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Published: Friday, April 13, 2018 @ 11:35 AM
— The NBA season began with little prospect for drama.
The Golden State Warriors still have their big four to rule the West, and the East belongs to the Cleveland Cavaliers as long as they have LeBron James, right?
But the picture has changed quite a bit since November… or so it seems.
If you are a casual fan ready to dive into the postseason, are five things to know about the NBA playoffs, which begin this weekend:
1. The best (regular season) team in the Western Conference was not the Warriors.
Houston had the best record in the league, going 65-17 behind MVP candidate James Harden.
There’s still a lot of skepticism about them, though, because they haven’t shown their brand of basketball will hold up in the playoffs.
2. The best (regular season) team in the Eastern Conference was not the Cavs.
Toronto is the No. 1 seed in the East, going 59-23 as Cleveland and the Boston Celtics broke in new lineups and dealt with numerous injuries.
There’s still a lot of skepticism about the Raptors, too, because they haven’t shown they can beat LeBron in the playoffs.
3. The Warriors and Cavs are still the betting favorites in their respective conferences.
Steph Curry, Kevin Durant, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson all missed at least nine games this season. Curry only played 51 games and is out for the first round — it not longer — with a knee injury.
Apparently the oddsmakers at Bovada are confident Golden State can get past a wounded San Antonio Spurs team and Curry will return sooner or later, because the Warriors are still 7/5 favorites to win it all.
Cleveland blew up its roster at the trade deadline, but the Cavs are younger and more athletic than they were — and they still have LeBron. They are 5/4 to win the East with Toronto at 8/5.
4. The East is still a joke.
The Eastern Conference has been the little brother to the West for more than a decade, and a look at the standings shows that is still the case.
More surprising than the nondescript Raptors winning the No. 1 seed in the East was the injury-ravaged Celtics finishing second in the standings. Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward are both sidelined for Boston, meaning a first-round upset at the hands of Milwaukee is a definite possibility.
On the bright side, the third-seeded 76ers have been the talk of the league with Philadelphia’s impressive collection of young talent finally coming together after years of languishing at the bottom of the standings.
5. The West could get wild.
The Warriors-Spurs opening round series would be a lot more interesting if Kawhi Leonard surprisingly became available, but the Warriors struggled down the stretch and San Antonio coach Greg Popovich has a way of getting more out of less, so you never know.
Meanwhile, the Rockets face an uber-taletned Timberwolves team that is viewed as an underachiever in some circles despite ending a long playoff drought. What if the light comes on for Minnesota?
Then you’ve got the highly entertaining Blazers against Anthony Davis and the Pelicans in the 3-6 matchup with the star-studded Thunder taking on the new-look Jazz in the 4-5 series.
Upsets are more of a college basketball thing, but this is a year where more look likely than usual in the NBA.Follow @marcushartman
Published: Sunday, April 22, 2018 @ 2:37 PM
— Chicago White Sox officials said reliever Danny Farquhar remained in critical condition Sunday after suffering a brain hemorrhage during Friday night’s game, The Chicago Tribune reported.
White Sox manager Rick Renteria said he has kept his players advised of Farquhar’s condition but did not go into too much detail out of respect for the pitcher’s family.
“We made sure they knew that he’s still in critical condition but stable and that the best thing for us to do would be to give them space,” Renteria told the Tribune. “Let the medical staff do what they can do and then at the appropriate time, everybody will let us know when it’s OK to go ahead and reach out and go see him.”
Farquhar, 31, is at Rush University Medical Center. He passed out in the dugout during the sixth inning of Friday’s game against the Houston Astros, ESPN reported. He regained consciousness and was taken to a hospital.
The White Sox said Saturday that additional testing revealed the brain hemorrhage was caused by a ruptured aneurysm, ESPN reported.
“Besides him being a great teammate and part of this brotherhood, I have to be respectful of his family,” pitcher Carson Fulmer told the Tribune. “He’s a brother, he’s one of our teammates and we’re all here for him and his family.”
Renteria said Saturday that Farquhar "had a strong heartbeat, a good pulse and was breathing well'' when he left the stadium, ESPN reported."Nothing really matters baseball-wise when something like that happens," White Sox pitcher James Shields said. “When one of your brothers goes down, it's not very fun to watch. He's such a resilient human being. We are praying for him. We hope everything goes well.
"He's got a long way to go and he's fighting. One thing we know in this clubhouse is Farky is a fighter."
Please continue to pray for our brother. 🙏🏻 pic.twitter.com/kXlD53lkqB— Nicky Delmonico (@Nicky_Delmonico) April 22, 2018
You're in our thoughts, Danny. pic.twitter.com/IjkyVkrlid— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) April 22, 2018
Published: Sunday, April 22, 2018 @ 1:46 AM
OAKLAND, Calif. — Oakland A's pitcher Sean Manaea threw the first no-hitter of the 2018 season Saturday, leading the Athletics to a 3-0 win over the Boston Red Sox.
According to The Associated Press, Manaea also made history by becoming "the first pitcher to throw a no-hitter against Boston in almost exactly 25 years." The last one, thrown by Seattle pitcher Chris Bosio, happened April 22, 1993.
