic Committee Vice President John Coates describes it as a remarkable achievement. The divergent experiences of two Asian host cities illustrate the challenges that smaller bidders face, as well as South Korea's dependence on the big family-owned companies that dominate its economy. Not that Tokyo is home-free. The cost of the 2020 Games has nearly doubled from initial projections. As with most Olympics, taxpayers will have to foot a good part of the bill. ___ strong>WHERE 'CHAEBOLS' RULE /strong> Starting with the 1988 Seoul Olympics, South Korea has used mega-events such as the soccer World Cup to raise the profile of the country and its manufacturing exporters. Pyeongchang is different. The project was initiated by local politicians in an area long alienated politically and economically in South Korea's rise to prosperity. Some feared people would confuse the city's name with Pyongyang, the North Korean capital. They couldn't count on the automatic support of the huge family-run conglomerates, known as 'chaebol,' such as Samsung, Hyundai and LG. 'When such mega-events were the nation-state's key project, the chaebol were called on and were expected to become the leading participants,' said Joo Yu-min, a professor at the National University of Singapore who co-authored a book on South Korea's use of mega-events. In the end, the national government brought the conglomerates in, first in the bid process, and then for sponsorship. That underscores both the outsized role they play in the economy and their close ties with government. They owe a debt to special treatment from the government, which in turn used them to industrialize the country after the devastating 1950-53 Korean War. After Pyeongchang's bid was rejected a second time, the government called on Samsung and others to help. The president even pardoned Lee Kun-hee, the patriarch of the Samsung founding family who had been an IOC member but voluntarily suspended his membership after being indicted for tax evasion. The IOC reinstated Lee in 2010 with a reprimand and some restrictions, allowing him to lobby heavily for what became Pyeongchang's winning bid in 2011. It took three years for the organizing committee to sign its first domestic sponsor, KT Corp., the country's second-largest mobile carrier. Again, the national government asked the conglomerates for help. All the major ones signed on, after the office of then-President Park Geun-hye made a special request and multichannel pressures for financial assistance, Joo said. Elsewhere, companies may weigh sponsorship decisions based more on the marketing benefits. 'In South Korea, companies make donations out of a sense of duty that they are being part of the national event,' said Park Dong Min, the executive director overseeing membership at the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Sponsors who signed up late weren't willing to give as much, because there was less time to enjoy the marketing benefits. A bank that signed on less than a year before the Games significantly reduced its sponsorship. To top it off, a massive sports-related political corruption scandal rocked South Korea in 2016, just when Pyeongchang was making last-ditch efforts to raise sponsorship. 'Companies showed some reluctance' to sponsor the Olympics, said Eom Chanwang, director of the Pyeongchang organizing committee marketing team. 'Nevertheless, they still joined.' The scandal brought down Park, the president. Lee Jae-yong, the heir to the Samsung group, received a five-year sentence for bribery. Lee, who has appealed, had become de facto chief of the Samsung group after his father Lee Kun-hee, the IOC member pardoned in late 2009, fell ill. It was the younger Lee who signed an agreement with IOC President Thomas Bach to extend Samsung Electronics' sponsorship of the Olympics globally through 2020. Samsung declined interviews for this story. With the scandal still fresh in people's minds, major companies have held back from launching full-fledged marketing to promote the Games. 'Samsung traditionally has done consumer marketing through the Olympics, but because its chief is in jail, it cannot do as much these days,' said Kim Do-kyun, a sports professor at Kyung Hee University Graduate School of Physical Education. The Pyeongchang Games were the biggest victim of the scandal, he said. ___ strong>SUMMER OF '64 /strong> The president of Japan's biggest toilet manufacturer was seven years old when the Olympics first came to Japan. TOTO Ltd. made news in 1964 for its prefabricated toilet-and-bath units that helped speed the construction of a luxury hotel, the New Otani, in time for the Games. The company, now known for high-tech toilets that baffle some foreign visitors, is back as a sponsor of Tokyo 2020. 'I feel our company and the Olympics have been bonded by fate,' TOTO president Madoka Kitamura said at a sponsorship signing ceremony at the same hotel last year. The $2.7 billion in sponsorship for Tokyo 2020 is more than three times the original estimate. By comparison, sponsorship revenue was $848 million in Rio de Janeiro last year, and about $1.2 billion for both London 2012 and Beijing 2008. The Winter Olympics typically attract less, though Sochi, Russia, raised $1.2 billion in 2014. Analysts attribute Tokyo's success to both patriotism and a sense of nostalgia for the 1964 Summer Games. They were much more than a sports contest for Japan. They were a moment of pride, marking the country's return as an industrial power after the devastation of World War II and a seven-year U.S. occupation. 'All of Japan still recognizes the unique role that the 1964 Olympics played in Japan's stepping out onto the world stage,' said Michael Payne, a former IOC marketing director who now works as a consultant. 'Many of the CEOs of top Japanese companies would have been young kids back in '64 and are very aware of the role those Games played for the psychological recovery from the Second World War.' They grew up with the high-speed 'Shinkansen' bullet train, inaugurated in 1964; modern expressways and western-style toilets, all symbols of Japan's postwar economic growth. 'Now they have become business leaders, they want to contribute and leave something behind that can be remembered for the next 50 years,' said Masahiko Sakamaki, executive director of marketing for the Tokyo organizing committee. He said that memories of the recovery may have boosted interest in sponsorship, as Japan was still reeling from a deadly 2011 earthquake and tsunami when Tokyo won the bid in 2013. Sakamaki said the organizing committee started receiving sponsorship inquiries as soon as it was established in 2014, before the official start of sponsorship contracts in 2015. There is so much interest that the IOC is allowing Tokyo to have multiple sponsors in some categories, instead of the usual one, including in aviation, newspaper publishing, electronics and banking. TOTO officials won't say how much they are contributing, but media reports say companies in its sponsorship category give between 6 billion and 15 billion yen ($53 million to $133.5 million). Tokyo 2020 wouldn't comment on those reports. 'We believe our presence as part of an all-Japan effort toward a successful Olympics will enhance our favorable brand image,' said Mariko Shibasaki, the company's senior planner for sports communication. Thanks in part to robust sponsorship revenue, the organizing committee has increased its contribution to the cost of the games from 500 billion to 600 billion yen ($5.3 billion). The sponsorship revenue makes up half of the income in the privately-run organizing committee's operating budget. Other revenue comes from the International Olympic Committee, marketing and ticket sales. The overall cost of the Tokyo Olympics is estimated at 1.4 trillion yen (12.4 billion) with the Tokyo government shouldering 600 billion yen ($5.3 billion) and the remaining 200 billion yen (1.8 billion) paid by the national government and local governments hosting events. ___ em>Yamaguchi reported from Tokyo. Associated Press writer Stephen Wade in Rio de Janeiro contributed to this story. /em> .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 12th, 2017

