18 Oct
2020

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta provides coronavirus update: ‘I have recovered’

first_imgAdvertisement Mikel Arteta has recovered after suffering with coronavirus (Picture: Getty Images)Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta believes he has recovered from coronavirus after being diagnosed with the virus under two weeks ago.The Spaniard tested positive for coronavirus, releasing a statement on 12 March saying he took the test after feeling poorly and received the ‘really disappointing’ news.Arsenal midfielder Lucas Torreira revealed last Monday that his manager was ‘doing better’ and now Arteta has provided even more positive news, saying he now feels that he has recovered entirely.‘It took me three or four days to start feeling better, with more energy, to leave the symptoms behind,’ he told Spanish television station La Sexta.AdvertisementAdvertisementADVERTISEMENT‘I am very well now. I feel that I have recovered.’ Visit our live blog for the latest updates Coronavirus news liveThe 37-year-old is hoping to return to work as soon as possible, but that is not going to happen in the near future, with Arsenal’s return to training delayed.The Gunners were going to be back in training on Tuesday this week, but the club have postponed that plan.A club statement read: ‘As a result of the current situation, we are clear it would be inappropriate and irresponsible to ask players to come back at this time.“Therefore our men’s first team, women and academy players are all remaining at home. Stay at home and save lives.’More: FootballRio Ferdinand urges Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to drop Manchester United starChelsea defender Fikayo Tomori reveals why he made U-turn over transfer deadline day moveMikel Arteta rates Thomas Partey’s chances of making his Arsenal debut vs Man CityArteta went into more detail about how he came to find out he had contracted coronavirus in the days after his side had played Olympiacos in the Europa League on 27 February.‘Everything happened very fast,’ he explained. ‘On Tuesday afternoon I was feeling so-so and I went to see the doctor but he wasn’t there.‘I got a call from the board of directors after training while I was in my car and they told me that the president of Olympiacos had tested positive and everyone that had been in contact was at risk.‘I went on to tell them that I wasn’t feeling well and that we had a situation because we had lots of players that had been in contact with them [Olympiakos].‘We had a game against Manchester City the next day and obviously we couldn’t put lots of people at risk without saying anything.‘I had the test done last Wednesday and I was diagnosed on Friday, when we had to communicate it to the Premier League that I had tested positive.‘Obviously all those that had been in contact with me had to go into quarantine, and consequently, games had to be suspended.’MORE: Arsenal face stiff competition in race for Newcastle’s Matty Longstaff on free transferMORE: Arsenal vow to pay all staff until end of April despite no Premier League footballAdvertisementAdvertisementFollow Metro Sport across our social channels, on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.For more stories like this, check our sport page. Comment Metro Sport ReporterMonday 23 Mar 2020 3:07 pmShare this article via facebookShare this article via twitterShare this article via messengerShare this with Share this article via emailShare this article via flipboardCopy link1.3kSharescenter_img Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta provides coronavirus update: ‘I have recovered’ Advertisementlast_img read more

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23 Sep
2020

Dodge City Raceway Park shifts practice to May 23

first_imgBy Lonnie Wheatley  Following the tentative practice session set for May 23, pending further developments, Dodge City Raceway Park will now kick off the season with a URSS vs. DCRP Sprint Car showdown along with a full slate of championship chase action including IMCA Modifieds, IMCA SportMods, IMCA Sunoco Stock Cars and IMCA Sunoco Hobby Stocks on Saturday, June 6. In an additional schedule adjustment, the seventh annual SportMod Mayhem North vs. South Duel will now take place in conjunction with the Lubbock Wrecker Service DCRP Sprint Car Nationals on Aug. 20-22.  The Thursday portion of the event will serve as a practice night for the IMCA Modifieds with heats and qualifiers on Friday and then the $1,500-to-win main event on Saturday. DODGE CITY, Kan. – In the ever-changing environment of the current COVID-19 coronavirus culture, Dodge City Raceway Park has shifted its open practice to a tentative date of Saturday, May 23, rather than the previously scheduled date of May 16. Originally slated to run in conjunction with the DCRP Sprint Car Nationals, the eighth annual Modified Stampede has been shifted off the Aug. 20-22 date due to scheduling conflicts.  The track is actively searching for an alternative date for the event. The Aug. 15 event that was the originally scheduled IMCA SportMod Mayhem will now serve as a Prelude to Mayhem with the IMCA SportMods accompanied by IMCA Modifieds, IMCA Sunoco Stock Cars and IMCA Sunoco Hobby Stocks. Dodge City Raceway Park officials along with city, county and state officials will continue to monitor current developments and make any adjustments if necessary.last_img read more

