(Field Level Media) Damian Lillard scored 23 points, including three consecutive 3-pointers in a fourth-quarter stretch, to lead the visiting Portland Trail Blazers to a 102-99 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder yesterday. The Trail Blazers never led by more than nine points in a competitive game wire-to-wire. But Lillard’s hot fourth quarter provided them just enough breathing room to hold off the Thunder.When Lillard was not scoring in the fourth, he distributed to teammates for open looks. Three of his game-high 13 assists came in the final minutes. He twice found Rodney Hood, who scored five of his nine points down the stretch, including for a key corner 3-pointer that extended the Portland lead to five with 30 seconds remaining.Lillard also dished a crucial assist to Hassan Whiteside on a dunk immediately following the guard’s 3-point flurry. Whiteside registered a double-double with 12 points and 12 rebounds. Oklahoma City cut the lead to two after Whiteside’s dunk, countering with two Nerlens Noel slams. Noel scored 15 points and grabbed a game-high 14 rebounds.Hood’s 3-pointer ultimately put the game out of reach. Portland closed its three-game road swing through Texas and Oklahoma 2-1, bookending a loss at San Antonio with victories over the Dallas Mavericks and Thunder. Guard CJ McCollum capped a high-scoring road trip with his lowest output of the three games, 22 points. He made seven turnovers, but shot 5 of 10 from 3-point range.As a team, the Trail Blazers hit 48.6 percent from deep. Oklahoma City shot a dismal 14.8 percent from behind the arc. Danilo Gallinari was the only member of the Thunder to make multiple 3-pointers, going 3 of 9 en route to 15 points. Chris Paul led Oklahoma City with 21 points, and Dennis Schroder added 17 off the bench.Thunder wing Hamidou Diallo recorded a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds, including four offensive boards. Another Kentucky product like Diallo — Portland’s Skal Labissiere — played a strong game off the bench, with seven points, four rebounds, two blocks, a steal and an assist for a game-high 13 plus-minus rating.
NEW YORK, (Reuters) – The New York Knicks’ abysmal season took yet another unfortunate turn this week after a purported mix-up at Madison Square Garden led to a public rift with one of the team’s most famous and stalwart supporters, director Spike Lee. The Academy Award winner told ESPN’s First Take yesterday that he would not attend another Knicks game at Madison Square Garden this season after an issue with security over the door he used to enter the arena on Monday, saying that the team later tried to “spin” the incident. The 62-year-old New Yorker eventually reached his regular court side seat to watch the Knicks take on the Houston Rockets. But he told ESPN he objected to how the franchise handled the situation.“I’m coming back next year, but I’m done for the season,” said Lee.The Knicks responded to his remarks with a critical tweet yesterday, saying Lee was creating “this false controversy to perpetuate drama.” The incident clouded an otherwise positive day for the struggling Knicks, one of the worst teams in the National Basketball Association’s Eastern Conference, who upset the much stronger Rockets 125-123.The tweet also said that Lee and Knicks owner James Dolan shook hands at the game and included a photo of the two.
(Reuters) – The Ballon d’Or will not be awarded this year for the first time in its 64-year history after the COVID-19 pandemic wreaked havoc on the football calendar, organisers France Football magazine said yesterday. The prestigious Ballon d’Or, voted for by journalists and organised by French magazine France Football, is an annual prize awarded to the best male footballer in the world since 1956. The women’s Ballon d’Or was first awarded in 2018.The 2019-20 season has been ravaged by the pandemic, with all the major European leagues suspending matches from March to June.“From a sports perspective, two months (January and February), out of the eleven generally required to form an opinion and decide who should lift the trophies, represent far too little to gauge and judge,” Pascal Ferre, editor-in-chief of France Football, said in a statement. “… Without forgetting that the other games were played – or will be played – in extraordinary conditions (behind closed doors, with five replacements).”The final stages of the Champions League, from the quarter-finals onwards, has also been rescheduled as a mini-tournament in Portugal next month.
