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Derek ‘in love’ na kay Ellen: You feel the energy? It’s pretty intense

“IN love” ang hunk actor na si Derek Ramsay kay Ellen Adarna. Yan ang ibinandera sa buong universe ng isang taong malapit sa binata kamakailan. At mukhang “the feeling is mutual” din sa panig ni Ellen matapos kumalat ang kanilang mga video sa social media kung saan makikita ang pagwo-workout nila nang magkasama. Sa Instagram […] The post Derek ‘in love’ na kay Ellen: You feel the energy? It’s pretty intense appeared first on Bandera......»»

Category: newsSource: inquirer inquirerFeb 23rd, 2021

Durant s return looms large heading into potential clincher

By Shaun Powell, NBA.com TORONTO — Let us dismiss the tasty-yet-faulty comparison folks will try to make regarding Game 5 and Kevin Durant and the fate of the Warriors in these NBA Finals: In 1970, when Knicks center Willis Reed famously limped out of the tunnel at Madison Square Garden for Game 7, he only hit two jumpers and was done, too gimpy to go any further. The Warriors, starved for points against a toothy Raptors defense, will require plenty more than that from Durant before he’s done. Back then, it was winner-take-all, New York vs. L.A. Durant and the Warriors are trailing 3-1 and face elimination at Scotiabank Arena. They’re staring down a far deeper and darker tunnel. This is the stark reality for a would-be savior and his recuperating calf and the desperate two-time defending champions. Durant was upgraded to questionable for Monday (Tuesday, PHL time), which means it's likely he’ll at least be on the floor. Whether he stays long enough to break a sweat or plays well enough to make the Raptors perspire is the real issue. Perhaps never before has an injury to a superstar of this magnitude been this mysterious – and perhaps costly – in the history of The Finals. Remember, with Reed, the Knicks won at the end. Maybe there's more in common with Magic Johnson pulling a hamstring in 1989 during Game 1, but again, Magic was finished for the series, and so were the Lakers, swept by the Pistons. Durant is trying to return and in the process squelch the innuendo swirling about his recovery and also trigger a historic comeback. Can he pull this off after not playing since May 8 (May 9, PHL time), and practicing for the first time only Sunday? It was a practice, but only in the tamest sense. Durant joined his teammates and took part after the media was hustled off the court, leaving no outside witnesses or sneaky TMZ footage. The Warriors, this time of year, only conduct light drills. And it was over within an hour. To recap: Durant is supposed to step into an intense basketball game after missing a month, and battle a Toronto defense led by Kawhi Leonard, and thwart a championship bid by a team and city bracing for a maddening celebration around midnight, and … rescue the Warriors? OK, then. “I think it’s pretty easy to realize we obviously miss him out there and he’s propelled us to two championships in two years,” said Warriors guard Klay Thompson. “So it would be pretty storybook if he could come back and help us do the same.” If it sounds like the Warriors are so stretched for answers and solutions that they’re banking on Durant being close to normal after a lengthy layoff, well … maybe they are. When you’re facing elimination, there’s really no other choice. And the Warriors haven’t been able to solve the Raptors without him. Yet Durant has set himself a high bar. Before his injury, which occurred in the conference semifinals against Houston, he was on another level, nearly galactic. He averaged 34 points, five rebounds and five assists in 11 games and was a finalist for everyone’s “best player in the playoffs" honors with Giannis Antetokounmpo. Since then Leonard, the postseason leader in points, and rebounds, and minutes, has yanked that praise for himself. The Raptors, as a result, are heavy favorites to lift the trophy. Durant may not be 100 percent, leaving what he can possibly do an open question: Will he be more of a decoy than a legitimate offensive threat? And on defense, how can the Warriors cover for him, since the Raptors will surely try to exploit the situation by running Durant through screens? Without Durant, the scoring burden had to be carried by Thompson and Steph Curry, and while both have done fairly well, the Warriors have had little margin for error. Whenever Draymond Green or Andre Iguodala or DeMarcus Cousins failed to lend support for Thompson and Curry, the results have been disastrous for Golden State. Coach Steve Kerr feels Durant’s presence will be enough to cause a ripple effect that influences what both teams do when he’s on the floor. “The game plan changes if Kevin is out there, or if he’s not,” Kerr said. “So you adapt accordingly. It changes matchups, it changes rotations, all that stuff.” It’ll be a surprise if Durant’s return causes issues within the Warriors and the system that was tweaked in his absence. Although they’ve been without him for nine games, he did play three seasons with the club, so there shouldn’t be any adjustment problems. Quite the contrary, says Curry. “We’ll be able to adjust in transition pretty smoothly,” said Curry. “He’s been in plenty of Finals and has played well. No matter what the percentage he’s at, I’m sure he’ll be impactful and effective.” It’s always tricky to play doctor and determine how much time Durant should’ve missed, although that never deters anyone from doing so. Taking it a step further, while none of his teammates or coaches publicly questioned the depths of Durant’s injury, dealing with the daily dose of “is he or isn’t he?” became tiring to some. They all suspect that if Durant could’ve played, he would. What possible motive would encourage him to stay out longer than necessary? To show everyone how much the Warriors need him? That seems a stretch for someone who craves a championship. Possibly not his pending free agency either; if anything Durant would get bonus points for playing through pain and would have all summer to recover in the event of re-injuring the calf, which is not considered career-threatening. Injured players have no obligation to speak to the media, and Durant hasn’t, with his silence only feeding speculation. “I feel for Kevin,” Thompson said. “I know what type of competitor he is and we obviously miss him dearly. But whether it’s tomorrow or Game 6, we just have to do everything in our power to help him get back. He will be very welcome, I’ll say that much. Kevin’s (injury) is serious and I know how badly he wants to be out there. He’s one of the best competitors I’ve been around.” The stretchy shooting range, the high release of a shot that’s nearly impossible to block or discourage, the energy and determination and ability to make plays in tense moments, those are the elements Durant brings and the Warriors have missed in The Finals. They’ll take whatever he can give, whatever that might be.   “I would like to think he would make a difference,” Shaun Livingston said. “Again, it’s just any time a player of that caliber comes back or goes out of the lineup, it’s going to be felt certain ways. We’ll see what happens.” And if Durant is unable to play extended minutes or sputters around the floor, making mistakes and dogged by rust and fatigue and inefficiency? Then it’ll fall on his teammates, a group that couldn’t beat the Raptors in two games at Oracle Arena yet somehow must thrive in a Canadian madhouse that awaits Monday (Tuesday, PHL time). “You’re going to see a resilient Warriors team,” Thompson said. “We’ve had our backs against the wall with this same group. Obviously, it’s a little more daunting being down 3-1 but usually when our backs are against the wall, we respond the best.” Question is, will Durant have their back? Or will he and that wall crumble under pressure from these hungry Raptors and the long odds? Shaun Powell has covered the NBA for more than 25 years. 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: lifestyleSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 10th, 2019

Yes Sir: Andy Murray confident he can break Aussie drought

JOHN PYE, AP Sports Writer br /> MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Andy Murray has become a father, gained the No. 1 ranking and received a knighthood since he left Melbourne Park 50 weeks ago after losing a fifth Australian Open final. Stress weighed him down at the season-opening Grand Slam in 2016, to the point where he thought about quitting the tournament to head back to Britain to be with his heavily pregnant wife. But even that would have presented problems, considering his father-in-law was in a Melbourne hospital after collapsing with an illness while watching a match at the Australian Open. Clearly, he's in a better place this year as he seeks to end his Australian drought. 'I obviously feel pretty confident after the way that last season finished,' he said. 'I do love it here. I love the conditions. I have played really well here over the years, and just haven't managed to get over the final hurdle. 'But, yeah, I think I'm in a decent position, for sure, to do it. I think I have a chance to win here. I'm playing well. Practice has been good. I feel healthy. I'll give it a good shot.' Rumors circulated last year that Murray would go home before facing Djokovic, his Melbourne nemesis, in the final. As it was, he was on the first flight to Heathrow after losing in straight sets — his fourth Australian Open final defeat to Djokovic and fifth overall dating back to 2010. His wife, Kim Sears, gave birth to their first child, Sophia Olivia, the following week. He confirmed Saturday, two days before he opens the 2017 tournament against Illya Marchenko of Ukraine, that he really had thought about leaving early. 'It was a tough tournament, obviously the situation with Kim and the baby coming was tough,' he said. 'Then with what happened with Nigel during the event made it really kind of awkward because there was times ... it was like 'I want to home for the birth,' but then I'm not just going to leave while my father-in-law is also in hospital. 'It was tough, and certainly not a position I would want to put myself in again, or my wife, or any of my family really.' Murray had a stunning end to 2016 after reuniting with Ivan Lendl as coach in June, winning his second Wimbledon title, defending his Olympic gold medal, and adding titles in Beijing, Shanghai, Vienna and Paris to end Djokovic's 122-week stint at No. 1. He then clinched the year-end No. 1 ranking by winning the ATP Finals, beating the players seeded second, third, fourth and fifth. He set a record for most time between gaining the No. 2 and No. 1 rankings — seven years, and 82 days. But he has set a lot of timely records for British tennis in the last three seasons and, in Queen Elizabeth II's New Year's honors list, he received a knighthood from the British monarch for reaching the pinnacle of the sport. Roger Federer was asked if he could remember what it was like back in 2004 when he first became No. 1, and how he'd explain it to Murray. 'It definitely feels different because everybody comes up to you and says, 'You're the best,'' said Federer, who spent a record 302 weeks at No. 1. 'You start walking around a bit differently. Just feel more confident overall in your shots.' Murray said he hasn't really felt a difference yet, but it has only been eight weeks. Considering how hard it was to achieve the top spot, he's hoping it doesn't take twice the energy to hang on to it. 'It is a mindset thing, because I think it could be quite easy that once you get to No. 1 that you think, 'Well, actually, I just need to keep doing what I've been doing,'' he said. 'The reality is that things obviously keep moving on, the game will get better, I'll obviously get older, the young guys will continue to improve, and also Novak and Roger and Stan (Wawrinka) and Rafa (Nadal) and all the guys at the top are still going to be wanting to get there. 'I need to continue to improve. I for sure need to keep working hard.' One thing he doesn't really want to change is how people refer to him now that formally he's recognized as Sir Andy Murray, particularly the broadcasters. 'I'm more than happy just being Andy. That's enough for me,' he said. 'Yeah, if they call me Andy, I'd be happy with that.' .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 14th, 2017

Derek tinawag na ‘bruha’ at ‘love’ si Ellen habang nasa loob ng CR

MAGKA-LIVE in na nga ba sina Derek Ramsay at Ellen Adarna? Yan ang tanong ng ilang netizens na nakapanood sa bago nilang video sa Instagram. Matapos ang ginawa nilang pag-amin tungkol sa tunay na estado ng kanilang relasyon, usap-usapan naman ngayon ang kanilang “bathroom” video na mismong si Derek ang nag-post sa kanyang IG account. […] The post Derek tinawag na ‘bruha’ at ‘love’ si Ellen habang nasa loob ng CR appeared first on Bandera......»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated News9 hr. 22 min. ago

What next for Trump? Golf, Twitter and maybe another run?

