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Sino raw itong mambabatas ang nagpakawala ng mga espiya sa working area ng mga reporter?.....»»

Category: newsSource: abante abanteSep 12th, 2019

Rubio leads Suns over Jazz in his return to Utah

By MATTHEW COLES Associated Press SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Ricky Rubio always felt comfortable in Utah and hated to leave. He made sure his return was noticed. Rubio had 22 points, 11 assists and seven steals to lead the Phoenix Suns to a 131-111 victory over the reeling Jazz on Monday night. “I know their game and I played with them for a long time,” Rubio said, acknowledging he often knew where the Jazz wanted to go with their motion and their passes and stepped into the passing lanes. In his first game back in Salt Lake City after playing for the Jazz for two seasons, Rubio led an offense that shot 56% and seemed a step ahead of the Jazz all night. “That’s a tough game coming back here to play against your former team with so many emotions going through his mind. He dominated the game,” Phoenix coach Monty Williams said. Rubio used the All-Star break to get some rest and refocus. He also admitted he got extra juice in playing his former teammates. “I haven’t felt this fresh all year,” he said. “This was special for me.” Devin Booker had 24 points and a season-high 10 assists, Kelly Oubre scored 18 while Deandre Ayton added 16 for the Suns. “We were moving the ball. The ball moves faster than bodies can and we took advantage of that tonight. Ricky and I both had over 10 assists and when you have two people creating like that, we were making the game easy for everyone else,” Booker said. Donovan Mitchell scored 38 points and Bojan Bogdanovic added 16 for Utah. The Jazz made a season-high 37 free throws -- on 43 attempts -- but looked disjointed while committing 19 turnovers. The Suns made three 3-pointers in a row to get some breathing room, and then Jevon Carter made a layup and Oubre dunked to take a 99-88 lead into the fourth quarter. "That third quarter used to be lethal for us. That used to be a thing where we come out and that's where we'd make our push. The roles have reversed," Mitchell said. Oubre dunked over Rudy Gobert early in the fourth quarter and let him know all about it, drawing a technical foul. “We didn’t get complacent. Once we got the lead, we kept building on it and we haven’t done that a lot this year,” Booker said. Rubio made an off-balance 3-pointer from the corner that brought audible gasps from the Utah crowd. The knock on Rubio in Utah was that he wasn't enough of a perimeter threat to keep defenses from sagging. “It was an emotional game for him. To come out and play aggressive and play the right way is exciting for him. I know how badly he wanted this one,” Booker said. The Suns made their first five shots and set the tone early that if the Jazz weren't going to stop their drives, they were headed for a big night. The Suns outscored the Jazz in the paint 66-42. "It's all defense. It doesn't matter how many points you score if you can't guard anybody. We gotta go out there and do it -- myself included. No one is excluded from that,” Mitchell said. Rubio, who also had six rebounds, had 13 points in the first half as the Suns shot 59.5 percent and matched the Jazz at 62-62 at the break. Known for their defense over the past few years, the Jazz suddenly can't stop anyone as they dropped their third straight home game for the first time since early last season. "We're going to keep getting the same result if we don't focus and execute on the defensive end. This is a group that's done that, but that doesn't matter right now. (What) that should tell us is we're capable — at least on some level. But, right now, that's not who we are,” Utah coach Quin Snyder said. BE LEGENDARY Booker attended the Kobe Bryant Memorial in Los Angeles earlier Monday and it inspired him. “All of those people in one building because of that man. It was a very important for all of us. I wouldn’t say closure, because we’re all missing a piece of us for the rest of our lives, but seeing Vanessa speak and seeing the girls there helped a lot of people,” Booker said. Bryant would tell Booker to be legendary. That’s what will motivate him as his career unfolds. “When you are out there emulating the same moves, same approach, same mindset that he passed on to us … that sticks with you,” Booker said. “But it’s not just basketball. ‘Be legendary’ is a message for life.” TIP-INS Suns: Ayton got a technical foul 8:00 before halftime. ... With their 24th win, the Suns have now tied their highest win total in the last five years. ... The Suns had 33 assists and made more baskets (33) in the paint than the Jazz had field goals (32). Jazz: Former Jazz point guard Deron Williams sat courtside. ... Snyder was hit with a technical with 7:11 left in second quarter. ... Mike Conley, Rubio's replacement at the point, had eights and one assist. UP NEXT Suns: Host the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday night to open a six-game homestand. Jazz: Host Boston on Wednesday night......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 25th, 2020

12 restaurants with function rooms perfect for parties and private events

[Editor's note:  Booky  is an all-in-one lifestyle app that covers everything from restaurants to gyms, salons, malls, and more. Below is their press release.] MANILA, Philippines – Looking for a party venue or a function room where you can celebrate baptisms, birthdays, wedding receptions, debuts, graduations, or even a simple get together with ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsFeb 21st, 2020

Magic snap Lakers 9-game winning streak in 119-118 thriller

By Greg Beacham, Associated Press LOS ANGELES (AP) — Markelle Fultz hit two big layups in the final minute while scoring 21 points during his second career triple-double, and the Orlando Magic snapped the Los Angeles Lakers' nine-game winning streak with a 119-118 victory Wednesday night (Thursday, PHL time). Fultz added 11 rebounds and 10 assists, while Aaron Gordon had 21 points and a late go-ahead basket as the Magic became the first sub-.500 team to beat the Western Conference-leading Lakers this season despite blowing a 21-point lead in the second half. Wes Iwundu scored a career-high 19 points, and Nikola Vucevic scored seven of his 19 points in the fourth quarter of the Magic's eighth win in 12 games. LeBron James had 19 points and matched his career high with 19 assists before missing a tying 3-pointer with 3 seconds left for the Lakers (33-8), who hit the halfway point of their regular season with their first loss since Christmas. Quinn Cook scored a season-high 22 points, including a 3-pointer at the buzzer, while Troy Daniels added a season-high 17 for the Lakers. Los Angeles finally lost in its fourth straight game without injured superstar Anthony Davis. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope also scored 17 points for the Lakers in their final home game before a five-game road trip while the Grammy Awards take over Staples Center. The Lakers erased an 87-66 deficit early in the fourth quarter with an impressive rally, but the Magic answered and traded big scores down the stretch. Gordon's basket with 2:03 left reclaimed the lead for Orlando. Cook and James hit late 3-pointers that trimmed the Magic's lead to one point, but Fultz drove for a clutch layup with 15 seconds left to put Orlando up 118-115, and James' tying attempt went in and out. The Magic played without injured regulars Evan Fournier, Michael Carter-Williams and D.J. Augustin in their third stop on a six-game road trip. Davis remained out of the lineup since he bruised his backside eight days ago, but the six-time All-Star likely won't be sidelined much longer. Iwundu was outstanding for Orlando while starting in place of Fournier, who sat out with a bruised right quadriceps. The speedy guard surpassed his previous career high early in the third quarter. Orlando jumped to a 20-point lead in the second quarter with an impressive scoring flurry against the Lakers' normally solid defense. The Magic had seven players with at least seven points in their exuberant first half. The Lakers trimmed their deficit to seven points at halftime, but then gave up a 21-4 run by the Magic. The Lakers responded with a 28-6 rally, but couldn't finish. TIP-INS Magic: Fournier's unavailability was determined shortly before game time. ... Augustin sat out for the second time in three games with a bruised left knee. ... Carter-Williams has missed 12 straight games with a sprained left shoulder. Lakers: G Rajon Rondo missed his second straight game with a broken right ring finger. ... Alex Caruso went to the locker room after he got accidentally smacked in the face while stealing the ball from Mo Bamba in the second quarter. A concussion evaluation was inconclusive, and the valuable backup guard didn't return to the game. He will be re-evaluated Thursday (Friday, PHL time). UP NEXT Magic: Stay at Staples Center to face the Clippers on Thursday (Friday, PHL time). Lakers: Visit the Houston Rockets on Saturday (Sunday, PHL time) to open a stretch of five road games in eight days......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 16th, 2020

Solon calls for suspension of phone-grabbing police general to ensure impartial probe

The lawmaker said the police general's action is an "offense to press freedom and freedom of information.".....»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsJan 12th, 2020