Share There will be no time to celebrate Christmas for Paddy Power and Betfair governances as the shareholders of both companies have agreed outright to approve the £6.2 billion merger deal.Holding simultaneous ‘extraordinary meetings’ on Monday 21 December in which shareholders filed their votes, the merger deal saw a 99% investor approval, gaining a further significant step towards the creation of new business entity ‘Paddy Power Betfair’.In accordance with the new entity’s terms Paddy Power shareholders will own 52% of corporate shares. Paddy Power shareholders will further be rewarded with a special €80 million dividend on the closure of the deal.Both operators had sent their investors’ merger prospectuses in November outlining corporate integration plans and co-synergy creations. The combined entity will look to establish £25 million in savings in 2016 through the reduction of labour costs.The reduction in work force, forms part of a £50 million short term co-synergies’ savings target set by both operators.The merger still awaits the approval of the Irish Commission of Competition & Consumer Protection. Last week the UK Consumer Markets Authority approved of the merger in its Phase UK competition review.When the merger is complete, Breon Corcoran, who currently serves as CEO of Betfair, will become CEO and an executive director of Paddy Power Betfair. Paddy Power’s current CEO Andy McCue will become the company’s COO and an executive director of ‘Paddy Power Betfair’ Flutter moves to refine merger benefits against 2020 trading realities August 27, 2020 Share Paddy Power raises awareness of Missing People with Motherwell ‘silhouette’ stand August 7, 2020 ‘Deal maker’ Rafi Ashkenazi ends Flutter tenure August 27, 2020 StumbleUpon Related Articles Submit
Preparing for the final week of their off-season program and mandatory minicamp, the Ravens appeared all but set on the offensive line, at least in terms of who would be competing for the starting left guard position. The battle between rookie Kelechi Osemele and second-year lineman Jah Reid — both converting from the tackle position — to replace former Pro Bowl guard Ben Grubbs was shaping up to be the most compelling competition of the preseason. However, that all changed on Friday when Baltimore announced the signing of former Bengals guard Bobbie Williams to a two-year contract. Many assume it to be a move reflecting a lack of faith in Osemele and Reid as both have faced physical challenges during organized team activities, but coach John Harbaugh insisted the addition of Williams was something the Ravens were considering since the start of free agency. While unsuccessfully courting Philadelphia guard Evan Mathis to replace Grubbs, general manager Ozzie Newsome and the front office quietly monitored the rehabilitation of Williams’ fractured ankle suffered in Week 14 last season. “He is a guy that we knew about right away,” Harbaugh said. “We have always liked him. We had him highly ranked. He had a situation with a broken leg last year. We had to see how that developed.”With Osemele sidelined and left tackle Bryant McKinnie being held out of minicamp workouts due to conditioning concerns, Williams has immediately stepped in at left guard while Reid has played right tackle as Michael Oher has moved back to the left side of the starting offensive line this week. When the Ravens have their full allotment of linemen at the start of training camp, it remains to be seen how serious they are about entrusting a 35-year-old coming off a major injury to handle the left guard spot. Despite having started 130 games in his 12 NFL seasons and reportedly receiving an $800,000 signing bonus, Williams hasn’t been assured of anything other than an opportunity to compete with the young linemen to nail down the starting left guard job. He has plenty to prove after playing only nine games last season after facing a four-game suspension for violating the league’s policy on performance enhancing substances and missing the final three games due to injury. “That’s just it, that [the left guard spot is] open,” Williams said. “They like the guy I am. They like my character and they like my play. They said that I would be a great fit, and I believe that. I’m up for the challenge, and I’m going to try to maximize every chance I get.”With the additions of Williams and former Rams and 49ers interior lineman Tony Wragge in the last week, offensive line coach Andy Moeller and Harbaugh have more options in formulating their starting five for the regular season.It may look much different than anyone expected it to even a few weeks ago.With the decision to keep McKinnie off the practice field, it’s clear the Ravens aren’t pleased with his weight and conditioning less than six weeks from the start of training camp. If they determine they cannot count on him to start on the left side, they could elect to move Oher permanently back to the left side and shift the competition between Osemele and Reid to right tackle — with Williams then starting at left guard. A more likely scenario is a competition between Williams and Osemele at left guard with Reid shifting back to his natural tackle position as a reserve. Even if McKinnie sheds more weight and brings his conditioning to a satisfactory level, the Ravens are thin at tackle behind McKinnie and Oher with 2010 sixth-round choice Ramon Harewood struggling mightily during OTA workouts. Not only does the addition of Williams give the Ravens another veteran on which to lean, but it creates many more combinations for a unit trying to fill the void left behind by its best offensive lineman in recent years. “We are just building an offensive line. We’ll have competition,” Harbaugh said. “Those young guys are going to be in there competing. The best guys are going to play. It’s nice to have another veteran guy in the mix. It makes us stronger. We’ll see how it shakes out as we go.”Williams will need to prove he is fully recovered from the ankle injury that diminished his value on the open market earlier this offseason as well as make the transition from right guard to the left side. It was a move interior lineman Andre Gurode struggled with last season trying to fill in for the injured Grubbs after he had spent his entire career at center and right guard. When posed the question of how easily he could make the move, Williams expressed little concern as he prepares for his 13th season out of the University of Arkansas. The 6-foot-4, 345-pound guard is prepared for anything at this stage of his career, especially if it means a better opportunity to win a Super Bowl as he stays in the AFC North. “At this stage in the game, that’s all it is is a change — just switch up your footwork and go with it,” Williams said. “The mentality is still the same.”And it’s a mentality the organization would surely like to see the longtime Bengal bring with him to Baltimore.
