An act of cowardice, says Rajnath Singh

first_imgSoon after the Naxal attack on policemen in Gadchiroli on Wednesday, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh spoke to Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis promising all help and calling the attack an “act of cowardice and desperation.” “Spoke to Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis regarding the tragic incident in Gadchiroli and expressed my grief at the loss of brave police personnel. MHA is in constant touch with the State administration,” the Minister said. Mr. Fadnavis said all help will be provided to the families of the jawans. “I strongly condemn this attack and we will fight this menace with even more and stronger efforts in the future,” he said. The latest attack takes the total death toll of security forces in naxal-related violence in Maharashtra to 163 since 1991. In 2015, an internal security report of the Maharashtra Police had assessed the security threat as ‘low’ after losing only two jawans, compared to 11 in the previous year, asking the forces to concentrate on the Southern parts of Gadchiroli. However, a senior police official said enough intelligence inputs were available of a possible strike in the Northern parts during the Lok Sabha elections, sources said. Denying any intelligence failure, Director General of Police Subodh Kumar Jaiswal said the attack was ‘indigenous’ and did not have support from any external organisation.last_img read more

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Meralco takes 2-0 lead

first_imgPBA IMAGESSTA. ROSA, LAGUNA—The Meralco Bolts turned a supposed showdown into nothing more than a showcase of their collective prowess.With their offense clicking, the Bolts throttled the Star Hotshots, 98-74, Tuesday night in a crucial road trip in the PBA Governors Cup playoffs at Sta. Rosa Multipurpose Complex.ADVERTISEMENT And handing TNT a second straight semifinal loss is exactly what defending champion Barangay Ginebra will try to do when it takes the floor against the Texters Wednesday in Batangas City.Game time is 7 p.m.The Gin Kings hammered the Texters in Game 1, 121-94, flashing the form that helped them send off Grand Slam-seeking San Miguel Beer in the quarterfinals. The win gave Ginebra a 1-0 edge in the best-of-five series and sent TNT scrambling for solutions to avoid falling into a 0-2 hole.“We have a lot of things to work on,” Racela said. “We were outplayed, we were out-coached, and we were out-hustled. Hopefully, [we can] correct everything [in Game 2].”Meralco certainly didn’t need to correct anything from its Game 1 performance.ADVERTISEMENT MOST READ Fire hits houses in Mandaluyong City Read Next Fire hits houses in Mandaluyong City Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC BSP sees higher prices in November, but expects stronger peso, low rice costs to put up fight Nonong Araneta re-elected as PFF president LOOK: Loisa Andalio, Ronnie Alonte unwind in Amanpulo for 3rd anniversary View comments Azkals fly to Doha seeking maximum points Energetic guards Chris Newsome, Baser Amer and Mike Tolomia set the tone for the rout, shooting accurately from every angle that helped the Bolts race to an early 22-point lead in a wire-to-wire finish.The narrative of the one-sided contest hardly altered after that big bubble with Durham doing all things necessary as the reigning best import established himself not only as a defender but as a scoring threat as well.Star’s Kris Acox had no answer for Durham, who unceasingly collected rebounds on both ends, challenged every Hotshot attempt in the lane and hammered his bulky frame inside.Star coach Chito Victolero threw in the towel and pulled the overmatched Acox out of the battlefield early in the third with the Bolts piling on the lead to eventually reach the 30-point mark. For the second straight game, Acox failed to score in double figures.Making matters worse for the Hotshots, Paul Lee only showed up on the floor briefly in the opening period and rode the bench throughout with a battered right knee.Fiery playmaker Gio Jalalon also couldn’t get his high-scoring act going as well as fellow guard PJ Simon. Mark Barroca contributed 16 points but that hardly mattered.Meralco can now go for a sweep in their series in Game 3 on Thursday.Ginebra will try to put TNT in the same dire situation as Star’s and import Justin Brownlee, who had 21 points, eight rebounds, five assists and three steals in Game 1, hopes that their rout of the Texters won’t result in a laid-back Kings squad in Game 2.“We know TNT is a tough team,” he said. “They will come out and make adjustments and we just got to be prepared. Whatever we’re running, we just gotta run it with great purpose and do what we want to do. We’ll try to keep defending them the best way we can and try to force them into things they don’t usually do.” Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles01:37Protesters burn down Iran consulate in Najaf01:47Panelo casts doubts on Robredo’s drug war ‘discoveries’01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games Frontrow holds fun run to raise funds for young cancer patients  Allen Durham was virtually unchallenged all game long, scoring 18 points, grabbing 25 rebounds and tallying four rebounds and three blocks as Meralco’ s overpowering performance gave the Bolts a 2-0 lead in their best-of-five series.Star now needs to win three straight games to keep its bid alive and deny Meralco a semifinal berth.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSSEA Games: Philippines picks up 1st win in men’s water poloSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutIt is a predicament TNT hopes to avoid because as far as coach Nash Racela is concerned, there’s no two ways about it: The Texters have to shape up or they’ll soon be shipping out.“If [we’re] not better come Wednesday, we’ll lose two straight. It’s that simple,” he said. Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. LATEST STORIESlast_img read more

