Take 2 – Basketball and Netball – The Lockdown Reprise

It’s hard to know what effect this latest lockdown will have on local competitions and Junior grades in Netball and Basketball. Certainly it will push back the reopening of stadiums and to most competitions by a further 6 weeks. Whilst other states like NSW, Western Australia and Queensland remain ‘open’ the major leagues such as the NBL and the Suncorp Super Netball can prepare for competition hubs. But for the rest of us here in Victoria the message is #StaySafeStayHome

This week we wanted to take a peek at the new South Melbourne Primary School, Australia’s first vertical school. So that’s all we could do – take a peek. The school is graced with a full indoor sprung timber competition level court suitable for Basketball, Netball and indoor activities such as Gymnastics, Volleyball and other indoor sports.The new court was installed by Nellakir last year. But as of the 9th of July, it’s now having an enforced lay-off.

In reality the lockdown provides a great opportunity for organisations to access the ‘state of the game’ with their individual sports and plan for the post Covid-19 strategy for their sport.

Netball Australia has been quick off the mark announcing an independent review of the sport of Netball.

Here is their Press Release,

Netball assesses State of the Game

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Netball Australia has today announced an independent review to holistically consider the State of the Game in order to reset the sport’s strategy following the impact of COVID-19.

The review, to be headed by former Australian captain Liz Ellis, will canvas the views and experiences of the wide range of customer and stakeholder groups from across the netball nation, inviting diverse and bold thinking to ensure the ongoing sustainability, prosperity and relevance of the game.

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Ellis will be joined on the panel by an accomplished group of leaders from across different industries, all sharing a common belief in the power of netball to enrich communities. The three other panel members are Australian Sex Discrimination Commissioner Kate Jenkins, experienced non-executive director and former MP Wendy Machin and experienced non-executive director, CEO, CMO and media executive Joe Pollard.

In the wake of COVID-19 restrictions, Suncorp Super Netball was delayed, community netball was suspended, Netball Australia furloughed half its workforce and Suncorp Super Netball athletes accepted a reduction in their player payments for 2020.

Netball Australia CEO Marne Fechner said the consultation aspect of the review will be the most significant in the sport’s history and for good reason.

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“The coronavirus pandemic has had a significant financial impact on the netball ecosystem and comes at a time when the competition to own the hearts and minds of women in sport is at an all-time high,” she said.

“Without action, parts of netball will encounter considerable financial uncertainty. So, faced with this reality, the sport will take steps to ensure its not only future proofed, but that our strategy leading into 2027, our centenary, is designed to strengthen the entire netball community,” she said.

“Across the next two months our aim is to capture the voices and experiences of our entire Australian netball family at a scale that hasn’t been done before. We want to listen to their stories and understand what makes the sport great and where we can do better. Most importantly, we want to capture a collective ambition for our game and, in doing so, shape our future.”

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The Review’s terms of reference will see the panel consider:

  • Netball’s value proposition and critical pain points.
  • The alignment between customer and stakeholder insight and the sport’s purpose, vision and strategy.
  • The culture of Netball in Australia.
  • The financial, delivery and commercial model of netball in Australia.
  • The optimal future governance structure of netball (Netball Australia, Member Organisations, associations, clubs, Suncorp Super Netball and Suncorp Super Netball clubs).
  • The roles of each entity in the netball ecosystem.
  • Any other matter that would best serve netball in Australia.

Panel Chair Liz Ellis said the State of the Game Review will provide a listening post at a critical juncture of the sport and help build strong, innovative strategies leading to 2027 when the sport hopes to host the Netball World Cup.

“Netball is the preeminent sport of choice for Australian women and girls, but like all sports, netball has experienced significant financial pressure across the system as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic,” she said.

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“This review is an opportunity, not only to capture the pulse of the netball nation, but to understand what’s most important to people that love netball – from elite through to grassroots, social, mixed and men’s netball. It’s also a chance to also understand what our commercial partners see as the future of our business.

“We need to ensure the sport has a contemporary strategy and structure. This is a unique opportunity for the sport to reimagine and if necessary, reshape relevant features to ensure we can all bounce back stronger together.”

It is estimated the review panel will provide recommendations to Netball Australia by the end of September 2020.

Netball Australia is inviting all netball fans, participants, volunteers, anyone involved in the sport to provide input into this review. Go to netball.com.au/stateofthegame to find out how you can provide feedback.

Source: netball.com.au

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NBA Update – The LA Lakers and Orlando.

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Basketball fans are keenly awaiting the resumption of the 2019-20 season at the ESPN complex at Disneyworld located in Orlando Florida.

Here’s a complete rundown from Head Coach Frank Vogel dated July 1st 2020…

Frank Vogel Addresses Lakers Roster Updates for Orlando

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When Frank Vogel became the head coach of the Lakers over a year ago, he knew there would be plenty of challenges, and plenty of pressure.

But there’s no way he could have predicted a truly unprecedented 2019-20 season including the events surrounding the team’s preseason trip to China, the tragic death of Kobe Bryant, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the racial and social justice movement that continues to evolve.

Amidst all of that, Vogel is trying to lead his players and staff through never-traveled terrain as the team’s first game in the Walt Disney World bubble is exactly one month away.

As players continue individual workouts at the UCLA Health Training Center, ramping up towards the planned departure of the team charter on July 9, Vogel acknowledged that JR Smith would replace Avery Bradley on the roster, though it would take a team effort to replace Bradley’s role.

The other question mark on the roster is about Dwight Howard, who’s dealing with a unique family situation that he described to us in May, in addition to his focus on social justice.

Vogel offered an update on Howard’s status.

“We’ve been in communication with Dwight the whole way,” he said. “We don’t know what the level of participation is yet. He wants to play. We’re hopeful he’s able to join us. We’re hopeful and optimistic that he’ll be able to join us in Orlando.”

Howard is one of 10 Lakers to average at least 16.8 minutes per game this season: LeBron James (34.9); Anthony Davis (34.3); Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (25.4); Danny Green (25.1); Kyle Kuzma (24.6); Bradley (24.2); Rajon Rondo (20.5); Howard (19.2), Alex Caruso (17.8); and JaVale McGee (16.8). Markieff Morris had also entered the rotation, earning 14.8 minutes in his eight appearances.