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19 Sep
2020

Cooper assault takes Knight Riders to second CPL title

first_imgTrinbago Knight Riders 136 for 7 (Munro 29, Cooper 29*, Hafeez 2-19) beat St Kitts and Nevis Patriots 135 for 6 (Brathwaite 30, Cooper 2-12, Searles 2-29) by three wicketsIn a low-scoring thriller, the Trinbago Knight Riders’ tail, spurred on by the home crowd at Brian Lara Stadium, wagged furiously to prevail over St Kitts & Nevis Patriots in a tense chase.Patriots were in charge with their opponents at 90 for 7 and Knight Riders still needed 28 off 13 balls when Kevon Cooper ambushed Sheldon Cottrell and Ben Hilfenhaus in a dramatic seven-ball sequence to clinch victory with an over to spare. It was the Knight Riders’ second CPL title in three years, and the first since they changed their name from Trinidad & Tobago Red Steel.Searles strikesPatriots, one of the most powerful batting line-ups in the tournament, were kept to a mere 135 thanks in part to an excellent early burst from seamer Javon Searles. He has been one of the unsung heroes for Knight Riders in their run to the final. In multiple matches this year, he has neither batted nor bowled.Given the new ball on Saturday, he struck in his first two overs. He first got the big scalp of Chris Gayle for 1, caught at backward point, and followed it up with the wicket of Mohammad Hafeez, caught at mid-off, for 5. As a result, Patriots slipped to 11 for 2 in four overs.In Lew(is) of runs, Narine gets big wicketThe low scores kept coming early, and often, in a final dominated by bowlers and Sunil Narine was at his remarkable best. The runs off his bat have dried up, but he more than compensated by bowling a masterful spell of 4-1-8-1 on the biggest night of the CPL. The crowning achievement of his 24 balls came when he pinned Evin Lewis lbw for 16. His bowling was so intimidating that he started his last over with a silly point.Hangin’ with Mr. CooperCooper built on the early inroads made by Searles and Narine. As has been the trend through this tournament, a wicket fell in the first over after the drinks break. Cooper took advantage of the batting side’s lapse in concentration, striking first ball to dismiss Brandon King. In his next over, he claimed Devon Thomas to leave Patriots at 65 for 5.Ricky-Nabi shake and bakeIf the Patriots had won, their championship DVD might have been called “Tarouba Nights”. Knight Riders struggled to fully cement their early advantage courtesy heroics from Carlos Brathwaite and Mohammad Nabi. Both played crucial knocks late in the innings – and not for the first time this year – to ransack 56 runs off the last four overs of the innings.Brathwaite, whose shirt reads “Ricky”, struck two fours and a six between the 17th and 18th overs to take his side past 100. Nabi arrived at the start of the final over, and what an entrance it was, as he smashed Dwayne Bravo for two sixes and a four in a 21-run over to give Patriots a fighting chance.Sheldon Cottrell sends Sunil Narine back with a salute Randy Brooks – CPL T20 / GettyMilitary disciplineSheldon Cottrell took two wickets in three balls and put the hosts under immense pressure. He first claimed Narine with a skied chance for a return catch. When Dwayne Bravo decided to promote himself to No. 3, Cottrell greeted him with an almighty salute, sending him off for a first-ball duck after a full delivery beat the Knight Riders captain for pace.Munro on the moneyBrendon McCullum may have left a gaping hole in his absence during the playoffs, but Colin Munro did his best to plug it. Munro moved up to open the batting in the last two games and on this night provided a valuable 29, which wound up as the joint-top score in the chase.Momentum see-sawed back to Knight Riders – after Cottrell’s early wickets – thanks to Munro’s refusal to back down. With the score 29 for 2 after five overs, Munro tucked into Nabi’s offspin, smashing him for two sixes over midwicket and a third straight down the ground – all in the space of five balls as Knight Riders’ title prospects looked much rosier by the end of the Powerplay at 48 for 2. Munro ended the season as the Knight Riders’ top scorer with 366 runs, none more important than what he delivered in the final.How bout that Canadian, eh?While more heralded colleagues such as the Bravo brothers came and went cheaply – Darren followed Dwayne’s duck by falling for 1 playing back to Mohammad Hafeez – Hamza Tariq provided a crucial 18. Other than Munro’s three sixes off Nabi in the sixth over, the only boundary struck by Knight Riders in the first ten overs came from Tariq. The rest of his knock comprised mainly of back-foot shovels to the leg side. Nothing glamorous, but it did the job.Flying the CoopKnight Riders lost three more wickets in the first five overs after drinks, culminating in Tabraiz Shamsi’s dismissal of Searles for 2 to make it 90 for 7. Depending on your video-game cartoon of choice, Shamsi looked like he celebrated by doing a sub-zero freeze from Mortal Kombat and Patriots appeared to have thrown ice on the Knight Riders chase.But Cooper provided the initial thaw, before his hot bat totally melted the Patriots bowling away. It began in earnest when he smashed Cottrell for six over extra cover to end the 18th, bringing the equation down to 22 off 12. After a single from Ramdin put him back on strike, Hilfenhaus bowled two wides outside off. Nabi turned a potential four into two with a diving stop at midwicket off the next ball, but there was no saving the following delivery: a full toss smashed over cover that was signaled as a no-ball to boot.A slash over backward point off the free hit brought another four and Cooper made it three boundaries in a row when he smoked Hilfenhaus again over the leg side. Two singles later, Knight Riders sealed a hard-fought victory.last_img read more

