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PVL still waiting for practice permission, expects delay in conference opening

The PVL is having a hard time getting approval from the Inter-Agency Task Force because there is no government agency directly supervising a commercial league like itself......»»

Category: sportsSource: philstar philstarSep 27th, 2020

17 NBA things that have been ghosted from memory

By Steve Aschburner, NBA.com On a night traditionally known more for tricks and treats than picks and rolls, it seems appropriate to do a little ghost hunting, NBA-style. We’re not talking the Ghost Ballers of BIG3 fame or even the Skirvin Hilton Hotel in Oklahoma City, a stop on the circuit that some teams claim is actually haunted. We’re thinking of things that used to be, gone-but-not-forgotten aspects of the league that lurk in the memory, even if they’re never coming back. Here in no particular order are some Halloween hoops hobgoblins that fall somewhere on the scary scale between the chain-rattling Jacob Marley and Casper: 1. Long-gone arenas. Oracle Arena, so recently vacated by the Golden State Warriors, is the latest addition to the NBA’s long list of abandoned homes. Many are gone themselves, though you still can catch a glimpse now and then on Hardwood Classics. There are too many to list, due to NBA teams moving on up to bigger, better digs over time. But a sampling would include the Cow Palace, Cobo Arena, Chicago Stadium, Boston Garden, The Forum, L.A. Sports Arena, Milwaukee’s MECCA, the Salt Palace, McNichols Arena, HemisFair Arena, Market Square, the Summit, the Spectrum, the Omni, the Pyramid, ARCO Arena/Sleep Train Arena and on and on. 2. Belted shorts. Relegated to the throwback bin, along with the more recent sleeved jerseys. 3. The six-foot lane. Heck, the 12-foot lane. The former was widened in 1951 in response to Minneapolis big man George Mikan’s dominance. Then it was widened again in 1964 to its current 16 feet in hopes of tamping down Wilt Chamberlain’s impact. 4. Commercial air travel. Some things on a used-to-be list inspire nostalgia in those who experienced them and curiosity in those who didn’t. But it’s highly unlikely any former or current players and coaches would swap today’s luxury charter flights for the way the NBA used to travel. Wake-up calls at 5 a.m. for the first flight out. Waiting out delays at the gate with the beat writers and civilians. Seven-footers folding themselves into economy class seating. 5. Obstacle-course schedules. The NBA in recent years has tried to be responsive to players’ performance needs and physical limitations, working to minimize the number of back-to-back games and four-in-five-night stretches. Didn’t used to be that way. Consider the Baltimore Bullets, who in January 1966 were put through these paces: Games in St. Louis, Detroit, back to St. Louis, day off, to Philadelphia, to Boston, home vs. Lakers. A week later, they bounced back and forth between L.A. (Lakers) and San Francisco for four games in four nights, then traveled to New York to face the Knicks for their fifth game in five nights. Baltimore’s record in those 11 games: 2-9. 6. Doubleheaders. Some teams in the NBA’s first few decades would book a Harlem Globetrotters exhibition as the night’s opening attraction. But the biggies were when the Knicks would host at Madison Square Garden a neutral-site game for two other NBA clubs. A lingering memory for some who attended: The thick haze that hung over the arena’s upper reaches, courtesy of the smokers puffing away all evening. 7. Tape-delay. It seems inconceivable in 2019 that an NBA playoff game, never mind a Finals contest, might be shown on anything but live TV. Nope. The league didn’t have much leverage in the late 1970s, before Magic Johnson and Larry Bird arrived to help goose interest and ratings. Networks forced fans to stay up late to watch games that were off before the telecasts tipped off. The practice continued into the ‘80s, with four of six Finals games in 1981 held till 11:30 p.m. ET. Michael Jordan was already creating new fans when the last tape-delayed game, Game 3 of the West finals between the Lakers and Rockets, aired on Friday, May 16, 1986. 8. “Illegal!” That used to be a frequent bellow from the league’s benches, with coaches trying to alert the refs when opposing defenses breached (or didn’t) the complicated illegal defense rules. The NBA purged most of that around the turn of the century by legislating in zone play. 9. Shattered backboards. For a while, it seemed as if backboards were exploding every few weeks in the Association. Darryl (“Chocolate Thunder”) Dawkins was the most avid crack-titioner, getting two in 1979. The earliest recorded instance came in 1946, when a Celtics forward named Chuck Connors (later more famous as TV’s “Rifleman”) shattered one during warmups. Baltimore’s Gus Johnson is said to have shattered three. Shaquille O’Neal didn’t get the glass but twice got entire support structures, pulling the backboards down to the court in his rookie season. In March 1993, against Chicago, New Jersey’s Chris Morris dunked and shattered a board without glass falling to the floor. 10. Three to make two. That old free-throw bonus was abolished by 1981-82. It made the game drag, and Jerry Colangelo, then GM of the Suns and the chairman of the NBA’s competition committee, rightly said: “Pro players shouldn’t need that extra foul shot.” 11. Phantom franchises. Oooh, pretty scary, kids, when you think of all the teams that are no more. They are rattling around in the mind long after they were supposedly dead and buried. We’re not talking just about the antiquities such as the Indianapolis Olympians, the Washington Capitols or the Toronto Huskies. The spirits of the Seattle SuperSonics, Buffalo Braves, San Diego Clippers and Vancouver Grizzlies still walk the NBA earth. Then there are most of the ABA franchises -- Virginia Squires, Utah Stars, Kentucky Colonels, Spirits of St. Louis -- that died more than 40 years ago before or in the merger. 12. Hand checking. A lot of capable defenders had their effectiveness vaporized overnight when the laying on of hands vs. a ball handler was outlawed in 2004. The NBA, in case you hadn’t noticed, likes scoring. 13. Injury shenanigans. As silly or frustrating as labels like “DNP-Old” or “load management” seem today, the reporting of injuries real or feigned used to be much less authentic. Before the inactive list, there was “injured reserve,” to which NBA teams would designate up to two players. Anyone put on that list was sidelined for a minimum of five games, and with smaller roster sizes in effect, it was a handy place to stash guys. So there was a whole lot of tendinitis and plantar fasciitis going on. This practice was snuffed in 2005-06. 14. “Play on!” Like the force-out ruling, this is a remnant of the days when the referees had and used more discretion in working their games. If a player lost the ball out of bounds but his elbow was knocked by a foe, the force-out meant the ball handler’s team retained possession. “Play on!” was a frequent order barked by refs when certain contact or violations were deemed minimally intrusive. Heavier scrutiny of the game officials’ performance and, later, video reviews now try to adjudicate everything down to the tip of a fingernail. 15. The 2-3-2 Finals format. This was adopted in 1985 as a reaction to those Lakers-Celtics or Lakers-Sixers championship series, which had the NBA universe crossing the country four or five times in a span of two weeks. Suggestions that the league was being energy-conscious, in terms of jet fuel, were part of it, too. The practice fiddled some with the notion of home-court advantage, although MLB continues to use it for its World Series. With charter flights deployed by all teams, league execs and even some of the media, the NBA changed back to the 2-2-1-1-1 format in 2014 to align with its postseasons’ earlier rounds. 16. Player-coaches. Forty men in NBA history have done it. The first was Ed Sadowski of the Toronto Huskies in the Basketball Association of America precursor to the NBA. Only two men won championships as player-coaches: Baltimore’s Buddy Jeannette in 1948 and Boston’s Bill Russell in 1968 and 1969. The youngest player coach ever was Dave DeBusschere, who took over the Pistons in 1964 at age 24 (not long after ending his second career as an MLB pitcher). The Hawks’ Richie Guerin logged the most games (372) in the role, yet was named Coach of the Year in the one season in the middle when he stopped playing. Legend Lenny Wilkens was a player-coach for two teams, spending three seasons at it in Seattle and one in Portland. And the last player-coach in NBA history was Dave Cowens, who accepted the gig after coach Satch Sanders got fired in 1978-79. None of the players wanted to learn a new system, Cowens said, so “I kind of took one for the team.” The practice died with the arrival of the salary cap in 1984, with NBA brass wary that paying a coaching bonus might enable a team to circumvent the cap. 17. Victory cigars. For obvious reasons. Probably victory vaping, too. Steve Aschburner has written about the NBA since 1980. 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 1st, 2019

