Cricket News Controversy has humbled me and I value India cap even more: KL Rahul

first_img For all the Latest Sports News News, Cricket News News, Download News Nation Android and iOS Mobile Apps. Bengaluru: The harrowing time that he faced in the wake of a chat show controversy has “humbled him a little bit”, feels opener KL Rahul, who now values his India cap more than ever before. Both Rahul and Hardik Pandya were provisionally suspended for their loose comments on women during a popular chat show. Their bans were later revoked pending inquiry.The off-field controversy erupted after Rahul endured a dismal run in the four-Test series in Australia but he is back in the national team after finding his feet with the India A side. “It was a hard time no doubt. I mean, as a player, as a person, everyone has to go through difficult times and it was my time to go through that and I like I said it gave me time to reflect on my game, on myself. I  have always been someone who takes things as it comes,” said Rahul after the second T20 International.India lost the short series 0-2 but Rahul made a successful comeback with scores of 47 and 50. After he was sent back from Australia, Rahul was given the opportunity to regain form in the India A home series against England Lions and he made it count.Asked if the entire controversy has changed him as a person, the 26-year-old said: ”It has humbled me a little bit and you know. I respect the opportunity that I have gotten to play for the country. The dream of every kid is to play for the country and I am no different.“Just to value where I am, just to keep making opportunities count and put my head down and keep working on my cricket,” said the man from Karnataka.Rahul said the India A stint under coach Rahul Dravid helped him immensely.“I got some time off from international cricket, so I could come back to India and reflect on what was not going right for me. Fortunately, I got to play some India A games where the pressure is a bit less and where I could focus on my skill and my technique,” said Rahul.“I got to spend a lot of time with Rahul Dravid, working on my game and chatting about cricket. He helped a lot in the five games I played for India A. The time I have spent in the middle has helped.  It is nice to be back with the boys and back in blue,” the relief was palpable as he spoke.Rahul hopes that it is a blessing in disguise that he courted controversy early in his international career.“I hope so. Things happen like I said. Four-five years with Team India . Learnt about the game, where I stand as a cricketer, as a person so just try to get better from there and be consistent and keep performing.”Rahul admitted that he felt the pressure after making a comeback into the Indian team.“There was little bit of pressure as I have been away from team. But I came into the series with a little bit of runs, so yeah happy to be back.”India were not able to defend 190 for four on Wednesday and ended up being outplayed in the series. Local hero Rahul said chasing at Chinnaswamy in the night becomes easier with dew factor playing out.“In the second innings, dew always has an effect. We have seen that in Chinnaswamy. If you see the stadium’s history, chasing has been easier. But can’t take credit from Glenn Maxwell.“He (Maxwell) played a very good innings. Our bowlers tried their best but with a wet ball, it was always hard,” said Rahul, adding that India will have to find a way to contain Maxwell in the five-match ODI series starting on March 2.  last_img read more

GFF president donates on the occasion of World Blood Donor Day

first_imgPRESIDENT of Guyana Football Federation (GFF) Wayne Forde today donated one unit of blood to the National Blood Transfusion Service as part of World Blood Donor Day observance. The day was observed on June 14 under the theme ‘Safe Blood Save Lives’ and carried the tagline ‘Give Blood And Make The World A Healthier Place’.Following his donation, Forde shared a personal story highlighting the importance of giving blood: “I have had the first-hand experience of how frightening it can be for patients when they are faced with the possibility of not being able to access blood for life-saving medical procedures.“Almost 32 years ago, I watched my aunt, who eventually passed, having to wait until family members donated blood, before she could be treated. This can be any of us.”Forde urged persons to be regular and voluntary blood donors saying “… you could be saving your own life.”World Blood Donor Day is set aside to honour blood donors, to raise awareness of the importance of donating safe blood voluntarily, without being remunerated. It is believed that one unit of blood can save up to three lives.last_img read more

