Kevin Durant, LeBron James headline 2013-14 All-NBA First Team

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With a unanimous outpouring of top votes for ‘s , the 2013-14 MVP headlines the All- First Team for this season. Durant received 125 first place votes, one more than fellow All-NBA First Team member of the , to be the top vote-getter when the league announced the winners for the All-. Rounding out the first team with Durant and James are of the , of the  and of the .

The second team comprised  of the and of the as the guards, of the and of Clippers as the forwards, and of the Rockets as the center.  of the , of the , of the Charlotte Bobcats, of the , and of the Blazers were given the honor of All-NBA Third Team.

The media voted on the All-NBA teams witm United defender Josh Pask on a three-year contract.The 21-year-old academy product never made a first-team breakthrough with West Ham, but has had experience on loan at Dagenham & Redbridge in 2015 and Gillingham in 2016-17.”Josh is a strong anh five points going for first-team votes, three points for second-team votes, and one point for third-team votes.

Forward: Kevin Durant, Thunder (125 first-team votes, 625 points)

Forward: LeBron James, Heat (124 first-team votes, 623 points)

Center: Joakim Noah, Bulls (101 first-team votes, 551 points)

Guard: James Harden, Rockets (73 first-team votes, 502 points)

Guard: Chris Paul, Clippers (86 first-team votes, 540 points)

Forward: Blake Griffin, Clippers (5 first-team votes, 350 points)

Forward: Kevin Love, Wolves (2 first-team votes, 237 points)

Center: Dwight Howard, Rockets (9 first-team votes, 226 points)

Guard: Tony Parker, Spurs (14 first-team votes, 210 points)

Guard: Stephen Curry, Warriors (65 first-team votes, 489 points)

Forward: LaMarcus Aldridge, Blazers (2 first-team votes, 159 points)

Forward: Paul George, Pacers (4 first-team votes, 171 points)

Center: Al Jefferson, Bobcats (4 first-team votes, 191 points)

Guard: Goran Dragic, Suns (1 first-team votes, 115 points)

Guard: Damian Lillard, Blazers (2 first-team votes, 115 points)

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, New York,86 (1 First Team vote); , Washington, 70; , San Antonio, 63 (1); , Toronto, 56; , New Orleans, 40 (1); , Dallas, 37 (1); , Oklahoma City, 32 (1); , Toronto, 29; , L.A. Clippers, 21; , Indiana, 17; , Memphis, 16 (2); , Sacramento, 14 (1); , Cleveland, 7; , Miami, 6; , Memphis, 4; , Oklahoma City, 4; , Memphis, 4; , Brooklyn, 4; , Indian Real Madrid midfielder Brahim Diaz.The former Manchester City junior has struggled for minutes since his arrival almost a year ago.Diaz has been reluct talks with club owner Mike Ashley in the coming days.Benitez is off contract next month and has been offered new terms.Asked about his future, he said: “We will have a meeting for sure and we will let you know when we have any information but we sant to leave on-loan, despite encouragement from Madrid coaches.And Okdiario says Real will try tna, 3; , Denver, 2; , Atlanta, 2; , Miami, 1; , Detroit, 1; , Dallas, 1; , San Antonio, 1.

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z, after sitting out the team’s alst game due to a

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guard is expected back in the starting lineup Friday against the Jazz, after sitting out the team’s alst game due to a respiratory infection. Rivers got a few days off in order to rest, and told The Times-Picayune he is after testing himself Thursday.

“I got a good workout yesterday, and today we had a pretty tough shootaround,” he said Friday. “I was able to get a pretty good wind, so I’ll be fine. At the end of the day, when you go out there and start playing your adrenaline gets going, you forget everything. I’m just going to go out there and play.”

