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Mitchell shines as Jazz beat Clippers to secure 2-0 series lead – Sportsnet.ca

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SALT LAKE CITY — Donovan Mitchell scored 37 points and the Utah Jazz forced nine straight misses down the stretch to outlast the Los Angeles Clippers 117-111 on Thursday night and take a 2-0 lead in their Western Conference semifinal series.

Mitchell clinched the game with a driving shot with 43 seconds remaining but then appeared to hurt his leg slightly on a foul by Paul George with 10 seconds to play. He made one of two free throws after hobbling to the line.

The guard is the first Jazz player with at least 35 points in back-to-back playoff games since Karl Malone in 1988.

Jordan Clarkson scored 24, including six 3-pointers, while Joe Ingles had 19 points and Rudy Gobert contributed 13 points and a career playoff-high 20 rebounds.

Reggie Jackson led the Clippers with 29 points and George had 27. Kawhi Leonard scored 21 points but managed just two in the fourth quarter.

The series shifts to Los Angeles on Saturday for Game 3.

Once the Clippers took their only lead at 101-99 after consecutive 3-pointers by Jackson, the Jazz forced nine consecutive misses to power a 14-2 run that was capped by Ingles’ 3-pointer to make it 113-103 with 3:07 to play.

In the second half, the Clippers mixed multiple coverages and cut off the passing lanes that usually garner the Jazz clean 3-point looks and Jackson got hot.

Mitchell scored 27 first-half points — the most by a Utah player in the last 25 years — to spark the Jazz to an early lead and then a late second-quarter push to boost Utah to a 66-53 halftime lead.

Mitchell shot 11 of 16 in the first half and did the same in the second half of Game 1. He tallied 59 points on 22-of-32 shooting over those four quarters.

The demonstrative Mitchell has said he wants to conserve energy with the exceptional physical demands of the playoffs, but he couldn’t help showing emotion one some of his spectacular finishes.

Mike Conley missed his second game after injuring his hamstring late in the Utah-Memphis series finale but the Jazz have now won six straight playoff games.

Jackson scored 16 points in the third quarter and the Jazz finally started missing shots against an active Clippers zone. Their 21-point lead shrunk to four when Marcus Morris drove the lane and flipped in a leaning shot to make it 82-78. The Clippers made their comeback without Leonard, who sat most of the period with four fouls.

For most of the game, the Clippers looked for Gobert whenever they ventured into the lane and resorted to double-pumps and odd angles on the shots at the basket that weren’t blocked by the long-armed Frenchman.

Leonard, George and Patrick Beverley were among the Clippers that shadowed Mitchell in addition to throwing double-teams at the Utah guard well beyond the 3-point line.

Instead of going small, the Clippers countered Gobert with DeMarcus Cousins and Ivica Zubac, who was hampered with foul trouble in the first half.

TIP-INS

Clippers: After posting the league’s all-time best free throw percentage in the regular season (83.9%), the Clippers made 20 of 23. … Jackson’s 16 third-quarter points were the most he’s scored in a single quarter in the postseason. … LA outscored Utah in the paint 42-32.

Jazz: Coach Quin Snyder and owner Ryan Smith presented Gobert his third Defensive Player of the Year Award before tipoff. … Ingles got a flagrant foul for an arm to the head of Beverley after the Clippers guard fouled him early in the fourth quarter. … The Jazz made 20 3-pointers (on 39 attempts) to set a franchise playoff record.

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From skateboarding for fun, Margielyn Didal relishes being an Olympian

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PH skater Margielyn Didal is headed to the Tokyo Olympics. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO/RED BULL

MANILA, Philippines—Margielyn Didal is stepping into the biggest stage of her career when she represents the Philippines in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

But Didal never expected to be an Olympian when she started skateboarding.

Skateboarding had not been a part of the Olympics until Tokyo with the sport making its first appearance in the Summer Games.

“I mean not like till three years ago because skateboarding before was a lifestyle that I do for fun or I can do until I can earn money,” said Didal Friday in a virtual press conference.

It was only in 2016 that skateboarding was approved to be part of the 2020 Olympic program along with baseball, softball, karate, surfing, and sport climbing.

Two years later when skateboarding became an approved Olympic discipline, Didal made history after winning the gold medal in the street event of the Asian Games in Indonesia.

“I’m really happy and excited that this is happening and it’s less than a month away,” said Didal. “We’re preparing for the past three years and I’m just really excited that this is the first time that skateboarding will be in the Olympics.”

