It’s a full-blown crisis as Proteas are whitewashed in Ranchi

first_imgThe Proteas, almost appropriately, lost the third and final Test against India by an innings and 202 runs in Ranchi on Monday.They did so within three and a bit days.Those are the only specifics required for this latest embarrassment, because it simply doesn’t matter anymore what happened at JCA Stadium.South African cricket is in a full-blown crisis.You will be exposed to numerous leading figures citing “mitigating factors” for the Proteas’ whitewash – the situation is too dire to naively just look for excuses.They’ll say the national team embraces accountability for this shambolic outcome, but…India is a tough place to tour.India have won 11th successive Test series at home, a run that stretches back to late 2012.The team is in transition.The coaching staff have interim gigs.South Africa lost 3-0 in India in 2015 with a more experienced team.The last-mentioned “fact” will probably be the cornerstone of apologists’ argument for giving this team some slack.After all, a batting line-up of Dean Elgar, Hashim Amla, AB de Villiers, Faf du Plessis and JP Duminy couldn’t total more than 214 in seven innings, a run that included being dismissed for 79 in that series’ third Test.It’s a pitiful argument.India unapologetically prepared turning dust bowls in the hope of obliterating South Africa’s jittery batsman by exploiting their weakness against spin.That undeniably worked as the Indian tweakers took 61 of the 70 Protea wickets that fell in that series.And to illustrate just how dodgy those surfaces were, India only passed 300 once in seven innings.Even without a dynamic spin duo like R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja, the South African attack plugged away to take 53 wickets.South Africa’s resistance felt so futile four years ago, but at least they still tried.2019’s vintage can only dream of having that group’s guts and determination.And they simply can’t argue that conditions have been against them.The Proteas attack didn’t bowl out India ONCE in this series – the “lowest” total they conceded was the hosts’ DECLARATION at 323/5 in the first Test.India’s spinners were prominent in this series, but the Indian seamers of Mohammad Shami, Umesh Yadav played starring roles.Meanwhile, the Proteas’ bowling unit has generally looked toothless and conceded an average four runs per over across all innings.If Shami and Yadav could combine for 24 wickets, then how on earth did the South African seamers struggle so badly?There wasn’t any evidence of the attack adapting or improving, instead relying on Kagiso Rabada to deliver the odd inspired spell, only to lose the plot the next.It is a generally inexperienced attack, but their stoic approach suggests little coaching has been done on this trip.South Africa’s batting has been an Achilles heel for years now, a situation allowed to spin out of control due to the insistence on cultivating seamer-friendly pitches for home matches.But that’s a debate on its own.The other elephant in the room is whether this Test team is really all that inexperienced.Elgar, Du Plessis, Quinton de Kock, Temba Bavuma, Rabada, Vernon Philander and Keshav Maharaj have a combined 330 caps in the five-day format between them.That’s more than half of the members of what can be regarded as the first-choice XI.And what about team spirit?What does Rabada and De Kock’s war of (swear) words in the second Test tell us about unity?Aiden Markram breaks his wrist by himself because of a “moment of frustration”.What is the level of emotional intelligence of this squad?Can you blame interim team director Enoch Nkwe for not taking enough control?The poor guy was handed an assignment that put him on a hiding to nothing (and it’s surely a tad unfair to lambast him for taking the gig).The fact of the matter is that Cricket South Africa’s wayward governance is eroding the standing and competitiveness of the sport locally.Yes, the federation has had numerous internal crises before, but for the first time it’s directly affecting proceedings on the field too.CSA’s controversial change to the structure of domestic cricket threatens to affect the livelihoods of at least 70 players.The South African Cricketers Association (Saca) and CSA are in court over those changes as well as the true state of the governing body’s finances, thought to be in a state of disarray.The players have lost their champion, Saca CEO Tony Irish, to England.Last week, after a protracted battle, CSA finally stated it will pay the R2 million in arrears for Saca members that played in last season’s Mzansi Super League T20.One report said that intervention only came after Saca threatened to go public.There’s no more buffer between administrative chaos and the players anymore.It now goes hand-in-hand … and we should be fearful.For more sport your way, download The Citizen’s app for iOS and Android.last_img read more

