Spring Storm Delivers Snow to Northern California Mountains | California News

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. (AP) — Spring has sprung in much of California, but winter is hanging on in parts of the Sierra Nevada, where snow fell Sunday and forecasters warned of hazardous travel conditions.

The National Weather Service issued a winter weather advisory through 11 p.m., predicting up to 10 inches (25 centimeters) of snow in mountains above 5,000 feet (1,524 meters) near Lake Tahoe.

“Snow has started over the Sierra!” the weather service’s Sacramento office tweeted around midday. “If you have mountain travel plans be prepared for winter driving conditions, gusty winds, and low visibility at times.”

Chains were recommended for vehicles on Northern California mountain routes, including Interstate 80 and State Route 50.

Light rain fell across the San Francisco Bay Area, where overnight temperatures could drop into the low 40s (about 5 Celsius).

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Despite the spring snow, California remains locked in drought after historically dry winter months. The Sierra snowpack, a key part of the state’s water supply, was just 38% of average on April 1, when it is normally at its peak.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Auburn delivers Alabama Second Loss of the Week in Showdown at Coleman Coliseum

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (EETV) – Chants of “Let’s go Auburn” erupted in Coleman Coliseum as the Tigers went on to defeat the Crimson Tide 81-77 in a game that had 10 lead changes and eight ties. With the win Auburn moves 15-1 on the season and 4-0 in league play.

“You win at Alabama, you make history.” said Coach Pearl after the game.

Jabari Smith had a career-high 25 points on 8 for 14 from the field including 3 for 6 from beyond the arc. He also added seven rebounds and an assist during his 34 minutes on the court.

“It felt great. We knew this would be tough. We just came out here and focused on staying together. Stay poised, shoot my shots.” said Smith following his career-high.

Smith was one of four Tigers with double-digit points with Wendell Green scoring 19 and KD Johnson scoring 13, but it was Allen Flanigan who went a perfect four for four from the charity stripe in the last minute to give Auburn the win.

“We knew it would come down to the final minutes” Flanigan stated after the game “We shoot free throws every day so just go through my routine take a breath and shoot my shot”

The Tigers struggled with fouls for the second straight game, committing 24 personal fouls over the match.

Walker Kessler struggled the most picking up two fouls in the first three minutes of play. The big man would only play 13 minutes and fouled out with just two points.

The teams were well matched in the first half, Auburn went on an 11-2 run with 5 minutes left in the half with seven points from KD Johnson to give the Tigers a nine-point lead that the Crimson Tide were able to cut to five by the end of the half.

Auburn started to pull away midway through the second thanks to the scoring power of Green who had 13 points in the 2nd half alone. The Tigers would pull away to a 14 point lead with 7:57 left to play.

The Crimson Tide would not go down without a fight as they roared back with a 14-point run to tie the ball game at 73. Alabama’s Jaden Shackelford powered the Tide on the run as he scored nine of the 14 points including two three-pointers that lit the Alabama faithful up. Shackelford scored four points the rest of the night.

The teams would trade free throws before a Johnson layup and four straight free throws from Flanigan iced the game to give Auburn the win.

Smith and the Tigers ended Alabama’s 12-game home win streak and moved their own win streak to 12. The Tigers will return to action on Saturday when they travel to Oxford, Mississippi to take on Ole Miss. Tip-off is set is for 7:30 PM CST and will air on SEC Network.

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Cam Thomas delivers game-winner to snap five-game home losing streak, defeating Spurs, 121-119, in OT

It wasn’t what you would have expected in Game 38 but a rookie delivered when the team needed it most and the Nets came away with a win in a most improbable overtime scenario.

With 1.7 seconds remaining in OT, Cam Thomas drilled a crafty foul line floater to lift the Nets over the Spurs, 121-119…

The boss thought it special, too, offering a Chinese analogy…

With the victory, Brooklyn has snapped their five-game home losing skid and improve to 25-13 on the season. Although it was a nail-biting win against a team that isn’t even in the top 10 in the Western Conference, the Nets head coach sees it as a stepping stone for the team to get back to where they were.

