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Sheldon Keefe on Calle Jarnkrok’s two-goal performance in the Maple Leafs’ shootout win over Ottawa: "Auston felt strongly about continuing with him on his line as well… [Jarnkrok] has been terrific"

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Sheldon Keefe, Toronto Maple Leafs

Sheldon Keefe addressed the media after his team’s 5-4 shootout win over the Ottawa Senators which improved the Leafs’ record to 42-18-9.


On his feeling on the bench during the long shootout:

I don’t know. I was just ready to go home.

On whether there is a plan for the order of the shooters:

When you get that deep, not really. It is more just based on feel.

On the team finding a way to win despite a slow start through 25 minutes:

In the first five minutes of the second period, they came really hard at us. I thought our guys did a good job of staying with it. The pace was really high tonight.

Credit to Ottawa. They came out really hard. They shot the puck from everywhere. They had us on our heels.

At about the five-minute mark of the second period, I thought our guys really found their game and kind of settled in. Obviously, we built ourselves a lead and put ourselves in a good spot.

I liked a lot about our third period — a lot about it. I thought we defended well. Just one slot shot against at even-strength, but it was a big one that we gave up and it allowed them to get that 4-3 goal.

We took penalties that put us in a bad spot. It was a back-to-back against a desperate team on the other side on the road. To get four points out of four here is good for our team.

On whether it is a confidence-building win for Matt Murray:

I am sure it is going to do a lot for his confidence. He was busy. We had been talking about how he hasn’t been busy enough in terms of the workload. Even in the games he has played of late, I think he has done a good job.

He hasn’t gotten enough of the perimeter type of shots to really get engaged in a game with a proper workload and to inflate his numbers at the same time. It was probably good for that.

Somebody in the building here… He must have been nice to someone because he got about 10 bonus saves out of this one tonight. No question, they threw a lot at him. There was a lot of traffic at the same time. He handled it very well.

On whether he was aware in real-time of the offside on the initial 4-4 tying goal:

In real-time, I wasn’t, but the guys in the back — Jordan Bean — were all over it. It was communicated to Manny that we wanted to buy a second to be sure. It didn’t take long before we were certain.

On Calle Jarnkrok’s performance:

Just outstanding. To me, he has been great all season, but it seems like it has gone to another level.

He has moved around and played with different people throughout the season in different positions. He hasn’t spent a lot of time with Auston. It is something we wanted to get a look at.

He has been terrific both in his own play and in what he has generated but also in how he has facilitated for his linemates — Auston, in particular. It was something we wanted to continue with today.

Auston felt strongly about continuing with it as well. Both of those guys were terrific and were rewarded for it.

On whether it is difficult managing the rotation with so many defensemen healthy and available: 

To be honest, we have had discussions with all of our defense leading into this weekend and just going down the stretch. There are going to be times when guys are going to get time off whether it is bumps and bruises and rest or workload.

Guys are going to be coming out to give them some time. While we are healthy here, we want to keep everybody involved.

The work was done in advance of that. The guys took it really well. Gustafsson, to me, was coming off of his best game last night. The plan going in was to have him come out today. We decided to stay with it. It was tough because he played well.

We have had the conversation with all of our D that situations like this will come up.

On the performances of Bobby McMann and Wayne Simmonds in very limited ice time:

Wayne gave us a ton of energy. He was very physical. I thought he did a good job. He hadn’t played in a long time. This game was flying at 100 miles an hour. He did a good job.

Bobby — same thing. Not a lot of ice, but I thought he skated. He had a couple of good contacts and got into a couple of good spots. He had one grade-A scoring chance. Will did a really good job to set him up. It didn’t go in for him, but the fact that he is putting himself in that spot is good.

To that end, I liked what we got from those guys.

On Noel Acciari’s status after the injury on Friday night:

I was told he had a good day today. We will see exactly what that means when we get back. We have a day off tomorrow. We will be back in on Monday to see where he is at.

I was told that it was a positive today. He was working out and exercising. He hasn’t been diagnosed with a concussion or anything like that. Positive news there.

 

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LeBron Saves Team USA in Thrilling Exhibition Against South Sudan at O2 Arena

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LONDON — In what could have been one of the most monumental upsets in international basketball history, Team USA narrowly escaped with a 101-100 victory over a spirited South Sudan team at the O2 Arena in London on Saturday night. This exhibition match, serving as a tune-up for the 2024 Olympics, showcased the rapid rise of South Sudanese basketball and the indomitable spirit of the American team led by LeBron James.

The atmosphere at the O2 Arena was electric, with fans witnessing a game that turned out to be far more competitive than expected. South Sudan, a team composed largely of refugees and players from the diaspora, pushed the heavily favored Americans to their limits.

First Half Highlights:

  • South Sudan came out firing on all cylinders, building a surprising 16-point lead in the second quarter.
  • Team USA struggled with their three-point shooting, missing 12 of their first 13 attempts from beyond the arc.

Despite the odds, South Sudan’s players, many of whom have overcome significant personal and professional challenges, played with remarkable cohesion and determination. Their performance was a testament to the rapid progress the team has made under the guidance of former NBA star Luol Deng.