Kyle Kaiser knocks Alonso, McLaren out of Indy 500

By Jenna Fryer, Associated Press INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Fernando Alonso and McLaren missed the Indianapolis 500 after a 23-year-old American in a rebuilt race car for an underfunded team snagged the final spot in the field. Kyle Kaiser bumped Alonso out of "The Greatest Spectacle in Racing" by .02 mph in the "Last Row Shootout" to set the 33-driver field. All the attention was on McLaren, which leaned on Andretti Autosport, Team Penske, Chevrolet and anyone who would help in an effort to get the two-time Formula One champion into the race. Alonso made his final qualifying attempt Sunday on a cold track for an undermatched McLaren group and only had to beat three other drivers to make the race. It seemed he had enough until Sage Karam jumped to the top of the running order and Alonso fell to the bubble. Max Chilton and Patricio O'Ward were both eliminated, and that left only Kaiser to keep the Spaniard out of the race. Nothing to worry about, right? Hardly. Kaiser turned four nearly flawless laps to claim that final spot. Alonso, swarmed by fans and media as he tried to watch Kaiser's qualifying lap, saw the final speed, hopped on a waiting golf cart and was driven away. "I don't think I can wrap my mind around what we just did," Kaiser said. Karam and James Hinchcliffe, who crashed in Saturday qualifying and needed a backup, took the other two qualifying spots. Juncos Racing had everything stacked against it this week. The team lost both its primary sponsors right before Tuesday's opening day but Kasier still managed to find decent speed. Then he crashed in Friday practice and destroyed the Juncos car. The team worked overnight to have a backup prepared in time for the start of Saturday qualifying, but Kaiser found himself in the bottom six and had to shoot it out Sunday for his spot. The Juncos plight was compelling, but dwarfed by the McLaren odyssey. McLaren last raced in the Indy 500 in the 1970s but is back this season to both help Alonso complete his quest to win motorsports' version of the Triple Crown and as a feeler for a potential full-time IndyCar team. But the entire process has been a disaster from opening day because of electrical issues, an Alonso accident, a lengthy delay in rebuilding him a car, a tire puncture on his first qualifying attempt, and, finally, a car too difficult to handle for Alonso to qualify in the top 30 on Saturday. McLaren head Zak Brown acknowledged the stress after the team tried a completely different setup in Sunday morning practice. But McLaren was about 10 minutes late getting on track, the rear of the car dragged and sparked and had to return to the pits after one lap. The team got a total of six laps in before rain shortened practice, and McLaren spent a lengthy delay negotiating for parts from Andretti and advice from Penske and Chevrolet. Alonso was presented with a setup he had never felt when it was his turn to make his qualifying attempt, and it was his smoothest run of the week. It just wasn't fast enough. "I think the car felt better but obviously it had no practice," Alonso said. "It is not enough. It is just the way it is. We tried our best.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 20th, 2019

Boxing cleared to resume by IATF, says GAB chairman Baham Mitra

Pinoy boxers and boxing fans have reason to celebrate after the announcement that the IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infections Diseases) has given the boxing the clearance to resume.  According to Games and Amusements Board Chairman Abraham “Baham” Mitra the IATF has allowed boxing to return, but will need to follow a set of health guidelines.  Earlier this month, sports like football and basketball (albeit a slight delay) were already given the green light to resume practice.  “Ang nai-pasok na po namin ay practice ng basketball and football, and then yung boxing, pumayag na, na magkaroon ng boxing, provided that both boxers and the referees, they test, yung negative sila, and then after three days, laban na sila,” Chairman Mitra revealed on an episode of The Chasedown. “After testing, ico-confine sila, para hindi mahawa ulit or [maka-hawa].” Boxing is just one of the many sports all over the world that was forced to hit pause following the exposion of the COVID-19 pandemic.  In June however, boxing returned in the United States, with Top Rank Boxing starting to put on events.  According to Chairman Mitra, boxing events in the Philippines will feature a significantly slimmed down card with a maximum of just five bouts, a far cry from the previous norm of at least ten bouts per event.  “Yung sa boxing, maximum if five bouts. Ibig-sabihin, sampung boksingero lang pwede. Dati kasi ten or fifteen, or twelve fights in a day,” Chairman Mitra explained. “Ngayon, maximum of five lang, kasi ang pinapayagan lang ay sampu.”  Before fighters can step inside the ring however, they will need to undergo testing three days prior to fight night and then remain confined or quarantined so as to avoid contracting the disease.  “These boxers will be tested three days before the fight and then they will be confined, and then weigh-in, and then fight, and then after the fight, they will also be tested,” Chairman Mitra continued. “Wala na pong rapid test yung before. Yung rapid test, after na lang. Lahat swab test para sigurado, para halos walang error.” The swab testing, Chairman Mitra explained, is for maximum accuracy.  “We’re also scared, ano? We might be held liable na ‘Pinayagan ng GAB yan eh’. Kami naman, sumusunod lang kami sa IATF, ang sabi nila papayagan lang namin kayo mag-boxing kung negative parehas.” Apart from the boxers themselves, the third men in the ring will not only need to be tested but are also required to wash up and change clothes after every bout they officiate.  “So even the referee will also be tested, because he will be in the middle eh, and then the referees will be asked to wear short sleeved shirts and then wash [after] every bout, change t-shirt, change uniform [after] every bout.”  Chairman Mitra added that judges will be placed further away from the ring, and only essential personnel will be allowed in the venue during events.  “Tapos yung mga judges, hindi na sila beside the ring, medyo malayo na sila. Yung commentators will be outside of the venue, and only one or two camera people will be involved, and then as much as possible, we will not be allowing yung mga 21 and below or 60 and above, except if it’s essential. For example, almost all promoters are above 60, so okay lang yan.” As with most sports that have been able to return during the pandemic, there will be no audiences allowed.  Chairman Mitra expects the new guidelines to be released by Monday next week, and then for PBA and PFL practices to resume by the end of next week......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 26th, 2020

Marcial optimistic PBA can salvage one conference

PBA Commissioner Willie Marcial remains hopeful PBA Season 45 can be salvaged even in holding just one conference, with the developments around the world, including the sports activities in Taiwan and South Korea and similar plans of resumption of play in the US and in Europe. “A handful of NBA teams are opening practice facilities, […].....»»

Category: newsSource:  tempoRelated NewsMay 12th, 2020

PBA: 'Awesome news' as Parks Jr. reaches new deal with TNT

Easily one of the bigger stories of the ongoing PBA offseason was the status of incoming second-year forward Bobby Ray Parks Jr. On Monday, Parks Jr. finally agreed to a new one-year deal to stay with the TNT KaTropa. Pretty much a restricted free agent, Parks Jr. was in negotiations with TNT, which was described to be "95 percent" done as late as last Saturday, Feb. 15. Missing last season's Philippine Cup to complete his ABL duties, Parks Jr. only signed a two-conference contract with Blackwater, the team that picked him second in the 2018 Draft. He was dealt to TNT after one and a half conferences with the Elite. Parks Jr. averaged 18.8 points, 6.3 rebounds, 3.5 assists, and 1.4 steals in 32 games during his rookie season. "I'm just thrilled that he signed," TNT active consultant and interim Gilas head coach Mark Dickel said on the Parks Jr. news. "That's great news for us. Awesome news, it'll be great to have the whole team in practice. It's good stuff," he added. With Parks Jr. finally signed, the opportunity to join the Gilas Pilipinas pools also opens for him again. But with the start of the opening window of the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers being so close, he'll have to sit it out for now pretty much. "As far as Gilas goes, these guys [players in practice] are 8-9 days in. Maybe we'll be thinking of next window for him [Ray]," Dickel said. — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 17th, 2020

DOE expects WESM Mindanao opening to be delayed

The Department of Energy expects a delay in the start of full operations of the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market in Mindanao due to pending rules in pricing......»»