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Green patch at Philippines

first_imgA panoramic view of the Chocolate Hills”Did you manage to find anything on the net?” I asked with eyes wide shut. The query was directed to my elderly companion from Mumbai, seated across the narrow aisle on the ageing Airbus.”Not much. I hope they have spelt it right on the itinerary,” came the rejoinder.”Aaah… I guess it has to be all wait and watch in Tagbilaran,” I concluded, still adamant on keeping the world out of sight. What led things to such a pass was the turbulent weather which trailed us right from Manila. The lukewarm smiles of the cabin crew did little to alleviate my aerophobia and the only distraction I found was in the quaintness of the destination. A place called Tagbilaran that throws up only a handful of coherent results on the world’s most trusted search engine. And after exchanging notes with all eight travellers in the group, I found myself exactly where I started.The smooth road to the Chocolate HillsI ran through the sketchy details as the aircraft oscillated with alarming precision: Tagbilaran is the principal city of Bohol, a small island near the southern end of the Philippine archipelago. Less than two hours away from Manila, this lush island has come up as a promising ecotourism destination in the last decade.An announcement by the captain finally compelled me to open my eyes. “Look out of the window for the Chocolate Hills… we are flying above them now. But please don’t be disappointed that the hills are now green, not chocolate in colour…” the voice trailed off while some of us craned our necks to admire what the captain had dutifully drawn our attention to. And of course the hills were green. That shade of green one finds only in places where it rains heavily. The colour, quite frankly, was not important enough to whet my curiosity. What suitably captured my attention was the shape of the hills spread out on the scenic canvas below us. Gumdrops? Turtle shells? I searched for more descriptors even as we lost the pretty picture to a carpet of grey clouds.A cruise boat on the LobocThe grey notwithstanding, I felt resuscitated enough to look forward to the overnight sojourn at Tagbilaran. Walking through sheets of rain into the coach, I quickly devoted my rested eyes to the brochures I had collected from Cecilia, our guide in Bohol. While some in the group contemplated a lazy afternoon at the beachside resort, the rest of us filed back into the coach for a river cruise. It was on the way to the jetty that I first turned my eyes to the place I was in. To be honest, it looked nothing more than a tropical island village. Roads lined with coconut trees, modest huts breaking the monotony of velvety green rice fields, a chapel or two and a town square sporting a cluster of shops and eateries in haphazard arrangement.It was, however, this very unpretentiousness that distinguished Bohol. A world apart from the glitz and cacophony of Manila’s malls–of which we’d had our fill in the last three days–the island’s main attractions can be safely put at three: the tarsier, perhaps the world’s tiniest primate; the forests that guard Loboc river and the curious hills aforementioned. A tarsier stares back at the cameraIt took only a minute-long discussion to change our course of action. Instead of the jetty, we were headed for a tarsier reserve near Corella, about 15 km from Tagbilaran. As we drove up canopied roads, I stole a glance at the primate on the glossy brochure. A pair of bulging eyes, as glazed as glazed can get, stared right back. Though the seemingly cute, furry creature promised to be no bigger in size than half my palm, the brochures fittingly warned us against its nocturnal and predatory traits. In a matter of 15 minutes, I stood face to face with the first tarsier. It was everything that we were promised and described. It clung effortlessly to the slim tree stem while silently challenging everyone to an impromptu round of Who Blinks First. The stillness of its beady eyes led me to doubt if the creature was not a stuffed one. Perhaps reading my cynical mind, it turned its neck an inch to the right, drawing gasps of admiration from all. The path to the Chocolate Hills viewing gallery is skirted with greenery”Don’t use the flash,” the guide announced as we herded behind him to greet the second tarsier of the day. The tiny reserve, which takes barely half an hour to cover by foot, echoed with exclamatory sounds each time we spotted the primate. Back on the artificial hanging bridge across a pool in the reserve, I happily took stock of how many tarsiers I had captured in my camera. And with enough memory space for the cruise up the Loboc, I sprinted towards the coach.Squeals of excitement and strains of music