OUTLOOK: Kyle Lowry


Toronto point guard definitely took a step back in his career progression last season over his 68 games. He was a disappointment for the at point guard as he averaged 1elona are level on points with Real Madrid atop the LaLiga Santander table, but Valverde doesn’t feel as though this season is any more challenging than those before it.”It’s been a tough season, as they all have been,” he said.”We don’t have the adv1.6 points and 6.4 assists per game, both his lowest figures since 2009-10. His first season with Toronto wasn’t impressive, but he’ll look to become more of a leader as a 27-year-old this season. Fantasy owners know they’ll get production in a lot of different areas from Low the bench today against Tottenham.The 24-year-old has not played this season after suffering an Achilles injury last May but has stepped up his rehabilitation in recent weeks, training with the group and featuring in a behind-closed-doors friendly ary and he should continue to produce as the starting point guard for coach Dwane Casey. The Raptors are expected to lhat’s according to Dutch football expert Marcel van der Kraan, who has revealed to Sky Sports that several giants have sent scouts to watch Van de Beek – whose contract expires in 2022.He said: “This is probably the biggest chance of a move happeningook to create more offense for Rudy Gay and put him into high-percentage situations and Lowry will be the one feeding him the ball. Fantasy owners will hope he improves in his second year with the Raptors and should begin taking him in the middle rounds of Fantasy drafts. 


Nets-Bulls Game 2 Preview: A matter of pride


The Nets lead the series 1-0 after blowing the Bulls to smithereens in Game 1. The Bulls never had a chance after the Nets blitzed them in the first quarter. The Bulls just didn’t have the weaponry to battle back.s Tie is ready to leave this summer.The Ivory Coast teen is keen to depart on-loan after shining for Chelsea between the posts for their UEFA Youth League run last season, says Foot Mercato.Tie is impressing under the tutelage of keeper coaches Henri was clearly limited by his foot condition, and was banged up.

Oh, and that guy would have helped, too.

The Nets played exceptionally well and impressed a lot of people by dominating at both ends of the floor.

84.8. That’s the offensive efficiency of the Bulls against the Nets’ starters in 13 minutes. It’s one thing to give up a high defensive number against a great Nets offense. (And they actually didn’t get hurt too badly there.) But being held to a 84.8 mark for over a quarter of play? The Bulls have no shot if they can’t produce offense at a level higher than that. They can’t get controlled out of the gate like that.

For the Nets, they need to do everything they did in Game 1. That unit may not have put up huge offensive numbers, but winning a grind-it-out game like that is way better for their playoff prosects down the line. Scoring is not an issue for the Nets. Defense was, coming into the playoffs. 

Joakim Noah is just not healthy enough, and the Bulls are going to have to find a way to dig down and double effectively on without getting killed from the perimeter by the Nets’ shooters.

They can survive a big scoring night and/or series from , but they can’t survive big nights from both Williams and Lopez.

Tom Thibodeau finally said Derrick Rose likely will not play this series ouble boost with the news that Callum Hudson-Odoi and Reece James are due back in training.The young duo are recoveried star Ander Herrera has been listed on the Paris Saint-Germain official website.Herrera officially confirmed his departure from United and is a free agent, but he has not announced a move to PSG as yet.Eagle eyed fans spotted that “Herrera 21” on tng from injuries, with Hudson-Odoi negotiating a comeback from an Achilles problem.James, who had an ankle ligament problem in the suor postseason. And if that’s the case, then all the fighting the Bulls have done to get here and have a shot was for nothing but an extra paycheck. They can’t beat Miami without Rose, so they’re just waiting around for elimination. So it becomes about pride. Are the Bulls going to go out to a Nets team that struggles defensively and is in its first playoff season together?

The Bulls have been decimated by bad luck. All they have left is pride. We’ll see if pride can produce a better effort in Game 2.

8 p.m. ET start time. Joakim Noah is expected to play according to Tom Thibodeau, as is Kirk Hinrich.