Category: financeSource:  philstarRelated NewsJan 10th, 2020

PBA Finals: Cone ready, expects Game 7

Based on the previous two championship meetings between Barangay Ginebra and Meralco, this coming 2019 PBA Governors’ Cup Finals is expected to come down to a series decider. It’s no wonder Gin Kings head coach Tim Cone is already preparing for a possible Game 7 as the best-of-seven series begins on Tuesday. “We could go to a Game 10 if necessary, if it was a possibility. For me, I never really wanna predict how far we'll go,” said Cone on Saturday in the Finals press conference. “We plan on playing a Game 7.” The two teams battled for the season-ending conference’s throne for two straight years in 2016 and 2017 with the Gin Kings winning both duels. But Ginebra was pushed to the limit both times with the Gin Kings needing Justin Brownlee’s title-clinching buzzer-beater trey to close their first Finals meeting in six games while their rematch the following year went to Game 7. This clash could be no different with both squads – coming off long breaks - claiming that it will be a long series. “We feel like we're in good shape. We tried to pace our players throughout the entire conference to make sure they would stay fresh,” said Bolts coach Norman Black, who is looking to steer Meralco to its first title. “We just played TNT in a Game 5 so we went the limit as far as the semifinals is concerned. We'll be ready just in case it does go to a Game 7.” Just like Black, Cone will try to preserve his wards energy just in case. “We try to watch the players' minutes and such and practice time so we don't wear them out so they have something left in a Game 7,” he said. “But obviously if you can finish it early... we'd like to. They would like to finish it early, we would like to finish it early.” “But I think our feelings are it's gonna go down to a Game 7. That's generally the case when you have two really good teams,” added Cone. “We'll throw grenades at each other back and forth for a few games and try to come down to the wire and see who wins it all.”   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 4th, 2020

Clippers outlast Celtics in OT in successful debut of Kawhi, George combo

By Shaun Powell, NBA.com LOS ANGELES -- It took three weeks and 15 games into the season, but better late than never for the Clippers to finally hold their real Opening Night. They were finally whole on Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time) when Kawhi Leonard and Paul George shared the floor together, suiting up against the Celtics. Before that, the only significant time spent in each others company in uniform was last summer when they were introduced as the newest and most important members of the franchise. It was an event that shook the league and made the Clippers the title favorites; given the club’s zero championships, that glowing projection had never been written or spoken by anyone before. And, predictably, the league will not be conquered in a day or more accurately, a night where the Clippers defeated a Boston team holding the best record in the East but did so haphazardly at times before showing enough spunk in the fourth quarter and overtime to confirm their arrival as a team to be believed. Perhaps these sketchy performances will be expected from the Clippers here in the early season because George missed the first 11 games and Leonard six. Therefore, the Clippers will reek of training camp smell until their stars develop better harmony and the rotation gets in sync. Because at times in the 107-104 win over the Celtics, the Clippers passed up shots and were careless with their decision making and also their passing, perhaps in an effort to please one another. George and Leonard are the clear alpha dogs and not only were they too deferential to each other during stretches, so were their teammates, mostly to a fault. “Twenty-three turnovers,” said Clippers coach Doc Rivers, with a sense of resignation. “We were so sloppy. We were trying not to get in each others’ way. We need a lot of work. We’re trying to get the ball to guys instead of trying to score.” It’ll take more practice sessions to clean that up and gain a clearer understanding of roles and situations and flow. Because of injuries, the Clippers, George and Leonard simply haven’t had that chance. “We were thinking in the office earlier today if we ever had two (stars) getting ready to play in a game, and they never had one practice together,” said Rivers. “We couldn’t come up with one.” Well, don’t be misled; the Clippers’ glass is not exactly half empty. There was another aspect to the Clippers in their sneak preview “opener” that left much to be admired. They turn scrappy when cornered and fight when threatened. This was apparent when the Celtics snatched a 10-point lead late in the fourth and were rolling. In these situations, teams tend to discover what’s in their DNA and whether their desire level belongs in elite company, even here in mid-November. Here’s the results, then: George is at the very least Leonard’s equal as a scorer; Lou Williams can take over games even from Leonard and George when necessary; Pat Beverley never runs empty on energy or fire; and Leonard as he showed last spring always seems to deliver in the clutch with a decisive play. “Once we got started,” said Williams, “we saw how special this team can be.” Williams helped erase the Celtics’ lead by scoring 13 of his 27 points in the fourth quarter and caused major problems in the final few moments of regulation. Remember, he’s a lethal scorer in his own right and in last year’s playoffs, without George or Leonard, he carried the Clippers late in games. George finished with 25 points and drew double teams, which created open shots for teammates. It has been a torrid start for him this season since returning from shoulder surgery and rehab; he has 123 points in 110 minutes and hit the game-winner a few days ago against the Thunder. One of those who benefited from the extra attention given to George and Leonard was Beverley. The Celtics picked their poison and their scouting report, no surprise, told them to let Beverley beat them. Ordinarily that’s the proper strategy; Beverley isn’t a scorer nor does the ball usually find him in tense moments. But Beverley punished Boston with four three-pointers (in seven tries) and was an all-around menace, with a career-high 16 rebounds, seven assists and two steals with his 14 points. His feisty tenor set the tone for the Clippers defensively late in the game; the Celtics have the best offensive efficiency in the league yet managed a rather tame 30 points in the fourth quarter and five-minute OT. “They were trying to leave guys open,” said Rivers. “They left Pat open. They took the risk. He single-handedly willed that game for us.” Finally: At the OT buzzer, Leonard reached and deflected Kemba Walker’s potential game-tying shot. The development of the Leonard-George combo obviously will play huge in whatever success the Clippers have this season. It seems a match made in basketball heaven. Both bring similar styles and are unselfish. They can shoot the mid-range or three. They can attack the rim -- see Kawhi’s poster dunk Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time) that set social media ablaze -- and besides averaging over 25 per game, they obviously bring the goods defensively. George is a four-time member of the All-Defensive Team while Kawhi is twice the Defensive Player of the Year. Kawhi and George are no longer assigned the toughest assignment every night. They can take turns guarding the other team’s big scorer; George didn’t have this luxury in Indiana and Oklahoma City, and Leonard for much of his time in San Antonio and all last season with the Raptors. And they can switch on and off in the same game. For example, expect to see this happen Friday when league scoring leader James Harden comes to town. Last week, Harden torched the Clippers for 47 points. This time, he’ll see Kawhi in his grill for stretches and then get George, with a little Pat Bev thrown in for irritant’s sake. The elephant in the room is Kawhi’s health. Nobody expects him to play every game the remainder of the season, but he’s already on pace to miss 30. Last year in Toronto he missed 22. The good news is the Clippers can win without him provided George remains healthy. The better news is the Clippers are finally intact and complete right now, even though there are kinks to straighten and flaws to correct and a system that needs to be reset. “We want to figure out how to win games and then become a good team,” said Rivers. “We’re a work in progress.” 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 21st, 2019

