Today’s game between the Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers at Staples Center has been postponed in the wake of the death of Kobe Bryant, the NBA announced yesterday. The NBA said the contest will be rescheduled at a later date.The league said the decision was “made out of respect for the Lakers organization,” which is grieving the death of the 41-year-old Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, as well as the seven other people who perished in Sunday’s helicopter crash in Calabasas, Calif.The Lakers haven’t yet made a statement about Bryant’s tragic death but star power forward Anthony Davis expressed his thoughts on Instagram yesterday. “Man this is a tough one for me!” Davis wrote about Bryant. “You were the first guy to put me under your wing and show me the ins and outs of the league. Had so many great convos about so many things and I will cherish those moments forever. Love you forever, Bean!”The Lakers are next scheduled to play Friday when they host the Portland Trail Blazers.The Clippers host the Sacramento Kings on Thursday. —Field Level Media
The 2020 edition of the Guyana Table Tennis Association (GTTA) senior national championships got underway last evening at the Cliff Anderson Sports Hall (CASH). Participants in the under – 21 and “C” Class categories went up against each other in a bid to stamp their authority. Action in those categories ended at the group stages and is set to be completed today. Meanwhile, the highly anticipated male and female senior categories are set to commence today. Stakes for the male title will be contested amongst the country’s tops gunners in defending champion Christopher Franklin, Shemar Bitton, Nigel Bryant, and Joel Alleyne. The females, on the other hand, will find it difficult to get past defending champion Natalie Cummings since this edition of the championships will not feature previous winners Trenace Lowe and Chelsea Edghill who are out of the jurisdiction.
PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, CMC – Left-handers Shimron Hetmyer and Evin Lewis could find themselves in with a chance of redemption shortly, after failed fitness assessments ruled them out of this month’s one-day tour of Sri Lanka. Cricket West Indies chief executive, Johnny Grave, revealed Monday that fitness assessments were conducted on a biannual basis with the next one scheduled for June, but players who failed assessments could also be re-appraised.“In our strength and conditioning policy, they’re tested twice every year. Obviously, players will be re-tested if they fail,” Grave told the Newsday publication here.“The next testing is due in June. Players have to be at a minimum standard in order to be considered for selection.” In announcing the 15-man squad for the Sri Lanka series on Monday, chief selector Roger Harper said both Hetmyer and Lewis had “come up short in the fitness test”.He added: “Hetmyer appeared to be getting his act together and was an integral part of the team’s batting group.”If Hetmyer was forced to wait until June for the second fitness assessment, he would almost certainly miss out on West Indies’ three-Test tour of England from June 4-29. The 23-year-old has been a fixture in the Test squad ever since making his debut two-and-a-half years ago, playing 16 matches and hitting five half-centuries.Both he and Lewis featured in the Ireland series last month with contrasting success but then failed fitness tests conducted last week by Windies men’s team strength and conditioning coach, Ronald Rogers and CWI’s sports science and medicine manager, Dr Oba Gulston.Lewis emerged as Man-of-the-Series following the Ireland ODIs but Hetmyer was dropped after failing in the two opening matches in Bridgetown, though he retained his spot for the three T20 Internationals which followed. And with West Indies set to undertake a hectic itinerary this year – including the T20 World Cup in October – both players will be under pressure to prove their fitness under the new minimum requirements.Grave said the fitness assessments were a critical component of the selection process and stressed the importance of players meeting the required standards.“The fitness tests do two things. One, [it makes] sure that you fit the minimum standards required for selection. The other one [is that] every player has a personal target to hit,” the Englishman explained. “If you miss your personal target, you can be fined two weeks’ wages. So, there are two elements to the fitness tests. “In terms of injuries, players will conduct what is called a return-to-play policy. So, the medical screenings are for players who are carrying injuries [separately].”As such, left-arm spinner Fabian Allen and left-handed batsman Nicholas Pooran – both of whom recovered from recent injuries to be included in the ODI squad to Sri Lanka – did not undergo the recent fitness assessments.