Rivers has stepped his game up recelona have expressed interest in the former Blue ahead os delighted to score in victory over Champions League opponents Liverpool.Llorente was part of the Tottenham team beaten by the Reds in last season’s final.The veteran said: “I wanted to play against the Reds, I’m happy because we showed we could livf the January market.However, The Sun says Chelsea ensured there could yet be a future at the Bridge for Boga after inserting a clause in his Sassuolo transfer allowing them to re-sign him for cently, averaging 10.0 points and 2.8 assists per game in the modgson has been reliant on a short squad over the busy Christmas period, but wants to strengthen next month.The 72-year-old is set to sign a contract extension at Selhurst Park, which he hopes will persuade the board to back him in the transfer marketnth of March. He might end up in the starting lineup Friday with Brian Roberts and Eric Gordon at risk due to knee injuries. 

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Can DeMar DeRozan carry the Raptors in a playoff environment?

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On Saturday, the Toronto Raptors, who entered the season with a huge question mark, struggled out of the gate, traded their highest paid player in Rudy Gay, and were expected to blow it up and tank te rest of the year… clinched a playoff spot. They will be joining the postseason dance party for the first time since 2008. Everyone’s very excited in Toronto about it. 

So.. now what? 

Now that the Raptors have secured a playoff spot and will likely win the division (), it’s time to start seeing if they can actually do anything meaningful once they get there. They’re likely to have a tough matchup in the first round against either the Brooklyn Nets, Washington Wizards, or the Charlotte Bobcats (unlikely). 

Their best hope of advancing past the first round and making some noise against Miami or Indiana is to try and play a grind-it-out style and get some huge performances from their stars, Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan. Amir Johnson can play the hustle card and make plays, Greivous Vasquez always surprises people, and Terrence Ross can fill it up. But Lowry and DeRozan are going to need to be great. 

Raptors Republic took a look at DeRozan a-1 win over fellow strugglers Norwich City.The hosts were ahead 2-0 at half-time thanks to goals from Danny Ings and Ryan Bertrand.Norwich regained some hope when Teemu Pukki converted with 25 minutes remaining.But the Saints managed to hold on for and asked the question of how his game will translate to the next level. 

Opposing teams have looked to play aggressively against DeRozan, knowing that he is easily frustrated when faced with physical defence, and on nights when the refs swallow Sir Kenny Dalglish on the club’s revival should not be ignored.Having been part of the recruitment drive during FSG’s first summer in control of the purse strings at Anfield, Adam believes getting Liverpool back to the summit of the English game hastheir whistles that has spelled trouble for the Raptors.

In the playoffs, whoever the Raptors face will likely employ a DeRozan-swallowing strategy for exactly that reason. When Lowry is pushed, he pushes back harder. When DeRozan is pushed, he can be taken out of his game. Those are the only two players that an opposing team will have to consistently account for in a seven-game series against the Raptors, and so if an opposing team had to choose they’d probably look to bottle up DeRozan and dare Lowry to beat them four times on his own.

If history repeats itself, then that means that the Raptors will likely be sunk in round one. DeRozan will wilt under the constant pressure and Lowry will simply be overextended trying to keep the team afloat between bouts of effectiveness from Terrence Ross, Jonas Valanciunas and Greivis Vasquez.

However, in a season of bucked trends, maybe the playoffs are exactly what DeRozan needs to be activated against this style of defence. Maybe instead of getting frustrated he rises to the occasion, learns how to play through ceaseless physical play and takes the next step as an NBA professional. Getting to see the same opposition for four-to-seven games in a row might just help him figure out how to read those defences better, to see where the pressure is going to come from and to beat it before it arrives or to make the right pass a half-second quicker which forces the defence into scramble-mode to keep up.

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Watching DeRozan, you would peg him for a heavy isolation scorer. But in fact, that’s the fourth-most used set by the versatile wing, via Synergy Sports. He operates most out o the pick and roll. So then the question is, does he usually just shoot coming off the pick as a volume shooter? No, surprisingly. Of the 631 possessions he used the pick and roll, he passed it 247 timeng to former England and Manchester City boss Sven-Goran Eriksson.The Swedish manager spoke about the title race, which sees Liverpool leading the table by eight points.He believes the Reds, who have not won a league title since 1990, are in prime pos a pretty decent amount for a non-point guard. 

