Omaha mall massacre: A holiday spirit turned to horror

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREPettersson scores another winner, Canucks beat Kings The massacre was presaged Tuesday evening, when a young man with a troubled background named Robert A. Hawkins showed an AK-47 semiautomatic rifle to his landlady, Debora Maruca-Kovac. She says she didn’t think much of the incident at the time – Hawkins, she thought, wasn’t a violent type, although he was depressed over losing both his girlfriend and his job at McDonald’s. Perhaps an hour before the shooting, Hawkins called Maruca-Kovac to say he had left a suicide note. He wrote that he was “sorry for everything” and would no longer be a burden on his family, with whom he had feuded. More ominously, he wrote: “Now I’ll be famous.” Entering Von Maur’s in the Westroads Mall, Hawkins promptly drew the attention of security officers. “Mall security actually spotted Mr. Hawkins upon entry. He was under surveillance at that time, just based on his actions,” Police Chief Thomas Warren said Thursday. But the officers were unarmed, Warren said. “Mall security did not have a chance to intervene.” Hawkins initially remained in the store only briefly. He left, then returned within minutes – apparently with a rifle concealed in a balled-up sweat shirt. He immediately took the elevator to the third floor, and began firing almost as soon as he got out, Warren said. That elevator opens near the girls department. One of its managers at the time was Angie Schuster, 36, who was one of the six Von Maur employees killed. “She probably didn’t have any chance, any warning. I wouldn’t be surprised if she was the first one taken,” said Schuster’s sister, Donna Kenkel. “They said he got off the elevator, and she would have been right there in his way.” “He was walking at a steady pace. Boom, boom, boom, boom,” said Alan Mason, who was at a checkout counter buying pajamas for his mother. “The thing I remember the most is him coming out of that little alcove area (near the elevator) with his gun raised up. Just walking in a ready manner, just bopping that gun a little bit,” Mason said. In all, police say, more than 30 rounds were fired – with victims apparently chosen at random. Police believe Hawkins might have targeted the mall simply because it was large and he had been there somewhat regularly. The shopping center was also near the home of a friend whom Hawkins visited shortly before the shooting, Warren said. Mason, 42, was about 50 feet from Hawkins; his wife was even closer. The clerk at the counter told them to go with her to a hiding place – and they went to a small storage area behind the dressing rooms. A grandmother and her 4-year-old grandson sneaked into the storage area with them and they waited in fear. Shooting persisted – then stopped for a moment. Then, Mason said, he heard five or six more shots before all went quiet. They waited about 45 minutes – Mason grabbed a box cutter just in case the gunman came back – and they heard police announce their presence. Officers escorted them out of the store. As they left, Mason saw the gunman lying in the customer-service area. “Ultimately, at the conclusion of this event, he took his own life,” Warren said. “It doesn’t appear as if there was an opportunity for intervention.” At least four people were wounded, two of whom remained hospitalized Thursday. Mason, emerging from his refuge, also saw the body of a sales clerk in the aisle, and the body of an older man down on the second floor, at the base of the escalator. “There were shell casings and blood everywhere,” Mason said. “Blood and gunsmoke – a gunpowder smell in the air. Shell casings all over the place. Blood smearings.” Mason said Hawkins was wearing dark pants and a hooded sweat shirt. “I didn’t hear him say a word. He was too far away,” Mason said. “He just had a determined look on his face.” Before the shooting started, Kathy and John McDonald – who celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary in August – were sitting in the customer-service area, waiting for a present to be wrapped. They heard strange noises. “Loud, loud noises,” Kathy McDonald said. “I mean one thinks it might be a gun but surely not. It was just very, very hard to process what it was.” The couple scooted their chair over to a wall and crouched down behind it. “But evidently when the shooter came in, John wasn’t completely hidden because he saw him and shot,” Kathy McDonald said. “And so I just stayed there frozen, and he didn’t see me.” John McDonald, 65, a longtime executive with a natural gas company, fell to the floor behind the chair, fatally wounded. “There was so much blood. I just had a feeling that was it,” his widow said. Meanwhile, Mickey Vickroy, 74, joined a dozen co-workers hiding in a storage closet filled with baby wipes and cleaning supplies. “It was just like it wasn’t real. The whole time we were hiding in the back, the intercom was playing Christmas music,” she said. By the time police arrived, within six minutes of the first 911 call, customer Gary Scharf was dead. The 48-year-old businessman was returning home from a business trip in Iowa, but stopped at Von Maur’s to do some shopping. “I called him my Dudley-do-right,” said Kim Scharf, his ex-wife. “I’m not kidding, you’d never meet a more honorable and loyal man. “I’m sure he got in front of other people” at the store, and took a bullet that might have hit someone else, she said. Maggie Webb was dead, too – the youngest victim. A Von Maur’s employee, she would have turned 25 on Dec. 19. Co-worker Dianne Trent, also killed, was a 53-year-old divorcee who lived alone and would spend warm evenings tending to the flowers on her porch. Gary Joy, 56, and Janet Jorgensen, 66 – both Von Maur employees – were also shot to death. And then there was Beverly Flynn, 47, who died after emergency crews transported her from the mall. Flynn took the job at Von Maur mostly because she loved the holiday season, said a real estate colleague, Gena Schriver. “She loves Christmas. She loves buying gifts for people,” Schriver told the Omaha World-Herald. “These were innocent people going about their daily lives, performing their jobs and shopping for the holidays,” said Mayor Mike Fahey. “They are men and women who did not deserve the fate that they were given.”160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! OMAHA, Neb. – The Von Maur department store in December is so full of holiday spirit that one real estate agent took a job wrapping gifts – not for the money but just to be part of the cheery bustle. Beverly Flynn, a mother of three, was among the eight people killed in a gunman’s rampage that silenced the tinkling Christmas carols on the store’s piano and turned the shopping center’s festive atmosphere into one of unspeakable tragedy. Those who escaped Wednesday’s attack huddled in dressing rooms and other hiding places, while bursts of gunfire sounded from the third floor overlooking an atrium. “We were praying. Every last one of us was praying,” said Mickey Vickroy, who hid with co-workers from the service department in a closet behind the third-floor wrapping room. They stayed hidden for roughly half an hour, until police shouted that they should come out with their hands up. last_img read more