Hamilton to start 5th at US Grand Prix as he chases F1 title

By Jim Vertuno, Associated Press AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Lewis Hamilton's race start at the U.S. Grand Prix will be far from ideal. His position in the season championship is still just fine. The Mercedes driver will start a distant fifth Sunday after a disappointing qualifying where teammate Valtteri Bottas grabbed the pole position with a lap record at the Circuit of the Americas. Hamilton has been a dominant force on the Texas track where he's won five times since 2012, but none of those victories came from starts behind the front row. So Hamilton will be chasing Bottas for the win, but he could just settle in for a cruise to a sixth career Formula One championship. Bottas has to win to extend the championship. Hamilton only needs to finish eighth or better to secure the title. He could even do it if he finishes ninth but grabs the single point awarded to the driver with the fastest lap. Hamilton hasn't finished lower than ninth this season and was down there only once — in the rain in Germany. "It was nothing to do with the car, it was just me," Hamilton said after qualifying. "I just didn't pull the laps out. The car had the capability to be on the front row. I just didn't do it today. I'll try to rectify it tomorrow." Bottas is the only driver still mathematically alive in the championship, even if just barely. He expects Hamilton to drive to win, at least for a while. "From what I know about him, he'll be there fighting hard. Lewis hates to lose. He wants to win like all of us do," Bottas said. "He doesn't need many points. He'd like to win the championship in a nice way. Obviously, I'll try to delay that." Bottas won his 11th career pole with a lap record of 1 minute, 32.029 seconds that beat Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel by just 0.012 seconds. Hamilton has called the U.S. Grand Prix "good hunting ground" for him based on his past success. He race win in clinched the 2015 clinched the season championship. That was the last time he's ended the title chase with a victory. His 2017 and 2018 championships were secured in Mexico City despite running some of his poorest races of those seasons, and didn't finish on the podium either time. After winning last week in Mexico City , Hamilton said he'd like to clinch this year's title with a win. The Texas track seemed the ideal place to do that considering Hamilton's record there, but now he's trying to buck a trend: No winner at the Circuit of the Americas has started from behind the front row. Germany's Michael Schumacher has the most F1 championships with seven won between 1994 and 2004. A sixth title would move Hamilton into second place by himself, breaking his tie with Argentina's Juan Manuel Fangio, who won five titles in the 1950s. In front of Hamilton to the first turn Sunday will be Red Bull's Max Verstappen and Ferrari's Charles Leclerc. Verstappen hoped to challenge for pole position but a tire lockup early in his final lap killed his chance. Leclerc put in a solid qualifying after engine trouble in Saturday's final practice. Ferrari had put a new engine in his car for this week's race, but it had an oil leak that caused smoke to billow out of the rear end. Ferrari put Leclerc's old engine back in the car to avoid taking a grid penalty and he still finished ahead of Hamilton. Qualifying was all kinds of stressful for Hamilton. He nearly collided with Verstappen early in the session, an incident that could have doomed both cars had they hit each other. Verstappen said he was lining up behind Toro Rosso's Daniil Kvyat as the cars were getting ready to start a lap when Hamilton suddenly drove between them. Verstappen swerved and drove through the grass to regain position in front of Hamilton. It was the latest dustup between the drivers. "Everybody was lining up to make space and Lewis drove by like nobody was there," Verstappen said. "He didn't care.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 3rd, 2019

New arena may house a new reality for Warriors

By Shaun Powell, NBA.com SAN FRANCISCO -- Here in the heart of the redeveloped Mission District lies The House That Three Championships Built, a Frisbee-shaped arena with oodles of high-tech and designer touches and wide concourses offering cuisine instead of food. You might say the Chase Center, the new $1.2 billion home of the Warriors is, ahem, splashy. Perhaps this residential upgrade was overdue for a team that has dominated the NBA for most of a decade because -- and this is no disrespect to Oakland or the charming and beloved Oracle Arena -- the Warriors are finally learning how the other half lives. For far too long, they played champagne basketball while living in a beer hall. Of course, the question now is whether that previous imbalance will suddenly flip and reverse itself. Will the Warriors, weakened by injury and a big offseason defection, now play beer basketball while their well-heeled fans here sip bubbly from their flutes at court-side? That is a very real scenario facing the franchise as it begins life without Kevin Durant and, at least for the moment, Klay Thompson. The buzz and sledgehammer long held by the Warriors has been transferred in the NBA, specifically to Los Angeles. That's where one of that city’s championship-quality teams, the Clippers, punished the Warriors 141-122 Thursday (Friday, PHL time) in the first regular-season game at Chase Center. It was about the worst opener a team could have in a new place, where is was competitive for about two quarters and rapidly turned into a lopsided loss caused by a performance that Draymond Green said “was sad across the board.” The Warriors took the night off defensively, making it impossible for Stephen Curry to keep pace with the Clippers even if he played by his own high standards (which he didn’t). Curry had as many turnovers (eight) as field goals and saw constant double-teams because the Clippers didn’t fear his teammates. By the start of the fourth quarter, the arena was half-full and whisper quiet. Warriors coach Steve Kerr emptied the bench right round the same time Chase Center emptied. When Golden State did that in years past, it was because it was conversely up big. “There’s going to be nights like this,” said Kerr, with a sigh of resignation. “This isn’t a one-off. The last five years we’d been living in a world that wasn’t supposed to exist.” The good news is the Warriors won’t play the Clippers 81 more times. Still, Kerr sounds prophetic: This is likely the new normal for Golden State over the course of the next several months. It wouldn’t be a stretch to assume the Warriors will grind much harder for wins in 2019-20 than they did at any time over the last five seasons, where they won almost 80 percent of their games. The fans at Oracle became spoiled by constant 3-pointers from Curry and Thompson and muscle poses from Green -- along with two Finals MVP seasons from Durant. After Durant bolted the Nets, the Clippers welcomed Kawhi Leonard and traded for Paul George. In a curious twist of fate, the Clippers are now poised to strip the Warriors of Western Conference ownership. These Clippers are 2-0, notching impressive wins against the Lakers and Warriors, all while George continues to heal up. While he'll return soon -- maybe even in the next two weeks -- Thompson could miss the season recovering from his torn left ACL. That puts much of the load on Curry. The former two-time Kia MVP is one of three Warriors remaining from their five straight conference-title and three NBA-title teams (Thompson and Green are the others) and is being handed a massive challenge. Curry will undoubtedly have the green light to shoot often, and also must develop a comfort zone with newcomer D’Angelo Russell until Thompson heals. Curry, though, will see even more swarming defenders and his supporting cast is young, inexperienced and brings light resumes. Gone are Andre Iguodala, Shaun Livingston and David West. Say hello and introduce yourself to Glen Robinson III, Marquese Criss and Eric Paschall. The Warriors have nine players who are 23 and younger. Russell, who was a first-time All-Star in 2018-19, is the most accomplished newcomer. Yet there’s no guarantee he’ll be on the roster past the February 6 trade deadline -- that all depends on where the Warriors are and if their philosophy gets a re-do. “We’re starting over,” Kerr said Thursday (Friday, PHL time). Lots of new pieces in the rotation combined with a typically rugged Western Conference means expectations have tempered somewhat dramatically here. Folks are realistic and wisely so. Making the playoffs, once a safe assumption for this franchise, is hardly a given this season. “It’s not a good feeling to lose games, especially when you’re opening up a new building,” Curry said. “It’s not about over-reacting to one game, but baby steps are in order. Turnovers, rebounding and our defensive presence in general are important. Our margin for error is really slim.” The most important goal for the Warriors is not necessarily to win enough games to squeeze out one of the last playoff spots, but to preserve Curry’s health by managing his minutes and games. Nothing else takes precedent over his well-being. Curry is on the wrong side of 30 and has a history of ankle tweaks. With tickets already sold for the inaugural season at Chase Center, this seems more like a bridge to 2020-21, when Thompson should be set to play a full year and the Warriors can reload. At least the digs are first class. The Warriors are back in San Francisco for the first time since 1971, before they crossed the Bay, when Wilt Chamberlain and friends played at the Cow Palace, an old barn south of town. Chase Center was built entirely with private financing and is owned and operated by the club. Peter Guber, the part-owner of the Warriors and producer of numerous Hollywood blockbuster movies, oversaw the design and flavor of the building with his vision. And the site is surrounded by office buildings and condos that’ll cost a few trust funds to buy. The players and coaching staff are thrilled with the custom locker room, expanded wellness center and weight room and a connected practice facility, though there are kinks that still need to be worked out. “I’ve been locked out of my office a couple of times,” said Kerr. “We’re slowly figuring our way out around here.” The same might be said about the Warriors on the court. To coronate the official opening of Chase Center for basketball, Thompson grabbed the microphone before tipoff, walked to center court in a sharp-fitting suit, and welcomed the fans, asking for their support this season for a team that promised to play hard. The fans should expect as much as the Warriors certainly seem capable of burning calories. In their current state, however, anything beyond that will be considered a bonus. 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 NewsOct 26th, 2019