Meanwhile, Quinn Cook and Jared Dudley got spot minutes and filled in admirably when needed, and Vogel said repeatedly that he’d trust them in any game situation. One could surmise that both Smith and playoff-roster-deadline acquisition Dion Waiters would fit in with Cook and Dudley as veterans who could be called upon for specific reasons and matchups, i.e., the need for a guy who can get his own bucket off the bench (Waiters) or floor spacing (Smith, who’s a 37.3 percent 3-point shooter who ranks 9th all-time in postseason 3’s made, and 4th in the NBA Finals).

Vogel has yet to work with Smith on the court, but he did have a welcome-to-the-team chat with the 34-year-old veteran.

“The experience factor,” said Vogel about what Smith brings. “This guy’s a big-time player, he’s proven it over the course of his career. We know he can help us. We almost added him earlier in the year when we added Dion Waiters, and now we have the luxury of having both. We’re not going to ask him to come in and be Avery Bradley, he’s going to come in and be JR Smith.”

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And while Smith provides depth on the wing, the bulk of Bradley’s 24.2 minutes could be split amongst KCP, Caruso and Rondo, depending upon the game situation.

“Avery’s loss is obviously a huge loss for us, but we’re a next-man-up team,” Vogel continued. “Alex is an elite defender in his own right in a different way than Avery, as is KCP. Offensively, clearly we wouldn’t run plays that Avery uses for Alex, we’d run plays that put Alex in the best position to succeed.”

On his own Zoom call with reporters earlier on Wednesday, Caruso offered a similar sentiment.

“It might not be with one person (filling Bradley’s role), but this team has done a great job this year when guys have been out, of stepping up and filling a role or a need,” he said. “I don’t know if I’ll be the sole provider of everything that Avery did, that’s a lot to ask for because of how good he is at what he does, but I’m definitely going to be ready to fill part of that gap and that need.”

Caruso mentioned Bradley’s skills as a supplementary ballhandler and defender who took open threes as things he thinks he replicate. On the other hand, Caruso acknowledged Bradley’s strength with mid-range pullups and floaters out of the sets Vogel was asked about as things with which he is less comfortable. Fortunately, those are sets that KCP can replicate.

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In fact, KCP started all 18 games for Bradley from Nov. 15 – Dec. 22 after Bradley suffered a hairline fracture in November. The Lakers went 15-1 before back-to-back losses at Indiana and Milwaukee at the end of a difficult road stretch. LAL also won games at Chicago (Nov. 5) and at OKC (Jan. 11) with KCP starting for Bradley, bringing the total mark to 17-3.

One benefit to those KCP lineups is the increased floor spacing he provides. Caldwell-Pope has hit 87 3’s this season on an impressive 39.4 percent from the field, compared to Bradley’s 63 makes on 36.4 percent. With LeBron as the primary ballhandler with the starters, Rondo could remain in his playmaking role off the bench.

Fortunately for Vogel, his squad has a 5.5 game lead in the West, meaning he can use the eight seeding games to iron out such rotation questions ahead of the start of the playoffs. Vogel was asked how having that lead might impact his approach in Orlando.

“We do have a different type of perspective from some teams that are playing for their playoff lives, but it doesn’t mean we’re not going to go out and – like we always would if these were the last eight games of the regular season – we would compete to win,” said Vogel. “That’s how your habits are built the best … Does that mean we’re going to play certain guys 47 minutes? Obviously no.

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“We’ll be intelligent with the whole process of trying to find the right pace to bring our group along from a conditioning standpoint and evaluating on a daily basis what we feel they can handle and what they’re ready for without compromising their bodies and putting them at risk to injury. We will be cautious with those eight games, but we will compete to win.”

Then it’s time for the playoffs, a unique challenge given the circumstances, and one for which Caruso is ready.

“This is something personally that I relish,” he said. “I’m looking forward to the challenge of lasting, of being the team that can be the mentally toughest, the mentally strongest and saying ‘Yeah, we may be on this isolated campus for three months, but we have a goal, we have a mission and it’s not going to affect us trying to get to that end goal and finish the job.’”

It’s that mental side of the game where Caruso thinks the Lakers will have an edge, with everybody dealing with a similar physical challenge.

“The hardest part for us is getting back to doing physically what we were able to do, as far as being early on assignments, being physically ready to box out, to play as physically as it takes to beat teams like the Clippers, Bucks, Rockets and Nuggets, all the good teams that are competing for championships and are going to be in the playoffs,” he explained. “Just getting back to that physical form of being able to do it night in, take a day off, night out, keep going and going and going for a month and a half. The mental part I feel like for our team is going to be easier just because we have such a heady and basketball-smart team, basketball-IQ led team and coaching staff.”

Source: nba.com

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The NBA – Will it resume as scheduled in Florida?

Just when it appeared there would be a return to something resembling normalcy in the world’s premiere basketball competition, the NBA, it appears the Covid-19 situation in Florida has arced up somewhat. Combine this with an almost certain number of positive cases amongst players now being tested and again there is some concern over this year’s series returning.

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We would stress the USA is in a very different situation to Australia with the number of positive identifications here being much lower. However, it points to the need for people to be vigilant and not squander the good work of the current lockdown in Australia. Local competitions here in both Basketball and Netball are looking to resume playing in late July.

Here’s a full report on the current NBA dilemma.

Florida’s Virus Spike Gives N.B.A. Players One More Reason to Hesitate

Concerns over dampening activism, injuries and now a drastic rise in coronavirus cases near Orlando could complicate the league’s plan to restart at Walt Disney World next month.

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[The entrance to the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex near Orlando, Fla., this month. The N.B.A. is set to restart its season at the campus in July.]

Robert A. Iger, the executive chairman of the Walt Disney Company, introduced the phrase into the N.B.A. lexicon. Adam Silver, the league’s commissioner, passed it on to the news media.

In a virtual meeting with N.B.A. team owners on April 17, Iger counseled his audience to make “data and not the date” the focus of the league’s comeback efforts.