Read More →

The simple palate of Nelson Mandela

first_img16 July 2012As the world prepares to honour Nelson Mandela on his 94th birthday on Wednesday, 18 July, many wonder what meal might mean the most to the former statesman on his big day.Xoliswa Ndoyiya was Nelson Mandela’s personal cook for 20 years; a career that began two years after the former statesman was released from prison in 1990 after serving 27 years for treason under the apartheid government.Ndoyiya and Mandela’s paths crossed shortly after her husband was killed in the clashes between the African National Congress and Inkatha Freedom Party in the 1990s. Mandela had been travelling around the areas of Gauteng province that were affected by the violence and was introduced to Nodyiya.Since he was looking for a chef, Mandela decided to hire her, marking the beginning of a long professional relationship between the two.“When he married Graça (Machel) on his 80th birthday in 1998, that was a very special birthday for me,’ Ndoyiya recalls. “There were many people and a lot of food and cake.’Ndoyiya was, however, not around for what was probably the most unnerving task involving Mandela’s culinary needs.In the midst of the chaos and excitement that had gripped members of his party, close friends and family on the day of his release, there was confusion as it dawned on organising the events of the day that no plan had been made for what his first meal outside of prison would be.“We had no idea what Madiba liked to eat,’ Lavinia Crawforde-Browne, former personal assistant of Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, told author Ann Trapido in the book Hunger for Freedom: The Story of Food in the Life of Nelson Mandela.“So we thought, well, chicken is the safest thing, and I rushed to the nearest 7-Eleven and bought up every chicken piece I could find and a crate of Coke, which turned out not to be enough and I had to go back.’In her own released book, Ukutya Kwasekhaya: Tastes from Nelson Mandela’s Kitchen, Ndoyiya documents Mandela’s favourite recipes, along with his own food-related anecdotes, which gives the book more of a personal setting.He has a strong liking for traditional African food, despite having travelled widely as a statesman.“We don’t just spoil him once a year only on his birthday, we try to make every day a special one for him,’ says Ndoyiya, who wears her title of Mandela’s cook with pride and gratitude.Released earlier in 2012, Ukutya Kwasekhaya contains more than 60 of Mandela’s favourite dishes.Making every day a Mandela birthdayFor a man who spent most of his life fighting against the apartheid regime and putting the needs of his country before his own, retirement is a valued privilege.Since his retirement from politics in 2004, Mandela enjoys a peaceful existence in his home village of Qunu in the Eastern Cape. He prefers to spend his birthday at home, in his living room, according to Ndoyiya.It is often said that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach – even Mandela is no exception to that rule. As Trapido notes in Hunger for Freedom, in prison Mandela would speak about freedom as he would speak about food.The anti-apartheid hero spent 26 of his birthdays in a prison cell (mostly on Robben Island), where he ate porridge and soup for breakfast, boiled maize for lunch and porridge and soup again for supper.It is no wonder that when he was released from prison, a traditional home-cooked meal from Eastern Cape was what he longed for most.The role of food in his lifeTrapido’s book takes a different approach to Ndoyiya’s. It is an academic account of the role food has played throughout Mandela’s life, from his childhood and years in prison, to during and after his time as South Africa’s first black president.