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Sherwood ready to trim squad

first_img The Spurs manager has seven players for two positions and he is also considering bringing Tom Carroll back from his loan at QPR. For that reason, the likes of Capoue and Holtby are now being linked with new clubs. Sherwood denied reports Capoue is set to sign for Napoli, but he did not seem too committed to keeping him at White Hart Lane, either. “There’s no movement (with Capoue) as far as I’m concerned,” Sherwood said. “I think Franco might be working in the background regarding a lot of transfers. I’ve heard nothing concrete. He’s a new player so he’s obviously one that I’ve read a lot of speculation about. “We have never had an issue between us. The fact is I’m still getting to know some of these new players and I know the other ones better.” Sherwood’s knowledge of the development team means he has selected 19-year-old midfielder Nabil Bentaleb ahead of Holtby and Capoue in recent weeks. When Sandro and Paulinho return to full fitness, Holtby is likely to move even further down the pecking order. Sherwood ducked a question regarding the German’s future on Friday. “While they’re at the football club, all the players are in my plans,” he said. Even if Holtby and Capoue leave, Tottenham seem reluctant to bring in any new faces given their expenditure last summer. “If we brought in another player now, would he be settled by the end of the season?” Sherwood said. “You might get lucky with one or two but the risk over reward might be too great for us.” Sherwood will be looking to make it five league wins from six on Sunday when Tottenham travel to Swansea. The good news for the 44-year-old is that the squad’s injury list has shrunk. Andros Townsend is likely to play his first match since December 18 after he came through an under-21 game against Newcastle on Tuesday. Midfielder Sandro could also feature for the first time in a month. Jan Vertonghen and Younes Kaboul have returned to training following their respective ankle and thigh injuries, but they will not be risked for the Swansea game. Sherwood admitted he has grown attached to the squad since his promotion to head coach, but the 44-year-old has also developed a ruthless streak as he knows his future at Spurs is likely to depend on whether he is a success or failure this term. “Yes, absolutely,” the Tottenham manager said when asked if he was willing to let players go. “As long as they’re the players I don’t want to take us forwards, then I’m happy (to sell them).” Sherwood revealed that he has held talks with technical director Franco Baldini about who he would like to get rid of in the January window. “We’ve had discussions, yes,” he said. “But it’s sometimes a case of supply and demand. We’ve got fantastic players here at the club and if we were to lose no one I wouldn’t be shedding any tears, but you can only go with a certain amount of players and the pressure’s on because it’s a World Cup year for a lot of these players. It’s important that they’re playing. “We can’t guarantee that they’re going to get maximum game time, but we certainly won’t be leaving ourselves short.” Central midfield is the most overloaded area in Sherwood’s squad. Tim Sherwood is prepared to allow some of his fringe players to leave Tottenham this month. Sherwood inherited a bloated squad when he took over from Andre Villas-Boas in December. The Portuguese went on a vast summer spending spree last year, parting with over £100million to bring in seven new signings, with Gareth Bale leaving for a world-record transfer fee. Some of them – principally Paulinho and Christian Eriksen – have been successes, but the likes of Nacer Chadli, Etienne Capoue and January signing Lewis Holtby have found their first-team starts hard to come by under Sherwood. Press Associationlast_img read more

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Cruise Line Faces Negligence Lawsuits After 200 Get Coronavirus

first_imgDespite the fact that the passengers had arrived from an infected ship, none of them were tested for the virus upon arrival.She adds that the cruise line knowingly had nearly 200 passengers and crew members who were showing symptoms, and the company did nothing about it.Read the lawsuit here: A South Florida lawyer has filed COVID-19 negligence lawsuits on behalf of 16 families against a subsidiary of Carnival Cruise Lines.Debi Chalik, an attorney and founding partner of Chalik and Chalik Law Firm, made the complaints last week against Princess Cruises, which Carnival operates.“Princess Cruises has shown an utter disregard for the safety of its passengers and crew members,” the lawsuit states.According to Chalik, the Diamond Princess was quarantined off the coast of Japan with about 700 cases of COVID-19 in early February.Meanwhile, the Grand Princess departed from the west coast of the United States on February 21, and docked on March 5 in Oakland. That ship had 100 confirmed cases of the virus.Chalik’s plaintiffs were shuttled to military bases in California, Georgia, and Texas.We need to correct inaccurate info found online and in some media. Read BOTH parts of this 2-tweet clarification from @CDCgov. Live, infectious virus was NOT found on #DiamondPrincess 17 days after cabins were vacated. @NEJM reports it survives on surfaces only up to 72 hours. https://t.co/gMtMJP4QzX— Princess Cruises (@PrincessCruises) March 26, 2020last_img read more

