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Lakers seek to keep their ‘cadence’ while awaiting start of conference finals

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Lakers seek to keep their 'cadence' while awaiting start of conference finals

The Lakers will attempt to keep their rhythm, or their “cadence,” as coach Frank Vogel called it, while they take five days off before playing in the Western Conference finals opener.

They have been down this road before — when the Lakers dispatched the Portland Trail Blazers in five games in the first round and had to wait six days before playing the Houston Rockets, who beat the Oklahoma City Thunder in a seven-game series. The Lakers lost Game 1 to the Rockets but won the next four in the second round.

Now the Lakers await the winner of the tense series between the Clippers and Denver Nuggets that’s tied at 3-3 and will be determined Tuesday night.

The Lakers practiced Monday, will have Tuesday off, and then will practice Wednesday and Thursday to prepare for the opponent they will face beginning Friday night at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.

“It’s definitely a challenge, there’s no doubt about that,” Vogel said during a videoconference Monday. “And the message with our group today is: You’re either getting better or you’re getting worse. And we not only want to stay sharp, we want to get better every time we step on the basketball court. So that’s got to be your focus. But at the same time, you’re just trying to get in enough work to stay in rhythm, keep your conditioning, but still take advantage of rest.

“We’re going to have a plan this week of trying to stay in the cadence of playing every other day, so we had a live practice today, off tomorrow, live practice Wednesday, and then Thursday’s practice will be a no-contact practice. Just preparation-oriented. So just trying to keep that cadence and, again, manage the time off to stay in shape and stay in rhythm.”

The Clippers took a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven series over the Nuggets, and it looked as if a showdown between the two Los Angeles teams was certain. But then the Nuggets overcame big deficits to win two in a row and the Lakers decided to just work on their own game.

“Whoever wins, wins. And we’ll be ready for both,” Vogel said. “Obviously, when there was a 3-1 lead, you start looking at … at least my assistant coaches started looking at the Clippers more, preparing for them because they were closer to the finish line. But obviously we’re preparing for both teams the whole way through. And you know, I don’t get frustrated. Whenever the results come in, we’ll be ready to go.”

Lakers guard Alex Caruso used Sunday to take a mental break — playing golf with his parents as well as watching some NFL games and Game 6 between the Clippers and Nuggets.

Caruso said he has been impressed with the “fight that Denver shows.”

“[The Nuggets] were down 3-1 the first series, and everybody counted ’em out. They won three in a row. They were down 3-1 in this series, [and] I think everybody counted ’em out and here they are again, forcing a Game 7,” Caruso said during a videoconference. “It’ll be interesting to see how they respond, but it’s a big emotional as well as physical task to come back from that many games down. I’m looking forward to it.

“Obviously, whoever we play is going to be a good team playing well because they’ve had to beat some good people to get there. As far as us being ready, I think we were a little better in the first game against Houston than we were against Portland, and hopefully that will be the same step, take a little step further of coming out.”

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Christine founded Sports Grind Entertainment with an aim to bring relevant and unaltered Sports news to the general public with a specific view point for each story catered by the team. She is a proficient journalist who holds a reputable portfolio with proficiency in content analysis and research.

Christine founded Sports Grind Entertainment with an aim to bring relevant and unaltered Sports news to the general public with a specific view point for each story catered by the team. She is a proficient journalist who holds a reputable portfolio with proficiency in content analysis and research.

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PSG preparing to pull out of negotiations to sign Dele Alli on season-long loan

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PSG preparing to pull out of negotiations to sign Dele Alli on season-long loan

Paris Saint-Germain are preparing to pull out of negotiations to sign Dele Alli on a season-long loan.

It is understood that the financial terms to sign the midfielder are proving to be prohibitive for the Champions League finalists despite them being encouraged to enter negotiations.

After the initial talks, PSG had been left feeling confident that they could agree a deal for Alli with Tottenham Hotspur but that optimism has dwindled in the past 48 hours.

PSG were only interested in taking the 24-year-old on loan and believed a deal could be struck and that the England international was keen on the move.

Inter Milan have also expressed an interest in Alli, who has been left angry and confused by his recent omissions from the squad by Tottenham head coach Jose Mourinho.

Mourinho has left Alli out of Tottenham squads recently – Reuters

It is now appearing increasingly likely that Alli will stay at Spurs despite the midfielder having expressed an interest to leave to try and kickstart his career.

Mourinho has told Alli it is up to him to try to get back in the team rescue and insisted he is “convinced” the midfielder will stay at the club in this transfer window.

Alli has been restored to Mourinho’s travelling squad for Tottenham’s trip to Macedonia to face Shkendija in the Europa League this evening, having been left out of the previous two squads.

Asked if Alli will be at Spurs by the end of the transfer window, head coach Mourinho told Sky Sports: “I believe (he will). I can even say that I’m convinced that he will be.”

Ahead of the Europa League tie, Mourinho added: “There is a tendency now when a player performs or the player doesn’t perform, to give responsibilities on coaches, some because they gave him the right love, some because they gave him the right stick.

“I always feel that 99 per cent of the responsibility is the player. I have one per cent. Me and my staff and the people that work with the players every day, we have one per cent of the responsibility. It is 99 per cent that belongs to them.”

Mourinho refused to talk about his exchanges with Alli, during which he warned him how quickly a career can pass, and his discussions with chairman Daniel Levy about the player’s form in the Amazon documentary.

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Christine founded Sports Grind Entertainment with an aim to bring relevant and unaltered Sports news to the general public with a specific view point for each story catered by the team. She is a proficient journalist who holds a reputable portfolio with proficiency in content analysis and research.