When networks projected he had lost his bid for reelection to Joe Biden, President Donald Trump was playing golf. He’ll soon have plenty more time to enjoy the links if he so desires.  US President Donald Trump (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP/ MANILA BULLETIN) But if there’s one constant for Trump, it is his love of the limelight and few expect this most unusual of presidents to pursue a traditional post-White House life of public reticence, reflective memoir-writing and occasional charitable events. He will lose the keys to the White House but not his login on Twitter, where Trump and his itchy fingers could still wield powerful control over his Republican Party. Some allies have already spoken of Trump planning a rematch in 2024. Only one other president, Grover Cleveland, has served non-consecutive terms, winning in 1892 after narrowly losing reelection four years earlier. Former White House chief of staff Mark Mulvaney said with understatement that Trump — who has refused to concede and made unsubstantiated claims of widespread fraud — “doesn’t like losing.” “I would absolutely expect the president to stay involved in politics and would absolutely put him on the shortlist of people who are likely to run in 2024,” he told an Irish think tank. “He’s a very high-energy 74-year-old.” Trump’s children have made clear that they are still demanding loyalty from Republicans. “The total lack of action from virtually all of the ‘2024 GOP hopefuls’ is pretty amazing,” Donald Trump Jr. tweeted on Thursday. He called out by name Senator Lindsey Graham, a former Trump critic turned supporter who coasted to reelection. Hours afterward, Graham was on Trump’s favorite Fox News show pledging money for the president’s legal defense and repeating unsubstantiated accusations of election irregularities. – Trump TV? – The thrice-married New York-born hotel developer and television celebrity has made no secret that he longs for some comforts of his pre-White House days. “I had a nice life. I had the greatest life,” Trump said in Grand Rapids, Michigan, in his final campaign rally. His main product to fund that lifestyle has been his own name. According to his disgraced former lawyer Michael Cohen, the 2016 presidential run itself was conceived as a “branding opportunity” — until he unexpectedly won. Trump had rebuilt his public profile in the 2000s as the host of reality TV series “Celebrity Apprentice” following a string of bankruptcies. The president has hinted about seeking to start a “Trump TV” brand as he has increasingly complained about Fox News, accusing the channel that helped fuel his rise of being insufficiently right-wing. Viewers, he tweeted, “want an alternative now. So do I!” And no one can deny Trump has the gift of the gab.  At his innumerable rallies, he held large crowds in a kind of mesmerized attention with stream-of-consciousness shifts from conspiracy theories to jokes to pet peeves, like his peculiarly passionate criticism of feeble water pressure in bathroom faucets. And he has a potential readymade vehicle for the project in the form of openly Trump-supporting cable channels One America News and NewsMax TV — current minnows that a Trump takeover could turn into giants. – Prison, or a road trip? – No less plausible is a scenario where Trump is embroiled in serious legal problems. Prosecutors in New York are already probing Trump’s hush money payment to a porn star, his tangled business dealings and mysterious accounting practices. Then there are those old rape and other sexual assault allegations. As president, Trump is largely protected from prosecution. Some have speculated that he may again challenge accepted norms by trying to issue a pre-emptive pardon to himself. Eight Trump associates, including men who served as his campaign managers, lawyer and national security advisor, have already been indicted or imprisoned for serious crimes including over the 2016 campaign’s links to Russia. Or, just maybe, Trump will want to get away from it all. However implausible this sounds, he has dropped a few hints. In June at the White House he mused about taking a road trip in an RV with his former model wife Melania. Less romantic but equally heartfelt, he paused mid-speech during a campaign rally in Pennsylvania to admire parked trucks. “Nice trucks,” the president said. “You think I could hop into one of them and drive it away? I’d love to do it, just drive the hell out of here. Just get the hell out of this.”.....»»

Category: newsSource:  mb.com.phRelated NewsNov 8th, 2020

No room for complacency

espite being one of the more popular love teams in local showbiz, Daniel Padilla and Kathryn Bernardo don’t want to feel relaxed. Though the entertainment business had a little pause due to the COVID-19 pandemic, they don’t want to lose steam by sitting pretty. .....»»

Category: entertainmentSource:  thestandardRelated NewsJun 15th, 2020

Dad-to-be Phil Younghusband switches focus from football to fatherhood

Since officially hanging up his football spikes back in November of 2019, Filipino football star Phil Younghusband has been pretty much focused on building a family. Reconnecting with former long-time Philippine Men’s National Football Team teammate Neil Etheridge on Etheridge’s Isolation Catch-Up show on Instagram Live, Younghusband talked about how married life has been. Younghusband married Margaret Hall back in July of 2019, and the two recently just moved in to a new house in Cardiff, Wales, United Kingdom.         View this post on Instagram                   Thank you to everyone that shared our special day with us. We are overwhelmed by all the incredibly kind and touching messages that we have received. We would like to thank all of our family and friends most sincerely for all their love, support and guidance during our engagement. To all of our wedding suppliers, we cannot thank you enough for all you did and all the help you gave. Our wedding day was magical and it felt like a true fairytale. We are looking forward to our future together. With all our love, Mags and Phil. ??????20.07.19 #Marriage #Husband #Wife #Love #Happiness #Family #Friends #Magical #Fairytale #Dreamy #Enchanting #Wedding #HappilyEverAfter A post shared by Phil Younghusband (@philyounghusband10) on Jul 23, 2019 at 3:53am PDT “Married life is…I feel I have more confidence,” shared Younghusband. “I feel I’m never alone, I’ve always got someone there to support me and be there by my side. It’s been great so far, I love it, I’ve really enjoyed it.” After two years of dating, Younghusband proposed to Hall in December of 2017. “Married life has been amazing, I’m so proud to introduce Mags as Mrs. Younghusband, when I’m filling out forms, when she’s filling out forms, to see her write ‘Margaret Younghusband’, I feel really proud with every little thing we do. We just moved to England and we’ve got a place together for the first time here in England, as a married couple, so I think just everything we do, I feel just a little bit more proud, I have a little bit more confidence, it’s an amazing feeling,” Younghusband continued. While Younghusband ended the chapter of his life as a football player, the Azkals’ top goalscorer and record holder in matches played is now preparing for a brand new chapter of his life: fatherhood. Phil and Margaret are expecting their first child, a baby boy, later this year.         View this post on Instagram                   @magshall_ and I are excited to let everyone know that we are expecting a new addition to the Younghusband family in the Summer of 2020 ???????????? Mags has just entered her 2nd trimester and so far, she is doing really well ???? It has been our dream to be parents for a long time now and for our wishes to come true, we feel truly blessed by the Lord ???????? We hope to be half as good as parents as our Mother’s and Father’s have been to us and those parents we have surrounded ourselves with. Thank you to everyone for the support and we would like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas filled with love and happiness ?????? Thank you to @niceprintphoto for capturing our special moments and @lindsaycoalog for the makeup ???????? #Love #Happiness #Husband #Wife #Blessings #Pregnancy #BabyYounghusband #Joy #Family #Christmas #Thankful #TheYounghusbands #Philippines #Manila #England #Kent A post shared by Phil Younghusband (@philyounghusband10) on Dec 22, 2019 at 12:43am PST “When we found out Mags was pregnant - we took three tests - and when we found out, it was very emotional. We cried a little, and, it’s hard to put into words,” Younghusband shared. “For me, on a personal level, 2019 was an incredible year. Not so much, professional, but personally, it was a fantastic year. I can’t put into words when we found out that Mags was pregnant. I think it was the most amazing blessing, that you can create a life.” Younghusband talked about being able to finally become a role model for his son after he himself had looked up to a number of role models when he was younger. “For me, it’s a dream. I mentioned it on a post before, you surround yourself with role models and father figures all the time…and to know that you’re going to be in the same position, you look up to them and try to think about their strengths as fathers, to know that I’ll be in the same position and have to feel the same emotions that my father did about myself and James and Keri, it’s incredible, it’s very exciting, I can’t wait.” “It’s an incredible feeling to know that you created this life,” he added. With Younghusband being the undeniable face of Philippine football for more or less a decade, the immediate expectation for his son would be to follow in his footsteps. Younghusband says that he’ll support his son in whatever he wants to do, but given how popular football is in the UK, there’s no doubt that he gets exposed to “the beautiful game.” “You how it is when you grow up in England, we’ve got football everywhere, so I’m sure he’ll be exposed to it. I’ll support him in whatever,” Younghusband said. So does this mean that Filipino football fans can look forward to another generation of Younghusband excellence? “Obviously, we’ll expose him to all kinds of sports, our priority is to make sure that they’re active, but I think, with the amount of football you’re exposed to in this country, it’s inevitable,” Younghusband concluded. While Phil has said goodbye to his days as a football player, the Filipino-British striker believes that he still has a lot to do in Philippine football, and would even be open to joining the Azkals coaching staff if the opportunity presents itself. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 21st, 2020