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Women’s World Cup

first_imgEngland beat South Africa in tense finish to reach Lord’s finalHOSTS England reached the Women’s World Cup final following a nerve-racking two-wicket win over South Africa in Bristol.Anya Shrubsole steered a tense England over the line with just two balls to spare after they lost six wickets for 78 runs.Heather Knight’s side were chasing South Africa’s 218-6, built on Mignon du Preez’s unbeaten 76.They will face Australia or India in Sunday’s final at Lord’s.England required a boundary from number 10 Shrubsole to seal the win after they appeared to be cruising towards victory.Sarah Taylor – arguably their best player – scored a typically classy half-century in a stand of 78 with captain Knight (30) to take them to within 80 runs of victory.However, both players fell in quick succession – Knight to a wonderful catch from Laura Wolvaardt at square leg – and a collapse followed.Nat Sciver (3) was bowled round her legs and Katherine Brunt (12) was dismissed charging the seamer, but Fran Wilson (30) and the experienced Gunn, with a run-a-ball 27, held their nerve.Taking singles initially before being more expansive in the closing overs, they inched England towards victory.There was still time for brief alarm when both Wilson and Laura Marsh fell in quick succession, but Shrubsole drove her first ball for four to spark wild celebrations in the England camp and reduce a number of South Africa players to tearsTAYLOR THE ALL-ROUND STARWicketkeeper Taylor, who is once again an integral part of the side after being sidelined with anxiety-related issues, was named player-of-the-match following an outstanding all-round display.She executed a brilliant leg-side stumping to remove South Africa’s Trisha Chetty in a near-flawless display with the gloves.To underline her importance in a low-scoring contest, Chetty – Taylor’s opposite number – spilled two catches and was largely responsible for her side conceding 25 extras.With the bat, South Africa’s teenage opener Wolvaardt hit her fourth half-century of the competition and Du Preez impressed with some silky off-side play and hard-hitting into the leg side.However, once again, England’s bowlers were miserly – Brunt and Laura Marsh conceding just 22 runs in the powerplay.CAN ENGLAND WIN IT?Since losing their opening match of the competition against India, England have won every game – topping the group table on their way to the final four.They have the tournament’s leading run-scorer – Tammy Beaumont – and in Sciver an explosive all-rounder who has hit two centuries in the competition.Taylor and Knight lead a formidable middle order while, in the field, Brunt has bowled more dot balls than anyone else in the competition.Australia are the defending champions, but England won it in 2009 and also on the other two occasions they were hosts – in 1973 and 1993.The Lord’s final is a 26 500 sellout and the International Cricket Council released a statement last Wednesday declaring that 50% of ticket buyers were female and 31% were under the age of 16 – suggesting the tournament has been a hit with some new cricket fans.(BBC Sport)last_img read more