PSC eyes forming a unified university athletic association

If the 140-plus athletic associations, universities and colleges attending the National Consultative Meeting for Collegiate Sports from October 17 to 18 at the Philsports Complex in Pasig City  decides to form a united athletic association, Philippine Sports Commission Chairman Butch Ramirez confirmed the agency will support them.   “If they decide to form an organization, we will support them,” affirmed Ramirez during a press conference. “We will be happy to have a unified organization on collegiate sports.  That is a vital part of grassroots development.” The said consultative meeting would serve as a follow-up on a previous consultation meeting held last year.  The PSC chief has consistently declared grassroots sports as the focus of the sports agency.  “If we strengthen grassroots sports, we strengthen  the prospects of elite sports.”  He cited the sports development pyramid being followed by the agency.  Grassroots sports at the very base, going up the ladder with school sports, the Palarong Pambansa, the Philippine National Games, with elite sports at the top.  “If we have a clear and unified athletic association at the collegiate level, running a clear and unified program, our children have somewhere to go after the PNG level.  That would be a good step forward,” said Ramirez. The PSC is set to explore more partnerships with the Department of Education, the Commission on higher Education and the Department of Interior and Local Government in line with its different programs.  Ramirez explained that they intend to reach out more, emphasizing that the agency shall remain inclusive in their efforts to engage as many sectors of society as possible. Ramirez in passing, said that they have started talking with different provinces to develop sports where the respective area is strongest, “Tagaytay has cycling, boxing is strong in Cebu, Baguio and Mindanao, archery in Dumaguete and Zamboanga in weightlifting. We want to support them where they have a nature inclination.”  “While we continue with our long term plans to put in place a genuine grassroots program in the country, we will take this move as a “special ops” effort to hasten results,” furthered Ramirez.  .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 11th, 2017

Giants' Beckham to have ankle surgery later this week

em>By Tom Canavan, Associated Press /em> EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — The winless New York Giants are going to be without offensive catalyst Odell Beckham Jr. for the rest of the season. Veteran wide receiver Brandon Marshall's season is over, too. The Giants announced Monday that Beckham will have surgery for his broken left ankle later this week, and his season officially ended when he was put on injured reserve later in the day along with fellow receiver Dwayne Harris. 'It's a sad situation,' coach Ben McAdoo said. Marshall, signed in the offseason to give Eli Manning another reliable target opposite Beckham, announced on Instagram late Monday that he will have season-ending surgery. Marshall left Sunday's game with an ankle injury. 'Tomorrow I'll have surgery ending year 12. I'm filled with mixed emotions,' Marshall wrote. 'I wasn't able to produce for my team the way I wanted to but this was my greatest year to date. This game has shown me who I really am good and bad.' The 24-year-old Beckham was hurt late in the fourth quarter of Sunday's 27-22 loss to Los Angeles when Chargers cornerback Casey Hayward fell on his ankle and pinned it to the turf. McAdoo spoke to Beckham after the game. He did not know if the surgery could cause any long-term problems for the three-time Pro Bowler, who has led the Giants in receiving in each of his first three seasons. Beckham was the last of four Giants' receivers knocked out of the game. Harris, who also returns punts and kickoffs, will have surgery Tuesday for a broken foot. He was hurt in the third quarter. Marshall and Sterling Shepard were hurt on the same series in the second quarter after falls trying to catch passes. Shepard is listed as day to day. The Giants re-signed Tavarres King and signed Travis Rudolph off their practice squad to help wide receiver Roger Lewis Jr. for Sunday's game in Denver. The Giants also signed receiver Darius Powe to replace Rudolph on the practice squad. McAdoo added there are no plans at this point to re-sign fan favorite Victor Cruz, who was released after last season. Beckham had 25 catches for 302 yards and three touchdowns this year, including a 48-yarder in the fourth quarter Sunday. He also had two 15-yard catches that set up Manning's 29-yard touchdown toss to Roger Lewis, Jr. in the third quarter. It has been a frustrating season for Beckham. He sprained his left ankle in a preseason game on Aug. 21, missed the season opener at Dallas and was limited against Detroit. He also was fined for pretending to urinate like a dog after a TD catch in Philadelphia on Sept. 24. McAdoo knows the Giants (0-5) have basically no chance of making the playoffs for a second straight year. 'Everyone is disappointed, I am aware of it,' he said. 'Everyone is irritated, I am aware of it. But my focus right now is trying to help with the personnel department to field a football team this week to give us a chance to prepare and win.' McAdoo admitted his team has slumped in the fourth quarter, blowing leads in each game. 'You got to find a way to win with each team you have, and year to year it changes, and we haven't been able to get that done, and that's my responsibility,' the second-year head coach said. em> strong>NOTES: /strong> /em>McAdoo would not discuss cornerback Janoris Jenkins' exit from the field in the closing seconds after the Giants' last drive was stopped with 40 seconds to play. 'We'll handle those issues in house,' he said. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 10th, 2017