“We all reveal our most elementary social, economic and emotional truths in the ways that we cook, eat and serve food,’ says Trapido. “So why not ask those who changed the world what they were eating while they did it?’In the book, she unearths fascinating, humanising stories, and says one of the facets of Mandela’s life in prison was sympathetically revealed in the book through a letter Mandela wrote to Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, his wife at the time, from Robben Island on August 31 1970:“How I long for amasi (traditional South African fermented milk), thick and sour! You know, darling, there is one respect in which I dwarf all my contemporaries or at least about which I can confidently claim to be second to none – a healthy appetite.’First published by MediaClubSouthAfrica.com – get free high-resolution photos and professional feature articles from Brand South Africa’s media service.last_img read more

Read More →

BlockChalk Shares “Lessons Learned” From Raising Seed Funding

first_imgTop Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Company blogs are a good way to post press releases and make staff and product announcements. But they’re always particularly helpful when startups use them to share “lessons learned” from various stages of the entrepreneurial process.Last month, anonymous neighborhood messaging service BlockChalk announced that it had secured a $1.5 million investment, the company’s first. Today BlockChalk updated its blog today with some of the lessons the founders learned from raising angel investment.1. Find Early SupportersBlockChalk points to the importance of securing the support and advocacy of an angel investor, in this case Joshua Schachter, founder of . Schachter was able to play a key role in investor introductions and referrals, product advice, and pitch feedback. 2. AngelList PwnsAngelList is a service run by VentureHacks that helps put entrepreneurs in touch with angel investors. As BlockChalk describes, the process of honing a pitch for the AngelList was a beneficial act in its own right, but the AngelList helped them cultivate investor interest. Venture Hacks have also written about the BlockChalk funding today.3. The Team Is Key BlockChalk stresses the importance of a sold founding team in being able to attract investment. The founders’ backgrounds in business, their connections within the industry and their history of technical expertise improved their ability to raise funds. And Nivi echoes this in his Venture Hacks post today: “I think the foundation of BlockChalk’s fund-raising story is the pedigree of their team: Stephen Hood is the former head of product at del.icio.us, Dave Baggeroer is part of Stanford’s d.school faculty, and Josh Whiting is a former senior engineer at craigslist and former head of engineering for del.icio.us.”As the BlockChalk founders write, “It’s hard to go it alone. It’s probably also not smart in most cases. A powerful team is greater than the sum of its parts, and investors know that.”4. Continue to Tweak Your PitchJust because you’ve honed your pitch doesn’t mean you’re done. Continue to solicit feedback and revise and refine your presentation.”This shouldn’t be just a surface exercise. Your pitch is an extension of your product and your business, and any learnings should flow in both directions. “5. The Blessing and the Curse of the PrototypeWhile the feedback you receive from investors when they hear your pitch is important, it will never replace the feedback from actual users. BlockChalk describes its “soft launch” of a prototype in the hopes of getting early feedback. However, the prototype had an unintended consequence, as some potential investors thought the prototype was the finished product. In retrospect, says the blg post, “If we could do it again we might have launched our prototype under a different brand. Or perhaps emblazoned it with the word “beta”, or even “alpha”. But at some level this is the price you pay for having a “product” before you have funding. Prototyping is a double-edged sword. Be prepared for both blades!” Photo credits: Flickr user dixieroadrash audrey watters A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic…center_img Tags:#start#tips Related Posts 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Marketlast_img read more

