Hakeem Olajuwon199514.812.910.213.7✔✔ Does it get any better than this? The best player in the world, under pressure that would break lesser men, appears to be using it somehow to make himself even better. LeBron James’s NBA Finals performance so far is the kind of thing we like to dream great athletes can do.Unfortunately, he’s probably going to lose.Monday on FiveThirtyEight, my colleague Neil Paine discussed how both James’s basic and advanced stats point to his being one of the all-time great finals series. On the mothersite, Kevin Pelton argues that James should win the MVP based on WARP (wins above replacement player), and it seems that the idea that James should win the MVP even if the Cavs lose is getting popular.So I’d like to look at James’s production from a slightly different angle. Rather than just look at how James’s production stands on its own right, let’s see how much impact James has had on the series relative to everyone else — combined.Through the first five games, James has gathered an incredible 18 percent of all the points scored, assists dished and rebounds collected by anyone in this series. If that stands, it will be 1.1 percentage points higher than the next highest over the past 46 years (since they started having a finals MVP in 1969). Here are the top 20, plus James: Kobe Bryant2009220.127.116.114.9✔✔ Tim Duncan200318.104.22.1685.9✔✔ Shaquille O’Neal200117.018.011.616.6✔✔ LeBron James201519.0%13.6%23.0%18.0%–– Shaquille O’Neal200217.914.88.415.8✔✔ PLAYERSEASONPTS.REBS.ASST.ALLWONMVP Tim Duncan199916.617.87.015.8✔✔ Michael Jordan19922.214.171.1244.4✔✔ Shaquille O’Neal200018.020.25.416.9✔✔ Michael Jordan199116.28.824.315.6✔✔ Michael Jordan1998126.96.36.1994.1✔✔ The player closest to James who didn’t win the MVP was Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who had a 15.5 percent share in the 1974 finals. Abdul-Jabbar and the Milwaukee Bucks lost the finals that year to the Boston Celtics, and the MVP went to John Havlicek. The only person to win the finals MVP in a losing effort was Jerry West in 1969, and he happens to be right around the fringe where players any more dominant almost always get the MVP trophy.Meanwhile, regular-season MVP Stephen Curry — the most likely candidate to deny James (again) — presently has the second-highest share in the finals with 11.5 percent of all points, rebounds and assists. If it holds, this 6.5 percentage point gap between first and second would be the second-largest ever (since 1969):The only player with a greater than 4 percentage point gap who didn’t win the MVP was James last year, when the winner was Spurs breakout star and current Defensive Player of the Year Kawhi Leonard.In other words, not only has James been the most dominant player in these finals, he has also been one of the most dominant “most dominant” players in finals history.Of course dominating production isn’t necessarily the same as “value,” and I’ve dabbled in esoteric theories of value myself (like, say, how Dennis Rodman might have been more valuable than Michael Jordan).Still, this gap between James and most other finals MVPs — barring any substantial changes — is so wide that unless you rule out the defeated on principle, it will be hard to argue that he doesn’t belong in their company. LeBron James201214.313.021.914.8✔✔ Michael Jordan199718.58.615.115.3✔✔ Kareem Abdul-Jabbar197113.518.66.614.1✔✔ Kobe Bryant201016.110.011.313.8✔✔ Dwyane Wade2006188.8.131.525.3✔✔ Kareem Abdul-Jabbar197417.314.111.315.5 LeBron James201313.013.317.713.7✔✔ Michael Jordan199319.29.812.816.0✔✔ Jerry West1969184.108.40.206.5✔ Wilt Chamberlain197010.423.67.413.5