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NOGIG 2020: ExxonMobil, NNPC, PTI Begin on Winning Note

first_imgPTI took the lead midway into the first half through the individual brilliance of Asogbon Seyifunmi who tore the SEPLAT defence to shreds before slotting the ball home.The first half ended with PTI maintaining their slim 1-0 lead.On resumption for the second half, the two sides intensified their efforts, taking the battle to each other’s territory. It was SEPLAT that were soon rewarded for their industry as one of their midfeilders was brought down just outside the third half. Captain Nwulu Daniel stepped up to take responsibility and he did it so well. He defied the wall arranged by PTI defence and tucked in a thunderous shot that beat the flatfooted PTI goalkeeper for the equaliser. The stands quaked as spectators rose to salute the free-kick.It became a ding dong affair until the contrversial penalty which was converted to give PTI the victory.A dominant NNPC demolished NCDMB 3-1 in the third match of the day.NCDMB scored first after a fluid move from the nidfield. The first half ended 1-1.When hostilities resumed in the second half, NNPC fell back on experience and wore down their opponents. They scored two more goals to seal victory.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram The defending champions, ExxonMobil, NNPC and PTI football teams recorded impressive wins yesterday in the opening day matches of the preliminaries of the Nigeria Oil and Gas Industry Games being played at the Legacy Pitch, National Stadium, Lagos.In the opening match, the defending champions ExxonMobil dismissed NLNG 2-0, hanks to Tayo Akande’s brace.The second match saw PTI beat SEPLAT 2-1 in a pulsating encounter that was nearly marred by the centre referee who made some controversial calls. A highly contested penalty call against SEPLAT saw their players stop play temporarily. However, their decision to stage a walk out was later rescinded after appeals from officials of both sides. The resultant penlty was expertly converted by Shetima Bukar to give PTI the victory.last_img read more

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F-M, J-D girls lacrosse both land sectional top seeds

first_imgJust three players found the net for the Hornets as Kiera Shanley got five goals, with Katie Shanley and Annie Steigerwald each scoring three times as Annie got two assists and Kaylee Steigerwald a single assist, matching Gemma Adonizio.A day later, at Alibrandi Stadium, CBA took its turn against Sacred Heart, and lost 8-6 to the Spartans, unable to put together any sustained scoring run as Bella Roberson and Gracie Britton each had two goals and one assist, with Tatumn Kohlbrenner and Gia Anthony each getting one goal and one assist.Both sides would rebound with impressive wins Tuesday night, especially F-M, who ventured to Skaneateles and took out the state Class D no. 3-ranked Lakers 19-11 to finish its regular season with a 13-3 mark. Even with a potent attack and plenty of depth, Skaneateles found itself unable to keep pace, F-M steadily building an 8-4 advantage by halftime and then doubling that margin with five different players earning hat tricks.Kiera and Katie Shanley had matching totals of four goals and two assists, just as Noel, Addonizio and Annie Steigerwald got three goals apiece. Steigerwald also had two assists, with Noel and Tomlin Cicci also getting assists.Meanwhile, CBA was putting away LaFayette 18-7, relying on its offense to build a comfortable margin early and then holding the Lancers to just one goal in the second half.Roberson and Anthony led the way, each scoring four times, while Britton and Riley Taylor both earned three goals, Taylor adding two assists. Kohlbrenner had two goals and two assists, with Amanda Winn also getting two assists. Single goals were earned by Grace Glowaki and Abby Hulslander.Then CBA met Cicero-North Syracuse Wednesday night at Bragman Stadium and, improving to 11-5, handled the Northstars 16-9, doing most of the damage while building a 10-3 halftime advantage.Roberson and Britton continued to shine, each scoring five times, while Taylor had three goals and one assist. Anthony got two goals and two assists, with Kohlbrenner adding a goal and three assists. Glowaki also had an assist.Far from all this, Jamesville-DeWitt completed an impressive 15-1 regular season as the state Class C no. 4-ranked Red Rams handled the Oswego Buccaneers 18-8.After a sluggish start by its own standards, J-D, up 7-4 at halftime, pulled clear in the second half behind four goals apiece from Lindsay MacLachlan, Jordan Archer and Lily Loewenguth, with MacLachlan adding four assists.Kailey McKenna found the net twice, adding an assist as Emily Bobrek had one goal and two assists. Ana Dieroff, Chloe Loewenguth and Gabby Modesti had one goal apiece, Riley LaTray adding an assist. Skyler Constantino and Abbie Karoglanian combined for 11 saves.Then every local team found out their playoff assignments, F-M again getting a direct bye into the May 28 sectional Class B title game against whoever wins Thursday’s semifinal between no. 2 seed Auburn and no. 3 seed Central Square.In Class C, J-D is again the top seed, with ESM the no. 2 seed. Both play quarterfinals at home next Tuesday – the Red Rams against no. 8 seed New Hartford, the Spartans against no. 7 seed Whitesboro.If both J-D and ESM win, they play their semifinals next Thursday at Alibrandi Stadium, just as CBA meets West Genesee in the Class A sectional semifinal at 7 p.m. at Auburn’s Holland Stadium.Share this:FacebookTwitterLinkedInRedditComment on this Story Tags: CBAESMF-Mgirls lacrosseJ-Dcenter_img Three area high school girls lacrosse teams are aiming to repeat as Section III champions, with Jamesville-DeWitt and Fayetteville-Manlius after their third sectional titles in a row and Christian Brothers Academy seeking to win it all again in Class A.Both F-M and CBA had slight setbacks in the last weekend of the regular season, taking narrow losses to visiting Sacred Heart, from Long Island, who proved why it was no. 3 in the latest state Class C rankings.F-M played Sacred Heart first and lost a 12-11 decision, the Hornets strong on defense in the first half, yet unable to hold the 6-3 lead it built as the Spartans outscored them 9-5 the rest of the way.last_img read more