Read More →

Uddhav Thackeray to be sworn in as Maharashtra Chief Minister on November 28

first_imgCapping a day of extraordinary and swiftly changing political developments, leaders of the Sena, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and the Congress met Maharahstra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari late on Tuesday to stake claim to form the next government, with Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray as Chief Minister.The swearing in ceremony of the new government will take place at 5.30 p.m. on November 28 at the Shivaji Park stadium, where the Sena party holds it annual Dussehra rally. The MLAs will be sworn in on Wednesday.Earlier in the evening, the three parties, joined by independent MLAs and smaller parties such as Samajwadi Party, Swabhimani Party of farmer leader Raju Shetti and Lok Bharti passed a resolution for the formation of Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA), and unanimously elected Mr. Thackeray as the leader of the alliance.SC requestThe day’s developments were set in motion with the Supreme Court hearing in the morning at which the court requested Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari to ensure that a floor test is conducted on November 27 to determine whether Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis commands majority in the Assembly.Laying down the procedure for the floor test, the Bench led by Justice N.V. Ramana ordered the immediate appointment of a pro tem Speaker solely for the conduct of a floor test and said all the elected members should take the oath of office on Wednesday before 5 p.m.Also Read Maharashtra politics: Uddhav Thackeray will be CM for full five years, says Sanjay Raut  The leaders met Mr. Koshyari after the meeting to stake claim to form the government.The meeting of three parties joined by independent MLAs and smaller parties such as Samajwadi Party (SP), Swabhimani Party of farmer leader Raju Shetti and Lok Bharti passed a resolution of formation of Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA), presented by Ekanth Shinde of the Sena. The meeting also passed a resolution expressing gratitude towards the judiciary for ordering the floor test.After being elected as the leader of the MVA, Mr. Thackeray thanked Congress president Sonia Gandhi. “These are three different parties which poles apart coming together to give a stable government in Maharashtra. I was pained to see the press conference of Devendra Fadnavis this afternoon. I am being supported by those parties against whom I did my politics for last 30 years, but not by those who were with me for all these years,” he said, adding that Sena’s Hindutva does not depend on lies.Addressing a coterie of Congress and NCP leaders, many of whom have been ministers and chief ministers of the state, Mr Thackeray said that the next Maharashtra government will be of exteremely talented leaders. “I need your cooperation. I won’t be the chief minister who will work within four walls of the office. My government will not work on vengence, but if someone tries to put a roadblock, we will use our strength to clear it,” he said.Also Read At the helm: Shiv Sena leader Uddhav Thackeray at a meeting of Maha Vikas Aghadi at a hotel in Mumbai on Tuesday. Maharashtra politics: Kin and party kept up pressure on Ajit Pawar | Photo Credit: Special Arangement center_img  Just hours after the Court decision, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis announced his resignation, saying the BJP no longer had a majority after his deputy, the NCP’s Ajit Pawar, quit citing “personal reasons”. The resignations came a little more than three days after Mr. Fadnavis and Mr. Ajit Pawar were sworn in early on Saturday morning.Lack of majoritySpeaking to the media Mr. Fadnavis said the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) believed that Mr Ajit Pawar had brought with him the entire Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) strength for support.However, after Mr. Pawar’s resignation, the BJP did not have the number to cross the half-way mark of 145, he said.“After Mr Pawar’s resignation — who we believed brought in the entire NCP strength with him — we do not have the majority. Our stand has been the party will not indulge in any horse-trading, and we will stick to that by not forming the government. I have submitted my resignation to the Governor,” Mr. Fadnavis said, adding that the BJP will sit in the Opposition for the next five years.Earlier, defending the decision to team up with Mr. Pawar, the BJP leader said during the President’s Rule, there was a constitutional crisis brewing. If the vacuum was not filled quickly, it could have led to a ‘break down’, Mr Fadnavis said.Asked whether Mr. Pawar’s decision to quit was part of a larger conspiracy and a ‘game’ orchestrated by Mr Sharad Pawar, Mr Fadnavis said that question is for the Pawars to answer.“At this point we cannot say if it was a mistake to team up with him (Ajit Pawar). We did what we did since he was the chosen elected leader of the NCP’s legislative unit,” Mr Fadnavis said, refuting claims his image as ‘Mr Clean’ had taken a hit due to events of the past few days.“I am who I am, and the people of this State know it,” Mr. Fadnavis said. The former chief minister added that the probe against Mr. Pawar in the irrigation scam was court-monitored and would continue without any interference by from the government.  The outgoing chief minister trained his guns on the Shiv Sena, Congress and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) combine, who he said were coming together only for the lust of power. The only agenda three parties have is to keep the BJP out of power.“This government will be like a three-wheeler which would not move forward under its now weight. This government will fall under its own complications,” Mr Fadnavis predicted.“When the Shiv Sena realised the number game gives them a bargaining power, it went around talking to other parties even as no agreement was made by us on giving them the chief minister’s post,” he said.The decision to form the government with Ajit Pawar and then give it up was only the State unit’s, he said seeking to absolve the BJP’s national leadership from any blame for the events.Political circles in Maharashtra were abuzz that Mr. Ajit Pawar had been cajoled into throwing in the towel following an overnight meeting with NCP chief Mr. Sharad Pawar’s wife Pratibha and daughter Supriya Sule’s husband Sadanand. Other senior NCP leaders also urged him to return to the party.Also Read Devendra Fadnavis resigns  The Common Minimum Programme (CMP) prepared by the three parties, which will be the basis of the next government, will work on the principles prescribed in the preamble of the constitution, announced by Sena’s Rajya Sabha MP Anil Desai. “Constitutional values will be the centrestage in the preamble. The government will adopt the social, political, religious, differences of the people and work towards inclusive development. It will protect the cultural, religious diversity. Farmers, labourers, all men and women will be the focus of our governance and we will work towards employment generation, industrial growth of the state,” he said.“Balasaheb Thackeray would have been really happy to see this day. Though bitter enemies in politics, me, him, George Fernandes were friends in personal lives. I am sure that the way he brought small worker to the position of power in Sena, Uddhav too will work to uplift the workers,” said Mr. Pawar.last_img read more