from other cruise boats greeted us as we disembarked at the jetty. The river of green, aptly surrounded by rainforest-like greenery, seemed all we needed to erase the last trace of mall-weariness. And Loboc, not to forget the hospitable crew on board the modest vessel, lived up to every expectation. As I settled down to a lunch of Chicken Adobo and rice, the young singer on board triggered a pleasant journey down the retro lane. Harry Belafonte joined the cruise as did the Beatles and Frank Sinatra. Torn between the crooner’s magical voice and the captivating scenery upriver, I struggled to be fair to both. But it wasn’t long before the latter scored over the other. Leaning against the wooden railing, I trained my lens on the gigantic trees that lay splayed across the banks. The foliage was one of the thickest I’d seen and I soon regretted not carrying my binoculars for a closer look at the huts on stilts that lined the course.Young girls do a jig on a tourism raft on the LobocFriendly locals, dressed in bright pinks and blues, waved back even as they sipped coconut wine, the local brew, from bottles. And before long, the boat stood inches away from a mini cascade at the heart of the Loboc. We waited a good ten minutes, soaking in the quiet, tranquil beauty of the jungle and the river. Our next stop, on the river itself, was a couple of ‘tourism’ rafts. Anchored to the sides of the river, these rafts were anything but as boring as their names. These are in fact used by the local community as stage. So there was song, dance and smiles galore. Men and women strummed the banduria, the Philippine mandolin, with great gusto while teenagers danced with gay abandon. Happy with whatever we stuffed into the small wooden donation boxes, they saw us off with more music that still ring in my ears.The ride downstream was equally relaxing. What followed next was a dash to the Chocolate Hills, up snaking roads flanked by mammoth trees. The rain-sodden paths reminded of pleasant drives up north in India and I silently agreed as some of my companions compared the scenery to those in Indian hill stations. An hour after bidding farewell to Loboc, I said hello to the Chocolate Hills, for the second time that day. And what I saw before my eyes truly defied logic. A view of the dense forests that run along the course of the LobocThe Unesco website describes the wonder thus: “… the symmetrical and same-sized hills known as the Chocolate Hills… were the uplift of coral deposits and the result of the action of rainwater and erosion. The hills are located throughout the towns of Carmen, Batuan and Sagbayan and consist of about 1,776 mounds of the same general shape. During the dry season when precipitation in inadequate, the grass-covered hills turn chocolate brown, hence the name in reference to a branded confection.”From the viewing gallery–an easy climb of not more than 15 minutes–the mounds looked like cowrie shells scattered across a moss green carpet. I watched in amusement as tourists posed for souvenir photos against a hand-painted backdrop of the hills. While some rode a broom for the Potter-esque touch, others chose to jump across the screen. Farmlands melded with coconut plantations in creating the most alluring mosaic around the hills. And wild blooms, as bright as the costumes I found myself surrounded with, highlighted the natural abundance that Bohol was all about. That’s when pangs of regret gripped my heart. My time here was coming to an end. Thankfully, though, I could still look forward to dinner–at a bee farm, amid acres of greenery and all-organic. Just the tonic I need before I head to another city. Trailing the TarsierThis one is for the adventurous. If you want more than just spotting tarsier spotting in the Corella reserve, you can go for a 15-km hike on the Tarsier Trail. This walkway in the rolling hills, north of Tagbilaran, links the towns of Corella, Sikatuna and Loboc. Remember to carry good walking shoes, insect repellent and hat for the trek. For details, visit www.tarsierfoundation.orgFact fileGetting there: Fly Delhi/Mumbai-Bangkok-Manila on Thai Airways Fare: Rs. 35,000 approx. Tagbilaran, Bohol’s only airport, is connected to Manila.When to go: Early winter is the best time to visit. Avoid the rainy season.Plus saysStay: Bohol Tropics; Graham Avenue, Tagbilaran City; e-mail: info@boholtropics.comEat: Have at least one meal at the Bohol Bee Farm. Among other delicious items, the honey glazed chicken and the homemade avocado ice-cream are absolute must-trys. To book a table, visit www.boholbeefarm.comShop: Pick up a bottle of coconut wine or a banduria, the local mandolin, as souvenir.See: Go snorkeling or scuba diving off Panglao Island.Courtesy: Travel Plusadvertisementadvertisementadvertisementlast_img read more

