A short time ago, it looked like dominant F1 races and Mercedes were a thing of the past. However, the team’s 1-2 finish in Baku was its 4th consecutive win in the 2019 season. Ferrari was quite confident when they entered the weekend. However, things started to unravel during qualifying. Due to the unpredictable nature of the circuit and the quick racing trim, we uncovered why everything unfolded as it did.
Racing Against Bottas
This wasn’t a classic F1 race. At first, Lewis Hamilton looked like he got a phenomenal start that would place him in the lead. However, Bottas held pole position after Turn 1 and also kept Hamilton behind him during Turn 2. A horrible start cost the driver in China, and he refused to let history repeat itself.
The start of the race was mostly the critical moment for Bottas as Hamilton would get this close again for the entire Baku race. Mercedes was also never under real pressure from Ferrari in the race other than the activity that occurred during the pit-stop window. Even though the challenge from Ferrari faded, Bottas was required to keep his composure because Hamilton kept pushing until the end of the race.
Although most spectators are still sceptical about Bottas 2.0, we believe he was fantastic in Baku and Australia. However, on both occasions, Hamilton seemed to settle for the second position once he lost the first fight. One factor that shouldn’t bring any doubt to spectators is that Bottas has the innate talent to create a genuinely exceptional battle for the title. Every pole position will give Bottas a boost in confidence. This is something that was genuinely lacking during the 2018 season.
Where Exactly Was Ferrari?
Ferrari didn’t have the pace when it mattered most. It’s unusual as this weekend looked like Ferrari’s weekend until Charles Leclerc managed to misjudge his breaking point when he attempted to take Turn 8 during Saturday’s qualifying. That incident managed to shit the momentum and assisted Mercedes to take the first and second position on the grid which allowed them to dominate the race on Sunday.
For a moment, it looked like Leclerc might have raced worth mentioning as he started on medium tyres as opposed to soft tyres that all drivers at the front opted in for. If the safety car was deployed when Bottas was still over 9 second behind, Leclerc might have had a free pit-stop that would have allowed him to take the lead with a brand-new set of hard compound tyres to make it until the end. However, while each lap passed without the safety car, it assisted Bottas to get closer to the long first stint of Leclerc which eventually allowed him to retake the lead.
Magic Johnson managed to get the title he always dreamed of having. He had the power to successfully guide one of the most recognizable and popular franchises in the world of sports.
As the President of Basketball Operations, he could do anything he wanted when it came to the Los Angeles Lakers. He could effortlessly trade any player he wanted or fire a head coach at any time. Jeanie Buss, the owner of the Lakers, informed him about this on several occasions.
However, the only thing that Magic Johnson truly wanted is to be Magic Johnson again where he will be remembered as a Basketball ambassador, Lakers legend, international celebrity, and beloved civic leader. It’s fantastic being such a guy and there’s no denying that he was great at it.
Resigning as President of Basketball Operations
Being the president of basketball operations for the Los Angeles Lakers is undeniably hard, no one can argue that fact. And Magic Johnson could never truly figure out how to be himself in that significant role. It’s for that very reason that he decided to resign on Tuesday evening.
As astonishing as the decision was for most of the people within the national Basketball League, Magic Johnson was incredibly clear when he started to explain himself. “I was far more happier as a player as oppose to being the president,” Magic Johnson stated. “Once it comes to making trades, you are definitely not happy.”
Magic Johnson starting listing all kinds of unsavoury things regarding his position during a media session that lasted more than an hour, spilling out into the corridors and hallways of Staples Center prior to the final game of the Lakers season. Johnson didn’t appreciate the whispering and backstabbing that came with the job title. To be honest, he didn’t like anything that came with the role.
Comments from Magic Johnson
The tampering and the fines and this and that, I couldn’t assist young players who wanted me to assist them, and I couldn’t tweet about it either. Take Russel Westbrook for instance, that was a marvelous feature the other day. However, I wasn’t allowed to even tweet to congratulate him. If I decided to do that, everyone would have thought that it was tampering. I honestly don’t like that as I need to be free to do exactly what I want for myself.”
Magic Johnson also didn’t like the fact that he had to make decisions on retaining coach Luke Walton. Johnson was diagnosed with HIV during 1991 where he literally starred at death in the face. He decided to beat the illness and he eventually did. Thereafter, he decided to spend his remaining time on earth exactly the way he wanted. “I have a fantastic life. Damn, even outside this place I have a fantastic life, so what exactly am I doing here? I will be going back to my fantastic life and I’m really looking forward to it.”