Badgers’ efficient shooting not enough against Spartans

first_imgThe inability to shoot the ball has plagued the Wisconsin women’s basketball team all season, but that was not the case Thursday evening.The Badgers made over half of their shots from the field, but still lost to No. 23 Michigan State (18-8 overall, 10-3 Big Ten) 76-66.Wisconsin (10-16, 3-11) shot 50.9 percent from the field, converting 27 of their 53 shots. Junior forwards Michala Johnson and Jacki Gulczynski were the most efficient shooters for the Badgers. Johnson made six of her seven shots, and Gulczynski made all five of her attempts.Gulczynski finished with 11 points, while Johnson tied for a team-high 15 with senior Taylor Wurtz.“You have to take high percentage shots,” head coach Bobbie Kelsey said. “We tried to open it up for them and try and get them going to the basket. We’re just trying everything we can to help them, and they’re trying hard as well. Just a shot here, or a box out there and it would be a different story.”Wurtz took advantage of this spreading of the defense, but made less than half of her shots on the night, going 7-15 from the floor. However, she was the offensive spark for Wisconsin, penetrating into the lane and trying to get looks close to the hoop.“I feel like I had open lanes, ” Wurtz said. “We went to sort of a five-out offense, and I had some opportunities to drive.”Guards Nicole Bauman and Morgan Paige almost broke double-digit point totals on the evening. Bauman had eight points and Paige added nine. Bauman’s two field goals came from behind the arc, but missed all of her shots from two-point range, finishing with a 2-7 mark from the floor. Paige connected on half of her shots, including the only other three for UW, going 4-8 from the field.Wisconsin attempted only ten three-pointers, connecting on three and finishing at a 30 percent mark from downtown, and the Badgers shot 75 percent from the charity stripe (9-12).“We did not take as many threes,” Kelsey said. “I think that’s helpful that they’re not just standing out there jacking it up.”Although Wisconsin had a better shooting percentage than Michigan State, the Spartans outshot the Badgers 62 to 53. MSU made 28 of those attempts, shooting 45.2 percent in the game. The Spartans picked it up in the second half, shooting 48.1 percent (13-27) compared to 42.9 percent (15-35) in the first half.The main reason for the Michigan State’s higher number of attempts lies in the fact that they had 16 offensive rebounds in the game, compared to Wisconsin’s 8.“We work on boxing out every day,” Kelsey said. “We have to do it in the game, it can’t be that we practice it but don’t execute it in the game.”Turnovers doomed the Badgers as well. UW coughed it up 14 times, with Bauman turning it over six times. Not only did Michigan State force these miscues, they capitalized as well, scoring 21 points off of turnovers.“We tried to be up in our gaps a bit more, since they [Wisconsin] are a very good driving team,” MSU head coach Suzy Merchant said. “We got some good opportunities there.”If Wisconsin seemed to have a balanced scoring attack, Michigan State’s team spread the wealth and then some. Six of the seven players who played more than 10 minutes reached double-digit totals. Becca Mills led the way with 15 points for MSU.“We tried to go to our zone,” Kelsey said. “But they still beat us. They’ve got some great athletes over there, there’s a reason why they’re ranked in the country.”Mills and Jasmine Hines (10 points) were just to physical in the post for the Badgers and provided matchup problems for UW.“We’re not going to feel sorry for ourselves,” Kelsey said. “We’re just going to put our shoulders back and we’ll get a breakthrough, I believe it.”last_img read more

