ORLANDO,Fla – The much anticipated return of NBA basketball in Orlando at the arena at Disney World’s Wide World of Sports resulted in a thrilling 103-101 victory for the “home” team Los Angeles Lakers over the Los Angeles Clippers on Thursday, July 30. LeBron James scored the game winning put back shot with 13 seconds left in the game to hand the very game and shorthanded Clippers a tough defeat.
Anthony Davis led all scorers with 34 points looking like he hadn’t missed a beat during the extended layoff. James had 16 points, 11 rebounds and 7 assists.
While the X factor Kyle Kuzma scored 16 points off the bench. This is the first of eight regular season games before the playoffs begin. The top seeded Purple and Gold have a 6.5 game lead over the Clippers following the win.
The Clippers were without Montezl Harrell and Lou Williams, neither of whom has been cleared to play. The Clippers sloppy play contributed to 21 turnovers.
The return of basketball has been built around the concept of the “bubble” at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando where players stay in the compound to avoid spreading or contracting Covid-19, while playing games with no fans in attendance. Virtual reality images of fans on display was a testament to how much the NBA has missed, as well as loyalty.
The innovative approach seems like the ideal prototype for sports to continue in 2020 and the NBA should be given credit for a well thought out plan. Another area where the NBA has scored a slam dunk is it’s approach to the social unrest sweeping the country. Painted near center court is a bold, all caps BLACK LIVES MATTER. In addition, most players wore a slogan supporting racial equality on the back of their jerseys.
As far as the game itself the players were a little rusty, including by his own admission King James. This was to be expected since the last NBA games were played in March. In spite of the rust it was an evenly matched, exciting game.
Paul George led the Clippers with 30 points, including the game tying 3-point shot with under a minute left in the contest. Kawhi Leonard added 28 points. LeBron James played smothering defense on Paul George as a potential 3-point shot went awry as the final buzzer sounded.
The Battle for Los Angeles is tied after four games in the regular season. An NBA championship is certainly within reach for both Los Angeles teams.
The Pac-12 conference announced on Friday that it will play a conference-only schedule this fall, including football, men’s and women’s soccer and women’s volleyball. The CEO Group made clear that it hopes to play football and all other fall sports provided that it can meet the health and safety needs of its student-athletes and obtain appropriate permissions from state and local health authorities.
“The health and safety of our student-athletes and all those connected to Pac-12 sports continues to be our number one priority,” said Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott. “Our decisions have and will be guided by science and data, and based upon the trends and indicators over the past days, it has become clear that we need to provide ourselves with maximum flexibility to schedule, and to delay any movement to the next phase of return-to-play activities.”
In addition, the Pac-12 will push back its mandatory workout start date from July 13 to a date yet to be determined. Teams that were going to open the season on Sept. 5 were scheduled to begin workouts on July 13.
“Competitive sports are an integral part of the educational experience for our student-athletes, and we will do everything that we can to support them in achieving their dreams while at the same time ensuring that their health and safety is at the forefront,” said Michael Schill, Pac-12 CEO Group Chair and President of the University of Oregon.
USC loses its marquee matchup against Alabama at AT&T Stadium and its traditional non-conference game against rival Notre Dame.
Regarding our football schedule, I have communicated today’s Pac-12 decision to the athletic directors at Alabama, New Mexico and Notre Dame and there is no additional information to share at this time,” USC Athletic Director Mike Bohn said in a statement. “We recognize how important both our historic series with Notre Dame and highly-anticipated contest with Alabama are to our student-athletes, fans and alumni.”
HBO Sports, NFL Films and the two Los Angeles-based NFL franchises are teaming up for an unprecedented and unfiltered all-access look at what it takes to make it in the National Football League when HARD KNOCKS: LOS ANGELES kicks off its five-episode season this summer. One of the fastest-turnaround programs on TV, the 15th edition of the 18-time Sports Emmy®-winning series debuts TUESDAY, AUG. 11 (10:00-11:00 p.m. ET/PT), with other hour-long episodes of the first sports-based reality series debuting subsequent Tuesdays at the same time, culminating in the Sept. 8 season finale.
HARD KNOCKS will have encore plays Wednesday nights and will be available to stream on HBO via HBO Max and partners’ platforms.