Some two months later, as 22 teams ramp up activities in practice facilities and prepare to begin regular coronavirus testing for players and staff members on Tuesday, fretting about the data is suddenly one of the most popular pastimes in the N.B.A. universe.

The main reason: Since Tuesday night, when the league began distributing a 113-page guide of health and safety protocols to govern its planned restart of the 2019-20 season at Walt Disney World next month, the rate of confirmed coronavirus cases in Orange County, Fla., has risen dramatically.

Last Tuesday through Saturday, according to state data, 17 percent of coronavirus tests in the county returned positive results. That was a significant jump from the 10-day period before that, from June 6 to 15, when the positive rate was 5 percent.

The spike is yet another source of apprehension to manage for league and union officials, who just emerged from weeks of complicated discussions to come to terms on all the health and safety restrictions for its restart beginning July 7.

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As a Wednesday deadline approaches for players to notify their teams whether they wish to withdraw from participation, for whatever reason, there are three main sources of anxiety among the players and executives in the league:

– The location of the contained campus for the restart is a fresh source of unease. The N.B.A. chose Disney World for its single-site resumption of play for many reasons — business reasons among them given Disney’s status as the league’s top media partner. But Orange County’s increase in positive tests over the past two weeks has made it an “infection hotbed,” as described by Perry Halkitis, dean of the Rutgers School of Public Health.

– As Lou Williams of the Los Angeles Clippers said last week in a video chat with fans, some players are wrestling with fears that returning to full-time basketball may divert momentum from the Black Lives Matter movement, which has surged worldwide since the May 25 death of George Floyd while in police custody in Minneapolis.

– “In six weeks, the world may need some healing, they may need us to be on the floor,” Williams said. “But if more black kids or more black adults or any adults dealing with police brutality are getting killed and we’re still outraged, I don’t know if it’s in our best interests to suit up, because it looks like we don’t care.”

– A third prime worry that has been routinely overlooked with so much else happening is the injury risk players will face after what has been, for many, the longest layoff of their career from full-speed, five-on-five play.

– There are certainly several players who have been participating for weeks in unauthorized workouts and pickup games — a photo of LeBron James and Ben Simmons training together was posted on Instagram last week by the Klutch Sports Group, the agency that represents both players — but there are likewise many players who struggled in the initial stages of the pandemic to find places to get shots up.

– Through June 29, there will be a maximum of four players allowed in team practice facilities. The next week, until teams begin arriving at Disney World on July 7, up to eight players will be allowed. Players can thus only count on roughly 20 days of full practices and scrimmages with five-on-five work in Florida before the season resumes — considerably less than the norm. A month’s worth of pickup games in team practice facilities every September typically precede the start of N.B.A. training camps.

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[Bradley Beal of the Wizards at a rally in Washington to mark Juneteenth on Friday.]

Regarding the first (and perhaps foremost) concern, Halkitis, like many in his field, has praised the scope of the N.B.A.’s plans to combat the coronavirus at the Disney campus near Orlando.

“It is very, very, very well structured,” Halkitis said of the 113-page document in a telephone interview. “My reaction is that it makes the best use of the science we have to date, knowing perfectly well that things can change tomorrow.”

The main weakness in the N.B.A.’s approach, Halkitis said, is the prospect of players or team staff members leaving the campus without authorization and exposing themselves to the coronavirus — or “workers who are not staying on the grounds” bringing it in.

“Do I 100 percent believe that people aren’t going to leave?” Halkitis said. “I mean, these are adults, right? Human behavior is really hard to control.”

Yet he also acknowledged that the worrying trajectory of the testing data, at the very least, is bound to prompt questions about whether even the N.B.A.’s strict protocols will be sufficient. The Florida Department of Health has seemed to acknowledge the shifting situation, issuing a lengthy health advisory on Saturday that included a reminder to “wear masks in any setting where social distancing is not possible,” and a recommendation that “all individuals should refrain from participation in social or recreational gatherings of more than 50 people.”

Another concerning development in the state from the weekend: Major League Baseball, while still searching for the labor agreement it needs to salvage some semblance of a 2020 season, ordered all team facilities in Florida and Arizona to shut down after players in both locations tested positive for the coronavirus.

“If the numbers were staying stable or they were going down, I’d have lots of confidence in the plan,” Halkitis said of the N.B.A.’s restart. “The numbers going up mean you have a different circumstance now, which increases the probability of transmission and makes the plan — which is excellent but not foolproof — more susceptible to infiltration by the virus.

“I keep using the flood and the dam example: A dam holds water, but if there’s a lot of pressure on the dam, like lots of infections, it’s more likely to crack. And that’s the problem here. They have to keep an eye on what’s going on.”

As players and coaches begin to reunite in earnest, with only two weeks to go before charter planes are revved up to take them straight to Disney World, one suspects that no one on the N.B.A. map will have to hear that advice twice.

Source: nytimes.com

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Return Dates for Local Basketball and Netball Competitions Imminent.

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It seems that most of Australia has ‘dodged a bullet’ with the Covid-19 pandemic. Compared to the USA, we seem to have remained relatively unscathed. However there is still the need to maintain vigilance with the possibility of the ‘second wave’ of infections being very real. It’s easy to be complacent but remember in the USA, UK and Europe the toll has been tragic.

Both Basketball Victoria and Netball Victoria have been in discussions with the Victorian Government and the relevant State and Federal health Authorities. Both have provided press releases as to the present status on a return to local competition. For your information we repeat the for you here…

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COVID-19 Updates as of June 17, 2020

Guideline Level: WE ARE CURRENTLY AT RED-10 (Outdoor) – until June 22

Thank-you to those who attended the Return to Sport Update today. Although it is an exciting time with some clearer dates for us to return, we need to remain vigilant, patient and prepare as best we can to ensure the health and safety of our community is the highest priority while we aim to get participants back on the court.

We’ve put forward a position to SRV and DHHS that our understanding and application of the Victorian Government return to sport announcement from Sunday June 14, allows for basketball to move to “Orange-50” reactivation status. We anticipate we will be in a position to confirm this status for indoor training and competition for participants 18 years and under by the end of the week.