Colts celebrate Manning's return with 26-23 win over 49ers

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — After blowing a 14-point lead in the final eight minutes of regulation and surviving an interception in scoring position in overtime, Marlon Mack's 35-yard run set up Adam Vinatieri for a 51-yard field goal as the Indianapolis Colts beat the San Francisco 49ers 26-23 on Sunday. Vinatieri made four field goals to move into second on the NFL's career list, one ahead of Gary Anderson (538). Mack and Jacoby Brissett each scored on TD runs for the Colts (2-3), who have won both games against winless teams. San Francisco (0-5) is one of three teams that still has not won this season. The Browns and Giants are the others. In many ways, the mistake-prone game became a sideshow for what happened around it. While many showed up to thank Manning, who played his final home game in Indy on Jan. 8, 2011, most didn't anticipate becoming part of another political statement. Vice President Mike Pence, the former Indiana governor, left shortly after about a dozen San Francisco players dropped to their knees for the national anthem. The Colts locked arms, but none took a knee. Some reports indicated Pence's walkout was planned. President Donald Trump later tweeted: 'I asked @VP Pence to leave stadium if any players kneeled, disrespecting our country. I am proud of him and @SecondLady Karen.' And Peyton Manning was inducted into the Colts' Ring of Honor. strong>PACKERS 35, COWBOYS 31 /strong> ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Aaron Rodgers threw a 12-yard touchdown pass to Davante Adams with 11 seconds remaining, lifting Green Bay over the Dallas Cowboys in another thriller nine months after the Packers' divisional playoff win on the same field. Rodgers capped a 75-yard drive in just 1:02, going toward the same end zone as in the playoff game. Adams, active 10 days after leaving the field on a stretcher on a helmet-to-helmet hit that resulted in a suspension for Chicago linebacker Danny Trevathan, had seven catches for 66 yards and two touchdowns. Dak Prescott had given Cowboys the lead on an 11-yard touchdown run with 1:13 remaining to cap a 17-play drive that lasted almost nine minutes. Dallas (2-3) has already matched the number of losses from the magical rookie season for Prescott and running back Ezekiel Elliott. The Packers (4-1) had gone ahead earlier on Damarius Randall's 21-yard interception return for a touchdown, the third of five lead changes in the fourth quarter. Green Bay rallied from 15 points down in the first half. Aaron Jones had 19 carries for 125 yards and a TD, becoming the first Green Bay running back with 100 yards in his first start as a rookie since Samkon Gado in 2005. Elliott finished with 116 yards on 29 carries. Prescott was 25 of 36 for 251 yards and three first-half touchdowns, two to Cole Beasley and one to Dez Bryant. Rodgers was 19 of 29 for 221 yards and three touchdowns and set up the winning score with an 18-yard scramble. strong>CHARGERS 27, GIANTS 22 /strong> EAST RUTHERFORD, New Jersey (AP) — Philip Rivers threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to Melvin Gordon with 2:58 to play and the Chargers rallied to beat the Giants in a game worthy of two teams that started the season 0-4. The touchdown pass was Rivers' third of the game and came three plays after Kyle Emanuel had a sack, forced fumble and recovery against Eli Manning at the Giants 11-yard line. It also came four plays after Odell Beckham Jr. hurt an ankle and become the fourth Giants receiver knocked out of the game. Rivers also hit Gordon on a 6-yard TD pass in the second quarter and had a 25-yarder to tight end Hunter Henry in the third as the Chargers ended a nine-game losing streak dating to late November. Manning had given the Giants a 22-17 lead early in the fourth quarter with a 48-yard TD pass to a wide-open Beckham. New York missed the 2-point conversion attempt after being hit with a delay of game penalty. Manning, who was sacked five times, also threw a 29-yard touchdown pass to backup Roger Lewis Jr. in the third quarter. Orleans Darkwa scored on a 23-yard run and the Giants got a safety in scoring their first first-quarter points this season. strong>JAGUARS 31, STEELERS 9 /strong> PITTSBURGH (AP) — Telvin Smith and Barry Church returned a pair of Ben Roethlisberger's interceptions for touchdowns and Jacksonville stunned Pittsburgh. Jacksonville (3-2) beat the Steelers for the first time in a decade by relying heavily on the NFL's top-ranked pass defense. The Jaguars picked off Roethlisberger