In an unprecedented programming move, the 2020 edition of the venerable series will spotlight both Los Angeles NFL teams: The Los Angeles Chargers of the AFC West and the Los Angeles Rams of the NFC West. The two franchises are set to share the spectacular new 70,000-seat SoFi stadium that is nearing completion in Inglewood, California.
The arrival of HARD KNOCKS each August is a unique NFL tradition and NFL FILMS and HBO Sports are making plans for an all-new season of the most acclaimed serialized sports series on television.
One of sports television’s most successful and enduring partnerships, HBO Sports, NFL Media and NFL Films have reached agreement on a multi-year extension of the HARD KNOCKS franchise.
“The HARD KNOCKS franchise continues to excel as the preeminent sports reality series,” says Peter Nelson, Executive Vice President, HBO Sports. “Our partnership with NFL Films, which dates back to 1977, consistently produces groundbreaking television programming. We are grateful to the Chargers and Rams organizations to be able to present the 2020 training camp experience.”
“NFL Films cherishes the relationship we’ve had with HBO for over four decades, and specifically with the HARD KNOCKS franchise since 2001,” says NFL Films senior executive Ross Ketover. “To be able to announce this extension as we embark on an unprecedented two team series this summer brings us incredible pride and only heightens our excitement for the return of football.”
Camera crews will head to southern California in the next few weeks to begin filming, with the action heating up in August when the cinéma vérité show focuses on the daily lives and routines of playersand coaches.
Under fourth-year head coach Sean McVay, the Rams are just a season removed from a Super Bowl appearance and have a roster featuring an intriguing mix of high-profile players, established veterans, and free-agent acquisitions.
After an injury-plagued 2019 campaign, the Los Angeles Chargers are looking for a return to the winning formula that helped them finish tied for the AFC’s best record in 2018. Led by fourth-year head coach Anthony Lynn, the Chargers overhauled roster features young, rising stars on both sides of the ball, a new quarterback behind center and an influx of veteran talent added this offseason.
Both franchises will also be debuting new logos and uniforms when they open their new, state-of-the-art SoFi Stadium home later this year.
Los Angeles Chargers Head Coach Anthony Lynn said, “Having been part of Hard Knocks before when I was with the New York Jets, my biggest takeaway from that whole experience was that you get out of it what you put into it. There’s a reason that season was probably the most popular Hard Knocks ever. If you’re going to do a show, do it right. You can’t fake it. We didn’t have a problem providing access because we built a relationship with the crew. There was a mutual trust that exists to this day with those people, and many of them will actually be working on this year’s show. Broadcasting your internal business all over the world isn’t something you regularly want to do, but in a year with as many challenges as this one has had, I’m glad we can be part of bringing football back to the fans this summer.”
“We are looking forward to having Hard Knocks in our camp this year,” said Los Angeles Rams Head Coach Sean McVay. “Hard Knocks always offers a rare opportunity for our fans to see our players’ hard work to prepare for the season, as well as gives them a peek behind the curtain to observe these guys off the field, too. This year will be special because the show will also get an unprecedented look at SoFi Stadium, Stan Kroenke’s vision for professional football in L.A.”
Dedicated NFL Films production crews will be in both southern California training camps, shooting more than 2,300 hours of footage over the course of the series, offering an inside look at the daily rigors of an NFL training camp. With access to players’ and coaches’ meeting rooms, training rooms, living quarters and practice fields, HARD KNOCKS will document hours of conditioning practices and meetings, chronicling players as they compete for a roster spot and bond off the field.
HBO has aired 72 memorable episodes and one anniversary special in its first 14 seasons. No other sports reality series can match the production excellence, critical acclaim, awards and audience numbers posted by HARD KNOCKS. Episodes have averaged four million viewers over the past four years.
Winner of 18 Sports Emmy® Awards to date, HARD KNOCKS launched with the Baltimore Ravens in 2001, followed by the Dallas Cowboys in 2002, and resumed in 2007 with the Kansas City Chiefs, subsequently spotlighting the Cowboys (2008), Cincinnati Bengals (2009), New York Jets (2010), Miami Dolphins (2012), Bengals (2013), Atlanta Falcons (2014), Houston Texans (2015) and Los Angeles Rams (2016). The 2017 edition chronicled the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and captured the Sports Emmy® for Outstanding Serialized Documentary. The widely acclaimed 2018 series with the Cleveland Browns earned two Sports Emmy® Awards for production excellence. HARD KNOCKS has won a Sports Emmy® every year it has aired since 2008.