A step ahead? Nike s Vaporfly shoe changing marathon game

By PAT GRAHAM and ALEXANDRA OLSON Associated Press To pick the favorites in this year's Olympic marathon, just glance at the shoes of the runners on the starting line. Anyone wearing Nike's Vaporfly model may already have a head start. The shoe has shaken up distance running since the world’s largest sports apparel company introduced it four years ago, with technology credited for helping runners shave minutes off their times. To some, the advances are an exciting revolution. Others have called it “technology doping” that risks reducing marathons to a shoe competition. “Running is so simple. That's why people love it so much. Now we have a shoe that is blurring that," said Geoff Burns, a runner and Ph.D candidate at the University of Michigan's School of Kinesiology. The controversy prompted World Athletics, the sport’s governing body, to issue its most stringent shoe regulations in decades ahead of the Tokyo Games. But the Vaporfly escaped a ban, and the debate continues. Now, Nike has a new racing shoe that also squeaks by the new rules: The Air Zoom Alphafly Next%, which was unveiled at a flashy fashion show in New York on Wednesday night. Eliud Kipchoge of Kenya wore a prototype of the shoe when he ran the world's first sub-2-hour marathon in an unofficial race in October. Kenya’s Brigid Kosgei was also in a version of the shoe when she set the world record for women in Chicago last year. Geoffrey Kamworor of Kenya wore a version of Vaporfly when he won the New York Marathon in November. All three of the men’s marathon medalists at the 2016 Rio Olympics laced up a version of the shoe as well. Vaporfly shoes have become a common sight at marathons all over, easily spotted with their neon green or pink hue. Many marathoners are gladly paying the $250 price tag on Nike’s website — and sometimes more — even as they wonder how much credit they can personally take for improved results. Bryan Lam, an amateur marathoner in Washington, D.C. said he spent $400 for a pair of StockX ahead of the London Marathon last spring because the version he wanted was sold out elsewhere. He ran the marathon in 2:59.30, seven minutes faster than his previous personal best, a result he called “insane.” It helped him achieve his lifelong goal of qualifying for the Boston Marathon this year. “I’d like to think that it was because of all of my training for the London Marathon but I do think the shoes had something to do with my performance,” Lam said. “It’s definitely not a level playing field when those who can afford the shoes have that type of advantage." What differentiates the Vaporfly is a foam midsole that is lighter and less dense than others, allowing for extra cushioning without adding weight. The shoe also has a carbon-fiber plate that acts like a lever to reduce the work at the ankle. Independent and company-sponsored studies have found that the shoe gives runners a 4% edge in energy efficiency. The Air Zoom Alphafly Next% steps it up a notch with two “air pods" in the sole for extra cushioning. Both the Vaporfly and the Alphafly meet a World Athletic rule that limits the sole thickness to no more than 40 millimeters. The Alphafly will be available for sale to Nike members starting Feb. 29, meaning it meets a new rule that shoes must be available on the open market by April 30 to be allowed at the Tokyo Games. Kyle Barnes, an exercise science assistant professor at Grand Valley State University in Michigan, conducted a study around two years ago that compared the Vaporfly shoes to Nike’s Zoom Matumbo 3 (a track spike) and Adidas Adizero Adios 3. His findings showed about 4.2% more efficiency by wearing the Vaporfly model. Bottom line: Barnes estimated that slipping into the Vaporfly could potentially trim several minutes off a professional’s time and in the vicinity of 10 minutes for, say, a 4-hour marathoner. “It is a form of technology doping,” said Barnes, who co-authored the study with exercise physiology professor Andrew Kilding from Auckland University of Technology in New Zealand. “You're at a disadvantage not being in those shoes. ... Everything is happening so quick right now in the shoe industry.” World Athletics sought a middle ground in its recent decision, making clear that wearing the Vaporfly will not constitute cheating. But in tightening its rules, the Monaco-based organization signaled a new era of vigilance. The governing body said an expert working group will be created to assess new shoes entering the market and placed a moratorium on certain criteria for shoes. It also banned any shoe with a sole thickness of more than 40-millimeters, or that contains more than one plate. The Vaporfly controversy has drawn comparisons to the advantages that swimmers received wearing the Speedo LZR Racer, a full-body compression suit that trapped air for buoyancy and improved performance, leading to a slew of world records. Swimming's world governing body later banned all body-length swimwear. But the minimal technology involved in running has evolved only gradually, said Burns. The last major changes, he said, came in the 1960s and '70s, when shoe manufacturers developed EVA-based foam midsoles and all-weather tracks began replacing cinder tracks. N ike also is working on a fast shoe for the 100 meters. It's called the Nike Air Zoom Viperfly and as of now will not be at the Olympics because its design does not meet the new World Athletics regulations. Nike is looking at ways to adjust the shoe so that it will comply with regulations, according to a person familiar with the discussion. The person spoke on condition of anonymity of the ongoing process since it's not public. Other companies are also pushing the boundaries of shoe technology. Saucony has a carbon-plated shoe called the Endorphin Pro, which m arathoner Jared Ward wrote in a blog felt like the shoes were “pushing me forward into more of a half-marathon cadence.” Translation: It’s fast. Joyciline Jepkosgei won the women’s marathon in New York wearing an Adidas Adizero Pro prototype, which the company said in a statement conforms with the new rules. Adidas did not release details about the shoe's technical design. Hoka One One recently came out with the Carbon X, which was described as a cushioned, carbon-plated “speed machine” for a "propulsive, responsive ride.” “We’re all fans of the sport,” said Colin Ingram, director of product for Hoka One One. “We’re all for (technology advances) as long as we're able to do it within our own DNA when we decide to jump into the foray.” For the moment, though, Nike appears to hold a sizable lead over any rival. "I suspect they're three years behind, minimum, and so it'll take a long time before race results have any real integrity in a competitive sense," sports scientist Ross Tucker wrote in an email. “It turned athletes from 2:06 to 2:04. It decided results. It changed the relationship between physiological input and performance outputs.” Burns said a new era of advanced shoe technology could potentially disrupt the prevailing sponsorship model in running, in which shoe companies generally serve as the main sponsors of athletes. Burns said more athletes may look beyond shoe companies if a contract forces them to wear a shoe that puts them at a competitive disadvantage. "If you have guys bringing knives to a gunfight, it's not a good look for the knife sponsors," Burns said. American distance runner Roberta Groner doesn't have a shoe deal and trains in a variety of brands, including a version of the Vaporfly. She could be wearing that model at the U.S. Olympic marathon trials in Atlanta later this month. "I don't get into the science," Groner said. “I just go with how I feel.”.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 7th, 2020

DEAR KOBE: I didn t know you, but thank you

In a simple and straightforward fashion, my first words today were, "What the hell." That's because my brother, who was preparing to go to work, told me Kobe Bryant died. Knowing how untimely deaths feel, we never joke about this kind of stuff. And so I knew it was true, but I didn't want to believe it anyway. Checking my phone to see the first credible source I could find, I knew. Mindlessly scrolling through countless of tributes for him online, I finally knew. It was real, Kobe was dead. And it hurts so much. Like most people mourning his untimely passing today, I didn't know Kobe personally. Not at all. I only knew him as the basketball player, one that happened to play two whole decades for the Los Angeles Lakers. I appreciated his unrelenting will to win, his stubborness to be the greatest, and his drive to continue to make himself better. None of us will probaly wake up at 4:00 a.m. tomorrow to put up 100 made shots, but all of us can wake up tomorrow and apply Kobe's work ethic to get our own set of wins. Kobe the basketball player was my GOAT, you cannot tell me otherwise. A lot of my fellow fans most probably feel the same way. Since retiring from basketball, Kobe turned his attention to his other passions in life. It's been a joy to see everything about him and his family. It's empowering to know how he's helping women's play, the often under-appreciated side of the sport we all love most. His continued quest for knowledge was admirable. Many won't share trade secrets, but his personal mission to instill his learnings to the younger generation, from children's books to training with other basketball players, is pretty amazing. None of us will probably win an Academy Award, or end up putting a world-class sporting facility, or estbalish an up-and-coming empire all on our own. But through his fabled "Mamba Mentality," many of us can keep learning, keep training, and keep getting better at our own pace. All of us can always choose to spend more time with our families too. People can do all of that without having nothing to do with Kobe. But for us to see him be like that, it hits a little different. Kobe the human being was and is an inspiration. Kobe showed there is a path to your dreams if you work hard enough. Realizing Kobe is gone from this world is pretty surreal. It wasn't that too long ago when we were all watching him play. Like most people mourning his death today, I didn't know Kobe personally. Not at all. But I know enough to be grateful for what he has done for me. As much as it's a pain to write something like this, my words probably won't even do you justice, I hope my thoughts reach you up there. Thank you for everything, Kobe. Rest in Peace......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 27th, 2020

Lowry scores 24 points, Raptors beat Cavaliers 117-97

TORONTO (AP) - Kyle Lowry kept injury-ravaged Toronto rolling along by finishing off 2019 with another 20-point performance. Lowry scored 24 points, Terence Davis matched his career high with 19 and the Raptors beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 117-97 on Tuesday night. Serge Ibaka had 20 points and 10 rebounds and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson scored 14 points in his first start with Toronto as the Raptors recorded their fifth straight home win over the Cavaliers. Toronto won for the fourth time in seven games since losing starters Pascal Siakam (groin), Marc Gasol (left hamstring) and Norman Powell (left shoulder) to injury. Lowry, who did not speak to reporters, has scored 20 or more in eight of his past nine games. He had 14 in a Christmas Day loss to Boston. "Kyle Lowry is a Hall of Famer," Cleveland's Tristan Thompson said. "He's a five-time All-Star, Olympic gold medalist, an NBA champ. He's their backbone. "He keeps this ship running and he's playing at a high level. Kyle's a bulldog, he's going to compete every night. That's why his teammates always love him." Collin Sexton scored 22 points and Thompson had 14 points and 11 rebounds for the Cavaliers, who had won four of five. Kevin Love returned to the starting lineup with 10 points and 11 rebounds and Cedi Osman scored 14 points for Cleveland. Cleveland coach John Beilein said Lowry and Fred VanVleet deserved most of the credit for Toronto's latest triumph. "In today's game, two guards like that, despite their size, can dominate," Beilein said. "They really dominated the game today." The Raptors are 13-1 when they lead through three quarters at home. Toronto lost 98-97 to Oklahoma City on Sunday despite taking an 80-76 lead into the fourth. Sexton said the Raptors seemed intent on wiping away the memories of Sunday's defeat. "They had a chip on their shoulder," Sexton said. "They wanted to pretty much just beat us. You could tell from the very start of the game that they had a different type of energy." OG Anunoby and VanVleet each scored 12 points in the Raptors' second 20-point win over Cleveland this season. The Cavaliers lost 133-113 at Toronto on Dec. 16. Toronto had lost three of four, but won for the 14th time in 19 home games. The Raptors went 9-7 in December, their busiest month of the season. Hollis-Jefferson started in place of Anunoby, who shot 0 for 7 from 3-point range in Sunday's loss to Oklahoma City and had missed 17 of 19 from distance over his previous five games. "Seemed like it worked out OK, they both played really well tonight," Raptors coach Nick Nurse said. "I liked the energy from both of them." The Raptors recorded an assist on nine of their 10 baskets in the opening quarter. Lowry fed Anunoby for a 3-pointer with 1.8 seconds left to give Toronto a 27-25 lead after one. The lead changed 10 times in the opening quarter, but didn't change again the rest of the way. Lowry scored 11 points in the second and Toronto used six 3-pointers to outscore Cleveland 32-18, scoring the final seven points of the quarter to take a 59-43 lead at halftime. "We just buried ourselves at the end of that first half," Beilein said. Cleveland shot 2 for 12 from 3-point range in the second. Toronto led 86-69 through three quarters. TIP-INS Cavaliers: Love sat out Saturday's win at Minnesota because of a sore right hip. . The Cavs shot 10 for 38 from 3-point range. . Cleveland is 4-13 on the road. . The Cavs were 5-9 in December after going 3-12 in November. Raptors: Before the game, Nurse said his injured starters are still "a ways away" from returning. All three were injured in a Dec. 18 win at Detroit. . F Patrick McCaw left early in the first quarter after injuring his left leg but returned in the second. . Toronto held a 15-2 edge in bench scoring at halftime. WINNING MONTHS Toronto has posted a winning record in 20 consecutive calendar months, the longest streak in franchise history and the longest active streak in the NBA. The Raptors last had a losing record in a single month when they went 8-9 in January 2017. DOUBLE YOUR PLEASURE Toronto led by double digits for the entire second half. DECEMBER DOUBLES All seven of Ibaka's double-doubles this season came in December. UP NEXT Cavaliers: Host Charlotte on Thursday night. Raptors: Visit Miami on Thursday night......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 1st, 2020

