Nets beat 76ers, ‘embarrassing, Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid, quarantine, Seth Curry COVID-19 positive, Kyrie Irving


Fresh off a shock 122-109 loss to the Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving-less Brooklyn Nets, the Philadelphia 76ers have been forced into quarantine after shooter Seth Curry tested positive for COVID-19.

Luckily for both sides Curry was already ruled out of the game with an ankle injury and missed the game.

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ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Curry immediately went to an isolation room and left the arena separately to the team.

He did spend the first quarter on the bench however and the game against the Nets was also the 76ers’ third in four days.

But his teammates have been forced into quarantine in New York after The Athletics’ Shams Charania revealed the team had learned of Curry’s positive test as the game went on and will stay in New York to undergo contact tracing.

ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne revealed that Joel Embiid, who sat next to Curry on the bench, would quarantine with his family until he’s sure he didn’t catch the virus.

It could cause havoc around the league if Sixers players are required to quarantine and miss games due to the NBA’s health and safety protocols around COVID-19.

The Nets and the Wizards, who the 76ers played yesterday, could also be forced to quarantine and contract trace, which could throw the NBA schedule into chaos.

It continued the worst day the team has had this season after capitulating to a 13-point loss to the Nets without their superstars.

In one of the weirdest absences of the season so far, Nets coach Steve Nash had no idea why Irving wasn’t available or where he was.

But according to Heavy.com senior writer Brandon Robinson, Irving said via a close source that “I just didn’t want to play” following the events in the Washington.

Entering the game 7-1 on the season, the 76ers’ problems of old appeared to have resurfaced with Embiid and Simmons combining for 11 from 27 from the floor.

But it was an improvement on the first half when the pair shot four from 15 combined with the Sixers down by 14 at the break.

NBA legend Charles Barkley labelled the performance “embarrassing”.

Embiid finished with 20 points and 12 boards, with Shake Milton leading the way for Philly with 24 points.

Simmons had a horrible night, with 11 points, four rebounds and two assists.

76ers coach Doc Rivers was scathing in his assessment of this game.

“We didn’t come to play is what I saw,” Rivers said. “It was just one of those games. It was disappointing.”

Asked what his focus will be from here, Rivers replied: “Nothing really, other than being awake.”

Joe Harris scored 28 points, while Caris LaVert hit 22 points with 10 assists to lead the Nets to the win.

Despite the 7-1 start before the game being the Sixers’ best record over eight games since 2000-01, fans were quick to turn on Philly.



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Trump’s Embarrassing Electoral College Hustle


President

Trump’s

last and worst shot at overturning the 2020 election will come on Jan. 6, as the new Congress meets in joint session to tally the votes from the Electoral College. Mr. Trump wants Republican lawmakers to lodge formal objections to

Joe Biden’s

electors, and this kamikaze mission already has a few volunteers.

Here’s what would happen next, at least according to the Electoral Count Act: If a state’s electors are challenged by both a Senator and a Representative, then each chamber is supposed to retire to consider it. If they rejected the electors of enough states to deny Mr. Biden 270 electoral votes, then the House would choose the President.

***

But how could lawmakers justify throwing out electors for Mr. Biden? Although Mr. Trump keeps tweeting claims of massive vote fraud, his lawsuits have been rejected in court, sometimes by his own conservative appointees.

Any challenge to Mr. Biden’s electors appears doomed, since upholding the objection takes a majority in both chambers. The Democratic House would use the opportunity to excoriate Mr. Trump a final time on his way out the door, and grown-ups in the Republican Senate are unlikely to play along. Hence the Trump crowd’s latest argument: that the power to invalidate electors rests with the joint session’s presiding officer—Vice President

Mike Pence.

A nub of truth here is that the Electoral Count Act might be unconstitutional. Originally passed after the contested-election mess of 1876, it purports to let a simple majority of Congress decide which presidential electors are valid, a power that’s hard to justify under the Constitution or separation-of-power principles.

Reverting to the Constitution’s text, however, would be small help to Mr. Trump. The workings of the Electoral College were refined by the 12th Amendment, which says that the Vice President shall “open all the certificates and the votes shall then be counted.” Where does that language give Mr. Pence unilateral authority to set aside electors? This can’t be what the Founders wanted.