With the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) now a global pandemic, basketball’s governing body, FIBA, has suspended all competitions and programmes indefinitely, forcing the possible rescheduling of the Caribbean Basketball Confederation (CBC) Championship and the FIBA AmeriCup Qualifiers to 2021. This was revealed by Junior Hercules, Head Coach of the Guyana Men’s Team and National Coordinator of the Guyana Amateur Basketball Federation (GABF). According to Hercules, the decision by FIBA was effective March 12th and was revealed in a press release signed by President Hanane Niang and Secretary General Andreas Zagklis.Guyana is the defending FIBA AmeriCup Caribbean Pre-Qualifier Champion, after defeating Antigua and Barbuda 83-70 in the 2018 final.The correspondence stated, “In these extraordinary circumstances, where virtually all of our 213 National Member Federations have been affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, it is paramount that the basketball community is an example of responsible behaviour.” According to the release, “Coronavirus has resulted in major disruption to the basketball calendar, which we appreciate has, and will continue to, cause concern and uncertainty for you all. Rest assured, every decision we are taking is motivated by safety considerations for players, coaches, officials and fans. That is why on March 12, once it was evident that the outbreak was turning into a pandemic, FIBA became the first international federation to issue a general suspension of its competitions.”The correspondence stated, “Whilst FIBA competitions are currently suspended, this does not mean that preparations for future FIBA competitions have stopped. We are in continuous communication with event hosts and will continue to monitor the situation on a daily basis, as well as following the guidance of the World Health Organization (WHO), public authorities and the FIBA Medical Commission.”“In the coming weeks, a decision will be made regarding the Basketball Champions League, the Basketball Champions League Americas and the Basketball Africa League, after consultation with the respective leagues and clubs. The same applies to our international competitions suspended at sub-Zone level. Needless to say, we will keep you abreast of any developments in this rapidly changing landscape. Basketball games will be back and the basketball community will emerge stronger from this. But for now, please do everything you can to keep yourselves, your families and your communities safe,” the release added. Hercules, who also serves as the Head Coach for local club Plaisance Guardians, stated that a possible timeline for the staging of the event would be the first quarter of 2021.According to Hercules, “I am disappointed with the possibility of the games not being staged. Based on the little information, we would have had more countries participating, like Jamaica, and equally we would have been given an opportunity to defend our title which is an exciting journey. We obviously would have gotten more experience from overseas players the likes of Stanton Rose, Kevon Wiggins and Anthony who have been doing well and we would have given ourselves a good showing in the event.”He further said, “Similarly, Delroy James, one of [our] more experienced players, who plays in Spain, would have added to the quality of the team and would have made himself available once there was no clash with his club commitments. We would have been very competitive; the only challenge for us would have been the lack of a national club championship, which would have helped solidify our local players who would want to be given an opportunity to represent the country at the senior level.”
With the International Cricket Council continuing plans as scheduled for the 2021 50-over Women’s World Cup, Hayley Matthews reckons West Indies will need to improve and build on form to be competitive. The 22-year-old was speaking on the Mason and Guests radio programme where she reflected on the team’s performance at the T20 World Cup recently and suggested what needs to be done in the 50-over tournament next year.“I think this year probably just wasn’t our best if you look at World Cups. It’s not every time you are going to get into the final and semi-finals and it so happened that this was one of those tournaments for us. I think what is important is that we take the positives out of the tournament and look to improve on what we didn’t do so well and hope we do well.“Once everything around the world calms down, we have a 50-over World Cup next year and we can get into some good nick and hopefully compete in that,” she stated. Looking back on their preparation, the Bajan-born all-rounder debunked claims of fitness being an issue but suggested that it was their on the day performance that led to their poor run.“We were in camp for the last two years, so definitely I think it doesn’t have to do much with the work we have been putting in of late.“I guess when you go to a big tournament like that you have seven or eight teams who also want to do well and it just comes down to who plays the best cricket on the day and, unfortunately, when we needed to play the better cricket we just weren’t able to do it. “The girls have been going for a very long time but I don’t think it is a lack of fitness but a lack thereof of us performing on the day and being able to execute with the squad that we know we have,” she noted.Over the last two months, cricket has endured a complete shutdown which has been extended for at least another month. But during this time, the West Indies all-rounder is using her time to work on different aspects of her game.“It is something going wrong in the whole world so we don’t have much control over that. Obviously it’s frustrating not being able to play cricket, not being able to represent the region, but at the same time I think it’s a good time to be home after the World Cup and get in a good mental space for now and be calm before we get back out there,” Matthews explained. (Romario Samaroo)