Durban rain frustrates Proteas and England

first_imgThe second ODI between the Proteas and England at Kingsmead in Durban was duly abandoned after persistent rain wreaked havoc on proceedings.After the official start commenced almost two hours late, reducing the match of 45 overs a side, South Africa reached 38/1 before the players needed to go off.Ground staff persisted and got the field fit again for a 26-over game, but it wasn’t long again before the rain game bucketed down again, prompting the umpires to call it a day.The Proteas reached 71/2 in 11.2 overs, which was enough time for Reeza Hendricks to gain some confidence as he finished unbeaten on 35.Temba Bavuma made an attacking 22.The decider will take place Sunday at the Wanderers – the annual Pink Day.For more sport your way, download The Citizen’s app for iOS and Android.last_img read more

‘Intellectual level of zero’: Kyrgios fires back at Coric

first_imgThe combustible Kyrgios has been waging a social media battle with anyone who played in the tournament, branding the decision to hold it “boneheaded” while blasting those who took part for their “stupidity”.Coric, one of four players to test positive for coronavirus at the Balkans event last month, fired back this week, suggesting criticism from Kyrgios, who has a hot-headed reputation on court, was not credible.“I read what he wrote, but I simply don’t care since he likes to be a ‘general after a battle’,” Coric told the Jutarnji List newspaper.“If someone else was teaching lessons I would have maybe understood, but Kyrgios … It’s somehow not realistic.”Kyrgios responded on Twitter late Wednesday by saying: “You should care. Do you have rocks in your head?“Again, you can stand up for your mates, I’m just trying to hold them accountable. When I said what I said, I didn’t intend to bother. They are tennis players, they aren’t special.“Just as I thought, Coric intellectual level = 0,” he added, ending his tweet with an emoji of a doughnut.Kyrgios has previously lashed German Alexander Zverev as “selfish” after he was spotted partying despite vowing to self-isolate following the Adria Tour.He has also traded barbs with Austrian world number three Dominic Thiem, who also played in the exhibition.Serbian world number one Djokovic subsequently apologised for the event, where players embraced across the net and later went to a nightclub.Djokovic, Thiem, Zverev, Coric and Kyrgios were on the entry list released Wednesday for the ATP and WTA Western and Southern Open, a tune-up for the US Open from August 20-28 in a quarantine environment without spectators at Flushing Meadows.If they all turn up, it will be the first tournament they have played together since the war of words erupted.last_img read more

Willian ends Chelsea stay with ‘head held high’

first_imgThe 32-year-old Brazil winger has been linked with a move to Arsenal after he failed to agree a new contract with the Blues.Willian rejected Tottenham Hotspur to join Chelsea from Russian outfit Anzhi Makhachkala for £30 million ($39 million) in 2013.He scored 63 goals in 339 appearances and won five trophies, two Premier League titles, an FA Cup, a League Cup and the Europa League.However, an ankle injury prevented him playing in the FA Cup final loss to Arsenal and Saturday’s Champions League last 16 second leg thumping by Bayern Munich.“The time has now come to move on. I am certainly going to miss my team-mates,” he said.“I will miss all the staff at the club who’ve always treated me like a son and I will miss the fans.“I leave with my head held high, safe in the knowledge that I won things here and always did my best in a Chelsea shirt.”Willian — a member of the Brazil squads at the 2014 and 2018 World Cup finals — said he had never regretted his preferring Chelsea to London rivals Spurs.“They were seven wonderful years. In August 2013 when I received the offer from Chelsea, I was convinced that this was where I had to play,” he said.“Today I am certain that it was the best of decisions. There were so many happy times, some sad, there were trophies and it was always very intense.“There was also criticism, which is normal, what is important though is that both the affection and criticism drove me to always give my all in every training session, every game, to be constantly improving until my very last minute in a Chelsea shirt.”Willian leaves along with fellow veteran Spain winger Pedro, who is joining AS Roma on a free transfer.The 33-year-old European championships and World Cup winner also issued a heartfelt farewell message as he brought the curtain down on his half a decade spell at the club.“After five wonderful years my stage at Chelsea FC comes to an end,” he wrote on Instagram.“It’s been a pleasure and an honour to play for this club and win the Premier League, FA Cup and Europa League titles, as well as competing in one of the world’s best football leagues.“I made the right choice, I take with me wonderful and unforgettable memories.”last_img read more