Read More →

10 months ago​Stock Market reacts positively to Man Utd axing Mourinho

first_imgTagsPremiership NewsAbout the authorIan FerrisShare the loveHave your say ​Stock Market reacts positively to Man Utd axing Mourinhoby Ian Ferris10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveManchester United made money despite having to pay Jose Mourinho an estimated £18m by sacking him, according to a football finance expert.The stock market reacted “positively” to Mourinho’s dismissal on Tuesday with the club’s value increasing by £170m, Kieran Maguire, a lecturer at the University of Liverpool, said.”They’ve probably made money by sacking him,” he added. “He [Mourinho] was turning into a toxic brand for the club,” Maguire told Sky Sports News. “The opportunity to have someone in who could be a bit more media friendly, have a positive impact on commercial sponsors and advertisers – the stock market likes the idea of that.”Manchester United, their success in the stock market and as a commercial entity, is very much based on delivering trophies on the pitch. They can’t go for a sustained time without that.””Manchester United is the world’s biggest sports brand and everyone wants to be associated with that because the club is associated with success,” he said.”The gloss of the moderate success Jose Mourinho achieved was beginning to dust slightly.” last_img read more

Read More →

4 days agoLiverpool goalscorer Lallana: This can be my season

first_imgAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say Liverpool goalscorer Lallana: This can be my seasonby Paul Vegas4 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveAdam Lallana feels he’s back after scoring Liverpool’s equaliser in their 1-1 draw at Manchester United.The midfielder has endured a bleak period in his career in recent years, with injuries and strong competition in the Anfield squad reducing him to the role of bit part player.”I’m delighted. It’s obviously nice to contribute to a top team like this – and I feel that’s the first of big moments me for this season,” he said.”Just because I’ve not started any of the first nine games, I don’t think that means I am not going to play a big part in this team.“Can this be my season? Of course, yeah. It’s a long old season. We’ve got the World Club Cup to come. The Champions League this week, the Premier League at the weekend, the Carabao Cup next week.“So it’s important to stay strong and be ready. That’s where my focus will be and I’m delighted I can make an impact when I get the chance.” Lallana added: “Listen, obviously I feel like I’ve been fit for a good year now, especially since coming back from pre-season. But we’re European champions, we’ve got a top squad, so I’ve had to be patient for my chance.“I’ve done that, and I am delighted to come on and make an impact like that. We are a top team, so to be able to contribute to it is important.” last_img read more