The Buckeyes earned some doubters with their early season play after losing to each of their first three ranked opponents. But Sunday, No. 15 Ohio State – at least temporarily – silenced those doubters while simultaneously bringing to life a roaring crowd at the Schottenstein Center, some of which had been camping out for the game since Friday. The Buckeyes’ 56-53 victory against No. 2 Michigan, who with a win against OSU would have been crowned the top team in the land, gave OSU its first win over a ranked team this season. All of that though, was almost taken away when Player of the Year candidate and Michigan sophomore guard Trey Burke’s 3-pointer rimmed out with 14 seconds left in the game. The Buckeye lead was just two at the time – down from the 21-point cushion they had earlier in the game – and free throws secured the victory for the home team. The performance was a stark contrast to OSU’s previous contests against No. 1 Duke, No. 6 Kansas and No. 12 Illinois when the Buckeyes never shot better than 35 percent and struggled to find an offensive rhythm outside of junior forward Deshaun Thomas. Against Michigan, it was far more than Thomas that helped the Buckeyes jump out to a commanding 20-point advantage about 10 minutes into the first half. Junior guard Aaron Craft, who has been criticized for a lack of production on the offensive end, attacked the basket early, scoring from both the outside and in. He stepped into a three in the game’s opening minutes and followed it up by twice slicing to the basket. He finished with nine points and four assists. Sophomore forward Sam Thompson added a spark as well, equaling his season average of seven points before the nine minute mark of the first half. Then there was Thomas, who continued his high-level of offensive play this season, with 20 points including two 3-pointers in the first half – one of which fueled him and many of his teammates to pound their chests on the way down court. The biggest contributor of all though, might have been the Buckeye defense, which smothered the Wolverines from the opening tip. Led by Craft, OSU forced five turnovers in the first eight minutes and nine by halftime, which led to 16 OSU points. By the time the teams headed into the locker room for intermission, Michigan had chipped away at the big lead, but the Buckeyes still held a 34-22 advantage. That lead would shrink to eight early in the second half as the Wolverines threw at least three different defensive looks at the Buckeyes in the period. The switches appeared to slow the Buckeye offense down, but Michigan’s attack wasn’t faring much better. With 10:35 left in the game Michigan had outscored OSU 9-8. It wouldn’t take long for the game’s pace to quicken, though. Out of a media timeout Thomas grabbed Craft’s missed jumper and dunked it in a forest of Wolverine defenders. The play gave OSU an 11-point lead, but Michigan, led by junior guard Tim Hardaway Jr., would respond by scoring the next 10 points to cut the lead to one. The Buckeyes ended the streak when sophomore guard Shannon Scott lobbed a pass to Thompson, who grabbed the ball with one hand in midair and threw it down. Michigan was not finished, though. A 3-pointer on the following possession knotted the score at 46 with 5:59 remaining. But it was OSU that would write the game’s final chapter. Senior forward Evan Ravenel scored back-to-back buckets and Thomas added another to extend OSU’s lead to six. Michigan had a chance to take the lead when it called timeout down two points with 30 seconds left, but Burke’s misfire and crucial free throws from junior guards Lenzelle Smith Jr. and Craft sealed the win. The Buckeyes are now 13-3 on the year and Michigan drops to 16-1. OSU is set to next play Michigan State Saturday in East Lansing.
Ohio State sophomore linebacker Pete Werner (20) takes to the field in the first half of the game against Rutgers on Sept. 8. Ohio State won 52-3. Credit: Casey Cascaldo | Photo EditorTwenty-one.Ohio State, ranked No. 2 in the NCAA with a 7-0 record and two wins over previously ranked opponents, has given up 21 plays of 30 or more yards in its first seven games of the season.Two plays broke the record for the longest play allowed in Ohio State history, allowing a 93-yard pass once against TCU and the other two weeks later against Penn State.Often times, it is the linebackers who are blamed for these big plays, and redshirt junior linebacker Justin Hilliard knows that.“Everyone talks about the linebackers right now,” Hilliard said. “In the last three weeks, this is the most we’ve watched film, this is the most we’ve worked in practice.”The Ohio State linebacker room is composed of a handful of players, many of which have gotten a sizable amount of time on the field this season.Seven linebackers for the Buckeyes have eight total tackles or more, and three of the top four tacklers on the team, sophomore Pete Werner, junior Malik Harrison and redshirt sophomore Tuf Borland, are at the linebacker position.With only one senior at the position, redshirt senior Dante Booker, linebackers coach Bill Davis said in-game reps are the most important thing in improving the group.