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James, Davis too much as Lakers beat Heat to take 2-0 Finals lead – TSN

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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Anthony Davis got most of his points with a feathery shooting touch. LeBron James flexed his muscle to bulldoze his way to damage. And whenever the lead looked even the tiniest bit threatened, the Los Angeles Lakers had an answer.

The NBA Finals are halfway to a coronation.

James finished with 33 points, nine rebounds and nine assists, Davis made 14 of his first 15 shots on the way to 32 points, and the Lakers took a 2-0 lead in the title series by beating the short-handed Miami Heat 124-114 on Friday night. The Lakers shot 51%, making 16 consecutive shots from 2-point range in a stretch that started late in the first quarter and ended late in the third.

James and Davis were the first Lakers duo to score at least 32 points in a finals game since Game 3 against New Jersey in 2002, when Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant did it.

“It’s very humbling that we can be even mentioned with those greats,” James said.

Shaq and Kobe got rings that year.

James and Davis are two wins away.

“Those guys are playing at an extremely high level, and hopefully we can get two more wins,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel said.

Jimmy Butler finished with 25 points, 13 assists and eight rebounds for Miami, which played without injured starters Bam Adebayo (neck and left shoulder) and Goran Dragic (torn left plantar fascia). The Heat scored 39 points in the third quarter and that was only good enough to cut a 14-point halftime deficit to a 10-point hole going into the fourth, mainly because they just couldn’t get enough stops.

“Look, I love these guys. I love the way we compete,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “We have to figure out how to overcome this and get over the top.

Game 3 is Sunday night. It’s unclear if Dragic, Adebayo or both could return; each lobbied to play Friday night, before the Heat had to make the call to keep them sidelined.

It’s also unclear how much it will matter.

This is the 24th time that James has had a 2-0 series lead; his teams in Cleveland, Miami and L.A. are 23-0 in the previous instances. And the last time the Lakers’ franchise has wasted a 2-0 lead was in the 1969 finals against Boston.

“Until we win four games, we haven’t accomplished our goal,” Lakers guard Alex Caruso said. “It’s been over a year together and we’ve talked about the same goal from Day One. We’re still here chasing that same goal. Until we get four wins, we’re staying hungry.”

Kelly Olynyk scored 24 points for the Heat, who trailed by as many as 32 in Game 1 and — even without Adebayo and Dragic — were far more competitive in Game 2. Miami got within nine points in the fourth, but never got close enough to truly put a scare into the Lakers.

“Maybe we’ve just got to play a lot harder, to know that’s how we’re going to squeak out a win in the end,” Butler said. “There really isn’t too much to say to our guys. We understand what we have to do.”

Tyler Herro had 17, Kendrick Nunn scored 13 and Jae Crowder had 12 for the Heat. Herro and Meyers Leonard took Dragic’s and Adebayo’s spots in the starting lineup.

“We had it right there on the edge, but we just couldn’t push it over,” Olynyk said. “We can build on that.”

Rajon Rondo had 16 points, while Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Kyle Kuzma each had 11 for the Lakers — who improved to 4-0 in these playoffs when wearing the Kobe Bryant-inspired “Black Mamba” uniforms, one of many tributes to the Lakers legend who died Jan. 26 in a helicopter crash.

“This is what it’s all about,” James said. “We’re thinking about the Bryant family … and hopefully we’re making them proud.”

TIP-INS

Heat: Miami led for 53 seconds in the first quarter and have led for 10:44 out of 96 minutes played in the series. … The Heat have rallied from a 2-0 series hole only once in eight previous tries, that one being the 2006 NBA Finals. … Spoelstra collided with official Eric Lewis while trying to call time with 7:49 left. They both got a laugh out of it.

Lakers: Jeanie Buss, the team’s owner and president, was in the bubble for the game. … Flea, the bassist from the Red Hot Chili Peppers — formed in Los Angeles — performed the national anthem. … James, in his 10th NBA Finals, has a 2-0 lead in the title series for the first time. … The Lakers took a season-high 47 3s, making 16.

YOUNGEST STARTER

Herro, at 20 years, 256 days, became the youngest player to start an NBA Finals game. He did so eight days younger than Magic Johnson was when he started Game 1 of the title series for the Lakers against the Philadelphia 76ers on May 4, 1980. They’re the only 20-year-olds to start; Tony Parker is the third-youngest, at 21 years, 18 days for San Antonio in Game 1 against New Jersey on June 4, 2003.

CLUTCH 3’S

The Lakers had a knack in the second half for making clutch 3’s whenever it seemed like Miami was poised to threaten. Rondo made a 3 with 37.2 seconds left in the third to push a nine-point lead back to 12, Kuzma connected 47 seconds into the fourth to make the lead 13 and, with the Heat within nine, Markieff Morris hit with 9:41 left to make it 111-99.