In 1876, at least, there were competing electors that each claimed official imprimatur. In Oregon the Governor and the Secretary of State certified different slates. Florida’s outgoing Governor signed off on a group of electors, only to be reversed by the incoming Governor.

None of that ambiguity exists now. Self-styled Republican shadow electors held their own gatherings this month in some states that Mr. Biden won. But it was a purely extracurricular exercise. In Georgia the GOP chairman said it was intended to preserve Mr. Trump’s legal options, even as the state’s Republican leaders officially certified electors for Mr. Biden.

If Democrats tried a similar Electoral College stunt, Republicans would hoot it down. The closest recent analogue was after the 2004 race, when Democrats challenged Ohio’s electors, claiming they wanted to force a debate on voting reforms.

Sen. Barbara

Boxer joined them, delaying the ratification for hours as the House and Senate considered the objections.

Rep. Nancy Pelosi

defended the exercise, saying that the discussion “should not be considered frivolous.”

Rep. Jerrold Nadler

thundered that “the right to vote has been stolen from qualified voters,” while allowing that irregularities “have not been proved to have changed the outcome.”

Rep. Maxine Waters

charged that Ohio’s “partisan Secretary of State,

Mr. Kenneth Blackwell,

I’m ashamed to say an African-American man,” failed to pursue voter intimidation.

What was the GOP’s rejoinder? “Some Democrats only want to gripe about counts, recounts, and recounts of recounts,” said

Rep. Deborah Pryce.

Then-

Rep. Roy Blunt

pointed to the substantial Ohio margin. “If we were taking this important time today to talk about a difference of 118 votes,” he said, “that might be justifiable,” but Mr. Bush won by 118,000. Then-

Rep. Rob Portman

dismissed “irresponsible conspiracy theories about what happened in Ohio,” adding: “I was there. It didn’t happen.”

Counts, recounts, and recounts of recounts—that’s a description of Georgia this year. The difference is that in 2004 Democratic candidate

John Kerry

conceded. “I will not be taking part in a formal protest of the Ohio electors,” he said. Despite reports of irregularities, “our legal teams on the ground have found no evidence that would change the outcome.” Does Mr. Trump want to depart by making people pine for the statesmanship of John Kerry?

***

Republicans should be embarrassed by Mr. Trump’s Electoral College hustle. Mr. Trump is putting his loyal VP in a terrible spot, and what do Republicans think would happen if Mr. Pence pulled the trigger, Mr. Biden was denied 270 electoral votes, and the House chose Mr. Trump as President? Riots in the streets would be the least of it.

Mr. Pence is too much of a patriot to go along, but the scramble to overturn the will of the voters tarnishes Mr. Trump’s legacy and undermines any designs he has on running in 2024. Republicans who humor him will be giving Democrats license to do the same in the future, and then it might matter.

William Barr returned to the Department of Justice in 2019 to stop it being used as a political weapon. He succeeded because he was willing to reimpose norms amid a sea of partisan critics. Image: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

Copyright ©2020 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 87990cbe856818d5eddac44c7b1cdeb8



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Joe Burns failures, form, selectors’ stuff-up, reaction, embarrassing cruelty, Marcus Harris


Joe Burns never stood a chance.

The Aussie opener’s career is hanging by a thread after yet another failure in the summer from hell.

Facing a large first innings deficit in Melbourne, Burns escaped a close run out chance and a review for LBW but fell when he edged Umesh Yadav behind for four, ending a torturous 10-ball stay at the crease.

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It was an absolute peach of a delivery that angled in and decked away late to catch the outside edge. Few players would have been able to handle it but of course, given Burns’ rotten luck, he was the batsman forced to face the unplayable.

Making matters worse, Burns went upstairs to review the decision after being given out despite HotSpot showing he’d clearly nicked the ball.

Burns entered the series against India in the worst form of his life. In nine first class knocks he’d managed just 62 runs but kept his place in the starting XI because David Warner was out with a groin injury and young gun Will Pucovski missed out on a Test debut after being concussed while batting for Australia A.

Some suggested Marcus Harris should be recalled at the top of the order but selectors kept faith in the incumbent, partnering him with Matthew Wade, who was promoted from No. 6.

Burns scored eight in the first dig in Adelaide and there was hope he’d rediscovered his touch with a fighting unbeaten half century in the second innings. However, twin failures at the MCG — scoring 0 and four — mean the right-hander’s head is on the chopping block after scrounging just 63 runs in two Tests.