Why is this relevant? Not getting caught in isolation situations, and passing out of the pick and roll to take what the defense provides him with is going to be key. Defenses are likely to throw multiple defenders at DeRozan, shading him to the baseline and bringing another defender. If he can resist the urge to force shots in those situations, the Raptors’ ball movement is good enough that they can find a quality shot. 

Against Washington, their likely opponent, the Raptors should put DeRozan in the high post relenlessly. Bradley Beal doesn’t have the strength to guard him, and Martell Webster and Trevor Ariza aren’t fast enough. DeRozan is a surprisingly great post scorer, and that could mess with their opponent’s defensive spacing. 

But the pressure defenses apply in the playoffs is something DeRozan has never experienced. How he reacts could be the difference between an adorable run to the postseason by Toronto and a legit showing that they have a playoff team worth building upon. 

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cause of soreness in his right ankle, the Star Tri

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center was ruled out Sunday against Sacramento and of the season because of soreness in his right ankle, the Star Tribune reports.Pekovic has been bothered by his right ankle since January, limiting him to just 54 appearances this season.From the start of the season to Dec. 30, Pekovic averaged 17.5 points. 9.1 boards in 33.8 minuhallenged his teammates to continue their recent form after stretching their unbeaten streak in all competitions to ten games by defeating Manchester City.”Another great game and result,” Fred told FourFourTwo. “The situation for me and for the team tes while shooting 52.3 percent fromiverpool are battling to stay in the Carabao Cup.The Liverpool-blame-FA-Carabao-Cup-gaffe-face-thrown-out.html”>Daily MailLiverpool-blame-FA-Carabao-Cup-gaffe-face-thrown-out.html”> says Liverpool have become embroiled in a row with the FA as they ba the field over that span (31 games). Since the start of the calendar year, he’s only appeared in 23 of Minnesota’s last 49 games, averaging 17.4 points, 8.0 rebounds in 26.7 minutes while shootifor granted in the Champions League.The Reds begin their defence of the title with a tricky game against the talented Italian outfit.And Klopp knows that if his side are not at their best, Napoli will be happy to pounce on any weaknesses.The last timng 56.5 percent from the floor in 23 contests.

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t in Sunday’s 4-3 win over Reading, bagging himsel

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guard will miss his seventh straight game Tuesday aga-old was excellent in Sunday’s 4-3 win over Reading, bagging himself his first brace for the club.Reflecting on what he could contribute to the Blues this season, Mount said: “The goals are going to come from different places and I want to contributeinst the Nets, as he continues to deal with a hamstring injury.

The team’s official twitter account reported prior to the game that Wade is and has been able toEverton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford says there’s a lot to look forward to next season.England’s number one has kept 14 clean sheets this term with only Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City claiming more.“Playing in front of the Evertonians is great,” Pickford told the official club website.“We know they love a good tackle and when one goes in, it gets them going. We understand how much Everton means to the supporters.“Our effort comes from the hard work the lads put in and the tactical stuff we do all week.“If we lose the ball, three or four players are pressing and trying to get it back.”The stopper continued: “There is a lot of competition for places, which gives the manager some difficult decisions every week, but that is how players get the best out of eachJavier Pastore.Now with Roma, Pastore’s beginnings in Europe could not have been worse.Former Argentine striker Da Fonseca recalled: “I’m going to tell you a story: I brought Javier Pastore to Saint-Etienne at 17 years old. “He was fired after three other.“We played very well in some of the away games against sides near the top of the league earlier this season.“We were good at Arsenal and Manchester United but could not get the first goal. That is what we have started to do in the past few months and you can see the results.“The squad is young and still developing and our intention is to kick on again next season.” work out over the last few days, but remains day to day moving forward with Miami set to play Wednesday against the Grizzlies. 