five times in all and sacked him twice. Rookie Leonard Fournette ran for 181 yards and two touchdowns for the Jaguars, who are over .500 after five games for the first time since 2010 and have already matched their victory total from 2016. Roethlisberger completed 33 of 55 for 312 yards and his career-high five interceptions, the most by a Pittsburgh quarterback since Mark Malone threw five against Cleveland in 1987. A week after a sideline outburst generated headlines and drew Roethlisberger's ire, wide receiver Antonio Brown caught 10 passes for 157 yards for Pittsburgh (3-2). Brown was also the intended receiver on a pair of third-quarter passes the opportunistic Jaguars turned into points. The Steelers led 9-7 when Roethlisberger looked left for Brown. Jacksonville defensive lineman Abry Jones tipped it into the hands of Smith, who chugged 28 yards to put Jacksonville in front with 6:38 left in the period. The Jaguars defense struck again on Pittsburgh's next series. Roethlisberger tried to hit Brown down the sideline. Jalen Ramsey deflected it and Church came down with it. A 51-yard sprint later and Jacksonville had turned a two-point deficit into an 11-point lead without taking an offensive snap. strong>EAGLES 34, CARDINALS 7 /strong> PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Carson Wentz threw a career-best four touchdown passes and the Eagles continued their impressive start. Wentz tossed three scoring passes in the first quarter, including 59 yards to Torrey Smith, 11 yards to Zach Ertz and 15 yards to Trey Burton. He connected with Nelson Agholor for a 72-yard TD in the third quarter that left six-time Pro Bowl cornerback Patrick Peterson shouting on the sideline. The Eagles (4-1) have won three straight games. Carson Palmer and Arizona's one-dimensional offense were held to 279 yards. The Cardinals (2-3) have alternated losses and wins since Week 1. Wentz torched a secondary that features Peterson and Tyrann Mathieu, finishing 21 of 30 for 304 yards. Peterson held Alshon Jeffery to three catches for 31 yards, but Wentz spread the ball around. strong>DOLPHINS 16, TITANS 10 /strong> MIAMI GARDENS, Florida (AP) — Jay Cutler finally silenced the boobirds with a fourth-quarter touchdown pass, and the Dolphins overcame another dismal offensive showing. The jeers started in the first quarter of the Dolphins' home debut, and soon the crowd was chanting for backup quarterback Matt Moore. But coach Adam Gase stuck with Cutler, who capped a 58-yard drive with a 6-yard touchdown pass to Jarvis Landry for the tiebreaking score. The Titans (2-3) played without quarterback Marcus Mariota, who was inactive because of a left hamstring injury suffered a week ago. Replacement Matt Cassel went 21 for 32 for 141 yards and was sacked six times. Miami (2-2) came in ranked last in the NFL in points and yards per game, and struggled against a Titans team that allowed 57 points against Houston a week ago. strong>PANTHERS 27, LIONS 24 /strong> DETROIT (AP) — Cam Newton showed he was very focused on football, throwing three touchdowns to help the Panthers build a lead big enough to hold off the Lions. The Panthers (4-1) scored 24 straight points after trailing 10-3 early in the second quarter. Detroit rallied, but could not stop Newton on his last drive to get the ball back. Newton came under fire for making sexist comments to a female reporter this week. He apologized after losing an endorsement deal and getting criticized by the NFL. He was 26 of 33 for a season-high 335 yards. On perhaps the game's key play, he converted a third-and-19 from the Carolina 24 with a sharp, 17-yard pass to Kelvin Benjamin with 2:00 left while clinging to a three-point lead against a team out of timeouts. Newton threw a 6-yard TD pass to rookie Christian McCaffrey to pull the Panthers into a 10-10 tie early in the second quarter and a 10-yard pass to Devin Funchess for a tiebreaking score with 48 seconds left in the first half. With a perfectly lofted 31-yard pass to Benjamin, the 2015 NFL MVP put Carolina up 24-10 early in the third. Detroit (3-2) struggled to move the ball in the air and on the ground until late in the game. strong>BENGALS 20, BILLS 16 /strong> CINCINNATI (AP) — A.J. Green had a hand in three turnovers that kept it close, but the receiver also pulled off a 77-yard touchdown and another long catch that set up a score. After losing their first three games, the Bengals (2-3) have salvaged their season by getting the ball to their playmakers at decisive moments. Green's 47-yard catch set up a 5-yard touchdown run by Joe Mixon that