Chief cricket writer for The Australian, Peter Lalor, said in commentary for SEN: “That’s a pretty sad exit for Joe Burns. Surely that’s the last straw for selectors who have stood by him.”

Ex-Australian opening batsman Chris Rogers also weighed in. “I guess ‘scrambled’ is probably the best way to describe maybe Joe Burns’ method and mind set there,” Rogers told SEN.

“He just looked all at sea didn’t he. He didn’t really look comfortable at any stage.”

Plenty of punters on social media believe we’ve seen the last of the Queenslander in the baggy green — and mocked him for reviewing his dismissal.

Vince Rugari tweeted: “Joe Burns, sorry, but that’s stumps for you at Test level.”

Mitch Cohen said: “Joe Burns going so bad he doesn’t even know when he hits it.”

Former Australian all-rounder Tom Moody added: “Joe Burns nearly out 3 ways (edge, bowled & lbw) worst of all takes a review with him! Warner has found his slot if fit.”

Tasmanian legend Jamie Cox wrote: “Don’t think I’ve ever felt so many emotions for someone I’ve never met than Joe Burns!”

Sports journalist Brad Davidson said: “That will be it for Joe Burns you would imagine if Warner is fit next Test. Looked all at sea there — such an unforgiving game and can be cruel at times but the world class Bumrah was all over him.”

Burns couldn’t buy a run for his state before Christmas but selectors still threw him into the Test cricket cauldron where he’d have to face the likes of Jasprit Bumrah with a new ball. That’s a tough enough prospect when you’re seeing them like beach balls but it’s borderline cruel forcing Burns to suffer through it given the form he was in.

The justification for Burns’ selection was that he’d been a solid contributor to the side since being recalled last summer, and boasted an impressive Test record with four centuries and an average hovering around 40.

The selectors were trying to give Burns a vote of confidence by sticking with him but ironically, picking him was probably the worst thing they could have done.

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Fox Sports reporter Tom Morris said the selectors need to accept some of the blame for Burns’ horror run.

“The Aus selectors have got plenty right in recent times. Labuschagne was an inspired call during the 2019 Ashes. But they’ve hung Joe Burns out to dry. Really poor,” Morris tweeted.

Radio broadcaster and Sheffield Shield commentator Adam White also agreed being selected was unfair on Burns.

“I’ll never understand Burns’ selection. It’s unfair on him, unfair on his teammates,” White wrote on Twitter. “He’s a man who’s been hopelessly out of form for months.

“Doing all the same wrong things we saw there in that 10 minutes. Referencing things that happened a long time ago was always irrelevant.”

Sports reporter Daniel Garb echoed that sentiment. “Hindsight is 20/20, yes. But picking Burns made no sense. If you’re horribly out of form, you’re out of form,” he tweeted.

“Playing well or wanting to keep the same team from 11 months ago (when you’re not a proven champion) has no relevance. It’s illogical.”



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2020 is another embarrassing failure for election pollsters


By W. Joseph Campbell3 minute Read

Election polling is facing yet another reckoning following its uneven-at-best performance in this year’s voting.

Although the outcome in the 2020 presidential race remained uncertain the next day, it was evident that polls collectively faltered, overall, in providing Americans with clear indications as to how the election would turn out.

And that misstep promises to resonate through the field of survey research, which was battered four years ago when Donald Trump carried states such as Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania, where polls indicated he had almost no chance of winning. Prominent, poll-based statistical forecasts also went off-target in 2016.

Those failings deepened the embarrassment for a field that has suffered through—but has survived—a variety of lapses and surprises since the mid-1930s. Many of those flubs and failings are described in my latest book, Lost in a Gallup: Polling Failure in U.S. Presidential Elections.

Criticism was intense in some quarters November 4. Politico’s widely followed “Playbook” newsletter was notably scathing. “The polling industry is a wreck,” it declared, “and should be blown up.”

Many surprises

While that assessment seems extreme, especially given polling’s resiliency over the decades, the poll-driven expectation that former vice president Joe Biden would lead Democrats in a sweeping “blue wave” went unfulfilled. Biden may still win the presidency, but it will not be in a landslide.

Biden’s overall polling lead, as compiled by RealClearPolitics.com, stood at 7.2 percentage points on the morning of Election Day. A little more than 24 hours later, his lead in the national popular vote was almost 3 percentage points.