Please find below links to guidelines, tools, signage and checklists (in preparation for an Orange-50 status) as well as the recording from todays webinar. The Q&A from todays session is being drafted and will be available tomorrow.

Please note the documents and tools provided for the proposed Orange-50 status are to be considered for preparation purposes and not to be treated as confirmed until Basketball Victoria notifies otherwise of acceptance from SRV and DHHS.

We appreciate the patience and understanding of the whole community, we ask that everyone continues to maintain increased hygiene practices as well as adequate social distancing measures to ensure we get through this together.

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As of June 15, 2020

Return to Sport Update

Basketball Victoria welcomes the Victorian Government’s announcement of the further easing of COVID-19 restrictions (announced Sunday June 14), regarding community sport.

Managing our return to basketball training and competitions in a timely, yet safe and controlled manner is critical. This will ensure the health and wellbeing of participants, as well as the viability of our associations and clubs.

To be clear, basketball is regarded as a ‘contact-sport’ for the purposes of these Victorian Government restrictions and guidelines.

We have summarised the restrictions below from the DHHS and SRV releases, however we are seeking further clarity on the number of spectators/participants allowed per area/zone, aiming for an Orange-50 stage, as per our Return to Sport Guidelines from the 22nd June.

We will provide the relevant and updated guidelines, information sheets, checklists and signage to assist the resumption of competition as soon as we have received Government confirmation.

Summary of Restrictions:

– For 18 years old and under – full contact training and competition for both indoor and outdoor is possible from June 22
– For 18 years and over – non-contact training for both indoor and outdoor is possible from June 22
– For 18 years and over – full contact training for both indoor and outdoor (forecast for) July 13
– For 18 years and over – resumption of competition both indoor and outdoor (forecast for) July 20

Note: the forecast July dates are not locked in yet, the Victorian Government will still need to confirm these dates in the coming weeks.

We appreciate the patience and understanding of our community throughout the COVID-19 postponement of basketball and into the future as we ease restrictions and see our sport return to competition in upcoming weeks and months.

It is important to remain vigilant as we return to indoor basketball training and competitions – please continue to maintain increased hygiene practices as well as adequate social distancing measures, as this will aid in the ongoing health and safety of our community.

Source: http://basketballvictoria.com.au/covid-19/

And from Netball Victoria…

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15 JUNE 2020

Netball Victoria is delighted with the Victoria State Government announcement today of a road map for the return of community sport in Victoria. We have seen netballers return to training with cautious excitement, and know the delight that a return to competition will bring our community.
We are processing the detail in these announcements and seeking further clarification before we can provide further advice to our netball community. We will provide the updated Return to Community Netball guidelines as soon as we can.

27 MAY 2020

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The Victorian Government has announced further easing of restrictions which will enable groups of up to 20 – plus a coach – to participate in training at outdoor venues from Monday 1 June, 2020. All activity and training must continue to be non-contact and no competitions or match play may take place. Netball Victoria will continue to support Associations, Leagues and Clubs through this unprecedented time to ensure they adhere to the Return to Community Netball guidelines.

Netball Victoria continues to advocate on behalf of our community to the State Government for a roadmap to resume competitive netball. At this point in time, we are advocating for a recommencement of competition netball in mid-July 2020.

To enable us to effectively assess the impact of COVID-19 restrictions on your annual Netball Victoria membership, we have deferred an announcement until October 31, 2020. This will enable us to make an informed decision based on the state of play, and to further assess a range of options to manage current and future memberships. We continue to accept applications for refunds based on hardship or medical reasons, which are assessed on a weekly basis.

We are aware our netball community are doing all you can to make decisions in this uncertain environment. We encourage you to wait for the Victorian Government announcements regarding further easing of restrictions before making any definitive decisions. We expect to see a strong Return to Community Netball and look forward to continuing to work with our passionate netball community to achieve this.

Source: vic.netball.com.au

It will be fantastic for the kids to finally get back to enjoying a game, but it’s critically important that families and friends follow the directives and advice provided to ensure there is a full return to competition in the following months.

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We wish all competitors at all levels the very best of luck in returning to full competition. As the referee says, “Play Ball!”

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The NBA – It’s ON – Season to be completed by Mid October.

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Last week, the NBA officially announced that the season was to be completed by mid October at a hub established at Disney World in orlando Florida.

Here’s the full report…

NBA to restart season in Disney World hub as top 22 teams aim to complete season by mid-October

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The NBA is aiming to resume in less than two months at a Disney World hub

The NBA has approved a plan to restart the suspended 2019-20 season at a designated hub at Disney World in Florida, with a tentative start date of July 31.

Key points:

  • NBA franchises voted near-unanimously to restart the season at Disney World in Florida
  • The 16 teams currently in playoff positions and the six teams closest to breaking in will see out the season
  • The league is hoping to be able to start the 2020-21 season on December 1

The plan would see 22 of the NBA’s 30 teams play eight seeding games to determine a 16-team playoff field that would follow the traditional post-season format, with four best-of-seven series that would crown a champion no later than October 12.

“While the COVID-19 pandemic presents formidable challenges, we are hopeful of finishing the season in a safe and responsible manner based on strict protocols now being finalised with public health officials and medical experts,” NBA commissioner Adam Silver said.

The league said approval from its board of governors, which came on the day originally scheduled for the start of the NBA Finals, is the first formal step among the many required to resume the season.

According to ESPN, the vote on the format was 29-1, with the Portland Trail Blazers voting against the proposal.

All games, practices and housing would be at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, which is inside Disney’s Orlando resort and has multiple hotels and arenas and would allow the league to limit outside exposure.

The NBA was the first North American sports league to suspend its season due to the COVID-19 pandemic after one of its players tested positive for the new coronavirus in mid-March with five weeks remaining in the 82-game regular season.

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Twenty-two of the league’s 30 teams will compete to finish the season.

The 22 returning teams would be comprised of the eight teams from each of the two conferences currently in playoff positions plus the six clubs that are six games or fewer behind the eighth seed in their respective conferences.

At the conclusion of the seeding games, the seven teams in each conference with the best combined records across regular-season games and seeding games would qualify for the playoffs.

A play-in tournament would be used to determine the final playoff seed in each conference if the team with the eighth-best combined record is four games or fewer ahead of the team with the ninth-best combined record in the same conference.