Pochettino on Spurs exit, coaching insecurity

By Rob Harris, Associated Press DOHA, Qatar (AP) — Fired by Tottenham despite reaching a Champions League final, Mauricio Pochettino said he is adapting to the growing instability of management as he relaxes, re-energizes and eyes a new club. In his first interview since being replaced by Jose Mourinho last month, Pochettino reflected on the challenge to ensure Tottenham competed at the top of the Premier League for a sustained period for the first time. “Five-and-a-half years, that was so, so, so tough,” Pochettino told The Associated Press on Saturday. “The journey was amazing. I don’t need to talk about what happened … only that it was an honor for me to be at Tottenham.” After top-four finishes in four consecutive seasons -- and reaching June’s European final despite spending nothing on players last season -- Pochettino was dismissed with Tottenham 14th in the Premier League. It was a ruthless decision by Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy in a bid to halt the decline, reflecting how hard it is to stay as long as Pochettino in any managerial job. Unai Emery followed Pochettino out of north London rival Arsenal 10 days later. “You need a result today, it's not important what happened the past," Pochettino said. “But for us and for the fans, of course, it is so important what happened in the past. “But, yes, we need to accept that this is a different football, a different business, and we need to adapt today because young men, coaches that we need to adapt to a work for the company, need to accept that new era of football.” The Argentine was speaking to the AP at the Club World Cup where he could have been coaching had Tottenham not lost to Liverpool in the Champions League final. “Five-and-a-half years working in Tottenham was a very enjoyable time, a very nice journey and I only keep good memories,” Pochettino said. “I think what happened in the past, happened in the past and now moving on is the best for everyone. That is happening in life and happening in football.” Reduced job security does open up opportunities for out-of-work coaches like Pochettino. “We know very well how our job is,” Pochettino said. “In the last 10 years you see a little how it’s changed and ... it’s unbelievable. But that is our job and we accept that.” However much he has enjoyed returning to visit family and friends in Argentina, Pochettino does not want a prolonged period out of the game. “I tried to enjoy relaxing, tried to recharge the batteries,” Pochettino said. “This type of thing helps us to again to feel all the energy. We'll see what happens. I am a person that is always open to listen to people. And of course, we'll see about the future. “But at the moment, I only try to get relaxed, spend time with my friends, my family, the things that before were impossible to do. And we'll see. Football is going to find a way to put us into the race again.” Pochettino would manage another English club, despite his deep affinity to Tottenham. “In football you never know what can happen in the future. you need to be only free and open to listen and anything can happen,” Pochettino said. “I am a coach and I would love to be in in the best place that you can. "Now is a moment to recharge the batteries. The Premier League is one of the best leagues in the world. But it’s not only the Premier League, there are a lot of leagues in the world that can be exciting or a very good challenge.” One lingering uncertainty is whether Pochettino will get to keep the Bentley given to him by Levy as an appreciation of his loyalty to Tottenham in 2016. “I don't know. I need to ask him,” Pochettino said. "At the moment it is in my house and ... I will see in a few months if it was a present or it was only to say, ‘You use the car and when you will not be here you return the car.’ “I don’t know you need to ask Daniel not me. I don’t know what is going to happen.”.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 21st, 2019

Jamal Crawford on still being a free agent: It s baffling to me

By Shaun Powell, NBA.com In the final game of last season, he scored 51 points -- a rather remarkable distinction just by itself. Today, it carries a degree of historical significance that is rather uncomfortable and maybe unfair for Jamal Crawford. Only one player in NBA history scored more points in Game No. 82 and did not play the following season. In that instance, Kobe Bryant was OK with that as he retired after dropping 60 on the Utah Jazz to close out the 2015-16 season. Meanwhile, Crawford is most definitely not retired, at least not willingly, as he waits to see if that last ballistic game was in fact the last he’ll ever play in the NBA. Officially, he’s currently living in Seattle, where he was raised and always maintained a home throughout his career. But metaphorically he’s residing in a basketball Twilight Zone that annually collects veterans in their, well, twilight. They’re not done playing -- at least in their minds -- and feel fresh enough to extend their careers by another year or two. Yet their fate is being controlled by a season that already began and 30 teams who don’t have an opening for a proven veteran. Unless, of course, there’s an injury or a sudden change in philosophy or, in the case of the Portland Trail Blazers on Thursday (Friday, PHL time), a twinge of desperation. A 4-8 start prompted the Blazers to reach a deal with one of Crawford’s fellow residents, Carmelo Anthony. He spent the summer and most of the fall waiting by the phone and wondering if his time had passed. Congrats Melo!!!!!!!!!! — ???? Jamal Crawford (@JCrossover) November 15, 2019 Yeaaa @imanshumpert , congrats bro! — ???? Jamal Crawford (@JCrossover) November 13, 2019 Crawford tweeted out support for ‘Melo and for Iman Shumpert (who signed with the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday). In a sense for these veterans, this is like the NBA Draft green room all over again -- you’re happy the room is emptying … but you don’t want to be the last one sitting at the table. “I know I can play,” Crawford told NBA.com, “and I would think my reputation is still solid. It’s baffling to me.” If you go strictly on how he finished with the Phoenix Suns last season, it’s bizarre that not only is Crawford not in the league, but that he’s not prominently in some team’s rotation. Crawford played (as a reserve) in four of the Suns’ five April games last season, scoring 19, 28, 27 and 51 points while shooting at an extremely healthy clip. If this was a showcase for 2019-20, albeit at a small sample size, Crawford proved he had something left even after 19 seasons. But the July free agency period came and went without a text message. The season tipped off in October without Crawford on a roster for the first time since the 2000-01 season. Almost a full month later, the three-time Kia Sixth Man Award winner is still watching from home. It’s the first time since he began playing organized basketball as a kid that he isn’t wearing a uniform in November. This isn’t restricted to Crawford as every year players with NBA experience must watch the basketball world spin without them. Anthony and Shumpert were just lifted off the pile and yet the list of players waiting by the phone, once again, is lengthy enough. “A lot of teams take a wait and see approach, not only for me, but vets in general,” Crawford said. The group includes, among others: Kenneth Faried, Devin Harris, J.R. Smith, Corey Brewer, Jodie Meeks, Joakim Noah, Jonathon Simmons and Dante Cunningham. Most already had their big contracts, so making money is no issue for them. That’s a good thing, too, because team salary-cap space is, for the most part, swallowed up at this point. Of course, the obvious concerns held by teams with most of these players are age and declining skills. The NBA is an unforgiving league that doesn’t give tenure. If the decision to keep a young player or a veteran is a toss-up, some teams -- especially those needing bodies in their player development program -- will lean toward the young. Crawford was caught in between last season as the Suns were yet again rebuilding while also needing solid-character veterans in the locker room. Tyson Chandler, Trevor Ariza and Crawford served those mentor roles until a sudden philosophical shift hit barely a month into the season. Ariza was traded to Washington, Chandler was bought out and the Suns went full-blast young with Crawford averaging 18.9 mpg (his lowest since 17.2 mpg in 2000-01). “I guess everything changed,” he said. The Suns used Crawford at point guard, not his natural two-guard position. As a result, he didn’t average double-digit scoring for the first time since his sophomore season. The silver lining is that he remained fresh and preserved his body for a possible 20th season. And of course, he had the energy for that 51-point game. In that April 9 game against Dallas, he shot 18-for-31 and 7-for-13 on 3-pointers in a 120-109 loss. The game carried no other significance except for it being the last one played by the great Dirk Nowitzki. Crawford’s output was almost forgotten in that sense. But because he’s not on an NBA roster right now, that 51-point performance could become the ultimate trivia answer. “I’m kind of an outlier because you don’t see anyone my age having games like that,” Crawford said. “And I did it off the bench. A year earlier, in my 18th year, I was still averaging double figures. I can bring a multitude of things. I’ll be ready for whatever team decides how I can fit into what they’re trying to do.” At 39, NBA teams will express concerns about his defense, which is usually the first area that suffers when players age. But players at this stage are used in spot situations anyway, and mainly by contending teams looking for depth and experience. The problem for Crawford and others like him is the numbers game; only a few of these spots open every season. “Physically, I feel better than I did last season,” he said. “I’m able to get my body together. My skill set is sharp. I feel that I’m good. My mindset is be patient and hopefully something good comes about it. I’ll be ready for the opportunity.” Until then, Crawford and others must live a surreal experience for them, though not all of it is bad or uncomfortable. There are kids to take to school; Crawford has three and is also afforded the rare chance to watch their youth games, too. “I’ve missed a lot of that,” he said. “And it’s cool because they enjoy that, too. I’m making up for that this time. I’m the Uber driver.” Beyond that, he stays connected to the NBA but only from a distance. “It’s weird watching games and being apart from it but seeing teams that could use you in certain situations,” he said. “You see where you could help different clubs in different ways.” For Crawford, it’s the love of the game, not a need for anything beyond that, which drives him. He’s the ultimate gym rat who not only hosts a pro-am league in Seattle every summer, but he plays in it, too. There are also legendary stories of Crawford randomly showing up at local parks and gyms for pickup games, something you don’t normally see from players, especially those with nearly two decades of NBA tread. The most famous Crawford cameo: Years ago, then with the Bulls and fresh off the team bus, he appeared at his favorite Seattle park and played pickup ball for three hours the day before a game with the Sonics. The next night, he scored 31 points. “I love the game and stay in the gym anyway,” he said. “Whenever I retire, I’ll still be playing the game, whether that’s at an LA Fitness or somewhere else. At this point, the regular players around here are kind of used to seeing me, although sometimes I’ll go to a different gym and people are surprised,” he said. “Like, the other night, I went to new one and played from 10 o’clock to midnight. They did double takes.” Were they surprised Crawford was actually at their gym, or that he’s not somewhere in the NBA instead? The man who scored 51 in his last NBA game laughed at that. “Probably a little of both,” he said. Shaun Powell has covered the NBA for more than 25 years. 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 NewsNov 16th, 2019