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Man 66 charged with firstdegree murder in disappearance of two Toronto men

first_imgTORONTO – Months after dismissing growing fears about a potential serial killer prowling Toronto’s gay village, police said Thursday they have arrested a man they believe is responsible for the presumed deaths of at least two men who disappeared from the neighbourhood.Bruce McArthur, a 66-year-old Toronto man, was arrested and charged with first-degree murder Thursday morning in the presumed deaths of Selim Esen and Andrew Kinsman, both reported missing from the Church and Wellesley streets area at separate times last year, police said.“We believe he is responsible for the deaths of Mr. Esen and Mr. Kinsman, and we believe he is responsible for the deaths of other men who have yet to be identified,” said Det. Sgt. Hank Idsinga.“In other words, we believe there are other victims,” he said. Idsinga would not say who the other victims may be, but said police are aware of other men reported missing from the area.Members of the LGBTQ community were voicing concerns and pushing for answers last year in light of the disappearances, which were deemed suspicious at the time.Investigators working on the cases issued public reassurances, saying they had no reason to believe the two men were dead, nor that their absence had anything to do with a serial killer or predators targeting men through a dating app.In December, police warned people to be careful using dating apps.Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders defended the force’s approach when asked about the shift Thursday.“In policing, what we do is we follow the evidence and what I said at the time that I said (it) was accurate at that time,” he said. He thanked the Church and Wellesley community for its help, saying the ongoing communication had raised awareness and given the investigation more focus.Helen Kennedy, executive director of the LGBTQ advocacy group Egale, said news of the arrest brought relief after months of fear and apprehension.“The community, especially in the village, were very, very nervous, and rightly so. Two gay men went missing and the circumstances around their disappearances were very suspect and so people were speculating about what had happened to these two guys,” she said.“I think that we had every right to be afraid and nervous, but at the same time, the police need time to do their work,” she said.Officers had been investigating McArthur for months but could not make a “definitive link” to the disappearances until Wednesday, Idsinga said.The men’s bodies have not been found, but police said they were combing through five properties — four in Toronto, one in Madoc, Ont. — connected to McArthur, a self-employed landscaper.Provincial police were searching a rural property north of Madoc Thursday evening.A Canadian Press photographer at the scene said there were at least two police cruisers and two officers on the property.Calls to the local provincial police detachment were not returned.Idsinga said police have a “pretty good idea” of how the men died but would not elaborate, citing the ongoing investigation.McArthur had sexual relationships with both men and all three were on dating apps, he said.“He did have a relationship with Mr. Kinsman for some time,” Idsinga said.“We don’t know what his exact relationship with Mr. Esen was leading up to the (alleged) murder, whether he had just met him that day or whether he had known him for some time, we just don’t know that yet.”A separate project is probing the disappearance of three men who went missing from the same area between 2010 and 2012.last_img read more

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Fundraiser for Fort St John Firefighters Charitable Society

first_imgFORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – JD Knives and Custom Works and Northern Hydrographics FSJ have come together to raise funds to support the Fort St. John Charitable Society(FSJFFCS).Through the collection of donations, each $20.00 gives you an opportunity to choose one of two custom gifts while raising money to help support families throughout the Peace Region needing assistance covering medical costs and travel expenses.JD Knives and Custom Works are offering a Custom San Mai JD Bird & Trout 6” knife with the retail value of $700 and an (FSJFFCS) challenge coin. Each suggested entry of $20.00 will enter your name in the draw.The draw date will be Tuesday, May 21, 2019To view JD Knives and Custom Works; CLICK HERETo view Northern Hydrographics FSJ; CLICK HERE Northern Hydrographics FSJ is offering a customized firefighters helmet valued at over $500.Donations can be made in person to the following locations;JD Knives & Custom WorksUnit 8 10404 101 ave.Fort St. John, BCNorthern HydrographicsUnit 9 10404 101 ave.Fort St. John, BCFort St. John Fire Department9312 93 Ave, Fort St John, BCOr by E-transfers which can be sent to jdknives.donations@gmail.com with the password: “knife”last_img read more