OWINGS MILLS, Md. — A key player for both the Ravens and the Minnesota Vikings missed practice for the second straight day on Thursday as linebacker Elvis Dumervil and All-Pro running back Adrian Peterson continue to be sidelined with nagging injuries.Neither player is expected to miss Sunday’s game, but Dumervil’s absence for a second straight day does raise some concern that he’s not progressing from a nagging ankle injury as quickly as the Ravens initially hoped. Dumervil hurt the ankle late in the first half of last week’s game against Pittsburgh before returning to play early in the third quarter.“He got through the game and he got back in and played,” said coach John Harbaugh about Dumervil’s status on Monday. “He looks OK. We’re going to have to nurse some things, just like we do with a lot of different guys.”Leading the NFL with 1,208 rushing yards, Peterson is nursing a groin injury, but Vikings head coach Leslie Frazier told reporters the 2012 league MVP should be ready to practice on Friday. The 28-year-old rushed for a season-high 211 yards in the Vikings’ overtime win over Chicago last week. Tight end Dennis Pitta was practicing once again as he moves closer to a potential return for Sunday’s game. A team source says the fourth-year tight end has taken some full-team reps for the first time this week, but the Ravens are trying not to pressure Pitta and want him to feel comfortable in deciding when he’s ready to return. He was limited to just individual work in the week leading up to the New York Jets game and wasn’t able to do much last week with the Ravens only holding walk-throughs on a short week with a Thursday night game. The organization has until 4 p.m. on Saturday to place Pitta on the 53-man roster for him to be eligible to play against the Vikings. “He’s coming along, but he’s getting his feet back under him,” offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell said on Thursday. “He’s moving well. For him, I’m sure it’s going to be a work in progress. He’s getting a lot more work this week than he did last week, and we’ll see how it goes.”Reserve defensive backs Asa Jackson (thigh) and Brynden Trawick (ankle) were both absent from practice while starting cornerback Jimmy Smith (concussion) was upgraded to full participation on Thursday.Here is Thursday’s full injury report: BALTIMOREDID NOT PARTICIPATE: LB Elvis Dumervil (ankle), S Brynden Trawick (ankle), CB Asa Jackson (thigh)LIMITED PARTICIPATION: DE Chris Canty (shoulder), WR Brandon Stokley (knee), CB Lardarius Webb (abs)FULL PARTICIPATION: CB Jimmy Smith (concussion) MINNESOTADID NOT PARTICIPATE: LB Larry Dean (knee), RB Adrian Peterson (groin), QB Christian Ponder (concussion), CB Josh Robinson (chest), TE Kyle Rudolph (foot)LIMITED PARTICIPATION: DE Jared Allen (finger), LB Chad Greenway (wrist), S Jamarca Sanford (ankle), DT Sharif Floyd (illness)FULL PARTICIPATION: RB Matt Asiata (shoulder), DT Fred Evans (knee), DE Everson Griffen (toe), S Andrew Sendejo (toe)
In a game that was far from pretty or well played, the Washington Capitals rallied from a 3-2 third period deficit to win on Joel Ward’s rebound tally off of a Mike Green shot in overtime. The goal, Ward’s first in over a month, gave the Caps a 5-4 victory over the Sharks in San Jose and improves the team to 29-16-10 (68 points).They say the mark of a good team is when they can win when they don’t have their “A” game.If so, the Capitals are a good team because they were very sloppy, particularly in their own zone, yet found a way to prevail. In addition, they did a poor job of allowing Braden Holtby (26 saves) to the see the puck, at times, and that alone allowed the Sharks to erase a 1-0 deficit and score twice in 22 seconds in period two, on shots from Brent Burns. Holtby himself, did not have a stellar outing, yielding the last two goals on shots he’d like to have back. Matt Niskanen, who has had a very good season, struggled on the back end, as well, but fortunately Green was superb and John Carlson overcame a rough start to dominate in the third period with a nice assist followed by a goal.The hero of the night, however, was one Jay Beagle and #83 was a tireless worker once again. He scored the game’s opening marker by going to the cage, and Andre Burakovsky was a big factor on that one too by taking his man to the net (and the puck bounced to Beags off of the skate of the Shark covering #65). Beagle also tallied to tie this game up at three with 8:43 remaining when he took a long lead pass from Carlson and got some help from the linesmen, who knocked the San Jose d-man down, allowing Jay to