put Cincinnati ahead to stay in the fourth quarter. The Bills (3-2) got off to an encouraging start by relying heavily on kicker Stephen Hauschka and a defense that led the league, allowing only 13.5 points per game in the first four. The combination wasn't enough this time. Buffalo's depleted offense couldn't take advantage of Cincinnati's three turnovers. Tyrod Taylor's off-target pass was picked off near midfield with 2:14 left, clinching it for Cincinnati. Taylor finished 20 of 37 for 166 yards and was sacked six times. The Bengals changed offensive coordinators after failing to get a touchdown in their first two games. Green complained that they weren't getting the ball to their difference makers. He made the difference Sunday, catching seven passes for 189 yards. strong>JETS 17, BROWNS 14 /strong> CLEVELAND (AP) — Josh McCown came back to Cleveland and beat the team that cut him, throwing two touchdown passes and leading the surprising Jets over the winless Browns, who benched rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer and fell to 1-20 under coach Hue Jackson. McCown went 1-10 in two seasons as a starter for the Browns, who released him on Feb. 7 in a cost-cutting move. The 38-year-old wasn't seeking revenge, but he got it with two second-half scoring tosses. McCown threw a 2-yard TD pass to Austin Seferian-Jenkins in the third quarter and a 24-yarder to Jermaine Kearse in the fourth to give the Jets (3-2) a 17-7 lead en route to their third straight victory. Kearse's TD capped a 97-yard drive after Jackson decided not to try a potential tying field goal — rookie kicker Zane Gonzalez missed two attempts in the first half — and went for it on fourth down. However, running back Isaiah Crowell was stopped short by New York's defense. Jackson also decided to replace Kizer in the second half for backup Kevin Hogan, perhaps a sign the coach is worried about losing his job. Hogan threw a 21-yard touchdown pass to rookie tight end David Njoku. The Browns (0-5) dropped to 2-30 in their past 32 games, but they did finally get to see No. 1 overall draft pick Myles Garrett. Garrett, who missed Cleveland's first four games with a high ankle sprain, got a sack on his first play and finished with two. strong>RAVENS 30, RAIDERS 17 /strong> OAKLAND, California (AP) — Joe Flacco hit Mike Wallace on two deep passes to spark Baltimore's struggling offense, and the Ravens got a fumble return for a touchdown by Jimmy Smith to beat short-handed Oakland. Flacco had struggled to get the ball downfield in losing the past two weeks. He changed that on the opening drive of the game for the Ravens (3-2) when he connected on a 52-yard pass to Wallace that set up an early touchdown and established the tone for the day. The Raiders (2-3), playing without injured star quarterback Derek Carr and two key cornerbacks, played from behind all game as Smith returned Jared Cook's fumble 47 yards for a touchdown that made it 14-0 just 3:50 in. Backup quarterback E.J. Manuel , making his fourth start in the past three seasons, threw a 41-yard touchdown pass to Michael Crabtree and led another TD drive that ended in Marshawn Lynch's 3-yard run . He finished 13 for 26 for 159 yards. But that wasn't nearly enough for the Raiders, who have dropped three straight following a 2-0 start, putting a severe dent in their hopes to challenge in the AFC West. strong>SEAHAWKS 16, RAMS 10 /strong> LOS ANGELES (AP) — Russell Wilson passed for 198 yards and a touchdown, and Earl Thomas forced two of the Rams' five turnovers in Seattle's win. Jimmy Graham scored late in the first half in a defense-dominated win for the Seahawks (3-2), who shut out the NFL's highest-scoring offense in the second half of their second straight win over their NFC West rivals. Thomas made enormous defensive plays early and late for Seattle. The veteran safety stripped the ball from Todd Gurley at the goal line to kill the Rams' opening drive, and he intercepted Jared Goff's fluttering pass at midfield with 6:02 to play. Sheldon Richardson also came through with two big plays, diving to intercept a deflected pass in the third quarter before scooping up Goff's fumble near midfield with 2:45 left. Goff moved the Rams 55 yards in the final 1:09, but Seattle's defense made its final stop. Rams rookie Cooper Kupp barely missed a diving TD grab on third down, and Goff's fourth-down pass to Kupp was too low. Tavon Austin rushed for a 27-yard TD for Los Angeles (3-2), and Goff went 22 of 47 for 288 yards with three costly turnovers. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 9th, 2017