Eight of the last ten teams featured on HARD KNOCKS have equaled or improved their win-loss record in the regular season. The Cleveland Browns launched the transformation of their organization on HBO and went from a winless 2017 season to coming within half a game (7-8-1) of a .500 campaign. The 2019 season saw the Raiders improve their record to 7-9 from the previous year’s 4-12 mark. The series featuring the iconic Raider franchise averaged 4.3 million viewers per episode, generating the highest viewership for the show since 2015 and the second-best viewership numbers for HARD KNOCKS in the past ten years.
WashingtonPost wrote, “Turning football players into people is what HBO’s HARD KNOCKS series does so well. The massive scope, meticulous editing and time-hopping special effects that highlight a production under massive time constraints are all impressive, but it’s the film crew’s access to NFL players that makes the program special.” USA Today said, “Players’ lives and their hopes and dreams play out each NFL preseason on HARD KNOCKS. It’s that month-long human drama that makes the show so profoundly compelling.”
Winner of 129 Sports Emmy® Awards, NFL Films remains a gold standard in sports television, providing unprecedented access to and legendary storytelling about the sport of professional football. NFL Films is a part of NFL Media, the owned and operated media division of the National Football League, which is comprised of NFL Network, NFL Films, the NFL App, NFL.com and NFL RedZone.
HARD KNOCKS: LOS ANGELES will be narrated by Liev Schreiber, marking his 14th season with the show.
New York–The NFL announced today that the 2021 Pro Bowl presented by Verizon will take place at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas on Sunday, January 31. The Pro Bowl game will air on ESPN, ABC and ESPN Deportes.
“We look forward to partnering with the Raiders and the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority to bring the excitement of Pro Bowl week to our Las Vegas fans and community for the first time” said Peter O’Reilly, EVP of Club Business and League Events. “We thank the city of Orlando for its outstanding partnership in helping us to grow and evolve the Pro Bowl over the last four years. To our partners at Florida Citrus Sports, Camping World Stadium, ESPN Wide World of Sports, and Visit Orlando, we appreciate your tremendous efforts over the years and look forward to creating more memorable moments together in the future.”
The 2021 Pro Bowl will continue to be a weeklong celebration of football, and will feature various activities in Las Vegas including the NFL FLAG Championship games, AFC and NFC team practices and for the fifth consecutive year, Pro Bowl Skills Showdown, where the NFL’s biggest stars from each conference compete in unique tests of their skills.
Pro Bowl week will also be dedicated to supporting a series of community and charitable-focused events directly benefitting the local Las Vegas community.
“The Raiders welcome the NFL Pro Bowl to Allegiant Stadium and to Las Vegas, the Sports and Entertainment Capital of the World,” said Raiders President Marc Badain. “Pro Bowl week is a celebration of the best the NFL has to offer and there is no better place than Las Vegas to celebrate and honor the league’s biggest stars. The NFL, the LVCVA and the Raiders look forward to a world class event that will set the standard for future NFL events in Las Vegas.”
“We’re appreciative of the NFL’s leadership and commitment to bring the 2021 Pro Bowl to Las Vegas,” said Steve Hill president/CEO of the LVCVA. “We look forward to hosting the best NFL players and their incredible fan base for a weeklong celebration that could only happen in Las Vegas,” Hill concluded.
Caesars Entertainment, the NFL’s Official Casino Sponsor, will use its casino properties for fan experiences during 2021 Pro Bowl. Further details to be announced at a later date.
All NFL activities during Pro Bowl week will adhere to the latest public safety guidelines set by medical and public health officials, as well as operate in full compliance all local and federal government regulations.
2021 Pro Bowl Details
The 2021 Pro Bowl presented by Verizon will follow the traditional AFC versus NFC format and feature 88 of the best NFL players – 44 from each conference – as determined by a consensus of votes by fans, players, and coaches. Both teams will be led by offensive and defensive NFL Legends who will serve as captains representing each conference.