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Barkley, Mays nursing injuries from Saturday

first_imgTwo of the biggest stars of USC’s football team did not fully participate in practice yesterday as they nursed injuries suffered in Saturday’s game against Ohio State.Freshman quarterback Matt Barkley is recovering from a bruised right shoulder and didn’t make any throws during practice, while senior safety Taylor Mays didn’t partake in any drills after mildly spraining his right knee in the Trojans’ 18-15 win over the Buckeyes.Big loss? · USC safety Taylor Mays was held out of practice because of the injury he sustained in the 18-15 win against Ohio State Saturday. – Leah Thompson | Daily Trojan Coach Pete Carroll said both players are day-to-day and it is unclear when they will return to practice.“We’re going to wait until [Tuesday] to find out,” Carroll said.Redshirt sophomore quarterback Aaron Corp took snaps with the first-team offense during practice, and freshman T.J. McDonald and sophomore Drew McAllister filled in for Mays in the Trojans’ secondary.Carroll said he is not sure at this point when Barkley would need to return to practice to start Saturday’s game at Washington. But if the true freshman doesn’t practice this week, the coach said he probably won’t play against the Huskies.“I would think not, but we’ll find out,” Carroll said.uJunior running back Joe McKnight, who ran for a game-high 60 yards and caught two passes for 45 yards against the Buckeyes, was named Pac-10 offensive player of the week.“It feels good,” McKnight said. “You just can’t let that get to your head. You’ve just got to come out, work hard everyday and continue playing hard.”McKnight showed up most when it counted in Columbus, Ohio. On the Trojans’ game-winning touchdown drive in the closing minutes of the game, the running back gained 32 yards on the ground, 21 yards through the air and caught the two-point conversion pass to extend USC’s lead to three.McKnight said he was thankful Carroll left him on the field for the majority of the game-winning drive. He wanted to take advantage of that opportunity and take over.“I was a little surprised [to be on the field at the end of the game],” McKnight said. “But Coach Carroll always had faith in me to make plays. I guess at that time he really believed in me to get us down the field, and that’s what happened.”McKnight admitted he made mistakes when the ball was in his hands during his first two years as a Trojan. But now, in his third year, he is focusing more on ball security than making spectacular plays, as he did at the end of the Ohio State game.“I didn’t want to cough the ball up,” he said. “That was the only thing on my mind. I wasn’t trying to break anything or make anybody miss. I was just trying to get downfield and keep the ball in my hands.”Overshadowed by the game-winning drive in Columbus was the play of USC’s defense down the stretch.Carroll thought that the defense stepped up after some early miscues and played really well in the second half.“I thought it was really cool that the guys hung together and continued to give us a chance to win the football game,” Carroll said. “And when it came down to it, we found a way.”Redshirt sophomore linebacker Chris Galippo was one of the many defensive players who stood out to Carroll. Galippo had five tackles and an interception that he returned for 51 yards, setting up USC’s touchdown in the first quarter.“The guy is really aware and watching what’s going on,” Carroll said.last_img read more