Pogba has 'long-term' injury, United manager Mourinho says

MANCHESTER, England (AP) — Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho says Paul Pogba will be a 'long-term' absentee because of his hamstring injury. The France midfielder has been out since Sept. 12 when he limped off in the first half of United's Champions League match against Basel. Mourinho bracketed Pogba's absence with those of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Marcos Rojo, who have been sidelined since April with knee-ligament damage. 'He cannot play tomorrow and it's not an injury that I can have the hope like I have with (Antonio) Valencia or (Phil) Jones,' Mourinho said of Pogba, ahead of United's home match against Crystal Palace on Saturday. 'I have the hope to see them in training and to have a positive answer, so long-term injuries I don't speak about them. So Ibra and Pogba and Rojo, these players I don't think about them.' Mourinho has repeatedly said he did not know how bad Pogba's injury was as the club continued to assess the midfielder in-house, as well as seeking specialist advice. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 29th, 2017

UAAP tournament director talks about the merits of having the juniors play at same venue as their seniors

'Giving our junior teams the same playing conditions as their seniors is a big development for boys and girls who are preparing for their transition to college play. It is a prudent move.” That’s UAAP high school volleyball tournament director Otie Camangian speaking. In volleyball-power Thailand, elementary pupils, he added, are already playing on rubber-surfaced courts of international standard. “That’s how you develop world-class players. Start them young in a venue equipped with the right court and right equipment. By giving our juniors the right facilities, we are in effect protecting the breeding ground from which our future international players will be sourced.” Camangian should know whereof he speaks. After all he is a multi-achiever. As a Growling Tiger he played a key role in University of Santo Tomas’ two championships and two second-place finishes in the UAAP. He was also a many-time member of the national team, having taken part in four Southeast Asia Games. He obtained a doctorate in Physical Education, served as secretary general of the Philippine Amateur Volleyball Association, returned to the UAAP as its volleyball commissioner for nine years, and is now serving the league as tournament director in high school volleyball as an appointee of sub-host National University. Speaking fondly of his long stint as UAAP commissioner, the work, he said, was what weakened his eyesight. “Dito na nag-umpisang lumabo ang mata ko. I had to be present from the first game to the last in the UAAP. On non-playing days there was the mountain of paperwork to go through like reports and players’ eligibilities.” NU is reportedly grooming Camangian for a directorship in the school’s Sports Academy now under construction in Laguna.   strong>UAAP always leads /strong> Getting its junior players to compete in a venue only previously reserved for the nation’s major tournaments is, according to Camangian, another innovation started by the UAAP locally. Did you know that the UAAP under Camangian’s nine-year commissionership had introduced two earlier innovations that were later adopted by the International Volleyball Federation? These were, believe it or not, the video challenge the league introduced in Season 75 but which was abandoned the next year, and the 14-man lineup begun much earlier during Season 69. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 26th, 2017

Tunisia wins Afrobasket beating Nigeria in final

RADES, Tunisia (AP) — Tunisia won its second African basketball championship when it dethroned Nigeria 77-65 in the final on Saturday. Backed by a home crowd, Tunisia used clutch 3-point shooting to keep Nigeria at bay in the second half. Ziyed Chennoufi led Tunisia with 19 points, and Nizar Knioua added 16. Tunisia played the tournament without Salah Mejri, a 2.18-meter (7-foot-2) center for the Dallas Mavericks. Mejri, who is recovering from a knee injury, was the MVP of Tunisia's title run in the 2011 AfroBasket. Nigeria was trying to become the first team to successfully defend the title in eight years. Ike Diogu led Nigeria with 20 points and 10 rebounds, and was named MVP of the tournament after averaging 22 points per game. Tunisia coach Mario Palma dedicated the victory to the Tunisian people. The Arab Spring uprisings began in Tunisia, which is struggling with youth unemployment and terrorism concerns. 'This victory is going to help a lot of people who suffer, who don't have money, who are poor,' Palma said. 'They're going to have a few weeks to feel well.' Palma, a 67-year-old Portuguese-Angolan, coached Angola to four consecutive AfroBasket titles, from 1999 to 2005. Palma said his team held 84 practices. In contrast, Nigeria was assembled, and a new coach hired, just a few weeks before the tournament. 'Obviously, everybody in the locker room is upset,' Diogu said. 'It was a learning experience, and we'll be back.' Diogu, selected ninth overall by the Golden State Warriors in the 2005 NBA Draft, was the lone returnee from Nigeria's championship team. But he didn't compete in the 2015 tourney after injuring a calf muscle in training camp. After Bryant MBamalu's jumper extended Nigeria's lead to 18-8 with 8:51 to play in the second quarter, Palma called a timeout and yelled at his players: 'Move the ball!' They listened. Tunisia fought back to end the half leading 25-24. At halftime, Palma told his players that the Nigerians were tired, and they should take advantage of it. 'I told my players that the first five minutes are very important. Don't give them confidence. No second shots,' Palma said. 'They are tired. They cannot play against us.' The Tunisians opened the second half with a 19-6 run, backed by Chennoufi's eight points. In the fourth quarter, Nigeria closed the deficit to 68-61 on O'Karo Akamune's dunk with 2:02 remaining. Once again, however, Tunisia responded. Omar Abada's 3-pointer provided a 10-point cushion and Mourad El Mabrouk added another long ball, giving Tunisia a 74-63 lead with 43 seconds left. Tunisia shot 37.5 percent from 3-point range; Knioua was 4 of 5 and Chennoufi was 4 of 6. Ike Iroegbu added 17 points for Nigeria. The Tunisian players cut down the nets and invited their children on the podium when they received their gold medals. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 17th, 2017

