Clippers’ Chris Paul hustles to get a ball possession in the battle against OKC. (REUTERS)
(Reuters) – Chris Paul missed just two shots in a stunning 32-point display as the Los Angeles Clippers blasted the Oklahoma City Thunder 122-105 on Monday to seize a Game One victory in their Western Conference semi-final series.
Paul made his first eight three-pointers, a career-best total, and finished 12-for-14 from the field with 10 assists as Los Angeles enjoyed a surprisingly dominant road win to open the best-of-seven series.
“It was just one of those nights. This will definitely go down in the history books for me,” Paul told reporters.
With the victory, the Clippers continued to distance themselves from the cloud of controversy that hovered above a first round series overshadowed by owner Donald Sterling’s racist comments that led to a life ban from the NBA.
The Clippers were expected to ease past Golden State but despite the unwanted distraction created by Sterling’s remarks, Los Angeles held on to edge the sixth-seeded Warriors in a hard-fought series that went the distance.
The Thunder also waded through a seven-game struggle of their own against Memphis but appeared ill-prepared for a free-scoring Los Angeles team, despite 29 points from Russell Westbrook and 25 from Kevin Durant.
Paul showed his hand early, pouring in five three-pointers in the first quarter alone to lead the road team to a 39-25 advantage at the break.
The Clippers continued to build on their momentum as the Thunder appeared powerless to slow them down with Los Angeles leading by as much as 29 points late in the fourth quarter.
All Star Blake Griffin finished with 23 points and Jamal Crawford added 17 off the bench in the winning effort.
Oklahoma City Thunder guard Thabo Sefolosha, regarded as a defensive specialist, rejoined the starting lineup after being benched for the past two games but his presence had almost no effect on the Clippers’ offense.
“We have to be more physical with them, and make them feel us a little bit more,” Durant said.
(Writing by Jahmal Corner; Editing by John O’Brien)
While most public schools across the country will begin the new school year with online education in the fall, private schools in Los Angeles are preparing to open their classroom doors to students for face-to-face learning.
At St. Benedict School in Montebello, one of 200 private schools in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, classrooms have been adjusted for social distancing, with cardboard partitions on top of desks to keep students apart. Class sizes have also been modified and temperature checks will be carried out when lessons resume on September 9.
Principal Frank Loya Jr. told Reuters on Tuesday (July 14) his teachers are eager to return to school, after facing difficulties teaching from home.
“Very challenging because the majority of my teachers have children. So, they’re also teaching their class, their students in their classroom. Plus, since their children are at home also, they had to be teaching, directing them. Some of their children attend public school and some of them attend St. Benedict also. So, all that adjustment, I think, as teachers were very stressed,” he said.
A few miles away at St. Joseph School in La Puente, classrooms, restrooms and water fountains are being rebuilt to comply with new COVID-19 guidelines. The school had already planned renovations prior to the pandemic but with additional funding, they decided to expand further.
St. Joseph School currently has 200 students enrolled for the 2020-2021 school year
“Education isn’t the same when you’re not in a classroom setting,” said principal Luis Hayes. “When children are at home, it’s hard to have classroom management, and the student level of engagement changes. So, when you’re in a classroom setting and when you’re with the teacher, you have the classroom management and you have the engagement piece,” he said.
Hayes said there’s an vitally important emotional that comes with in-person instruction.
“For students to come back to school, it’s important that we give them that social emotional aspect and we give them time where they know how to socialize, but they know how to do it safely. And we practice all the social distancing,”
There are approximately 73,000 students enrolled in 200 schools of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles for the new school year.
Tuition cost ranges from $5,000 for primary schools up to $11,437 for high school. (Reuters)
Atlanta Hawks guard Vince Carter officially announced his retirement from professional basketball on Thursday (June 25) after an NBA record 22-season career during which his high-flying dunks made him one of the game’s top players in his prime.
Carter, widely regarded as one of the greatest dunkers of all time, had previously said the 2019-20 NBA campaign would be his last but had not addressed his playing status since the NBA suspended its season in mid-March due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
“I am officially done playing basketball professionally,” Carter, 43, told the “Winging It” podcast.
Carter, the first NBA player to feature in four different decades, signed a one-year deal with the Hawks last August.
However, their season is over as they did not qualify for the NBA’s 22-team format for restarting action in late July at Disney World amid the novel coronavirus.
Carter played for eight teams during his career but will be most remembered for his time with the Toronto Raptors, where he put the Canadian city on the basketball map and earned the nickname “Air Canada” for his feats above the rim.
After his first season in Toronto, Carter was named the NBA’s rookie of the year in 1999. He was then named an All-Star for each of the following eight seasons.
In his second season, Carter won the Slam Dunk Contest during All-Star Weekend with a dazzling display that further increased his stardom and helped ignite basketball’s popularity in what had otherwise been an ice hockey-mad country.
Carter, who ranks 22nd on the NBA’s all-time scoring list, averaged 16.7 points, 4.3 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game during a career that also included stops in New Jersey, Orlando, Phoenix, Dallas, Memphis, Sacramento and Atlanta.
He also helped USA Basketball win gold medals at the 2000 Sydney Olympics and 2003 FIBA Americas tournament. (Reuters)
The pilot of a helicopter that crashed in foothills near Los Angeles, killing basketball great Kobe Bryant, his daughter, and all seven others on board, likely became disoriented in the fog, federal investigators said on Wednesday (June 17).
The National Transportation Safety Board report said pilot Ara Zobayan told air traffic controllers that his helicopter was climbing, when in fact it was descending shortly before slamming into a hillside outside the community of Calabasas on Jan. 26.
The NTSB said that pilots can become confused over an aircraft’s attitude and acceleration when they cannot see the sky or landscape around them, causing “spacial disorientation.”
“Without outside references or attention to the helicopter’s attitude display, the actual pitch and bank angles have the potential to be misperceived,” the NTSB said.
The findings came in a “public docket” released by the NTSB as it investigates the crash. The agency has not yet released its final report. (Reuters)
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