‘Old guys’ vital in Nationals’ season turnaround, old guy Max Scherzer says

first_img Three takeaways from Astros’ Game 3 ALCS win over Yankees “We knew we were going to be the oldest team in the league,” Scherzer said.Max is a mood. pic.twitter.com/Jo7VTR2VyK— MLB (@MLB) October 16, 2019″Everyone said that was a negative. We looked at it as a positive.”I’m one of the old guys and old guys can still play. I think the older guys bring a lot of value to the clubhouse. The experience we bring, the emotions we bring … all that helps.”The Nationals have been a hard-luck story in playoffs over the years but general manager Mike Rizzo, who has been with the franchise for more than a decade, always kept the faith in Washington. Three takeaways from the Nationals’ NLCS closeout win over the Cardinals Tuesday’s series-clinching victory was decided early as Washington scored seven runs in the first inning with RBIs from Trea Turner, Anthony Rendon, Juan Soto, Victor Robles and Yan Gomes, before pitcher Patrick Corbin’s 12 strikeouts saw them through to the win.Remarkably, the Nationals held a 19-31 record in May, prompting speculation about the futures of manager Dave Martinez and Scherzer, who was rumored to be on the trade block, but the veteran pitcher was confident the team’s experienced heads would steady the ship. Related News Umpire Jeff Nelson, who reportedly suffered a concussion in ALCS Game 3, won’t return in series Max Scherzer was delighted to prove the critics wrong as the Nationals reached the World Series for the first time in franchise history with a 7-4 win Tuesday over the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 4 of the NL Championship Series.The win completed a sweep for the Nationals, who began life as the Montreal Expos and will face the winner of the ALCS between the Astros and Yankees. (Houston took a 2-1 series lead Tuesday with a 4-1 win in that series.) For the first time in franchise history, the @Nationals are headed to the #WorldSeries! #CLINCHED pic.twitter.com/aBEjj43gK6— MLB (@MLB) October 16, 2019″I think every year we’re going to the World Series,” he said on the field after clinching a shot at that dream.”We’ve been in the playoffs five times in eight years and have won more games than any team in the majors except the Dodgers in that time.”So, every year we head to spring training expecting to win the World Series. Get to the playoffs and you’ve got a puncher’s chance.”last_img read more