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Grinding Gears: Kingsbury saga is a huge blow for USC

first_imgThis spells disaster for USC. The Kingsbury hire was almost universally praised. He was exactly the man Helton needed to turn the ship around on a program coming off a 5-7 season. There was hope that, with Kingsbury implementing his pass-heavy Air Raid offense, quarterback JT Daniels would have a breakout sophomore season and the talent the Trojans have at wide receiver would finally live up to its potential. Cruel? Yes. But fitting? Absolutely. Eric He is a senior writing about USC sports. He is also the features editor of the Daily Trojan. His column, “Grinding Gears,” runs Mondays. This is what happens when a program needs its most prized asset more than the asset needs it, when an assistant coach is more valuable than the head coach. Kingsbury held all the leverage throughout the whole process. Swann was left with an empty hand, and now USC, already dealing with the repercussions of a 5-7 season that has resulted in an apathetic fanbase, is back to the drawing board. But last Tuesday, Kingsbury spurned the Trojans in favor of a NFL head coaching job with the Arizona Cardinals, bringing forth two absurd realities: the fascination in the professional ranks with finding the next Sean McVay (the Los Angeles Rams head coach) and just how far down the abyss USC has fallen. Make no mistake, this is a risky hire, just like McVay was when the Rams hired him in 2017 as the youngest coach in the NFL. Kingsbury has no experience running a defense and could easily be overwhelmed by the job. But to the Cardinals, the risk is worth it, and this move makes the trend clear: the NFL has become obsessed with finding the next young, bright offensive mind. It is ironic, this saga. Critics went after USC all season for having a head coach they perceived was in over his head. So USC went out and brought in an A-plus assistant, only to find out that Kingsbury was so overqualified that he was NFL-head-coach material. When USC landed Kliff Kingsbury as its offensive coordinator, it was seen as a coup for a struggling program that was searching not only for an upgrade on its coaching staff but also a public relations boost. He was anointed the savior, the reason to have hope entering the 2019 season. His addition even temporarily quieted the many critics of USC’s decision to retain head coach Clay Helton. center_img In many ways, this episode epitomizes the state of the USC football program. Sure, nobody expected Kingsbury to receive so much interest from the NFL so soon. But for a reported $150,000 buyout, Swann lost his prized asset. It doesn’t matter if you blame Kingsbury for being disloyal: USC was unprepared and caught off guard. Instead, USC was — for lack of a better word — played. Almost immediately following Kingsbury’s hiring, USC started advertising season tickets with the coach’s picture. All that excitement is now gone, and the school is now stuck with an unpopular head coach while Athletic Director Lynn Swann is left scratching his head, owing an explanation as to what the hell happened. Instead, the worst-case scenario — no Kingsbury at all — was what they got. And it was what they deserved. All of this could have been avoided had USC simply fired Helton, cleaned house and started anew, hiring a fresh, innovative head coach like … oh, I don’t know, Kliff Kingsbury? But USC attempted to patch deep wounds by applying a Band-Aid, which ripped off immediately. Even in the best-case scenario, Kingsbury would have fixed the Trojans’ offense and then left for a head coaching job after next season. Why the sudden influx in attention for a coach with a sub.-500 record? It could be because Kingsbury, 39, is young and in the mold of the offensive-minded, new-fangled coaches who have taken over the league, such as McVay and San Francisco 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan. The Cardinals, in fact, made sure to mention in their press release that Kingsbury was friends with McVay, as if being linked to the Rams coach was an automatic qualification to coach in today’s NFL. A few months ago, Kingsbury was fired at Texas Tech, where he amassed a 35-40 record over six seasons. And yet, he was the hottest commodity on the market. Even after USC reeled him in, teams kept calling. He reportedly turned down a head coaching offer at Houston. But he could not turn down the NFL. He interviewed with the New York Jets and Arizona Cardinals before ultimately being offered the gig with the latter.last_img read more