The Super Rugby sides in South Africa can produce better results, allowing the South African national team to provide a stronger challenge in Japan during the Rugby World Cup. All they have to do is place a little bit of trust in the back-three players according to Naas Botha.
The excellent teams in the nation are well-known for their prowess and strength when it comes to their forwards. However, Botha recently told reporters that the fullbacks and wingers could also offer match-winning abilities when they are given a chance.
South African Rugby Players
Curwin Bosch, who made his first start of the Rugby season as a fullback, was awarded man of the match when the Sharks grandly destroyed the Lions on Friday at Emirates Airline Park. Bosch managed to combine phenomenally with his wingers Lwazi Movovo, Makazole Mpimpi, and Aphelele Fassi as the replacement for a living embodiment of the point made by Botha that we haven’t seen for a very long time from a South African team.
Elsewhere this season in Super Rugby, Cornell Hendricks, Rosko Specman, and Warrick Gelant have impressed incredibly while playing for the Bulls once they received a limited opportunity to prove their worth on the field. It’s necessarily only the Stormers that have struggled to produce a back-three worth mentioning.
Factor in that Aphiwe Dyantyi and S’busiso Nkosi, who were likely the first pick wingers for the Boks before the Super Rugby season kicked off, have both suffered injuries during the season. Cheslin Kolbe and Willie le Roux is undoubtedly going to be on the plane towards Japan, subject to fitness and form, then coach Rassie Erasmus of the Springboks has a wealth of players at his disposal to consider for the number 15, 14, and 11 jumpers.
Comments from Naas Botha
“I am well aware that South Africans love direct rugby. However, when it comes to the back-three South African rugby players, consisting of a fullback and two wings. I will always believe that when you provide space for them in a one-on-one situation, that they will be able to surprise you,” stated Botha who is a Hall of Famer who played for both South Africa and Northern Transvaal, winning a total of 28 caps with South Africa.
“Most of the time, South Africans believe that placing pressure on the opposition with a kick is the right choice. However, if the ball doesn’t fall where you want it to fall, the opposing team usually scores against us after that. This is exactly the reason why we need to be extra careful in the upcoming Rugby World Cup.”
With all this in mind, Naas Botha is still pleased with the current Rugby situation in South Africa as well as the team that has been selected for the squad that will go to Japan in September. He only wants the team to focus on their weaknesses and what their opponents tend to do in each game to succeed.
Josep Maria Bartomeu, the president of Barcelona, has recently told reporters that he wants the football superstar, Lionel Messi, to stay linked to the football club forever and that he is planning to sit down with the Barcelona. He is looking to extend his contract with the team.
Messi managed to sign a deal less than two years ago that will run until the end of 2021, taking him through to his 34th birthday. Messi, the Argentina international, is showcasing absolutely no signs of slowing down when it comes to playing for the club. He already managed to score 42 goals this season in all competitions and the Barcelona president is already considering what would be his 10th, and perhaps the last, football deal at the club for Lionel Messi.
Josep Maria Bartomeu Comments on Lionel Messi
“We truly want Lionel Messi to have a long football career so everyone can continue enjoying his skills and abilities on the pitch,” Bartomeu stated. “Messi has broken down several borders. Everyone truly admires the talent he has, and he gets applauded around the world by rival fans.
Bartomeu added, “We want to renew Messi’s contract as soon as possible. He is still a young player at heart, and everyone can see that. He still has two years to go on his current contract at Barcelona and is always innovating and improving with every game he plays. I think he still has loads of years ahead of him on the pitch for Barcelona and in the next few months, I will sit down with Lionel Messi to ensure he has many more years at Camp Nou.
Bartomeu continued stating that “Messi is undoubtedly a one-club man; there’s no denying it. However, it goes far beyond what he does on the pitch against other opponents as his relationship with his current club will last forever. We want Lionel Messi always to be part of Barcelona, whether he continues playing for the team or simply linked to the club in another way after he retires.”
Lionel Messi’s Career
Lionel Messi is also considered the top goalscorer for Barcelona with a total of 594 goals. This allowed him to surpass Andres Iniesta when it comes to appearances for the club. He is currently second in the history of the club as Xavi Hernandez is the only player ahead of him with 767 appearances. Lionel Messi has appeared a total of 676 times for Barcelona.
Since Lionel Messi made his incredible debut during 2004, Barcelona has managed to enjoy more success than any other span in the history of the club. The club has claimed 8 of the last 11 La Liga titles, 4 out of 5 Champions League titles, and won 4 Copa del Reys.
However, there’s no denying that a time will come when Messi decided to hang up his boots and the president of Barcelona states that it’s vital for the club to prepare for when that happens.