College football Week 8 primer: Heisman Watch, upset picks, predictions and more

first_imgEvery week, Sporting News will survey the landscape looking for Heisman contenders, coaches on the spot, upset alerts and other trends. With that in mind, get ready for Week 8:   Heisman watch   Sporting News picked LSU’s Joe Burrow as its Midseason All-American quarterback, which might anger fans of Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa – who was SN’s Player of the Year in 2018.  MORE: Week 8 Picks against the spreadDon’t worry, Bama fans. There is enough time for Tagovailoa to take over the award. Last season, at this time, Tagovailoa was the unquestioned front-runner. Tagovailoa’s numbers are significantly better than last season through six games:  YEARCOMPATT%TDINT20187610175.2180201913418273.6271Tagovailoa’s Heisman campaign reached its height when he compiled 306 yards and four TDs against Tennessee before the bye week leading up to LSU.  This year, he can use the game against the Vols to keep building toward that Nov. 9 showdown against LSU.  Burrow, and perhaps the Heisman, will be waiting.  Coach on the spot  Which Big Game James will show up in Happy Valley on Saturday?  There is more pressure on Michigan and fifth-year coach Jim Harbaugh. The Wolverines rank eighth in the scoring offense (30.3) and fifth in scoring defense (17.5). Harbaugh’s 1-9 record against top-10 opponents is the most-discussed stat in the Big Ten, and “Harbaugh is 1-10 against the top-10″ will trend on Twitter if they lose.  MORE: Michigan-Penn State predictionPenn State coach James Franklin also has a lot on the line here, however. Franklin does have a Big Ten championship to his credit, but he has an identical 1-4 record against Michigan, Michigan State and Ohio State. If the favored Nittany Lions lose here, then the Harbaugh heat will shift to Franklin. That might lead to rumors linking Frankin to USC (it happened last year) and put pressure on Penn State heading into the Michigan State game the following week.  That’s what is on the line at Beaver Stadium on Saturday.  Upset alert   Temple spoiled Maryland’s early-September run and knocked Memphis from the ranks of the unbeaten last week. Can the Owls be a party crasher again in Week 8?  The Owls travel to SMU – a school enjoying a storybook 6-0 season to this point — and will bring a pass defense that allows less than 200 yards per game with them.  The teams have combined for an average of 91 points in their three AAC meetings, so get ready for a high-scoring affair in Dallas. If the Owls win, then they will be ranked Sunday.  Over/under   If you follow the rule that a two-loss team won’t get into the College Football Playoff and the committee won’t consider a Group of 5 school, then there are 18 teams remaining in the hunt heading into the second half of the season. That list will shrink this weekend, too.  How did we arrive at that conclusion? Look at the teams with one loss or less in the Power 5 conferences:  ACC: Clemson (6-0), Wake Forest (5-1)  The Tigers and Deacons meet on Nov. 16, and it will be on Wake to get there with just one loss.  Big Ten: Ohio State (6-0), Penn State (6-0), Wisconsin (6-0), Minnesota (6-0), Michigan (5-1) Michigan needs to beat Penn State in a “Whiteout” to stay on this list.  Big 12: Oklahoma (6-0), Baylor (6-0) Will the Nov. 16 meeting be the first of two?  Pac-12: Oregon (5-1), Utah (5-1), Arizona State (5-1)  Arizona State and Utah play this week. The Ducks play Arizona State on Nov. 23.  SEC: Alabama (6-0), LSU (6-0), Florida (6-1), Georgia (5-1), Auburn (5-1), Missouri (5-1)  Missouri is ineligible, and the other five teams will collide in five head-to-head regular-season games.  Independent: Notre Dame (5-1) The Irish can’t be propped up by a conference championship game.  If the chalk holds, including with Penn State-Michigan and Utah-Arizona State, we’ll be down to a Sweet 16 – maybe less – in Week 9.   Think about it …   Illinois coach Lovie Smith is on the hot seat, and the Illini are up against it with Wisconsin coming in this weekend. Illinois went 34-51 under Ron Zook from 2005-11, but that included three winning seasons and a trip to the 2008 Rose Bowl.  Tim Beckman, Bill Cubit and Lovie Smith have combined to go 28-63 since, and that includes no winning seasons. Given the jump Minnesota has made this season, time can’t always be an excuse. That’s not the biggest lesson learned, however.  If you get rid of a coach, then make sure you have the right guy lined up behind him. Week 8 of the college football season features three games between ranked teams, including two Pac-12 showdowns.  No. 12 Oregon travels to No. 25 Washington (3:30 p.m., ABC) in a Pac-12 North matchup the Ducks need to stay alive in the College Football Playoff hunt. No. 17 Arizona State travels to No. 13 Utah (6 p.m., FOX) in order to stay in the lead in the Pac-12 South. The prime-time showdown is a “Whiteout” between No. 16 Michigan and No. 7 Penn State.  last_img read more