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CBI raids premises of YSRCP MP candidate for Rs 947 cr bank

first_imgNew Delhi: The Central Bureau of Investigation on Tuesday raided premises belonging to a YSRCP’s Narsapuram MP candidate in Hyderabad in connection with a Rs 947 crore bank fraud case, officials here said.The agency registered a case against Raghurama Kishnam Raju and his company Ind-Barath Power Limited on Monday. Agency sleuths conducted searches at two of his residences and four offices of his company that lasted almost all day. The FIR registered in the case accuses Raju’s company of taking loans of up to Rs 2,655 crore from three public lenders, namely Power Finance Corporation (PFC), Rural Electrification Corporation, and India Finance Corporation. Also Read – 2019 most peaceful festive season for J&K: Jitendra SinghSources said that the loans were sanctioned for Raju’s company to undertake power projects in various parts of the country, but it was found that IBPL siphoned off Rs 947 crore of the loans to a third party. The agency’s FIR also mentions Axis Bank as an accused in the case. According to the complaint registered by PFC and other lenders, the bank was supposed to hold a trust account in IBPL’s name to protect the interest of lenders involved. However, after repeated amendments to the agreement between the borrower and lenders, Axis Bank allegedly did not follow procedure and allowed IBPL to transfer funds from the account on multiple occasions. The complaint to the CBI mentions that IBPL transferred more than Rs 357 crore to a third party, Sokeo Power Limited. While the lenders were made aware of this, IBPL and Sokeo allegedly entered into a conspiracy and signed a separate MoU that allowed Sokeo to send the funds back to Raju’s company without any liability. Raju is a Lok Sabha candidate from Narsapuram in Andhra Pradesh, which went to polls on April 11.last_img read more

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Which NBA Playoff Teams Have The Most Star Power