LeBron James posts 35 points, 16 boards, Lakers beat Mavs

By The Associated Press DALLAS (AP) — LeBron James had 35 points and 16 rebounds, Kyle Kuzma scored a season-high 24 points starting in place of injured star Anthony Davis, and the Los Angeles Lakers went up big early in a 129-114 victory over the Dallas Mavericks on Friday night (Saturday, PHL time). James was dominant from the start to help the Lakers build a 22-point lead in the first half, which ended with Luka Doncic in a ripped jersey on a frustrating night for the 20-year-old Dallas phenom against the player he grew up admiring. Doncic, who had played James just about even while the Lakers took two of first three in the season series, had 25 points and 10 rebounds but ripped his jersey late in the first half after one of his 11 misses (8 of 19). Davis missed the first game of a road back-to-back after taking a nasty fall in a win over the Knicks in Los Angeles on Tuesday night (Wednesday, PHL time). Both leading men — James and Doncic — were without their star sidekicks for the final regular-season meeting as both fell short of a triple-double after both had one in the previous meeting in Dallas. They had seven assists apiece. Tim Hardaway finished with 22 point for Dallas. NETS 117, HEAT 113 NEW YORK (AP) — Spencer Dinwiddie scored 26 points and had a career-high 14 assists as Brooklyn beat Miami and snapped a seven-game losing streak. Rodions Kurucs scored 19 points and Taurean Prince added 17 for Brooklyn. Jarrett Allen finished with 11 points and 11 rebounds for his team-high 17th double-double of the season. Jimmy Butler scored 33 points and Bam Adebayo added 22 for the Heat. Miami's Duncan Robinson missed a 3-pointer from the corner with 5.7 seconds left. PELICANS 123, KNICKS 111 NEW YORK (AP) — Brandon Ingram scored 28 points, Jaxson Hayes had 18 points and 10 rebounds, and New Orleans beat the Knicks. Lonzo Ball had 15 points and 11 assists, and Josh Hart added 13 points and 10 rebounds as the Pelicans won for the seventh time in nine games. Taj Gibson led the Knicks with a season-high 19 points, shooting 8 for 8 from the field. RJ Barrett scored 16 points, and Reggie Bullock and Elfrid Payton finished with 15. The Knicks lost their fifth straight following a season-best three-game winning streak. BUCKS 127, KINGS 106 SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Khris Middleton had 27 points and 11 rebounds, Eric Bledsoe scored 24 and Milwaukee beat Sacramento despite an off night for Giannis Antetokounmpo. Milwaukee improved to an NBA-best 34-6 and extended the best start in franchise history. Antetokounmpo was held to a season-low 13 points and 10 rebounds. The reigning MVP took only nine shots and picked up three of his four fouls in the first half. Donte DiVincenzo had a season-high 18 points and Sterling Brown added 11 points and 12 rebounds for Milwaukee, which is 16-4 on the road. De’Aaron Fox had 19 points, 10 assists and nine rebounds for Sacramento. Harrison Barnes scored 19 before limping off the court and into the locker room late in the fourth quarter. CLIPPERS 109, WARRIORS 100 LOS ANGELES (AP) — Kawhi Leonard scored 36 points, Lou Williams added 21 and the Clippers rallied from a 10-point deficit at the start of the fourth quarter to defeat Golden State. The Warriors had a 93-83 lead going into the final 12 minutes before Los Angeles went on a 21-6 run the first six-plus minutes of the quarter to take control. Montrezl Harrell keyed the rally with seven of his 11 points as the Clippers went 8 of 12 from the field and forced the Warriors to go 3 of 11. The Clippers defeated the Warriors in two straight games for the first time since 2011. Glenn Robinson III and Omari Spellman scored 17 apiece for Golden State, which has lost its last seven. Alec Burks added 16. WIZARDS 111, HAWKS 101 WASHINGTON (AP) — Jordan McRae scored 29 points, Troy Brown Jr. added 18 points and 10 rebounds, and Washington overcame a poor shooting performance to beat Atlanta. Atlanta, which has the worst record in the NBA, lost for the 14th time in 16 games. Trae Young, who had 42 points in a defeat to Houston on Wednesday, led the Hawks with 19 points. John Collins had his second straight double-double with 15 points and 15 rebounds for Atlanta, and Alex Len had 10 points and 14 rebounds. PACERS 116, BULLS 105 CHICAGO (AP) — Myles Turner set season highs with 27 points and 14 rebounds, and short-handed Indiana withstood a huge effort by Zach LaVine to beat Chicago. The Pacers overcame 43 points by LaVine and escaped with the victory after Chicago rallied from 16 down to cut the deficit to four in the closing minutes. T.J. Warren scored 17 for Indiana after being fined $25,000 by the NBA for an altercation with Miami's Jimmy Butler on Wednesday night. The Pacers picked up their second win in three games even though they were missing two of their top players, with Malcolm Brogdon out with strep throat and Domantas Sabonis nursing a sore left knee. LaVine finished six points shy of his career high set at Charlotte in November. Coby White scored 23, but the Bulls lost their sixth straight — their worst skid since a 10-game slide in December and January last season. GRIZZLIES 134, SPURS 121 MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Jaren Jackson Jr. scored 24 points, Ja Morant added 22 points and a season-high 14 assists and Memphis won its fourth-straight game. Dillon Brooks also scored 22 points and Jonas Valanciunas added 21 as six Memphis players scored in double figures. DeMar DeRozan matched his season-high with 36 points, and added nine assists for the Spurs. LaMarcus Aldridge and Bryn Forbes each scored 21 points, combining to go 9 of 17 from 3-point range. Rudy Gay added 13 points. JAZZ 109, HORNETS 92 SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Rudy Gobert had 15 points, 13 rebounds, and six blocked shots, leading Utah to a victory over Charlotte. Jordan Clarkson led the Jazz with 20 points off the bench. Bojan Bogdanovic added 16 points and Georges Niang chipped in 15 while matching his career high with five 3-pointers. Utah has won eight straight games and 13 of 14. Terry Rozier scored 23 points to lead the Hornets. Miles Bridges added 11. Charlotte finished with 21 turnovers, leading to 24 points for the Jazz. The Hornets have lost three straight. The Jazz swept the regular-season series with the Hornets for the second straight season. SUNS 98, MAGIC 94 PHOENIX (AP) — Devin Booker scored 24 points, including late back-to-back 3-pointers, and Ricky Rubio came up with a steal and a free throw to help Phoenix rally past Orlando. The Suns scored the final eight points of the game after Nikola Vucevic knocked down a 3 from the top of the arc with 59.4 seconds left, giving the Magic a 94-90 lead, Orlando's largest of the game. Kelly Oubre Jr. scored 22 points and Rubio added 11 points, 10 assists and three steals. Evan Fournier led Orlando with 28 points, 16 in the second half. Vucevic added 18 points and 13 rebounds, and Terrence Ross scored 18 off the bench......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 11th, 2020

Valverde questioned after another late collapse by Barcelona

By Joseph Wilson, Associated Press BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Barcelona had once again played great, led through goals by Lionel Messi and Antoine Griezmann, yet still managed to let it slip away. Barcelona squandered one of its best performances of the season by conceding two late goals to Atlético Madrid, falling 3-2 in the semifinals of the Spanish Super Cup in Saudi Arabia. Messi equalized after Jorge “Koke” Resurreccion scored for Atletico, and Griezmann put Barcelona deservedly ahead 2-1. But the goalkeeping of Jan Oblak, Atlético's star this season, kept Barcelona out for the rest of the way while Álvaro Morata leveled with a penalty kick in the 82nd minute and Ángel Correa completed the dramatic turnaround in the 86th. For Barcelona, the chance to add a minor trophy from a mini-tournament played thousands of miles away is not the main worry. The concern is Barcelona’s odd knack of losing control of games that look like a sure victory. Whether it's a question of overconfidence, a lack of fitness or just momentary lapses that cost the team dearly, the pressure is on coach Ernesto Valverde. Messi and other team leaders defended Valverde, whose very good overall record at Barcelona has been blemished by shocking defeats. “It’s normal that when you lose and don’t reach your objectives, and when our fans see that the team is not playing like they would like, that people talk and say things,” Messi said. “We have to be more united than ever, remain a strong group and get through this. “This year we will try to play like we did today (before the late goals) and not commit childish errors like those we committed.” But that didn’t stop the Spanish sports media reporting that Barcelona club officials met with midfield great Xavi Hernández to probe him as a possible replacement for Valverde either now or next season. Xavi left Barcelona in 2015, following 17 trophy-laden seasons, for Qatari club Al-Sadd, where he coaches. The speculation that he could soon be returning home led to Al-Sadd saying no move was imminent. “The issue of Xavi going to Barcelona is normal and expected because he will be at his club and it’s his first home and he must return there in the future, but as of today, Xavi is the coach of Al-Sadd.” Al-Sadd general manager Turki Al-Ali said in a statement on the club website. “Xavi and his team are focusing on tomorrow’s match against Al-Rayyan, and we know that a club with the size and professionalism of Barcelona will take to official channels to speak of such matters,” Al-Ali said. Barcelona’s loss at the King Abdullah Sports City on Thursday came five days after it conceded an 88th-minute equalizer at Espanyol in the Spanish league. The late goal by Wu Lei also came on a desperate counterattack similar to both of Atlético's late attacks that led to goals, when Barcelona’s backline was out of sync and let a pass through to a player with only goalkeeper Neto to beat. Wu’s goal ruined a superb match by Luis Suárez, who had scored with a fine touch and made a difficult pass for an assist. Suárez also backed Valverde on Thursday by taking the blame for the stumble against Atlético. “This loss shows we have room to improve,” the Uruguay striker said. “It shows us that there are mistakes that we can’t make because we were in charge of the game and we let them mount counterattacks … but the coach is not at fault. They were mistakes that we made.” Barcelona has drawn three of its last four league matches, but still lead the competition on goal difference ahead of Real Madrid. The team was leading before finishing 2-2 at Real Sociedad last month; lost 3-1 at Levante after Messi had put them ahead in November; and gave up a goal in the 81st in a 2-2 draw at Osasuna in August. Those setbacks would not be as worrisome for Barcelona if the team had not completely collapsed in the Champions League in recent seasons, most recently a humiliating 4-0 loss at Liverpool after winning the first leg of the semifinals 3-0. Valverde’s job was then in even more jeopardy at the end of last season after Barcelona lost the Copa del Rey final to Valencia, casting a shadow of doubt over the Spanish league champions. Club president Josep Bartomeu, however, has stuck by the former player who is known for his intelligence and unflappable attitude. Valverde is in his third season at Barcelona. He has won back-to-back Spanish league titles and one Copa del Rey final. A European Cup has eluded him. Valverde said he was used to the criticism as part of a job that was never secure. “We coaches always work with the idea of giving it our all to each match,” Valverde said. “We know how soccer is and that there is a permanent instability in teams when you are not getting good results or when you lose. Now that we have lost I suppose people will talk about it, but I remain focused on my job.” Valverde’s next job is to prepare for the visit of Granada on Jan. 19. In the meantime, Atlético will face crosstown rival Real Madrid in the Super Cup final on Sunday......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 11th, 2020

