The NBA hots up – Cavs vs 76’s

This week we saw one of the season’s closest games – the exciting match up between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Philadelphia 76’s Aussie Ben Simmons starred in the 76’s 1 point win 98-97. Here’s the video and a full report.

Two for one: Cavs come up just short in 98-97 loss to 76ers

This wasn’t bad at all.

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The Cavs lost to the 76ers Tuesday night by a final score of 98-97 in a game where the team led by as many as five in the final three minutes. At the end, Kevin Love had an open three on Cleveland’s last shot, but it was too strong and that was that. Sometimes it really is a make or miss league. Also not helping: the Cavs’ offense not scoring for the final three minutes-plus.

That said, this was not all bad. This was, frankly, a largely encouraging performance from the Cavs against a legit NBA Finals contender. Let’s get into it.

POSITIVE: Tristan Thompson crushed it again

Philadelphia is a tough matchup for Thompson. Joel Embiid has a size advantage and there’s only so much he can really do to slow Embiid down. And with Embiid guarding him, there’s reason to think he’ll struggle a bit on offense, particularly when crashing the offensive glass.

But Thompson was again excellent on Tuesday. Embiid got his 27 points, but Thompson made him earn it for the most part. On offense, Thompson co-led the team with 20 points, grabbed 12 rebounds (four offensive) and shot 7-13 from the field. He also made two three-pointers and again showed why he’s still a good, dependable player for the Cavs. Through 10 games, he’s been this team’s MVP.

NEGATIVE: The last three minutes

The Cavs’ last play of the game was actually a good design. After an inbounds pass, Jordan Clarkson (who was also good and had 20 points) ran a little pick-and-pop with Kevin Love. Love then pump faked, got his three and missed. It was a good set and coach John Beilein has to be at least happy with the process.

Before that, though, things got really rough for the Cavs’ offense. The team didn’t score for the final three minutes at a time when a few key baskets might have put the 76ers away. Miscues included Love missing from four-feet out, a shot clock violation, a Collin Sexton turnover and an unnecessary Thompson three-pointer.

The whole time the game was on the line, the Cavs played frenzied. Considering the youth on the team, that makes sense. Time will tell how many more lessons they need in navigating some choppy waters.

POSITIVE: Darius Garland makes some plays even when he struggles

This was not a banner game for Garland. Stylistically, the 76ers’ size was hard for him to deal with and he finished with 6 points on 3-10 shooting in 28 minutes. He did also have 2 assists — against zero turnovers — and three steals.

Everything about Garland was super impressive when he was up against Matisse Thybulle, perhaps the best defensive rookie in the NBA. And when he knows Embiid is coming to contest his shot, he goes soft with the finish off the glass. That’s a player who has a clear feel for the game, even on a night where he struggles. That’s a good sign for Garland and the Cavs.

Source: fearthesword.com

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NBA Season is up and running

After the long wait, the season is away. Here are the highlights from Week 2.

Into the third week, here are the ‘Power Rankings’ from Basketball Hashtags.

NBA Power Rankings for the 2019-20 season. Updated every Monday.

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#1 up 1 Philadelphia 76ers

Individual rankings: Jeremy #2, Joseph #1, Kevin #1, Nick #1, Tyler #2

No Embiid, no spacing, no losses. Matisse Thybulle’s defense jumps out once again as a huge asset to giving this roster some depth, and Furkan Korkmaz hitting clutch three-pointers gives them an entirely new direction. This also looks to be a real leap year for Ben Simmons, who’s added a lot to his game – even if he still detests shooting. His post moves look more refined, and he’s been more aggressive attacking the basket overall.

Summary written by Jeremy Stevens

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#2 down 1 Los Angeles Clippers

Individual rankings: Jeremy #1, Joseph #2, Kevin #2, Nick #2, Tyler #1

The Clippers have started the season 5-2, with one of their losses coming from a Kawhi Leonard “load management” game against Utah, but what has been most impressive is that they’ve continued to look like the best team in Los Angeles, and one of the best teams in the league without their second-best player (Paul George). Landry Shamet hasn’t taken the next step that many were hoping for, but that’s not really an issue when you have a 33-year-old Lou Wiliams coming off the bench, averaging over 20 points per-game.