Portland Trail Blazers15810102 ButlerPHI+4.0MillsapDEN+2.8 San Antonio Spurs15480000 Orlando Magic15340102 VucevicORL+4.5SiakamTOR+3.0 Detroit Pistons14250022 ConleyMEM+2.6 Boston Celtics16410113 IrvingBOS+4.1WalkerCHA+2.8 HardenHOU+8.0WestbrookOKC+5.3LeonardTOR+3.7 CurryGS+6.6PaulHOU+4.9Nurkic*POR+3.3 The NBA’s championship-caliber players, 2019 edition2019 NBA player tiers based on CARMELO-projected plus/minus talent EmbiidPHI+4.4GriffinDET+2.9 ALPHASBETASGAMMAS Golden State Warriors17941116 PLAYERTEAM+/-PLAYERTEAM+/-PLAYERTEAM+/- Milwaukee Bucks17391014 Philadelphia 76ers16730215 Indiana Pacers15440000 JokicDEN+6.8GobertUTA+5.1GreenGS+3.3 Cousins*GS+4.1BledsoeMIL+2.8 The NBA playoffs can sometimes come down to key role players knocking down clutch shots in important moments. But mostly, it’s all about the stars. The league revolves around its top players more than any other sport, and those players usually determine where the championship resides each season.So which playoff team has the most star power? One way to measure this is to break players into tiers based on their performance metrics. A few years back, my boss Nate Silver devised a system called “star points,” which awarded teams a score based on how many stars it had on its roster. Players in the top tier of stars (“Alphas”) are worth 3 points apiece, those in the next (“Betas”) are worth 2, and the lower tier (“Gammas”) are 1 apiece. Teams generally need at least 5 of these star points in total to begin thinking about a title run, and 7 star points is where a championship roster really begins to take form.Perhaps surprisingly, there aren’t any teams with 7 or more star points this season. The Golden State Warriors would have had 8 if DeMarcus Cousins hadn’t been injured Monday night, but Cousins is out indefinitely with a torn quadriceps and may miss the rest of the playoffs. That drops the Warriors into the co-lead with 6 star points, alongside Toronto. And that could mean a more wide-open postseason than we’ve been used to, in which role players might take on an even greater degree of importance.To calculate star points this season, I turned to the constantly updating player talent ratings from our CARMELO projection-system depth charts. (In the previous iteration of star points, Nate used an amalgam of various advanced metrics, but that was before our player ratings updated in-season.) After resetting the cutoffs for each tier to maintain a similar number of players of each type,1An Alpha now has a CARMELO-projected overall plus/minus of +5.5 or greater; a Beta has a projected plus/minus of less than +5.5 but at least +4.0; and a Gamma has a projected plus/minus of less than +4.0 but at least +2.5. I found that the NBA has six current Alphas (four of whom are active in the playoffs), 13 Betas (12 of whom are in the playoffs, but one of those — Cousins — is injured) and 17 Gammas (13 whose teams are in the playoffs, with two injured). In an unusual twist, two of this season’s Alphas — LeBron James and Anthony Davis — actually missed the playoffs. (Their intertwined soap opera is worth its own set of charts.) But among the postseason’s remaining star power, there are some interesting mixes of player tiers on the top teams.The Warriors might be a surprise with only one Alpha (Stephen Curry), one Beta (Kevin Durant) and one Gamma (Draymond Green). Durant didn’t quite qualify for Alpha status, in part because he ranked only ninth in Real Plus-Minus (and 18th in Box Plus/Minus) this season. Meanwhile, Green was downgraded to a Gamma because of a weak offensive season,2According to our mix of RPM and BPM, he was 0.9 points per 100 possessions worse than the average NBA player on offense, though his defense more than made up for it. Klay Thompson barely broke even in projected plus/minus talent (+0.1), and Cousins now appears to be lost for at least most of the playoffs. The usual caveats about the Warriors’ sometimes lax regular-season efforts apply, but based on performance metrics, this team’s name recognition might outpace its actual star power at this point.And yet, only the Raptors match the Warriors in that regard among postseason teams. They also did it in a very different way: Unlike Golden State, Toronto boasts no Alphas, but it does have one Beta (Kyle Lowry) and four Gammas (Kawhi Leonard, Pascal Siakam, Danny Green and Marc Gasol). Wait … Lowry is a Beta and Leonard is only a Gamma? The difference between the two (+4.0 vs. +3.7) is so slim as to be splitting hairs, but Leonard had a surprisingly down year in RPM, ranking just 37th in the league, while Lowry ranked 20th. The broader point, however, is that Toronto has assembled an unusually deep stable of star talent. The team has long been known for its depth down the roster, but a series of moves helped turn that depth into something slightly different: a collection of quasi-star-level talent at the top of the lineup. How the playoff teams stack up on star powerCurrent CARMELO ratings and star points* for 2019 NBA playoff teams Utah Jazz16990102 DurantGS+4.6Oladipo*IND+3.1 Oklahoma City Thunder16730204 Los Angeles Clippers15000000 * Star points are based on a weighted total of a team’s stars, in which Alphas are worth 3 points, Betas are worth 2, and Gammas are worth 1.Team totals do not include injured players.Sources: ESPN, Basketball-Reference.com LowryTOR+4.0GreenTOR+2.8 Denver Nuggets16731014 JamesLAL+6.3TownsMIN+4.9HolidayNO+3.2 The Rockets and Sixers rank just below the Warriors and Raptors in star points with 5 apiece, but where in that group is Milwaukee, the East’s No. 1 seed? The Bucks have perhaps the Alpha of all Alphas this season in Giannis Antetokounmpo. But only one other player around him qualified as a star: Eric Bledsoe is a Gamma, while Brook Lopez barely misses the cutoff. Milwaukee’s overall lack of supporting star power would make it a historical anomaly if it does end up winning the NBA title.The Utah Jazz, in the midst of a brutal first-round matchup against the Rockets, also has very little star power (one Beta in Rudy Gobert). But they have a bunch of guys who just barely missed Gamma status: Joe Ingles, Derrick Favors, Ekpe Udoh and Donovan Mitchell all had CARMELO plus/minus ratings under +2.5 but greater than +1.5. If we added an extra category for “Deltas” — worth, say, a half-point per player — the Jazz would leapfrog Boston and be much closer to the top of the heap than the bottom.Regardless, there’s a reason that star points don’t track perfectly with a team’s CARMELO rating or its championship odds. Depth does matter some, even if the effect is less of a factor as rotations shorten during the postseason. And sometimes teams are simply built with a blueprint that helps them perform better than their star power would suggest (the Bucks are a good test case there as well), while others aren’t quite as good as their multiple stars say they should be (the Sixers could be lumped into that group).Before they blew a 31-point lead Monday night — and, more importantly, lost Cousins to injury — the Warriors were looking every bit the star-studded machine we thought they’d be all season long. Now, they are still sizable favorites to win it all, but their edge in star power is not quite as decisive as it’s been in recent seasons. We’ll find out soon enough whether that will matter in Golden State’s quest for a third straight championship, or if another team near the top of the rankings above can finally supplant the Warriors and build a star-powered legacy of its own. TeamCARMELO RatingAlphasBetasGammasStar Points Players By Tier Brooklyn Nets14780000 DavisNO+5.8LillardPOR+4.7SimmonsPHI+3.1 Toronto Raptors17750146 DrummondDET+2.7 * Out indefinitely with injuryPlayers in italics are on teams that missed the playoffs.Sources: ESPN, Basketball-Reference.com GasolTOR+2.5 CovingtonMIN+2.7 Houston Rockets17531105 AntetokounmpoMIL+6.9GeorgeOKC+5.2HorfordBOS+3.4 Check out our latest NBA predictions. read more