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Ghana’s Ntumi wins bronze at Africa Senior Weightlifting Championship

first_imgGhana registered her first medal at the ongoing Africa Weightlifting Championship in Egypt, with Winnifred Ntumi claiming bronze in the Women’s 49kg bodyweight category. Ntumi, the first Ghanaian to compete at the championship, added yet another medal to her collection after claiming bronze at the African Youth Championship last year.  Ghana is being represented by six athletes, two females and four males, in 5 weight different categories. 2018 Youth Olympian Sandra Mensimah Owusu is set to compete in the 59kg category on Friday.last_img

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Angels have high expectations for 2020, despite the predictions

first_imgFOR OPTIMISTS1. A powerful offenseMike Trout and Anthony Rendon are two of just six players in the majors to have produced at least 4.5 WAR in each of the last three years, according to Baseball-Reference. That’s as good a 1-2 punch as any team in the majors. They’ll have Shohei Ohtani and Justin Upton with them in the middle of the order. Surround them with David Fletcher, Tommy La Stella, Andrelton Simmons and maybe Jo Adell, and the Angels should have no trouble scoring runs.2. A deep bullpenAlthough it’s fair to say that no team can be really confident in how its bullpen will perform over a 60-game sprint of a season, the Angels have reason to believe theirs will be solid. Hansel Robles had a breakout year as a closer last year, and Ty Buttrey and Keynan Middleton have both shown closer stuff throughout their young big league careers. If they perform as expected, and even two of the others — Cam Bedrosian? Jacob Barnes? Ryan Buchter? — are average major league relievers, they can cover a lot of innings and hold a lot of leads.3. Young blood in the rotationOhtani and Griffin Canning weren’t going to be in the rotation at the start of the season as scheduled, but the delay allows both to start the season healthy. Each has about half a season as a big league starter under his belt. Ohtani in 2018 was better than Canning in 2019, but both showed the ability to be pitch in the front half of a rotation.FOR PESSIMISTS1. Rotation question marksJulio Teheran is the only one of the starters who has had multiple full seasons as even an average big league starter, and he’s starting the season on the injured list after testing positive for the coronavirus. Although Ohtani and Canning have potential, Ohtani is coming off Tommy John surgery and Canning had recent elbow issues. Dylan Bundy has never lived up to his potential and Andrew Heaney has struggled with injuries and inconsistency.2. Offensive ups and downsSimmons and Upton are both coming off disappointing offensive seasons, with injuries largely to blame. The Angels are planning on both bouncing back, but Simmons is 30 and Upton is 32, so even if they’re healthy they may not be as good at the plate as hoped. Tommy La Stella and Brian Goodwin both had career years, so it remains to be seen if they can repeat them.3. The competition is toughThe Houston Astros won 107 games last year. The Oakland A’s won 97. The Dodgers won 106. Those three teams will make up nearly half of the Angels’ schedule. They’ll play the Astros and A’s 10 times apiece and the Dodgers six times. The teams in the AL Central will have a softer schedules, and the Angels will be competing with them for the wild card.Related Articles Angels’ poor pitching spoils an Albert Pujols milestone Angels’ Shohei Ohtani spending downtime working in outfield Angels offense breaks out to split doubleheader with Astros Jose Suarez’s rocky start sinks Angels in loss to Astros Most analysts figure the Angels to be around a .500 team, which normally wouldn’t be quite good enough to make the playoffs but this season could get them a spot in the newly announced 16-team field.“Anything MLB wants to do in regards to making it more interesting right now I’ll take it,” Manager Joe Maddon said a day before the new playoff format was official. “Obviously it enhances your chances as a club to get involved.”Still, though, Maddon isn’t figuring on the Angels to be mediocre and sneak into the playoff field.“Our goal is to win the division,” he said earlier this week. “There’s a possibility, a strong possibility we are going to get to the playoffs. We’re not just going to show up and be fodder for somebody else. We’re here to win. I like our group a lot, not just a little bit.”With that in mind, here are three reasons to be optimistic about the Angels, along with three reasons to be concerned. For months, fans of the Angels and all major league teams simply wanted some kind of baseball season.That season, which at times seemed like it may not happen, is finally here. And although the buildup to this season has been like no other, in some ways it’s now perfectly normal.Questions about the coronavirus will not go away, but now right alongside them are all the usual questions.Will the Angels have enough pitching? Will they avoid injuries? Will they finally get back to the playoffs, putting Mike Trout onto the sport’s biggest stage? Angels’ Mike Trout working on his defense, thanks to Twitter Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img read more