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The NBA season was suspended in March after Jazz player Rudy Gobert tested positive to COVID-19.

The Minnesota Timberwolves, one of the teams excluded from the NBA’s return-to-play plan because of their record, expressed disappointment at not being able to play more games but said they understood and accepted the decision.

“It is important that we be a good teammate not only to the NBA, but to the other 29 teams to support the efforts to complete this season and prepare for next season in a healthy and safe manner,” the Timberwolves said in a statement.

If everything goes according to plan, the NBA said the 2020-21 season would begin on December 1.

The league also said it planned to hold its 2020 NBA Draft Lottery to determine the order of the first 14 selections on August 25. Lottery teams would be comprised of the eight clubs that do not participate in the restart and the six that go to Florida but do not qualify for the playoffs.

The actual NBA Draft, typically held in June, is now scheduled for October 15.

Source: abc.net.au

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Here in Victoria, make sure your team gets to play on an absolute premium surface, every game. With local competitions scheduled to commence playing by July/August now is the perfect time to undertake annual maintenance of your valuable Timber Sports Flooring. Re-coating, Re-lining and ensuring the smooth vibrant surface players enjoy is a paramount task. Call Nellakir on 03 9467 6126 for a prompt response or leave your details here and one of our technicians will contact you to arrange a site visit.

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Nellakir are Victoria and Tasmania’s leading experts in the installation and maintenance of Sprung Timber Sports Flooring.

Trust Nellakir, they’re simply the best.

Champion floors for present and future champions.

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Nellakir helps young athletes reach their goals by providing the highest quality Sprung Timber Sports Floor playing surfaces.

Major Upgrades to Occur in the Victorian Schools and Education Sector

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Late last month, the Victorian Government announced it would be embarking upon a $2.7B construction blitz to counteract the negative effects of Coronavirus on the State’s economy. A substantial part of the construction package will be more that $1 billion to be spent on upgrading schools and school facilities.

Nellakir has been deeply involved in the current Public Private Partnership (PPP) scheme constructing and installing many multi-use indoor timber floored facilities which provide space for Basketball, Netball, Volleyball and other team sports as well as Gymnastics and a designated indoor assembly area. With this funding injection to the sector there will be no doubt many more Primary and Secondary Schools enjoying a modern upgrade of their facilities. Basketball and netball, for both boys and girls, are two of the fastest growing junior sports in Australia.

Here is the Government press release in full…

Coronavirus prompts Victoria to launch $2.7b construction blitz to stimulate state’s economic recovery

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Premier Daniel Andrews said the package would create thousands of jobs.

Premier Daniel Andrews has announced a $2.7 billion construction blitz, including more than $1 billion to upgrade schools, to stimulate the Victorian economy and create thousands of jobs.

Key points:

  • The package will include refurbishment of 23,000 public housing units and 168 new homes
  • $1.2 billion will be spent on new schools and school upgrades in regional and metropolitan Victoria
  • $382 million will also go towards tourism infrastructure

“The Government will invest that money to deliver hundreds of projects to secure thousands of jobs in maintenance, upgrades to public housing, through to road maintenance, upgrading train stations and a very significant boost, more than $1 billion to schools,” Mr Andrews said.

He said many of the projects in the Building Works package were new while others had already been planned but were being brought forward.

The projects were specifically chosen because they could begin quickly and stimulate the economy.

Work to refurbish 23,000 public housing units would begin immediately with the rest of the projects to get underway within three to six months, he said.

The package is expected to create 3,700 direct jobs and thousands more indirect jobs.

“We’re ready to go with this and it will be a great boost to carpenters, to bricklayers, to concreters, to people who do carpet laying, to plumbers across the board,” Mr Andrews said

“Small firms particularly will benefit. Hundreds and hundreds of projects supporting thousands of families.”

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The construction blitz is expected to create 3,700 direct jobs and thousands more indirect jobs.

The money is in addition to the State Government’s $1.7 billion Economic Survival Package announced last month.

Spending and projects in the package announced today include:

  • $500 million to upgrade 23,000 public and community housing dwellings and build 168 new homes
  • $382 million for upgrades, maintenance and new experiences at tourism destinations including 50 kilometres of mountain bike trails in the Ararat Hills and upgrades at the Gippsland Lakes
  • Other small projects such as local sports facility upgrades, work to improve waterways and coastal areas, tree planting and graffiti removal
  • Transport spending including 300km of regional track improvements, repairs at more than 15 train stations, more maintenance on trains and trams, local pier upgrades along the coast and $328 million for resurfacing and patching roads
  • More than $100 million for CFA and SES station upgrades, disability accommodation and mental health and aged care facilities across Victoria

State to get new schools, upgrades and relocatable buildings

Education Minister James Merlino said almost $1.2 billion of the funding would be spent building 10 new schools and 250 relocatable buildings and completing 57 upgrades.

Mr Merlino said the works would create capacity for 21,000 additional student places around the state and more than 1,600 local construction jobs.

He said the Greater Shepparton Secondary College project alone would deliver almost 300 local jobs for the community.

“I’m really pleased that Clifton Creek Primary school, the school that was burnt down in the summer bushfires, [will be rebuilt],” he said.

“This is the biggest school building program our state has ever seen,” he added.

“It will also deliver on all our remaining election commitments.”

Builders welcome construction funding

Michelle Brooker is the general manager of her family’s construction businesses, Brooker Builders, that is based in Bairnsdale in East Gippsland.

She said the construction industry in East Gippsland had slowed down.

“In East Gippsland we have had three years of drought, then the bushfires and now COVID-19,” she said.

“Due to a lack of work in the area a majority of our workforce is currently working outside of East Gippsland.

“Now that has never happened before.”

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Michelle Brooker hopes the Victorian Government’s construction funding can help the sector in East Gippsland.

She said the State Government funding was a “welcome opportunity” for the building sector right across the state.

But Ms Brooker wants to see the State Government consider local businesses when it awards building contracts.