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Despite terrible showing last weekend San Diego State ready for Buckeyes

Courtesy of MCTSan Diego State running back Adam Muema (4) is tackled after a run during a game against Boise State Nov. 3, 2012, at Bronco Stadium. SDSU won, 21-19.Whether the Ohio State football team plays in the BCS National Championship Game at the end of the season could be determined in part by the strength of its non-conference schedule. San Diego State’s season-opening 21-point loss to Eastern Illinois won’t help the Buckeyes in that capacity.OSU was originally scheduled to play Vanderbilt this Saturday before the Commodores canceled that contest in October 2012 because of schedule changes in the Southeastern Conference. That left the Buckeyes scrambling to find a new non-conference opponent for the second game of their 2013 schedule. Enter the Aztecs.Instead of an SEC opponent, the Buckeyes are now scheduled to play a team who fell to a non-NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision school. Eastern Illinois plays in the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision, a level of Division I college football one step below the FBS.Aztecs coach Rocky Long said his team played “terrible” in the 40-19 loss.“We’re a pretty hurting football team right now,” Long said during a media teleconference Monday. “We expected to play better than we did. We were bad on offense, defense and special teams.”After losing to an underdog opponent, SDSU will be trying to turn the tables against the No. 3 Buckeyes Saturday.“We know we’re playing a great football team in Ohio State this weekend,” Long said. “We’re hoping to fix some things that we did wrong and play a competitive football game.”Although the Aztecs are coming off of a 21-point loss, junior linebacker Curtis Grant said the Buckeyes will not take their opponent lightly.“Everybody’s respected, so they got the same respect as anybody else that steps into the ‘Shoe,” Grant said. “When that ball sets down, it’s go time.”The Aztecs put up 440 total yards of offense, but were beset by four interceptions thrown by redshirt-junior quarterback Adam Dingwell. Dingwell threw for 318 yards, but only completed 27 of 63 passing attempts.Both Long and SDSU quarterbacks coach Brian Sipe expressed confidence in Dingwell bouncing back against the Buckeyes and said there are no current plans to make a quarterback change.“I don’t expect (Dingwell) to struggle,” Sipe said Monday. “I don’t see him on a hot seat. I’m absolutely convinced and I think the players are that he’s our man … he has intangibles that are very important to this team and I expect him to play well on Saturday.”Dingwell said he takes responsibility for the loss.“I’ll put that loss on my shoulders,” Dingwell said during a press conference Tuesday. “I didn’t play well enough for us to win, I didn’t get the ball in the end zone and that’s my job as a quarterback and a leader on this team. I’ve watched the film, I’ve seen what I’ve done wrong and now I just have to go out there and practice and (get) better.”While Sipe expects Dingwell to play better, he also expects the Aztecs’ offense to have a better balance between passing and running plays against the Buckeyes, after passing on 64 of 99 offensive plays last week.“(Running a balanced offense) was (offensive coordinator Bob) Toledo’s intent going into the season, we just found ourselves backed into a corner,” Sipe said. “Statistics tend to get skewed when that happens, but absolutely, we run a balanced offense here.”The Aztecs’ ability to run a balanced offense may have been affected by the loss of redshirt-junior running back Adam Muema, who left the game early due to an ankle injury. Long said Tuesday he expects Muema, who ran for 1,458 yards and 16 touchdowns last season but only gained 17 yards on 10 carries before his injury last week, to be “full speed” for Saturday.OSU coach Urban Meyer said Tuesday Muema could be the best running back the Buckeyes face all year.“When he went down, they weren’t quite the same,” Meyer said. “We’re preparing to see a heavy dose of No. 4 (Muema).”SDSU gained a total of 122 yards on 35 carries versus Eastern Illinois. While Muema’s injury may have played a factor in the Aztecs’ game on the ground, senior left tackle Bryce Quigley said responsibility also falls on the offensive line.“We have to be more physical up front,” Quigley said Monday. “We didn’t prove that we can run the ball. If we don’t do it on the field, then we have to resort to the passing game.”Defensively, the Aztecs are looking to bounce back after giving up 533 yards and six touchdowns to the Panthers.Meyer said the SDSU defense, whose base scheme uses three defensive linemen, three linebackers and five defensive backs, could present a challenge.“It’s an odd-stacked 3-3-5 defense that they blitz, high percentage of pressures,” Meyer said Monday. “Their movement, they are a chaos defense that play really hard with some good players.”Redshirt senior safety Nat Berhe said the defense has to “move on” from the disappointment of last week.“I think we came in and we thought it was going to be easy, and that’s our fault,” Berhe said Monday. “We have to get everybody on the same page.”The Aztecs won’t be underestimating their opponent this week. Long said Tuesday he thinks OSU might be the “best team in the country.”“They’re as good as anybody else I’ve seen on film over the past 2-3 years,” Long said.Long said he considers OSU junior quarterback Braxton Miller to be the “leading candidate for the Heisman Trophy.”“He’s big, he’s strong, he’s fast, he’s got a great arm,” Long said Tuesday. “He’s improved his accuracy tremendously since last year, and not only that, he’s a really big running threat. He’s hard to tackle, he makes people miss, he can outrun people. Let’s just put on ESPN and (see) what they say about him, because it’s all true.”The key to holding Miller in check will be whether or not SDSU can bring pressure and get to the quarterback, redshirt-junior defensive end Cody Galea said.“He’s a good quarterback, but they’re all the same,” Galea said. “If you hit them enough times, they’re not going to play as well, so you just got to get there.”As for Meyer, Long said he considers his counterpart to be “one of the top five coaches in the country.”“I think there’s a lot of good football coaches in the country,” Long said. “There are a few coaches in this country that have, I call it, magic. They have a special feel or touch that make their teams a little bit better than other teams that have similar talent. And now (Meyer is) at a place that he’s got really, really good talent, so he’s a great coach and he’s got talent with a little bit of special magic.”While Long had no shortage of praise for the Buckeyes, he said he is more concerned with his team improving than he is about the competition.“I sense that our team is upset and embarrassed about the way they played, and they’re more worried about getting better than they are about who they play,” Long said.Long said there are multiple benefits to playing OSU, including the $1.2 million that SDSU receives for the game, according to an Associated Press report.“There’s some real financial benefits,” Long said Tuesday. “No. (3), it gives your players an opportunity to compete against the best. Everybody that’s a competitive athlete wants to try to compete against the best to see where they stack up, so that’s the case, if we are competitive and play well, it could help some other things.”The Buckeyes will likely be considered heavy favorites to win this game following SDSU’s loss, but Long made it clear the team has not lost confidence in its goal of winning the Mountain West Conference title this season.“One game does not make a season,” Long said. “We’ve got a lot more games to play.”Kickoff between the 1-0 Buckeyes and 0-1 Aztecs is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. Saturday at Ohio Stadium. read more