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Toronto FC thrashed by Union – TSN

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CHESTER, Pa. — A top-of-the-table showdown turned into a lopsided loss Saturday for an understrength Toronto FC that saw its nine-game undefeated run snapped in a 5-0 thrashing at the hands of the Philadelphia Union.

It was one-way traffic all night long, a night to forget for a Toronto franchise used to being the hammer rather than the nail. Philadelphia took advantage of TFC’s shambolic defending and non-existent attack, bullying a team that had been on a 7-0-2 run.

It was a costly defeat, given a win would have put TFC six points ahead of its nearest challenger. Instead, the Union moved into first place in both the league and Eastern Conference on goal difference over Toronto with the two teams at 12-3-5.

Toronto had gone unbeaten since suffering a pair of losses Sept. 1 and 5, against Montreal and Vancouver respectively.

Toronto coach Greg Vanney called it a “hard lesson,” the kind of performance he had not see for “a long, long time.”

“What went wrong? It was wrong from start to finish,” he said. “We weren’t close to them the entire night, really…We couldn’t put passes together and they were just at a different speed than we were on the night, that’s for sure.”

The decision matched Philadelphia’s largest margin of victory and Toronto’s largest margin of defeat in MLS play, according to Opta. TFC lost 6-0 to the Montreal Impact in a Canadian Championship semifinal second-match in 2013.

Philadelphia outshot Toronto 27-3 (12-1 in shots on target) and had 11 corners to TFC’s three.

“There’s no time to feel sorry for ourselves and nobody’s panicking, I can promise you that,” said captain Michael Bradley, who marked his 200th career MLS start.

Sergio Santos scored three goals, Mark McKenzie and Jamiro Monteiro added singles with Kacper Przybylko contributed three assists for a rampant Philadelphia side. The margin of victory could have been higher had it not been for some fine saves by overworked Toronto ‘keeeper Quentin Westberg.

“The way that we play represents, I think, (Philadelphia) in a lot of ways,” said Union coach Jim Curtin “We don’t fear anyone. We’ll go toe to toe with any superstars and our guys stick together and really fight for each other.”

It marked the first time Toronto had given up five goals since a 5-1 loss to Houston in April 2018. That day, Toronto fielded a second-string lineup in advance of a CONCACAF Champions League game.

Vanney and Bradley were singing off the same hymn sheet after the game, saying it was a reminder for some of the intensity of play in the run-up to the post-season and the playoffs themselves.

Bradley, who came off the bench last week in his return from a knee injury, made his first start since Sept. 1. Fullback Justin Morrow, who had missed the last four matches with a calf strain, returned to action off the bench.

But Vanney had plenty of other injury concerns including designated player Pablo Piatti who sat out with calf tightness.

Centre back Chris Mavinga and striker Ayo Akinola missed their second straight game with hamstring issues. Midfielder Jonathan Osorio, who left last week’s 1-0 win over Atlanta after just 20 minutes with a hamstring injury, did not dress.

Star forward Jozy Altidore, another Toronto DP, is a long-term casualty with a Grade 2 hamstring strain.

“Yeah, we were missing some guys but guys had the opportunity to step in and try to show that this time of year they might be able to help us” said Vanney.

Akinola could be back for Wednesday’s game against New York City FC. Osorio is being pencilled in for either NYFC or next weekend’s game against Inter Miami, TFC’s penultimate regular season match. Vanney is awaiting a final verdict on Piatti from club doctors.

Richie Laryea, Nick DeLeon and Gallardo came into the starting 11. Gallardo had played just 62 minutes in two substitute appearances since March 7, when he started the second game of the season.

The Venezuelan lasted just 35 minutes before Vanney brought on Patrick Mullins in a bid to find someone to boost an impotent attack

Philadelphia ran its undefeated streak to five (4-0-1) since a 2-1 loss to Toronto on Oct 3 in East Hartford. The Union also improved to 7-0-0 in league play this season at Subaru Park, which has opened its door with local authorities allowing 15 per cent capacity or approximately 2,775 spectators.

“They’re making a lot of noise, really pushing the players on,” said Curtin.

Philadelphia wasted little time taking it to a Toronto lineup missing some big names through injury.

The Union outshot Toronto 15-1 (6-0 in shots on target) in the first half alone, with 60 per cent possession and nine corners to TFCs one.

The Union went ahead in the 27th minute on a rapid-fire counter attack after Brazilian fullback Auro and Gallardo both lost possession for Toronto in the Philadelphia end. Jose Martinez swept the ball wide to Kai Wagner, who made a run down the left flank and floated in a perfect cross that Santos headed in as defender Omar Gonzalez lunged in vain at the ball.