Nationals fans rejoice in red as hometown heroes are honored

By Carole Feldman and Lynn Berry, Associated Press WASHINGTON (AP) — The song "Baby Shark" blared over loudspeakers and a wave of red washed across this politically blue capital Saturday as Nationals fans rejoiced at a parade marking Washington's first World Series victory since 1924. "They say good things come to those who wait. 95 years is a pretty long wait," Nationals owner Ted Lerner told the cheering crowd. "But I'll tell you, this is worth the wait." As buses carrying the players and team officials wended their way along the parade route, pitcher Max Scherzer at one point hoisted the World Series trophy to the cheers of the crowd. At a rally just blocks from the Capitol, Scherzer said his teammates grinded their hearts out to "stay in the fight." And then, after backup outfielder Gerardo Parra joined the team, he said, they started dancing and having fun. And they started hitting. "Never in this town have you seen a team compete with so much heart and so much fight," he said. And then the Nats danced. Team officials, Nationals manager Dave Martinez and several players thanked the fans for their support through the best of times and staying with them even after a dismal 19-31 start to the season. "I created the circle of trust and I trusted these guys," he said. The camaraderie among the players was a theme heard throughout the rally. "It took all 25 of us, every single day we were pulling for each other," said pitcher Stephen Strasburg, the World Series MVP. Nationals veteran slugger Howie Kendrick, 36, said that when he came to the Nationals in 2017, "I was thinking about retiring. This city taught me to love baseball again." Mayor Muriel Bowser declared DC the "District of Champions." The Capitals won Stanley Cup in 2018, the Mystics won the WNBA championship this year, and now the Nationals. The city had been thirsting for a World Series championship for nearly a century. The Nationals gave them that by winning in seven games over the Houston Astros; the clincher came on the road Wednesday night. "I just wish they could have won in DC," said Ronald Saunders of Washington, who came with a Little League team that was marching in the parade. Nick Hashimoto of Dulles, Virginia, was among those who arrived at 5 a.m. to snag a front-row spot. He brought his own baby shark toy in honor of Parra's walk-up song, which began as a parental tribute to the musical taste of his 2-year-old daughter and ended up as a rallying cry that united fans at Nationals Park and his teammates. As "Baby Shark, doo doo doo doo doo doo" played on a crisp morning, early risers joined in with the trademark response — arms extended in a chomping motion. Chants of "Let's go Nats!" resonated from the crowd hours before the rally. Kimberly Ballou of Silver Spring, Maryland, said sports "is a unifier" that transcends race, gender and class and brings people together. The crowd along the route was deeply packed. Cheers went up and fans waved red streamers, hand towels and signs that said "Fight Finished" as the players rode by on the open top of double-decker buses. General Manager Mike Rizzo, a cigar in his mouth, jumped off with the World Series trophy to show the fans lining the barricades and slap high-fives. Manager Martinez also got in on the fun. "We know what this title means to DC, a true baseball town, from the Senators to the Grays and now the Nationals," Bowser said at the rally. "By finishing the fight you have brought a tremendous amount of joy to our town and inspired a new generation of players and Nationals fans." Bowser added: "We are deeply proud of you and I think we should do it again next year. What do you think?" Then she started a chant of "Back to back! Back to back!" Martinez said he liked to hear the mayor pushing for back-to-back championships and said: "I get it. I'm all in. But let me enjoy this one first. I don't know if my heart can take any more of this right now. I need to just step back and enjoy this." Martinez, who had a heart procedure recently, said that during the Series, as things heated up, players and fans shouted at him to watch out for his heart. "All this right here has cured my heart," he said. And as the "Baby Shark" theme played once more, team owner Lerner told the team's veterans, "From now on, you can call me 'Grandpa Shark.'" President Donald Trump has invited the Nationals to the White House on Monday, though relief pitcher Sean Doolittle doesn't plan to attend. "There's a lot of things, policies that I disagree with, but at the end of the day, it has more to do with the divisive rhetoric and the enabling of conspiracy theories and widening the divide in this country," Doolittle told The Washington Post. Doolittle found support from Larry Stokes of Boyds, Maryland, citing Trump's stand on immigrants. "They're playing this game, but he doesn't like immigrants," Stokes said. But to fan Bridget Chapin, who came from Burke, Virginia, with her husband, Mark, "Regardless of how you feel, you go to the Oval Office. I'm really weary of athletes making political statements. I watch sports to get away from all that." The president attended Game 5 in Washington and was greeted with loud boos when he was shown on the giant video screen during a tribute to veterans. The boos more than overwhelmed a scattering of cheers. Delores Smith of Washington, a longtime baseball fan who said she had an uncle who pitched in the Negro Leagues, said the World Series was "a big win" for the city. "This is the first time in a long time that I've seen the whole city come together. There's no fussing about Trump." Even with the threat of stars leaving for free agency — as outfielder Bryce Harper did after 2018 — fans hoped the Nationals' success would continue. "I don't think it's going to be our last time. This team, even when our last superstar left, this team rallied around, they played as a team," Larry Stokes said. Fans urged the Nationals to re-sign third baseman Anthony Rendon, who was greeted with chants of MVP......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 3rd, 2019

adidas Runners Manila captain finishes Berlin Marathon

Manila, Philippines — On September 29, adidas Philippines gave adidas Runners Manila Captain Martie Plaza the opportunity to complete the 42-kilometer Berlin Marathon at Berlin, Germany. The BMW Berlin Marathon is one of the six marathons in the Abbott World Marathon Majors, a series of the largest and most prestigious marathons across the globe. This was Martie’s second marathon, her first one being the New York City Marathon 2017. Since becoming the co-captain of adidas Runners Manila earlier this year, Martie leads the bi-weekly tempo and speed sessions, which she says helped increase her stamina and speed in time for the marathon. More than just physical training, she says what helped her get through the marathon was the support she got from family, friends, and the adidas Runners community. During the race itself, the cheers from fellow adidas Runners from all over the world kept her energy up as she ran her last few kilometers. “Late athlete Gabe Grunewald said: ‘Don’t give up on the things that make you feel alive.’ Running makes me feel alive and I am very grateful for the opportunity to represent AR Manila in something as prestigious as the Berlin Marathon where I got to do what I love to do,” she said. Finishing at 3 hours and 28 minutes, Martie showed the effect of her hard work, passion, and discipline in achieving her running goals. Just like Martie, you, too, can work on your running goals at adidas Runners Manila. Get the latest updates in the adidas Runners Manila Facebook group and by following the hashtags #adidasRunnersManila and #adidasph......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 3rd, 2019

Diaz hits 2 homers, Rays beat A’s 5-1 in AL wild-card game

By Janie McCauley, Associated Press OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — When he got to second base, Yandy Diaz stole a glance back toward the dugout and saw all his teammates going crazy. He gleefully kept running. Out for two months, no matter. Diaz slugged baseball's lowest spender into a playoff matchup with mighty Houston, Charlie Morton silenced the powerful Athletics on the mound, and the Tampa Bay Rays beat Oakland at its own game with a 5-1 win in the AL wild-card round Wednesday night. After playing only one game since late July because of a foot injury, Diaz hit a leadoff homer and went deep again in the third inning. “When I looked to the bench and saw the guys super excited, it pumped me up to go around the bases,” Diaz said through a translator. “I thought we had to carry that momentum throughout the game.” Avisail Garcia hit a two-run drive in the second, and Morton had all the support he needed as Tampa Bay advanced to face the AL West champion Astros in a best-of-five Division Series. Game 1 is Friday at Houston, which piled up a major league-best 107 wins this season. “We have a tough road ahead of us, Houston’s a great team, but we played them well this year. It’s going to be a dogfight,” Tommy Pham said. Pham homered in the fifth for the 96-win Rays, who had the smallest payroll in the majors at $66.4 million. And in a playoff meeting between creative, small-budget teams that make the most of limited resources, it was Tampa Bay that came out on top. The Rays were unfazed by a towel-swirling Oakland crowd of 54,005 that established a wild-card record, having recently played at Dodger Stadium and on the road against the Yankees and Red Sox during the season's final two weeks. “I really feed off the energy of this situation. I that helped us,” Morton said. “It helped us to come in here and be in a high-pressure situation. The stadium was pretty rowdy but I think that helped us focus.” And when Marcus Semien struck out to end it, Tampa Bay players raced out of their dugout to celebrate and put on fresh playoff T-shirts and caps. Once in the clubhouse, the Rays drenched Morton with booze. "It's a beautiful thing having the lowest payroll in baseball and having the success we did," center fielder Kevin Kiermaier said before the game. "It always feels good to stick it to the man any time you're able to in this game, and that's something to be very proud of." The A's have lost nine straight winner-take-all games since 2000, going 1-15 with a chance to advance to the next postseason round. Their only win came in 2006 against the Twins before being swept in the AL Championship Series by the Tigers. A year ago in the wild-card game, Oakland's first time back in the playoffs since 2014, the A's fell behind fast and lost 7-2 at Yankee Stadium. They won 97 games again to earn a wild card. This game had a far different feel in the familiar, friendly confines of the Coliseum, but the A's dug themselves another quick hole. And the visitors were the ones putting on a happy home run show this time. Oakland, which hit a franchise-record 257 homers, is 0-6 in winner-take-all playoff games at home since 2000. Even a day earlier, Rays manager Kevin Cash wasn't sure Diaz would play given how much time he missed during the season’s second half. Diaz returned for the finale last Sunday at Toronto after being sidelined since July 23. He played in just 79 games this season, 22 of those at first base with 17 starts. "He probably caught us off guard a little bit with how quickly he turned around over the last five, six days," Cash said. Never one to shy from the unorthodox _ the Rays used four outfielders against Matt Olson _ Cash started Diaz at first to make sure his best bat against lefties was in the lineup. Kiermaier noted Diaz is "just one of those guys, he just wakes up out of bed and rakes. Everyone knows him for his muscles and what he can do in the weight room and stuff like that, but the guy finds the barrel so much throughout this whole season, and any time we're able to have him available, we're happy." Morton, with a career-high 16 wins and his best ERA yet of 3.05 this season, counted on his playoff experience giving him an edge. He won Game 7 of the ALCS and World Series for the Astros in 2017. Morton gave up five hits without an earned run over five innings. He struck out four and walked three in his seventh postseason start and eighth appearance, having spent the last two seasons with Houston. The right-hander walked Mark Canha to load the bases with two outs in the first before retiring Jurickson Profar on a flyball and had already thrown 32 pitches. Morton quickly settled in and once his turn was done, the Rays’ shutdown bullpen did the rest. “When the first inning ended, I kind of said to myself, we were fortunate to have Charlie Morton on the mound. We get the 1-0 lead. A young pitcher in that situation, that environment, you just wonder how he's going to be able to handle that,” Cash said. “But Charlie, been there, done that, his veteran, his experience, I think allowed that. And I would still say, I don't think Charlie was at his best today, but he certainly made his best pitches when they counted the most.” Semien reached third on a three-base error by third baseman Mike Brosseau in the third and scored on Ramon Laureano's sacrifice fly. Oakland did little else. Diaz hit the fifth pitch of the night from Sean Manaea over the wall in right-center. Manaea then struck out the side after Diaz's drive, but was done after two innings. “That’s kind of our game. They kind of beat us with our game. We’re normally a home run-hitting team,” Oakland manager Bob Melvin said. Melvin handed Manaea the ball based on his triumphant September return after missing nearly a year following shoulder surgery. Manaea went 4-0 with 1.21 ERA in five starts last month. Manaea earned his first career playoff start over 15-game winner Mike Fiers, who pitched a no-hitter May 7 against the Reds to begin a 21-start unbeaten stretch in which he went 12-0. “That’s the tough part about a one-game playoff. Those nights where it’s not happening are going to be your last game,” Semien said. “That’s what happened.” ALL OVER THE INFIELD Brosseau started at second then moved to third and first, becoming the first to play three infield spots in one wild-card game. TRAINER'S ROOM Rays: INF Eric Sogard, who played for the A's from 2010-15, could be on the ALDS roster as he is close to healthy from a bone bruise in his right foot, Cash said. Sogard hasn't played since Sept. 15 at the Angels. "He's getting closer," Cash said. Athletics: RF Stephen Piscotty, out with a sprained right ankle since Aug. 25, wasn't on the roster. Piscotty, who batted .249 with 13 homers and 44 RBIs, also missed extended time with a sprained right knee from June 30 to Aug. 2. "The hard part is getting him at-bats against live pitching. That was part of the thinking leading up is he just didn't have enough at-bats,” Melvin said. UP NEXT RHP Tyler Glasnow is a strong candidate to start Friday for the Rays at Houston, with 2018 AL Cy Young Award winner Blake Snell following in Game 2. Tampa Bay had success against the Astros this year, winning four of seven meetings. Three of those victories came in a season-opening series at Tropicana Field......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 3rd, 2019