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VIDEO: Damian Lillard’s incredible buzzer-beater from courtside

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You’ve seen ‘s for the on Friday night. But here’s what it looked likeulisic has begun training with Chelsea for the first time.Pulisic has joined up with his Chelsea team-mates in Japan after signing from Borussia D a move to Manchester United.The Barcelona-stars-family-rule-England.html”>Daily Mail says United’s pursuit of the Croatian has hit a wall, with his family not keen on moving to Manchester.The 31-year-old star is hopeful of staying at the Nou Camp buortmund.The USA international concluded a move to Stamford Bridge in January, but was loaned back to Bor from courtside seats, to play for Barcelona.Dest has impressed this season, with the youngster recently committing to Holland, despite his US background.”I still have many goals. One day I want to play in Barcelona. That is my biggest goal,” he told Bleacher Report.”I al as the fans at the Rose Garden went ballistic. 

Unbeleivable. Bonus! Here’s the Phantom Cam of the shot:

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Phil Jackson meets with Steve Kerr about Knicks coaching job

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Phil Jackson told reporters Sunday that he has met with TNT commentator and former Chicago Bulls and San Antonio Spurs guard Steve Kerr about the Knicks’ vacancy at head coach. 

Steve Kerr says he metallana admits he remains in the dark over plans for his future.Lallana is off contract in June, though has intimated he won’t seek a move away this month.He told talkSPORT: “It’s easy to keep working.“I’m enjoying playing for the best team in the w with Phil Jackson and had dinner to discuss Knicks job. Reiterates he is interested and there will be further talks

— Ohm Youngmisuk (@NotoriousOHMis season.Speaking with Sport, Messi was asked about Barcelona’s rivals in the Champions League.“I think everyone strengthened and signed the players they needed,” he said.“I think Atletico have built a great team and made some very good signings)ery has confirmed Mesut Ozil should be be available for Sunday’s north London derby.Ozil has yet to feature for the Gunners this term due to safety concerns and then illness, but he could be in line to play when Tottenham arrive at the Emirates.”This

Kerr has long been considered the front-runner for the position, even before Jackson took over as head of basketball operations in April. He’s indicated in the past he’s looking to coach and that he anticipated meeting with Jackson. 

Kerr possesses the necessary knowldege of the triangle offense that Jackson wants in his coach, will defer to Jackson’s wishes, and can provide a good face for the franchise as a media savvy former player with an aw-shucks attitude. This seems to be a slam dunk, if Kerr wants the job. 

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ding to the Los Angeles Times.Griffin tweaked his

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forward is Monday night against Minnesota due to back spasms, according to the Los Angeles Times.Griffin tweaked his back in the first half of Saturday’s game against the Rockets. He is averaging 22.9 points, 8.6 boity and Luton Town have reached terms over James Justin.The Daily Mail says the Foxes are signing £12million Luton Town defenefender Joe Worrall is attracting Premier League interest.The Mirror says Everton are set to join Arsenal in the pursuit of Worrall.Both clubs see Worrell as a January target.The Blues are in need of a centre-back and the 22-year-old has been in imprder Justin as manager Brendan Rodgers aims to build a squad strong enough to break into the Premier League’s top six next seards and 4.5 assistut a defeat.The Reds are now 32 games unbeaten in the Premier League under Jurgen Klopp.They solidified their place at the top of the table with a convincing 5-2 win over Everton at Anfield on Wednesday night.32 games unbeaten is better than their prs in 14 March games. His next chance to play will come Wednesday at Phoenix.

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gic.Lopez was arguably Portland’s best play

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center put up a big double-double Tuesday, in a 95-85 loss to the Magic.

Lopez was arguably Portland’s best player in the loss as he finished with 20 points and 13 rebounds in 40 minutes of action. He shot 9 of 13 from the field and added one rebound and two blocks in the loss.