Lakers block 20 shots, hold off Pistons 106-99 in wild 4th

By Greg Beacham, Associated Press LOS ANGELES (AP) — LeBron James had 21 points, 14 rebounds and 11 assists, and Anthony Davis had eight of the Los Angeles Lakers' 20 blocked shots in their fifth straight victory, 106-99 over the Detroit Pistons on Sunday night (Monday, PHL time). Davis scored 11 of his 24 points in the final 3:40 and added 11 rebounds for the Lakers, who blew a late 11-point lead in a wild fourth quarter and nearly lost to a team with a losing record for the first time all season. Instead, Alex Caruso scored 13 points and the Lakers finished one blocked shot short of their franchise record while they hung on to remain unbeaten since Christmas, when they had a four-game skid. Los Angeles had 21 blocks against Denver in April 1982. James finished with his 90th career triple-double, his ninth of the season and his second in five days. Derrick Rose scored 28 points and former Lakers guard Svi Mykhailiuk had 14 — one off his career high — for the Pistons, who have lost nine of 11 despite a strong effort against the Western Conference leaders. Andre Drummond added 12 points on 2-of-13 shooting and 18 rebounds before fouling out late, and the Pistons finished the California portion of their six-game road trip with a heartbreaker. The Lakers scored the first 15 points of the fourth quarter in a rally spearheaded by James and Caruso, turning a four-point deficit into a 90-79 lead. After finally scoring nearly five minutes into the quarter, Detroit strung together nine straight points and a 13-1 run to reclaim the lead with 4:51 left. James' driving, two-handed dunk put the Lakers up 96-92 with 3:22 left, and Davis was unstoppable down the stretch. After Rose hit a 3-pointer with 1:52 left to trim LA's lead to one point, Davis replied with a corner 3, and Dwight Howard got the Lakers' 20th blocked shot moments later. Howard finished with 11 points, nine rebounds and five blocks. Avery Bradley sprained his right ankle shortly before halftime and didn't return for the Lakers. The starting guard missed 13 games earlier in this season with a hairline fracture in his leg. The Lakers blocked eight shots in the first quarter alone, including four by Davis and three by JaVale McGee, who finished with six. Los Angeles blocked 12 shots and held Detroit to 35% shooting in the first half, but Rose and Drummond still kept the Pistons close. Detroit also stayed in it by making its first 21 consecutive free throws until Drummond missed midway through the third quarter. The Pistons still took their first lead late in the third on back-to-back 3-pointers by Mykhailiuk and Langston Galloway. TIP-INS Pistons: Blake Griffin missed his fourth straight game with knee soreness. The injury forced the longtime Clippers star to miss both of Detroit's games at Staples Center this season. ... Coach Dwane Casey got a technical foul in the third quarter for arguing the severity of a foul call against James. ... Detroit again had five players out with injuries, leaving an 11-man active roster. Lakers: Caruso had a strong game off the bench after missing Friday's (Saturday, PHL time) game with tightness in his right calf. ... Ohio State defensive end Chase Young watched the game from courtside next to agent Rich Paul, who represents Davis and James. Young announced Friday (Saturday, PHL time) he'll enter the NFL draft, where he could be the first overall pick. ... Coach Frank Vogel got a technical foul between the third and fourth quarters. INJURED LAKERS Bradley and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope both went to the Lakers' locker room shortly before halftime after apparently rolling their ankles. Caldwell-Pope walked it off and returned in the third quarter, while Bradley's sprain raised worries about the Lakers' perimeter depth, although X-rays were negative. UP NEXT Pistons: Visit Cleveland on Tuesday (Wednesday, PHL time) to begin a home-and-home set with the Cavaliers. Lakers: Host the New York Knicks on Tuesday (Wednesday, PHL time)......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 6th, 2020

San Francisco roars back into playoffs as NFC s top seed

By Arnie Stapleton, Associated Press For the first time since 1997, the San Francisco 49ers are the top seed in the NFC playoffs, a stunning turnaround for a team that owned the second overall pick in the NFL draft just nine months ago. After four straight losing campaigns, including only 10 wins in coach Kyle Shanahan's first two seasons, the 49ers went from 4-12 to 13-3 this season. They emerged as the top team in the NFC thanks a big-play offense and a vastly improved defense sparked by Nick Bosa, whom they chose with that No. 2 draft pick. They earned the top seed with a thrilling finale at Seattle when rookie linebacker Dre Greenlaw made a stop inches from the goal line, earning his team a week off and up to two home games in the 49ers' quest to reach the Super Bowl for the first time in seven years. "It feels good to get where we're at," Shanahan said. "Our goal was to get in the playoffs, it feels much better with being the one seed. By now everyone knows there is only one team that is happy at the end of year." The Green Bay Packers secured the other first-round bye. The Seahawks visit the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday and the Minnesota Vikings visit the New Orleans Saints in the other NFC wild-card game. 1. SAN FRANCISCO 49ers (13-3). AP Pro32 Ranking: No. 3. Last Lombardi: Super Bowl 29, 49-26 over San Diego Chargers on Jan. 29, 1995. Last year: 4-12. First trip to NFC playoffs since 2013. YEA: The 49ers have won different ways with the defense dominating early and the offense playing better late. The returns of edge rusher Dee Ford and S Jaquiski Tartt should help the defense return to its early season form. If QB Jimmy Garoppolo and the offense can maintain its play from the second half when the team ranked second in plays of at least 20 yards, the Niners should be tough to beat. NAY: The Niners will still be missing at least one key defensive piece at the start of the playoffs in LB Kwon Alexander and several depth pass rushers also are out for the year. That could limit the improvement on defense and there is little playoff experience on offense with WR Emmanuel Sanders the only key skill position player who has been in the postseason. Garoppolo has improved the past few weeks but still has a propensity for turnovers, which could prove costly. SAY: "We knew going into the year we had a chance to be pretty good with what we had on paper and watching the guys throughout training camp. We knew that pretty well after the first five games, we could feel it. Then you go through a number of injuries and stuff and you never know how you're going to be able to fully handle that. That's what I have been impressed the most with the guys, no one has wavered." — Shanahan. 2. GREEN BAY PACKERS (13-3). AP Pro32 Ranking: No. 5. Last Lombardi: Super Bowl 45, 31-25 over Pittsburgh Steelers on Feb. 6, 2011. Last year: 6-9-1. First trip to NFC playoffs since 2016. YEA: RB Aaron Jones is the team MVP. The third-year pro is Green Bay's first 1,000-yard rusher since Eddie Lacy in 2014 and his 19 total touchdowns (16 rushing, three receiving) tied Carolina's Christian McCaffrey for the league high. In the Packers' three losses this season, Jones averaged fewer than 42 scrimmage yards. If first-year coach Matt LaFleur gets Jones the ball early and often and QB Aaron Rodgers can add in a splash of his old magic, Green Bay could find itself in Miami in February. NAY: Though Rodgers has had flashes of his old greatness, the 36-year-old two-time MVP has played far below his soaring standards. Rodgers had a passer rating of less than 80.0 in each of his last three starts and had a career-high 16 overthrows against Detroit in the regular-season finale. If the Packers are going to win another Super Bowl, they're going to need the Rodgers of old, not the old Rodgers. SAY: "We haven't always made it easy and we haven't always made it pretty, but for the most part, we've found a way to win every game. You have to say a lot about the resiliency of this team, because we've gotten ourselves into a lot of different scenarios, but we always believe we can go out there and put up a bunch of points in a hurry." -- WR Davante Adams 3. NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (13-3). AP Pro32 Ranking: No. 2. Last Lombardi: Super Bowl 44, beat Indianapolis 31-17 on Feb. 7, 2010. Last year: No. 1 seed, beat Philadelphia Eagles 20-14 at home in divisional round, lost to Los Angeles Rams 26-23 (OT) in NFC championship at home. Third consecutive trip to NFC playoffs. YEA: QB Drew Brees, who'll turn 41 on Jan. 15, has been in vintage form lately with a big assist from the NFL's top WR Michael Thomas. Brees has passed for 1,188 yards and 15 TDs in the past four games, evidence of his strong comeback from a thumb surgery that sidelined him five games. Thomas racked up a single-season record 149 catches for 1,725 yards and nine TDs. The Saints' eight turnovers are an NFL record low for a season. New Orleans had 51 sacks, third most in the NFL and ranked fourth against the run. NAY: While the Saints don't have many weaknesses, they can be their own worst enemy. Their 120 penalties for 1,036 yards ranked sixth worst in the NFL in both categories and their minus-323 net penalty yards ranked second worst. New Orleans' secondary has been beset with late-season injuries. Both starting safeties and a starting cornerback did not play in Week 17. SAY: "Down the stretch here I think we've been an ascending team. We've been playing a little bit better each and every week, despite the fact that we have had some guys go down." — Brees 4. PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (9-7). AP Pro32 Ranking: No. 11. Last Lombardi: Super Bowl 52, 41-33 over New England Patriots, Feb. 4, 2018. Last year: No. 6 seed, beat Chicago Bears 16-15 in wild-card game on road, lost to New Orleans Saints 20-14 in divisional round on road. Third consecutive trip to NFC playoffs. YEA: The Eagles are hungry and Carson Wentz is determined to do what Nick Foles did in his absence two years ago — win a Super Bowl. If Wentz continues playing at the MVP level he displayed in December, the Eagles are dangerous. They have a strong rushing attack that can control the clock and an experienced defense that shuts down the run and forces teams to be one-dimensional. NAY: Seattle beat the Eagles in Philadelphia 17-9 on Nov. 24. Russell Wilson is 4-0 against Philly. The Eagles have been riddled by injuries and finished the regular season without seven starters on offense. Three of those players could return to face the Seahawks but it's likely two will be game-time decisions. SAY: "In the last couple games, (Wentz) has really put this team on his back and said, 'Hey, follow me.' And I think that's a sign of growth, a sign of maturity. I spent eight years in Green Bay with Brett Favre, and that's what Brett did. Brett just put the team on his back when the chips were against us and just said, 'Follow me.' And that's what Carson can do." — Coach Doug Pederson. 5. SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (11-5). AP Pro32 Ranking: No. 6. Last Lombardi: Super Bowl 48, 43-8 over Denver Broncos on Feb. 2, 2014. Last year: No. 5 seed, lost to Dallas Cowboys 24-22 in wild-card game on road. Second consecutive trip to NFC playoffs. YEA: Unlike years past, if the Seahawks are going to make a deep playoff run, it's going to be because of QB Russell Wilson. He's coming off the second-best season in terms of passing yards, completion percentage and a career-low five interceptions. Wilson's never been asked to carry Seattle in the playoffs but if he can rediscover the success from when he was in the MVP conversation with Lamar Jackson, Seattle has enough other parts to make some noise. NAY: Injuries have stacked up for Seattle. The Seahawks lost their top three running backs, a starting edge rusher, tight end and center to season-ending injuries. Jadeveon Clowney is playing through a painful core muscle injury. Bobby Wagner has a bad ankle as does safety Quandre Diggs. Left tackle Duane Brown underwent knee surgery after Week 16. Eventually the lack of some key stars is likely to catch up with Seattle. SAY: "We have everything we want in the locker room. We have everything that we could need. We have everything that it takes. So it's been a tremendous season. It's been a battle so far. It's been a long one, but it's been a great one so far. The good thing is it's a refresh button, you get to hit the refresh button, start over, 0-0, see how far we can go." — Wilson. 6. MINNESOTA VIKINGS (10-6). AP Pro32 Ranking: No. 8. No Lombardis. Last year: 8-7-1. First trip to NFC playoffs since 2017. YEA: The Vikings have an experienced, accomplished defense that can pose problems for elite QBs and clever play-callers on the other side. The Vikings were sixth in the NFL with an average of 18.9 points allowed and fourth with 31 takeaways. Their play-action passing attack with Pro Bowl RB Dalvin Cook poses a dual threat and QB Kirk Cousins throwing deep to WR Stefon Diggs, can be awfully dangerous, too. NAY: The downside on defense is the erosion of the pass coverage. After ranking in the top three in passing yards allowed in the league in each of the past three years, the Vikings dropped to 15th in 2019. They also fell to 19th in the NFL in third down conversions allowed after leading the league in 2017 and 18. The offense carries its own reasons to doubt a playoff run, with Cousins never having won a postseason game in the NFL and a recent dud at home against division rival Green Bay. SAY: "I know it's been done before. Why not us?" — coach Mike Zimmer on the prospect of winning three road games to reach the Super Bowl. ___ AP Pro Football Writers Josh Dubow, Rob Maaddi and Dave Campbell and AP Sports Writers Tim Booth, Brett Martel and Keith Jenkins contributed to this report......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 2nd, 2020

