“We did not do much defensively tonight, and that has been the key to turning our season around,” guard J.J. Redick said following Monday’s victory. “Since that second Golden State game (a 124-117 loss Nov. 19), I believe we have had a top-five defense. That has really been the key to our success over the last six to eight weeks.“Going forward, Cleveland has a lot of matchup problems. They are a great team. They are a great offensive team. This is a very, very hard trip for us. We play five really good teams, four teams that are currently in the playoffs and New York that is currently trying to make the playoffs.”The trip continues Friday in New York (21-22), followed by Toronto (26-15) on Sunday, Indiana (23-19) on Tuesday and culminating Wednesday in Atlanta (25-17).Griffin’s returnBlake Griffin has missed 11 consecutive games with a partially torn left quad tendon. Griffin is expected to return on this trip and Redick would love it to be against Cleveland. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error One of the themes behind the recent surge by the L.A. Clippers has been better defense.During their recent 10-game winning streak, the Clippers allowed opponents an average of only 96.6 points while the Clippers averaged 108.2 on offense. That’s an impresssive differential of 11.6.The defense has since taken a couple of hits. The Clippers gave up 110 points to the Sacramento Kings in a loss Saturday that broke the Clippers’ winning streak, and they gave up 132 during their overtime victory over the Houston Rockets on Monday — and 122 of those came during regulation.The Clippers (27-14) realize that can’t continue, especially on this five-game East Coast swing that begins Thursday night at Eastern Conference-leading Cleveland. “Hopefully we get 32 (Griffin) back on this trip,” he said. “That is what we are looking forward to. We have a good test coming up Thursday night in Cleveland.”Griffin as an All-StarWhen Griffin recently spoke the reporters for the first time since his injury, he was asked if he believes his inactivity was hurting his standing in the All-Star voting.“I don’t know,” he said. “Maybe.”He was asked if he cares.“No,” he said. “No, I don’t.”The most recent voting numbers were shared by the NBA on Jan. 14. Griffin was in fifth place among frontcourt players in the Western Conference. Chris Paul was third among backcourt players. The starters will be announced at 4 p.m. Thursday during a one-hour special on TNT.Scouting the CavaliersCleveland was walloped 132-98 by the high-flying Golden State Warriors on Monday. The Cavaliers took a 28-11 record into their game Wednesday at Brooklyn.LeBron James leads Cleveland with a 25.2 scoring average, which is fifth in the league. He also leads the team with a 6.0 assists average. Point guard Kyrie Irving is averaging 16.3 points and 3.8 assists.
Immediately after the final whistle blew on a 2-0 victory over the Netherlands to signal the United States had claimed its record fourth FIFA Women’s World Cup title, there were moments in which Megan Rapinoe could share the thrill with her teammates. The greatest would come later, when the trophy was presented and lifted and then bathed in a shower of confetti.The instant that summed up the 2019 Women’s World Cup, though, came in between. Rapinoe had marched twice through the handshake line of dignitaries and onto the makeshift stage at Lyon Olympic Stadium, first to accept the Golden Boot presented to the tournament’s leading scorer and then to accept the Golden Ball as the tournament’s best player. With a hunk of gold in each hand, Rapinoe stood alone in front of the TV cameras and the still photographers and the full audience of fans and raised her arms skyward in a “V.” She had backed it all up — as well as anyone could.MORE: 10 crazy facts from the USWNT’s victory in the Women’s World CupRapinoe became the Namath for the 21st century.“We’re crazy. That’s what makes us special,” Rapinoe told Fox Sports on the field. “We just have no quit on us. We’re so tight. And we’ll do anything to win.”The attention on her when the tournament began hadn’t been extraordinary. She was a key veteran on the left side of coach Jill Ellis’ 4-3-3 formation, one of the truly excellent players in American soccer history. Rapinoe was expected to perform, but no more so than Alex Morgan in the center or Tobin Heath on the right.Rapinoe had had her moment of controversy in 2016, when she chose to kneel for the national anthem as one of many athletes who had followed the lead of San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick. But U.S. Soccer wisely — and rightly — insisted a player who is wearing the U.S. crest ought to stand for its anthem, and that was that.We were in a very different place as the tournament ended.The day the U.S. played Spain in the round of 16, the website “The Hill” published an exclusive quoting president Donald Trump as saying, “No, I don’t think so,” when asked if Rapinoe should “protest during the national anthem.” Which was kind of interesting, because she wasn’t really protesting. Not singing? Not putting her hand over her heart? That’s not a protest, sorry.From