Jusuf Nurkic, the centre for the Portland Trail Blazers, suffered several compound fractures to the fibula and tibia in his lower left leg during a double-overtime victory against the Brooklyn Nets that took place on Monday evening and will, unfortunately, be out for the rest of the season.
Jusuf Nurkic’s Injury
Nurkic jumped for a rebound where he came down in a very awkward position in a tangle of bodies that occurred under the net. Once he hit the floor, the players from the Brooklyn Nets that were around him witnessed the severity of his injury and started sprinting away. The basketball arena immediately went into silence as the medical personnel of the Blazers rushed to attend to Nurkic’s injury. A stretcher was instantly called, and with the assistance of a handful of Blazers, including Al-Farouq Aminu, Rodney Hood, and Damian Lillard, the 7-foot Nurkic was quickly loaded onto the stretcher.
Damian Lillard’s Comments
“It made me feel incredibly sick,” Lillard stated. “I believe he attempted to tip it in before he crashed the glass and I witnessed him hitting the ground and quickly roll over, and I was under the impression someone might have hit his face again. While I was walking over to see what was going on, I noticed that everyone was turning around and walking away quite quickly, and then I noticed his leg. I truly hate to see it happen to someone like him.”
Lillard stated that it reminded him of the Team USA exhibition in 2014 that took place in Las Vegas when Paul George had his injury, a match Lillard was also playing in. “Nurkic’s injury looked exactly like that to me,” Lillard stated. It also brought back memories of the gruesome ankle injury of Gordon Hayward that occurred during the 2017/18 opening night game.
Terry Stotts stated that Nurkic was rushed to a local hospital and didn’t have much else to add as the head coach for the Blazers. “It’s horrible,” Stotts stated. Stotts also added that the locker room for the Blazers was tranquil after the injury occurred and Zach Collins felt like the team lost after the injury occurred. Enes Kanter stated that the entire team held a silent moment for Jusuf Nurkic after the match.
“Nobody had anything to say,” Kanter stated. This is a crushing and unexpected blow for the Blazers, who have managed to surge in recent games even though CJ McCollum has been sidelined after a knee injury. They managed to defeat the Brooklyn Nets in a 148-144 double-overtime match and clinched a playoff berth in the process.
Nurkic’s injury occurred with only 2 minutes left on the clock, while the Blazers were leading the game with 2 points. They managed to close the Brooklyn Nets with a phenomenal 3-pointer by Rodney Hood along with clutch free throws by Curry to finally seal the game for the Portland Trail Blazers.
The Denver Nuggets are finally going to the postseason after a drought that lasted a total of 6 years. Nikola Jokic had 13 rebounds and 21 points, and the Denver Nuggets managed to rally during the 4th quarter to defeat the Boston Celtics in a great 114-105 victory on Monday evening. This allowed them to clinch their very first playoff berth since the 2012/13 season.
Denver Nuggets vs Boston Celtics
Will Barton managed to add 20 points for the Denver Nuggets who have now won a total of 4 consecutive games. The Denver Nuggets, with a 47-22 record, are currently tied with the Golden State Warriors for the best record within the Western Conference.
The Denver Nuggets managed to win a total of 46 matches in the previous season. However, they, unfortunately, missed the playoffs after they lost against Minnesota during overtime on the final day of the NBA regular season. Thankfully, this season, their 47th win worked like a charm.
“It’s a fantastic feeling,” Michael Malone stated in a recent interview who is the head coach for the Denver Nuggets. “This has taken us four years to achieve. Two consecutive years are coming up just short. We will be using that as tonight’s motivation moment.”
There were loads of smiles in the locker room of the Denver Nuggets after the game. “We are just going to enjoy this,” Jamal Murray stated. “We are going to take a moment and realise how far we’ve come this season. It’s fantastic to look ahead at the moment while enjoying it at the same time.”
Kyrie Irving was leading the Boston Celtics with a total of 30 points, while Al Horford managed to finish with 20 points, six assists and six rebounds. This was the Celtics second loss in 7 matches.
“You need to play exceptionally well for 48 minutes against the Nuggets,” Irving stated. “They managed to come back from 18 down and kept firing.”
The Boston Celtics are currently 5th in the Eastern Conference, one and a half games behind Indiana in 4th place and two and a half games behind the 76ers who they will face on Wednesday. This match essentially felt like a game between 2 postseason teams. The game remained tight during the second half, with no team having more than a two-possession lead during the third quarter.