go in one on one and school Antti Niemi.After Carlson gave the Caps a 4-3 lead on a Sharks turnover, Washington returned the favor by promptly turning the biscuit over too. That allowed Jumbo Joe Thornton to tie things up at four with 5:31 to go. From there both teams played for their valuable standings point.In overtime, the Caps scored on a 3 on 1 rush after former Capital Scott Hannan blew a tire in the neutral zone. The Sharks yelled at the zebras, but on replay it looks like the old and “Tin Man” like Hannan simply lost an edge. That’s hockey.Overall, I’d give the Capitals a B- grade in this game. They weren’t sharp and looked lazy, at times, especially in period two when they were outscored 3-1. Washington’s second line of Evgeny Kuznetsov, Troy Brouwer, and Jason Chimera was pretty bad on this night in terms of puck possession. Chimera just doesn’t belong in the top 6. Brouwer did get a power play goal tipping home an Alex Ovechkin pass in period two and he did TKO Brenden Dillon in a first period bout, so it wasn’t all bad for #20.A win is a win is a win, and the Caps needed that after a poor game on Sunday against the Flyers.There are no style points in the NHL, which was good on Wednesday night. Now it is on to LA to face the Kings on Saturday followed by the Ducks in Anaheim on Sunday.Notes: Shot attempts favored San Jose, 62-57…Ovechkin had six shots on goal…the Caps lost the face off battle, 30-23…Carlson led the Caps in ice time with 23:41…Burns played 26:06 for the Sharks to lead all skaters in ice time.
BALTIMORE — Beginning their 24th season at Oriole Park at Camden Yards, the Orioles hope the weather will cooperate as they host the Toronto Blue Jays in their home opener on Friday afternoon.An overcast setting accompanied by a forecast of afternoon thunderstorms provided the topic of conversation, but the Orioles hope to continue their run of success in home openers at Camden Yards as they are 17-6 since 1992. Baltimore owns a 41-20 combined record in home openers dating back to 1954.Though currently on the 15-day disabled list after suffering a left shoulder strain in late March, shortstop J.J. Hardy continues to make progress as the club hopes to send him on a minor-league rehabilitation assignment next week. On Thursday, Hardy took swings with a fungo bat and expressed no major concerns to reporters the following morning. The plan is for Hardy to swing once again on Friday — potentially with his regular bat or even hitting off a tee.This is considered the final hurdle as his shoulder has responded well to all other baseball-related activity.“We still have to take it day by day and see how I feel,” Hardy said. “We’re not putting a time limit on it, because it puts more pressure on it. It’s definitely getting better.”Outfielder David Lough (left hamstring) is expected to play in an intrasquad game in Sarasota on Friday. Manager Buck Showalter said the plan is to send Lough to Single-A Frederick for a rehab assignment as early as Saturday, but the Orioles have left open the possibility of activating him from the DL this weekend.Below are the lineups for the home opener:TORONTOSS Jose ReyesCF Dalton PompeyRF Jose BautistaDH Edwin Encarnacion3B Josh DonaldsonC Dioner Navarro1B Justin SmoakLF Kevin Pillar2B Devon TravisSP Mark Buehrle (2014 stats: 13-10, 3.39 ERA, 1.36 WHIP)BALTIMORESS Everth CabreraLF Steve PearceCF Adam Jones1B Chris DavisDH Delmon Young3B Manny MachadoRF Travis Snider2B Jonathan SchoopC Caleb JosephSP Bud Norris (2014 stats: 15-8, 3.65 ERA, 1.22 WHIP)
COLLEGE PARK, Md. — Mark Turgeon had downplayed the notion that Thursday’s showdown with third-ranked Iowa was a must-win game for Maryland.The coach reiterated that sentiment even after the No. 8 Terrapins earned their first win of the season against a ranked opponent and served the Hawkeyes their first loss in Big Ten play in a 74-68 final“Everybody that cares about Maryland basketball was in a panic, but we never were,” said Turgeon, who reminded that all three of the Terps’ losses had come in challenging road environments. “We’re in a grind session right now. We’ve got a tough schedule ahead of us. We’re trying to be the best team we can be in March and peak at the right time.”Panic? That description might be too strong, but concern was growing about whether the Terps were as great as many thought they could be after last Saturday’s loss at Michigan State. And though a victory over a top-ranked opponent doesn’t guarantee a Final Four berth any more than the previous losses meant a trip to Houston wasn’t happening, Maryland offered some peace of mind on Thursday