Q&A with Trojans wide receivers coach Keary Colbert

first_imgWe have to find a way to be better individually and try to be better collectively within our communities. Our guys on our team have done a great job giving back the last couple weeks. They’ve spoken to youth organizations and youth football teams, baseball teams, basically about what’s going on in society and about just everybody continuing to get better and keep their head down, to not be down about the times and just understand that this is a moment. And we have to be aware of the moment; we have to respect the moment; and we’re all fighting for a better cause and we need to all come out of this individually better.  So it was our idea to really encourage the youth as well. To understand that you’re not going through this alone. We’re all going through this together. Fight this fight and Fight On, really. So I’ll end it on that. From the game standpoint, I think it’s a lot more spread out as far as style of play, whereas in the past it was a little bit more smashmouth football — downhill run, play action, stuff like that. Now, of course, there are teams that still do that and there’s still situations where you see that in games, but I think the ability to kind of play in space and make defenses defend every blade of grass that there is, I think that’s a big difference in today’s game. DR: How do you feel about the group that you have right now? David Ramirez: What do you think is the biggest difference between college football now and when you were playing? DR: Do you have a game day superstition? Anything that you have to do on a game day before a game? DR: I’m curious as to what approach you take when it comes to a game week. Are you the type of person that’s always trying to improve, always trying to make changes and little tweaks up until the very last moment or do you have a certain time where you’re like, “I’m just going to set it and forget it?”  KC: Yeah, for me personally, I like to leave it. I like to get to a point of the game or the week where I just leave the player, leave the receivers alone and just let them play. At the end of the day, we do a lot of heavier preparation earlier in the week and then it kind of tails back. We scale it down a little bit, we refine it and then at the end of the day we recruit our guys because they’re talented football players and I don’t like to “over-coach.” Personally, I like to just give them the freedom to go out there and be who they are naturally and just trust that all that we’ve done in the week of preparation will be enough.  KC: I just spoke about my frustration, our frustration as a group, our frustration as a team. I think it’s important to understand that there are bigger issues going on bigger than ourselves. I think recruiting is different. Partly because of social media, the ability to have access to a lot of different recruits for coaches. It makes it a lot easier to be seen and to be noticed if you’re a high school kid. Back in the day, if you wanted to be recruited, you’re sending out VHS tapes and coaches had to physically come and see you play — they’re not just sending an email or a text message with a Hudl link and stuff like that. So that makes recruiting kind of go a little more nationally in my opinion.  DR: There’s a lot going on right now — public health, social justice, a lot of different things. If there’s anything going into this that you wanted to make sure you got off your chest, you want to make sure you had heard, I just wanted to give you that chance. At the end of the day, it is our duty as coaches to do what’s best and right for the team and hard decisions have to be made. The best players play. Sometimes it’s not that other players are not good players. It’s just that there might be a slightly better player in front of you at the time, but as long as guys trust the process, you just never know what happens. I mean, I’ve seen it. KC: When I walk up the tunnel at home games, I always touch all the wide receivers that are on the wall inside when you go through the tunnel. There’s pictures of all the great players, I touch all the wide receivers and then also touch my roommates Carson and Troy and some of the guys that I’ve played with that I’m really close to. It’s something that I’ve been doing since I played at USC. It’s something that continues all the way up until now every time I walk in the Coliseum.center_img KC: Yeah, that’s probably the toughest part about coaching. Everybody works really hard during the week and everybody puts in a lot of time and effort into this game and the sport and the team. But not everybody’s results are the same. Keary Colbert: It’s a great question. I think the social media piece. It is a lot different, obviously. Especially with the name, image and likeness coming about in college football. I think college kids now have a larger platform to stand on. Their faces are out there a lot more. I mean, you don’t have to be the star player on the team to have a following or a fan base. I think that’s a big difference in college football today.  Sports editor David Ramirez spoke to USC wide receivers coach Keary Colbert about his approach to recruiting, game planning and mentoring USC’s talented crop of pass-catchers. Colbert himself was a standout receiver at USC before being selected in the second round of the 2004 NFL Draft. This interview was edited for length and clarity. That’s what I say about the group: They work really hard. They push each other, which is probably the best thing because when you have good players, the bar keeps rising. You can have good players that just kind of do their thing and you have other players down at the bottom, but when good players push one another and bring another person out of them, it raises the bar in the room. I’ll tell you, man, they’re special. I haven’t been around a collection of wide receivers like them. Keary Colbert was a standout receiver at USC for four years before being drafted by the Carolina Panthers in the second round of the 2004 NFL Draft. (John McGillen | USC Athletics) DR: As a fan it’s very easy to say “start this guy” and “bench this guy” because you don’t know them as human beings. You deal with these people on a daily basis, you know them much greater than what they are as athletes. How do you handle that weight knowing you’re dealing with people’s livelihoods? You’re making decisions, but at the same time it’s affecting people very deeply. KC: Honestly, I’m really sad about the season being postponed. I’m saying that because this is literally the best collection of wide receivers that I’ve ever been associated with — and I’m talking about from a playing standpoint to a coaching standpoint. I’m talking about top to bottom. I’ve been around some great wide receivers. As a group — from one to nine or one to however many is in the room — as a collection, this is one of the best groups that I’ve been a part of.  Of course, on game day and during the game, I’m their set of eyes. We have other coaches that are their sets of eyes that can help them see things, process things, give answers to the test while we’re out there. So I don’t really like to take up too much of a player’s time because I didn’t really like that as a player. You know, I like to kind of prepare my own way, especially the day of a game or night before a game and stuff like that. Everybody has their own process now — of course, there’s guys that have questions and want to meet. We make that time available for them. I’m saying I’ll do whatever I have to to help somebody be as prepared as possible for a game. But for me, I like to just kind of cut them loose, man, trust the process and let them go play. I think if we can do that individually, then collectively, you have better communities, you have better society, etc. So I commend our guys for being available to elementary and junior high kids by way of Zoom. We’ve set up some Zoom meetings with some youth teams and it’s been really impactful. The kids loved it. I just hate that they’ve been working so hard; I hate that they don’t get to go out and show it. I mean, obviously, it was a good group last year, and I really think that we were in the process of taking another step up. last_img read more