OUTLOOK: Udonis Haslem


found his way back in the ‘s starting Rino Gattuso.Gattuso has replaced the sacked Carlo Ancelotti this week.Azzurri striker Llorente said, “If we stay together, we can get back on our feet. We want to return to the top places and prove we have more to give in this season,” said the slineup, but saw his numbers continue to take a slight dip during the 2012-13 campaign. He finished with 59 starts, histti insists they must c Silva has been answering questions on his future following a string of poor results.In particular he was asked about recent reports in the media over his future at Goodison Park.”I don’t waste my time, I don’t waste my focus thinking about that situontinue to target Europe after their thrashing by Chelsea.The third league defeat of the 60-year-old’s reign leaves Everton in 12th but he says a six point gap to seventh placed Sheffield United means qualifying for the Europa most since 2008-09. He averaged just 3.9 points and 5.4 rebounds per game last season, however, as he was rarely featured in any manner on offense. Entering his 11th season in the league, Haslem is not worth targeting in any Fantasy formats on Draft Day.


e to the squad after his departure, it has been N


Clippers center made hited Hugo Lloris send a private WhatsApp message to the squad after his departure, it has been Newcastle United stars Mirandinha and Lee Payne are planning to open a soccer school in Spain.The Evening Chronicle says Mirandinha, 60, is counting the cost of two divorces, a failed investment and his attempts to navigate the unstable world of foorevealed.The Argentine’s five-and-a-half year reign in north London was brought to an end last week, when he was sacked by Daniel Levy with the side in 14ths presence felt in the paint during SundThe Frenchman spoke of his confidence in the Serbian striker ahead of the match against Valencia.”There’s a good feeling despite the absences,” Zidane said at his Supercopa de Espana press conference in Saudi Arabia on Tuesday night.”We have a deep say’s contest against the Lakers. Jordan finished with 13 rebounds in the 109-95 win, with four of those coming on the offensive side. He finished with four points on 2 of 5 shooting from the field and also added one block to his stat line, while logging 29 minutes of game action.


Grizzlies’ Quincy Pondexter gets a date with Miss Tennessee via Twitter


 backup forward was great in his role during the playoffs. He came off the bench for the Grizzlies, knocked down shots, helped defend superstar Kevin Durant admirably and became an a remain hopeful that Manchester United or Manchester City will come in for Philippe Coutinho in the coming week.Sport says the LaLiga giants are actively looking to move the former Liverpool star on.However, they are doing so quietly in order to stointegral part of successful lineups for Memphis. After shooting 42.8 percent from the field and 39.5 percent from 3-point range in the regular season, he sKenneth Omeruo is delighted to have completed a move to Leganes.The defender did not make a single appearance for Chelsea since joining the club in 2012.”I’m so happy to be joining a team that helped me grow so much last season,” Omeruo wrote on social media. “I can’t wait to start and help this team achieve greatness.”tepped up his game in the playoffs by making 48.9 percent of his field goals and 45.3 percent of his 3s.

A lot of fans and writers took notice of Pondexter’s play during the Grizzlies’ run to the Western Conference finals, where they were swept by the San Antonio Spurs. We weren’t the only ones who took notice. Miss Tennessee 2012, Chandler Lawson, is also a fan of Quincy Pondexter. He used Twitter to find Miss Tennessee, find out if she’s single, and scored a date with her.

@ hi! Heard you were looking for me?

— Chandler Lawson (@MissTN2012)

Yup!! single? Lol “@: @ hi! Heard you were looking for me? ”

— Quincy Pondexter (@QuincyPondexter)

“@: Man there is nothing funnier than @ mackin on @ on twitter” I’m lovin’ it! And yngham.The London Evening Standard says United have put together a £20million package to land Bellingham, but any move for the Birmingham City starlet will wait until the summer.The 16-year-old is considered a perfect fit for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s ces, totally single!

— Chandler Lawson (@MissTN2012)

@ you got it! We’ve got an audience waiting apparently!

— Chandler Lawson (@MissTN2012)

Social media-and-love are the new pick-and-roll.


Nightly Grades: Grizzlies hang on to go up 2-1



Effective game plan, executed extremely well. The locked up the perimeter for the Knicks, forced long, contested jumpers, controlled the boards and hammered the ball to on offense. 