Tight-knit Timberwolves relishing fresh start

By Dave Campbell, Associated Press MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The tension that the Minnesota Timberwolves lugged into last season has been long stamped out, replaced by talk of creating culture, establishing process and building relationships under a new regime. This team will be flying under the radar in the star-bursting Western Conference, facing a steep climb to the fringe of the playoff picture after finishing in 11th place in 2018-19. How much impact a fully healthy roster, an upbeat mood and a modernized on-court strategy will ultimately have on performance remains a mystery, but for now it’s clear at least that these players have been enjoying each other’s company. Whether through a trip to the Bahamas led by center Karl-Anthony Towns or the well-attended informal workouts on the court at team headquarters, the Timberwolves didn’t have to share how-they-spent-their-summer-vacation stories when they showed up on Monday (Tuesday, PHL time) for the start of training camp. They spent so much of the offseason together they already knew the details. “They’ve been so responsive to sacrifice some of their summer, which is not an obligation by any sort,” Towns said. “It’s a voluntary thing to do, and every single person has stepped up to the plate and said they want to be great.” The trade demand made by Jimmy Butler shrouded the dawn of last season until he was sent to Philadelphia for a package highlighted by Robert Covington. Two months after that, president and coach Tom Thibodeau was fired just halfway into his five-year contract. Gersson Rosas and Ryan Saunders were appointed to fill Thibodeau’s dual title, and several role players were swapped out in the first steps toward establishing a more collaborative and empowering environment with schemes on offense and defense designed to mesh better with the current state of the NBA. Nobody in the organization could ever recall so many players around the practice facility throughout the offseason. “Every year I’ve been in the league, really, I would see a lot of guys at training camp. That’s when the whole team would show up. But this year was more special,” forward Andrew Wiggins said. Point guard Jeff Teague at age 31 is the oldest of the 20 players on the roster to start camp. “It’s more upbeat. I was telling someone earlier it kind of feels like New York City right now. Everything’s fast paced, everyone’s moving around, everyone has somewhere to be. Everybody’s focused,” Teague said. “Last year was more like Indiana: Everybody was chill and relaxed. Kind of my vibe. It’s exciting to see, though. I think everyone around here is happy with the way things are going.” Here some other takeaways from the Timberwolves, on the eve of training camp to start the franchise’s 31st season in the NBA: HITTING THE ROAD For the first time in five years, the Timberwolves will hold a portion of training camp in Mankato, the small riverside city about 90 miles southwest of Minneapolis where owner Glen Taylor got his college degree in 1962 from what is now called Minnesota State University. Though the team will practice there on Tuesday and Wednesday (Wednesday and Thursday, PHL time) before returning to home base, the out-of-own trip allows for a little more bonding time. It also restores the tradition of a team dinner at the Taylor house, with his wife Becky’s lasagna as the menu feature. “We can really just focus on the work, the task at hand, and really set a tone for everybody,” Saunders said. OPENING UP Covington played in only 22 games for the Wolves after arriving in the trade due to a bone bruise on his right knee. The injury he believed would be minor proved to be anything but that, and the angst of being unable to play for his new team clouded his mind to the point that Saunders recommended Covington see a therapist to help with his mental health. “It made me get to the point where I had to send my family away from me, just because I couldn’t put them through that energy that I was feeling up top,” Covington said, crediting the sessions for not only improving his mood but accelerating his rehabilitation. BIG WIG Beginning the second season of his five-year maximum contract, Wiggins will again be under plenty of scrutiny as a $27 million player who has yet to fulfill the potential he came with as the first overall pick in the 2014 draft. Rosas and Saunders have taken the positive approach while trying to encourage him to ditch the mid-range jumpers for more 3-pointers and layups. “That gives me confidence, and it makes me believe that this is my year,” Wiggins said......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 1st, 2019

SEA Games: Tim Cone calls June Mar Fajardo a cornerstone for GIlas Pilipinas

The first official practice for the Tim Cone-led Gilas Pilipinas squad set to represent the country in the 2019 Southeast Asian Games happened Monday evening at the Meralco Gym in Ortigas, and attendance was near-perfect. Twelve members of the 15-man pool participated in on-court activities, while Christian Standhardinger and Marcio Lassiter were present, but sat on the sidelines as they continue to recover from their respective ailments. The lone absentee from the group was five-time PBA MVP and eight-time Best Player of the Conference June Mar Fajardo. Cone explained that Fajardo had some personal business to attend to and expects him to be with the team on Thursday’s session. “As you know, we’re missing June Mar. June Mar has some personal issue to do tonight and couldn’t make it tonight, we expect him to show up on Thursday,” Cone told the media. The multi-titled PBA coach also explained that Fajardo was also still dealing with an ankle injury and would have sat out the initial practice, had he been available. “He has an ankle issue, so he would not have practiced on court with us, he would have been on the side with Chris [Standhardinger] and Marcio [Lassiter], but we’re hoping that [he gets healthy],” Cone, who was tapped to succeed Yeng Guiao in National Team coaching duties, then took the opportunity to reiterate the importance of having Fajardo, arguably the most dominant big man in the PBA today, on the National Team. “Obviously he’s a cornerstone of the National Team, him and Jayson [Castro], so we need him on the team and we need him healthy, so we’re going to be patient with him. Again, he’s one of those guys that can pick up stuff really fast,” said Cone. The 2019 SEA Games, which will be held in the Philippines, begins late November. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 1st, 2019

PBA: Sizzling San Miguel dominates undermanned Alaska

San Miguel Beer’s Grand Slam bid is off to a sizzling start. The Beermen were all over a depleted Alaska team Sunday at Sta. Rosa, Laguna, dominating for a win in the 2019 PBA Governors’ Cup. After giving up 29 points in the opening period, the Beermen held the Aces to just 30 points in the next two to break the game wide open. With a strong second half, San Miguel was able to lead by as many as 35 points before rolling to a 2-0 start for the conference. Imporpt Dez Wells led all scorers with 25 points on top of seven rebounds. Terrence Romeo came off the bench and added 18 points. June Mar Fajardo, Alex Cabagnot, Arwind Santos, and Kelly Nabong were all good for 10 points each. Alaska dropped to 0-3 with a second lopsided loss. The Aces played without import Justin Watts, who was unfortunately injured in practice the day before. Jvee Casio led the Alaska offense with 16 points in the defeat.   The scores:  San Miguel 109 - Wells 25, Romeo 18, Santos 10, Fajardo 10, Cabagnot 10, Nabong 10, Ross 9, Pessumal 9, Rosser 4, Tubid 2, Zamar 2, Lanete 0, Vigil 0. Alaska 83 - Casio 16, Manuel 14, Tratter 13, Banchero 11, Thoss 10, Enciso 7, Ayaay 6, Galliguez 4, Pascual 2, Andrada 0, Babilonia 0.  Quarterscores: 25-29, 49-42, 81-59, 109-83.    — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 29th, 2019

PVL: Lady Jet Spikers record fifth win in a row

Soaring Philippine Air Force caught BanKo flatfooted to cruise to its fifth straight win, 26-24, 25-8, 25-21, on Sunday in the Premier Volleyball League Season 3 Open Conference at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan. With veteran setter Wendy Semana distributing the ball well for the Lady Jet Spikers' balanced scoring, Air Force exacted revenge on its first round tormentor to even its win-loss record to 5-5.   “Tabla na, babawi kami five-five pero hindi kami hihinto, dire-diretso pa rin kami. Padayon lang, tuluy-tuloy lang,” said Lady Jet Spikers coach Jasper Jimenez. Semana tallied 23 excellent sets that helped Air Force smash 44 attacks. Joy Cases had an all-around performance with 15 points, all but one coming off attacks and added 15 digs, while the towering Dell Palomata scored 14 markers off 12 spikes and two kill blocks for the Lady Jet Spikers. May Ann Pantino registered 13 points while Judy Ann Caballejo had eight points for Air Force, which got 21 free points off the BanKo’s 21 errors including the game-clinching attack miscue by Sue Roces. The Lady Jet Spikers used the momentum of their first set escape to control the match. Down, 22-24, Air Force scored four unanswered points to steal the opening frame. An 8-1 start gave the Lady Jet Spikers full control of the second set, which they went on to win in just 18 minutes.  Air Force broke the game open midway in the third set and moved at match point, 24-19, before the Perlas Spilkers saved two points. It would only delay the inevitable, as Roces surrendered the game with an attack error. BanKo fell to 6-4 slate tied with PacificTown Army. Dzi Gervacio was the only Perlas Spikers in double figures with 10 points while Nicole Tiamzon finished with nine.     --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 22nd, 2019