Read More →

Wait … Is LeBron James Actually Going To Miss The Playoffs

2018 Season2019 Season It’s been a tough season for the young LakersPerformance metrics for four Los Angeles Lakers prospects, 2018 vs. 2019 Lonzo Ball+1.7.05310.0+0.7.0568.8 Josh Hart-0.1.1118.8-0.4.0636.4 PlayerBPMWS/48*PIE%†BPMWS/48*PIE%† Brandon Ingram-1.3.0689.6-3.2.0428.4 Average-0.4.0769.8-1.1.0608.7 *Win shares per 48 minutes†PIE% = Player Impact Estimate, a rough measure of the percentage of all positive on-court events (for both teams) the player accounted for.Source: Basketball-Reference.com LeBron James has been so good for so long that it’s easy to forget just how astounding some of his accomplishments are. For example, he currently owns one of the greatest ongoing streaks in sports: His team has made the NBA Finals in eight straight seasons, starting in 2011. That’s mind-blowing in a league where a single finals appearance can be the highlight of a player’s entire career — and he’s done it for two different franchises.Of course, everyone knew it would be hard for James to keep that streak going this season after moving from the Cleveland Cavaliers — and the relative ease of the Eastern Conference — to the Los Angeles Lakers and the scary West. The thing that has taken NBA observers by surprise is the reason why the finals streak might not happen: James’s Lakers are in real danger of not making the playoffs at all.According to our NBA projection model, Los Angeles currently has just a 26 percent probability of making the playoffs. L.A. sits a game under .500 in the West’s No. 10 slot, three games back of the eighth-seeded Clippers with 25 games left on the schedule, and it will face the league’s ninth-toughest schedule down the stretch. The Lakers’ only saving grace is that, at full strength, our model thinks they’re the West’s eighth-best team, significantly better than both the Clippers and the No. 9 Sacramento Kings. But it will be a race to the finish that James hasn’t had to worry about in a very long time.The last LeBron-led team to miss the postseason entirely was the 2004-05 Cavs, in James’s second NBA season. They went 42-40 — which has traditionally been good enough to make the playoffs in the East — but lost out on a tiebreaker with the New Jersey Nets (who beat Cleveland 3-1 in the season series). Talent-wise, that team was a far cry from even later versions of the Cavs that would be prematurely bounced out of the playoffs: Journeyman guard Jeff McInnis was second on the team in minutes behind LeBron, and low-scoring swingman Ira Newble was also a full-time starter. (The next scoring options behind James were Zydrunas Ilgauskas and Drew Gooden.) James himself had not yet fully ascended to GOAT levels of performance, either, posting what would eventually be the fifth-worst Box Plus/Minus and fourth-worst win shares per 48 minutes of his career to date.On paper, this season’s Lakers should not be drawing comparisons to Jeff McInnis and Ira Newble. Although L.A.’s supporting cast didn’t have the same immediate appeal as players in other potential free-agent destinations for James, it was assumed that the young quartet of Kyle Kuzma, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart and Lonzo Ball would build on their promising 2018 performances — particularly by playing alongside James — and mix with the Lakers’ strange mishmash of veterans to make a functional team. But that hasn’t consistently happened during James’s debut campaign in purple and gold. Kyle Kuzma-1.3.07710.4%-1.3.07810.6% Across a variety of metrics, LeBron’s young sidekicks have mostly declined in performance this season, despite benefiting from an extra year of development and getting to play next to one of the greatest offensive creators in NBA history. Only Kuzma can credibly say