It all worked perfectly, even if it resulted in an ugly game. 

The Pacers also fired up 33 3s, which isn’t their identity, but they made 10, which is OK. They shot just 35 percent overall and just 18-47 from 2-point range. 

But it all worked just right, because the Pacers didn’t let the Knicks score. And now they lead 2-1 and look fairly superior in the series.


It’s not even that the are doing anything that fantastic in crunch time; they’re just letting the Thunder hurt themselves. The Grizzlies are winning to their identity, which is just making sure you have more points than the other guy, no matter how ugly it may be. 

The Grizzlies really didn’t do anything all that great in Game 3. Their team defense on Kevin Durant in the second haleft Arsenal under somewhat of a cloud as he forced his way out by refusing to go on the club’s pre-season tour to America.But the 34-year-old has now revealed he wanted to leave for the sake of his family.Koscielny told L’Equipe: “A Premier League slf was good (held him to nine points on 3-11 shooting), but it was more aold Linfield attacking midfielder has already held talks with Spurs after spendin to see a new hero emerge from Eden Hazard’s departure.The summer exit of Hazard to Real Madrid has left a gaping hole that needs filling.But Lampard said, “There is enough quality in this team to win games for sure without Eden. “He’s not here now sg a trial period at the North London side.Football Insider reports the Blues “have ambushed attempts” from their rivals to secure the teen.Chelsea have asked Linfield bout the Thunder uncharacteristically missing 11 free throws and struggling mightily to find his shot. 

And the Grizz just weathered all of that. That’s what they do. 


The clearly aren’t themselves without . But even with their significant loss, they really have to feel like they’ve let two very winnable games get away. 

In Game 3, it came down to 90 seconds of bad decisions and missed opportunities for OKC. had a bad charge and a bad foul. And missed two critical free throws. The Thunder’s margin for error is slim now, and they aren’t managing that well. 

They nearly pulled out a huge but very ugly Game 3 win. They played poorly, shooting just better than 36 percent, and yet they had a chance anyway with 1:31 left. Except the Grizzlies finished those final 90 seconds with six points, OKC, none. 


So the played terribly. Consider: Only one player in double figures (, 21 points), one guy in double-figure rebounding (, 10) and nobody with more than three assists. Their top assister was with three.

The Knicks played ugly and didn’t make anything. They only attempted 11 3-pointers. It’s not that their effort was poor; they just were completely whipped in the halfcourt. And now they’re in a 1-2 hole.


Miami Heat showed they can respond to adversity, but is that enough?


I don’t doubt that the have a killer instinct, or whatever cliché we need to define what a championship team needs to accomplish its goals. We’ve seen that team take over series and push through in the Finals against an incredible opponent to hoist the trophy. This team is better than last year’s squad and the field ahead of them might be weaker than we saw last season.

More on Bulls-HeatRelated links | | | More NBA coverage | | |

We’ve seen the Heat respond to adversity as well. We saw it all throughout this series against the . The Bulls replicated in Game 1 what we saw in late March when they snapped the historic win streak the Heat were powering through. They slapped at the Heat, they pushed the Heat, and they outplayed the Heat. In Game 2, Miami responded with a blowout victory in spead Mahrez when he joined Manchester City last year.City brought the former Leicester City star to the Etihad in the summer of 2018 for a then club record fee of £60million and the 28-year-old struggled to make a real impact in his first campaign at ctacular fashion. They refused to get sucked into the physical play that took away from the basketball they were trying to execute out there. The Heat held their heads above the fray and showed that you couldn’t beat up their talent enough to break the process.

When Miami had a chance to put to rest any thoughts of Chicago making it a series with a win in either Game 3 or Game 4, and company went into Chicago and tore down the United Center. They left zero doubt about who was going to win this series, making the outcome  a mere formality. It’s the kind of response you want to see from a team with title aspirations, from a team that is looking to repeat. 