PBA: Black lauds Almazan’s ‘best game’ since joining Meralco

Meralco head coach Norman Black had nothing but praise for big man Raymond Almazan’s game on Saturday. The mentor felt that Almazan delivered his breakout game since joining the Bolts back in May of this year with clutch plays in Meralco’s 98-92 opening day victory over defending champion Magnolia in the 2019 PBA Governors’ Cup at the Big Dome.    ”This is probably the best game of Raymond Almazan since he joined our team,” said Black of his ward, whose fourth quarter explosion spelled the difference in the duel. Almazan broke a 92-92 deadlock with a trey in the last 2:27 of the match and added a split from the foul line to fuel Meralco’s late game barrage. He capped his night with a crucial defensive stop, swatting away Mark Barroca’s layup attempt with 17 ticks left that crushed the comeback hopes of the Hotshots.    “Kasi pinaghandaan ko din eh. 100% na (dapat) ready physically and mentally, so kailangan eh. Di na rin tayo pa-bata eh,” said Almazan, who is fresh from a tour of duty with Gilas Pilipinas in the 2019 FIBA World Cup in China. "May mga bagong batang pumapasok—mas malakas, mas bata, mas athletic. So kailangang i-rise up natin yung game natin." Almazan finished with 19 points -- 12 coming in the payoff period -- in 7-of-11 field goal shooting.   “I'm happy for Raymond, I'm happy that he came out and really came up with some big plays for us tonight,” said Black. Almazan also grabbed 13 boards, had two assists and a block for Meralco. Black just hopes that Almazan would stay healthy throughout the conference. “Last conference he joined us after he was out with an injury for 10 weeks. Everybody expected him to come back and play well immediately, but a lot of people didn't know that about a week after, he re-injured his calf in practice, which set him back,” said Black. “Then when he finally recovered from that, he got sick and was out for another four days. He really could not get his bearings in the last conference, but I wasn't really concerned about that 'cause I knew he was new to the team and he really didn't know the system that well,” added Black. “But we've had a chance now to get him comfortable with the team.”   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles  .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 21st, 2019

PVL: Lady Eagles, Lady Chiefs blast rivals to lead respective groups

Ateneo de Manila University and Arellano University hurdled their respective rivals to preserve their unbeaten cards and keep a tight hold of the top spot in the Premier Volleyball League Season 3 Collegiate Conference on Saturday at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan.   The reigning UAAP champions Lady Eagles notched their second straight win with a clinical dismantling of listless San Sebastian College, 25-17, 25-17, 25-8, in Group A. Ateneo head coach Oliver Almadro had the luxury of giving his young wards playing time in the 67-minute beat down of the Lady Stags. Rookie Faith Nisperos got 15 points off 11 attacks and four aces while Ponggay Gaston, who skipped Ateneo’s opening game last week after feeling under the weather, debuted with 10 markers with all but one coming off spikes. Setter Jaja Maraguinot tallied 20 excellent sets to help the Lady Eagles nail 35 attacks and laced it up with seven points. “Everything is a learning process pa rin. You just have to keep on learning and learning. We really have to maximize our players para mas lumalim ang cohesiveness namin,” said Almadro. “We know naman na our team is basically young, mostly are sophomores and freshmen so kailangan naming magkaroon talaga ng tiwala sa isa’t isa. Talagang every game and every practices are a learning day for us.” Ateneo punished SSC-R from the service line, landing 11 aces and frustrated the Lady Stags with tight net defense that the Lady Eagles converted to four kill blocks while limiting their rivals attack points to only 13. Sherielyn Bigata finished with five points while skipper Mary Rhose Dapol got four for SSC-R, which dropped to 0-2 slate. Meanwhile, the short-handed three-time NCAA champions Lady Chiefs crushed Lyceum of the Philippines University, 25-23, 12-25, 25-21, 25-21, for back-to-back wins in Group B. The injury bug bit Arellano U hard as the Lady Chiefs played sans top hitter Regine Arocha (ankle injury), Carla Donato (hand injury), Jehan Hussain (knee injury) and backup setter Donnalyn Paralejas (allergy). Reigning NCAA Most Valuable Player Necole Ebuen carried the ailing Arellano U on her back with 22 points with all but one coming off attacks while adding seven digs for an all-around effort. Risa Joy Batindaan had nine markers while setter Sarah Verutiao dished out 26 excellent sets on top of four points for the Lady Chiefs. “Kung titingnan natin ‘yung team ko talagang struggle ngayon e. Bawas ako ng player e, apat yung nawala ngayon due to injury,” said Arellano U coach Obet Javier. “’Yung pwesto namin ngayon hindi namin na-practice e so tiningnan ko lang kung anong nangyari.” “Pero maganda na rin kahit papaano, nakita na rin yung mga bago kung nasaan na talaga yung laro nila ngayon,” he added. “Marami pa rin dapat na i-improve sa amin especially ang hirap na iisa lang ang setter mo ngayon.” Arellano U recovered from a second set meltdown to hand the Lady Pirates their second loss in as many games. Ciamelle Wanta led LPU with 14 markers while Joan Doguna got 11 for LPU.     ---               Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 24th, 2019

PVL: Bea de Leon remains day-to-day

ChocoMucho head coach Oliver Almadro is not in a hurry to activate middle blocker Bea de Leon. The multi-titled mentor wants De Leon to get into tip-top shape before fielding the two-time UAAP champion in the Premier Volleyball League Season 3 Open Conference. De Leon sat out the Flying Titans’ debut on Wednesday as ChocoMucho made quick work of BaliPure, 25-12, 25-18, 25-18, at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan.     “Kailangan namin i-strengthen pa ‘yung legs niya kasi after UAAP, nag-therapy muna siya and then hindi pwedeng kailangan sabak kaagad so strengthening muna, kailangan maibalik,” said Alamdro on his main piece during Ateneo de Manila University’s title run in UAAP Season 81. De Leon was in the venue helping the team during their warm-ups and during their huddles. “Slowly nagpa-practice naman na siya. So, we just miss her now,” said Almadro. The mentor added that he’s just waiting for the green light to field in De Leon.   “Ang kailangan ko talaga 100 percent. Kami namang coaches, nagre-rely kami sa report ng mga therapists namin, PT namin at tsaka ng mga doctors. ‘Pagka sinabi ng doctors, o 100 percent, good,” said Almadro, who relied on Arianna Angustia and Shannen Palec in the absence of De Leon. “’Pag sinabi 80 percent, no, I like one hundred percent. Ganoon naman kami as a team so we have to make sure na 100 percent sila para they can give 100 percent also,” he added. “Sa ngayon, day-to-day siya e.” De Leon will also be doubtful in the Flying Titans' game against PacificTown Army on August 21.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 14th, 2019