With the game hanging in the balance, LeBron James demonstrated why he remains one of the greatest basketball players of all time. Benched at the start of the third quarter, James returned to the floor with a determination that was palpable.

Key Moments:

  • Third Quarter: Anthony Davis’ defensive prowess helped shrink the deficit. LeBron’s return brought stability and focus back to Team USA.
  • Final Minute: With just 20 seconds left, JT Thor of South Sudan scored over LeBron, giving his team a one-point lead.
  • Game-Winning Shot: LeBron drove to the basket, scoring the decisive layup with eight seconds remaining.

South Sudan’s journey to this point has been nothing short of inspirational. The country gained independence from Sudan in 2011, and the basketball program, still in its infancy, has quickly become a source of national pride.

Notable Contributions:

  • Carlik Jones: Delivered a triple-double with 15 points, 11 rebounds, and 11 assists.
  • Wenyen Gabriel: LeBron’s former teammate with the Lakers, contributed 11 points.
  • Marial Shayok: Led South Sudan with 24 points.

The team’s formation and rise have been spearheaded by Luol Deng, who played a pivotal role in recruiting and funding the program. His efforts have culminated in South Sudan qualifying for the Olympics, marking a historic achievement for the young nation.

Stephen Curry: “Wild game. They played really intense. It was nice to see how we responded. LeBron with a great finish down the stretch.”

Steve Kerr: “The whole team was embarrassed at halftime. We were challenged today, and it was good for us to feel that now. This was a reminder that we need to bring our best every game.”

Luol Deng: Expressed immense pride in his team’s performance, emphasizing the significance of their journey and the obstacles they have overcome.

This exhibition game was more than just a pre-Olympic warm-up. It highlighted the potential for underdog stories in sports and underscored the global reach and impact of basketball. Team USA, despite the narrow escape, was reminded of the importance of every game and the challenges that lie ahead.

South Sudan, on the other hand, has cemented its place on the international stage, showcasing that with determination and the right support, even the newest teams can compete with the best in the world.

As both teams prepare for the Olympics, this game at the O2 Arena will be remembered not only for its thrilling finish but also for the remarkable stories of resilience and ambition that played out on the court.

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UFC Vegas 94: Amanda Lemos vs. Virna Jandiroba – Main Event Recap

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In a thrilling main event at UFC Vegas 94, strawweights Amanda Lemos and Virna Jandiroba faced off on Saturday night. After an evenly matched first round, Jandiroba secured a dramatic submission victory in the second round, just moments before the bell.

Fight Summary:

  • First Round: The opening round was highly competitive, with both fighters showcasing their skills and maintaining a close contest.
  • Second Round: In the final seconds of the second round, Jandiroba managed to secure a submission, forcing Lemos to tap out. The win marks an impressive fourth consecutive victory for Jandiroba.

Post-Fight Remarks:

  • In her post-fight interview inside the Octagon, Jandiroba confidently called out UFC President Dana White, declaring, “Dana, I’m the next one. Dana, I’m your next champion.”

Future Implications:

  • With this victory, Jandiroba has positioned herself as a strong contender for the strawweight title. Tatiana Suarez, who was the rightful next contender for Weili Zhang, has been sidelined due to an injury. Jandiroba’s current four-fight win streak and her dominant performance at UFC Vegas 94 make a compelling case for her title shot.

Stay tuned for more updates as the UFC strawweight division continues to evolve, and see if Virna Jandiroba will indeed become the next challenger for the championship belt.

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Jake Paul vs. Mike Perry: Fight Night Updates

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Jake Paul is back in the ring, and he’s promising fireworks as he takes on former UFC star Mike Perry at the Amalie Arena in Tampa, Florida. The fight will be broadcast live on DAZN. Originally, Paul was set to fight Mike Tyson, but Perry stepped in after Tyson suffered an injury.

Fight Details:

Jake Paul (9-1, 6 KOs)

  • Paul is coming off a first-round TKO of Ryan Bourland in March.
  • He has promised that Perry won’t survive the second round.
  • Paul is more experienced in boxing but still relatively new to the sport.

Mike Perry (0-1)

  • Perry, known as “Platinum,” brings over a decade of fighting experience, mainly in MMA and bare-knuckle fighting.
  • He believes Paul is still green in the fight business and intends to use his experience to pull off an upset.

Main Event:
Jake Paul vs. Mike Perry

Live Updates: Follow DAZN for all the live updates, results, and highlights from the Paul vs. Perry pay-per-view main card.

Main Card Results:

Amanda Serrano def. Stevie Morgan via TKO

  • Round 2, 0:38
    • Watch the finish

Lucas Bahdi def. H20 Sylve via knockout

  • Round 6, 2:27
    • Watch the finish

Corey Marksman def. Tony Aguilar via majority decision

  • Scores: 76-76, 77-75, 78-74

Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. def. Uriah Hall via unanimous decision

  • Scores: 59-55, 59-55, 58-56
    • Recap

Stay tuned for the main event updates and see if Jake Paul can deliver on his promise of another highlight reel knockout or if Mike Perry will teach him a lesson and pull off a major upset.

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