In appreciation: David Stern made the NBA what it is today

By Tim Reynolds, Associated Press David Stern once predicted that the NBA would have a division in Europe within 10 years. A few years later, he said it again. And a few years after that, he said it yet again. It never happened. That was a rarity in Stern’s life and career. Usually, when he wanted something, he got it. He wanted the league to grow under his watch, and it did. He wanted the game to grow internationally, and it did. He wanted players to dress more professionally, and the pregame show in locker rooms now is akin to a fashion show. He was a basketball tour de force, doing it in suits and wing-tips instead of jerseys and sneakers, and unquestionably is why the league is so successful today. Stern died Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time), nearly three weeks after a brain hemorrhage made the end inevitable. He was the NBA’s commissioner for exactly 30 years — from Feb. 1, 1984, through Feb. 1, 2014 — and turned a league that was having its biggest games shown on tape delay into the multibillion-dollar global juggernaut that it is today. “We all sit here and we have these jobs and we all owe a great deal and a great debt to him for making all of our lives better,” Basketball Hall of Famer Isiah Thomas said. “He truly was, and is, the father of what the NBA is now.” Thomas said those words on NBA TV — which, without Stern, probably wouldn’t exist. Stern began building the bridge that connected the NBA and China, which has been a mutually beneficial relationship financially and likely will remain that way once the rift that was born this fall over political differences calms down. He took the league from 23 to 30 teams. He championed the birth of the WNBA. “For those of us who have made a life from this league, words don’t do justice to what he meant,” NBA spokesman Tim Frank wrote on his personal Twitter account. “He was unique, brilliant, tough but maybe most importantly he stood by what he believed every time no matter the personal cost.” Stern never sought popularity. He seemed to embrace conflict. When a tough decision had to be made — vetoing the trade of Chris Paul, for example — he welcomed it and accepted the repercussions from whoever was going to complain. He also was the calm in the eye of storms, such as leading the support for Magic Johnson after the Los Angeles Lakers great retired in 1991 after being diagnosed with HIV. “When he first took over, the league was not as popular as it is now,” Hall of Famer Grant Hill said. “There were challenges. There were problems. And I think him coming in ... his vision, his leadership, he fought for the game of basketball. He fought for this league. He had a vision that this league could really transcend, that it could reach all people.” He was right, and his words carried enormous weight. Miami coach Erik Spoelstra remembers when the Portland Trail Blazers — his father, Jon Spoelstra, was a member of that team’s front office — drafted Arvydas Sabonis and Drazen Petrovic, international talents who might not have ever gotten to the NBA if not for Stern. Jon Spoelstra had a million of those stories for his son, telling him that Stern was “a brilliant visionary.” So when Erik Spoelstra became coach of the Heat in 2008, he found himself in a meeting with Stern and still acknowledges being intimidated. “But I went up to him and told him that, and just to let him know that there are a lot of people that really benefited from his vision and his leadership,” Spoelstra said. Stern also had the gift of being simultaneously gruff and gracious. He was acerbic and often acted like the smartest guy in the room, usually because he was the smartest guy in the room. He ruled with an iron fist. If you worked for the NBA, you worked for him and you were going to do things his way. That was his cover, anyway. He tried to hide that he had an enormous heart. When an NBA employee’s family member was diagnosed with brain cancer, Stern got word of it and had that relative in front of experts at renowned Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center within hours after making a couple of calls. When staffers would accompany Stern on business trips, he’d act like a flight attendant, completely ignoring the fact that the private plane actually had a flight attendant. He’d ask his travel companions if they wanted anything, over and over. He morphed from boss to host on those trips. And when he got wind that another league employee desperately wanted to meet country singer Toby Keith, Stern found himself at an event with the recording star. He told Keith someone wanted to meet him, called the employee over and surely enjoyed how tongue-tied she was by the surprise encounter. There are tons of stories like those that will be told in the coming days. Most NBA players towered over him, of course, but Stern is unquestionably one of the league’s — and one of the game’s — absolute giants. “We owe him,” the National Basketball Players Association said. “And we will miss him.” ___ Tim Reynolds is a national basketball writer for The Associated Press. Write to him at treynolds@ap.org.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 2nd, 2020

The King reigns: LeBron James is AP’s male athlete of decade

By Tim Reynolds, Associated Press He left Cleveland for Miami, finally became a champion, went back to his beloved northeast Ohio, delivered on another title promise, then left for the Los Angeles Lakers and the next challenge. He played in eight straight finals. No NBA player won more games or more MVP awards over the last 10 years than he did. He started a school. He married his high school sweetheart. “That’s all?” LeBron James asked, feigning disbelief. No, that’s not all. Those were just some highlights of the last 10 years. There were many more, as the man called “King” spent the last decade reigning over all others — with no signs of slowing down. James is The Associated Press male athlete of the decade, adding his name to a list that includes Tiger Woods, Wayne Gretzky and Arnold Palmer. He was a runaway winner in a vote of AP member sports editors and AP beat writers, easily outpacing runner-up Tom Brady of the New England Patriots. “You add another 10 years of learning and adversity, pitfalls, good, great, bad, and any smart person who wants to grow will learn from all those experiences,” James, who turns 35 Monday, told the AP. “A decade ago, I just turned 25. I’m about to be 35 and I’m just in a better (place) in my life and have a better understanding of what I want to get out of life.” Usain Bolt of Jamaica was third for dominating the sprints at the 2012 and 2016 Olympics, soccer superstar Lionel Messi was fourth and Michael Phelps — the U.S. swimmer who retired as history’s most decorated Olympian with 28 medals, 23 gold — was fifth. James was revealed as the winner Sunday, one day after Serena Williams was announced as the AP’s female athlete of the decade. In his 17th season, he’s on pace to lead the league in assists for the first time while remaining among the NBA’s scoring leaders. “When LeBron James is involved,” Denver coach Michael Malone said, “I’m never surprised.” Including playoffs, no one in the NBA scored more points than James in the last 10 years. He started the decade 124th on the league’s all-time scoring list. He’s now about to pass Kobe Bryant for No. 3. No. 2 Karl Malone and No. 1 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar are within reach. Is Abdul-Jabbar in his sights? Is catching him the new decade’s goal? “I would be lying if I said I don’t see it,” James said. “Obviously I’m not trying to say, ‘OK, well if I play this amount of time, if I average this’ ... I’m not doing that because I’ve never done that with my career. I’ve always just kind of let it happen. Whatever happens, happens. But I see it. I do see it.” His work ethic, even now, makes even those closest to him marvel. Here’s a typical day this past summer for James, who remains obsessed with working even though fame and fortune found him long ago: He’d wake up at 3 a.m. and be at the Warner Bros. lot by 3:45 — where a weight room and court, built just for him, were waiting. He’d be lifting by 4 a.m., getting shots up by 5:30 and be ready to start another day of shooting the remake of “Space Jam” that he has been planning for years by 7 a.m. “That’s who he is,” said Mike Mancias, one of the longest-tenured and most trusted members of James’ inner circle, tasked for more than 15 years with keeping James fit. “He does whatever it takes when it comes to fulfilling his commitments to everything — especially his game and his craft.” The 2010s for James started with “The Decision,” the widely criticized televised announcement of his choice to leave Cleveland for Miami. (Lost in the hubbub: The show raised more than $2.5 million for charity.) He was with the Heat for four years, went to the NBA Finals all four times with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, finally won the title in 2012 — “it’s about damn time,” he said at the trophy celebration — and led the way in a Game 7 win over San Antonio to go back-to-back the following year. “He grew immensely here as a leader,” Miami coach Erik Spoelstra said. “He impacted winning as much as with his leadership as he did with his talent. I think that was the most important thing he learned with us. And he’s been able to take that to different franchises and continue using that as a template.” Cleveland was devastated when he left. It forgave him. James returned home in 2014, took Cleveland to four consecutive finals, then led the Cavaliers to the 2016 title and came up with one of the biggest plays of his life by pulling off a chase-down block of Golden State’s Andre Iguodala in the final seconds of Game 7 of that series. And in 2018, he was off to LA. Going Hollywood made so much sense — he’s making movies, has a production company, has a program called “The Shop” as part of his ‘Uninterrupted’ platform featuring an array of guests from Drake to California Gov. Gavin Newsom, who signed a bill on the show that will allow college athletes to get paid for the use of their likeness and sign endorsement deals. “There’s a lot of moments from this decade that would be up there, winning the two Miami championships, winning a championship in Cleveland, the chase-down block,” James said. “But the best moment? Definitely marrying Savannah. That would be No. 1.” James and longtime partner Savannah Brinson got married six years ago. They already had two sons — both are very good basketball players already — and added a daughter in 2014. James also spent most of the last decade as a lightning rod for critics. He used his voice often on social matters, speaking out after the killing of unarmed Florida teenager Trayvon Martin and campaigning for Hillary Clinton. He supported Colin Kaepernick’s methods of protesting police brutality and racial injustice. Most recently, he was criticized by many — including top U.S. lawmakers — for his remarks after Houston general manager Daryl Morey sparked a massive rift between the NBA and China by sending out a tweet supporting pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong. “I don’t live in regret,” James said. “There’s no moment in this last decade that I wish I could have back. If a situation was bad or you feel like you could have done better, then I learned from it.” He doesn’t know how much longer he’ll play. He laments missing time with his children. His “I Promise” school that opened in 2018 in his hometown of Akron, Ohio, has been an immediate success story, and he wants to see that enterprise continue growing. Some love him. Some don’t. He doesn’t mind. “When you believe in your calling or you believe in yourself, then it doesn’t matter what other people say or how other people feel,” James said. “And if you allow that to stop you or deter you from your mission, then you don’t get anywhere.” And in the 2010s, nothing deterred James......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 30th, 2019