Its official; no one will get that queezy feeling at Camden Yards in the 9th inning, when hearing “The Pretender” anymore. Jim Johnson was moved to the Oakland Athletics for second baseman, Jemile Weeks and a player to be named later. What a difference a year makes.If the Orioles moved Johnson before last season (like I said here and here), they would have had a pick of the litter of players from several different contending teams. What would have the Tigers or Dodgers or Cardinals have done to sure up their closing roles before 2013? It sure as hell would have been more than a 26 year old second baseman with “potential.”The lack of proactive nature by the organization has cost the Orioles a great deal, in terms of on-field production. Johnson has been a good relief pitcher for years, but his value was at his highest at the end of 2012 playoff season. For a team that wants to build with youth, to sustain success for the future, making tough decisions, with generally likeable guys, is simply a must.As for the return, Baltimore receives a player, in Weeks, that could be the everyday second baseman (but confidence in that actually panning out has to pretty low at this point). After being called up in 2011 (which he played 96), he posted a .303 average and .421 OPS, with 22 stolen bases. But following his stellar first MLB season, things went awfully wrong for the 12th overall pick in the 2008 draft. Hitting just .211 in 2012, leading to a demotion by the A’s; playing in only nine games in the majors in 2013. Though he had decent numbers in the minors last season (.271 avg, .376 OPS, 17 stolen bases), Weeks could not have foreseen his career path heading in this direction.But what could Orioles really expect to recoup in a trade for a player everyone in the MLB knows they will not pay $10 million? Johnson was one of the most inconsistent relief pitchers in baseball last year; leading the league in saves and blown saves. He never had dominating “stuff” to finish out games, did not have enough strikeouts as a closer and put too many runners on base.Could Johnson have contributed for the Orioles in 2014? Absolutely. If Buck Showalter would move him back into a less-volatile role, in the 7th or 8th inning (like he was pre-2012), there is a good chance he could regain his form. But with the manager’s loyalty, Buck would probably be too tempted to throw Johnson into a game with a one-run lead in the bottom of the ninth. The team simply had to move on and got the only thing possible in return; potential.The same fans that wanted to DFA (designate for assignment), essentially releasing Johnson for nothing, halfway through last year, now are complaining about the balance of this trade. As for the organization “saving” all that money, this is baseball, there is no salary cap, teams can pay players whatever they like. There is no cash limit in baseball that teams have to adhere to and the Orioles are no where near the luxury tax threshold. And with an organization that has a successful television network, cost-cutting on a contending team is inexcusable.Did the Orioles clear some dead money off the books? Yes. Will they use that money to acquire much needed depth on the big league club? Only the next couple weeks will tell. Of course, Peter Angelos could just pocket that money and let his “baseball people” make the baseball decisions, with the roster as it stands.
OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The Ravens’ prayers on inside linebacker C.J. Mosley were answered.After an initial plea for divine intervention on the sideline and then downplaying the severity of Mosley’s sprained right ankle late in last week’s 23-0 win at Green Bay, head coach John Harbaugh proved to be right as the standout defensive player returned to practice as a full participant Saturday and will play against Houston on Monday night.Mosley is officially listed as questionable on the final injury report after missing workouts earlier in the week, but he left no doubt regarding his status against the Texans.“I’m playing, so I’m not worried about that,” Mosley said. “It wasn’t a high ankle sprain, so that’s what the doctors feared most [initially]. After we found out it wasn’t that, it was just about trying to get as much treatment as possible and rest.”Mosley said the plan was for him to sit out practice through most of the week and wanted to return to the field Saturday for peace of mind more than anything else. The Ravens not playing until Monday night certainly helped in the recovery process.A reflection of how good he’s feeling two days prior to Monday Night Football, the two-time Pro Bowl selection even took a playful jab at fellow inside linebacker Patrick Onwuasor for his indirect role in the injury occurring just before the two-minute warning at Lambeau Field.“I didn’t even see who landed on me. I was just trying to make a tackle,” Mosley said. “I blamed it on ‘Peanut’ since he wasn’t on the field. We [only] had 10 men, so I was about to call timeout, but I just let the play go on. It was probably his fault.“It could have been bad because I was getting blocked back while I got landed on. Luckily, it was a minor sprain. I felt pretty decent out there today.”Left tackle Ronnie Stanley is also listed as questionable against Houston, but he will return to action after being cleared from the concussion protocol on Friday. He and right tackle Austin Howard (knee) — who was also designated as questionable — have been hampered with injuries recently, but the Ravens will have their normal offensive line on the field to try to slow standout pass rusher Jadeveon Clowney.That continuity is of the utmost importance after Stanley’s absence against the Packers last week forced starting left guard James Hurst to left tackle and reserve Luke Bowanko into the starting lineup, leaving the Ravens weaker at both blindside positions.