"I didn't even think about it until I looked up in the seventh or eighth, and I was like, 'Oh my God, why is there still a zero on there?'" said Manaea, who struck out 10 batters, the AP reported.
Published: Saturday, April 21, 2018 @ 1:55 PM
DAYTON — All Dunbar needs to do is follow Jalani Allen’s lead in its quest to ring up yet another boys state track and field team championship.
That’s the Wolverines’ goal every spring season. The names change over the years, but the goal always remains the same.
“We hope to go for back-to-back (state championships),” said Allen during the 68th annual Dayton Edwin C. Moses Relays at Welcome Stadium on Friday. “That’s certainly the goal. It’s very exciting when it gets around to this time of the year. This will be one (team) to watch.”
Allen did his part as a member of four winning relays.
Dunbar (77 points) won six events and captured the boys team title. Thomas Worthington (53) was second and Miamisburg (51) third.
Thomas Worthington edged Lima Senior 65-61 to win the girls team title. Chaminade Julienne (54) was third.
Only the field events – minus the discus – were individually scored. Reconstruction of the adjoining University of Dayton Arena parking lot has eliminated the discus area.
Allen ran on the winning 440 shuttle hurdles relay (1:02.91) and also helped Dunbar sweep the 4x100-meter (42.70), 4x200 (1:29.19) and 4x400 (3:28.46) relays.
Dunbar’s boys also were first in the 800 sprint medley relay (1:34.48) and 1,600 sprint medley relay (3:44.17).
Allen was among the Wolverines’ leaders in winning the 2017 outdoor state track title and adding another combined Divisions II-III indoor state title in February. That’s the kind of all-around talent that enabled Allen to sign with Malone University, where he’ll play football and run track.
“It felt like the wait was over,” he said when signing with the Canton-area NCAA Division II program. “All the searching and stressing was over. I’m just ready to graduate and get going.”
Also headed to Malone to play football and run track is Springfield hurdler Dyier Smith, although he’s sitting out this season.
Springfield senior Quincy Scott won the long jump (22 feet, 7.50 inches) in a great showdown against Zamir Youngblood of Dunbar (22-1).
Other area boys firsts were posted by Miamisburg teammates Jason Hubbard and Tyler Johnson in the high jump (6-0), Covington’s Jett Murphy in the pole vault (14-0) and Springfield Isaiah Gibson in the shot put (46-7.50).
Area girls winners were Covington in the 3,200 relay (10:21.74), Dunbar’s 1,600 sprint medley relay (4:31.00), Miamisburg’s RaMya Woodward in the high jump (5-4), Beavercreek’s Eileen Yang in the pole vault (12-0) and Lauren Christian of Covington in the shot put (40-3.25).
• Beavercreek swept the boys (191 points) and girls (175) team titles in Thursday’s Greene County track and field championships at Xenia. Bellbrook was runner-up in both.
Published: Saturday, April 21, 2018 @ 1:10 PM
Updated: Saturday, April 21, 2018 @ 1:44 PM
DAYTON — It didn’t take long for Springfield High School junior Austin Tyree to establish himself among the state’s best hurdlers this spring. His personal best times of 39.04 in the 300-meter hurdles and 15.05 in the 110 highs shot him high on the Division I state leader board.
That kind of breakout season is just what Tyree had envisioned.
“Being a part of such a great team, I wanted to be a part of that special group of great athletes who come from Springfield,” Tyree said during Friday’s 68th annual Dayton Edwin C. Moses Relays at Welcome Stadium. “It’s been a pretty exciting season so far.”
Only the field events – minus the discus – were individually scored.
Springfield senior teammate Quincy Scott won the long jump (22 feet, 7.50 inches) in a great showdown against Zamir Youngblood of Dunbar (22-1).
Springfield junior Isaiah Gibson added another first in the shot put (46-7.50) and senior Austin Garza was fourth (40-7).
Tyree and Scott also were on the runner-up boys 4x100-meter relay (43.22), as were Mike Brown and Jacob Yost. The Wildcats’ 4x200 relay was third (1:37.67).
Junior Tiffany Moss paced Springfield’s girls with a third in the long jump (15-11.75). She also ran on the fourth-place shuttle hurdle relay (1:09.91).
Dunbar (77 points) captured the boys team title. Thomas Worthington (53) was second and Miamisburg (51) third. Springfield (41) was sixth.
Thomas Worthington edged Lima Senior 65-61 to win the girls team title. Chaminade Julienne (54) was third. Springfield (19) was 11th.
Tyree has taken over for Springfield hurdler Dyier Smith, who is not running as a senior but intends on playing football and running track at Malone University in Canton.
Tyree excelled for the Dayton Wolverines AAU summer track and field team last year and even ran cross country – with the Springfield Courage – to be better prepared for this track season.
Even the extended winter-like weather couldn’t prevent Tyree from advancing in his specialties. At least four of Springfield’s meets have been canceled.
“Last year I didn’t even get out of district,” he said. “I worked harder this summer and fall with a goal of potentially reaching (37 seconds) in the (300 hurdles). I’m working on that now. Having a successful start is exciting because my goals are up there.”
Another Wildcats junior, Mike Brown, owns a best high jump of 6-4 and cleared 6-6 last season.