Can the Patriots go 16-0? Ranking the teams most likely to ruin New England’s shot at undefeated season

first_img (Getty Images) https://images.daznservices.com/di/library/sporting_news/2f/be/deshaun-watson-092419-getty-ftrjpg_ygzdln1u4d0o1ess7nixz0ymb.jpg?t=1688437133&w=500&quality=80 (Getty Images) https://images.daznservices.com/di/library/sporting_news/33/24/carson-wentz-092629-getty-ftrjpg_5h4kkh73woi91u538xssmfcne.jpg?t=1845689325&w=500&quality=80 The Patriots are looking like they have a shot to go 16-0 in the regular season for the second time in 12 years with Tom Brady and Bill Belichick. One can’t help but to think that way about New England as it outscores its opponents at an absurd rate — 223-48 heading into Week 8.The Patriots are averaging nearly 32 points per game and allowing fewer than 7 points per game, combining for a 25-point average margin of victory going into Sunday’s game against the Browns. New England was favored by 13 points against 2-4 Cleveland. 4. Houston TexansWe’re having flashbacks to those letterman jackets, but at least this Week 13 game is in Houston for two former Belichick right-hand men, coach Bill O’Brien and defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel.Deshaun Watson’s off-script playmaking can shake things up for the Patriots’ man coverage and make it tough on their pass rush, but the bigger problem here is the Texans’ pass defense against Brady, who can get the ball out quickly and spread it around to neutralize the rush of J.J. Watt and others. 2. Baltimore RavensJohn Harbaugh is only 3-7 head-to-head against Belichick, but he has had the Patriots’ number twice in the playoffs, and both times were with Joe Flacco. This time he will try his hand with a completely different style of quarterback in Lamar Jackson.The Ravens have not played the Patriots in two seasons, but you know what Belichick will do here: Have his defense focused on taking away Jackson’s running and forcing him to be effective throwing downfield against a strong, deep New England secondary. Jackson, like Watson, can give the Patriots problems with his improv, but the Ravens’ biggest shot here is running for ball control and stopping the run, forcing Brady to hang in there and deliver without mistakes against Marlon Humphrey, Earl Thomas and Marcus Peters. Still, Jackson will need to have the best game of his young career to finish the job. 1. Kansas City ChiefsDon’t remind Chiefs fans what could have been with Patrick Mahomes against the Patriots twice last season. They lost by a field goal in Foxborough in the regular season, and Mahomes didn’t even get a chance touch the ball in overtime in the AFC championship game loss at Arrowhead.All signs point to Mahomes and his key offensive teammates being fully healthy for this Week 14 game at Gillette Stadium. The Chiefs’ biggest weaknesses are stopping the run and covering the short-to-intermediate passing game, which does set up Brady for the ball-control game plan the Colts and Texans used to beat the Chiefs. To get over that hump, Kansas City needs a clean and spectacular game from Mahomes with no slow start and a strong finish.Make no mistake: The Patriots will be favored in all of these games and will feel good about going at least 4-1. Between Watson, Jackson, Mahomes, Dak Prescott and Carson Wentz, one athletic QB is bound to trip up New England. NFL POWER RANKINGS49ers, Packers inch up; Seahawks, Eagles fly higher; Bears, Bills slideExpect the big spreads in the defending champs’ favor to shrink between Weeks 9 and 14, however. So far the Patriots have faced zero playoff teams from last season, and the combined winning percentage of their opponents thus far in 2019 is .385.The schedule changes dramatically after the Browns game, as the Patriots will face five consecutive playoff teams from last season in six weeks around their Week 10 bye. Between the Ravens, Eagles, Cowboys, Texans and Chiefs, only one of those teams (Philadelphia) had a losing record (3-4) entering Week 8.Should the Patriots survive that November and early December slate unscathed, 16-0 will happen. In Week 15 they play at Cincinnati, and in Week 16 they host Buffalo. Even if they rest players at home in Week 17, they can beat the Dolphins.Here we rank those five opponents based on their chances to ruin the Patriots’ chances at a perfect season.center_img (Getty Images) https://images.daznservices.com/di/library/sporting_news/c0/37/dak-prescott-092219-getty-ftrjpg_4vf2lmw7h572179vo30xh2nf1.jpg?t=1525104685&w=500&quality=80 (Getty Images) https://images.daznservices.com/di/library/sporting_news/e3/c7/patrick-mahomes-100919-getty-ftrjpg_132954zj606mu1ffmx1t8uuiap.jpg?t=-1318140099&w=500&quality=80 3. Philadelphia EaglesThe Eagles’ record when they host the Patriots in Week 11 won’t matter. Nor will how dysfunctional they look now. Philadelphia’s players will have confidence against New England, and it would surprise no one if there’s more of a “Philly Special” feeling here with Doug Pederson pushing the right buttons in what might turn out to be a playoff run-saving game.Of course, then you remember they have an awful secondary with no consistent pass rush against Brady. 5. Dallas CowboysThe Patriots will host the Cowboys in Week 12, and in terms of an explosive and balanced offense, Dallas will be the most complete team New England will face.Jason Garrett, however, is the question mark. Can the coach be aggressive enough to outwit Belichick in a close, high-scoring game? Dallas has the talent to win, but one can’t be confident about it being the better executing and adjusting team. (Getty Images) https://images.daznservices.com/di/library/sporting_news/db/be/lamar-jackson-102019-getty-ftrjpg_11e9yupqse03l1s3cp7jvt5ylo.jpg?t=-328499691&w=500&quality=80last_img read more