Summary written by Kevin Nye

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#3 up 4 Los Angeles Lakers

Individual rankings: Jeremy #5, Joseph #3, Kevin #3, Nick #3, Tyler #4

The Lakers are currently riding a 5-game win streak (tied for best in the league), and now have an (almost) fully healthy Kuzma at their disposal. AD and LeBron look like they’ve been playing together for longer than 6 games, their role-players are clicking, and Jason Kidd hasn’t started his campaign to take over as head coach. All is good in Los Angeles for the Lakers.

Summary written by Joseph Mamone

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#4 Milwaukee Bucks

Individual rankings: Jeremy #7, Joseph #4, Kevin #7, Nick #5, Tyler #3

Milwaukee isn’t stumbling so much as they may just not be as good as they were a season ago. As Malcolm Brogdon plays like Diet Luka Doncic, the Bucks are lacking a lot of things that Brogdon would provide. It doesn’t help that Eric Bledsoe is off to a dreadful start, but watching Milwaukee force-feed Giannis against the Celtics and just get completely shut down was pretty illuminating. The Bucks just looked helpless against a good defense with long-armed athletes. That’s a bad sign. They’re certainly still a top-3 team in the East, but they no longer look like the favorite.

Summary written by Kevin Nye

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#5 up 1 Utah Jazz

Individual rankings: Jeremy #3, Joseph #12, Kevin #4, Nick #4, Tyler #5

How can a 4-3 team be ranked in the top-5 while the 1-loss Timberwolves are down lower? The answer is probably reputation. The Jazz were expected to be good, so when they’ve lost close games to good teams (Kings notwithstanding), they don’t take much heat. Utah has clearly not hit their stride yet – Mike Conley’s FG% is so low that it would probably be a legal BAC to drive with – but they’re hanging in there. The good news/bad news is that the Jazz have a brutal early schedule: Lakers, Clippers twice, Suns (seriously), 76ers, and Bucks in their first nine games. For a team that routinely starts slow, to get through this stretch with their heads above water would be a great sign.

Summary written by Kevin Nye

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#6 up 2 Boston Celtics

Individual rankings: Jeremy #6, Joseph #6, Kevin #6, Nick #7, Tyler #8

How am I supposed to interpret two wins against the Knicks? They’re awful, but those wins don’t come easy. Jayson Tatum has taken real strides towards being a reliable top scoring option alongside Kemba Walker, which is vital with Jaylen Brown missing a couple of games. Grant Williams is already a brilliant defender, adding some desperately needed frontcourt depth. Boston’s depth and defense might be better than expected, which could make them a strong contender for the second seed in the East.

Summary written by Jeremy Stevens

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#7 up 7 Miami Heat

Individual rankings: Jeremy #8, Joseph #5, Kevin #10, Nick #6, Tyler #7

The Miami Heat have been one of the most impressive teams this season. They have a really well-rounded roster and are finding ways to get strong contributions out of guys like Duncan Robinson and Chris Silva. On top of that, the undrafted point guard Kendrick Nunn is leading them in scoring with 50/40/90 shooting splits. The integration of Jimmy Butler after the birth of his child has seemed seamless as well. He provides a go-to scorer when needed and a strong defensive presence. The Heat currently has the 5th best net rating and because of their execution on both ends of the floor, I wouldn’t expect any drastic changes.

Summary written by Tyler Metcalf

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#8 up 5 Minnesota Timberwolves

Individual rankings: Jeremy #10, Joseph #8, Kevin #5, Nick #11, Tyler #9

We learned a few things from the Timberwolves matchup with the 76ers. First, the Timberwolves are really going to struggle against opponents that can go big. Second, Karl-Anthony Towns is done taking crap from people. Third, big men are very awkward fighters. Even though the Timberwolves have lost Towns for two games, they responded by demolishing the Wizards. They have completely revamped their offensive identity and their versatility on defense has bumped them up to the 8th best defensive rating. Towns is obviously the star of this team, but they did prove that if needed, they can manage for a game or two without him.