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17 Sep
2020

USC-UCLA Women’s Soccer Live Blog

first_imgTonight’s women’s soccer game at the Coliseum kicks off at 7:00 on the West Coast.  All updates will be timestamped with game time. Be sure to check out our Twitter feed for instant info at http://www.twitter.com/dailytrojanFirst half10th minute: The Bruins have had two shots on goal so far, while the Women of Troy have yet to attempt a shot on goal.  The Bruins are controlling possession  though and taking their time on offense.20th minute: The Bruins seem to be much more disciplined with the ball. The Women of Troy have not had many opportunities offensively so far and have had problems controlling possession.28th minute: The Women of Troy get a free kick and senior forward/midfielder Megan Ohai collides with Bruin goalkeeper Chante’ Sandiford, knocking in the ball through the posts, but the goal is waved off by the referee.40th minute: The Women of Troy seem look alive now after that goal was waved off.  They’re controlling possession, passing better and putting pressure on the Bruin backline. They’ve had multiple scoring opportunities, but have yet to convert.42nd minute: Miscommunication between the Bruins defense and goalkeeper almost leads to a Women of Troy score. Sandiford vacates the goal, but senior midfielder Alyssa Davila’s shot is stopped.Halftime recap: The Bruins controlled the beginning of the first half, working the ball around both sides of the field and taking their time on offense.  On the other side, the Women of Troy started off slow to begin the game, but woke up after a Megan Ohai goal was waved off by the referee. Both teams did not have many scoring opportunities in the first half and both defenses held strong in limiting shots on goal.Second half3rd minute: After a Bruin foul, the Women of Troy get a free kick just outside the penalty box. Redshirt junior midfielder Ashli Sandoval knocks a shot to the left side of the goalpost but is denied by Sandiford.After getting denied of a goal, Sandoval picks up a yellow card after tripping a Bruin player in the 5th minute of the half. The game is starting to get physical, but the referee is using his whistle to make sure this game doesn’t get out of hand.Both teams are starting to pick it up offensively. A scramble in front of the Bruin goal leads to a Women of Troy corner kick in the 12th minute, but it is cleared by the Bruin backline. Midfielder Brittany Kerridge knocks a shot from about 30 yards out, but it is stopped by Sandiford. Three minutes later, the Bruins receive a free kick that leads to a corner kick, but the Women of Troy clear the ball and no damage is done.In the 22nd minute, Bruins midfielder Chelsea Cline goes after a ball and Women of Troy goalkeeper Shelby Church vacates goal. Cline tries slide tackling to get to the ball, but is penalized with a yellow card. Five minutes later, there is a scramble in front of the Bruins net. The Women of Troy get their feet on the ball multiple times, but fail to score. In the 29th minute, Bruins defender Lauren Barnes is penalized with a yellow card after running through Sandoval’s follow through on her kick.85th minute: The Women of Troy finally break through on offense after defender Karter Haug places a ball to the left side of the penalty box. Forward Autumn Altamirano knocks a shot to the top right post and over the outstretched hands of Sandiford to give the team a 1-0 lead, and the victory.last_img read more