Marines facing ‘discouraging’ challenges in Afghanistan – CNN News

The plume of smoke and dust rose over the runway, high above the now-deserted but once costly and vital control towers. Then a second rocket slammed into the tarmac just feet away from where a C130 cargo plane would imminently land to ferry us out. The Marines with us at first appeared unfazed. Some were perhaps young and new to it all, while the older ones stood tall, not flinching. I crouched behind a wheel until those tires were used to race us back toward a shelter. Seven years ago, it would have been mere minutes before that Taliban rocket team was bombed in retaliation by US forces protecting a thousands-strong base. But in 2017, the US Marines here &'8212; all 300 of them &'8212; seem oddly vulnerable. They don't leave the wire much, mostly just to train and advise, leaving the fighting to the Afghans. Yet all the same, three separate rocket attacks hit their bases in three days &'8212; two near us &'8212; one injuring 10 Afghan soldiers, and another an 8-year-old boy. This is the painful reality of Afghanistan 2017. The country is in one of the most violent periods of its recent history, and its challenges are deepening. But the sense of exhaustion, of solutions long having lost their sparkle, pervades. And as President Trump weighs his first move in America's longest war, its 15 years make it absolutely nothing new to many of the Marines currently at its sharp end. Here's how one hardened, normally optimistic Marine commander, Col. Matthew Reid, talked about lost friends. &'8220;I don't think I've ever bothered to count. Too many, between here and Iraq,&'8221; he said. &'8220;A lot of blood in the ground.&'8221; Born on September 11, Reid is back in Afghanistan's Helmand Province for the second time. He quips that the 300 Marines he works with now are the number that &'8220;ran the chow hall&'8221; when he was last there in 2010. I asked: How does it feel to have to go at it all over again? &'8220;Discouraging,&'8221; he said. &'8220;There is a definite feeling of a sense of obligation to get this right because of those who have gone before us.&'8221; The Helmand district of Nawa was retaken last week by Afghan National Security Forces, yet at about the same time nearby Gereshk district was attacked by the Taliban, with multiple checkpoints hit, and at one point six overrun. Things are better, but not good. Helmand will probably never be good any time soon, but the Marines' presence and massive aerial firepower have arguably stopped the entire opium-rich region from being swallowed by the Taliban But the Marines are only one part of the picture in a country where, according to the US government's own auditors, the Taliban influence or control about half the land. ISIS too, intermittently rises, and then, after coalition airstrikes, falls &'8212; competing to be the most extreme actor in a crowded marketplace. The government in Kabul is weak, ridden by conflict and rivalry between senior players. And the West's ideas for stabilizing the country are running out But really it is the mood in the capital which tells you things are still slipping, yet again. Long-term Afghan friends discussing for the first time how they might leave. A top executive saying his employees are leaving their large, high-profile Afghan company to protect themselves from possible attack at their central offices. This is not a time for optimism. There is no sign the Taliban are weakened, even though one Afghan official told me hundreds of mid-level leaders have been taken out in raids over the past year. Their leadership is more radical than ever, and they are likely to see handsome funds from a productive opium harvest, possibly boosted by a new poppy seed that blooms more quickly, massively increasing production. Afghanistan's bleed is slow, and perhaps hidden or ignored by much of the world, but happening all the same. Take this final anecdote from our visit to Helmand, when the Marines took us to a remote outpost where they were advising the Afghan army. We were there to see them pull out, removing themselves from a flat stretch of what Colonel Matthew Grosz called &'8220;Taliban country&'8221; &'8212; a main thoroughfare between insurgent strongholds. But their advisory mission seemed to have run into one issue: There weren't many Afghans to advise. A US Marine stands at the back of a Chinook helicopter en route to Shorsharak. On paper there were 500 Afghan troops, and 45 US marines. But as Grosz told me: &'8220;There's 200 assigned right now.&'8221; By &'8220;assigned,&'8221; he meant that there were 200 who had existed, physically at the base. But even that was optimistic, as another hundred had never shown up while the Marines were there. In fact, of the hundred they had seen, some were on operations or on patrol. So really there were fifty to a hundred Afghan soldiers at the base, almost enabling one-to-one Marine mentoring sessions. As we sat in the Helmand runway bomb shelter, waiting for the &'8220;all clear&'8221; after the rocket attack, I overheard two young Marines chatter about 9/11 as though it was a moment of historical import rather than something they had seen live on TV. That's because for them, it is something their parents mourned when they were probably five or six. Fifteen years of war sounds exhausting until you remember that for Afghans, [&'].....»»

Category: newsSource:  mindanaoexaminerRelated NewsJul 24th, 2017

Returning IS fighters to regroup in Philippines

BATTLE-HARDENED Southeast Asian Islamic State (IS) fighters returning from the Middle East following the group's setbacks are expected to rebase in the southern Philippines, a security conference heard Tuesday. Instability and the easy flow of weapons have made Mindanao and nearby Philippine islands attractive to extremist groups, said speakers at the Milipol conference on homeland security in Singapore. &'8220;Currently, IS is moving towards creating a territory in southern Philippines. The most recent communication issued by IS has announced that they have formally declared an East Asia division of IS in the southern Philippines,&'8221; counter-terrorism analyst Rohan Gunaratna told the conference. &'8220;Our forecast for 2017 is that the threat in this region will grow because of the creation of an IS nucleus in the southern Philippines,&'8221; added Gunaratna. &'8220;The instability in the southern Philippines and the availability of weapons, internal displacement, refugee flows&' create the ripe conditions for foreign terrorists to come,&'8221; he told AFP after his speech. Singapore's Home Affairs Minister K. Shanmugam also told the conference that the southern Philippines &'8220;is becoming an area that is difficult to control despite the best efforts of the Philippine government&'8221;. &'8220;So that is an area that can serve as a sanctuary for returning fighters from the Middle East. It can be a place where would-be terrorists can go&' they can train, arms seem to move fairly easily into that area,&'8221; Shanmugam added. Parts of Southeast Asia have long struggled with Islamic militancy. Hundreds of radicals from the region, including from Indonesia and Malaysia, have flocked to join IS in Iraq and Syria. But as IS suffers battlefield setbacks, officials and analysts fear these fighters would return to their home region. Southeast Asia suffered its first IS-linked attack in January last year when extremists launched a deadly suicide bombing and gun attack in Jakarta. In Mindanao, which has long battled a Muslim insurgency, a handful of groups have sworn allegiance to IS. (AFP) 51&'160;total views, 51&'160;views today.....»»