Lopez is enjoying one of the most productive seasons of his career, though his so prune their squad after 11 new signings with £5million midfielder Tshibola a target for new Doncaster Rovers manager Darren Moore.Tshibola, 24, has been told he can leave Villa Park on a free having spent the last tn Kent going on loan this summer.The 22-year-old was impressive for Rangers last term, with the Scottish side hoping to renew that agreement.However, the Reds are only thinking about a permanent departure for Kent.Speaking about the winger’s loan movwo seaer United are due a tidy windfall from Real Sociedad’s potential sale of Adnan Januzaj to AS Roma.Recent reports have linked the 24-year-old with a switch to Serie A, with the Italian club said to be willing to pay around £15.2m for the player.The Ssons on loan at MK Dons ancoring is down a bit from last season due to a drop in usage.  He is averaging 10.8 points and 8.5 rebounds per game while appearing in each of the team’s first 72 games. 

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hai win promotion to the Chinese Premier League, b

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guard will miss his third game in a row Tuesday helped Qingdao Huanghai win promotion to the Chinese Premier League, but won’t be staying for next season.He told Sky Sports: “I would love it (to return to Englann their academy.Along with Manchester United, the Blues are keen on signing the talented 16-year-old.Bellingham has made 32 appearances this season and Birmingham reportedly want £50m for his signature.But any move from Chelsea could have ramificatid), but it depends on the team. In my head I can see myself playing for one or maybe tagainst the Haf his young players.The Telegraph says Divock Origi, Ryan Kent and Harry Wilson will all be given opportunities to shine on Liverpool’s pre-season tour of America.Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane will not join the USA tour but there is a ‘possibility’ wks, as he continues to deal with a foot injury. He has not played since last Wednesday as a result of the injury, and has no specific timeline for his expected return.  

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y against the Magic, scoring just seven points in

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forward (illness) practiced Saturday and returned to action on Sunday against the Magic, scoring just seven points in a 103-94 win.Johnson shot 2 of 7 from the floor, including 1 of 3 from downtown, and 2 of 2 from the free thraulo Fonseca says Arsenal midserver says the player had travelled to Tangier, Morocco with the La Liga club, where they are playing in a pre-season friendly against Ittihad Tanger on Saturday, July 27.Navarro linked up with his new team-mates in North Africa on the morning of Tufielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan was injured when he arrived on loan.Mkhitaryan, 30, joined Roma on a season-long loan from Arsenal this summer after a disappointing spell in north London.The Armenian international scored on hiow line. He also chipped in with two rebounds, two assists and one block while logging 21 minutes of game action. He is averaging 8.5 points, 3.3 re the elite of football.Milan are again facing missing out on Champions League qualification this season.Baresi told Gazzetta dello Sport: “If (Nils) Liedholm were here, I think he’d say we needed to be patient, because he was a very calm person, evbounds and 1.3 assists over his last five games.

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Tim Duncan passes Kareem for most minutes in NBA Playoffs

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forward passed Kareem Abdul-Jabbar on Thursday night for most minutes in playoff history with 8,852 after playing in his 15th minute vs. the Heat in Game 4 of the Finals. is third with 8,641. Duncan passed Abdul-Jabbar in three fewer games, but trails the all-time leader in playoff games played 233 to 259.

So Duncadeal.The Gunners are hoping to tie down the teenager w if Wilfried Zaha leaves Crystal Palace.United have been linked with former player Zaha, but the Ivorian is reportedly interested in signing with a Champions League club.If that happens, the Red Devils would be entitled to 20% of the profit from any ith other clubs circling.The likes of Manchester United and Liverpool have been linked to in new contract talks with Manchester United.The Sun says Henderson has demanded an eye-watering new £75,000-a-week deal at Manchester United.The England Under 21 goalkeeper is said to be confident that his wish to treble his wages will be met. Hendthe winger, whose deal expires next summer.But Arteta thinks that he will commit his future to the club ifn played more minutes in fewer games, which shows his durability and the way the Spurs have relied upon on him during his illustrious career.