However, the Denver Nuggets managed to get some breathing room during the final period and to an impressive 106-94 lead with only 3:47 remaining on the clock. The Boston Celtics managed to score seven successive times to get within 5 points. However, Barton managed to stop the run thanks to a layup. After Horford missed a 3-pointer, Paul Millsap managed to seal the deal with a 4-point play that allowed the Denver Nuggets to stretch their lead to 112-101 with only 31.3 seconds left on the clock — well deserved to the Nuggets. Now let’s see how they do in the playoffs.
When the Golden State Warriors play the way they should and focus, no other NBA team can beat them. The Golden State Warriors at their best is far better than any other team in the league. This was especially true when they claimed a 122-105 victory against the Denver Nuggets on Friday evening at the Oracle Arena.
However, after four consecutive journeys to the NBA Finals. Steve Kerr, the head coach of the Golden State Warriors, has recently acknowledged that it’s not humanly possible for his star players to provide the same level of skills and capabilities through the season. This means that in some matches they have it, and some events they don’t.
Emotions of the Golden State Warriors
After losing by 33 points to the Boston Celtics on Tuesday evening at the Oracle Arena, the worst loss at home for Kerr, the Golden State Warriors understood the embarrassment they inflict on their opponents. In a regular season that has witnessed loads of emotional swings, the Golden State Warriors have played at times with frustration, anger, and joy during several rough patches throughout the season. All these emotions have assisted the Warriors in providing a reminder to both the Denver Nuggets and the rest of the NBA league that they are truly dangerous when everything clicks.
“Once we are challenged, with our backs against the wall, we play the best basketball in the league,” Klay Thompson stated before the match. “Being aware of what is at stake in the next eighteen matches, we have to play our best as we don’t want to lose our number 1 seed. Therefore, tonight is a major game for the Golden State Warriors.”
Golden State Warriors Receives Wake Up Call
After they lost 5 of the eight matches before Friday evening’s showdown. The Golden State Warriors and Kerr were very open about the fact that the team has recently enjoyed a few solid days of group discussions and practice. Kerr stated that he felt like the team owed fans of East Bay a much better performance in the final year at Oracle. More importantly, Kerr’s players were well aware that they expected better performance themselves.
Kerr’s team too often appears that they are merely going through the motions of the NBA regular season. They are patiently waiting for the glimmering lights of the playoffs to wake them up. The horrible defeat against the Boston Celtics seemed to offer a significant wake-up call for the Warriors which is something they truly needed.
Although the Celtics are enjoying a thrilling season, the Warriors provided a potent reminder to showcase how dominant they can be. They continue to play phenomenally in every game they participate in, whether its an elite team or an inferior opposition. If the Golden State Warriors continue to rake in wins, there will be no one to stop them from claiming another sensational season in 2019.
The conflict between the NRL (Namibia Rugby League) and the NRU (Namibia Rugby Union), which threatened to place the Rugby World Cup participation for the country at risk. It looks like it’s going to have a happy ending.
The NRL and NRU have been at each other’s throats over who controls the national rugby team in Namibia as well as the day-to-day operation of the country’s beloved sport. World Rugby was contacted to intervene which managed to save the national rugby team, the Welwitschias, a trip to Japan after Corrie Mensah, the NRU president, refused to sign off on the national teams. The NRU president told several reporters that he had done to cause the Namibian Rugby League sidelined the union.
The Rugby Africa Conference
The impasse witnessed how the Namibian Broadcasting Corporation reported that the Namibian rugby team’s participation was in jeopardy for the 2019 Rugby World Cup that will take place in Japan. However, we now understand that World Rugby. Along with the NRL and NRU, have agreed on a compromise that will be announced next week following discussions between the two Namibian parties at the Rugby Africa
Conference that took place in Morocco recently.
“We have managed to find a way forward where we could successfully find solutions to the problems we were facing,” Mensah informed reporters. There was never a scenario where the Namibian rugby team couldn’t participate at the World Cup. It’s for this reason that we did everything we could to resolve the issues between the NRL and the NRU. Mensah added to his comments saying that, “The only issue that could have surfaced was if World Rugby decided to pull their financial support. Without their help, we never would have been able to travel to Japan for the World Cup. That was undoubtedly our biggest concern. However, preparations are going ahead, and the team is busy training, so everything is going according to plan for the 2019 World Cup.”
Issues Between the NRL and NRU
Mensah informed reporters that the problems between the NRL and the NRU began when the former NRU board developed the NRL, a newly registered company before the term came to an end. The old board decided to transfer the day-to-day operation to the NRL, leaving the new NRY board completely powerless.
“The biggest problem was for everyone to understand that the NRU needed to be in charge of the company,” Mensah stated. The NRL didn’t make any provision for the brand-new NRU officials to sit on the board or have any influence in the affairs of the NRL.”