In Game 5, it looked like the Heat were ready to put the nail in the coffin for Nate Robinson and his scrappy teammates. They jumped out to a 22-4 lead early on, showing little mercy or respect for Chicago’s abilities as a competitor. It looked like the victory was going to be easy and you could see Miami’s play let up and relax into what it felt was going to be an obvious win. It was that letup, that mentality that nearly cost them the game and an extra day or two of rest.

This isn’t a flaw that necessarily prevents them from winning the title this season. We saw this from Shaquille O’Neal’s teams during their heyday. We’ve seen this from the when Chauncey Billups and were fueling their run. We’ve seen this from the – version of the since their Big Three came together. Great teams almost can’t help themselves from taking their collective foot off the pedal. 

Maybe the only time we didn’t see this consistently was during the Chicago Bulls’ second three-peat.

When the Bulls got back into Game 5 and eventually took the lead, the Heat had to respond — and they did. They clawed back into the game, played better basketball down the stretch, and found a way to survive for the home victory. They did what they needed to do to move on. Maybe it’s just picking nits to find fault in this five-game series, but it should act as a good reminder to the Heat of what can happen when you stop pushing at this point in the playoffs. 

The amount of mental focus and exhaustion caused by going 110 percent all game long, especially in this playoff environment, is unfair to expect from a team. There are going to be ups and downs because this is when a team like Miami will face the best competition possible with the most intensity saturating the games. Miami showed it can respond to adverfrey Schlupp wants Crystal Palace to move on from their recent disappointment and target their next game against Manchester United.Palace began their season with a draw against Everton and a 1-0 loss to Sheffield United.Now they face Manchester Unitesity, which is great.

But should this Heat team be able to avoid adversity? Shouldn’t they be able to avoid adverse situations this often? In the next round against the (or hey, maybe the can figure it out!), this Heat team will be facing the best defense in the league and a rebounding monster with Indiana’s frontline. They won’t really be able to afford getting sucked into adversity. They won’t be able to take their feet off the accelerator without facing severe consequences. 

A team with the goals of being repeat champions needs to learn this lesson before it can get truly hurt by it. The Bulls weren’t healthy enough to consistently hurt the Heat with this kind of stuff. But the Pacers will be. If not them, either the or the or the or maybe even the could have enough to make them pay for mental lapses.

We know the Heat can respond and that they’re good enough to win a title in the face of adversity. But you can’t just bank on that coming through every time. Sometimes, you have to creLeroy Sane next month – so long as Manchester City are realistic about their valuation.Bayern were ready to buy Sane in August before the midfielder suffered a serious knee injury in the Community Shield against Liverpool.But while he is still workinate separation and never let it dwindle.


Mike Malone talks about doing impossible, changing Kings’ culture


In a wide-ranging interview with the Sacramento Bee, new coach Mike Malone talked about what goes into changing the culture of an organization like Sacramento into a winner, and how part of that is his leading by example. 

This is going to be a process. We have to change the culture, establish an identity, and while we’ll try to win every night, we don’t want to skip steps. We don’t want short-term success. I’m not sure what year we get into our new arena, but by that year, we want to be a playoff team, and not to just be competing in the playoffs. We’ve talked about that. We know we have to have patience to do it right. Are our young guys getting better? Are we defending? Gang-rebounding? Running with discipline? The only thing I promised Vivek is that we will no longer be the worst defensive team in the league. So if we do that and change our culture, that will result in more wins and a better product.

It is a cliché. What I mean is that when you want to change culture, you change people. When the players come back in Septetment at being ignored by Spain coach Robert Moreno.Morata was speaking after their 0-0 draw with Real Valladolid.He said, “I was hoping to see myself there. “If he thinks I shouldn’t be there, it will be for something. I must work to do well with mymber, they’re going to get a sense that things are different when they’rdolid coach Sergio Gonzalez admits he knows little about Real Madrid whiz Takefuso Kubo.Valladolid owner Ronaldo is setting up a loan deal for the teenage Japan international.Sergio said, “I have no information on that subject and I will not comment e around our staff. They can see how hard we work, how committed we are. I’m running sprints last week with and , and they said, “Coach, we’ve never had a guy run sprints with us.”

via .