Summary written by Tyler Metcalf

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#9 down 6 Denver Nuggets

Individual rankings: Jeremy #4, Joseph #7, Kevin #11, Nick #12, Tyler #10

The Denver Nuggets started the season off relatively strong, with three early wins despite some offensive concerns. The defense has slipped and the offensive concerns have continued to build. Both trends can be tied pretty directly to Nikola Jokic; he’s been sluggish and uninterested to start the year. Gary Harris has also struggled to regain his form from two years ago before his injury issues. Denver ended the week with a win in a brutal game in Orlando, but even that win felt hollow in the midst of a difficult week.

Summary written by Nick Agar-Johnson

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#10 Toronto Raptors

Individual rankings: Jeremy #10, Joseph #13, Kevin #8, Nick #9, Tyler #6

As expected, the Raptors are 4-2, placing them right in the middle of the Eastern Conference. A loss to the Bucks is no big deal, but could be a forecast of things to come. While the Raptors are steady, Miami is surging towards the top of the standings shaking up the East a bit, making the 2nd-5th seeds up for grabs in any order. Toronto is covered at most positions, but their depth has yet to impress. If somebody has to be nudged out of the East’s top four, it might be them.

Summary written by Jeremy Stevens

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#11 San Antonio Spurs

Individual rankings: Jeremy #9, Joseph #10, Kevin #9, Nick #8, Tyler #12

San Antonio looks like they’re going to win another 50 games this season and nobody is going to bat an eye. They lost to the Lakers at home on Sunday, which is the only reason they aren’t even higher on this list, but that was an expected L. They will continue to beat all of the teams that they should beat and play tough against all of the teams who should beat them. The one thing they may struggle with is season-fatigue; six of their 11 man rotation are 30+ years old.

Summary written by Kevin Nye

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#12 Dallas Mavericks

Individual rankings: Jeremy #11, Joseph #9, Kevin #12, Nick #13, Tyler #14

Luka’s ascension to stardom is obviously the biggest story here, but Dallas’ depth is leaps and bounds better than I expected. Seven players scored in double figures against Cleveland (with two more just one field goal away) and nine scored in double digits in a win against Denver. I’m not sure if Kristaps Porzingis will fully return to All-Star form this season, but having endless scoring threats should make the Mavericks a strong regular-season team. Don’t sleep on Jalen Bruson, who can share point guard duties and lessen Luka’s workload.

Summary written by Jeremy Stevens

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#13 up 5 Phoenix Suns

Individual rankings: Jeremy #12, Joseph #11, Kevin #15, Nick #15, Tyler #11

I don’t know if there’s a way to figure this out, and we’re only six games in, but if Phoenix carries on the way they’ve started this season, they may be the biggest overachievers in NBA history. Phoenix is 4-2 and their two losses came by a combined two points. They are literally two shots away from being undefeated. How is this possible?! Ricky Rubio has changed the complexion of their team on both ends, and it sure seems like having Monty Williams has an effect. The Suns may actually be a decent team.

Summary written by Kevin Nye

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#14 down 9 Houston Rockets

Individual rankings: Jeremy #14, Joseph #15, Kevin #13, Nick #10, Tyler #15

The Rockets have been scoring a ton of points. Their 115 offensive rating is the best in the league by three points. The problem is that their defense has been appalling as they have the second-worst defensive rating of 115.9. Some obvious struggles have come from Harden’s shooting. He is still putting up impressive counting stats, but is having one of the worst shooting seasons of his career with just 36.5 percent from the floor and 20 percent from three. On top of that, their defense falls off a cliff when Clint Capela comes off the floor. Their starting lineup has an impressive defensive rating of 99.3, but once they go small and sub Eric Gordon for Capela, their defensive rating jumps to 125.8. Mike D’Antoni has never been too concerned with defense, but if they don’t figure something out soon, they’ll be in for a very long season.