Mensah stated that he had to sign off the rugby teams when the Africa Gold Cup was underway. Which also managed to serve as Rugby World Cup qualifiers for Africa as the NRL was not recognised by the NSC (Namibian Sports Council). If the rugby teams were not signed off, then Namibia wouldn’t have been part of the qualifiers. Namibia managed to win the Africa Gold Cup to qualify for the 6th successive Rugby World Cup successfully.
March Madness is fast approaching and this
year’s tournament promises to deliver its usual amount of thrilling match-ups.
The 81st edition of the NCAA Men’s
division basketball championship is scheduled to begin on March 19 and
will conclude with the final game on April 8 at U.S. Bank Stadium in
The tournament is always eagerly
anticipated, with 68 teams battling to claim the prestigious trophy. The Duke
Blue Devils have been a popular pick with pundits making March Madness
predictions this season and remain favourites to win the tournament.
However, two defeats in three games towards
the end of February have shown that they are not infallible. Star freshman Zion
Williamson missed their recent 77-72 defeat against Virginia Tech and Duke will
be eager to see him return in time for March Madness.
That result left the Blue Devils with a
24-4 record during the regular season, but this talented group of players have
the ability to go a long way in the tournament. Williamson, RJ Barrett and Cam
Reddish will be much sought-after commodities in the next NBA Draft and Duke are
still the team to beat despite their recent troubles.
Virginia Tech’s victory over Duke showed
that they could be a force to reckoned with at March Madness. The Hokies led
for nearly 33 minutes, before holding their nerve late on to secure a memorable
victory. Kerry Blackshear Jr finished the game with 23 points from 11 shots and
grabbed 10 rebounds – he will be one to watch during the post-season tournament.
Gonzaga Bulldogs are prominent in the
betting having enjoyed an impressive campaign. The Bulldogs have also defeated
Duke this season and it would be dangerous to underestimate their chances. Other
potential contenders include Virginia Cavaliers, Michigan Wolverines, Michigan
State Spartans, Kentucky Wildcats and Tennessee Volunteers.
Reigning champions Villanova Wildcats are
another team who could come into contention, although they have gone off the
boil a little in recent weeks. Despite this, if the Wildcats can rediscover
their early season form, they could be a serious threat as they bid to clinch
their third March Madness title in the last four years.
Based on the attitudes surrounding the All-Star Weekend, there’s a decent chance that the race for the Most Valued Player might transform into a basketball culture war. Everyone, especially the players that are surveyed on the matter, agrees that James Harden from the Houston Rockets and Giannis Antetokounmpo from the Milwaukee Bucks have incredible seasons. Many nods also go towards Paul George, who has managed to take an unexpected leap during his second year with the Oklahoma City Thunder. However, there’s a culture war breaking out, and it seems to revolve around Harden’s accomplishments
James Harden as Potential MVP
The media seems quite fascinated with the incredible scoring binge of James Harden. Detailing his phenomenal 30 point matches and generating a pursuit of what would have looked like an unattainable Wilt Chamberlain record only a couple of months ago. It’s for this very reason why Harden was the Vegas favourite to repeat as Most Valued Player just last week. However, most sports betting sites have them both at -110 to claim MVP.
While some acknowledge the mastery of Harden, others are put off due to his style. Both in the way, Harden utilises the rules to his advantage and the way the Houston Rockets play. The freedom of movement, along with the relaxation of travel calls on Harden’s step-back. Having helped supercharge his season in such a way that it could irritate other players.
“Most people will say he gets away with travels when it comes to the step-back or that he flings his entire body into players to obtain fouls, but in all honesty, there are loads of us that get away with it,” stated a player that wants to remain anonymous as he doesn’t want to create controversy.
“Harden rarely plays basketball as a team sport. If you take a look at Giannis and how he plays, that is definitely how I was brought up in the game. However, that’s just my opinion on the matter,” he stated.
When you look at the statistics, most would agree with this statement. Earlier on in the season, Harden managed to score a total of 304 successive points that were all unassisted. This incredible streak was tracked with awe by both the media and fans. However, for some players, it developed eye-rolling because it represented the complete opposite of team play.
The counterpoint for Harden is simple. While the Rockets were in trouble and missing Chris Paul as co-creator for weeks on end, Harden took it upon himself to keep the team afloat in the Western Conference.
James Harden’s Record
Harden is currently boasting with 31 successive matches along with at least 30 points per game, tying him with Chamberlain for the longest streak in the history of the sport. During the game against the Golden State Warriors, he managed to finish with 44 points, ten rebounds, and 15 assists which is precisely the performance of an MVP.