Reaves, moved to starting lineup, sparks Lakers

Reaves, moved to starting lineup, sparks Lakers

LOS ANGELES — Lakers coach Darvin Ham sat down in front of reporters following his team’s 122-111 win over the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday and, before fielding any questions, couldn’t help but smile at how his new-look starting lineup performed.

“You like the little trick up the sleeve?” Ham asked.

He was referring to his decision to put Austin Reaves, coming off a career-best 35 points, in the first unit over Malik Beasley.

Reaves responded with a career-best 11 assists against the Suns, to go with 25 points, and the Lakers beat the Western Conference’s No. 4 seed to move back into the West’s No. 10 spot, the final berth in the play-in tournament.

“For me, it’s really the same mindset going into every game, and it’s win — at all costs,” Reaves said of getting the starting job. “Win. That’s all that really matters.”

The Lakers are now a half-game up on the No. 11 Utah Jazz and just a game and a half behind the No. 6 Golden State Warriors with nine games remaining.

“Obviously, we don’t want to be in this position,” Reaves said. “We’d like to be first in the league. But this is the position that we’re in. … So, it’s going to be hectic, but this is why you play the game. You want high-pressure moments, and you really want to play under the lights.”

Reaves’ inclusion in the starting group illuminated how potent L.A.’s offense can be with multiple playmakers sharing the floor. It wasn’t just Reaves presenting a threat, but Anthony Davis (27 points and five assists) and D’Angelo Russell (26 points and six assists) pressuring Phoenix’s defense, too.

“I’m not going to lie to you,” Russell said of Reaves, “the dude is good, man.”

The second-year wing got to the line 13 times, making 12, and L.A. attempted a season-high 46 free throws.

“I just felt like it made all sense in the world,” Ham said of the lineup change, which he informed Reaves would happen at Tuesday’s practice. “And salute to Beas, being a pro’s pro, understanding the strategic part of it, and Beas was locked in and ready. Came off the bench and hit two big 3s for us and competed. That’s what we need, man.”

Both of Beasley’s 3s came in the second quarter when L.A. outscored the Suns 36-26 to take a seven-point lead into halftime.

The third quarter belonged to Davis, who scored 14 points in the period.

“His dumbass coach just started calling his plays more, calling his number more,” Ham said of Davis’ second-half surge.

The Lakers took a three-point edge into the fourth and the Suns cut it to 99-98 with 7:29 remaining, before L.A. used a 10-2 run over the next two minutes to take control for good.

But it started with Reaves.

“It was good for us, obviously, getting out to a fast start and not getting behind 10, 12 like we usually do,” Davis said of the lineup change. “So Austin comes in and I think scores 10 in the first quarter to help us get going, and it was good for us.”

L.A. (36-37) hosts the West’s No. 8 team, the Oklahoma City Thunder (36-36), on Friday, in another game with major seeding implications. The season series is 1-1, so the tiebreaker is up for grabs, beyond the crucial game outcome.

“The guys know what’s at stake. We have to take advantage of this homestand,” Ham said. “It goes without being said, some of the games that slipped through our fingers [hurt us]. But that’s old news now. … Hopefully Friday we come out with the same type of juice and energy that we had tonight.”

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Track and field to bar elite transgender women

Track and field to bar elite transgender women

World Athletics has banned transgender women from competing in elite female competitions if they have gone through male puberty, the sport’s governing body said Thursday.

Organization president Sebastian Coe said at a news conference that the decision by the World Athletics Council to exclude transgender women was based “on the overarching need to protect the female category.”

Coe added that World Athletics would form a task force to study transgender inclusion that would be chaired by a transgender athlete.

Also on Thursday, World Athletics voted to end its eight-year doping ban for the Russian Athletics Federation, but the country’s athletes, and those of Belarus, will remain excluded from international competition because of an ongoing separate ban over the invasion of Ukraine.

The World Athletics Council kept its ban on Russian athletes in international events in place “for the foreseeable future” — a move that goes against the International Olympic Committee’s efforts to find a way for Russian athletes to compete as neutrals in upcoming events.