Bogut pours in 31 points in U.’s 17th straight win

first_img Jackson is Utah’s ‘Straight’ jacket Related E-mail: sor@desnews.com U. moves up in both hoop polls Late Wyoming drought thwarts possible upset Utah-Wyoming game at a glance If the Utah basketball team seemed wound a little tight in the past two games, well it probably was. Coach Ray Giacoletti admitted as much after Monday night’s 71-62 victory over Wyoming at the Huntsman Center.”We were squeezed so tight that we got out of character a little bit,” Giacoletti said. “This was one that became a grind. It wasn’t our best effort and I’m not taking anything away from Wyoming. But we still found a way to be successful.”Even if it wasn’t their best effort, the Utes won their 17th straight game, the second-best winning streak in the nation, and improved to 22-3 on the season. The Utes also upped their Mountain West Conference record to 10-0 heading into this weekend’s road trip at Air Force and New Mexico.The Utes got through a sluggish first half and a slow start in the second half before essentially putting the game away with a 13-0 run midway through the second half.During the final five minutes, the Utes got into their “careful” mode and saw the Cowboys cut the margin to single digits like Colorado State did Saturday night, but the game was never in doubt.Andrew Bogut followed up his 33-point, 16-rebound performance with another sensational effort, scoring 31 points and grabbing 13 rebounds against the Cowboys. Marc Jackson scored 12 points and did an outstanding job on Wyoming’s leading scorer, Jay Straight, while Richard Chaney added 12 points off the bench.Now that the homestand is over, Giacoletti wants his team to “have fun” this week and not feel the pressure they had during the past two games.”There’s so much pressure put on winning home games, I’ve probably made them a little tight right now and I want our guys to feel at ease,” Giacoletti said. “I want us to get back to being free with our play and not always trying to make the right play every time.”The Utes saw a different Wyoming team than they faced a month ago in Laramie. Oh, it was the same players, but they weren’t the same bunch that missed its first 10 shots and fell behind 16-0, before losing by 25.The Cowboys stayed with the Utes basket-for-basket throughout much of the first half and even led 18-14 midway through the half after making 8 of their first 11 shots.Surprisingly, the Cowboys didn’t try to double-team Bogut whenever he got the ball inside and he made 12 of Utah’s first 18 points. The Cowboys seemed to be content to make other Ute players beat them and when they didn’t shoot well, they kept the lead.Finally, the Utes went on a 9-0 run late in the half thanks to a couple of Bogut baskets and Jackson 3-pointer, only to see the Cowboys cut the lead to 33-28 at halftime.At halftime, Giacoletti implored his team to win the first four minutes like they have so many times this year, but instead, it was the Cowboys who had the edge as they cut the lead to 42-40 with 14:50 left.That’s when the Utes became defensive, holding scoreless for nearly seven minutes as they ran off 13 straight points to make it a 15-point game.First Bryant Markson hit a 3-pointer from the left corner, then Chaney sank a 10-foot baseline jumper.Bogut scored on a three-point play off a left-handed hook and then Jackson sank a 3-pointer from the top of the key to make it 53-40 with 9:20 left. Bogut completed the 13-0 run with a pair of free throws at the 7:54 mark.Maybe the Cowboys were trying to delay having to go back to Laramie, because they dragged out the final 90 seconds into about 15 minutes of real time, as Wyoming coach Steve McClain used every timeout available and the Cowboys tried to foul the Utes for profit.But the Utes hit all six free throws in the final minute and Straight got three garbage baskets in the final 35 seconds.Straight, who was named MWC player of the week earlier in the day, finished with a team-high 16 points, but he got 11 in the final four minutes and nine in the final 1:01. Jackson turned him inside-out like he did in Laramie when he held him to six points until a couple of threes in the final minute.Dion Sherrell added 12 points and Justin Williams chipped in 11 for the Cowboys. The Utes play Air Force Saturday afternoon and New Mexico Monday night. last_img read more