Warriors hopes hinge on Durant coming back

By Tim Reynolds, Associated Press OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — When Game 4 was over, while Toronto fans were waving Canadian flags in celebration inside an otherwise-stunned Oracle Arena, a glum-faced Kevin Durant was outside the Golden State locker room to greet equally glum teammates as they sauntered off the floor. That’s been his only visible role on game nights in the NBA Finals. If that doesn’t change Monday (Tuesday, PHL time), this series is probably going to end. With it, in that case, so would Golden State’s reign as NBA champions. And then it’s possible that Durant, a free-agent-in-waiting, has played for the Warriors for the last time. Durant limped off the floor at Oracle Arena a month ago — Game 5 of the second round — with what the team called a mild calf strain. It’s apparently the most severe “mild” calf strain in the history of injuries, because he hasn’t played since and there’s no way of knowing if that’s going to change on Monday (Tuesday, PHL time). And the Warriors clearly need him if they’re going to pull off a comeback against the Raptors in these NBA Finals. “Nobody’s going to feel sorry for us at all,” Warriors guard Stephen Curry said. “It’s just a matter of can we get it done or not, and we’re going to leave it all out there starting on Monday.” That’ll be the case, with Durant or not. Here’s reality: Any Durant is better than no Durant for the Warriors right now. His mere presence might throw the Raptors off just enough to create more chances for the rest of the Warriors. It’s really the only card the Warriors have left to play at this point. Toronto took full control of the series Friday night (Saturday, PHL time), winning 105-92 for a 3-1 finals lead. Durant wasn’t on the bench for Game 4, and hasn’t been since getting hurt. He’ll be on the plane Saturday (Sunday, PHL time) headed to Ontario, and his uniform will be packed inside the Warriors’ equipment bags. If it goes unworn again, the Warriors are in big trouble. “There’s been hope that he will come back the whole series,” Warriors forward Draymond Green said. “So that’s not going to change now. Obviously we hope to have him, but we’ll see what happens. We don’t make that final call ... he don’t really even make that final call. His body will tell him if he can get out there or not. And if he can, great. And if not, you still got to try to find a way.” They’ve been trying, with limited success. Even with Durant. The Raptors are 5-1 against the Warriors this season, even going 2-0 in the regular season when Durant scored 51 in one game and 30 in another. The Warriors just looked tired on Friday night (Saturday, PHL time), weary against a Toronto team that has had every answer in this series. They haven’t been able to muster the offense they need against Toronto. With Durant, that story could be different. But even if he plays on Monday (Tuesday, PHL time), after not playing for a month, how good could he be anyway? Even someone as talented as Durant, who is in the conversation of “best player in the world” right now, can’t fake rhythm. Throwing him into an elimination game in the NBA Finals, after not playing for a month, is an unbelievably daunting ask. It might be what’s required. “We’re hoping he can play Game 5 or 6,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “And everything in between I’ve decided I’m not sharing because it’s just gone haywire. There’s so much going on, and so it doesn’t make sense to continue to talk about it. He’s either going to play or he’s not.” The Warriors will practice on Sunday (Monday, PHL time). With so much at stake, unless his calf muscle just won’t allow it, Durant will probably try to do something that day. It’s hard to believe that he doesn’t want to play, and the fact that he hasn’t been seen yet in this series just reiterates how not mild this “mild” strain was. A shot at a third straight ring is slipping away. Maybe it was gone the second Durant got hurt. When the Warriors swept Portland in the Western Conference finals, there was silly talk about how the team might be better without Durant. That talk is nonexistent now. Any team is better — a lot better — with Durant. And if he finds a way back to the court, the Warriors might just get a lot better in a hurry. Or else, this era could end Monday night (Tuesday, PHL time). “We’ve got to win one game,” Green said. “We win one, then we’ll build on that.” Without Durant, winning that one game on Monday (Tuesday, PHL time) might be too tough an ask, even for the Warriors......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 8th, 2019

Warriors injuries create opening with Finals in balance

By Shaun Powell, NBA.com OAKLAND, Calif. — From now until further notice, each game of the 2019 NBA Finals will be largely influenced not by a go-ahead basket or a big stop or a rally-induced comeback, but a hot-off-the-press medical update prior to tipoff. Is Klay Thompson's tweaky hamstring a go? Will this be the day Kevin Durant finally shakes that lingering calf strain and suits up? The hints and subtle signs seem to point toward the positive for Golden State. Thompson was a late scratch Wednesday night (Thursday, PHL time) because the Warriors -- with a mixture of confidence and arrogance and concern -- felt the guard missing Game 3 was perhaps best for his recovery without proving deadly in the long run. And as for Durant, he’s still “ramping up” his workouts, in the description of coach Steve Kerr, and so his status has been upgraded to "stay tuned." It has become must-watch after a 123-109 loss. Yet if the answer is negative to all of the above, the next entry on the medical report might be the grim health of the dynasty built by these two-time defending champions. Their still-under-construction monument now teeters, prone to a nudge from Toronto. The Warriors find themselves down 2-1 to the Raptors, lacking any guarantee they’ll see two of their three leading scorers back in the lineup Friday (Saturday, PHL time) for Game 4 ... or for however long this series lasts. Thompson joined Durant on the sideline, and the Raptors (as could be anticipated) pounced on the gift to seize control of the series. It was a game the Raptors had to win, and they did. The production came from multiple players, with Kyle Lowry finally making an imprint on this series and Danny Green rediscovering his long-lost three-point touch. Meanwhile, the Warriors consisted of Steph Curry and not much else. The two-time Kia MVP dazzled and fought through traps and triple-teams all night to drop a career-high 47 points, some of it on shot-making wizardry. But the short-handed Warriors were doomed when Draymond Green and DeMarcus Cousins in particular were underwhelming on a night they needed to be stellar for Golden State to have a chance. As a result, the atmosphere inside Oracle Arena was flatter than most of the shots taken by Curry's teammates, and this was partly due to the introduction of the starting lineups, when Thompson’s name wasn’t announced. The fans knew then, officially, that their eyes and the home team were in for a long night. While the Warriors fought, scrappy doesn’t win games at this point in the postseason, not when the other team is good and opportunistic. Playing in a hostile building for the first time in the Finals, the Raptors made a collective decision to greet fire with fire. Or, as they wrote on the blackboard inside the visitor’s locker room: Let It Rip. “I think we all kind of followed that advice,” said Danny Green. “We hadn’t really had a good team shooting night and I knew we were due.” For Toronto, it wasn’t just that they won, but that they did so with their most impressive outing in the series. And now, the question for the Raptors is this: Will their inconsistent players use this outing to turn the corner and push the Warriors, even if Thompson and/or Durant return? This is aimed, first and foremost, at Lowry. He took the “let it rip” plea personally. Entering this game, he had six baskets total in this series and at times suffered defensively. Challenged by a pregame talk from coach Nick Nurse, Lowry embraced his inner pit bull and was relentless all night. The All-Star point guard took 16 shots, making eight, for 23 points and nine assists while making his presence felt for the first time this Finals. “For me, it was just not being so passive and trying to get everyone else involved and get myself going and let everyone else feed off that,” Lowry said. He and Green re-introduced the three-pointer to the Raptors’ offense. The two shot 11-for-19 and repeatedly stole whatever momentum Golden State could generate by responding with long-distance daggers that forced fans to slump back into their seats. This from the same player who had five total three's in his previous five playoff games, ruining more than a handful of runs with momentum-deflating misses. There’s no other way to describe the last three weeks of Green’s postseason shooting but dreadful. He has only one job: Stand in the corner and shoot open 3s. He’s made a career of that. So what do the Raptors make of Green shooting 6-of-10 from deep Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time)? In the short term, it helped win Game 3. In the big picture, will this confidence carry over from one night to another, or does it depend on whether Green hits his first few? Nurse said: “Danny’s buckets boosted our whole team’s confidence because we were used to relying on those most of the year.” With better production from players who had been mostly missing, the Raptors had the balance needed to deliver their highest-scoring and most efficient (52 percent shooting) contest of the series. Green and Lowry joined Kawhi Leonard (30 points) and Pascal Siakam (18) and Marc Gasol (17) to take turns pummeling the Warriors from all different directions and manners. One reason for this was Thompson’s absence. Not only is he a proven outside shooter, but his defense is top-notch as well. You could even argue that Thompson’s missing defense was just as costly as his jumper. Yet the 109 points Golden State did manage were mainly because of Curry providing nearly half the offense. Given the circumstances of being without Thompson and Durant, and the constant pressing by Toronto whenever he had the ball, this was Curry’s finest post-season effort. His shooting was superb all across the floor, making three's (six) and free throws (13-14) and in general (14-31). “It’s the Finals,” Curry said. “You give everything you’ve got, sacrifice your body when you have the opportunity. Just competitiveness and trying to play until the buzzer.” “He does things that honestly I don’t think anyone has done before," Kerr added. "The way he plays the game, the way he shoots and the combination of his ball-handling, it’s incredible to watch.” If only he had someone riding shotgun. Cousins was sloppy on both ends, with three turnovers and one basket, and a step slow on defense against Gasol. This came one game after he seemingly regained his legs and confidence to gave Golden State a much-needed lift. Green’s continued recklessness was mystifying; he often made questionable decisions as a playmaker, suffered four turnovers and once again struggled to contain Siakam. The Warriors needed Green’s best, given their missing parts, and received something less. “We’ve got to be more solid with the ball and it starts with me,” he said. “I’ve had a bunch of turnovers in every game of this series. I think if I played better with the night (Curry) had, we would have won.” And so the Warriors, while talking bravely about their next-man-up mentality and embracing their “Strength in Numbers” slogan, must realize, deep down, that preventing the Raptors from winning two more games with a handicapped team might be difficult, if not impossible. Keep in mind that Golden State hasn’t sparkled for four quarters since the first game of the Western Conference finals. The last three games of that series, and the first three of the NBA Finals, the Warriors trailed by double digits. Thompson has an off day and Friday's (Saturday, PHL time) pregame period for therapy on his hamstring, although such strains are unpredictable and tricky. Will he be able to cut and fight through screens and be bouncy for 35-plus minutes through the intensity of an NBA Finals game, or will the injury restrict him and cause Kerr to seek a healthier, yet less productive replacement? “The whole point was to not risk a bigger injury that would keep him out the rest of the series,” said Kerr, explaining a decision made in consultation with the team doctors. “I feel very comfortable with it. I never would have forgiven myself if I played him and he had gotten hurt. So you live with the decision you made. The good thing is Klay has done well the last two days; hopefully he’ll be out there Friday.” Then there’s Durant, who last played May 8 (May 9, PHL time). After doing nothing but individual drills the last few days, he’ll go through a more normal practice session that will be simulated with the help of some assistant coaches and bench players. They'll see how Durant holds up. But that won’t match the stress level of a real game. And even if Durant gets clearance for Game 4, he hasn’t played in roughly a month. What about his timing? His wind? His touch? His ability to bring the same energy on defense? All legit questions and concerns for the Warriors -- until they’re not, whenever that is. “No one cares if guys are hurt,” Green said. “Everyone wants to see us lose anyway. So I’m sure people are happy they’re hurt.” Chances are that basketball fans, even if they’re against the Warriors, want to see stars on the floor this time of year. That’s what the NBA Finals is always about: Premium players doing premium things, or failing to do so, and letting the championship odds rise or fall on their performances. This year’s Finals have been denied one star for every game, and an additional star for one game. The battle with star attrition finally cost the Warriors a postseason loss, and at the worst possible time. The flow of the remainder of the NBA Finals, then, could rest with aching tendons and muscles and the recovery powers of those who own them. “We’re missing 50 points with KD and Klay, but we’ll adjust,” said a confident Curry. “It’s a long series, you know. It’s going to be fun for us.” The next Warriors medical update will arrive Thursday afternoon (Friday, PHL time). And another one Friday (Saturday, PHL time) just prior to tipoff. All along, the Warriors have led everyone to believe that it’s only a matter of time before they’re fully healthy. But will it be in time? And even then, will it be enough against a Toronto team suddenly thinking big? 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 6th, 2019