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VIDEO: Monta Ellis with jumpsteal and dish to Matrix for dunk

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The are defending, which is something they haven’t done all freaking season. In Game 2 through theth in the Premier League table, just two points above the relegation zone and 15 adrift of league leaders Liverpool ahead of Sunday’s clash with their fierce rivals at Old Trafford.The club’s hierarchy and recruitment under executive vice-chairman Ed first half, they e for Ajax attacker David Neres.De Telegraaf says Napoli are in contact with Ajax for the Brazil international, though are not alone.Manchester United and Atletico Madrid are also interested in Neres, though United will have to act fast given the Premade great plays to establish and maintain a lead, and everyone got involved. Even . Ellis nabbed this jumpsteal and established space in terrific fashion to al Ousmane Dembele refusing to move to PSG.Last week, Dembele refused to move to PSG as part of a deal to bring Neymar to Barcelona. His agent Moussa Sissoko made that very clear and in the end no exchange happened.Petit defended Dembele when speaking low the runout jam. 

Monta Ellis do have it all. If you mean defense. 

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Shane Battier wins Twyman-Stokes Teammate of the Year award

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During last year’s NBA playoffs, the league debuted the Jack Twyman-Maurice Stokes Teammate of the Year award. received the first honor to celebrate the teammate who goes above and beyond expectations with selfless play, commitment and dedication to his teammates, and shows both leadership on and off the court. Six players from each conference are nominated by a committee of legends and then NBA players vote for the winner.

This year’s winner is of the . He received 67 first place votes, more than double what second place vote-getter of the Charlotte Bobcats received, en route to the most second place votes and the most points from voting overas declared Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk as the greatest EVER!Former AC Milan star Shevchenko is a huge fan of the Dutchman who is competing tonight for the Ballon d’Or alongside Barcelona star Leo Messi and Juventus striker Cristiano Ronaldo.Thll. There will be a donation of $25,000 made by the NBA to the Shane Battier Take Charge Foundation. : 

The NBA announced today that HEAT forward Shane Battier has been selected as the 2013-14 Twyman-Stokes Teammate of the Year. The award is voted annually by NBA players after a panel of NBA legends nominate six players from each conference that recognize the best teammate based on selfless play, on and off-court leadership as a mentor and role model to other NBA players, and his commitment and dedication to his team. Battier becomes the second winner of the award after Chauncey Billups was awarded the honor in its inaugural year during the 2012-13 season. As part of its support for the Twyman-Stokes Teammate of the Year Award, the NBA will make a $25,000 donation to The Battier Take Charge Foundation.

Jack Twyman and Maurice Stokes, whose storied friendship transcended their on-court Hall of Fame accomplishments, are permanently honored with an annual NBA award in their names that recognizes the ideal teammate. Twyman and Stokes were friends and teammates on the Rochester/Cincinnati Royals from 1955 to 1958.al Rhian Brewster.Mellor believes Brewster is the most exciting youngster at Liverpool right now.Mellor, speaking to AmericanGambler.com, said: “Liverpool have had a few lads that have gone out on loan.“Harry Wilson has done very well for Derby i In the last game of the 1957-58 regular season, Stokes suffered an on-court injury that led to him falling into a coma days later, leaving him permanently paralyzed. Diagnosed with post-traumatic encephalopathy, a brain injury that damaged his motor-control center, Stokes was supported for the rest of his life by Twyman, who became his legal guardian and advocate.

Ten points are awarded for a first place vote, seven for a second, five for a third, three for a fourth, and one for a fifth. Battier, Jefferson, , , , , , , , , , and  were all nominated by the NBA legends pande chose to snub Chelsea late last year by not signing a scholarship with Frank Lampard’s side.And he has had trials at United, being monitored closely by academy coaches in three games.He has impressed Old Trafford coaches so much that they are thanel for the award. They finished in the order above with Paul getting the second most first place votes, but the fourth most points from the voting. 

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Clippers-Thunder Game 4: How Darren Collison saved the day

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In an NBA playoff run, you have to have “the others” as Shaquille O’Neal famously put it. It’s not really the same as college, wherein you need “everyone to play as a team” and all those tropes. It’s more defined. You have to have someone or someones in each series who can tip the scale with their performance based on matchup. And for 3 and 3/4 games, the Clippers honestly had not had a single one. 

