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Clippers hope they can play to their capabilities, quell Mavericks’ momentum Game 4 photos: Luka Doncic, Mavs shock Clippers in overtime The Clippers (44-20) were scheduled to host the Nets (30-34) on Friday at Staples Center as public health emergencies have been declared in Los Angeles, Riverside and San Bernardino counties and officials have confirmed the first Coronavirus death and a total of 29 infections in L.A. County.“It’s all very strange and awkward,” Golden State coach Steve Kerr said Tuesday. “We are just going to do what we are told to do and go from there.”“All we do is read and hear about it all,” Rivers said. “We are getting great stuff from our league and they are trying to educate us to the best of their capabilities, but we still don’t know and if I could advise anyone it is to be cautious. We just don’t know, and don’t think you know.”The NBA announced Monday that it was barring non-essential staff from locker rooms after previously recommending that players should stick to fist bumps with fans and avoid taking items such as pens and balls to autograph.The Clippers were scheduled Thursday to hold their first non-game media availability since the introduction of the new guidelines on Monday, when teams were instructed to establish a buffer of at least 6 feet between players and reporters. For Lakers’ LeBron James, Jacob Blake’s shooting is bigger issue than a big Game 4 victory The decision to take all the precautions came when the game between the Jazz and the Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena was abruptly canceled just before it was set to tip off. Soon thereafter, the NBA announced that it would go on hiatus following tonight’s action to determine its next steps.Losing games is expected to incur losses in the hundreds of millions of dollars for the league.On Tuesday, in their final game before the season was suspended, the Clippers walloped the host Warriors 131-107 before a smaller-than-usual crowd at Chase Center – “I was surprised that there were that many fans,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers told reporters at the game, which was played before large pockets of empty seats. The following morning, Golden State officials met with San Francisco Mayor London Breed before announcing that they would bar fans from a home game, starting with Thursday’s previously scheduled contest against the Brooklyn Nets.Clippers forward Paul George said Tuesday night he was prepared to play on – with or without a crowd.“We are no different, everyone is pretty much worried about the virus,” George said. “It makes no difference, we have a job to do, just like everybody else has a job to do and they go out and do their job. Clippers’ Paul George: ‘If I make shots, this series could be a little different’ Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error “If it’s fans or it isn’t fans, we play ball. We hoop and we’ll go with it.”Kawhi Leonard acknowledged that it would be strange to perform in an empty arena.“It would probably feel like a scrimmage or an open scrimmage,” said Leonard, who scored 23 points in 25 minutes on Tuesday. “I’m not sure how the feel would be. It would be very different if it comes to that. Hopefully, the fans aren’t mad or anything; I think it’s just up to (the NBA league office) and also the fans as to whether they wanna come to the game or not.”Now, no one will gather at NBA games – in line with a recommendation from Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told lawmakers at a congressional hearing Wednesday that he recommended the NBA play games without crowds because of the fast-moving outbreak.Related Articles When the World Health Organization declared the global coronavirus crisis to be a pandemic on Wednesday, the agency’s leader Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus fretted about “the alarming levels of inaction” around the globe.The NBA took action Wednesday night – after Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert preliminarily tested positive for COVID-19, the league said in a statement.Following the announcement earlier Wednesday that all of the Division I men’s and women’s NCAA Tournament basketball games will be staged in arenas without fans, there was a report from ESPN that the NBA was said to be weighing whether to follow suit and announce that it too will continue playing and televising games during the coronavirus crisis, albeit in largely empty arenas, or whether it would take a hiatus for a period of time.“If you’re gonna take precautions … take all the precautions,” Clippers guard Lou Williams tweeted before the decision Wednesday. What the Clippers are saying the day after Luka Doncic’s game-winner tied series, 2-2
Christian Pulisic preserves unbeaten start under Gregg Berhalter After breaking the deadlock inside five minutes for his 10th international goal, Pulisic received treatment and left the BBVA Compass Stadium pitch in the 35th minute — U.S. Soccer describing the problem as a right quadriceps injury.Afterward, Berhalter — who revealed Pulisic was in the process of undergoing an MRI — told reporters: “I’m not worried. Related News WATCH HIM WORK! @cpulisic_10 puts away the opener in Houston! pic.twitter.com/SDGPLa6MGt— U.S. Soccer MNT (@USMNT) March 27, 2019″You look into the why, you do an inquiry of why that’s happening, and you make adjustments. He’s at a top club [Borussia Dortmund], he’s going to a top club [Chelsea]. U.S. Men’s National Team coach Gregg Berhalter moved to allay injury fears over Christian Pulisic after the star attacker hobbled off against Chile.Pulisic scored before he was forced from the field with a muscle injury in USA’s 1-1 friendly draw Tuesday in Houston. “We have very high-level medical personnel on our side and we’ll get it right.”Pulisic, 20, has scored two goals and tallied three assists in 15 Bundesliga appearances for title hopefuls Dortmund this season.Dortmund will be sweating over his fitness with a top-of-the-table showdown against Bayern Munich looming April 6.