EPL festive spirit in short supply amid anger over VAR calls

By Steve Douglas, Associated Press MANCHESTER, England (AP) — Festive spirit was in short supply from video assistant referees in the Premier League on Saturday as three goals were ruled out for marginal offside calls, exacerbating frustration about the technology being used for the first time in England this season. On a day when Manchester United moved up to fifth place with a 2-0 win at Burnley and West Ham fired manager Manuel Pellegrini after a 2-1 home loss to Leicester, much of the debate in stadiums and on social media centered on disgruntlement at the forensic geometry being used to call on tight offside decisions - even if the correct calls were ultimately made. “If VAR was a manager, he’d have been sacked weeks ago,” former England captain Gary Lineker tweeted to his 7.5 million followers after Norwich striker Teemu Pukki had a goal disallowed for offside that required the VAR in a room outside London to apply lines and dots on the screen to judge. That came hours after Brighton defender Dan Burn was adjudged offside by a matter of millimeters before scoring in a 2-0 win over Bournemouth, and then Wilfried Zaha had the same call against him - or rather his armpit - after he set up Max Meyer's ‘goal’ for Crystal Palace in a 1-1 draw at Southampton. “This is nonsense and it’s damaging the spectacle,” tweeted Arlo White, who calls matches for NBC in the United States. Narrow offside calls, and the microscopic way they are judged, have been the most contentious part of the VAR system brought in this season. "It's small margins but those are the rules they're using. It's the procedure that they go on so it's either it is or it isn't, so there isn't much you can say,” Palace manager Roy Hodgson said. "I was never one to be banging the drum for VAR. But if the mass media want it, and the public want it, once again you have to be mature enough to accept it.” Rotation was rife Saturday as managers juggled their resources to deal with a second game in a 48-hour span for most teams during a hectic festive period that will see another match in the middle of next week. Not for Pellegrini, though, whose 18-month spell in charge of West Ham is over. SECOND-STRING LEICESTER Second-place Leicester made nine changes for the match against West Ham - Jamie Vardy, the league’s top scorer, was one of the stars missing after his wife gave birth - but still had enough to win at the Olympic Stadium in Pellegrini's last match with the Hammers. Kelechi Iheanacho and Demarai Gray scored for Leicester, either side of an equalizer by Pablo Fornals, as the visitors moved 10 points behind Liverpool having played two games more. After the game, West Ham announced Pellegrini had been fired, with co-chairmen David Gold and David Sullivan saying “a change is required to get the club back on track in line with our ambitions this season.” West Ham is just a point and a place above the relegation zone. UNITED ON THE RISE Anthony Martial picked up his third goal in two games to help Man United to a 2-0 win at Burnley as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's team climbed to fifth, a point behind Chelsea. United profited from a defensive error by left-back Charlie Taylor as Andreas Pereira played in Martial to score in the 44th minute. The French forward also grabbed two goals in the win over Newcastle on Thursday and now has 10 goals in all competitions this season. Marcus Rashford added the second goal on the break deep into stoppage time. Chelsea plays its game in hand on United against Arsenal on Sunday. PROBLEMS FOR MOURINHO Known for coaching teams with well-organized defenses, Jose Mourinho hasn’t managed to sort out Tottenham’s error-prone back line. Mistakes led to both of Norwich’s goals at Carrow Road, with goalkeeper Paulo Gazzaniga letting a tame shot by Mario Vrancic in for the first and Serge Aurier scoring an own-goal for the second. Tottenham came from behind twice via a free kick by Christian Eriksen and a penalty by Harry Kane, and is two points behind fourth-place Chelsea having played a game more. ANCELOTTI EFFECT It’s two games and two wins for Carlo Ancelotti since taking charge of Everton. The second victory came at Newcastle, with Dominic Calvert-Lewin scoring twice as Everton won 2-1. Watford had defender Adrian Mariappa sent off in the 57th minute but still beat Aston Villa 3-0 to move within three points of escaping the relegation zone. Villa is in third-to-last place, two points ahead of Watford, with Norwich last, a further three points adrift......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 29th, 2019

Payton: Saints doing due diligence on receiver Antonio Brown

By Brett Martel, Associated Press METAIRIE, La. (AP) — Prolific but embattled free-agent receiver Antonio Brown got his chance to show the New Orleans Saints how he could help them in the playoffs. Whether Brown winds up catching passes from record-setting quarterback Drew Brees during a potential Super Bowl run remains to be seen. And the NFL could have a say in the matter — if the Saints decide to sign him. While Saints coach Sean Payton did not rule out signing Brown, he said there were no immediate plans to do so after including the four-time All-Pro in a workout with six receivers on Friday. “Not now,” Payton said, adding that coaches and the front office are “mainly doing our due diligence on all of those players. Obviously there’s a little bit more attention drawn to him because of his career. But right now it was more or less us having a chance to get to know these guys and seeing what kind of shape they’re all in.” Brown’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus, told The Associated Press that Brown’s “visit with the Saints went very well and we will continue discussions with them.″ Brown also could be seen smiling widely in a photo, posted on social media, with New Orleans Pelicans rookie Zion Williamson. The Saints and NBA’s Pelicans are both owned by Gayle Benson and their practice headquarters are on the same campus. Saints receiver Ted Ginn Jr. said he was among Saints players who met Brown as well. Brown has been out of the NFL since the New England Patriots cut him Sept. 20 amid multiple sexual misconduct allegations which have spawned an ongoing league investigation of the receiver. Payton had indicated on multiple occasions earlier this season that the Saints were not interested in signing Brown. “I probably wasn’t telling you the truth a few months ago,” Payton said. “We’re looking closely all the time at who are the players available, how can they help us, especially as we get ready here for this postseason?” NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said the league had no comment on the Saints’ decision to work out Brown. During NFL meetings earlier this month, Commissioner Roger Goodell said he had not yet met with Brown and that the investigation was not complete. Goodell further specified that league investigators met with Brown but “have more work to do.” When Brown was released by the Patriots, he was not placed on the commissioner’s exempt list, which would prevent other teams from signing him. However, the NFL released a statement explaining that, “As long as Mr. Brown is a free agent, placement on the Commissioner’s exempt list is not appropriate. If he is signed by a club, such placement may become appropriate at any time, depending on the status of the investigation. Upon the conclusion of the investigation, he may also be subject to discipline if the investigation finds that he has violated the law or league policies.” Payton said after the workout he remained uncertain whether Brown would ultimately be eligible to play in the postseason. “That’s the information that we’ve got to get from the league if we were to go down that road and we don’t have that yet,” Payton said. Brown, who caught 837 passes during nine seasons with Pittsburgh, has been dumped by three teams since the end of last season. He was benched by the Steelers after he was a no-show in the days leading up to the club’s season finale. The Steelers traded him to Oakland, which signed him to a contract that would have paid him up to $50 million over the next three seasons, only to release him before he’d played a game. The Patriots quickly moved to bring in Brown, giving him a one-year deal that would have guaranteed him $9 million and paid him up to $15 million this season. He played in one game, catching a touchdown pass at Miami in Week 2, before New England released him. Saints players who spoke after Friday’s practice sounded enthusiastic about the prospects of adding a receiver as talented as Brown. They expressed confidence in the club’s ability to vet whether a player’s previous pattern of mercurial behavior or off-the-field trouble would be an unwanted disruption. “Our front office knows what it’s doing,” linebacker and defensive captain Demario Davis. “They’ve done a good job in building a very strong team with a strong culture. We’ve got a very strong locker room.” Saints receiver Ted Ginn Jr. said that adding Brown to a receiver corps that already includes Michael Thomas — who leads the NFL with a single-season record 145 catches for 1,688 yards — would be a “great situation.” Brown has been “a top guy in this league,” Ginn said. “His attitude and the way he approaches the game and the way he plays the game, he’s kind of like, amazing.” While simply bringing in Brown for a workout could affect public perceptions of any NFL club, Payton assured that the Saints are “doing our homework.” “Part of that is credibility that we’ve already established,” Payton said. “There would be a number of players that we’ve signed or drafted over the years past; some have worked out, some that haven’t. And yet, I’ve never met him before, so it was a chance to sit down and visit with him.”.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 28th, 2019