” We know that we still need to prove value for money and to be competitive but we believe this is an opportunity and it would be fantastic to turn that opportunity into reality.”
Successful tenderers to source additional labour through government scheme

Mr Andrews said the Working for Victoria scheme, in which people who have lost their jobs due to the pandemic are placed into industries and sectors that need more staff, would be a core component of the building tenders.

“If a business wins a tender and needs to employ additional staff over and above what they have now, they will have to come to Working for Victoria first and if we can match up people who have lost their jobs with these small and medium firms then that’s a fantastic outcome,” he said.

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Source: abc.net.au

Nellakir are the leading experts in the construction, installation, maintenance and scheduled professional cleaning of Premium Timber Sports Flooring in Victoria and Tasmania. Nellakir supply the ASF/Horner Sprung Timber Sports Flooring exclusively in both states. ASF/Horner Sports Flooring systems are FIBA approved. The Victorian State Basketball Headquarters in Knox and the Victorian Netball Headquarters in Royal Park both feature premium playing surfaces installed by Nellakir, with a further upgrade and new courts nearing completion at Netball Victoria’s Royal Park Headquarters.

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For the very best in premium service call Nellakir now on 03 9467 6126 and book an obligation free consultation with one of our expert technicians. Nellakir provide full Annual Maintenance including recoating and linemarking, long term maintenance such as resurfacing and resanding, and professionally scheduled cleaning of all premium Timber Sports Flooring. If you prefer you can leave your details here for a prompt reply.

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You can trust Nellakir to deliver – every time, ensuring your premium timber playing surface is presented at the highest level of professionalism for every game.

Nellakir – Championship Timber Flooring for present and future champions.

They’re simply the best.

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Nellakir helps young athletes reach their goals by providing the highest quality Sprung Timber Sports Floor playing surfaces.

Resumption of Play? Finish the Season? (NBA) or Start the Pre-Season? (NBL)

Right now, the pressure is ramping up both in the USA with the NBA and here with the NBL for teams to get on the boards and resume hostilities. In Australia, the pre-season for the NBL would normally commence in mid to late June. In the US, the NBA must complete the current season.

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In the US, the situation looks muddled. Lockdown just hasn’t been as effective as in other places, a very high infection and mortality rate being the result. There is a fair bit of white noise emanating from various sectors of the game and its commentators, however many states are still in severe lockdown and are unlikely to approve any such activities in sport or public gatherings.

From the Bleacher Report…

LeBron, Giannis, Steph Curry, More Stars in Favour of NBA Resuming Season

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LeBron James and the biggest stars in the NBA have reportedly “formed a united front to resume the 2019-20 season,” which has been on hiatus because of the coronavirus, according to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports.

NBPA President and Oklahoma City Thunder guard Chris Paul arranged a private conference call Monday that reportedly included James, Anthony Davis, Kevin Durant, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kawhi Leonard, Stephen Curry, Damian Lillard and Russell Westbrook.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported Tuesday the NBPA was polling players about whether they wanted the season to continue.

The players’ association denied the report and said it “has not authorized any formal poll of its players,” per Shams Charania of Stadium and The Athletic.

The league has been patient about a potential return, with Commissioner Adam Silver reportedly saying a decision didn’t need to be made in May, per Wojnarowski.

Teams were allowed to reopen facilities last week, though some organizations must remain closed for at least several more weeks based on local restrictions.

Some team executives and agents have reportedly called for the NBA to cancel the remainder of the season, according to Jabari Young of CNBC.

However, there is at least some support among players to return and determine a champion.

The stars on the call carry a lot of weight with 71 combined All-Star appearances and nine MVP awards among the nine players Hayes listed.

Though James and Antetokounmpo would have a lot to gain with a return—the Los Angeles Lakers and Milwaukee Bucks would be expected to contend for the title—that’s not the case with all the others. Curry and Lillard are on teams that would not currently land in the playoff field, while Durant hasn’t played all season while recovering from an Achilles injury.

As Haynes noted, a canceled season could have lasting effects regarding the collective bargaining agreement.

This group of high-profile players could help push the league toward a restart.

Source: bleacherreport.com

Here in Australia, there is some likelihood of a return to the courts for the NBL on time. However, it’s likely to see televised games only with no public attendance permitted.

From the NBL…

NBL Looks at Start Date for 2020/21 Season

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The NBL has commenced work on identifying a start date for the 2020-21 Hungry Jack’s NBL Season as it works with the clubs and other key stakeholders for the return of basketball in Australia.

NBL Owner and Executive Chairman Larry Kestelman said: “It’s very pleasing to see Australia leading the way when it comes to bringing COVID-19 under control and hopefully we are all going to return to some sort of more normal life over the coming weeks and months.

“We are also encouraged by the progress other professional sporting leagues are making as they seek to return and we will monitor them and work with the relevant health authorities and government as we look to bring basketball back.

“We are also talking with the clubs about plans for next season including identifying a start date. We also want to do everything we can to be able to accommodate fans at games even if it means ramping up attendances as the season progresses.

“We are taking a positive and proactive approach and will continue to assess options and hope to be in a position by mid-year to be able to confirm plans for the coming season.

“We believe the NBL will remain a highly attractive option for players from both Australia and New Zealand and around the world should borders be re-opened. The NBL is one of the best leagues in the world outside of the NBA and Australia will without doubt be one of the safest places in the world to play in.

“We respect the rights of players to test the market. The agreement with the Australian Basketball Players’ Association was done by the NBL on behalf of the clubs who were unanimous in their support of the players and wanted to avoid stand downs as they managed the impact of the virus.

“Those players who choose to explore their options can still opt back in to their NBL contracts and we believe there will be a number who do so as the situation in regards to COVID-19 and its impact on various basketball leagues around the world becomes clearer.

“We are very encouraged by the large number of players who have indicated their desire to play in the NBL and we have no doubt the league will remain of a very high standard, attracting top players and enjoyed by fans across Australia, New Zealand and the rest of the world.”

Source: nbl.com.au

The prolonged ban on local sporting competitions and public attendance has seen many stadiums opt for overdue maintenance and repairs to Timber Sports Flooring ensuring premium performance on the return to competition.