Utah Jazz: Late first-half 3-pointer gives Knicks second-half momentum in win over Utah

first_imgSALT LAKE CITY — At the time, it didn’t seem like a big deal, but a timeout by New York coach Mike Woodson right before the end of the first half might have keyed the Knicks’ second-half comeback win over the Utah Jazz Monday night at EnergySolutions Arena.Alec Burks was at the free-throw line with a chance to give the Jazz a five-point halftime lead. He missed the first shot, however, and as the Jazz acted confused about a substitution before the second shot, Woodson suddenly called a timeout.There were only 2.9 seconds left, but after Burks sank the second foul shot, Carmelo Anthony threw a length-of-the-court pass to J.R. Smith, who fired in a 3-point shot from the right corner to cut the Jazz halftime lead to a point, 49-48.That momentum carried over in the third quarter when the Knicks outscored the Jazz 31-20 and cruised home in the fourth.“Woody called that 20-second timeout and drew the play up and when I saw Melo throw it over my head, I wanted to get a little further down court, so I let the ball bounce and then it was just catch and shoot,’’ said Smith. “It was great for us. We were down like 10 points and to fight back and be down one going into the half, that did a great deal for us.’’The Knicks were just 1-32 this year when trailing at halftime, but the one-point deficit didn’t seem like much to Woodson after his team trailed 40-30 midway through the half.“When you’re down only one on the road, you’ve got to feel good about yourself,’’ he said. “J.R. hits the big 3 right before the half that gave us a little momentum. Then we got that spurt in the third that we needed to kind of tip it over the top for us.’’That spurt in the third quarter happened in a 57-second span when the Knicks scored nine straight points on three 3-pointers. First Smith, then Tim Hardaway Jr., and finally Anthony sank 3s.Just like that, the Knicks led by six.Although the Jazz came back to tie the game briefly at 67, the Knicks went on a 17-2 run over the next six minutes to put the game away for good.“We were right there and then (New York) went on a 12-2 run to finish the quarter and that was the difference in the game,’’ said Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin.Anthony, the second-leading scorer in the NBA at 28.0 ppg, proved to be too much for the Jazz as he led the Knicks with 34 points on 11 of 19 from the field, and 8 of 8 from the line.The win was huge for the Knicks, who are chasing Atlanta for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. They came in one game behind and stayed a game back after the Hawks came from behind to defeat Philadelphia Monday night.“We’re trying to dig ourselves out and our guys are fighting. I like that,’’ said Woodson of his team that has won 11 of its last 14 games to get back in playoff contention.This marked the sixth straight win for the Knicks over the Jazz, who haven’t beaten New York since 2011. Utah Jazz: Scary stuff at the team hotel in Oklahoma City Utah Sports Ruckus: Is Jefferson blackmailing Corbin? Cuban is (mostly) right about football Related Utah Jazz: Third-quarter meltdown leads to a familiar-looking loss to Knickslast_img read more