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26 Aug
2020

NHL playoffs 2019: Blue Jackets stun Lightning in Game 1; Seth Jones nets game-winner

first_imgJones’ goal capped off the first comeback of three or more goals against Tampa Bay all season that included goals by Nick Foligno, David Savard and Josh Anderson. The game kicked off with Alex Killorn’s shorthanded breakaway goal and the Lightning were up 3-0 just 17 minutes and 50 seconds into the game.Three goals and 17 saves from netminder Sergei Bobrovsky later, the Blue Jackets had the all-important road win and a 1-0 series lead on the Presidents’ Trophy winners. Torts on Bobrovsky: “We don’t have a chance unless he plays the way he played the last 40.”— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) April 11, 2019Game 2 from Tampa Bay gets going at 7 p.m. ET on Friday, April 12. Game 1 of the 2019 Stanley Cup playoffs first-round matchup between the Tampa Bay Lightning and Columbus Blue Jackets seemed to be over at the first intermission.However, Columbus clawed its way back and Seth Jones fired the wrist shot past Andrei Vasilevskiy with the man advantage to seal the 4-3 comeback win. The defenseman now has two postseason goals in his career to go along with 10 assists in 18 career games.last_img read more

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7 Nov
2019

Inaugural Beach Touch Event A Success

first_img32 teams took part in the event, which saw 16 Mixed teams and eight Men’s and eight Women’s teams battle it out to be the first Beach Touch champions. Despite overcast weather and occasional rain throughout the day, there was plenty of fun to be had on Maroubra Beach. Beach Touch Football Australia was created by 2011 World Cup Australian Men’s 30’s representative, Chris Jonson, and 2011 World Cup Australian Senior Mixed coach, Justin Creighton, who were thrilled to see the first event take place yesterday and have some big plans for the future. “Beach Touch is alive, the inaugural event, and obviously it’s a learning experience for us, we’ve got a product now and obviously we want to make it better,” Jonson told the crowd at the presentation function. “Our main goal with these four events (in the coming months) is to have a product, fine tune it, so that in October we plan on rolling out the national pro tour,” he said. In the Women’s division, Pink Bits were too good for Not Sure in the final, Manly beat Bankstown in the Men’s final and MBK Soldiers defeated The Guns in the final of the Mixed division. The next Beach Touch event will be the Corporate Championships, which will be held on Saturday, 25 February at Maroubra Beach. For more details please visit www.beachtouch.com.au. Some photos from the event can be found on the Touch Football Australia Facebook page, which can be viewed by clicking on this link:http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10150620064278385.444787.384949403384&type=1#!/pages/Touch-Football-Australia/384949403384 Highlights of the day and of the finals have been uploaded to the TFA YouTube channel, and can be found by clicking on this link:www.youtube.com/touchfootballauslast_img read more

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7 Nov
2019

Victorian Women’s Team To Play In Storm Half-Time Exhibition

first_imgThe Victorian Women’s Open team will take to the field at AAMI Park in Melbourne on Monday night to play an exhibition match during the half-time break of the Melbourne Storm versus Cronulla Sharks NRL game.The half-time game is part of the Touch Football Victoria (TFV) Women in Sport program and will be a great way to showcase the talent of the 2012 Victorian National Touch League (NTL) Women’s Open team in front of thousands of Rugby League fans. The top grassroots players from the local Fawkner Park competition will take on the Victorian Women’s Open team in the match, while Victoria’s first Australian Open representative, Leah Percy, will be interviewed and highlights of her performance at the 2012 Trans Tasman Series will also be played on the big screen. Stay tuned to www.austouch.com.au to find out how the game on Monday night went. For more information about Monday’s game, please visit www.victouch.com.au. Related LinksStorm Exhibition Gamelast_img read more