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Nellakir are the leading experts in Sprung Timber Sports Flooring here in Victoria and in Tasmania as well. For all maintenance, refurbishment and installation enquiries on Timber Sports Flooring, please don’t hesitate to call us on 03 9467 6126, or leave your details here for a prompt reply.

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Nellakir, utilising ASF/Horner Sports Flooring systems, create Sports Flooring that is FIBA approved.

Nellakir – The Sports Flooring for Champions.

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Nellakir helps young athletes reach their goals by providing the highest quality Sprung Timber Sports Floor playing surfaces.

Task Force to Tackle the Impact of Covid-19 on Australian Basketball Competition

From the NBL website…

Australian Basketball Unites to Tackle Impact of COVID-19

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Australia’s basketball community has established a taskforce to tackle the challenges from grassroots to elite competitions caused by the ongoing impact of COVID-19.

Basketball Australia, States and Territories, NBL, WNBL, NBL1, clubs and players have come together to build a comprehensive plan to restart the sport when the threat of COVID-19 eases.

The taskforce will be led by Basketball Australia Chair Ned Coten and the Owner and Executive Chairman of the NBL Larry Kestelman and include prominent members of the basketball and business communities.

Allan Yates, Nicola Ellis, Tony Hallam, Jacob Holmes, Brian Delaney and Jerril Rechter will represent basketball and they will be joined by independent business figures Ruffy Geminder, Diane Smith-Gander and Rickard Gardell.

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Chair of Basketball Australia Ned Coten said: “We are very mindful of the millions of Australians doing it tough and, quite rightly, they are the number one priority support right now, particularly those who have lost their jobs and are suffering financial hardship.

“Basketball is not immune to the impact of the COVID-19 and, like the rest of the community, we need to do everything we can to get through these challenging times but also work together to restart the sport when the time is right.

“Basketball is one of Australia’s highest participation sports with over 1.5 million active participants. It is the number one family sport, is incredibly inclusive and diverse and is a source of enjoyment across all levels of the community. Importantly, 38% of our participants are female and we have two of the leading men’s and women’s leagues in the world in the NBL and WNBL.

“The game employs tens of thousands of people across the country and generates significant economic impact as well as a range of health and social benefits for the wider community across both genders and all ages that will be needed more than ever as we recover.”

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The Owner and Executive Chairman of the NBL Larry Kestelman said: “Unlike other sports, basketball leagues do not derive the bulk of their revenue from broadcast agreements. With a significant amount of Australian homes now having a basketball hoop in the backyard, the sport can play a crucial role in getting the country active and back to normal, but we need help more than ever.

“Under the restrictions imposed by COVID-19, the sport has come to standstill for now. This includes not just the NBL and WNBL but also Australia’s premier winter league NBL1, the 3x3Hustle and all community and grassroots leagues right around the country.

“The NBL attracted almost one million people last season and is now widely considered the second-best domestic basketball league in the world after the NBA. We are an entertainment product built for live attendances.

“Unlike other codes, basketball cannot fall back on revenue from television if restrictions are still in place to crowds and would need assistance. We are not seeking special priority but rather simply asking not to be forgotten to ensure we can continue to deliver the sport that we and so many Australians love.”

The taskforce will consult with all areas of the sport to develop the recovery program for Australian basketball.

Source: nbl.com.au

During the current lockdown, Nellakir have continued to provide Construction, Installation and Maintenance services to some of our better known public stadiums, private and public schools, community recreation venues and a range of other facilities that feature high quality Sprung Timber Flooring such as Theatres, Churches and Dance Floors.

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Nellakir are the exclusive agents in Victoria and Tasmania for the ASF/Horner Sports Flooring systems – premium timber sports flooring that carries FIBA approval.

Now is the right time to carry out annual cyclical maintenance on premium Timber Sports Flooring whilst competitions are in temporary recess. Resurfacing, re-lining and where required re-sanding can all be undertaken and completed at this time.

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Call Nellakir now on 03 9467 6126 or leave your details here for a prompt reply. Book a time to speak to one of our trained technicians on your requirements and arrange a free, no-obligation quotation at your convenience.

Virtual conferencing can be arranged using Skype, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp or similar.

Take the time to plan for the future with Nellakir, the leading experts in Timber Sports Flooring Construction, Installation and Maintenance.

Nellakir – Sports Flooring for Champions.

The NBA – Looking to the Future

At Nellakir the work continues with new courts being installed at the State Netball and Hockey Centre, the Twin Rivers Echuca Primary School and Sirius College in Keysborough. Ongoing annual maintenance projects have continued through the school holiday break.

So during the lockdown here’s a bit of interesting news on the NBA for avid fans of the hoop.

NBA spends more than $500K to keep prospect Jalen Green from facing actual competition

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If you want to drill right to the core of the NBA’s new deal with California high school prospect Jalen Green, the league is going to pay him a half-million dollars to not play in the G League because it might be too hard for him.

Green will have no concerns about learning the campus map, no freshman English papers to write and no high-pressure March Madness games to worry about losing. And neither will he have to worry about joining a team such as the Erie Bayhawks or Maine Red Claws and coping with the jealousy of teammates who would be earning about 1/14th his salary.

ESPN reported Thursday that Green will enter a program in which he will be coached and join with other top prospects and professional players for exhibition games against G League teams, national teams from other countries and teams from worldwide NBA academies. Isaiah Todd, who decommitted from Michigan earlier this week to turn pro, is another who might join this program. Green is a 6-5 guard from Prolific Prep in California and is ranked the No. 3 prospect in the 2020 senior class by 247 Sports.

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After years of pushing to have the NBA age limit raised to 20 years and two years out of high school, NBA commissioner Adam Silver reversed course a few years back and now wants it down to 18 years with players eligible upon completion of their senior years. But the Players Association has yet to agree, and agents are pushing hard to convince teens to eschew NCAA basketball for that year they must wait to enter the draft and instead turn professional immediately.

A few did last year, but not here in the States. Wing R.J. Hampton and point guard LaMelo Ball chose to play in Australia rather than in NCAA basketball this past season, which led to Silver encouraging the development of an alternative to American teens joining the NBL.

In October 2018, the NBA had introduced a program for high school prospects that would have paid them $125,000 to compete in the G League for a year, before they were eligible for the draft. The typical G League salary is closer to $35,000.