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WTC Final: “Don’t change Rishabh Pant” – Graeme Swann’s passionate plea to Indian fans

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Former England off-spinner Graeme Swann has requested Indian fans to not be too critical of Rishabh Pant in the wake of his failure in the World Test Championship (WTC) final against New Zealand.

Rishabh Pant was dismissed for 4 and 41 in his two innings in Southampton against the Black Caps. Both times he perished trying to take on the bowling. He was particularly criticized for his wild hoick against Trent Boult on the last day of the Test.

According to Swann though, Rishabh Pant is a match-winner because of his aggressive stroke play and India will do a disservice to themselves if they ask the dashing wicketkeeper-batsman to tone himself down.

Speaking exclusively to Sportskeeda, Swann opined:

“India have got an absolute superstar in Rishabh Pant going in at 6 or 7. Just go back one Test mach in India’s history. That magnificent century he scored against England (in Ahmedabad) that won them that series. Never forget that. It was a counter-attacking innings, played against the grind, playing against the spin a lot of times. It was a brilliant hundred. Had he got in there and “played the situation” and tried to block it, India would not have won that game. It is as simple as that.”

“He is a match-winner. All I want to say to cricket fans in India – don’t fix what isn’t broken. You have some absolute goldmine ready to be unearthed and used well for 10 years. Don’t change Rishabh Pant. Let him fail. Let him be. He is absolutely worth it,” Swann further added.

Virat Kohli had backed Rishabh Pant after WTC loss

Rishabh Pant had come under fire over his failure to adapt to the challenging conditions in England during the WTC final. Like Swann though, Indian captain Virat Kohli too had thrown his weight behind the young cricketer after India’s defeat to New Zealand.

Speaking at a virtual press conference post the WTC final, Kohli had said about Rishabh Pant:

“Rishabh Pant is definitely going to be a very expressive player, whenever he gets an opportunity. Whenever there is a situation that needs to be understood, he assesses it really well. When things don’t come off, you can say that it was an error of judgment. That’s acceptable; it’s sport. But, we don’t want him to lose his positivity or his optimism in changing the situation for the team. That’s where his USP lies ,and we will definitely continue to back him to play that way, find ways to put pressure on the opposition and score runs, which is his natural game.”

Just 23, Rishabh Pant has featured in 21 Tests and has 1403 runs to his name at an average of 43.84 with three hundreds. He was one of India’s chief heroes in the Test triumph Down Under earlier this year. He took on the Aussie bowlers and came out on top.

Edited by Sankalp Srivastava

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Georginio Wijnaldum: Netherlands captain prepared to lead players in walk-off if racially abused in Euro 2020 match

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Netherlands captain Georginio Wijnaldum has called on UEFA to take stronger action against racism and says players subjected to abuse should not have to make a decision on whether to walk off the field in protest.

Wijnaldum said he had thought long and hard about leaving the pitch if subjected to racism when the Netherlands face the Czech Republic in Sunday’s Euro 2020 last-16 tie in Budapest.

UEFA are currently investigating allegations of racist and homophobic behaviour by supporters following incidents in Hungary’s opening two Group F games at the Puskas Arena.

“I’ve thought about it very carefully,” said Wijnaldum, who will wear an armband bearing the words ‘One Love’ and a rainbow motif in a stand for diversity in Budapest.

“I previously indicated that I would walk off but that was easier to say back then because I had never really run into that problem.

“After that, I started to think very hard about it. Gini, you will play in Hungary later in the tournament, what will you do if it happens? What if you play against a weaker team and those fans know that and they antagonise you to get you to walk off the field so that you lose the match?”

Image:
Wijnaldum scored three goals as the Netherlands won all three group matches

Wijnaldum said the responsibility for action lay with the match officials and UEFA.

“I think I will go to the referee but, to be honest, I’m not sure what my reaction is going to be in the heat of the moment,” he said.

“I’ve never experienced it myself and I hope never to. But if it happens, UEFA must act. They need to realise that if they don’t, they are putting a big responsibility on the players.

“UEFA must protect the players. It shouldn’t be the responsibility of the players.

“Some players have walked off in the past but if you ask them if they felt supported, I think they’ll say they weren’t.

“If the referee, or maybe the opponents, jump in, then the signal is stronger. That’s what I’m thinking right now but I’m not ruling out walking off the field if something like that happens on Sunday.”

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