“It’s good to have your guys, your starters out there,” Harbaugh said. “They’re the starters for a reason. And we’ll be going in there full strength Monday night, and we’re excited about that.”As expected, starting cornerback Jimmy Smith (Achilles tendon) returned to practice as a full participant Saturday after missing workouts earlier in the week and is officially listed as questionable. The veteran has regularly missed practice time with tendinitis since early October and was also listed as questionable in each of the last six games before playing in them all, leaving very little doubt about his availability.Outside linebacker Terrell Suggs has been slowed by an ankle injury this week, but he is expected to play despite being listed as questionable. He received his usual veteran day off Saturday to conclude the practice week.Baltimore officially ruled out rookie offensive lineman Jermaine Eluemunor with a shoulder injury. With only one of their seven game-day scratches in line to be because of injury, the Ravens arguably find themselves in the best shape from a health standpoint that they’ve enjoyed since the start of the season.Meanwhile, the Texans officially ruled out second-year wide receiver Will Fuller as he continues to recover from cracked ribs. Star wideout DeAndre Hopkins will play despite being slowed by a foot injury in practices earlier in the week.Below is the final injury report of the week:BALTIMOREOUT: OL Jermaine Eluemunor (shoulder)QUESTIONABLE: OT Austin Howard (knee), LB C.J. Mosley (ankle), CB Jimmy Smith (Achilles), OT Ronnie Stanley (concussion), LB Terrell Suggs (ankle), RB Terrance West (calf)HOUSTONOUT: OT Julien Davenport (shoulder), WR Will Fuller (ribs), OL Greg Mancz (shoulder)
Former Nigerian international Michael Emenalo has finally broken his silence over what led to his exit from English champions Chelsea.Emenalo spent a decade in various roles at the Stamford Bridge outfit before his shock resignation last month.He recently bagged a technical director role at French champions AS Monaco.While speaking about his Chelsea exit with Talksports host Jim White, Emenalo said the decision was prompted by the desire for a new challenge.In his words, Emenalo said: “The first thing to make clear is that Chelsea Football Club is built on the premise that it can survive without any particular individual or group of individuals.”“It’s a club that is very solid and stable, so me leaving or anybody leading will not affect anything that happens at the club, at least so I hope, and I think was a part of the aspect of the policy.“Nothing happened. I had a wonderful ten years at Chelsea, with positive pressure and a lot of things that happened.“I just felt that things were in place and things looked very solid and very stable and I needed a new challenge.“When you’ve been at a place for so long, I haven’t really had a chance to step out and breathe and see what’s out there.“I have been very focused on everything Chelsea and it just came to a time, right bang on ten years, where I felt it was time for me to go and do something else.” he concluded.Related
Lewis Hamilton has retaken the lead of the world championship with victory in the French GP on a troubled day for title rival Sebastian Vettel.In the first French GP for a decade, a calm and collected Hamilton cruised to a comfortable win ahead of Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and the Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen.“This is a great day,” said Hamilton, who now leads the standings by 14 points. “It’s the best French GP I’ve ever had.”But there was drama aplenty elsewhere after Vettel, starting on ultrasoft tyres, crashed into the Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas at the first corner.The stewards blamed Vettel for the collision, imposing a five-second timed penalty on the Ferrari after it limped back to the pits for an emergency repairs.To add literal injury to insult, Bottas’ car was severely damaged during the incident, leaving the aggrieved Finn with an ill-handling Mercedes to manhandle to the chequered flag while Vettel scythed through the field before taking a second pit-stop with ten laps remaining to slip back to fifth.Rather remarkably, and to Hamilton’s astonishment, Vettel was subsequently awarded the ‘driver of the day’ award.Watching a replay of the Vettel-Bottas clash in the pre-podium cooldown room, a scathing Hamilton exclaimed: “He took him right out. That’s crazy!”.Unhappy Mercedes chief Niki Lauda also argued that Vettel’s punishment was “too little”.Related
Real Madrid have secured top spot in the Spanish La Liga in the wake of the 4-1 thrashing of Catalan side Girona on Sunday evening.The home side took a shock 17th minute lead through Borja Garcia but the European champions didn’t have to wait for too long to get back into the game.Sergio Ramos scored the equaliser from the penalty spot on 39 minutes after fellow Spanish international teammate Marco Asensio was upended in the box.After the halftime interval, Asensio won another penalty which was converted by Karim Benzema to edge the visitors 2-1 ahead in the 52nd minute.Gareth Bale scored the goal of the game seven minutes later to put daylight between the two sides before the aforementioned Benzema wrapped up the convincing victory with ten minutes left to play.It was sweet revenge for the Los Merengues who were beaten 2-1 in the same fixture last week.The win means Real Madrid replaces former leaders and arch rivals Barcelona by virtue of goal difference.In the other games on Sunday, Sevilla played out a goalless draw at home to Villareal, while the duo of Borja Iglesias and Esteban Granero were on target as Catalan outfit Espanyol stunned Valencia 2-0 at home.Related