Summary written by Tyler Metcalf

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#15 down 6 Portland Trail Blazers

Individual rankings: Jeremy #13, Joseph #14, Kevin #14, Nick #14, Tyler #13

The Trail Blazers fell to the tenth seed after a close loss to the Dallas Mavericks; while it’s obviously too early to lock them out of the playoffs, they do not want to be in a position where they need to make up ground in the Western Conference. They’ll probably go on a 16-3 run in January/February to render this moot, but in the meantime, their frontcourt rotation is already a patchwork job with Zach Collins and Hassan Whiteside both out with injuries. CJ McCollum has struggled to score outside of their game against Dallas, especially inside the 3-point line–he’ll need to pick things up to keep Portland in the playoff picture.

Summary written by Nick Agar-Johnson

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#16 down 1 Atlanta Hawks

Individual rankings: Jeremy #16, Joseph #18, Kevin #16, Nick #19, Tyler #18

The Trae Young injury came at an unfortunate time as the Hawks seemed to be getting on a roll. The concerns going forward stem directly because of Young. He seems to be the only one on the team that can create consistent offense. When he’s on the floor the offense flows and easy opportunities are created. Once he’s off, the offense struggles to find it’s rhythm. Once Young returns, I expect this offense to continue to grow. A pleasant surprise has been the Hawks defense. Coming into the season their defense was expected to struggle, but they have been slightly better than average. Their defensive rating of 103.4 is the 12th best in the league and has exceeded expectations to this point.

Summary written by Tyler Metcalf

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#17 up 5 Indiana Pacers

Individual rankings: Jeremy #19, Joseph #16, Kevin #21, Nick #16, Tyler #16

Are you surprised at how good Malcolm Brogdon is? Because I’m not. Indiana will need a healthy Oladipo before even thinking about challenging the East’s top 5, but I don’t see why they can’t play as spoilers until then. Brogdon is second in the league in assists while piloting an offense that is allegedly struggling. The Pacers are back to 3-3, but they had to claw past a dreadfully underachieving Bulls team to get there.

Summary written by Jeremy Stevens

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#18 up 1 Oklahoma City Thunder

Individual rankings: Jeremy #21, Joseph #22, Kevin #18, Nick #17, Tyler #17

OKC may have only won 2 of their 6 games this season, but fans have to be encouraged by what they’ve seen so far. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is continuing to exceed most of our expectations (21.8 PTS, 7.2 REB, 3.3 AST), and we’re starting to see positive contributions from Diallo (11 PTS, 7 REB, 1 STL over the past 7 days), and Noel (12.7 PTS, 6.7 REB, 1.3 STL, 2.3 BLK over the past 7 days). Continuing to put minutes into young players is the best way to tackle the season for a team with no chance of making the playoffs (take note, New York). There’s a lot to like about what OKC are building.

Summary written by Joseph Mamone

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#19 down 3 Brooklyn Nets

Individual rankings: Jeremy #22, Joseph #17, Kevin #17, Nick #22, Tyler #19

The Brooklyn Nets are already searching for answers after starting the season 2-4. Kyrie Irving has been spectacular individually, but the ball movement that made the team successful last season has all but disappeared. Spencer Dinwiddie has had a terrible start to the season, and DeAndre Jordan continues to decline rapidly. Taurean Prince has been knocking down shots from deep, but the team is disastrously thin at the forward spots behind him. The Nets will probably fight their way into playoff position eventually, but the season is off to a rough start.