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Wrestling Ohio State wins 2017 Big Ten title

The Ohio State wrestling team wins the 2017 Big Ten championship. Credit: Courtesy of OSU AthleticsAfter junior Kyle Snyder sealed his individual championship at heavyweight, it became official: the Ohio State Buckeyes are the 2017 Big Ten wrestling champions.OSU scored 139.5 points as a team to claim the top spot while Penn State placed second with a score of 130. Both teams entered the tournament with three No. 1 pre-seeded wrestlers.In addition to the team victory, the Buckeyes also took home four individual championships, including redshirt junior Nathan Tomasello (133 pounds) winning his third, and redshirt freshman Kollin Moore (197 pounds) winning his first.The other two champions were redshirt junior Bo Jordan at 174 pounds, his first Big Ten championship after finishing as a runner-up twice previously, and world champion Snyder winning his second at heavyweight.Two other Buckeyes finished as runners-up: Myles Martin at 184 pounds and Micah Jordan at 149 pounds.The Buckeyes next competition will come at the NCAA National Championships tournament March 16-18 at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis. read more

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Gracia wants his side to finish the season well

first_imgWatford haven’t won for five matches in a row and Javi Gracia believes that his side should end the season strongly to prepare well for the upcoming season and already help with the development.The Spaniard knows that the results haven’t been the best lately but he also insisted that the remaining four games of the season should serve mostly as a preparation for the upcoming one.Gracia spoke about his side’s upcoming games as he said, according to Watford Observer:“I prefer to finish the season well because I think that is the first step to do well next season.”Jose Mourinho is sold on Lampard succeeding at Chelsea Tomás Pavel Ibarra Meda – September 14, 2019 Jose Mourinho wanted to give his two cents on Frank Lampard’s odds as the new Chelsea FC manager, he thinks he will succeed.There really…“At this moment, it is the most important thing to prepare every game well and try and get all the points you are able to get.”“It is always a big challenge and you never know where you are going to get the next points, so the next four games are important, and for Palace as well.”“Everyone is fighting at the moment to get the points.”last_img read more

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