But there had been no takers. That six-figure offer was not as lucrative as what Australia was paying. The prospect of playing in the G League — which lacks glamour but suffers from no shortage of hungry, talented players who would eagerly use an under-prepared teenager as a backdrop for their own resume tape — was not appealing.

G League president Shareef Abdur-Rahim told ESPN that it was “counterintuitive” for NBA scouts to travel Down Under to scout those players.

“The NBA is the best development system in the world, and those players shouldn’t have to go somewhere else to develop for a year,” he said. “They should be in our development system.”

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This is interesting, because it never seemed like the NBA was a development system. It seemed like the highest level of competition in the world.

If the G League itself were an ideal development system, teenage players would not be fearful of entering. But that’s what was apparent in 2018, when Cincinnati forward Darius Bazley decommitted from Syracuse, announced he would play his post-high school year in the G League and then opted, instead, to serve an internship with an athletic apparel company and then enter the 2019 NBA Draft. He was chosen with the 23rd pick last June and averaged 17 minutes in 53 games with the Thunder before the league suspended its season March 11.

So instead the league is concocting this alternative, which seems like an awful lot of gymnastics to accommodate a few prospects and whose merit is a complete unknown.

Eleven of the 15 players on last year’s three All-NBA teams were products of NCAA colleges, including three who were “one-and-done” collegians. If the NBA thinks it is wise to compete with that success and it’s worth $1 million or more to try — hey, it’s the league’s money.

“This trend has been coming. It’s going to happen. And it’s going to be more and more prevalent,” Notre Dame coach Mike Brey said in a teleconference Wednesday. “We’re just going to have to deal with it.

“But you know what? Here’s my attitude: We’ll have kids take their place. There’s so many good players out there. If a guy wants to go, go to the G League or go to Europe instead of giving us a year, go. Go do your thing. We’ll fill in behind with kids that want the opportunity and are good players.”

Source: sportingnews.com

For all Construction, Installation, Maintenance and Scheduled Cleaning of premium Timber Sports Flooring, call Victoria and Tasmania’s leading experts on 03 9467 6126 for a free, no-obligation quotation. Or visit our website and leave your details here for a prompt reply.

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Nellakir use the ASF/Horner Sports Flooring systems exclusively.

Nellakir – Sports Flooring for Champions.

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Nellakir helps young athletes reach their goals by providing the highest quality Sprung Timber Sports Floor playing surfaces.

Last year the Toronto Raptors started their campaign with this play-off game.

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Around about now the NBA would be winding up to the crescendo of the playoffs. Last year the Toronto Raptors lost their first play-off against the Milwaukee Bucks but recovered to eventually ‘steal’ the coveted NBA champions title for Canada – for the first time ever. Makes us wonder whether Australia might eventually field on the NBA side?

Here’s the video and the report.

Milwaukee Bucks rally late to defeat Toronto Raptors in Game 1

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Usually a big game from Kyle Lowry equals a Toronto Raptors win, but the Milwaukee Bucks held on to win Game 1 of their Eastern Conference Finals series.

Brook Lopez scored 13 of his 29 points in the fourth quarter, Giannis Antetokounmpo added 24 and the Bucks rallied in the final minutes to beat the Raptors 108-100 on Thursday (AEST).

Lopez had a dunk with 2:20 left to put the Bucks ahead for good, added a 3-pointer on the next Milwaukee possession to push the lead to four and the team that finished the regular season with the NBA’s best record — after trailing for the overwhelming majority of the game — did just enough in the final minutes to grab the series lead.

Kawhi Leonard scored 31 points and Kyle Lowry added 30 for the Raptors, who couldn’t make the most of a big game from their point guard, as well as an 11-of-44 shooting night from beyond the arc from the Bucks.

Malcolm Brogdon scored 15 and Nikola Mirotic had 13 for Milwaukee, which closed the game on a 10-0 run.

Lopez added 11 rebounds for the Bucks, who had three players post double-doubles.

Antetokounmpo had 14 rebounds and Khris Middleton finished with 11 points and 10 rebounds for Milwaukee, which is now 9-1 in this postseason. The Bucks trailed for 37 of the game’s 48 minutes.

Didn’t matter. They stayed just close enough until they could finish with a serious kick. The Raptors missed their last eight shots and were outscored 32-17 in the fourth quarter.

Pascal Siakam scored 15 for Toronto, including a 3-pointer over Antetokounmpo to end the third quarter and give the Raptors a seven-point lead with 12 minutes left.

It unraveled quickly from there.

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“Total team effort,” Lopez said.

With the chants of Milwaukee’s motto – “Fear the deer! Fear the deer!” – bouncing throughout the building, the Bucks predictably came out flying. The flurry was brief.

The Bucks missed seven consecutive shots, the Raptors made four 3-pointers in a span of three minutes, and that all helped become a 16-0 run by Toronto that turned an early 8-3 deficit into a 19-8 edge. The lead got as big as 13 later in the quarter on a fadeaway jumper by Leonard, and the Raptors held the lead the rest of the half.

Milwaukee had a chance to take its first lead since the opening minutes when Antetokounmpo went to the line for a pair of free throws with 8:17 left in the third and the Bucks down by only one.

He missed both and the Raptors peeled off the next nine points to rebuild what then was a 10-point lead again. But Toronto shot 5 for 22 in the fourth, the Bucks finally reclaimed the lead, and the Raptors’ chance to steal home-court went awry.

Source: foxsports.com.au

Nellakir are the premium supplier and installer of Sprung Timber Sports Flooring in Victoria and Tasmania, supplying the ASF Horner Sports Flooring Systems exclusively.

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Premium flooring requires premium maintenance and cleaning to ensure maximum performance and durability.

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Call Nellakir now on 03 9467 6126 for a free, no-obligation consultation with one of our trained technicians on the care and cleaning of your valuable Timber Sports Flooring and stadium seating. Or leave your details here for a prompt reply.

Always trust Nellakir

Nellakir – The Sports Flooring for Champions.

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Nellakir helps young athletes reach their goals by providing the highest quality Sprung Timber Sports Floor playing surfaces.