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28 Oct
2019

a month agoArsenal youngster Smith Rowe out for two weeks with concussion

first_imgArsenal youngster Smith Rowe out for two weeks with concussionby Freddie Taylora month agoSend to a friendShare the loveArsenal midfielder Emile Smith Rowe is set to miss two weeks of action after suffering a head injury against Nottingham Forest.Manager Unai Emery said after the 5-0 win that Smith Rowe’s collision with Forest skipper Jack Robinson wasn’t serious.The 19-year-old has suffered concussion and will not return to action for at least six days due to FIFA protocol.The Daily Mail adds that Arsenal will likely extend that break to two weeks given Smith Rowe’s age.It was the youngster’s first appearance this Eason after covering from injury. About the authorFreddie TaylorShare the loveHave your saylast_img

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13 Oct
2019

Casino mogul Steve Wynn resigns as top GOP finance chairman

first_imgWASHINGTON – Casino mogul Steve Wynn resigned Saturday as finance chairman of the Republican National Committee amid allegations of sexual harassment and assault.Wynn has been a prolific Republican donor and led the RNC’s fundraising efforts during President Donald Trump’s first year, helping the committee rake in more than $130 million.“Today I accepted Steve Wynn’s resignation as Republican National Committee finance chair,” said RNC chairwoman Ronna McDaniel.The Wall Street Journal reported Friday that a number of women said they were harassed or assaulted by Wynn, the chairman and CEO of Wynn Resorts. Wynn has denied the allegations. One case led to a $7.5 million settlement with a manicurist, the newspaper reported.Wynn confirmed his resignation in a statement released Saturday. “The unbelievable success we have achieved must continue. The work we are doing to make America a better place is too important to be impaired by this distraction,” Wynn said.Wynn was chosen by Trump to lead the RNC’s fundraising effort, and he contributed more than $600,000 to GOP causes last year, according to the Federal Election Commission.A person with direct knowledge of the situation said Trump had signed off on the decision for Wynn to resign. The person was not authorized to share private discussions and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.Since 2013, Wynn has contributed nearly $2.4 million to GOP candidates and party organizations around the country, including 2017 special election winners as well as dozens of state Republican Party committees.The allegations against Wynn have come during a wave of sexual misconduct claims against prominent media, entertainment and political figures that gained momentum last fall after the emergence of detailed allegations of rape and harassment involving movie producer Harvey Weinstein.During the fall, RNC officials, including McDaniel, noted that Weinstein had been a top donor for Democrats, including 2016 presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.In early October, McDaniel tweeted that if the Democratic National Committee “truly stands up for women like they say they do, then returning Weinstein’s dirty money should be a no-brainer.”The RNC has not yet said whether it will return any money donated by Wynn.Wynn was among the organizers of Trump’s fundraiser last week at the president’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida to celebrate the anniversary of the inauguration. Trump was unable to attend because of the federal government shutdown. Wynn also helped put together high-dollar events in Dallas last October and New York City in December.Trump, addressing Nevada supporters in February 2016, praised Wynn as a “great friend of mine.”“Steve is always calling. He’s always got advice. Right, Steve? ‘Donald, I think you ought to do this and that,’” Trump said at the time. “His advice, I like to listen to, I’ll be honest with you.”Members of the Republican National Committee are gathering in Washington next week and are expected to approve a new finance chair. The next chair will be voted on after the recommendation of Trump and McDaniel.___On Twitter follow Ken Thomas at @KThomasDC and Steve Peoples at @sppeoples.last_img read more