“When young guys get on the field for the first time and when you’re playing at Ohio State, in front of crowd we play, in front of the television times that we play and the audiences, these young men are finding themselves and really what happens is they’re always questioning ‘Do I belong? Do I belong?,” Davis said. “At some point, they make enough plays and they have enough reps where they say, ‘You know what, I do belong,’ and then you see a confidence about them.” Davis said the defense now is “right at that edge” of getting to that confidence, and some of the guys are already “popping with the confidence.”Even with the strong tackling numbers of Werner, Harrison and Borland, the recent defensive output for the Buckeyes has raised questions about that confidence.Ohio State watched redshirt senior quarterback Trace McSorley break the program record with 175 rushing yards and 461 yards of total offense. Two weeks later, Minnesota relentlessly used slants to break open the middle of the defense, while giving up 157 yards to redshirt freshman running back Mohamed Ibrahim.Despite those numbers, Davis said he sees the linebacker room turning a corner.“It’s as frustrating for the players, the coaches and the fans equal, it really is, we are trying hard to stop those little breakdowns,” Davis said. “We feel, as a group, very confident that that’s about to be eliminated, that we’re at a place, and the guys are mature and the reps are high enough now that we’re really excited about the second half of the season defensively.”There have been injuries to various Ohio State linebackers throughout the season, with Borland and Hilliard coming off previous injuries heading into the year, and Harrison missing the previous matchup against the Golden Gophers amid concussion protocol. But Hilliard said injuries don’t affect the group muchHilliard said he thinks a lot of the problems on the defense have been from missed assignments.“Even when guys are hurt, they’re still always around us,” Hilliard said. “We’re always working together and everyone has that mindset to prepare as a starter, and you’ve got to be ready when your time comes.”Hilliard and Davis both said they see the linebackers ready to turn into a group that can help Ohio State prepare for a championship run.Both also have personal goals, with Davis’ being to always improve as a coach.“I’m always trying to improve and get better, I think I’m a better coach this year than I was last year, I’ll say that every year of my career no matter where I’m at,” Davis said.For Hilliard, it’s being more than the player who suffered major injuries in his first two seasons at Ohio State.“I don’t want to be known as the guy who got injured but I mean that is my story,” Hilliard said. “I wouldn’t say it bothers me but I don’t want to be known as that.”
Ohio State No. 2 senior Joey McKenna celebrates after defeating Michigan’s No.5 Kanen Storr by tech fall, 18-3, in the 141-pound bout. Credit: Sal Marandino | For The LanternAfter suffering its first loss of the season, the Ohio State wrestling team might be without one of its senior leaders.Ohio State announced that senior Joey McKenna, the No. 2 wrestler in the country at 141 pounds, is day-to-day with an undisclosed injury. “The medical staff said it wouldn’t be in his best interest to wrestle this weekend,” Ohio State assistant coach Tervel Dlagnev said.Dlagnev noted McKenna will face Cornell sophomore Yianni Diakomihalis, the No. 1 wrestler at 141 pounds, on Feb. 22 and did not give any timeline for his status moving forward.This season, McKenna is undefeated with a 14-0 record. He owns a career record of 93-8.According to the depth chart, Ohio State redshirt sophomore Clay Ragon would be next in line if McKenna is unable to go this weekend. Ragon is 6-6 on the season with two wins by technical fall under his belt. Ohio State will face Illinois on Friday in Champaign, Illinois and Northwestern on Sunday in Evanston, Illinois.