Update expected on John O’Dwyer injury

first_imgTipp senior hurler John “Bubbles” O’Dwyer is to have a scan tomorrow to determine the extent of the hand injury he picked up in Sundays league semi-final defeat to Waterford.The All-Star was substituted early in the second half with what manager Eamon O’Shea later said was a suspected broken finger.The Killenaule man is expected to be out for a number weeks but he’s unlikely to miss Tipp’s Munster championship opener on June 21st.last_img

OPTIMA – The continued growth of the serverless solution

first_img CT Gaming bolsters Italian profile with The Betting Coach  August 27, 2020 Submit StumbleUpon Share Canada’s sports betting hearings threatened by Trudeau’s ’emergency recess’  August 24, 2020 Share Related Articles TVBET passes GLI test for five live games in Malta and Italy August 25, 2020 Betting solutions provider OPTIMA concluded a successful 2017 by not only agreeing a deal to supply Betfred with its Multi-Channel Gaming Suite platform, but also by being crowned Standalone Platform Provider of the Year at the SBC Awards.   OPTIMA received the award, which its CEO Jacob Lopez described as “a great accomplishment” in the same month that it also reached a partnership with IGT for the licensing, support, and development of its sports betting platform in all international regions outside of Italy, the United States, and Canada.Speaking to SBC after the awards, Lopez added: “As a firm, OPTIMA is committed to being a solution provider of choice for an ever increasing number of customers, and our clients overwhelmingly tell us that they are confident they did the right decision in selecting our platform as their main business framework. Giving the best service possible to our clients and staying at the forefront of the gaming technology, is our primary mission, and we look forward to continuing growth in the near future. To be recognised with the SBC Awards for two consecutive years is a powerful evidence of the effectiveness of our products.“We work hard at OPTIMA to provide the kind of culture that foster excellence, commitment and learning. Our recent awards are great motivation for Optima employees to be more efficient and do their best every day.”Analysing how the market has evolved for platform providers over the past year, Lopez continued: “This industry is driven by the market factors as any other. Millennial gamers force the market to go online, adopt flexible, multi-channel format, be everywhere they demand personalised service, and they want the choice.“At Optima, we not only respond immediately and efficiently to our customers’ needs, but we also carefully follow market trends and observe demographic and psycho-graphic shifts of the players in order to recognise early behaviour patterns and create products that will help our clients enrich greatly their portfolio of products and services. New currencies, new technologies, such as data processing tools, AI, VR and others help us create previously unimaginable solutions that will ensure further market shifts and customers’ growth.”  A key factor to OPTIMA’s progress this year was the group’s progress in integrating its serverless solution to the UK market. Something that was aided when OPTIMA reaffirmed its commitment to servicing independent bookmakers by announcing an extension to its partnership deal with the Bookmakers Technology Consortium (BTC).Commenting on the growth of serverless solution, Lopez said: “I will let the numbers speak for themselves: 70% of our customers are Serverless now and more will follow. Among our clients, there are operators who have saved costs massively since they migrated, for new setups and also for day to day operation. OPTIMA Retail product is live in renowned bookmakers worldwide, more than 4000 shops counting amongst the operators live with the system: Chisholm Bookmakers, JenningsBet, Corbettsports, Backhouse, David Pluck, Stan James (Megabet), BarOne Racing, BetCafe (Superbet) Romania, Nairabet and many other operators worldwide.”He concluded: “EPoS is a cash-based application featuring two-phase image capture and translation and full and partial mark-sense. It has a centralized but supporting ‘stand-alone’ architecture featuring real-time centralised alerting. The notable feature of this product is the large range and richness of features of the products offered. The very traditional background to players in betting shops means the market is resistant to change and therefore electronic systems have evolved to emulate traditional manual practices. “The EPoS system is largely based on Commodity hardware. This means there is no vendor tie-in; the hardware can be sourced either by OPTIMA or directly by the client. That makes it incredibly easy for the customer to adopt it. The core of the system runs on a totally standard PC running Windows 10 with very low specs, making it very cheap to acquire for the bookmakers.”last_img read more