CNN posted national polls on the presidential race, taken between 10/16/20 and 11/1/20. [Screenshot: CNN]

Pollsters often seek comfort, and protection, from critics in asserting that preelection surveys are not predictions. But the nearer they are to the election, the more reliable polls ought to be. And a number of individual preelection polls were embarrassingly wide of the mark.

A notable example was the final Washington Post/ABC News poll in Wisconsin, released last week, which gave Biden a stunning 17-point lead. The outcome there was still undecided Wednesday morning, but the margin surely will not be close to 17 points.

Indeed, the polling surprises were many and included Senate races such as those in Maine, where Republican Susan Collins appears to have fended off a well-financed challenger to win a fifth term, and South Carolina, where Republican Lindsey Graham rather easily won reelection despite polls that indicated a much closer race. Graham declared after his victory became clear, “To all the pollsters out there, you have no idea what you’re doing.”

It appears that Republicans will keep control of the U.S. Senate despite expectations, fueled by polls, that control of the upper house was likely to flip to the Democrats.

Polling problems are not new

The 2020 election may represent another chapter in the controversies that have periodically surrounded election polls since George Gallup, Elmo Roper, and Archibald Crossley initiated their sample surveys during the 1936 presidential campaign. The most dramatic polling failure in U.S. presidential elections came in 1948, when President Harry S. Truman defied the pollsters, the pundits, and the press to win reelection over the heavily favored Republican nominee, Thomas E. Dewey.

The surprise this year is not remotely akin to the epic polling failure of 1948. But it is striking how polling missteps are so varied, and almost never the same—much as Leo Tolstoy said of unhappy families: Each “is unhappy in its own way.”

Factors that gave rise to this year’s embarrassment may not be clear for weeks or months, but it is no secret that election polling has been confronted with several challenges difficult to resolve. Among them is the declining response rates to telephone surveys conducted by operators using random dialing techniques.

That technique used to be considered the gold standard of survey research. But response rates to telephone-based polls have been in decline for years, forcing polling organizations to look to, and experiment with, other sampling methods, including internet-based techniques. But none of them has emerged as polling’s new gold standard.

One of polling’s most notable innovators was Warren Mitofsky, who years ago reminded his counterparts that there’s “a lot of room for humility in polling. Every time you get cocky, you lose.”

Mitofsky died in 2006. His counsel rings true today.


W. Joseph Campbell is a professor of Communication Studies at the American University School of CommunicationThis article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.





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Silvgani urges Giants to avoid “embarrassing” Cameron contract situation


Former GWS Giants list manager Stephen Silvgani is urging the club to match Geelong’s free agency offer for Jeremy Cameron, in order to avoid a potential “embarrassing” contract situation.

The Cats confirmed their intention on Friday to lodge an offer for Cameron, who walked out on the Giants earlier this month.

Silvagni said GWS had to try and obtain both a pick and a player in the deal, as well as try avoid the situation where he’s leaving the club to play on less money at Geelong.

“Depending on what the amount is, they probably will match whatever the figure is,” he said on AFL Trade Radio’s The Late Trade.

“Unless it’s over a million dollars – I think what will be embarrassing for the Giants is if he leaves for less money than they offered for him.

“A first round compensation pick might be a $800,000 (contract), but it might be less money than the Giants offers and have been paying.

“In that situation, the Giants will have to match as they can’t walk away for an end of first round compensation pick for Jeremy Cameron.

“I have no doubt (GWS) need to match the offer and I’m pretty sure whatever way, they’d be able to fit him in their total player payments and get a better deal out of it.”

Silvgani expressed his concern over taking multiple high picks into the upcoming National Draft, considering all Victorian-based players haven’t been able to play this season due to COVID-19.

“The thing that I worry about – draft picks can be everything,” he said.

“But this is a very unique period because we don’t know how good this draft is and how deep it goes (because of the lack of exposed form).”







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Renault, Daniel Ricciardo, Esteban Ocon, biggest flaw, embarrassing


Despite some “moments of promise”, the dramatic resurgence of Daniel Ricciardo has exposed Renault teammate Esteban Ocon, according to former F1 driver Jolyon Palmer.