[OPINION] Being pansexual is all about love – not pans

Looking at the comments that arise every time someone mentions being pansexual, I feel pretty lucky that all they can come up with are half-assed jokes about frying pans. It's hard to take someone seriously when that's the limited extent of their creativity. Being pansexual, in some ways, ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsSep 28th, 2019

Team USA Notebook: Sense of purpose permeates as tipoff nears

By John Schuhmann, NBA.com SHANGHAI -- The U.S. Men's National Team held their second practice in Shanghai on Friday, with one more day before they open the World Cup with a game against the Czech Republic on Sunday. It turned out to be their final pre-competition practice, because head coach Gregg Popovich canceled their session for Saturday. Once the competition starts, the U.S. will be playing every other day, with three changes of location between the first round and the semifinals (should the Americans make it there). So practice time could be somewhat limited going forward. But the games, against new and unfamiliar opponents, are arguably better opportunities to get better than practices. The first few games should come without much pressure, and maybe it's a good thing that the Americans have already been through a pressure situation in their preparation for the World Cup. It's really that time. ????? @jaytatum0 Putting the finishing touches on things ahead of ???????? #USABMNT vs ???????? Czech Republic on Sept. 1 [8:30 AM EDT/ESPN+].#USAGotGame pic.twitter.com/PcAbKyNx1f — USA Basketball (@usabasketball) August 29, 2019 No let up Of course, the U.S. lost that second exhibition game to Australia last Saturday. The Americans had issues on both ends of the floor, but really, it was their defense that really let them down, allowing 98 points on 84 Australia possessions (1.17 per). It was an exhibition, but it was the first loss by an all-NBA-player U.S. team since the semifinals of the 2006 World Championship. That's a long winning streak to see come to an end. "Obviously, it sucked in the moment," Brook Lopez said about the loss. "But it was definitely good for us, looking ahead to the World Cup." Defense is about effort and energy. And in a 40-minute game, consistent effort and energy is all the more important. "We can't take part of a game for granted and can't have our level of intensity ever drop," Lopez said. "If anything, it has to increase throughout each and every game. We relented as a group. After we beat Australia in the first game, they came out with everything they had. It showed us a little glimpse of the focus and concentration we have to have the entire time here in China." The following-day film session wasn't easy, but according to Kemba Walker, they didn't need it to figure out what went wrong. "I think we knew before we even watched film," Walker said. "It was tough, and you know, Pop can be pretty tough. We knew, and I think that's why we came out against Canada [on Monday] the way we did. It was a very humbling loss. And hopefully that [feeling] is going to get us over that hump." The win over Canada was the U.S. Team's worst offensive performance of its exhibition slate, but the overmatched Canadians scored just once on their first 10 possessions of the game (and just nine points in the first quarter). The U.S. can smother some of these lesser talented teams (like the ones they'll face in Group E). But against the best teams in the tournament (like Australia, who they could face in the quarterfinals), there has to be both effort and cohesion defensively. "They've got a very unselfish team that passes the ball very well," Lopez said. "[Andrew] Bogut, especially, is such a huge hub for them." Bogut suffered an ankle injury in Australia's exhibition loss to Germany on Wednesday, but is reportedly "probable" for their opener against Canada on Sunday. Thankful for Turner Myles Turner was one of the United States' best players over their five-game exhibition slate. Not only did he put up boxscore numbers (averaging 15.2 points and 12.7 rebounds), but the U.S. was also at its best with him on the floor, outscoring its opponents by 48 points in his 83 minutes. That Turner emerged as the go-to center was somewhat of a relief to USA Basketball managing director Jerry Colangelo, who wasn't sure what he was going to get out of his group of big men. "We were looking for someone to come out of the pack of the bigs, and he has," Colangelo said Friday. "He's had a couple of major rebounding games. He's very active. If he keeps active, he's going to get rebounds and he's going to block some shots." Colangelo wasn't totally surprised by Turner's play, though. "I had expectations that he could be [the starting center]," he said, "because I was told that he's had a great summer in terms of his personal work." Good news for the U.S., and maybe good news for the Indiana Pacers. No time to be an idiot Popovich was asked what he wants to do in his free time in China. Alas, free time is limited when you have games every other day. "There are things that I would like to do," Popovich said, "that I know that I will not have time to do, because the focus is on what we're doing here." What is it that he'd really like to do? Well, the coach is an explorer. "Mostly to get out and walk," he said, "to see neighborhoods and walk and be with nobody, not be able to speak the language, and feel like an idiot. "Just walk around, walk into a place, see what happens and see what you see. It's more fun when you're in another country and you just take off. You don't assume anything and you don't have people tell you where to go. You just see where you end up. I don't know if I'm going to have the chance to do that, so I'm going to go to restaurants at night." Action starts Saturday The U.S. plays its first game on Sunday, but the World Cup gets started on Saturday with games in Groups A, B, C and D. A couple of Saturday games - Poland vs. Venezuela in Group A and Nigeria vs. Russia in Group B - are between what look to be the second and third best teams in those groups. And because two teams from each group advance to the second round, those first-day matchups could end up determining which teams make it through. Saturday also brings the first action for Andray Blatche and the Philippines, who will face Italy (with Marco Belinelli and Danilo Gallinari) in Group D. John Schuhmann is a senior stats analyst for NBA.com. 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 NewsAug 31st, 2019