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28 Sep
2019

2015 NBA Playoffs Preview

Derrick Rose is back in time for the playoffs. Unfortunately for the Bulls, he’s not the Derrick Rose of four seasons ago, the one who won the MVP award and led the Bulls to their only conference finals since Michael Jordan’s second retirement. Since then, Rose, slowed by injuries, has played just 100 regular-season games and one playoff game. Now he is the only Bulls starter who rates below league average. That’s not enough to make Milwaukee the favorite in this series. Two Bucks starters are below league average, and Milwaukee will have trouble scoring with an offense that is well below league average. The Bulls should win this series — and enjoy the win, because in half of our simulations of the playoffs, they go out in the next round, most likely to LeBron James and the Cavs. — Carl Bialik Western ConferenceEach team is led by one of the best players in basketball: Stephen Curry on Golden State and Anthony Davis on New Orleans. So why do we think Golden State has a 92 percent chance to advance? Because Curry is better, and has much better teammates. Draymond Green, a top contender for Defensive Player of the Year, rates higher than Davis in the Real Plus-Minus player ratings we’re using from Jeremias Engelmann and Steve Ilardi. Warriors sub Andre Iguodala would be the second-best Pelican. But this might not be a sweep: In their two games against Golden State in New Orleans, the Pelicans won once and forced overtime in the other. But Golden State’s formidable offense should dominate the Pelicans’ subpar D. The Warriors look a lot more like a team for the ages — with an impressive 48 percent chance of winning it all — than like first-round upset fodder. (We were a little stunned by that 48 percent number, but Basketball-Reference.com gives the Warriors about the same odds.) — Carl Bialik You might think the Celtics should just be happy to be here. After all, in late February, they only had a 12 percent probability of making the playoffs, according to the FiveThirtyEight NBA Power Ratings. But rather than merely showing up, getting their souvenir T-shirt and accepting a first-round loss, Boston could give LeBron James and the mighty Cavaliers more trouble than they bargained for. While we can’t derive much meaning from the Celtics’ combined 216-168 margin over Cleveland in their two April matchups — the Cavs were mostly resting their key players — Boston is solid at both ends of the floor, with a great group of guards and a lot of depth. Over the course of the entire season, they were better offensively (relative to the league) than the Cavs’ defense was, and that only includes a few months of Isaiah Thomas. Our model says the Celtics are still unlikely to pull the upset, but they have the ingredients to be much more of a pest than they seemed to be a few months ago. — Neil Paine Portland won fewer games than Memphis (51 to 55) during the regular season, but because the Blazers won the comparatively weak Northwest division, they are the No. 4 seed in the Western Conference and the Grizzlies are the No. 5. But that seed advantage isn’t worth much. Since the Blazers had fewer wins, they will still be on the road for four of their seven potential games against Memphis. Making matters even more complicated, this series is so close that the question of home court could end up making all the difference. Only a tenth of a rating point separates them in our most recent power rankings. Our model gives the Grizzlies a 54 percent probability of winning, but that number would flip around to 53 percent for Portland if the Blazers had home court. Of course, the Grizzlies earned their home-court advantage by winning more games (against a tougher schedule, no less), and this arrangement is good for Portland, too — a 46 percent chance against Memphis is preferable to a 24 percent chance versus the Clippers, which is who they’d face if the conference were seeded purely by record. But this inverted 4-versus-5 matchup is another example of how convoluted and arbitrary the seeding process is in the NBA. And it’s another argument that the league should perhaps just ditch divisions (if not conferences) entirely. — Neil Paine With the latest FiveThirtyEight Power Ratings ranking the Spurs and Clippers as second and fourth, respectively, this matchup is one of the most compelling first-round matchups in recent memory.The defending champion Spurs enter this tournament as the No. 6 seed in the Western Conference — far lower than the No. 2 seed they could have had if they had won their final game against the Pelicans on Wednesday. Despite that loss, they had a 21-4 record over their last 25 games, reasserting that they’re contenders despite a 19-18 stretch in the middle of the season.The story of their year has been the breakout of last year’s surprise finals MVP and zero-time All-Star Kawhi Leonard. The Spurs went 46-18 with him in the lineup, with an average margin of victory of 7.8 points per game — which would be second to Golden State’s 10.0 and matches the 7.8 they put up last year. Leonard’s 2014-15 Real Plus-Minus of 8.35 was second in basketball behind Stephen Curry’s, ahead of well-known small forward LeBron James’s. Oh, and he led the league in steals per game.The Clippers are no slouches, either — their SRS3SRS is a team’s margin of victory, adjusted for its strength of schedule. of 6.8 is second-highest in the league behind Golden State’s 10.0 (San Antonio is third, with 6.34). They’ve now won either 56 or 57 games in every full season of the Chris