The Union doubled the lead off a corner in the 33rd minute, taking advantage of some dreadful defending. Monteiro’s corner found Przybylko alone beyond the back post and he floated a header to an unmarked McKenzie to head it in from close range as a half-dozen defenders looked on.

Monteiro made it 3-0 in the 56th minute with a booming shot off that cracked in off the cross bar after a giveaway by Liam Fraser. Santos scored his second on the night in the 63rd minute, knocking in a cross from Wagner with little opposition from Toronto. A dummy run by Brenden Aaronson added some sizzle to the goal.

Santos’ hat trick came in the 68th minute, with the unmarked Brazilian knocking in an Aaronson cross over Westberg. It raised Santos’ season goals total to seven

Alejandro Pozuelo played up front with Tsubasa Endoh, Gallardo and DeLeon trying to offer support. But the Toronto attack offered nothing and Pozuelo, usually a game-changer, was rarely seen.

Morrow and Fraser replaced Auro and Marky Delgado at halftime.

Midfielder Jahkeele Marshall-Rutty, who turned 16 on June 16, became the youngest player to appear for TFC when he came in the 72nd minute — four minutes after Santos exited to applause. Raph Priso, an 18-year-old midfielder just signed as a homegrown player, also made his Toronto debut in the 64th minute.

Coming into the contest, Toronto had lost just two of 29 regular-season games (16-2-11) since a 2-0 defeat at the New York Red Bulls on Aug. 3, 2019.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 24, 2020.

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Khabib Nurmagomedov pays tribute to father after emotional UFC 254 win – MMA Fighting

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UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov shocked the MMA world when he suddenly retired in the octagon after submitting Justin Gaethje at UFC 254.

Just as soon as he upped his record to 29-0, Nurmagomedov left the arena in Abu Dhabi and went on his way. But on Instagram, he posted another tribute to his father, Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov, who passed away in July from complications of COVID-19.

“When ALLAH with you, nobody can broke you, nobody,” he wrote. “Thanks Father for everything, you teach all my life, may ALLAH grant you the highest Paradise.”

The 32-year-old Dagestan native dropped to the canvas after his win and wept uncontrollably. As he fought back tears, he explained his reason for hanging up his gloves after his teammates cut them off and he placed them on the floor.

Here is Nurmagomedov’s full retirement statement:

“Thank you for these guys, these guys with me, been with my father for more than 10 years. All my team, AKA with coach Javier, I love him so much, all my team. Today, I want to say, this was my last fight. No way am I going to come here without my father. It was first time, after what happened with my father, when UFC called me about Justin. I talk with my mother three days, she don’t want that I go fight without father. I promised her, it’s going to be my last fight, and if I give my word, I have to follow this. It was my last fight here.

“I know only one thing I want from UFC, you guys have to be me on No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter in the world, because I deserve this. UFC undisputed, undefeated lightweight champion, 13-0, 13 in UFC, 29 in all pro MMA career. I think I deserve it. One more thing, I want to say thank you Lorenzo Fertitta, thank you Dana, Hunter, all guys. Thank you so much, and of course I don’t forget about Joe Silva who signed me here in UFC. Joe Silva, thank you. All this UFC team, everybody around the world, this whole pandemic stuff, they are doing great show. Thank you so much Justin. Justin, 2016 I remember when I cut weight, you helped me a lot. Thank you brother. I know you are a great man, I know how you take care of your people. I know a lot of things about of you, because of your parents, because one day, it’s going to happen something. You never know what is going to happen tomorrow, you never know.”

Nurmagomedov’s exit from the sport leaves the UFC with some hard decisions to make. Gaethje, Dustin Poirier, Tony Ferguson, Conor McGregor and Michael Chandler are all gunning for the No. 1 spot. So far, only Poirier and McGregor are loosely tied to a matchup on Jan. 23, but that could change now that the belt is up for grabs.

As far as competition for the pound-for-pound No. 1 spot, many fighters believe the lightweight champ locked up the top spot on Saturday. When it comes to the sport’s GOAT, Nurmagomedov’s run is up against all-time greats Georges St-Pierre and Jon Jones.

Check out Khabib’s retirement speech:

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NBA Missed Revenue Projections By $1.5 Billion – RealGM.com

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The NBA missed its revenue projections this season by $1.5 billion, sources told Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press.

The losses were due to a combination of the shutdown due to the pandemic, the cancellation of 171 regular-season games, completing the season without fans, and losing $200 million in a rift with the Chinese government.

There have been no decisions on finalizing the start of next season’s schedule, though beginning the season in December as opposed to January or later could generate the league an extra $500 million in revenue.

The NBA is currently targeting a December 22nd start date, with a 72-game season. 

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