Summary written by Nick Agar-Johnson

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#20 up 1 Detroit Pistons

Individual rankings: Jeremy #18, Joseph #19, Kevin #20, Nick #20, Tyler #20

You know you have roster problems when a 31-year-old Derrick Rose has been your second-best player to date. Please don’t come at me, Rose stans. On the plus side, Kennard has been getting plenty of minutes (31 per game so far this season), and performing well, averaging 16.4 PTS, 3.7 AST, and 2.9 3PM, and Drummond is continuing to put up video game numbers, averaging 22.1 PTS, 18.7 REB, 1.7 STL, and 2.6 BLK.

Summary written by Joseph Mamone

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#21 down 4 Orlando Magic

Individual rankings: Jeremy #20, Joseph #20, Kevin #19, Nick #18, Tyler #21

Regression; a return to a former or less developed state. Eg. The Orlando Magic and their 2-4 start to the season after being a playoff team only a few months ago. For those playing at home, those 2 wins have been against New York and Cleveland. To say things haven’t gone to plan is stating the obvious, but there’s a shining light, and that light is Markelle Fultz breaking into the starting lineup. He was drafted number 1 in 2017 for a reason, and hopefully, we’ll get to see that reason on the court soon.

Summary written by Joseph Mamone

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#22 up 7 Charlotte Hornets

Individual rankings: Jeremy #17, Joseph #21, Kevin #21, Nick #21, Tyler #25

The Hornets aren’t the worst team in the league. They still aren’t good, but they have not been the worst. PJ Washington has been an absolute delight and Devonte’ Graham’s shooting off the bench has been a big boost. Unfortunately, that’s where the optimism ends for this team. Terry Rozier has been inefficient on offense and sieve on defense. They have zero interior defense and they don’t have much versatility or youth on the wing. The biggest takeaway from these first couple of games should be that James Borrego is a good coach that can get the most out of a bad roster.

Summary written by Tyler Metcalf

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#23 up 3 Sacramento Kings

Individual rankings: Jeremy #25, Joseph #23, Kevin #24, Nick #24, Tyler #23

The Sacramento Kings finally put their first win of the season up on the board with a one-point win over the Utah Jazz on Friday, and followed it up with a beatdown of the Knicks on Sunday. The Kings have led at the half or been tied in all but one of their games. However, the team has looked much slower coming out of every halftime and the defensive effort has disappeared in the third quarter of every contest except in their game against New York. A weekend of holding onto those halftime leads is an encouraging sign. Bogdan Bogdanovic has looked decent after an awful first week, and Richaun Holmes is already a fan favorite. His high-energy play is almost enough to offset the Cory Joseph deal (which has looked terrible through seven games) and the Trevor Ariza deal (which looked terrible the moment the Kings signed it and has only looked worse since).

Summary written by Nick Agar-Johnson

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#24 Chicago Bulls

Individual rankings: Jeremy #27, Joseph #24, Kevin #23, Nick #27, Tyler #24

There was so much promise heading into the season, with a lot of people crowning Chicago as a must-watch league pass team, but we forgot one small detail. Jim Boylen still coaches them. The Bulls have started the season 2-5, Coby White has cooled off after his hot start, Otto Porter has forgotten what a made shot looks like, and Thad Young is taking fourth-quarter minutes away from Lauri Markkanen, which is understandable, given he’s shooting 39% from the field so far this season, but it’s not ideal for the long-term future of the team. Something needs to change in Chicago.

Summary written by Joseph Mamone

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#25 down 2 New Orleans Pelicans

Individual rankings: Jeremy #26, Joseph #25, Kevin #28, Nick #25, Tyler #22

After winning the Zion lottery, this has not been an ideal start for the Pelicans. Their offense has been a delight to watch so far. They take full advantage of their youth and athleticism to get out in transition. On top of that, Brandon Ingram is looking like the player many thought he would be as he is averaging 23.5 points, 7.5 rebounds, and 4.2 assists per game while shooting 51.5/50/70. As a team, the Pelicans have been much better with their outside shooting than I anticipated with their 37.5 percent rate. Surprisingly, the struggles have come on defense. Their 113.8 defensive rating is the third-worst in the league. They are struggling with rotations and their interior injuries are causing major issues.