City were lucky but title race is over – Mourinho

first_imgManchester, United Kingdom | AFP | Jose Mourinho admitted the Premier League title race is all but over after Manchester City delivered a hammer blow to Manchester United’s challenge with a 2-1 win on Sunday.City moved 11 points clear of second-placed United as Nicolas Otamendi’s second-half strike gave the visitors a record-equalling 14th successive Premier League victory. United boss Mourinho felt Pep Guardiola’s side rode their luck at Old Trafford, with Ander Herrera booked for diving after a tackle by Otamendi that the hosts claimed was worthy of a penalty.But he conceded his old rival Guardiola is highly likely to lead City to the title.Asked if the race was over, Mourinho said: “Probably, yes.“I’m pretty sure everyone is going to fight for points and try and reduce the distance, but the advantage is a very good one.“Manchester City are a very good team and they are protected by the luck, and the gods of football are behind them.“They are lucky, they have decisions in their favour.”Mourinho was furious with referee Michael Oliver’s decision not to award a penalty for the Otamendi challenge on Herrera. “My first reaction is I feel sorry for Michael Oliver because he had a very good match but unfortunately he made an important mistake,” he said.center_img “The result was made with a big penalty not given. That would have been 2-2 with 20 minutes to go. It was a crucial mistake.”Mourinho was equally unhappy with the sloppy United defending that gifted City their goals.“They scored two goals which were quite unbelievable to concede. Two bad goals,” he said.“We did enough to win the game? It depends on your perspective. They had more of the ball and apparently more control because they kept the ball more than us.”Share on: WhatsApplast_img read more

Bombers look to rebound at Vernon Tournament

first_imgThe L.V. Rogers Bombers look to bounce back after a disappointing result at the Bomber Invitational Tournament when the team travels to Vernon for a weeekend event.The Bombers finished fourth after dropping a 72-69 decision to Prince Charles of Creston in the Consolation Final.LVR played the game minus starters Robby Dixon and Josh Matosevic. Both players suffered injuries earlier in the tournament.”A (J. Lloyd) Crowe player undercut Josh and he fell on his back and was hurt and only played about 15 minutes the rest of the weekend,” a disappointed Bomber coach Jeremy Phelan explained. “Robby also rolled his ankle in that game and he didn’t play the rest of the weekend.”Dixon is expected to play this weekend in Vernon while Matosevic will be a game-time decision.Minus to key players, the Bombers ran out of gas against Prince Charles after losing to Rutland in the semi final game earlier in the day.Rutland defeated Osoyoos Rattlers 86-78 in the Final to capture the Tournament Title.The Rattlers led by 10 points entering the fourth quarter but also ran out of gas as the South Okanagan squad entered the tourney with a short bench of players.LVR opened the tournament manhandling both Nakusp and J. Lloyd Crowe of Trail by respective, 95-9 and 79-26 scores.The Hangar will once again by busy this weekend as the LVR Bombers host a Senior Girl’s Basketball Tournament.Meanwhile the LVR Junior Bombers are in Castlegar to play in the Stanley Humphries Rockers Junior Boys Tournament.last_img read more