Lynch s return provides a spark for Seahawks locker room

By Tim Booth, Associated Press RENTON, Wash. (AP) — When Marshawn Lynch played his last game for Seattle in January 2016, a playoff loss to Carolina, the idea of him ever wearing a Seahawks uniform again seemed preposterous. Yet here was Lynch on Tuesday going through his first practice with Seattle in nearly four years, and potentially tasked with playing a major role on Sunday against San Francisco with the NFC West title on the line. When it comes to NFL reunions, this is as unlikely as it gets. Not just Lynch back on a football field after more than a year away, but back in Seattle. “What I needed to hear from him is where his heart is. Is he in it and does he want to go for it, which he totally does," Seattle coach Pete Carroll said. "He's worked to prove that. I don't doubt him one bit about that. He's very sincere about how he presents himself to this game and it's very important to him to be at his best and do well, and he's going to do everything he can to make that happen.” The arrival of Lynch was a spark of energy inside a Seattle locker room that was left reeling after Sunday's 27-13 loss to Arizona. Not only were the Seahawks run over by the Cardinals, they lost their most direct path to the No. 1 seed in the NFC playoffs and their top two running backs to injury. Lynch may end up being great in Seattle's backfield. He may end up looking like a 33-year-old who hasn't played in more than a year. But the idea of “Beast Mode” carrying the ball once again in a Seattle uniform galvanized not only the fan base, but a locker room of players who mostly haven't had Lynch as a teammate. Linebacker K.J. Wright, one of the few holdovers from Lynch's last season, said some of the younger players seemed a bit in awe of Lynch being back in Seattle's locker room. “Only one person can pull this off and that's No. 24," Wright said. "Back in the building, it feels good. When I heard the news I was like, ‘Perfect.’ He's just the ultimate teammate, cool dude, just ballin'. I'm glad to have him back.” Seattle made official the signings of Lynch and Robert Turbin — the same backfield combo it used from 2012-14 — on Tuesday. The Seahawks placed injured running backs Chris Carson (hip) and C.J. Prosise (arm) on injured reserve to open up the roster spots. Lynch made a surprise media appearance after practice for all of 9 seconds, saying, “Happy holidays. Merry New Year. You all have a great day. It’s a great feeling to be back.” But he did expand on his decision in a video posted on his Beast Mode Productions YouTube channel that was shot a few days ago. It was clear in the video that there had been discussions of a return to Seattle before news broke on Monday. It's also clear that Lynch initially thought he was coming back to be the complement to Carson. Now he may be asked to take Carson's role. “At my age, this is a great opportunity to be able to come in and be able to help when needed, get in and do my little thing and get out, hopefully be able to help them go ahead and get to the Super Bowl that they should be playing for,” Lynch said in the video. “I’m going to maximize my opportunity to the fullest.” Lynch also said he had some “unfinished business,” in reference to Seattle's Super Bowl loss to New England. “Like he's been saying, there's some unfinished business,” Seattle linebacker Bobby Wagner said. “Maybe that's the motivation. But we'll welcome him with open arms every single time.” What's uncertain is what Lynch can provide Seattle's offense. The scheme is similar to the last time he was with the Seahawks, but the team has a different offensive coordinator and different offensive line coach. None of the linemen who will block for Lynch on Sunday were around the last time he had a carry for the Seahawks — a divisional round playoff loss to Carolina on Jan. 17, 2016. Lynch averaged 4.2 yards per carry last season with Oakland before suffering a season-ending core muscle injury. Seattle would gladly take that kind of production in concert with Turbin and rookie sixth-round pick Travis Homer. “What he brings and what he offers, he brings a lot to the table," Carroll said. "He's as physical a player as I've ever been around, as great a competitor as I've ever been around and when you get to add somebody like that to your team it only helps and enhances kind of the mentality that we already cherish anyway. We'll find out how he can play and how he does. It's been a little while off.” NOTES: Carroll said DE Jadeveon Clowney (core) and CB Shaquill Griffin (hamstring) were both expected to practice Tuesday and intend to play against the 49ers. ... T Duane Brown underwent minor knee surgery on Monday. Carroll said the surgery was needed but nothing unexpected was discovered. Seattle hopes Brown can return in a few weeks, depending on how far the Seahawks advance in the postseason......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 25th, 2019

Computer plate umps allowed in new labor deal

By Ben Walker and Ronald Blum, Associated Press NEW YORK (AP) — Computer plate umpires could be called up to the major leagues at some point during the next five seasons. Umpires agreed to cooperate with Major League Baseball in the development and testing of an automated ball-strike system as part of a five-year labor contract announced Saturday, two people familiar with the deal told The Associated Press. The Major League Baseball Umpires Association also agreed to cooperate and assist if Commissioner Rob Manfred decides to utilize the system at the major league level. The people spoke on condition of anonymity because those details of the deal, which is subject to ratification by both sides, had not been announced. The independent Atlantic League became the first American professional league to let a computer call balls and strikes at its All-Star Game on July 10. Plate umpire Brian deBrauwere wore an earpiece connected to an iPhone in his pocket and relayed the call upon receiving it from a TrackMan computer system that uses Doppler radar. The Atlantic League experimented with the computer system during the second half of its season, and the Arizona Fall League of top prospects used it for a few dozen games this year at Salt River Fields. MLB has discussed installing the system at the Class A Florida State League for 2020. If that test goes well, the computer umps could be used at Triple-A in 2021 as bugs are dealt with prior to a big league callup. "It would change the game for the good. It would continue the effort to eliminate human deficiency," Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt wrote in a story for The Associated Press in October. "We have replay everywhere else in the game. Like it or not, replay gets the call right." Several AFL prospects praised the TrackMan system for calls on the inside and outside corners but said it struggled with breaking balls low or high in the strike zone. "This idea has been around for a long time and it's the first time it's been brought to life in a comprehensive way," Morgan Sword, MLB's senior vice president of economics and operations, said on the night the Atlantic League experiment started. Humans still will be needed to determine checked swings and to make sure TrackMan doesn't call a strike on a pitch that bounces and goes through the strike zone. "I think it's a little naive to think that simply letting computers generate strike or ball," Houston manager AJ Hinch said during the World Series. "It's incredibly naive to think that there's not going to be pitfalls in that scenario, as well." Humans will make safe/out calls — subject to video review back in the New York control room, a system that started on home run calls in 2008 and extended in 2014 to many umpire decisions. There were 1,356 video reviews during the 2019 regular season, taking an average of 1 minute, 16 seconds. MLB said 597 calls or 44% were overturned, 277 or 20% confirmed and 463 or 34% allowed to stand because there was not enough evidence to confirm or overturned. The remaining 19 calls were for rules checks or record keeping. As part of the labor contract, the sides agreed to raises in compensation and retirement benefits along with provisions to allow earlier retirement......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 22nd, 2019

Jaguars fire Coughlin amid 3rd season, following NFLPA shot

By Mark Long, Associated Press JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — The Jacksonville Jaguars fired top executive Tom Coughlin on Wednesday, parting ways with the two-time Super Bowl-winning coach a little more than a day after the NFL Players Union took a sledgehammer to his reputation. Coughlin served as executive vice president of football operations since 2017. It was his second stint with Jacksonville, the expansion franchise he helped build from the ground up in the mid-1990s. The unbending taskmaster had been in trouble for weeks because of the team's sagging record and several questionable roster moves. The NFLPA seemingly forced Khan's hand after an arbitrator’s decision to undo millions in fines imposed by Coughlin himself. The NFLPA said Monday that more than 25% of player grievances filed in the last two years have been against the Jaguars. The union's take: “You as players may want to consider this when you have a chance to select your next club." “I determined earlier this fall that making this move at the conclusion of the 2019 season would be in everyone’s best interests,” Khan said in a statement. "But, in recent days, I reconsidered and decided to make this change immediately. “I thank Tom for his efforts, not only over the past three years but for all he did from our very first season, 25 years ago, to put the Jacksonville Jaguars on the map.” Khan said general manager Dave Caldwell and head coach Doug Marrone will each report directly to him on an interim basis. “My expectations, and those of our fans, for our final two games and the 2020 season are high,” Khan added. The NFLPA grievances are a product of Coughlin’s peccadillos, many of which come from a good place — that of an old-school coach who always believed that football was more than just a business. But the rules that once seemed trifling — no sunglasses, all meetings start 5 minutes early — took a more sinister tone since Coughlin's return. He was still basking in the glow of two Super Bowl titles during his in-between stay as coach of the New York Giants that painted him as a man who had truly changed his ways. He fined defensive end Dante Fowler more than $700,000 in 2018 for missing “mandatory” appointments at the facility during the offseason. Problem was, the appointments weren't really mandatory — a reality cooked into the rule book after some hard-fought wins by the union in collective bargaining about how much time players were obliged to spend at team headquarters in the offseason. Coughlin and the Jaguars have been on the wrong end of other high-profile battles against players — involving running back Leonard Fournette, cornerback Jalen Ramsey and now-retired defensive end Jared Odrick. All involved fines or criticism of players who didn’t act the way Coughlin liked, or failed to show up to voluntary sessions that the old coach always believed weren’t really voluntary. The pushback against Coughlin was as much a sign of the attitudes of players in the late 2010s as it is of their willingness to blindly follow a leader who hadn’t proven himself to them — regardless of whatever message those Super Bowl rings might have delivered. As much as creating a mindset, ultimately, Coughlin was brought back to build a championship roster. In his first year back, it was trending that way, much the same as it was in the late 1990s, when he took the expansion franchise to the AFC title game twice in four years. Led by a smothering defense that Coughlin helped build, Jacksonville fell to New England in the 2017 AFC title game after leading by 10 in the fourth quarter. Since then, however, Coughlin’s moves to try to bridge the gap have looked like massive cases of bad judgement and overreach, the likes of which mired the final four seasons (2000-03) of his first stint with the Jags. The three most notable mistakes came at quarterback: the Jaguars drafted Fournette over Deshaun Watson, gave clearly flawed Blake Bortles a three-year, $54 million contract and then handed $88 million ($50.125 guaranteed) to Nick Foles. There were other problems raging throughout the roster, the locker room and the entire building. Coughlin has developed a rift with coach Doug Marrone over Marrone’s insistence on reducing the intensity and pace of practices at training camp, which came in direct conflict with what Coughlin has preached over his five-plus decades in football. Marrone also wasn't pleased that Coughlin dealt Ramsey, a mercurial-but-talented player who was supposed to be a cornerstone of the franchise, to the Los Angeles Rams earlier this year after multiple flareups between the player and the VP. Meanwhile, assistant coaches grew tired of receiving second-hand guidance that goes right down to the nuts and bolts of game-planning from a man who hasn’t taken much time to get to know them. All of this has turned one of the league’s up-and-coming teams into a loser. The Jaguars have dropped 19 of their last 26 games, 11 of which have come by double digits, and six of those by 20 or more......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 19th, 2019