Summary written by Tyler Metcalf

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#26 up 1 Cleveland Cavaliers

Individual rankings: Jeremy #23, Joseph #28, Kevin #27, Nick #23, Tyler #26

The Cavs have been up and down thus far, but mostly down. The defense was expected to be other-worldly bad and was ranked 15th through the first four games. However, a beatdown (131 points allowed) at the hands of Dallas on Sunday looked a bit more like what everyone expected from the Cavaliers. On the bright side, their youngsters are getting experience and don’t look terrible. Kevin Love and Tristan Thompson are also looking like peak versions of themselves, which is a pleasant surprise for anyone watching. It’ll be a long season in Cleveland, but it could be much worse.

Summary written by Kevin Nye

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#27 down 2 Memphis Grizzlies

Individual rankings: Jeremy #24, Joseph #27, Kevin #26, Nick #26, Tyler #27

The Memphis Grizzlies are no longer in the Western Conference cellar, and they probably won’t fall back into last place. Ja Morant has continued to look impressive; he’s seeing the floor well and scoring efficiently, despite some careless turnovers. Jaren Jackson Jr. continues to foul way too much, and Dillon Brooks is somehow out-fouling him. There are going to be plenty of growing pains for this team, but Taylor Jenkins pushing the pace early is a positive sign.

Summary written by Nick Agar-Johnson

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#28 Washington Wizards

Individual rankings: Jeremy #29, Joseph #29, Kevin #25, Nick #29, Tyler #28

Washington is about where we expected them to be at this stage of the season (with a 1-4 record and Bradley Beal having to play far too many minutes), but there’s merit to having a bad season if it’s done right, and Washington is getting positive contributions from their developing young players such as Thomas Bryant (12.2 PTS, 10.2 REB, 2 BLK), Rui Hachimura (15.2 PTS, 6 REB), and the return of Troy Brown, whose minutes will start to ramp up as he returns from injury.

Summary written by Joseph Mamone

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#29 down 9 Golden State Warriors

Individual rankings: Jeremy #28, Joseph #26, Kevin #29, Nick #28, Tyler #30

Starting lineups for the Golden State Warriors: Mon, Jun 10, 2019: Steph Curry · Kevin Durant · Draymond Green · Andre Iguodala · Klay Thompson. Sat, Nov 2, 2019: Ky Bowman · Willie Cauley-Stein · Eric Paschall · Jordan Poole · Glenn Robinson III. It’s hard to imagine a more rapid fall from grace–especially since three of those June 10th starters remain on the roster. The Warriors are hard-capped after the D’Angelo Russell trade, and their active roster on Nov. 2nd will earn around $14 million this season. Total. The Warriors looked like they might be the worst defense in the league before Steph and Draymond got hurt, and that’s looking even more likely now. Steph will miss at least three months, and Draymond and D’Angelo will definitely nurse their injuries REALLY slowly. At least all of the Oakland faithful who have been unable to afford tickets for the past half-decade will get to watch this year’s Wounded Warriors at a decent price.

Summary written by Nick Agar-Johnson

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#30 New York Knicks

Individual rankings: Jeremy #30, Joseph #30, Kevin #30, Nick #30, Tyler #29

You know, I was really confident the Hornets would be worse than the Knicks. This is the last straw – I’m never giving the Knicks any preseason hype again, no matter how many veterans they sign. Hey, if the Suns can sign a bunch of experienced role players and win, why can’t the Knicks share the same fate? I mean, Julius Randle has *definitely* played basketball before. And I watched plenty of Marcus Morris Sr. with my own two eyes, so I know he’s played in some big games. We’re six games in, so it’s early, but I’m revolted by the Knicks. At least have enough self-respect to play your young prospects as many minutes as your middling role players.

Summary written by Jeremy Stevens

Source: hashtagbasketball.com

It’s going to be a very exciting season all the way through until April 2020.

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The Constellation Cup – Australia defeats New Zealand for the seventh year.