Tickets will go on sale later this year, but fans interested in receiving the latest Pro Bowl information may register at NFL.com/VegasPB for a chance to win a VIP trip to the Pro Bowl and other presale opportunities.
The NBA is back. The league is now scheduled to resume starting July 30th at the ESPN Wide World of sports complex located at Disney World in Orlando, Florida. However, the return will look considerably different to what we’re normally accustomed to.
Commissioner Adam Silver and the league’s board of governors have decided to bring back 22 out of the 30 teams. This includes each of the teams with the eight best records from each conference as well as any team that was sitting within 6 games of the 8th seed, equaling 13 squads from the west and just 9 teams from the East.
The playoff + format looks to be extremely intriguing. The hottest thing to watch will be the race for the 8th seed in the western conference. Because the association found a way to resurrect a surplus amount of teams back into contention, we will get to see some of the league’s brightest stars of today and tomorrow back on the court including Zion Williamson, Damian Lillard, Bradley Beal, Devin Booker and De’aaron Fox. Each one the players reside on teams who are racing to clinch the final playoff spot. The Grizzlies, Pelicans and Blazers have the best shots to get in the postseason while the Suns, Kings, and Spurs are on the outside looking in.
With Adam Silver being one of the best commissioners in all of sports, I think he found one of the best possible ways to come back. If only the 16 teams currently holding a playoff spot would have been selected, we would have ultimately left out contending teams who’ve shown promise from the entire regular season, as well as the high-flyers, clutch guards and young ascending talent that help comprise today’s NBA.
Now it remains to be seen if the plan follows through due to the concerns of COVID-19 and current state of racial injustice in America. Players like Kyrie Irving, Dwight Howard, and Avery Bradley have expressed sentiments about how a return might hinder the movement. I believe a return will do the exact opposite in fact. For many people, the degree of uncertainty to which 2020 has brought has undoubtedly given us all feelings of uneasiness.
Watching NBA Basketball could provide an escape for a country going so much turmoil while at the same time bringing the necessary attention to the Black Lives Matter movement. The games and events could be utilized as a positive platform to make statements towards government officials, particular individuals and impact the nation as whole.
STATEMENT BY NFL COMMISSIONER ROGER GOODELL ON THE RATIFICATION OF THE NEW COLLECTIVE BARGAINING AGREEMENT
We are pleased that the players have voted to ratify the proposed new CBA, which will provide substantial benefits to all current and retired players, increase jobs, ensure continued progress on player safety, and give our fans more and better football. We appreciate the tireless efforts of the members of the Management Council Executive Committee and the NFLPA leadership, both of whom devoted nearly a year to detailed, good faith negotiations to reach this comprehensive, transformative agreement. # # #
NEW YORK – The NBA announced that a player on the Utah Jazz has preliminarily tested positive for COVID-19. The test result was reported shortly prior to the tip-off of tonight’s game between the Jazz and Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena. At that time, tonight’s game was canceled. The affected player was not in the arena.
The NBA is suspending game play following the conclusion of tonight’s schedule of games until further notice. The NBA will use this hiatus to determine next steps for moving forward in regard to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Big Ten Conference announced today that it will be canceling the remainder of the Big Ten Men’s Basketball Tournament, effective immediately.
The Big Ten Conference will use this time to work with the appropriate medical experts and institutional leadership to determine next steps for moving forward in regard to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The main priority of the Big Ten Conference continues to be the health, safety and wellness of our student-athletes, coaches, administrators, fans and media as we continue to monitor all developing and relevant information on the COVID-19 virus.
Commissioner Kevin Warren
The verbiage in the release is ‘canceling’. The NBA said ‘suspend’. Is there any chance that later on you might revisit concluding the tournament? COMMISSIONER WARREN: I would say no. I think it’s important, we wanted to make it clear, that we’re canceling it because, again, first and foremost we need to make sure we protect the health and safety of you all, of our student-athletes, of our administrators, of our fans.
I wish I knew more information. This is a fluid situation. I can’t recall the last time we’ve had a pandemic, but we do here. It’s really important that we’re thoughtful. If it comes down that I overreacted or we overreacted, I’m comfortable with that.
I think as I sit here today in these kind of situations, you can never overreact from a safety standpoint, and I think we needed to make sure we went to the highest level to give us a chance to deal with this acute problem.