Heat hold on late, end 76ers unbeaten start at home

By Dan Gelston, Associated Press PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Kendrick Nunn scored 26 points to help the Miami Heat hand the Philadelphia 76ers their first home loss of the season, 108-104 on Wednesday night (Thursday, PHL time). The 76ers had been 14-0 at home, including a 113-86 victory over the Heat last month. Tobias Harris buried a 3-pointer for the Sixers with 25.5 seconds left that made it 106-104 and they had sudden life when Nunn missed twice at the free throw line. Al Horford, though, missed an open 3-point attempt from the wing and the Heat escaped in a thriller. Bam Adebayo scored 23 points and Duncan Robinson had 15 for the Heat. Robinson made a pair of 3s in the fourth that stretched the lead to 14 points, and Nunn buried a 30-footer for a 99-83 lead. Joel Embiid, who missed Sunday's (Monday, PHL time) rout by the Nets with an upper respiratory illness, had 22 points and 19 rebounds. Harris scored 20 points. Jimmy Butler scored 14 points for the Heat and was pretty much a non-factor until late in his second game back in Philadelphia. Butler was soundly booed the first few times he touched the ball and continued to get jeers throughout the game. He played 55 regular-season games for the Sixers last season, averaging 18.2 points after being acquired in a trade with Minnesota last November. He helped Philadelphia beat Brooklyn in the first round of the playoffs before the 76ers were eliminated in the second round by Toronto. Butler left Philadelphia in the offseason, signing a $142 million, four-year deal with the Heat in a sign-and-trade that brought Josh Richardson to Philadelphia. Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said Butler has been a perfect fit for a team trying to return to the playoffs after missing them last season. "I feel like I've coached a lot of guys like Jimmy that are adults, that are very serious about winning, about the process of winning," he said. "Ultra competitive. He's a max player. We wanted a max player, someone that would fit our culture and our system. Someone that would share our values and I think you're seeing that kind of affect with that kind of player. There's very few of them on this planet. That's why we went after him so aggressively." Richardson did his part late, hitting a 3 that made it an eight-point game and one more that made it 101-97 and sent another packed house into a frenzy. With a perfect home start still within reach, the 76ers coughed up the ball to Miami -- and Butler crushed them with an assist on a 3 from Derrick Jones Jr. that gave the Heat needed breathing room. Butler sank two free throws with 33.9 seconds left, toying with the 76ers to the end. TIP-INS Heat: Nunn hit four of Miami's 12 3-pointers. 76ers: Butler struck a friendship with Embiid and remained a fan of the All-Star center. "That dude, he's real," Butler said. "He does everything well. He's a true generational talent." HE SAID IT "Gregg Popovich and Pat Riley." 76ers coach Brett Brown on how to build a generational franchise like San Antonio and Miami. UP NEXT Heat: Host the Knicks on Friday (Saturday, PHL time). 76ers: Play back-to-back home games Friday (Saturday, PHL time) against Dallas and Saturday (Sunday, PHL time) against Washington......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 19th, 2019

Carolina Panthers fire head coach Ron Rivera

By Steve Reed, Associated Press CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — The Ron Rivera era has come to an abrupt end in Carolina. The Panthers fired their all-time winningest head coach with the team on a four-game losing streak and headed to its third non-playoff season in four years. “I believe this is the best decision for the long-term success of our team,” Panthers owner David Tepper said in a statement Tuesday. “I have a great deal of respect for Ron and the contributions he has made to this franchise and to this community.” Secondary coach Perry Fewell was been named interim head coach. Offensive coordinator Norv Turner will transition to special assistant to the head coach, and quarterbacks coach Scott Turner will serve as offensive coordinator. Tepper said he will begin a search for a new coach immediately. Rivera was hired in 2011 and was 76-63-1 in the regular season and a 3-4 postseason mark. In nine seasons Rivera guided the team to a Super Bowl appearance, an NFC championship and three NFC South titles. But the Panthers have fallen on hard times lately following injuries to quarterback Cam Newton the past two seasons. The Panthers are 5-7 this season and are all but eliminated from playoff contention after a 29-21 loss to the Washington Redskins on Sunday at home. When asked if he was worried about his future with the team on Sunday after his team surrendered a 14-0 lead to the Redskins, Rivera replied, “I’m not worried about my future. I’m worried about this football team. We have a game coming up on Sunday” at Atlanta. They started this season 5-3. Last year the team was 6-2 but lost seven straight games and finished 7-9. Since losing to the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl 50 four seasons ago, the Panthers are 29-31 and have not won a playoff game. Rivera, 57, did not immediately return phone calls seeking comment from The Associated Press. Rivera’s firing might not be the only change coming. Tepper, who bought the team in 2018, said long-term mediocrity is not an option for the Panthers. “We are going to take a comprehensive and thorough review of our football operation to make sure we are structured for long-term sustained success,” Tepper said. “Our vision is to find the right mix of old-school discipline and toughness with modern and innovative processes. We will consider a wide range of football executives to complement our current football staff.” Tepper said the team will hire an assistant general manager and vice president of football operations. “We all must recognize that this is the first step in a process, but we are committed to building and maintaining a championship culture for our team and our fans,” Tepper said. Rivera was extremely well liked in the Panthers locker room, and he easily related to players having played nine seasons in the NFL for the Chicago Bears, winning a Super Bowl with Jim McMahon, Walter Payton and others in 1985. Rivera is a two-time NFL Coach of the Year and likely won’t have a problem landing a job next season. As for what the move means for Newton remains to be seen given that Tepper has shown he’s not afraid to make big changes. The legacies of Rivera and Newton have always been intertwined as both came to the Panthers in 2011. Newton is coming off shoulder and foot injuries and the team could save $19 million under the salary cap if they release or trade him after the season. Kyle Allen has filled in for Newton this season at quarterback and is 5-5 as a starter......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 4th, 2019