After a disappointing 2019 season, Ricciardo has made a triumphant return from the coronavirus lockdown. The Australian finished in the top five at races in Britain, Belgium, France and Russia, before snaring a highly-anticipated podium at the Eifel Grand Prix on Sunday.

It was Renault’s first podium finish in the F1 since 2011.

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On the F1 drivers’ standings, Ricciardo sits ahead of all Ferrari and Racing Point drivers in fourth position, one spot behind former Red Bull teammate Max Verstappen, with Mercedes duo Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas leading the way.

However, Ocon hasn’t enjoyed the same level of success — the French driver has cracked the top five just once this year, and he currently sits in 12th position with 36 points.

In his maiden season with Renault, Ocon has out-qualified Ricciardo just once, during a wet session at the Styrian Grand Prix back in July.

Although Ocon has by no means struggled in the F1 this year, Palmer believes the 24-year-old isn’t “stacking up well” against his Australian counterpart.

“As for Ricciardo, he has been brilliant in 2020 and is making Ocon look quite average right now on his return to a full-time drive,” Palmer said on BBC Sport.

“Ocon is a young driver of good potential — and showed it alongside Sergio Perez at Force India in 2017 and 2018 — but he simply isn’t stacking up well against Ricciardo, which is a mark of how consistently well the Australian is performing this season.

“Although he was only a fraction behind Ricciardo in qualifying at the Nurburgring, Ocon carries close to a 0.2 second deficit on average over the season so far.

“But it’s actually the races where the difference is bigger.

“In that Styrian Grand Prix where Ocon qualified ahead, it wasn’t long before Ricciardo was crawling over the back of the Frenchman and eventually came through. And in Sochi, the race before Nurburgring, Ricciardo passed Ocon after a poor start, and eventually pulled ahead by a full 26 seconds.

“It’s not to say Ocon’s been particularly poor. He has had moments of promise, and more reliability issues than Ricciardo, and he’s new to the team after a season on the sidelines.

“But I’m sure even Renault will be surprised at how Ricciardo is outperforming their new signing. He’s in the best form he’s been in for a while, and this year he can actually finish in a higher championship position than he managed in his final two seasons at Red Bull.”

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Renault hasn’t finished in the top three of an F1 season since 2007 — the French team is currently six points behind third-placed Racing Point on the constructors’ standings.

“Overall this year, Renault are bang on their usual batting average, in fifth place out of the 10 teams in the standings with six races to go,” Palmer said.

“But actually there are now signs of real progress, and they have more than just a trophy and some champagne to celebrate after Ricciardo’s result on Sunday.

“They finally look to be making strides towards the front, and this result has been on the cards for some time. Since bringing upgrades to the car at Silverstone, Ricciardo has been a second-row qualifier, and a fastest lap setter in addition to those three fourth places.

“These are just rewards for the effort and progress Renault have made from a disappointing 2019, and it was great to see the smiles on the faces of my former colleagues under the podium on Sunday.

“This feels like an opportunity for the team to move forward, rather than rest on the laurels of a breakthrough podium.

“Esteban Ocon, Ricciardo’s young teammate, has had a few reliability woes so far, but Renault will be hoping he can find a bit more form as well to match Ricciardo and add more points to Renault’s championship aspirations.”

Palmer represented Renault in the F1 for two seasons in 2016 and 2017, where he racked up nine career points.

The Portuguese Grand Prix will commence on Monday morning AEDT, with lights out scheduled for 12:10am.



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Collingwood Magpies belting vs Geelong Cats, embarrassing


After one of the club’s greatest finals performances, Collingwood have suffered one of their most embarrassing defeats.

The Magpies crumbled to a 15.10 (100) to 5.2 (32) loss against the Geelong Cats at the Gabba on Saturday evening, ending their finals campaign.

Collingwood could only muster one goal and one behind in the opening three quarters, with Geelong racing to a 73-point lead just after three-quarter time.

Not since the 1960 Grand Final have the Magpies entered halftime with only one scoring shot. It was also Collingwood’s second-largest halftime deficit in an AFL finals match.

Despite a brief resurgence from the Pies in the final 16 minutes, the result was already well beyond doubt.

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On Fox Footy, Melbourne great Garry Lyon bluntly called it “one of the most embarrassing loses in finals history.”

“That is as comprehensive a belting in a half of footy, let alone in a final, as we’ve seen in 2020,” Lyon said.