I believe the ACC just crowned Florida State the No. 1 seed, the tournament champion. I was wondering if you had any plans to crown a champion when there wasn’t a tournament played? COMMISSIONER WARREN: As I sit here today, it is difficult to crown a champion if you don’t compete. We do have three champions from the regular season. That’s the other thing, when you think about it, we were blessed with an incredible Big Ten basketball season, the number of teams that played well. We have those memories to really think about as we sit here today.
I don’t think I would recommend to our staff or crown a champion from the tournament because we didn’t get a chance to play the tournament.
PAC-12 STATEMENT ON MEN’S BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT, PAC-12 SPORT COMPETITIONS & PAC-12 CHAMPIONSHIP EVENTS
Pac-12 Conference has made the decision to cancel the remainder of the
Pac-12 Men’s Basketball Tournament and all Pac-12 sport competitions and
Pac-12 Championship events, effective immediately, until further
notice. This decision has been made in consultation with our member
universities in an effort to limit the spread of the virus and in the
interest of the health and safety of our student-athletes, campus
personnel, working and event personnel, and all those who attend Pac-12
Carson, CA – Beating the DC Defenders gave Los Angeles a bit
of hope in the XFL. Knowing that the top two teams in each conference make the
playoffs, it helps a bit that there is one dominant team in the conference
(Houston Roughnecks). Some of that momentum was lost after struggling to find
any rhythm against New York, trailing early and not being able to find any
footing on offense. Tampa Bay, starting the season 0-3, shut out the DC
Defenders, forcing their downward spiral to continue.
At first, it all seemed like the Vipers would force a spiral
to the Wildcats after going up 24-6 with a turnover brigade. Throughout the
first 15 minutes or so, Tampa Bay looked like they were having all the fun with
getting into the endzone on their first three of four possessions, capped off
by 15 points off of turnovers. The Wildcats in the mean time managed their own
game plan hoisting an unexpected comeback that gave Los Angeles a much needed 41-34
win, putting them back in the talks being relevant in the Western
“We don’t want to put ourselves in a game like this again,”
Tre McBride said. “With that being said, a win is a win, and our goal every
week is to put up as many points as possible. We did that tonight, but this
tells us as a team we need to do more.”
It was beyond an ugly start for the Wildcats. In their first
five possessions, the Wildcats had a very hard time holding onto the ball in
all aspects. From an interception on the first play to bad shotgun snaps and
muffed punts, the Wildcats looked as if they were ready to hand the game to
Josh Johnson though found more than just his receivers and
footing. He played practically throughout the rest of the game like a
professional, evading sacks and reading just about all of his passes. They
closed the first half with 16 unanswered points with touchdown strikes to
De’Quan Hampton and Brandon Barnes. Heading into the half down by just four, their
defense bailed them out with key stops and a forced turnover. With the Wildcats
then scoring on two more possessions from the arm of Johnson, the LA faithful
looked as if they were behind this team.
With the way Johnson’s game started out, he finished with
everything going his way. He ended the night going 20-for-34 with four
touchdowns, all of which was done in the 27-0 run.
“Josh is playing great,” Tre McBride said. “He has never
lost confidence in his receivers and it showed in a game like this today. It is
important to have that core be dedicated like the way we played today.”
“All in all, we just stuck to the game plan.” Johnson said.
“We felt like last week we lost our guidance and missed out on passing tests.
This week it was about how we could respond as a team, and to that we responded
Tampa Bay only managed 233 yards after leading big early,
with more than two thirds of those yards only surmounting three points and a
game ending interception in the endzone.
“We all feed off of each other,” “Our defense did their part
to feed the momentum offensively. They did their job, so we ended up doing our
job as well to our advantage.”
Los Angeles has put themselves back in relevance, but a
crowd of just over 12,000 on a Sunday night raised a bit of concern. While
there are no rumors of any type of relocation, they currently hold two of the
three lowest attended games this season. This week was also a part of the
lowest attended games from the first five weeks, which could put Los Angeles in
the conversation of finding out if Carson is the right place for the XFL.
Still, wins are important when building a franchise and to
be recognized. The Wildcats arguably earned one of the more impressive ones in
the young season by any team. With Seattle next week, they can put a team
behind them and chase after the second seed where Dallas lies.