Paul/Blake Griffin era, yet their dynamic duo has not made it past the conference semifinals.Although the Clippers have home-court advantage, the FiveThirtyEight simulations give the Spurs the edge, with a 53 percent chance of advancing. In fact, despite being projected to play any Game 7 from here on out on the road, San Antonio has the third-best chance of winning the championship, at 12 percent. The model gives the Clippers the fourth-best chance, at 8 percent. — Benjamin Morris It’s current MVP contender versus aging MVP winner (but the current contender is the one with the beard). James Harden versus Dirk Nowitzki. The Beard led the league in WAR, according to ESPN’s Real Plus-Minus metrics. With Harden, Houston has the edge — a 66 percent chance of prevailing, according to FiveThirtyEight’s projections. Beyond Harden’s consistency, the Rockets have otherwise ridden the injury luck roller coaster. They enter the playoffs having lost two important starters: versatile big man Donatas Motiejunas and the feisty defender Patrick Beverley at the point. On the other hand, Dwight Howard has returned after missing half the season. The Rockets will need him to maintain their solid +3.2 defensive rating.For the Mavs, it’s been a tale of two seasons. After surprising the league with a hot start, Dallas stagnated after the All-Star break, going 14-13. In FiveThirtyEight’s latest NBA Power Ratings, the Mavs rated as the worst of the Western Conference teams to make the playoffs — even behind the No. 8 seed New Orleans Pelicans. — Andrew Flowers The NBA playoffs are finally upon us, and like the 16 teams vying for the Larry O’Brien trophy, we’ve come prepared — not with basketball skills, mind you,1We shudder to think about what the advanced metrics would say about a FiveThirtyEight pickup team. but with graphics and numbers. Using the latest (postseason-optimized) version of FiveThirtyEight’s NBA Power Ratings, we simulated the playoff bracket 10,000 times, counting how often each team won its first-round series (as well as tracking which teams won the NBA title most often). We also put together charts highlighting each team’s key players, along with their multiyear predictive Real Plus-Minus2This is a slightly different statistic than the RPM you can find at ESPN.com because it uses data from seasons prior to 2014-15. We like the multiyear version because, among individual player statistics, it is the best predictor of future team outcomes. ratings, plus a comparison of both teams’ strengths and weaknesses according to the four factors of basketball. (Note that in some of our write-ups below, we use single-season RPM, so those numbers will be slightly different than the multiyear RPM we list in the charts.) So get settled in, maybe throw some chalk in the air, and enjoy the brutal, glorious two-month journey that is the road to the NBA championship. Eastern ConferenceThe Brooklyn Nets will not win the NBA championship. No, really: We ran 10,000 simulations of the playoffs, and the Nets were the only team to never win it all. They have only a 10 percent chance of moving on from their first-round series against the Atlanta Hawks. This is among the most lopsided matchups of the first round. The Nets, ranked No. 22 in FiveThirtyEight’s Power Ratings, are by far the worst team to make the postseason. With their 38-44 record and -2.9 point differential (the only playoff team in red), the Nets are lucky they’re in the Eastern Conference — further momentum for reform to the NBA’s postseason structure.Atlanta is coming off a franchise-record 60-win regular season; this should be a cakewalk for the Hawks (even after losing defensive stalwart Thabo Sefolosha to injury after a run-in with the NYPD). Atlanta is well-balanced: +2.9 points per 100 possessions on offense and +2.0 on defense. The Nets have a pedestrian offense (+1.1) but are a disaster on defense: At -4.7, their defensive rating is the fifth-worst in the league. If the Nets avoid a sweep, it’ll be an achievement. — Andrew Flowers This series features two teams that started out the season looking like they might be the next big thing (at least in the Eastern Conference). The fourth-seeded Toronto Raptors began the season 7-1 and made it all the way to 24-7 before a four-game losing streak started their 25-26 finish — with their final record only a one-win improvement on last year. The Wizards started out 4-1 and made it to 19-6, but have been 27-30 since, ultimately improving on last season’s 44-win campaign by just two wins.Both teams are led by All-Star point guards, Toronto’s Kyle Lowry and Washington’s John Wall, with Lowry making the All-Star team for the first time in the eighth year of his career (his third with the Raptors). ESPN’s Real Plus-Minus for this season ranks them as the fourth- and sixth-best point guards in 2015. Lowry performed a little worse than last year; his RPM dipped slightly from 4.3 to 4.1 and his WAR (wins above replacement) dipped from 11.6 to 9.4. But for Wall, 2014-15 was a big improvement on the year before: His 4.7 RPM and 12.1 WAR were both up from 2.2 and 8.3 last year, respectively.The FiveThirtyEight simulations give the Raptors a 60 percent chance of winning this series but don’t see either team as a championship contender. They give the Raptors a 1 percent chance of winning the title and the Wizards an even smaller chance. In the 10,000 simulations we ran, the Raptors or Wizards won the championship only 108 times, the fewest of any of the eight first-round matchups. — Benjamin Morris read more

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