Malone also talks about specific strategies. Ito be title challengers.Matic, 30, is in contention to be United’s captain this term and appeared in all their pre-season wins, against Perth Glory, Leeds, Inter Milan and Tottenham.”Quality and experience brings you the title. In this squad we have t’s an interesting mix, and it sounds a lot like Malone’s principles are tied to some of the same concepts George Karl talks about. He wants to play fast, but he wants to put defense first. He talks about putting the onus on to be a leader defensively and not just an offensive threat, about focusing on ‘s rebounding and how the guards have to contribute on the boards as well. 

Playing a fast style while defending is difficult. Historically, teams that run at a higher pace (possessions per game) tend to struggle due to the ease of the opponent in counter-attacking and a lack of rebounding emphasis that leads to putbacks.

There seems to be an idea that the offense will take care of itself, and that defense is the primary area of emphasis. But I sat down and watched a bunch of Kings possessions a few weeks ago and was stunned by how completely lost their offense was. There was simply no structure, no discipline. It was just dogs chasing cars. That’s got to change as well. 

Having a coach that is willing to go through what they go through might reach these players. Maybe it’s a empty gesture, but with a team so disconnected as the Kings, it can’t hurt to try and set that bar. It’s difficult to lead a group of young men who don’t believe you would be willing to do what they must.


NBA fines Celtics F Kevin Garnett $25,000 for skipping out on media


(Getty Images) A small price to pay, considering the circumstances.The has fined Boston All-Star forward $25,000 for refusing to speak with reporters following a Game 7 loss to the Miami in the Eastern Conference finals on June 9.Garnett walked off the court before the final buzzer and briefly appeared in the Celtics locker room before leaving without taking questions. He did not conduct a podium interview.The major post-game talking point following Boston’s elimination was the future of its core. Garnett and guard are unrestricted free agents this summer, and it’s possible neither will return to the Celtics. Rumors of a possible retirement have also floated around Garnett in recent months. Given those circumstances, Garnett, never a real fan of interviews, saved himself the hassle of putting into context five years of his life and dealing with endless questions about his future.Garnett, 36, averaged 19.2 points and 10.3 rebounds in the 2012 playoffs. The Celtics defeated the Atlanta Hawks in the first round of the playoffs and the Philadelphia 76cking Xherdan Shaqiri to break back into the first team.Calling upon his own experience of fighting for first team opportunities at Anfield, Adam has encouraged Shaqiri to not get disheartened by his current situation.”I think it’s been in and out foers in the second roundal Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane is demanding Gareth Bale be sold this summer.That’s according to Okdiario’s chief pundit Eduardo Inda, when speaking on El Chiringuito.Inda insists ZidaneThe Spurs and England full back is surplus to requirements as the club seek to freshen up the squad in several positions.Per The Independent, Trippier will likely to go Napoli, who will meet the roughly £25 million price tag Spurs have put on the pl doesn’t want to be work with Bale next season.He declared: “Zid of the playoffs before losing to the Heat. Boston held a 3-2 series lead before losing Games 6 and 7.


or the Championship a year ago.The Ess to Bayern M


Heat guard missed his second gamr Declan Rice admits he almost quit for the Championship a year ago.The Ess to Bayern Munich.Spurs let in three goals in the last 10 minutes to cap off a terrible night at home.”The feeling at the end, when we conceded the three goals, it was like the team was tired and gave up a little bit,” Pochettino said. “Maybe that ngland international was taken off at half-time as the Hammers were thrashed 4-0 by Liverpool, and did not play again in the league until the 3-1 victory at Everton more than a e in a row Wednesday, as the team is trying to get his sprained right ankle healed in time for the start of the playoffs. Wednesday is the team’s season finale, but he is expected to be ready for the start of the first round serie he wasn’t angry after Liverpool blew a three-goal lead against RB Salzburg.Goals from Sadio Mane, Andy Robertson and Mohamed Salah gave Liverpool a comfortable lead after 36 minutes.Hwang Hee-Chee grabbed one back from the visitors on 39 minutes, ans this weekend.