Category: newsSource:  mindanaoexaminerRelated NewsApr 4th, 2017

Turkey bans Dutch ambassador as diplomatic crisis escalates – The Guardian

Turkey has suspended high-level political contacts with the Netherlands and threatened to re-evaluate a key deal to halt the flow of migrants to Europe in a dramatic escalation of its diplomatic row with EU member states. Numan Kurtulmuş, a deputy prime minister and chief government spokesman, said on Monday that the Dutch ambassador, who is on leave, would not be allowed to return in response to a ban on Turkish ministers speaking at rallies in the Netherlands. Turkey would also close its airspace to Dutch diplomats, Kursulmuş said, adding: “There is a crisis and a very deep one. We didn’t create this crisis or bring to this stage … Those creating this crisis are responsible for fixing it.” The spokesman’s remarks came hours after President Recep Tayyip Erdoğandefied pleas from Brussels to tone down his rhetoric, repeating accusations of European “nazism” and warning that his ministers would take their treatment by the Dutch to the European court of human rights. Erdoğan also accused Germany’s Angela Merkel of “supporting terrorists” and criticised her for backing the Dutch in the row over Turkish campaigning abroad before an April referendum on controversial plans to expand his powers. “Mrs Merkel, why are you hiding terrorists in your country? … Why are you not doing anything?” Erdoğan said in an interview with Turkish television. He added that the position adopted by the Dutch and a number of other EU states amounted to nazism. “We can call this neo-nazism. A new nazism tendency.” Merkel had earlier pledged her “full support and solidarity” to the Dutch, saying allegations made twice by Erdoğan this weekend that the Dutch government was acting like Nazis were “completely unacceptable”. The Turkish remarks followed a request on Monday by the EU’s foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, and enlargement commissioner, Johannes Hahn, for Ankara to “refrain from excessive statements and actions”. It was “essential to avoid further escalation and find ways to calm down the situation”, the two said in a joint statement. Jens Stoltenberg, Nato’s secretary general, urged all concerned to “show mutual respect and be calm”. Turkey’s minister for EU affairs, Ömer Çelik, said sanctions against the Netherlands were now likely. “We will surely have sanctions against the latest actions by the Netherlands. We will answer them with these,” he said. The Turkish justice minister, Bekir Bozdağ, said the country would “not allow anyone to play with the honour of the Turkish nation and Turkish state”, while Nurettin Canikli, a deputy prime minister, described Europe as a “very sick man”. The threat made by Kurtulmuş to re-evaluate the deal the EU signed with Ankara in March 2016 that has successfully curbed migration from Turkey to Greece, then onward into the rest of the bloc, will be seen as particularly alarming. Dutch police used dogs and water cannon on Sunday to disperse demonstrators after Turkey’s family minister, Fatma Betül Sayan Kaya, was escorted out of the country and the foreign minister, Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, denied permission to land. The ministers were due to address a rally for some of the 400,000 Turks living in the Netherlands, many of whom are able to vote in the 16 April referendum. Daan Feddo Huisinga, the Dutch chargé d’affaires in Ankara, was summoned to the foreign ministryon Monday to receive formal protests over the “disproportionate, inhumane and humiliating” treatment of the protesters and the improper reception given to the ministers. The Netherlands, Austria, Germany, Denmark and Switzerland – all of which have large Turkish immigrant communities – have cited security and other concerns as reasons not to allow Turkish officials to campaign in their countries. But with as many as 1.4 million Turkish voters in Germany alone, Erdoğan cannot afford to ignore the foreign electorate. The standoff has further strained relations already frayed over human rights, while repeated indications from Erdoğan that he could personally try to address rallies in EU countries risk further inflaming the situation. The row also looks likely to dim further Turkey’s prospects of joining the EU, a process that has been under way for more than 50 years. “The formal end of accession negotiations with Turkey now looks inevitable,” the German commentator Daniel Brössler wrote in the Süddeutsche Zeitung. Austria’s chancellor, Christian Kern, called on Monday for an EU-wide ban on Turkish rallies, saying it would take pressure off individual countries. But Merkel’s chief of staff, Peter Altmaier, said that while accession talks could be halted, he had doubts as to whether the bloc should collectively decide on a rally ban. Analysts said the Turkish president was using the crisis to show voters that his strong leadership was needed against a Europe he routinely presents as hostile. Erdoğan is “looking for ‘imagined’ foreign enemies to boost his nationalist base in the run-up to the referendum,” said Soner Cagaptay, the director of the Turkish Research Programme at the Washington Institute. Marc Pierini, the EU’s former envoy to Turkey, said he saw no immediate solution to the crisis because “the referendum outcome in Turkey is very tight and the leadership will do everything to ramp up the nationalist narrative to garner more votes”. In the medium term, Pierini said: “One can hope the fever will subside. Yet bridges have been burned at a personal level: using a ‘nazi’ narrative is extreme … and will probably prevent any summit meeting between the EU and Turkey for a while.” Erdoğan last week accused Germany of “Nazi [&'].....»»

Category: newsSource:  mindanaoexaminerRelated NewsMar 14th, 2017

Politics flagged as 'main risk' to long-term PHL growth

THE Philippine economy is seen to remain upbeat over the next few years with 2016 growth seen hitting 7%, analysts at Capital Economics said, but noted that rising political concerns could endanger long-term growth prospects under the new government......»»

Category: newsSource:  bworldonlineRelated NewsJan 13th, 2017