As for coping with rising public expectations, Jones insisted: “There has been no higher expectation than within the team.“We started out the first day wanting to be the best team in the world. So that’s where we wanted to go.“Three weeks ago, we were hopeless, I was going to get the sack, Owen couldn’t kick a goal. So we don’t tend to listen to that noise.”Jones reckoned a pivotal moment in England’s progress had been a 31-21 Six Nations win away to France that saw them to a 2016 Grand Slam.“In any team’s development you have wins that are important and losses that are important,” he said.“We started the game probably within ourselves and it took us until the second half to find ourselves.“It’s a great lesson for this week that we have to go out there and make the game, take the game to South Africa.“Our whole mindset this week about is taking the game to South Africa, playing with no fear. Where can we take our game to? What level can we take our game to?”Share on: WhatsApp FILE PHOTO: England captain Owen FarrellTokyo, Japan | AFP | England coach Eddie Jones has urged his side to “play with no fear” against South Africa in the World Cup final, despite the Springboks’ history of physical intimidation.The Springboks have played to their physically imposing forward strength during the 2019 World Cup — most notably in grinding out a 19-16 win over Wales that took them to Saturday’s showpiece match in Yokohama.While also boasting plenty of power up front, England have played more expansively in knockout wins over Australia (44-16) and reigning champions New Zealand (19-7).“We’ve had four years to prepare for this game,” Jones told reporters after naming an unchanged starting XV for the final.“We’ve got good tactical clarity about how we want to play, we’re fit. So we want to play with no fear on Saturday, just get out there and play the game.”Jones, Australia’s coach when they lost the 2003 World Cup final and a consultant to the Springboks side that beat England in a Paris final four years later, added: “We know South Africa aren’t going to give us the game, they are going to come hard.“They’ve got a history of being the most physically intimidating team in the world, so we’ve got to take that away from them.England will kick off as the world’s number-one ranked side, with South Africa second but Jones insisted that was of “no concern” when the final gets underway.– ‘Noise’ –England captain and goal-kicker Owen Farrell, retained at inside centre in a dual playmaker set-up with fly-half George Ford, added: “We’ve done all the preparation in terms of on-field stuff. We’ll make sure the mental side of it builds up from now.”
Pitt transfer Rushel Shell should help the Mountaineers running attack. (Courier File Photo)Coach Dana Holgorsen needs no reminder about the lack of success he’s seen on the field since ushering in West Virginia’s move to the Big 12.Hired to make the Mountaineers a national fixture, Holgorsen brought immediate success with a Big East title and resounding Orange Bowl win over Clemson in the 2011 season. But the last two years mostly have been a disappointment and Holgorsen is hoping some changes to his defensive staff can help bring immediate results.West Virginia is 11-14 since moving to the Big 12 in 2012. The Mountaineers must show significant improvement on both sides of the ball to bounce back from a 4-8 finish — the school’s first losing season since 2001 — that included November losses to lowly Kansas and Iowa State.“We need to stay the course, continue to develop our talent, continue to recruit better, and then we’ll win those games,” said Holgorsen, who is entering the third year of a six-year contract that pays him at least $2.7 million in salary and bonuses. “Hopefully we can put a season together that everybody will be proud of.”He’ll have to do that by withstanding a tough early schedule, score points with no consistent returning playmakers on offense and get more out of a defense that’s been simply porous for two straight seasons.Athletic director Oliver Luck said last December that while he believed in the abilities of the coaching staff, he expects better results. Holgorsen is aiming for that in part by shoring up the number of players who will be ready at each position.“The chemistry and the continuity right now is better than it’s been since I’ve been here,” Holgorsen said.___Here are 5 things to watch for from the Mountaineers in 2014:BANKING ON TRICKETT: Holgorsen anointed Clint Trickett as starting quarterback in June. Holgorsen said Trickett, who had offseason shoulder surgery, “is light years ahead of where he was last year” after transferring from Florida State and becoming eligible to play immediately. Although he was mediocre at times in seven starts and threw just seven touchdown passes with seven interceptions, Trickett led the Mountaineers to a 30-21 win over Oklahoma State. His backups are Paul Millard, who started three games last year, and junior college transfer Skyler Howard.CROWDED BACKFIELD: Five running backs are looking to replace departed 1,000-yard rusher Charles Sims. Pittsburgh transfer Rushel Shell sat out last season after rushing for 641 yards as a freshman for the Panthers in 2012. Junior Andrew Buie, who left school last fall and re-enrolled in January, led the Mountaineers in rushing in 2012. Junior Dustin Garrison, the top ball carrier in 2011, is back after two injury-plagued seasons. Dreamius Smith was the second-leading rusher behind Sims with 494 yards. Wendell Smallwood, who ran for 221 yards as a freshman, is focused on football again after witness tampering charges against him were dropped last month in a case in Delaware.CHALLENGING START: West Virginia’s schedule is front-loaded with tough tests against Alabama on Aug. 30 in Atlanta, the Sept. 6 home opener against FCS runner-up Towson, a Sept. 13 road game against a Maryland team that beat West Virginia 37-0 last year, and the Big 12 opener at home Sept. 20 against Oklahoma.SHORE UP THAT DEFENSE: West Virginia surrendered 33 points per game last season, ranking 99th in the Bowl Subdivision. Tony Gibson was promoted to defensive coordinator after Keith Patterson left for Arizona State and the Mountaineers hired former longtime Penn State assistant Tom Bradley to oversee the defensive line. West Virginia must replace six starters from the unit that allowed 455 yards per game and surrendered four second-half leads in its final six games.UNHAPPY RETURNS: West Virginia will try to infuse some life in its return game. The Mountaineers averaged a league-low 3 yards on punt returns and 18.6 yards on kickoff returns in 2013. Freshman quarterback William Crest is among those who could get some special teams work, although for now Holgorsen is looking at wide receivers Jordan Thompson and Mario Alford for returning punts, and running back Wendell Smallwood, Alford and Thompson on kickoffs.