that misleading article came the result that might have been expected. Many of the president’s supporters became fans of whatever opponent the USWNT faced on their run through the World Cup gantlet: Spain, France, England and ultimately, Sunday against the Netherlands.When a six-month old clip was released of Rapinoe responding to a question during a magazine photo shoot about whether she would visit the White House if the U.S. won the World Cup, the noise around Rapinoe grew cacophonous. To be fair, her rejection of the suggestion should not have included a profanity, especially given that it modified not the word “going” but “White House,” which is why her eventual apology was worthwhile and necessary.It wasn’t accepted, though, not widely by those now mounting against her.MORE: Megan Rapinoe explains United States’ celebrations in face of criticismShe kept her cool in the face of this sudden notoriety. It almost seemed to fuel her. She did not hide from the commotion. She spoke to the media at every opportunity: eloquently, insightfully, defiantly, honestly, brilliantly. She did so two days before the final, and at the official matchday-minus-1 presser in Lyon, Rapinoe was the player chosen to accompany Ellis to the podium.Over the course of the past two weeks, Rapinoe handled questions about her political disagreement with the Trump administration, about her political disagreement with FIFA. A lesser athlete, a lesser person, might have been overwhelmed by the imposing burden she helped to fashion for herself.However, when Morgan was kicked in the shoulder by Netherlands center back Stefanie van der Gragt in the 58th minute of a tense final Sunday, and when it was decided after a three-minute video review that Morgan had earned a penalty, Rapinoe stood behind the spot and prepared herself for the decisive play of the 2019 World Cup. She’d already scored twice on penalties, so goalkeeper Sari van Veenendaal had a book on Rapinoe. What could Rapinoe do that would deceive the keeper at this point?The answer: disguise. Rapinoe did not even hint which direction she would strike the kick as she approached. There was no tell. When Rapinoe was on the ball, van Veenendaal felt she had to do something, so she threw her weight to her right. And then she realized Rapinoe had shot to her left. Sure, van Veenendaal could have thrown herself to the ground to make it look like she’d just guessed wrong. Instead, she just stood and watched over her shoulder as Rapinoe’s mastery ripped into the net.Rapinoe, 34, had become the oldest player to score in a Women’s World Cup. And the U.S. had the game-winning goal.Midfielder Rose Lavelle’s individual brilliance, fueled by a perfect interception from left back Crystal Dunn, will go down as the game-clincher and the most artistic U.S. goal of the 2019 World Cup.“That was what she was missing, just that little bit,” Rapinoe told Fox Sports. “All tournament, she’s been on the dribble, so dangerous for us. She’s opened up everything for us. For her to get that reward tonight on the biggest stage that you possibly can — I’m so proud of her. She’s a superstar — not even in the making. She’s a straight-up superstar at this point.”Becky Sauerbrunn’s 90 mountainous minutes in central defense, Julie Ertz’s best international game ever as a defensive midfielder, Dunn’s dominance of the left and Ali Krieger’s one half filled with crucial interventions on the right in relief of concussed Kelley O’Hara were keys to earning a shutout. “It’s unbelievable, just to know all of the people in our group who put in so much work,” Rapinoe said. “I don’t know how to feel right now.“It’s ridiculous.”There will be some who say this without smiling. Rapinoe, though, also conquered them.
Gardai are investigating an incident in which a couple called to a family’s home claiming to be from Donegal County Council demanding €1,400 in rent arrears.Coupe demanded €1,400 in rent arrears from council homeowner.The incident, which happened last Friday night, in a rural part of the Letterkenny Electoral area.The couple demanded that the cash be handed over immediately but no money was handed over. The bogus callers callers then left empty-handed.Last week’s incident is the latest in a series of such bogus attempts to get cash from the public.Last month a bogus couple also called to a business premises in Lifford last month demanding rates payments.The couple had a Donegal County Council-headed letter on it but no official identification. No money was handed over on that occasion either and it is not known if the incidents are connected.A spokesman for the council said “As it turned out the person was not in rent arrears at al and no money was handed over.“We would just like to tell people that it will rarely happen that our staff will call to private homes.“If they have to then they will have official identification and will arrange to call in advance.”“We are asking all householders and business owners to be vigilant of this type of activity.” COMMUNITY ALERT: BOGUS COUPLE DEMAND €1,400 IN RENT ARREARS SCAM was last modified: December 17th, 2013 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)