Eric Paschall scores 25 points as Warriors hold off Bulls

By Janie McCauley, Associated Press SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Eric Paschall scored 25 points and the Golden State Warriors emphatically closed out a tight game after their failure two days earlier, holding off the Chicago Bulls 104-90 on Wednesday night (Thursday, PHL time) for just their second win at new Chase Center. Alec Burks added 23 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists in just the second win in 12 games for Golden State, which squandered a late lead Monday night (Tuesday, PHL time) in losing 100-97 to Oklahoma City while allowing the Thunder to score the game’s final 13 points. The Warriors snapped a three-game losing streak. The Warriors had been down to just eight healthy players Monday (Tuesday, PHL time) but welcomed back one key reinforcement in this one: Draymond Green returned from a three-game absence because of a sore right heel and contributed seven points, eight assists and five rebounds in 24 minutes. Zach LaVine had 36 points, five rebounds and five assists for the Bulls, who now will try to avenge a 117-94 home loss to the Trail Blazers on Monday night (Tuesday, PHL time) when they travel to Portland to play Friday (Saturday, PHL time). Golden State struggled to take care of the ball or make stops down the stretch against Oklahoma City, then worked to be the aggressor in this game. The Warriors jumped in the passing lanes on defense to create transition baskets and plays like Paschall’s timely dunk that put his team ahead 88-83 with 5:17 remaining. Bulls coach Jim Boylen noted before the game Chicago needed to make more shots but the Bulls went 16 for 44 in the first half to trail 53-48 at the break — contributing to Golden State’s 35 rebounds after two quarters, 10 by Omari Spellman in 11.5 minutes. Spellman wound up with 13 points and 11 rebounds off the bench for his fifth career double-double and first with the Warriors. Bulls forward Chandler Hutchison, sidelined for two games last week with soreness in his shins, was in the starting lineup but played only two minutes, not a great sign one game after he came back to score six points and grab three rebounds in seven minutes late in the loss to Portland. TIP-INS Bulls: F Luke Kornet played 10 minutes in his return from an eight-game absence following sinus surgery. ... G Ryan Arcidiacono played after he was a game-time decision with a sprained right elbow. ... The Bulls are now 1-1 on the road vs. the Western Conference. ... G Otto Porter Jr. missed his 10th consecutive game with a bone bruise in his left foot. ... Chicago has been swept in the past two season series vs. Golden State. Warriors: Paschall had his sixth 20-point performance, third-most among rookies. ... Golden State’s rebounding advantage finished at 54-42. ... D'Angelo Russell missed his sixth game in a row with a sprained right thumb but is expected to travel on the team’s upcoming road trip and will be re-evaluated Saturday (Sunday, PHL time). ... Alen Smailagi?, nursing a sprained right ankle that has kept him out all of the preseason and season so far, is practicing with the G-League Warriors and will play for them Friday (Saturday, PHL time). G Damion Lee also was re-evaluated and was scheduled for an X-ray on his non-displaced right hand fracture that would better determine his status. ... G Jacob Evans III (left adductor strain) is scheduled to be re-evaluated Tuesday (Wednesday, PHL time). ... Golden State has won five straight against the Bulls and five in a row at home in the Bay Area. ... The Warriors are 2-7 at home. SIDELINE KLAY Klay Thompson is sidelined recovering from knee surgery and got to work the sideline. The Splash Brother served as a sideline reporter in the second quarter from a table off the end of Golden State’s bench, a new gig for the All-Star guard. General manager Bob Myers, using the foam roller on a mat in the weight room, inquired to Thompson when he entered the locker room. “Hey Klay, you ready for sideline tonight?” Thompson: “Yeah, I’m dropping knowledge.” Before his stint began, he took time to sign a quick autograph, then sat down and settled in as if in his element — sporting a big grin. Thompson had surgery July 2 for a torn ACL in his left knee that he injured in Game 6 of the NBA Finals, when the Toronto Raptors won to clinch the franchise’s first championship. 3-POINT STAT The Warriors went 11 for 29 from 3-point range to the Bulls’ 10 of 29. QUOTEABLE Boylen on the Warriors: "The names maybe have changed but their spirit, their soul and the way they play, the way they compete I don't think has changed at all. So give them a lot of credit for that." UP NEXT Bulls: At Trail Blazers on Friday (Saturday, PHL time) to conclude the season series spanning just five days. The Bulls have lost the last six meetings, including two in a row at Portland. Warriors: At Miami on Friday (Saturday, PHL time) to begin a five-game East Coast road trip that will wrap up a stretch with nine of 11 games away from Chase Center......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 28th, 2019

Dinwiddie scores 30, leads Nets over Knicks 103-101

By Brian Mahoney, Associated Press NEW YORK (AP) — Spencer Dinwiddie scored 30 points in another strong start in place of the injured Kyrie Irving and the Brooklyn Nets beat the New York Knicks 103-101 on Sunday (Monday, PHL time) for their season-high third straight victory. Irving continues to rest an injured right shoulder, and Dinwiddie is making sure they get by without him, scoring 20 or more points in a career-best five straight games after stepping into the starting lineup. He was 13 of 14 from the foul line, where the Nets had a whopping 27-9 advantage in makes. Jarrett Allen had 18 points and 10 rebounds for the Nets, and Taurean Prince added 14 points, 11 rebounds and five assists. Joe Harris scored 13 points, with four coming after the Knicks had cut it to one with 1:20 remaining. Marcus Morris scored 26 points for the Knicks, who lost their third straight. They played without rookie RJ Barrett. He was scratched after feeling sick before the game. The Nets have ruled out Irving for at least two more games, which would have included his return to Boston on Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time). But they have won four of five to even their record at 8-8. The Nets opened a 29-15 lead, but struggled when Dinwiddie and Allen went to the bench and let the Knicks quickly close the gap. It was down to 52-46 by halftime and tied in the third quarter, before Brooklyn pulled away again to open a 10-point lead entering the fourth. New York cut it to one after back-to-back 3s by Morris and another by Wayne Ellington, but Harris scored on a drive and later added a pair of free throws. TIP-INS Nets: Coach Kenny Atkinson said Irving wouldn’t travel with the team to Cleveland on Monday (Tuesday, PHL time), but wasn’t sure yet about Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time) to Boston. The Cavaliers and Celtics were Irving’s first two NBA homes. ... It was the most points Dinwiddie has scored in 12 games against the Knicks. Knicks: Mitchell Robinson was called for a sixth foul with 4:54 remaining, but David Fizdale challenged the call and it was overturned, allowing Robinson to stay on the floor. Not for long: He then picked up the sixth 42 seconds later and was given a technical foul after saying something to a referee on his way off the floor. ... Morris has scored 20 or more in four straight and six of his last seven games. KNOX’S CHANCE Kevin Knox II had five points starting in place of Barrett. He not only hadn’t started this season, but his minutes off the bench had been dwindling. He had been limited to 10 or fewer in the last two games, with Fizdale seeking a more consistent defensive effort from the 2018 lottery pick. So he was hoping to make the most of his opportunity Sunday (Monday, PHL time), but picked up his fourth foul less than four minutes into the second half. “Like I say you’ve got to be ready when your name gets called,” Knox said. “My dad used to always tell me growing up: You’re an ankle sprain away from that time.” MORE NOISE The sound around the Nets has changed — on and off the court — since the recent signing of Iman Shumpert, who began his career with the Knicks, won a title with Cleveland and has done some rap music. “I just see Theo (Pinson), DeAndre (Jordan), the communication is better because he talks a ton and his aggressiveness, he’s pushing the other guys,” Atkinson said. “And then our music has definitely improved in the locker room. We’ve taken a step up in our music selection. Obviously, he’s pretty sophisticated there.” UP NEXT Nets: Visit Cleveland on Monday (Tuesday, PHL time). Knicks: Visit Toronto on Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time)......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 25th, 2019

Mourinho back in Champs League, on charm offensive at Spurs

By Steve Douglas, Associated Press Jose Mourinho’s charm offensive has been in overdrive during his whirlwind first few days at Tottenham. He has lauded Tottenham’s training complex as being “second to none” and without comparison across Europe “at any level.” He says he has slept in the club’s pajamas at its on-site hotel which he rates as “six star,” with its “soft pillows, amazing duvet.” Now it’s time for a first taste of Tottenham Hotspur Stadium — “the best stadium in the world,” he has purred — as Mourinho continues his quest to win over fans who might still be skeptical about his appointment. Getting the team through to the knockout stage of the Champions League wouldn’t do him any harm in the ingratiation process. Three days after guiding Spurs to a Premier League victory at West Ham in his first match since replacing Mauricio Pochettino, Mourinho will take charge of them in a home match for the first time when Olympiakos visits Tuesday in the Champions League. A victory guarantees progress out of Group B alongside Bayern Munich with a game to spare. It would complete a decent week’s work for Mourinho as he attempts to rebuild his coaching reputation after a fractious, and ultimately disappointing, 2½ year spell at Manchester United that ended almost 12 months ago. The Portuguese coach hugged his players and kept a respectful distance from the traveling Spurs fans while he celebrated the 3-2 win against West Ham on Saturday. It might take some time for them to accept Mourinho and take him to their hearts, especially considering the work Pochettino did in raising standards at Tottenham — even getting the team to a Champions League final last season when it lost to Liverpool. Mourinho has done that with Porto and Inter Milan, winning the title match on both occasions, so is seeking to become the first manager to win European club soccer’s biggest prize with three different clubs — all from different countries. None of them could be classed as modern-day continental heavyweights, either, making that achievement all the more impressive. The closest he has come to winning the Champions League since that 2010 triumph with Inter was a trio of semifinal appearances — all with Real Madrid — in 2011, ’12 and ’13. He got Manchester United out of its group last season, only to get fired before the knockout stages even began. If he was happy to be back in the Premier League — his “natural habitat,” he called it — at the weekend, imagine how he will feel making a return to the Champions League arena. Three teams have already qualified after four of the six rounds of games: Bayern, Paris Saint-Germain and Juventus. RESTED RONALDO Seeking a win to advance along with Juventus in Group D, Atletico Madrid is well aware of the dangers of a rested Cristiano Ronaldo. Ronaldo took some time off before the second leg of the last 16 in the Champions League last season and responded with a hat trick against the Spanish team as Juventus overturned a 2-0 deficit. Ronaldo was rested again at the weekend, for Juve’s 3-1 win at Atalanta, as he continues to recover from a knee injury. Ronaldo showed little sign of any problem while playing for Portugal in the recent European Championship qualifiers, scoring a hat trick in one match and also netting in another. Juventus is looking to secure top spot in the group with a win on Tuesday. FAVRE UNDER PRESSURE Borussia Dortmund coach Lucien Favre has little room for error ahead of the side’s trip to Barcelona on Wednesday. A win would put the German side, which is a point behind first-place Barca in Group F, through to the knockout stage, but the manner of Dortmund’s performance will have a big say in Favre’s future. Dortmund fans reacted with fury after a 3-3 draw with last-place Paderborn in the Bundesliga on Friday, berating the players after their latest lackluster performance in a signal that their patience is wearing thin. Barcelona can seal first place in the group with a win. REAL REVENGE Real Madrid can qualify from Group A — and gain a measure of revenge — by beating PSG on Tuesday. PSG overwhelmed Madrid 3-0 in Paris in September, a result that left Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane under some pressure. “We’re in better shape,” said Zidane, whose team is only behind Barcelona in the Spanish league on goal difference. “We had a tough game in Paris, but that's in the past.” Group C leader Manchester City will advance by beating Shakhtar Donetsk at home on Tuesday. Liverpool has a one-point lead over Napoli heading into their meeting Wednesday in Group E, in which Salzburg is a further four points back before its game against out-of-contention Genk. In Group H, Ajax, Chelsea and Valencia are all on seven points. Valencia hosts Chelsea on Wednesday, when Ajax travels to Lille. In Group G, Leipzig and Lyon can advance by beating Benfica and Zenit St. Petersburg, respectively, on Wednesday......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 25th, 2019