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St Kilda legend Nick Riewoldt argued the Pies were “absolutely exposed, particularly in the mental side of this contest.”

“They just haven’t shown up, pretty simply,” Riewoldt said.

The Cats dominated possession throughout the one-sided contest, while the Magpies could only manage five marks inside 50.

Geelong veteran Patrick Dangerfield and tall forward Tom Hawkins slotted four majors each — the entire Collingwood side managed five.

Dwayne Russell told AFL Nation: “That’s the best performance I’ve seen the Cats put together this year.”

Sports reporter James Mottershead tweeted: “Unfortunate way to end the season, but the Cats were far too good. Well played. Complete domination.”

Sydney Morning Herald journalist Vince Rugari posted: “All that talk about what colour shorts Collingwood should wear and they end up having them pulled down. Tough break.”

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Ironically, when these two clubs faced off during the regular season, Collingwood had held the Cats to just 35 points.

Speaking to reporters after the match, Geelong coach Chris Scott admitted his side were close to their best in the must-win semi-final.

“We had a lot of confidence that we could build on the way we played this year. And I thought we played OK last week without getting near our best, and today we were pretty close to our best,” Scott said.

“I think there’s a resolve within our group to find a way to try to play better and if we do that we will be hard to beat.”

Meanwhile, Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley conceded “it was as comprehensive a loss that you are going to see.”

“Geelong were far too good. They deserve the win and they deserve to be a couple of wins away from where we wanted to be,” Buckley told reporters.

“You are not going to see a game that one-sided very often.

“At some point it looked like our players clearly had lost their hope to get the result.”

Geelong have qualified for their fourth preliminary final in five years, and will take on the Brisbane Lions at the Gabba next weekend.

.



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GWS Giants torched after ‘embarrassing’ loss to Adelaide Crows, reaction


Believe it or not, the Adelaide Crows are on a winning streak. After going 0-13, the Crows have now reeled off two straight wins.

Proving their win against Hawthorn was no fluke, the Crows took care of business against a lacklustre GWS Giants outfit at Adelaide Oval on Tuesday night.

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The Crows jumped out of the blocks and never looked back as they raced away with the 8.11 (59) to 7.5 (47) victory.

As Crows fans celebrated the win over a team still hoping to make the push for finals, fans watching on couldn’t help but apply the blowtorch onto the Giants.

Still sitting in eighth spot on the ladder, a win would have lifted the Giants into seventh place and only behind the sixth placed St Kilda on percentage. It also would have put them a game clear of the ninth placed Western Bulldogs.

From the opening bounce however it was clear the intensity being brought to the contest by the Giants was severely below that of the Crows.

Things didn’t get any better as the game went on for a team loaded with star talent that many believed would be high in the premiership race.

“This is embarrassing for the Giants. Genuinely embarrassing. Getting brained by the worst side we’ve seen in a while,” journalist Adam Curley wrote.

“If you can’t beat Adelaide you don’t deserve to play finals. It’s as simple as that. The Giants better turn it on over the next quarter and a half. With their talent they should do just that … *should*,” journalist Mark Gottlieb wrote.

“Whether they win or lose this match or not GWS have been woeful this season there is really no excuse for it with all the talent they have,” ABC’s Paul Johnson wrote.

The Crows’ dominance was fuelled by their clearance work around the ground (34-24) with ruckman Reilly O’Brien providing silver service to his midfield brigade.

O’Brien out-tapped his opponent and former teammate Sam Jacobs 43-20 with midfield trio Rory Laird and Matt and Brad Crouch combining for 86 disposals.

Livewire Shane McAdam provided a spark up forward all game long for the Crows in arguably the best game of his young career.

Highlights were few and fair between for the Giants, but Bobby Hill produced some jaw-dropping moments with a boundary line goal in the opening quarter before a mark of the year contender in the third quarter.

The Crows will look to make it three in a row when they go up against Carlton on Sunday afternoon.

GWS face a four-day turnaround before they lace up the boots again in a contest against another finals hopeful in Melbourne on Saturday night.



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LeBron James image from Los Angeles Lakers embarrassing defeat


The Los Angeles Lakers have been thumped by the Houston Rockets in Game 1 of their semi-final Western Conference series.

Despite comfortably topping the conference, the Lakers have struggled to rediscover their mojo in the Orlando bubble, and comfortably lost to the fourth-seeded Rockets 112-97 on Saturday.