Jazz hope to start fast against Chicago after 3 straight sluggish starts

first_imgYou expend so much energy trying to battle back. Guys get tired, you try to sub and keep guys fresh. (There are) offensive rebounds, turnovers, those things at some crucial times that stop runs. Those things take your energy too. – Quin SnyderSALT LAKE CITY — Following a second-straight dispiriting loss Saturday night — a 106-94 defeat to New Orleans a night after losing convincingly at Golden State — the Utah Jazz need to figure out how to start games faster.In both losses, the Jazz fell behind by big margins in the first half that were too large to climb out of in the second half.On Friday, the Jazz trailed by as many as 29 points before closing to 12 in the final quarter. On Saturday, the Jazz closed a 17-point deficit to five points heading into the fourth quarter, but could never get any closer in the final period.It’s the same problem the Jazz had against Oklahoma City earlier in the week, but in that game they were able to overcome an early large deficit and come away with a victory.But the Jazz know they can’t keep digging themselves big holes and expect to have any chance of winning — especially with top NBA teams like Chicago (Monday, 7 p.m.) and the L.A. Clippers (Saturday night) coming to EnergySolutions Arena this week.“We can’t work our way into it,’’ said Jazz coach Quin Snyder. “It takes too much energy when you play like that at the beginning of the game. It takes too much energy to come back and then you’re drained.’’On their five-game road trip back East a week earlier, the Jazz got out of the blocks early, enjoying a lead after the first quarter in four games and being tied in the other.However, since returning home, they’ve had a problem getting untracked in all three games.Against Oklahoma City, the Jazz only scored 14 points in the first quarter and fell behind by as many as 17 points in the first half.Against Golden State, the Jazz were never in the game, falling behind 12-0 out of the gate and trailing by 15 after the first quarter and by 22 at halftime. Against New Orleans, the second quarter was the killer as a 27-27 tie turned into a 57-40 halftime deficit.“You expend so much energy trying to battle back,’’ said Snyder. “Guys get tired, you try to sub and keep guys fresh. (There are) offensive rebounds, turnovers, those things at some crucial times that stop runs. Those things take your energy too.’’The Jazz players are aware they can’t keep starting so slow and expect to win games.“We dug ourselves too big of a hole,’’ said forward Gordon Hayward. “We fought back and I’m proud of the effort we had in the second half, but we didn’t have enough to get enough stops. We made a furious comeback in the third quarter, but we just have to play the whole game like that.’’Hayward led the second-half charge, scoring 21 of his team-high 31 points in the second half. But other than second-year guard Trey Burke, who had perhaps his best offensive game of the year with 20 points on 8-of-12 shooting, Hayward didn’t get enough help on the night.Burke agrees that the Jazz have to figure out a way to get started quicker.“We came out slow again and that’s something we have to get better at,’’ he said. “Collectively as a group we have to make a choice, we have to come out with a different mindset with a high level of focus. It’s not one thing you can point to, it’s not one individual, it’s a team thing that we’re going to have to make a constant effort to come out with more focus.’’JAZZ NOTES: The Bulls come to Utah with an 8-5 record after losing to Portland 105-87 Friday night. In that loss, only two players scored in double figures — rookie Nikola Mirotic with 24 off the bench and Aaron Brooks with 12. … The Bulls have been ravaged by injuries this year with Derrck Rose out several games with a sprained left hamstring and Kirk Hinrich (chest) and Pau Gasol (calf) both missing Friday’s game. Then in that game Taj Gibson suffered a sprained ankle and will miss the Jazz game. … Hinrich is listed as doubtful, Gasol as questionable, and Rose as a game-time decision for Monday’s game. … Fourth-year guard Jimmy Butler leads the Bulls with 20.4 ppg game on 49.7 percent shooting. … First-round draft choice Doug McDermott is averaging 4.2 points and 1.8 rebounds in 13 minutes per game. … Former Jazz first-round draft pick Nazr Mohammed is playing in his 17th year in the NBA with his eighth team in Chicago. … In between the Chicago and Clipper home games, the Jazz will play at Oklahoma City Wednesday night. … The Jazz and Bulls play again in Chicago on Jan. 7. Related Rose, other injured Bulls could play against Jazz tonightlast_img read more