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Pat Riley not going anywhere, and I’m not replacing him with Heat if he does

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Dwyane Wade said Wednesday that he envisions Pat Riley continuing on with the work he has done as Miami Heat president no matter the result of these NBA playoffs, and that even if the job became vacant, it is not one he would pursue.

Asked if championship success could bring the Riley era to a close after a quarter century of stewardship of the Heat, Wade said on 790-The Ticket that he sees the 75-year-old icon as game for more.

“I don’t think so,” Wade said of Riley moving on after a potential fourth championship under his Heat watch this postseason. “I think we’re going to have to roll him out.

“Look, I’ve heard him say a lot of things over my time. He said he wanted to build a team to get back to the championship. I see Riley just being there. That doesn’t mean someone else won’t eventually come in.”

Wade said the Heat is so closely identified with the Riley way that there is no clear successor.

“Like, who’s next?” Wade said. “Who’s going to be the next person to be president of the team? They got to get to that point where they start molding somebody. Because I don’t think they’re going to bring anybody in from the outside. So it has to be somebody inside.

“So who’s next? I don’t know if they’re molded someone yet or not.”

Wade retired from the Heat at the end of 2018-19, but has remained in contact with several of the players in the Eastern Conference finals against the Boston Celtics. He sees Riley maintaining at least that level of contact, if not more, even if there comes a point of downsizing his role.

“I think he’s going to still be around,” Wade said. “His office is going to still be his office. And even if he’s not in that position, he’s still going to come into practice every day. This is his life. This is what he loves. This is him. I don’t see him going anywhere.”

Wade then was quick to remove his name from any succession plan.

“I live in California, man,” he said. “I’m out here right now.”

Wade has been credited with being the influence that helped deliver fellow Marquette alum and former Chicago Bulls teammate Jimmy Butler to the Heat during the 2019 offseason in free agency. But he said he has no designs on being a personnel guru.

“Listen,” he said, “I’ve sent Pat over the years a lot of people that like, ‘Ooh, I think this guy is going to be good.’ Let me just say that I’m glad that Jimmy worked out. Because a lot of them didn’t work out. You just never heard of ’em.”

As for the business of basketball, Wade said that exceeds his basketball scope.

“When it comes to being president, you’ve got to learn that business,” he said. “I can text Riley and say, ‘Hey, I like this player. You should look at him.’

“This goes way bigger than that. You’ve got to know so much about the business. As players, we don’t know about all that. I don’t want that life right now.”

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©2020 Sun Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)

Visit the Sun Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) at www.sun-sentinel.com

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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Christine founded Sports Grind Entertainment with an aim to bring relevant and unaltered Sports news to the general public with a specific view point for each story catered by the team. She is a proficient journalist who holds a reputable portfolio with proficiency in content analysis and research.

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Arsenal win at Leicester to set up possible clash with Liverpool

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Arsenal win at Leicester to set up possible clash with Liverpool

Arsenal set up a potential Carabao Cup fourth-round clash with Liverpool after seeing off Leicester at the King Power Stadium.

A Christian Fuchs own goal and a last-gasp Eddie Nketiah tap-in saw the visitors secure a 2-0 victory – leaving them with a trip to either Lincoln or Liverpool next week.

This was the only third-round clash between two Premier League sides but neither really resembled their strongest XI with both Jamie Vardy and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang given the night off.

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta made seven changes as weekend match-winner Nketiah was recalled alongside the likes of David Luiz, Mohamed Elneny and Nicolas Pepe.

Despite the rotation, there was no room in the matchday squad for either Mesut Ozil or Matteo Guendouzi – who are yet to kick a ball for the Gunners this season.

Brendan Rodgers named a completely new Leicester XI to the side that beat Burnley on Sunday as James Maddison was handed his first start of the campaign.

Reiss Nelson, recently linked with a loan move away from Arsenal, started well and came close to an opener, forcing a fine save out of Danny Ward in the Leicester goal.

At the other end, Bernd Leno kept his spot despite the signing of Iceland international Alex Runarsson and he, too, did well to prevent Kelechi Iheanacho putting the hosts in front.

An own goal by Christian Fuchs set Arsenal on the way to victory (Tim Keeton/PA)

Arsenal then enjoyed a period of dominance, Pepe should have done better when picked out inside the box but tried to cut back instead of shooting and the danger was cleared.

Nelson then passed up a glorious chance of his own as he shot well wide when in a good position, while Bukayo Saka saw a strong penalty claim turned down after being felled by Daniel Amartey.

Rodgers’ side finally started to whir into life as the half wore on and Maddison was unlucky to see a curling effort hit the post.

The second half started slowly as torrential rain began to fall over the King Power Stadium as Arsenal took the lead in fortuitous circumstances.

Pepe had been largely ineffectual but he did well to squeeze in a cross that hit the post and ricocheted off Fuchs and into his own goal.

Mikel Arteta could be going to Anfield twice next week (Tim Keeton/PA)

Nketiah, sent off when these sides met in the league towards the end of last season, came close to settling the tie as he lobbed the ball towards goal only for Wes Morgan to race back and head clear off the line.

The Foxes turned to Dennis Praet and Ayoze Perez off the bench and the latter had a shot blocked soon after his introduction.

But the former Newcastle forward should have levelled with 10 minutes to go, sending a free header wide from close range – much to the chagrin of Rodgers on the touchline.

Nketiah would then secure the result, bundling over from almost on the line in stoppage time.

If Liverpool beat Lincoln on Thursday it would see Arsenal make two trips to Anfield next week, with the fourth-round tie following on from a Premier League meeting on Monday night.

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Christine founded Sports Grind Entertainment with an aim to bring relevant and unaltered Sports news to the general public with a specific view point for each story catered by the team. She is a proficient journalist who holds a reputable portfolio with proficiency in content analysis and research.

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