Raptors regain Finals lead, survive Curry flurry in Game 3

By Janie McCauley, Associated Press OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Kawhi Leonard, Danny Green and Kyle Lowry kept finding answers for every big shot by Stephen Curry and the beat-up Warriors, and the Toronto Raptors grabbed a pivotal road win in the NBA Finals by beating Golden State 123-109 on Wednesday night (Thursday, PHL time) for a 2-1 series lead. Curry scored a playoff career-best 47 points to go with eight rebounds and seven assists, but couldn't do it all for the two-time defending champions, down starters Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson and key backup big man Kevon Looney because of injuries. Leonard scored 30 points, Lowry contributed 23 with five three-pointers and Green had 18 points with six triples after Pascal Siakam got the Raptors rolling early as Toronto shot 52.4% and made 17 from deep. Splash Brother Thompson missed his first career playoff game after straining his left hamstring late in Game 2, while Looney is out the rest of the series after a cartilage fracture on his right side near the collarbone that also happened Sunday (Monday, PHL time). Durant, a two-time reigning NBA Finals MVP, is still out because of a strained right calf. Golden State hopes to get healthier by Game 4 on Friday night (Saturday, PHL time) back at Oracle Arena. The Warriors trailed 96-83 going into the final quarter then Curry's three free throws at 10:37 made it a seven-point game before back-to-back baskets by Serge Ibaka. Siakam scored 18 points and established the momentum for Toronto from the tip, hitting his first three shots and setting a tone for a defensive effort that stayed solid without the foul problems that plagued the Raptors in Game 2. Golden State greatly missed not only Thompson's touch from outside but also his stifling defense. Raptors coach Nick Nurse challenged his team to produce more defensive stops in order to get out in transition — "make them miss more," he said. Ibaka produced six blocked shots in the effort. "We're at a point in the series we've got to get out and guard these dudes," Nurse said. Curry shot 14-for-31 including 6-of-14 on three's while making 13-of-14 free throws in his sixth career 40-point playoff performance. Nurse pulled out a box-and-one to try to stymie Curry in Golden State's 109-104 Game 2 win, then the Raptors made Curry's short-handed supporting cast try to beat them this time — and it sure worked. TIP-INS Raptors: All five Toronto starters scored in double digits and Fred VanVleet added 11 off the bench. ... The Raptors began 10-for-14 and scored 12 early points in the paint. .. Former Warriors G Patrick McCaw, who departed after last season in contract dispute, drew boos from the crowd when he checked into the game late in the first. Warriors: Curry's 17 first-quarter points matched his most in the period for the postseason. He also did so on April 27, 2014, against the Clippers. ... In the first half, Curry was 4-of-8 from three-point range, the rest of the Warriors just 1-for-11. ... Draymond Green's streak of double-doubles ended at a career-best six games. A 12th overall this postseason would match Denver's Nikola Jokic for most in the 2019 playoffs. ... Tim Hardaway from the Warriors' "Run TMC" era attended the game. WARRIORS INJURIES Durant went through extensive workouts both Tuesday and Wednesday (Wednesday and Thursday, PHL time) at the practice facility with the hope he would do some scrimmaging Thursday (Friday, PHL time). While the Warriors weren't scheduled for a regular practice Thursday (Friday, PHL time), coach Steve Kerr said some of the coaches and younger players might be called upon to give Durant the full-speed court work he still needs before being medically cleared to return. He missed his eighth straight game since the injury May 8 (May 9, PHL time) in Game 5 of the Western Conference semifinals against the Rockets. Thompson was hurt in Game 2 on Sunday (Monday, PHL time) and was to be evaluated by the training staff before tipoff. He didn't end up warming up on the court. Thompson did some running and shooting earlier in the day but Kerr said the Warriors weren't going to play him "if there's risk" of further damage at this stage of the series. Thompson is averaging 19.5 points, 4.0 rebounds and 2.1 assists this postseason, including 23.0 points through the first two finals games. He will have another full day to recover before Game 4. ORACLE OVERDUE The home fans waited 20 days between home playoff games with the long layoff after the Western Conference finals sweep of Portland then Golden State opening the finals in Toronto. It had been since Game 2 against the Trail Blazers on May 16 (May 17, PHL time) that the Warriors hosted — the second-longest lapse between home games since the current 16-game, four-round format was established in 1983. The Warriors hosted a Game 3 in the finals for the first time since winning the 1975 title, having begun at home in each of the previous four......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 6th, 2019