Superstar forward LeBron James scored 20 points before faltering in the fourth quarter — after missing four shots, he was relegated to the bench and sat out the waning minutes.

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The sad image of James sitting by himself away from his teammates circulated around social media following the embarrassing defeat.

NBA legend and former Lakers player Magic Johnson tweeted: “The Lakers had no energy, played slow, and were outplayed on both ends of the floor early in the game.

“The Lakers better realise quick the Houston Rockets are not the Portland Trailblazers!”

After the match, James conceded: “Offensively, we’ve got to clean up the turnovers.

“I don’t think we had many struggles defensively. We allowed James (Harden) to get to the free throw line way too much in the first half. More importantly we had 17 turnovers for 27 points. That’s all offence.”

Despite the forgettable performance — 20 points, eight rebounds and seven assists — James did provide a match highlight in the second quarter. After receiving a pass from teammate Dwight Howard, the 35-year-old barged over Houston guard Russell Westbrook to complete a staggering dunk.

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Harden mustered 36 points for the Rockets, whose size disadvantage against the Lakers proved no handicap. Meanwhile, Westbrook added 24 points, nine rebounds and six assists.

“Our defence, that’s going to get us to where we want to go,” Harden said.

“This (Lakers) team is the best team in the West, if we can hold them under 100 points, defensively we’ve got something.”

Harden bounced back from a poor shooting night in the Rockets’ game-seven win over Oklahoma City on Thursday.

The Lakers hadn’t played since polishing off the Portland Trail Blazers six days earlier, but Houston still made them look sluggish.

Anthony Davis scored a team-high 25 points and 14 rebounds for the Lakers.

“I think it’s the speed, they play with a lot of speed both offensively and defensively,” James said of the challenge posed by the Rockets.

“You can watch it on film, but until you get out there (you don’t) get a feel for it. And that’s what we did tonight. We got a feel for their speed, and we should be fully aware of that going into game two.”

Game 2 of the series will commence at 10:30am AEST on Monday.

— With AFP



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Broncos co-captain Patrick Carrigan savages ‘embarrassing’ Raiders capitulation


Another week, another nightmare for the Brisbane Broncos.

This time, the Canberra Raiders have flexed on the hapless Broncos with a stunning second half turnaround to be the latest side to pile on the Broncos in a 36-8 win.

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Incredibly, it was a different looking Broncos in the first half, scoring two tries to one to take an 8-6 lead to the break.

But 25 minutes into the second half, it was remarkably 36-8 as the Raiders piled on five tries in 20 minutes.

NRL Live Scores: Round 14 match centres

The Broncos‘ second half woes were once again exposed.

In the Broncos‘ five straight losses, the side have conceded 110 points in second halves.

Fox League commentator Greg Alexander said the Broncos had regularly been schooled by sides.

“Just looking at the Brisbane losses this year and how many they‘ve had that have been in the 30s or more, they’ve had six of them,” he said. “It certainly has been a horror season.”

At full-time, Cooper Cronk said at halftime he thought it had been “a dominant performance in the first half by the Brisbane Broncos”.

Michael Ennis said after early part of the second half didn‘t go their way, the Broncos heads and the Raiders “tore them to shreds”.

“It‘s just a lack of resolve and a lack of commitment and resilience when things don’t go their way,” he said. ”For periods of the game they come out aggressive, they run hard, when they’ve got the footy, they’re invested, but when they have to defend, they just aren’t there.”

Mal Meninga said once again that it was a lack of trust in the systems in place.

But Broncos co-captain Patrick Carrigan had arguably the most brutal assessment of the performance.

“Disappointing, more embarrassing,” he began. ”It‘s been the story of the year, we play for 40 minutes and then we choose not to show up and take short cuts and you come up against quality opposition in the NRL like Canberra are going to punish you.”

He added that it‘s “not first grade standard” and that the Broncos were ”our own worst enemy”.

Arguably the most telling try the Broncos conceded was John Bateman‘s try after Raiders halfback George Williams chipped over the top, finding the second rower with no Broncos around.

“I barely saw a Brisbane jersey there, they‘re MIA,” Andrew Voss said in commentary. ”Another try in this second half.

“I thought they could have been better but I used the word unravelled earlier, that try is the emphasis of a side being unravelled.”



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