English Premier League club Brighton & Hove Albion are on the brink of signing Nigerian international defender Leon Balogun from Mainz on a free transfer.Brighton boss, Chris Hughton is willing to add defensive cover to his squad and Balogun seems to be the ideal replacement for Uwe Hunemeier who left the club for SC Paderborn at the start of this offseason. Balogun can play anywhere across the backline which stands him out as an attractive proposition, according to ESPN FC.The 29-year-old Super Eagles star is out of contract at Mainz this summer and Hughton is keen on strengthening his squad since they have already secured their status in the EPL for next season. Hence, he’s willing to bring Balogun who can play at center-back and full-back to the Amex Stadium.News: Samson Siasia banned for life by FIFA George Patchias – August 16, 2019 The former manager of the Nigerian national team Samson Siasia has been banned from football for life.A match-fixing investigation has been carried out by…Balogun won 16 caps for Nigeria, helped the Super Eagles qualify for this summer’s World Cup and he could feature for his country in their friendly against England at Wembley, Russia next month.He previously had spells with Turkiyemspor, Hannover 96, Werder Bremen, Fortuna Dusseldorf and Darmstadt 98
Despite having only just retained their Champions League crown for another season, Real Madrid have already commenced with their summer transfer plans for the following campaignWhile Los Blancos did seal their third successive European crown this season, their domestic campaign ultimately turned out to be a very disappointing campaign with Real surrendering their league title to arch-rivals Barcelona and suffering a shock defeat to Leganes in the Copa del Rey quarter-finals in January.In light of this, the club has decided to hold a meeting that will feature the coach, the president and key board members such as Jose Angel Sanchez and Juni Calafat, who is responsible for scouting nationally and internationally.After months of scouting on potential signings and approaching agents to discuss possible transfers, Marca has reported that Real have identified the following areas and targets that they want to invest in this summer:GoalkeeperZidane reveals Sergio Ramos injury concern for Real Madrid Andrew Smyth – September 14, 2019 Zinedine Zidane has put Sergio Ramos’ availability for Real Madrid’s trip to Sevilla next weekend in doubt after withdrawing him against Levante.Alisson (AS Roma)David De Gea (Manchester United)Thibaut Courtois (Chelsea)Centre-backJose Maria Gimenez (Atletico Madrid)Milan Skriniar (Inter Milan)Alessio Romagnoli (AC Milan)Right-backAlvaro Odriozola (Real Sociedad)ForwardNeymar (Paris Saint-Germain)Mohamed Salah (Liverpool)Eden Hazard (Chelsea)Paulo Dybala (Juventus)
The transfer saga around Jorginho seems to be nearing its end as the Italian midfielder has an oral agreement with the Citizens and his agent claimed that the deal can be done the next week.The midfielder has been linked with a move since the start of the transfer window and the deal seems to be really close to being finally done as the player’s agent confirmed that the agreement is near.Jorginho’s agent spoke about his client’s situation as he said, according to Manchester Evening News:“Jorginho is now in Fortaleza with his family on vacation.”Report: City are stunned by Norwich George Patchias – September 14, 2019 Manchester City was stunned by Norwich City in todays Premier League clash.Much has been made in recent days of the potential impact of Aymeric…“In football, you need signed documents, without this, you can do little.”“We have a verbal agreement with City, now we are waiting for Napoli to find the agreement and Manchester [City] to define the deal. Everything depends on this aspect, next week could be the one.”“Before Ancelotti arrived there was already talk of a transfer of Jorginho, so the change of the technical guide was not decisive.”
The Manchester City midfielder hopes he gets called to the matches against France and Peru in SeptemberThe last time Ilkay Gundogan was playing for Germany back at home he got booed by the German supporters.And now, the Manchester City midfielder has the chance to be called up to the national team again, he hopes he doesn’t get the same treatment.“I hope that I will be welcomed with open arms – first and foremost from my team-mates and DFB (German Football Association) officials,” the Manchester City star told German newspaper WAZ as reported by France 24.Premier League Betting: Match-day 5 Stuart Heath – September 14, 2019 Going into the Premier League’s match-day five with a gap already beginning to form at the top of the league. We will take a…“And then I hope that there will be no whistles in the stadium against me.”“If it happens, then I’ll have to face it. It will be a test, but I can promise that I will do my best,” he added.Him and teammate Metsul Ozil have been in the middle of a scandal after taking a photo together with Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
The event will take place on Saturday, May 18, at 10 a.m., there are three major starting points on the Kenai Peninsula.Soldotna Regional Sports ComplexBase of the Homer SpitExit Glacier- in Seward The purpose of the event is for Alaska Law Enforcement to raise both awareness and funds for our Special Olympics Alaska athletes. It is expected to be the largest simultaneous multi-community running event held in Alaska this year. Facebook0TwitterEmailPrintFriendly分享Come out and support Special Olympics Alaska athletes by participating in the 2019 Alaska Law Enforcement Torch Run and Pledge Drive. More than 1,000 participants, including hundred’s of Alaska Law Enforcement personnel, will run simultaneously in 16 Alaskan Communities. Register today https://www.firstgiving.com/event/SO-AK/2019-AKLETR