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Sheldon Keefe Post Game, Leafs 6 vs. Rangers 3: "There were a lot of really good signs for our team in terms of how we retained the puck" – Maple Leafs Hot Stove

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Sheldon Keefe addressed the media after his team’s 6-3 win over the New York Rangers on Friday night, improving the Leafs’ record to 18-14-4 on the season.


On the team’s performance:

We’ve talked about in some of the previous games where the third periods haven’t gone well that the second period was maybe when some of the issues started to come up. I thought some of the positives of the second period — which I thought there were lots — carried through to the third period. Obviously, we got a good start and the puck went in the net for us — that helped — but there were a lot of really good signs for our team in terms of how we retained the puck, which I thought was a real key to this game in particular. When their team has the puck, they’re a tough team to deal with. I thought we handled that well.

On the team not getting discouraged after giving up the lead heading into the third:

The message was just to keep going and stay with it. That was the challenge for us. The guys did and it worked out for us.

On what he has noticed with William Nylander recently:

I talked with them. We actually met this morning. He didn’t feel like he had a great trip out West in particular. He said he just didn’t feel good and he didn’t feel right. But I liked his practice and the work he had done back in Toronto. He was excited to get back and playing. We talked about some things, but really, I thought he had a much better game here today and got rewarded for it.

On whether there was something he noticed today about what made Nylander so effective:

There were times today where he was doing that — he has the puck a lot in the offensive zone. Guys come and try to get it from him and he is evading that. He is hanging onto the puck. He is really difficult to knock off the puck. That is where I really see his game rounding out. A lot of it is because of how he protects the puck. When it is not going well for him, those pucks get off his stick too quickly.

On Michael Hutchinson starting tomorrow and the team needing to build on tonight’s win in the back-to-back tomorrow:

We do, and we also have something to build on in terms of the last back-to-back. I know Hutch wasn’t in the net and Freddy was, but for me, still until today, that is the best game that we have played, in my opinion, since I’ve been here — just in terms of how competitive we were. I know we didn’t win the game. We didn’t give up very much to a very rested and very good Colorado team. It’s just how because of how we competed and how committed we were. We are going to be tapping into that in addition to the good things that came out of today.

On his satisfaction level with a 9-4-0 start to his coaching tenure:

Satisfaction is not a good word. We are going to be in a battle all season long here, right? Other teams just keep winning games. It is a tough league, obviously. I know that. We just have to continue to focus every single day on being our best and making improvements along the way.

On where he has seen the biggest improvements through 13 games:

We’ve seen progress for sure, and I like that. Even at times when it hasn’t looked the greatest, we are still seeing progress. Today was a different type of day. We score early again. The game gets away from us. It is even going into the third period, but then we get the lead. I thought we did a pretty good job of taking care of it. There is progress, and that’s really what you are looking for.

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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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