Game 1 was Chris Paul willing the team to victory with one of the finer performances of his playoff career (which has a lot more phenomenal games than misses despite his detractor’s obsession with his team’s inability to advnce). Games 2 and 3 were defined by the Thunder’s spectacuugh”.Milner – who also created the breakthrough for Mane – was presented with a chance to restore the hosts’ lead from 12 yards with one of the final kicks of the game.The No.7 had to wait for a VAR review to check the challenge by Marc Albrightolar superiority in their top two players. And through three quarters, Game 3 was a complete Thunder shutdown. They manhandled the Clippers and had every answer. They were cruising. 

But then something weird happened. See, the best way for an Other to step up and win the day is when the defense is forced to overreact to the elite players. The Thunder keyed in on Chris Paul and Blake Griffin, the two players that had carried the Clippers and that left the door open for… Darren Collison. 

Collison scored 12 points in the 4th quarter as the Clippers put up 38 points in the final frame, after scoring 32 in the first and third quarter combined. Blake Griffin had 10, Chris Paul had eight, but it was Collison’s 12 that was the difference. 

Watch what happens on this late-game pick and roll with Paul and Griffin. All five Thunder players (rightfully) key in on it, wanting to make the Clippers beat them with literally anyone else. 

Paul gets stymied and makes the correct pass to the weak side for an open Collison. But Collison, who had taken only one three in the game, a miss, pump fakes and Kevin Durant flies by. He elects to drive, but the Thunder have rotated and should have thisLeganes and KFC have renewed their sponsorship agreement for a further two years, reports, /.As part of the deal, the fast food outlet’s logo will appear on the front left side of the players’ shirts for the 2019/20 season and on the shirt sleeve for the 2020/21 season. covered. 

Reggie Jackson has the baseline, Ibaka has the point of attack. Collison actually hesitates when he comes off the pump fake and considers th mid-range pull-up, but elects to drive. This is suicide. He’s going into two dequad for the Netherlands tour.Sky Sports News reports that Moritz Bauer, Geoff Cameron, Mame Biram Diouf, Giannelli Imbula, Julien Ngoy, Erik Pieters, Kevin Wimmer and Bojan are among the first team players not going on the trip.Boss Nathan Jones hasfenders, including a DPOY candidate and expert shot blocker, and he’s not exactly the biggest dude on the floor. 

But then a funny thing happens. Reggie Jackson elects to move back to try and box out Blake Griffin which, a. good luck with that and b. that surrenders the baseline. Ibaka’s still there, but if a really fast guard is moving towards him, he can get the edge. 

Collison is that guard. 

Collison gets the edge and scores past Ibaka, and the Clippers take the lead, eventually pushing it to four behind Collison’s run-out (cherry pick) score. 

That’s how an Other becomes a hero. He takes advantage of the opportunities given him. After the game, Chris Paul spoke about how emotional it was for him to see Collison thrive this way. Collison was Paul’s rookie backup in 2010, and he joined the Clippers in part to be with Paul again. 

“You take the good with the bad,” Paul said after the game. “We push each other so hard every day.” 

Collison went to the Pacers after being traded from the then-Hornets. He played well, but the Pacers electe to trade him to Dallas for Ian Mahinmi to add size. He melted in Dallas after a promising start, his career looked to be spiralling. In truth, he had defended Steph Curry in round one, which no one noticed. But he’s massively outmatched vs. Westbrook. The thing is, most humans are outmatched against Westbrook’s size, strength, and athleticism. 

But if you’re going to win a series, if you’re going to win a title, you have to have those players that step up, and often times those are undersized guards. The Heat have had Mario Chalmers and Norris Cole. The Lakers had Jordan Farmar and Derek Fisher. The Mavericks had J.J. Barea. 

The Clippers had Darren Collison, the point guard who wouldn’t quit, and in Game 4, he saved them from the edge of disaster. 

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