he has shown any amount of improvement, increasing his usage rate and true shooting percentage while reducing his turnover rate. The rest — particularly Ingram, whose advanced stats have slid into an abyss — have stalled out or worse, and none has even amounted to a league-average player, according to the consensus of metrics.Making matters worse, it could be argued that those four cost Los Angeles a shot at trading for New Orleans Pelicans star Anthony Davis at the deadline (assuming that former Pelicans GM Dell Demps ever actually intended to deal Davis). If even a few of the Lakers’ youngsters had played well this season, showing the requisite star potential to be included in a trade package for Davis, it’s possible that L.A. would have been penciling a LeBron-AD duo into its lineup for a playoff push this year. Instead, it’s left waiting for Hart and Ball to return from injury and hoping the kids can play better down the stretch.The veterans haven’t exactly helped much, either. JaVale McGee and Tyson Chandler are an efficient pairing of defensive bigs, and both are above average in win shares per 48 — the most charitable stat for each — while shooting guards Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and the recently acquired Reggie Bullock are at least in the vicinity of average in the metric. (As is new power forward Mike Muscala.) But Rajon Rondo has shot the ball poorly this season, and Lance Stephenson hasn’t been an effective player in years. All told, James’s supporting cast hasn’t been appreciably better than the one he fled in Cleveland after last season.1On average (weighted by minutes), non-James Lakers this season have a -1.1 BPM and .080 WS/48. Last year’s non-James Cavs had a -1.6 BPM and .086 WS/48.And it bears mentioning that James himself has not been as statistically dominant as in his last few seasons as a Cavalier. His usage rate, true shooting percentage, assist rate, rebound rate, steal rate, block rate and defensive BPM are all down from last year. He’s shooting worse on twos, threes and free throws. And most concerning, the 34-year-old missed 18 games between Christmas and early February with a groin injury, and he’s played only 49.5 percent of the Lakers’ available minutes this season — by far the lowest mark of his career.James did tell reporters over All-Star weekend that he “feels great,” though, and that he’s ready to lead a playoff push for Los Angeles.“[I’m] looking forward to seeing what we can do to get back in this playoff race,” James said. “That’s the only thing that’s going to happen in my mental space for these next two months, pretty much on how I can get this team playing the type of level of basketball we were playing before my injury.”The Lakers will need to summon all of James’s focus and talent to storm back into the playoff picture. It’s more than possible, particularly if James is indeed healthy. But our projections are still low for a LeBron team even after accounting for James’s return to the lineup — and the fact that the Clippers were sellers at the trade deadline. (That’s why we give L.A. a 26 percent chance, while simpler forecasts such as the one at Basketball-Reference.com peg its odds at about 5 percent.) And even if the Lakers do make the playoffs, they would probably end up being heavy underdogs against the Golden State Warriors in the first round.The Lakers’ long-term future should be brighter: The team will have plenty of cap space to use on free agents surrounding James and plenty of superstar options to choose from (in addition to the ongoing potential of a Davis trade). For now, though, James’s finals streak has a real chance of ending far earlier than anybody expected: April 10, the final day of the 2018-19 NBA regular season.Check out our latest NBA predictions. read more