Christmas tradition: Warriors, Cavs headline holiday hoops

first_imgMeralco ‘never the same’ after Almazan injury in PBA Finals Lights inside SMX hall flicker as Duterte rants vs Ayala, Pangilinan anew Brian Heruela arrival bolsters Phoenix backcourt, defense Stephen Curry isn’t expected back and Isaiah Thomas isn’t quite ready, so these familiar foes won’t look like they did last June or will if they meet again next June. Their first meeting this season is on the same floor as their last one, the Warriors’ victory in Game 5 of the NBA Finals. The team that won the title followed by also taking the Christmas Day matchup the next season after their two previous championship clashes, with the Cavaliers erasing a 3-1 deficit in the 2016 Finals and then a 14-point deficit in the fourth quarter last Dec. 25 at home.WASHINGTON WIZARDS AT BOSTON CELTICSIt’s hard to make history on a franchise with as much history as theirs, but the Celtics will just by stepping on the floor Monday. They’ve never played a home game on Christmas, with 28 road contests and two at neutral sites. Expect them to be rude hosts to a Washington team returning to Boston for the first time since Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semifinals, a series in which the teams exchanged hard fouls and bad blood in what’s become a heated rivalry recently.HOUSTON ROCKETS AT OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDERPerhaps it’s time for Carmelo Anthony’s breakout performance with the Thunder, because nobody has been better on Christmas. He has averaged 33.2 points in five games, tops among all players who made at least four appearances. This is the Thunder’s first chance to see what Anthony and Paul George mean in this matchup after the Rockets easily dispatched them in the first round of the playoffs. James Harden has scored 51 points in his last two games, but the Rockets lost both of them after winning 14 in a row.MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES AT LOS ANGELES LAKERSThe Timberwolves get another chance after losing in Oklahoma City last year in their first appearance on Christmas. Christmas games may be new to the Wolves but not to fans in Minnesota, as the Lakers made their first 11 appearances on the holiday from 1949-59 when they were based in Minneapolis. The Lakers have gone on to play 19 straight years on Christmas, so rookies Lonzo Ball and Kyle Kuzma better get used to having holiday plans.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Jiro Manio arrested for stabbing man in Marikina Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard PLAY LIST 02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite03:23Negosyo sa Tagaytay City, bagsak sa pag-aalboroto ng Bulkang Taal01:13Christian Standhardinger wins PBA Best Player award Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. MOST READ LATEST STORIES OSG plea to revoke ABS-CBN franchise ’a duplicitous move’ – Lacson Scottie Thompson also worthy of Finals MVP, thinks Cone Now together, they will to lead Cleveland to its 20th win in 22 games.A look at the games on the schedule of the 70th edition of the NBA on Christmas:PHILADELPHIA 76ERS AT NEW YORK KNICKSThe 76ers hope Joel Embiid can return from a back injury to play in their first Christmas Day game since 2001. The Knicks have played a league-high 51 games on Christmas and their 22 victories are tied with the Lakers for the most. They better enjoy being home for the holidays because they won’t be many times after Christmas. New York, tied for the NBA low with two road victories, plays 16 of its next 20 games away from Madison Square Garden after Monday.CLEVELAND CAVALIERS AT GOLDEN STATE WARRIORSADVERTISEMENT Redemption is sweet for Ginebra, Scottie Thompson View comments Ball to miss Lakers’ Christmas game with shoulder sprain Steam emission over Taal’s main crater ‘steady’ for past 24 hours OSG plea to revoke ABS-CBN franchise ’a duplicitous move’ – Lacson This time the Warriors, as the NBA champions, are home for the holiday after having to travel to LeBron James’ house last season.“It’s great. It’s no fun playing on the road on Christmas,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “It’s great playing at home. I always enjoy Christmas Day home games.”FEATURED STORIESSPORTSTim Cone, Ginebra set their sights on elusive All-Filipino crownSPORTSGinebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup titleSPORTSAfter winning title, time for LA Tenorio to give back to Batangas folkThe Lakers-Heat trilogy began immediately after Los Angeles had dealt Shaquille O’Neal to Miami, making it an obvious addition to the schedule because of his feud with Bryant, even though the Lakers had fallen from championship contention.Dwyane Wade played in those games, beginning what’s been one of the most successful Christmas careers. His 10 wins in 12 appearances are the most in NBA history, and his 301 points are tied with James for third on the list. In this file photo, Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) drives on Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant (35) during the second half of Game 4 of basketball’s NBA Finals in Cleveland. The NBA is driven by star power and its Christmas Day lineup is about the league’s best players, not all the best teams. Yes, the NBA will roll out LeBron James and Kevin Durant, toss in some Russell Westbrook and James Harden under the mistletoe. APNEW YORK — Not since the Kobe-Shaq breakup have two rivals spent so many Christmases together.Golden State and Cleveland are playing the holiday’s heaviest-hyped matchup for the third straight season. The same teams hadn’t met that many times on Christmas since the Lakers and Miami squared off from 2004-06.ADVERTISEMENTlast_img read more