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Chris Paul’s 21 points, 19 assists lead LA Clippers past Portland for seventh consecutive win

first_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error PORTLAND, Ore. >> The Los Angeles Clippers got their seventh straight win and sixth without Blake Griffin but all the attention was on a guy who didn’t play. Trail Blazers guard CJ McCollum sat out of Portland’s 109-98 loss to the Clippers on Wednesday night because he was mistakenly left off the active roster that was turned in before the game. The “clerical error” caused confusion at the start of the game, but ultimately it meant that Portland’s second-leading scorer couldn’t play.That took some of the attention away from Chris Paul, who had 21 points and a season-high 19 assists for the Clippers, who have the league’s longest active winning streak at seven games. And that’s come despite the absence of Griffin, the team’s leading scorer with an average of 23.2 points a game, because of a partially torn left quadreiceps tendon. “Now we’re playing a lot smoother; we’re just trying to hold it down until the big fella gets back,” Paul said. “I’m going to keep saying this, we’re holding this together `till 32 gets back.”DeAndre Jordan had 14 points and 14 rebounds for his sixth consecutive double-double for the Clippers. Damian Lillard had 20 points and nine assists, while Mason Plumlee had a season-high 19 points for the Blazers, who trailed by as many as 23 points but closed the gap in the fourth quarter. Mo Harkless dunked to narrow Portland’s deficit to 97-91 with 4:35 left. Paul Pierce’s 3-pointer pulled the Clippers out front 101-91 and the Blazers couldn’t catch up. The uncertainty over McCollum, who is second on the team with an average of 21 points a game, marred the start of the game for the Blazers. center_img Allen Crabbe started in place of McCollum, who was dressed and on the bench at the start of the game but left for the locker room after the first quarter. Shortly before the break, the Blazers announced that McCollum was inactive “due to a clerical error in the NBA’s active list reporting.”Afterward, Blazers coach Terry Stotts took full responsibility for the error. “I signed the paper without really noticing it, but it’s my fault for not looking at it,” Stotts said. “Although we caught the error, we thought we’d caught it in time, apparently we did not, so CJ was ruled inactive, and that’s that.”McCollum said he was putting it all in the past. “It’s unfortunate, but it’s over with. Just moving on to the next game,” he said. The Clippers jumped out to an early 22-10 lead on Pierce’s 3-pointer. They extended the lead to 35-23 on Jamal Crawford’s 3-pointer and free throw. It was his 45th 4-point play, an ongoing NBA record.Los Angeles led 63-40 at the half, the team’s largest lead of the game. Lillard hit a 3-pointer that pulled the Blazers within 70-58 in the third quarter, then added another 3 that pulled Portland within 89-79 with just under 10 minutes left. Gerald Henderson’s tip and Harkless’ fast break layup and free throw closed the gap to 89-83. Wesley Johnson answered for the Clippers with a 3-pointer his first basket of the game to stop Portland’s momentum. It didn’t help Portland that Lillard was still getting back into form after missing seven games with plantar fasciitis in his left foot. The Blazers’ All-Star came back on Monday against the Memphis Grizzlies, but Portland fell 91-78. The Clippers were coming off a 130-99 victory over Philadelphialast_img