Read More →

Preview AS Roma vs Liverpool

first_imgAS Roma will host Liverpool for the second leg of their Champions League semi-final clash with the aim of overturning their 5-2 deficit by reproducing their magnificent comeback against Barcelona – can they cause another upset?The Giallorossi were the stronger of the two sides for the opening 20 minutes of the first leg at Anfield, before being undone by some thrilling attacking football from Liverpool with the hosts taking a 5-0 lead.However, Roma did secure two surprise late away goals to give the Italian side a welcome boost ahead of the return leg at their Stadio Olimpico.Manager Eusebio Di Francesco will call back Kostas Manolas, Cengiz Ünder, Kevin Strootman and Alessandro Florenzi to the starting line-up after resting them over the weekend.The Italian coach is likely to revert to a back four tonight as Liverpool took full advantage of exploiting their high line in the first leg.Diego Perotti is expected to return to the Serie A side, although Di Francesco will have to make do without Rick Karsdorp and Gregoire Defrel.Meanwhile, Liverpool is the clear favourite to progress and make their first Champions League final appearance since 2007 with the Reds having already proved against Manchester City in the previous round that they are capable of winning on the away trips as well.After building up a 5-0 lead, Liverpool was left frustrated by conceding two late goals against Roma and will surely be on guard for any possible comeback by the Italian side.Head coach Jurgen Klopp is expected to restore his usual starting line-up for the return leg with the German having opted to rest some of his key players in Liverpool’s goalless draw against Stoke City on Saturday.Despite previous concerns over their availability, both captain Jordan Henderson and Trent Alexander-Arnold will be at Rome. Although, Joe Gomez is out.Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain confirmed last week that his season is over, while Sadio Mane has recovered from his injury and has been included in the Liverpool squad with Adam Lallana expected to make the bench.divock origi, liverpoolReport: Origi cause Klopp injury concerns George Patchias – September 14, 2019 Divock Origi injury in today’s game against Newcastle is a cause for concern for Jurgen Klopp.Perhaps with one eye on Tuesday’s trip to Italy…One worrying statistic for Roma is that Liverpool is undefeated in their previous 15 matches in the Champions League and that in eight of their past nine games they have found the back of the net at least twice. Probable line-upsAS Roma4-3-3Alisson, Kolarov, Manolas, Fazio, Florenzi, Nainggolan, Rossi, Strootman, Perotti, Dzeko, UnderLiverpool4-3-3Karius, Alexander-Arnold, Lovren, Dijk, Robertson, Wijnaldum, Henderson, Milner, Salah, Firmino, Mane (Data obtained by WhoScored)last_img read more

Read More →

Allegri anticipates a complicated runin for Juventus

first_imgJuventus boss Massimiliano Allegri feels that the latter part of the new Serie A season will be a difficult challenge for his squad after the 2018/19 fixtures were released on ThursdayThe Bianconeri are chasing an eight successive Serie A crown and much has been made of the stunning arrival of Cristiano Ronaldo from Real Madrid this summer, which people feel will only strengthen their chances both domestically and in Europe.But despite starting their league campaign against the troubled Chievo Verona on August 20, it is the latter part of the schedule that has Allegri concerned.“It’s a calendar where the first games seem manageable, but I always look at the final part of the calendar and it’s similar if not more difficult than last year,” he told the club website.“In the last seven games, starting with Milan, we have Fiorentina, the Turin derby, Inter, Atalanta, Roma and Sampdoria. It will be a complicated run-in, but we will need everyone and have to prepare in the best way.”Even though Juventus have won the league title for the past seven seasons, Allgeri feels that this season may be their toughest yet and he thinks that the championship could very well go down to the wire.Franck Ribery, FiorentinaFiorentina owner: “Ribery played better than Ronaldo!” Andrew Smyth – September 14, 2019 Fiorentina owner Rocco Commisso was left gushing over Franck Ribery’s performance against Juventus, which he rates above that of even Cristiano Ronaldo’s.“I believe that this year, the championship will be decided right at the end because there are many head-to-head matches between the top contenders. The first half of the season is always important but the second half is decisive,” said the 50-year-old.As for the Boxing Day fixture away to Atalanta, he added: “We have to get used to it. A choice has been made and so we will go to Bergamo on Christmas night.”Below are all the fixtures of Juventus’ 2018/19 Serie A campaign.E’ il momento di ricapitolare. Questa è la @SerieA_TIM che ci aspetta. Pronti per un’altra grande avventura? #FinoAllaFine#ForzaJuve ⚫️⚪️ pic.twitter.com/wKKuBIaUmk— JuventusFC (@juventusfc) July 26, 2018last_img read more

Read More →