Rookie Survey: Zion Williamson, Ja Morant early favorites to shine in 2019-20

By John Schuhmann, NBA.com Last season was the first time in 34 years (since 1984-85) that the top five picks of the previous Draft went on to be the five players who comprised the All-Rookie First Team. One year later, the teams that had those top five picks should feel pretty good about their decisions. Time will tell about the five teams that had the top five picks in this year's Draft. But it's clear that fellow rookies approve of the guys selected in the top two. In this year's NBA.com Rookie Survey, 62 percent of responders picked the New Orleans Pelicans' Zion Williamson or the Memphis Grizzlies' Ja Morant to win the Kia Rookie of the Year award. Williamson made Rookie Survey history with how many votes he got in the "Most athletic" question, while Morant was a clear favorite for "Best playmaker." The two top picks received the most total votes on the survey, but it was No. 7 pick Coby White (of the Chicago Bulls) and No. 33 pick Carsen Edwards (Boston Celtics) who each received votes on a survey-high five questions. In total, 38 different rookies received votes on at least one of the seven questions about their class, a deep one if these guys got it right. For the 11th time in the last 13 years, NBA.com sat down with the rookie class at the annual Rookie Photo Shoot. In addition to the seven questions about their fellow rookies, this year's group (of 42) answered a few about the current player they most admire and what they're expecting as they make the jump to the NBA. * * * NOTE: Players were asked not to vote for themselves, college teammates or NBA teammates. (Some still did, and those votes were discounted.) * * * Who will be the 2019-20 Kia Rookie of the Year? 1. Zion Williamson, New Orleans -- 35% 2. Ja Morant, Memphis -- 27% 3. R.J. Barrett, New York -- 5%     Cam Reddish, Atlanta -- 5% Others receiving votes: Nickeil Alexander-Walker, New Orleans; Goga Bitadze, Indiana; Brandon Clarke, Memphis; Carsen Edwards, Boston; Darius Garland, Cleveland; Kyle Guy, Sacramento; Rui Hachimura, Washington; Romeo Langford, Boston; Coby White, Chicago; Grant Williams, Boston Last year: DeAndre Ayton and Collin Sexton -- 18% Worth noting: Williamson feels like a strong pick, but in the previous 10 years of the survey, the top vote-getter has gone on to win the Kia Rookie of the Year award just once. That was in 2007 (the first year of the survey), when Kevin Durant received 54 percent of the vote. Williamson is the first player in the last five years to receive at least one third of the vote, and he might have had more if some of his fellow rookies (those that voted for the six guys selected outside the Lottery) had studied their history. Of the 67 Rookie of the Year winners (that weren't territorial picks in the 1950s and early '60s), 61 (or 91 percent) were selected in the top 10 of the Draft, and 52 (or 78 percent) were selected in the top five. Which rookie will have the best career? 1. Cam Reddish, Atlanta -- 19% 2. Ja Morant, Memphis -- 16% 3. De'Andre Hunter, Atlanta -- 11% 4. R.J. Barrett, New York -- 5%     Jaxson Hayes, New Orleans -- 5%     Coby White, Chicago -- 5%     Zion Williamson, New Orleans -- 5% Others receiving votes: Nickeil Alexander-Walker, New Orleans; Jarrett Culver, Minnesota; Carsen Edwards, Boston; Darius Garland, Cleveland; Rui Hachimura, Washington; Keldon Johnson, San Antonio; Mfiondu Kabengele, LA Clippers; Romeo Langford, Boston; Cody Martin, Charlotte; Eric Paschall, Golden State; Tremont Waters, Boston; Dylan Windler, Cleveland Last year: Wendell Carter Jr. -- 13% Worth noting: This is the sixth straight year that a Duke player has earned (or tied for) the most votes on this question, with Reddish joining Jabari Parker (2014), Jahlil Okafor (2015), Brandon Ingram (2016), Jayson Tatum (2017) and Carter. The seven players who received multiple votes were all selected in the top 10, though there were another eight votes for players selected outside the Lottery. Which rookie was the biggest steal at where he was selected in the Draft? 1. Bol Bol (44), Denver -- 19%     Kevin Porter Jr. (30), Cleveland -- 19% 3. Carsen Edwards (33), Boston -- 5%     Nassir Little (25), Portland -- 5%     Isaiah Roby (45), Dallas -- 5%     Coby White (7), Chicago -- 5%     Grant Williams (22), Boston -- 5% Others receiving votes: Nickeil Alexander-Walker (17), New Orleans; Brandon Clarke (21), Memphis; Jaxson Hayes (8), New Orleans; Talen Horton-Tucker (46), L.A. Lakers; Keldon Johnson (29), San Antonio; Mfiondu Kabengele (27), LA Clippers; Romeo Langford (14), Boston; Jordan Poole (28), Golden State; Cam Reddish (10), Atlanta; Luka Samanic (19), San Antonio; Admiral Schofield (42), Washington; Quinndary Weatherspoon (49), San Antonio; Dylan Windler (26), Cleveland Last year: Keita Bates-Diop -- 13% Worth noting: As it often does, this question got the biggest range of answers, including each of the last six picks of the first round. But Bol and Porter, two of the six players from the Pac-12 Conference, clearly stood out among the group. Draymond Green is the only one of the previous 16 players to earn (or tie for) the most votes on this question (which was worded "Which rookie is being most overlooked" through 2014) that has ever been an All-Star, though Donovan Mitchell is certainly a potential All-Star in the years to come. Which rookie is the most athletic? 1. Zion Williamson, New Orleans -- 87% 2. Brandon Clarke, Memphis -- 8% Others receiving votes: Jaxson Hayes, New Orleans; Kevin Porter Jr., Cleveland Last year: Zhaire Smith -- 24% Worth noting: The 87 percent that Williamson earned here is the greatest percentage of the vote that any player has earned on any question in the history of the Rookie Survey, surpassing the 79 percent that Stephen Curry got for "Best Shooter" in 2009. That's good company. Which rookie is the best shooter? 1. Tyler Herro, Miami -- 33% 2. Kyle Guy, Sacramento -- 29% 3. Cameron Johnson, Phoenix -- 13% 4. Ty Jerome, Phoenix -- 8% 5. Jordan Poole, Golden State -- 4% Others receiving votes: Ignas Brazdeikis, New York; Carsen Edwards, Boston; Darius Garland, Cleveland; Zion Williamson, New Orleans; Dylan Windler, Cleveland Last year: Trae Young -- 47% Worth noting: Guy made twice as many 3-pointers (120 at a 43-percent clip) for Virginia last season than Herro did in his one season for Kentucky (60 at 36 percent). Johnson (47 percent) shot better than both of them and the Suns could benefit from having two of the top four players here. Phoenix ranked 29th or 30th in effective field goal percentage from outside the paint in each of the last three seasons. Which rookie is the best defender? 1. Matisse Thybulle, Philadelphia -- 37% 2. De'Andre Hunter, Atlanta -- 29% 3. Brandon Clarke, Memphis -- 8%     Jaxson Hayes, New Orleans -- 8%     Nassir Little, Portland -- 8% Others receiving votes: Bol Bol, Denver; Jarrett Culver, Minnesota; Bruno Fernando, Atlanta; Coby White, Chicago Last year: Jevon Carter -- 29% Worth noting: This is the only question for which Thybulle received any votes, but he received the greatest percentage of the vote on this question since Victor Oladipo (63% in 2013). While Thybulle is joining a team with a handful of guys that have already proven to be impact defenders, Hunter's defense is more critical to the success of the Hawks, who ranked 28th on that end of the floor last season. Which rookie is the best playmaker? 1. Ja Morant, Memphis -- 40% 2. Darius Garland, Cleveland -- 15% 3. Ty Jerome, Phoenix -- 10%     Coby White, Chicago -- 10% 5. Nickeil Alexander-Walker, New Orleans -- 8% 6. Kevin Porter Jr., Cleveland -- 6%     Tremont Waters, Boston -- 6% Others receiving votes: Carsen Edwards, Boston; Kyle Guy, Sacramento Last year: Trae Young -- 35% Worth noting: Morant led the nation in assists by a pretty wide margin. In Memphis, the latest winner on this question is replacing the first; Mike Conley received 45 percent of the vote for best playmaker in the initial, 2007 survey. The Grizzlies would surely love to see Morant stick around as long as Conley did. Winning this category as a Laker -- as Lonzo Ball and D'Angelo Russell both once did -- apparently means that you're going to be traded less than two years after doing so. What will be the biggest adjustment for you, playing in the NBA? 1. Speed or pace of the game -- 40% 2. Physicality (athleticism, size and strength of opponents) -- 21%     Schedule/Length of season -- 21% 4. Lifestyle/Time management -- 12% Also receiving votes: Longer 3-point distance, Playing NBA defense Last year: Speed or pace of the game -- 31% Worth noting: According to the great Ken Pomeroy, the average pace in NCAA Division I was just 69.0 possessions per 40 minutes last season. When adjusted for a 48-minute game (82.8), that would be almost 18 possessions per 48 slower than the average NBA pace (100.7 per 48). So yeah, speed of the game should be an adjustment. What is the most important skill you need to develop? 1. Shooting -- 32% 2. Ball-handling -- 16% 3. Passing -- 9% 4. Strength -- 7% 5. Decision-making -- 5%     Defense -- 5%     Everything -- 5%     Money management -- 5% Also receiving votes: Leadership, Mindset, Patience, Playmaking, Playing off the ball, Post skills, Time management Last year: Ball-handling and shooting -- 19% Worth noting: Self-improvement is both a physical and mental thing. There are five votes in here for the mental aspects of improvement (even more if you consider "passing" and/or "defense" to be more of a mindset than anything else), and a few more for managing things (time and money) off the court. Who is your favorite player in the league? 1. LeBron James, L.A. Lakers -- 38% 2. Kevin Durant, Brooklyn -- 20% 3. Kawhi Leonard, LA Clippers -- 8%     Damian Lillard, Portland -- 8% 5. Devin Booker, Phoenix -- 5%     James Harden, Houston -- 5% Others receiving votes: Jamal Crawford; Kevin Garnett; Paul George, LA Clippers; C.J. McCollum, Portland; Steve Nash; Pascal Siakam, Toronto; Russell Westbrook, Houston Last year: LeBron James -- 29% Worth noting: In the 10-year history of this question, only three players have been the top vote-getter. James, named the top guy for the fourth time, separates himself from Durant (3) and Kobe Bryant (3). Interestingly, Bryant wasn't one of the two retired guys -- Garnett and Nash, this time -- to get votes. John Schuhmann is a senior stats analyst for NBA.com. 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 NewsAug 20th, 2019

New England s Van Noy complimentary of Lions in return

By Noah Trister, Associated Press ALLEN PARK, Mich. (AP) — Kyle Van Noy had plenty of nice things to say about his former team. Of course, it's been his own career that has taken off since he left Detroit. "It feels good to come back a winner and say hi to people I haven't seen in a while," the New England linebacker said this week. "There's so many people I could just name — the behind-the-scenes people that have been so good to me and my family that I've got to show them love when I come back. They've been amazing to me, and always have and always will be." The Lions and Patriots have been holding joint practices this week, bringing Van Noy back to the practice facility in Allen Park. A second-round draft pick by Detroit in 2014, Van Noy did little for the Lions before being traded to New England in the middle of the 2016 season. Since then, he's become a regular starter for coach Bill Belichick's team. "Sometimes, some players just fit into one situation and one scheme better than another," Belichick said. "Kyle's done a great job for us. He's smart, he's very instinctive, he does a good job with communication, he can call signals. We have multiple signal callers on our defense, and that's a good thing that helps us with communication and adjustments. He's made a lot of big plays for us since we got him." Van Noy had only one sack in 30 games with Detroit. He has 10 in 36 games — 30 starts — with the Patriots. And all New England had to do to get him was swap a sixth-round pick for a seventh-rounder in the 2017 draft. For his part, Van Noy hopes New England's system isn't the only reason for his emergence. "I don't want to sit here and tailor my skills. That would be kind of like, 'I'm only good because of a certain scheme,'" Van Noy said. "All of these coaches that I've played with in New England have put me in a spot to play to my strengths, and put me in a position to succeed. I respect that and I'm happy to be a part of it, and I would just leave it at that. I just don't want to take away from my talent, my skill and my capabilities if I said that was the reason." One of the coaches Van Noy played for in New England was defensive coordinator Matt Patricia, who is now the head coach of the Lions. The Patriots play a preseason game at Detroit on Thursday night. "They're building something. Matty P is running a tight ship and it's good competition," Van Noy said. "They have really good players. (Quarterback Matthew) Stafford has always been good. I think he's one of the most underrated, toughest players in the league. I always have respect for him and what he does, and they have really good up-and-coming players. They've just got to put the pieces together, and I feel like they'll be pretty good." NOTES: The Lions signed free agent CB Johnathan Alston and waived/injured CB Tarvarus McFadden. Detroit also activated WR Tommylee Lewis from the active/physically-unable-to-perform list. Alston signed with Miami as an undrafted free agent after the 2018 draft, but he hasn't played in an NFL game......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 7th, 2019