The council also voted to tighten restrictions on athletes with differences in sex development, cutting the maximum amount of plasma testosterone for athletes in half to 2.5 nanomoles per liter.

The tighter testosterone rules will affect athletes such as two-time Olympic 800-meter champion Caster Semenya, Christine Mboma, the reigning Olympic silver medalist in the 200 meters, and Francine Niyonsaba, who finished runner-up to Semenya in the 800 at the 2016 Olympics.

World Aquatics, swimming’s world governing body, voted in June, with 71% of the national federations in favor, to bar transgender women from elite competition if they had experienced any part of male puberty. A scientific panel had found that, even after reducing their testosterone levels through medication, transgender women still had a significant advantage.

World Athletics regulations around differences in sex development previously required women competing in events between 400 meters and a mile to maintain testosterone levels below five nanomoles per liter.

At the Tokyo Olympics, South Africa’s Semenya and Burundi’s Niyonsaba were both barred from the 800 meters and turned their attention to the 5,000. Semenya failed to qualify for the Games while Niyonsaba made the final before being disqualified for a lane violation. Namibia’s Mboma, prevented from running the 400 meters, switched to the 200 meters and won silver.

To compete at the 2024 Paris Olympics, these athletes would have to undergo hormone-suppressing treatment for six months. Semenya has said she will never go through that treatment again, having done so a decade ago under previous rules.

Russia’s ban began in late 2015 after the discovery of massive, state-sponsored doping and related cover-ups. The suspension remained in place following a failure to meaningfully address the issue.

However, Rune Andersen, head of World Athletics’ Russia Task Force, reported that he was finally satisfied with the “new culture of good governance and zero tolerance for doping throughout the organization.”

“An independent audit team confirms that RusAF has met all the detailed KPIs and other requirements set out in the reinstatement plan,” Andersen said in a news conference. “I advised Council today that those conditions have now been met. RusAF has accepted a detailed set of post reinstatement conditions designed to ensure there is no backsliding from the significant progress.”

Andersen warned, however, that he was unsure whether the change in approach would be permanent and recommended the suspension be imposed again in the case of any failure to meet the reinstatement conditions.

In recent years, dozens of Russian athletes had been allowed to compete as neutrals if they could show a doping-free background, but they too remain unable to compete after the council voted to maintain the blanket ban on Russian and Belarusian athletes.

The decision follows last week’s ruling by the European Athletics Council that Russian and Belarusian athletes should remain banned from its events until the war in Ukraine ends.

Reuters and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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NBA Playoffs injury tracker: Which stars could miss part of the postseason?

NBA Playoffs injury tracker: Which stars could miss part of the postseason?

As the NBA Playoffs approach, our injury tracker is keeping up with every key rotation player who could miss part of the postseason.

With the regular season winding down, Injuries to key players are casting a long shadow over several playoff races with the potential to stretch into the Play-In Tournament, the first round and beyond.

A few important dates to remember — the last day of the NBA regular season is Apr. 9. The Play-In Tournament will run from Apr. 11 to Apr. 14. The first round of the playoffs will begin on Apr. 15.

To help keep track of who is out and for how long, we’re rounding up details on injuries to key rotation players that could affect Play-In or postseason availability and updating it daily. Here is the latest from around the league.


NBA Playoffs injury tracker: Who could miss postseason games?

Brooklyn Nets injury report:

  • Ben Simmons is out with back and knee soreness and hasn’t played since Feb. 15. As of today, there is no timeline for his return.

Golden State Warriors injury report:

  • Gary Payton II hasn’t appeared in a game for the Warriors since they reacquired him at the trade deadline, because of an adductor injury that also limited him to 15 games with the Trail Blazers at the beginning of the season. There is no timeline for his return but the team is reportedly “optimistic” that he will be back before the end of the regular season.
  • Andrew Wiggins is away from the team for undisclosed personal reasons and hasn’t played since before the All-Star break. There is currently no timeline for his return.

Los Angeles Clippers injury report:

  • Paul George is out with a sprained knee. On Mar. 22, the team announced that he would be re-evaluated in two to three weeks (between Apr. 5 and Apr. 12).
  • Norman Powell has been out with a shoulder injury since Mar. 3. On Mar. 19, the Clippers announced he would be re-evaluated in one week (Mar. 26).