night.Only three other games against currently-ranked opponents remain on the Terps’ regular-season schedule, meaning opportunities to enhance the NCAA tournament résumé in hopes of a No. 1 or No.2 seed were running low.The signature win was more important than it was impressive as both teams trudged through an ugly second half that hardly resembled the fast-paced, high-quality first 20 minutes of action. Maryland was just 9-for-27 from the field and 0-for-10 from beyond the arc in the second half, but stingy defense was the difference for the Terps in the first game played between top-10 teams in the 14-year history of Xfinity Center.Maryland outrebounded the Hawkeyes after struggling mightily in that department against Michigan State and Northwestern, and Robert Carter Jr. and Jake Layman combined to stifle one of the best players in the country as Jarrod Uthoff was an abysmal 2-for-13 and finished with just nine points.Rasheed Sulaimon and Carter each scored 17 to lead the way for the Terps and ease the burden on star point guard Melo Trimble, who didn’t receive enough help in the loss to the Spartans last weekend. Maryland has plenty of players who can score — that was evident in the 100-65 demolition of Ohio State two weeks ago — but that balance and toughness needed to surface against a high-quality opponent.To go along with the balanced offense, the Terps handled adversity in responding to Carter fouling out on a questionable call with less than two minutes remaining. Out of a timeout, Maryland executed a pretty set that resulted in a Diamond Stone dunk, forced a turnover on the other end, and then extended the lead to 66-60 on a layup by Jared Nickens with 1:11 left.Iowa wouldn’t seriously challenge again as its nine-game winning streak was snapped.“I think we grew as a team,” said Sulaimon about moving past the loss at Michigan State. “There’s a fine line in being a good and a great team, and I think that team chemistry and stuff like that makes a big difference.”Time will tell whether the Terps crossed over from good to great on Thursday, but the victory was one fans were waiting for to help confirm why they’ve been so excited all season.
The Ravens have lost East regional scout Andy Weidl to Philadelphia where he will reunite with former Baltimore national scout Joe Douglas.On Wednesday, the Eagles officially announced the hiring of Weidl as their assistant director of player personnel. They also hired Douglas, who spent last season as the director of college scouting for the Chicago Bears and will now become Philadelphia’s new vice president of player personnel.With the Ravens since 2005, Weidl had served as the organization’s East regional scout since the 2013 draft and was responsible for scouting the entire eastern section of the United State, which included players from the ACC, American Conference, Big Ten, MAC, and SEC. He also evaluated and provided crosschecking scouting reports on players deemed “draftable” by the scouting department.Both Douglas and Weidl were respected members of the scouting department valued by general manager Ozzie Newsome, assistant general manager Eric DeCosta, and director of college scouting Joe Hortiz.“I have known Joe for several years and have admired his work with both the Ravens and the Bears,” Eagles executive vice president of football operations Howie Roseman said on Wednesday. “He is a guy that we had targeted from the outset. I feel that we are very fortunate to have him lead our player personnel department. Ozzie Newsome and [Bears general manager] Ryan Pace spoke very highly of him and his work. He is passionate about football, passionate about scouting, and he played a vital role in the success of the Ravens over the last decade.“Andy also comes from the Ozzie Newsome tree of talent evaluators in Baltimore, and he has a great working relationship with Joe. I spoke with Tom Donahoe, who hired Andy in Pittsburgh, and he had nothing but great things to say about his work ethic. Like Joe, you can sense his drive for scouting right off the bat, and he has spent his entire career working for an opportunity like this. We are very pleased to have him join us.”Players drafted from Weidl’s territories over the years included five-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle Haloti Ngata, defensive tackle Arthur Jones, wide receiver Torrey Smith, and fullback Kyle Juszczyk.Weidl played his college football at Villanova where he graduated with a degree in communications in 1996. He had previous NFL stops with the Steelers and New Orleans before joining the Ravens more than a decade ago.