Raptors rip a page from Warriors playbook to go up 3-1

In a sloppy, miss-filled first half, the Toronto Raptors and the Golden State Warriors combined to shoot 4-of-30 from long-range, with each team accounting for two triples. Given how prolific both sides' offenses can be, everyone was sure that the cold spell was not going to last. Come the third quarter, it seemed a given that one team would be able to find their range and go on a big run. Many thought it would be the home team Warriors. Instead, it was the visiting Raptors. After hitting a mere 34.1% from the field in the first half, Toronto opened the third with back-to-back Kawhi Leonard triples, which set the tone for a 37-21 quarter, and a 79-67 lead. Toronto wound up shooting 52.2% in that quarter, converting 5-of-7 three-pointers, and burying the Warriors under a flurry that should be familiar to the defending champions. After all, "how did he hit that?" three-pointers and suffocating defense (GSW was just 7-of-20 from the field, 3-of-9 on three's) used to be their third quarter modus operandi, and in the face of what they used to terrorize the league with, Golden State had no answer. "We played pretty well for 26 minutes," said Stephen Curry in the postgame. "And then they took control of the game. It's one of those nights where you play [with] a lot of energy and you start to build momentum and then the wheels fall off a little bit." Based on the injury report prior to this game, things seemed to be headed for a Warriors win and a 2-2 series tie. Klay Thompson was back in the starting five, while the team got a boost from the unexpected return of Kevon Looney, who was initially ruled out of the remainder of the Finals. Thompson led the Warriors in first-half points with 14, and Looney was not far back with eight on 4-of-5 shooting, while playing stingy defense. But there were warning signs that unless the Warriors could come out strong in the third, there would be trouble brewing from Toronto. Curry also had eight points but was a miserable 0-of-5 on three's. Another starter, DeMarcus Cousins, accounted for three of his side's nine turnovers, in addition to two fouls. And most importantly, Golden State, for all that early momentum, was up by just four at the break. "I thought they just took it to us right from the beginning of the [third] quarter," admitted Warriors coach Steve Kerr. "Kawhi hit two three's immediately and they turned up their defense, and they just got on a run. And we just sort of lost that defensive tenacity that we had in the first half." Back in Game 2, the Warriors opened the third with an 18-0 run, as the Raptors just missed shot after shot, including ones that seemingly refused to drop into the hoop. This third period run wasn't as explicit, but the visiting side had a 13-5 edge in fast break points, and committed just half the amount of Golden State's six turnovers, converting those errors into nine easy markers. "I know Kawhi's two big three's to start the half...I thought changed the whole feel of everybody," said Raptors coach Nick Nurse. "I just thought everybody was like, okay, man, we know we are here, let's go, and we just kind of kept going from those two three's." Toronto's poise simply has to be commended. Despite this being the first time the franchise has gotten this far in the NBA Playoffs, the team has co-opted the robotic, can't-get-him-to-flinch persona of their main gun, Kawhi Leonard. Going back to Finals Game 2, which already seems like months ago, despite Golden State's big run to start the third, the Raptors were still in the game, right up until Andre Iguodala's massive triple, which turned out to be the dagger. And so with the deficit being a mere four points at the half, they were calm, and more importantly confident, that they'd be able to get back on top, which is exactly what they did. With Thompson and Looney back in the lineup, Golden State really only has one more trump card: a returning Kevin Durant. But as talented as the Slim Reaper is, it's hard to believe that he, coming off a month of no hoops, can single-handedly turn things around. "We got to win one game," Draymond Green pointed out. "We win one, then we'll build on that. I've been on the wrong side of 3-1 before, so why not make our own history." The champs have their bravado, and it's well-earned, but in the face of an unblinking opponent that seems to be out-Warriors-ing the Warriors, it may just be a matter of "how much longer." "We were confident," says Kawhi Leonard of that explosive third quarter. "We wanted to come in and have a good third quarter coming out of the first five minutes, stay aggressive on both ends of the floor, keep our energy up. "And that's all we did." The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or ABS-CBN Sports......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 8th, 2019

Warriors head into Game 3 vulnerable, yet pressure is on Raptors

By Shaun Powell, NBA.com OAKLAND, Calif. -- The two-time defending champion Warriors will be of divided attention here in the next few days. They’ll be occupied by Game 3 of The Finals … and Game 1 of Kevin Durant’s rehabilitation. The two go hand-in-hand, actually, and hold equal importance. With untimely injuries threatening to delay the Warriors’ third straight title or downright prevent it from happening, the club teeters on edge, unsure whether its next step will be on the gas pedal or a banana peel. Klay Thompson is iffy for Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time) because of a gimpy hamstring that cut short his floor time in Game 2, which the Warriors managed to win anyway. He did some light shooting on the eve of Game 3 against the Raptors and, Klay being Klay, counted himself in after three days’ rest. But it’s not really up to him, is it? It’s up to the team medical staff and mostly a tendon that’s moody and doesn’t always cooperate with the human attached to it. And so: This all depends on what side of the bed the hamstring lands on Wednesday morning. Kevon Looney, the fast-developing big man who has been a pleasant surprise throughout the postseason, is done for the summer with a cartilage fracture in his collarbone area. At least in this case, his loss is minimized by the re-emergence of DeMarcus Cousins, back from two months off with a bum quad muscle and feeling frisky about it and his encouraging effort in Game 2. OK, now here’s the elephant in the emergency room: What does the future of The Finals hold for Durant, MIA for roughly a month now, who has been ruled out for Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time)? Durant didn’t practice with the team Tuesday morning (Wednesday evening, PHL time), but he did go through an individual workout that afternoon. There is no scheduled team practice on Thursday (Friday, PHL time), the only off-day between Games 3 and 4 at Oracle Arena. Yet all signs point to Durant putting his body through a workout/practice/scrimmage at some point between now and Friday’s (Saturday, PHL time) Game 4 because coach Steve Kerr said the former MVP is “ramping up” his workouts. It’s safe to say the Warriors will be interested spectators for that one, biting their fingernails to the knuckle, although Kerr indicated Durant’s availability for The Finals is more “when” than “if.” That means Durant has given them some reason to feel optimistic about Friday (Saturday, PHL time) if not Game 5 in Toronto. “Klay and Kevin, we’re very hopeful we’re going to get them back out there,” Kerr said. In a worst-case scenario, the Warriors in Game 3 would be without two players averaging more than 50 points combined in the postseason, and their scoring and defensive presence is impossible to replace. That would put them in a tough spot, needing to rely on replacements who aren’t familiar with, or quite capable of, carrying that amount of minutes with impact. Yes, it’s true the Warriors finished Game 2 without either player and managed to win. Yet, no disrespect to the champs, that’s a big chore to do for four full quarters and against a solid defensive team such as the Raptors. Even if Thompson plays, will he be healthy enough to supply the energy and flexibility needed to perform his usual top-notch defense and running through screens for his jumper? “If I can just be out there even at 80 percent, I still think I can be very effective,” he said. “From the progress I've made these last two days, I'm very encouraged that I'll be able to go out there. As long as nothing is torn or really injured, I'm not too fearful of it because, knock on wood, I've been very blessed with not very many traumatic injuries in my career. I don't think this one is of greatest concern. It's just the day and age we live in where little things can just grow to be big problems, but I don't think this will be one of them.” How would a diminished or missing Klay affect the Warriors? Well, Stephen Curry could not afford to be anything less than MVP-ish. He’d see doubles and triples thrown his way by the Raptors and that would cause him to take tougher shots than normal. In that situation, as the Warriors’ only volume scorer and shooter on the floor, Curry could feel overwhelmed and force the issue. Cousins would be required to ratchet up his shooting and intensity on offense, but will he stay clear of foul trouble, which would put a crimp in his playing time? Finally, the Warriors would lean more on Shaun Livingston, Draymond Green, Andre Iguodala and Quinn Cook than normal. Cook made a pair of important shots in Game 2 after Thompson limped off and could be an X-factor, or at least he’d need to be for Golden State’s sake. “Our team is very adaptable,” Kerr said. “We have a lot of versatility. What it requires is bench players being ready to step up, like they always are, and guys just playing hard and playing together. I think you have to be fearless, too, which our team is. You can't worry about anything. You just go out there and play and compete and let it fly and whatever happens, happens.” And then there’s Toronto. A weakened or missing Thompson would be an opportunity they simply couldn’t afford to blow. How many times does a gift present itself in the biggest series of the season? Not often. It must be seized. In such a situation, the Raptors would be wise to occupy Curry and dare others to produce for four quarters. If Thompson plays, they’d be best to take advantage by running him ragged through screens on defense, putting that hamstring to the test. That would be one less player with high defensive credentials for Kawhi Leonard to deal with. Assuming that scoring will be an issue for the Warriors, the Raptors must get a bounce-back game from Pascal Siakam (who regressed from 32 points to 12) and more punch from Kyle Lowry (six baskets total for the series) to make it tough if not impossible for the Warriors to keep up. If the Raptors have any shot at winning this title, they must win at least one game at Oracle anyway, and from a practical standpoint, Game 3 is the most inviting. They may never see the Warriors this vulnerable, this ripe for the taking again. “I think we come into a sense of urgency, period,” said Lowry, “no matter the situation. We want to be the first to four, and every game is an urgent game. You're in the NBA Finals, so it doesn't matter. They still have professional basketball players down there, and they're really talented basketball players. So you still got to be ready to go out there and play your butt off and play hard.” The Warriors do not feel the same level of urgency because they’re not down 0-2, and the next two games are at home, and the core group is championship tested. As they demonstrated in Game 2, they don’t get rattled by tense championship games, even with Thompson and Durant off the floor. They also know, or at least feel strongly, that Thompson and Durant will suit up soon. “If there’s pain, it will be a no-go (for Game 3) because of the position we’re in,” Thompson said. “This could be a longer series, so there's no point in trying to go out there and re-aggravate it and potentially keep myself out of the whole entire Finals instead of just one game.” The Warriors might not get much sympathy from a basketball world that perhaps feel the champs are finally getting their just due. Everyone saw them play the 2015 championship series against Cleveland without Kevin Love and all but one game without Kyrie Irving. In the 2017 Western Conference finals, Leonard, then with San Antonio, went down after lighting it up for most of Game 1. And how can anyone forget Chris Paul missing Houston's final two games of a seven-game playoff series last season? Not saying those were the reasons for three championships in four years; still, all of those misfortunes suffered by others favored the Warriors. But who’s keeping score? “There's a certain amount of luck involved with this, and we know that,” Kerr said. “We have been on both sides of that. Some of our opponents have suffered injuries. We have suffered injuries. It's just part of the deal. You just keep pushing forward.” Shaun Powell has covered the NBA for more than 25 years. 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 NewsJun 5th, 2019