Los Angeles Lakers injury report:

  • LeBron James is still recovering from a foot injury and hasn’t played since TK. On Mar. 23 the Lakers said he had resumed on-court activity and they were hoping he could return for the final 3-to-4 games of the regular season.
  • Mo Bamba has been out with a high ankle sprain since Mar. 9. The Lakers initially said he would be re-evaluated in four weeks (Apr. 6).

Memphis Grizzlies injury report:

  • Steven Adams has been out with a knee strain since Jan. 23. On Mar. 9, the team updated his timeline, saying that he would be out for at least the next four weeks. That would put his return date as Apr. 6, in a best-case scenario.
  • Brandon Clarke is out for the rest of the regular season and playoffs with an Achilles injury.

Minnesota Timberwolves injury report:

  • Anthony Edwards has been out since Mar. 13 with an ankle injury. There is currently no timetable for his return.

New Orleans Pelicans injury report:

  • Jose Alvarado is out with a stress injury in his tibia. On Mar. 22, it was announced he would be re-evaluated in two-to-three weeks (between Apr. 5 and Apr. 12).
  • Zion Williamson returned to on-court activities on Mar. 22 but is not yet ready to return to game action. He will be re-evaluated in two weeks (Apr. 5).

Phoenix Suns injury report:

  • Kevin Durant has been out of the lineup with an ankle sprain since Mar. 8. The Suns are reportedly optimistic he can return before the end of March.

Check out The Step Back for more news, analysis, opinion and unique basketball coverage. Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and Instagram and subscribe to our daily email newsletter, The Whiteboard.

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Liverpool ready to table high offer to seal deal for £97million star

Liverpool ready to table high offer to seal deal for £97million star

Liverpool ready to table high offer to seal deal for £97million star

Liverpool made a significant offer to Borussia Dortmund to acquire Jude  Bellingham, but reports out of Spain indicate that it might not be enough.

According to a story covered by Marca today, the teenage sensation is mainly wanted by three clubs, Liverpool, Manchester City, and Real Madrid.

According to the famous Spanish media outlet, luring the versatile central midfielder away from the German club would require at least a fixed sum of 110 million euros (£97 million).

The total amount might exceed 150 million euros with bonuses. Although Real Madrid is willing to pay a big transfer fee, they are unable to offer excessive commissions like Premier League clubs.

According to Marca, Liverpool and Manchester City have made offers that are significantly more than the one made by Los Blancos.

The European champions are hoping Bellingham will not prioritize money and focus on success, just like Tchouameni and Camavinga did, to play in the legendary Santiago Bernabeu Stadium.

Jude Bellingham

Jude Bellingham(Getty Images)

It is reported that Liverpool have been after the 19-year-old for a long time but the uncertain future of the club’s ownership is making the deal complicated.

The Reds need a big winning run to finish in the top four or else they will not take part in the next season’s UEFA Champions League. Without CL football, attracting top players would be hard.

Bellingham is the key addition that Klopp believes will reenergize the Merseysiders for the upcoming season.

Pep Guardiola, on the other hand, is confident that he can persuade the player with enticing football, financial potential, and the chance to team up with Erling Haaland once more.

The former Birmingham City midfielder is right now concentrating on helping Dortmund win the Bundesliga. BvB and Bayern Munich are separated by just one point with nine games left.

In other news, Liverpool receive massive transfer boost as they could sign £90m midfield maestro for free this summer

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Defiant, or dull? Victorian opener’s remarkable vigil keeps WA at bay in Sheffield Shield final

Defiant, or dull? Victorian opener’s remarkable vigil keeps WA at bay in Sheffield Shield final

Young opener Ash Chandrasinghe’s unbeaten vigil has shepherded Victoria towards a respectable first-innings total against Western Australia in the Sheffield Shield final.

Sent in to bat in a rematch of last year’s decider at the WACA Ground, the visitors were in trouble at 6-129 when Lance Morris (2-52) had Sam Harper (13) caught behind off a brutish delivery on the last ball of Thursday’s middle session.