The Kiwis just missed. Australia won the Constellation Cup series in Perth. With both teams taking 2 wins it came down to percentage.

Netball has long been the most popular sport for women and girls in Australia. There was a time when in the winter the boys would play football and the girls would play netball.  That’s just how it was.  However, these days, there are many more sports to choose from and girls are venturing into previously male dominated sports.  But, netball still has a very high participation level, with over 37% of girls aged 6-13 playing netball.

Accordingly, this high level of participation and a strong grassroots organisation has put the Australian women’s team (The Diamonds) at the top of the world rankings for many years.  Taking out numerous Commonwealth Games and World Cup Gold Medals.

The most popular national sport in Australia is Cricket, in which Australians are very successful at. There are two major football codes Rugby League played predominantly in New South Wales and Queensland, and Aussie Rules popular in Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania and Western Australia. Rugby Union and Association Football (known mostly as Soccer) is also played. The most popular female sport is Netball.

And we pay due homage to the all conquering Diamonds who simply blitzed the Silver Ferns in the final game of the series in Perth.

Kiwi coach slams refereeing as Diamonds win Constellation Cup

New Zealand coach Noeline Taurua has launched an extraordinary spray at Singaporean referee Joan Yuliani after the Australian Diamonds retained the Constellation Cup with a 53-46 netball win in Perth.

The Diamonds blitzed the Silver Ferns with a 16-7 opening-quarter onslaught at RAC Arena on Sunday, and led by as many as 16 goals during the second term as their suffocating pressure proved too much to handle.

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Noeline Taurua was not happy with the officiating in the fourth Test

But with star shooter Maria Folau nailing almost everything that came her way, the Silver Ferns reduced the margin to seven goals in the third quarter, and then just four goals with seven minutes remaining.

The Diamonds kept their cool at the death to secure the win and level the series at 2-2, claiming the Constellation Cup on superior goal percentage.

But it was the quality of refereeing that was a big talking point after the match, with Taurua furious at Yuliani’s performance.

New Zealand are renowned for their on-court discipline, often committing 25 per cent less fouls than Australia whenever the arch-rivals meet.

But Sunday’s match told a different statistical tale, with NZ called for 66 penalties to Australia’s 63.

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The Diamonds celebrate their Constellation Cup victory

Taurua believed many of those calls were wrong, and even went to the trouble of analysing the foul count from the past five matches between the two sides to prove her point.

She said the fact that Yuliani was handed the refereeing gig in the fourth Test despite not officiating in any of the previous three matches of the series was a huge mistake.

“We have somebody that comes in from Singapore – where are they ranked? – and blows it [the interpretations of the rules] out of the window,” Taurua said.

“I thought the Diamonds were confused [as well] to some respect.

“One minute it’s a two-second held ball, next minute it’s a four-minute held ball, next minute there’s nothing, there’s no call at all.

“That really disturbs me, because we are not a 60-penalty team. We want to put something out there that’s really competitive.

“But yet the decisions that are made behind the scenes in regards to that quality is unacceptable. For that I’m really disappointed.”

Taurua made a special point to praise the Diamonds, declaring them the better team on the day.

But she said the issue of referee quality needed to be addressed, and she’s vowed to put in a formal complaint.

Star Diamonds goal shooter Caitlin Bassett nailed 25 of her 28 goal attempts to ensure she celebrated her 100-game milestone with a win in front of 13,233 fans – a new netball record crowd for Perth.

The win was also the perfect send-off for retiring shooter Caitlin Thwaites, who replaced Bassett in the third quarter to finish with six goals.

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The retiring Caitlin Thwaites waves farewell to the crowd

“Definitely the pressure’s off,” Diamonds coach Lisa Alexander said after the match.”I just had the feeling they weren’t going to let it slip. We practised all week. They just dug in and they dug really deep, and they did a fantastic job.”

The victory was sweet revenge for Australia, who lost the World Cup final to New Zealand by a goal in July, and also twice lost to the Silver Ferns during the current series by a goal.

Source: smh.com.au

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