But Chandrasinghe (46no off 266 balls) dug in his heels in a knock reminiscent of Indian stalwart Cheteshwar Pujara, combining with Mitch Perry (33) for a 52-run seventh-wicket partnership as Victoria reached stumps on day one at 8-194.

Recalled Test offspinner Todd Murphy was yet to score on a pitch which appears likely to offer turn and bounce.

Chandrasinghe added just five runs to his score in the middle session in one of the slowest Shield innings in recent memory.

The 21-year-old, who scored an unbeaten century on debut against Tasmania earlier in the season, rode his luck after securing a place in the XI when first-choice opener Travis Dean was ruled out with a shoulder injury.

He survived being caught behind off a front-foot no ball from Morris while on 25 shortly before tea, then withstood a fervent appeal for caught behind off Matt Kelly (1-50) on 45.

Ashes hopefuls Marcus Harris and Peter Handscomb each fell cheaply, the former trapped lbw by Morris on 19, two balls after he was caught in the slips off another overstepped delivery by the tearaway quick.

Ashley Chandrasinghe of Victoria bats.

Ashley Chandrasinghe of Victoria bats during the Sheffield Shield Final. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

Returning skipper Handscomb (11) was trapped in his crease and caught at first slip off the bowling of Kelly shortly after the lunch interval.

On a day where the momentum ebbed and flowed, Victoria were 2-66 at lunch before Matt Short (36 off 60) added valuable middle-session runs, pouncing on some loose deliveries from allrounder Aaron Hardie.

He was eventually tied up from around the wicket by left-arm paceman Joel Paris (2-34), playing and missing several balls before edging to second slip.

Will Sutherland fell off his second ball faced, stumped by Josh Philippe after being bamboozled by offspinner Corey Rocchiccioli.

Perry was dropped by Josh Philippe on four off Paris’s bowling but the pair combined again to dismiss him with the new ball.

WA will be determined to take early wickets on day two after several opportunities went begging.

“We probably would have liked to have batted tomorrow,” Morris said.

“Overall, we’ve had a pretty good day. When we weren’t taking wickets, the scoreboard wasn’t really moving.

“If we can bowl them out for about 200, we’ll be pretty happy with that result … I think 250, 300 would probably be a pretty good score (on that pitch).”

Handscomb believed the visitors remained in a solid position after the final-session fightback.

“The wicket’s been tough to score on,” he said.

“For us to drag it out and get almost 200 today, I think can still put us in a position if we bowl well over the next few days to really challenge this game.”

The skipper praised Chandrasinghe’s focus after being a late call-up to Victoria’s XI.

“For Ash to do what he did, carry his bat throughout the entire day in challenging conditions and not go outside his bubble, was very, very impressive,” he said.

WA are chasing an unprecedented “six-peat” of consecutive Shield, one-day cup and Big Bash League titles.

In the scenario of a draw, the bonus points system will be used.

Teams score 0.01 of a bonus point for every run over 200 they score during the first 100 overs of their first innings, while 0.1 of a bonus point is earned for every wicket the bowling side claims during the same period.


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Bangladesh vs Ireland, 3rd ODI Live: Ireland Opt To Bat Against Bangladesh

Bangladesh vs Ireland, 3rd ODI Live: Ireland Opt To Bat Against Bangladesh

BAN vs IRE, 3rd ODI Live: Bangladesh eye a series victory against Ireland on Thursday.© AFP

Bangladesh vs Ireland, 3rd ODI Live Score Updates: Ireland skipper Andrew Balbirnie won the toss and opted to bat against Bangladesh in the third and final ODI on Thursday. The Tamim Iqbal-led side eyes a series victory while Ireland aim to the level things when the two teams meet each other. The match will take place at the Sylhet International Cricket Stadium, Sylhet. In the first game, Bangladesh registered a massive 183-run victory, while the second match was abandoned due to rain after the hosts posted a total of 349 for 6 in 50 overs. (LIVE SCORECARD)

Here are the Live Score Updates of the 3rd ODI match between Bangladesh and Ireland, straight from the Sylhet International Cricket Stadium, Sylhet:

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