“I think right now with our team struggling a little bit, a win is a win,” said Steve Nash on the nature of a win. “Find a way to get it done and start building and getting back to where we were. We’re clearly taking a couple of steps back here in the last week to 10 days. A win is a win and finding a way to win a close game.”

Indeed, it was another blown lead (12 points) at home for the Nets. Despite being up double-digits midway through the fourth, San Antonio compiled a 10-0 run that spanned four minutes to knot the game up at 113 with 40.8 seconds remaining.

“Missed shots and turned the ball over. That’s it,” said the Nets head coach on the Spurs 10-0 burst. “We had good looks. Missed them. We were a little sloppier with the ball and what should’ve been a great look was a good look or a good look became a bad look because we weren’t in a good rhythm. I thought we generated opportunities. We just couldn’t convert.”

The Nets secured a defensive stop and with the shot-clock turned off and the ball was in Kevin Durant’s hands at time was running out. Durant missed a straight-on-three that would have won it. Then, Thomas grabbed the offensive rebound but stepped out of bounds, giving the Spurs 00.8 seconds to steal one in regulation. San Antonio got a good look but Keita Bates-Diop couldn’t get a tip around the rim to fall. On to OT.

Brooklyn hit the final minute of OT nursing a flimsy 119-117 lead. After a James Harden turnover (the Nets’ 21st of the contest) Dejounte Murray was fouled on the other end and hit the pair of free throws to tie the game up at 119 with 46.0 seconds left. The Nets got escaped a jump ball and set things up for the improbable finish.

The shot clock was turned off and with all the eyes on Durant, the Nets superstar dished the ball out to the 20-year-old Thomas, who delivered a foul line floater to lift Brooklyn to a two-point lead with 1.4 seconds remaining. Brooklyn got the final defensive stop and a win is a win.

“It was just a 1-4 flat for KD. A game-winner to take us home but they came and doubled, so I was open and made a play,” said Thomas on his game-winning play. “It was either shoot a three or get to the hoop. I got to the hoop, did a floater. Just a good basketball play.”

The game winner gave the Summer League MVP and G League high scorer another impressive milestone. He’s the youngest player to hit a game winner since De’Aaron Fox did in 2018.

Durant led the Nets with 28 points, four rebounds, six assists, three blocks and one steal in 43 minutes of play. Harden followed with his 22nd double-double of the season (26 points, seven rebounds and 12 assists in a game-high 44 minutes.

Nash said all of his players will travel to Portland and he expects both of his superstars to play against the Trail Blazers Monday night. He also said he anticipated playing Kyrie Irving more minutes in his second game back.

“Everyone is going to go. We’ll all go to Portland. Those guys [Durant and Harden] want to play and we’re going to go play tomorrow night,” Nash said.

Thomas, who delivered the game-winner finished the win with 11 points on 4-of-11 shooting from the field and 0-of-3 from three-point range. The rookie grabbed six rebounds and recorded a steal as well. Patty Mills, who has been in a slump took a good step in the win. Although the veteran guard shot 5-of-15 from the field and 3-of-12 from three, he finished with 13 points, six rebounds and four assists in 39 minutes.

While Thomas and his game-winner highlighted the play of the Nets four rookies, there was plenty of opportunities seized by the group Sunday afternoon. All four played in the win and made statements in different ways. David Duke Jr., who started for the third straight game finished with six points, five assists, a rebound and a block in 17 minutes. Kessler Edwards recorded a string of defensive stops and tallied six points and three rebounds in 12 minutes. Day’Ron Sharpe added seven points, six rebounds and one steal in his 11 minutes of action.

“I thought they all did a good job. We’re in that position where we believe in those guys but they need time to really develop and play,” said Nash on the rookies’ play. “We try to give those guys a little bit of an opportunity and I thought they did well.”

And 22-year-old Nic Claxton, although not a rookie, had another signature game. Playing a season-high 33 minutes, Claxton finished with 16 points and 14 rebounds. It was his seventh straight double-figure outing and in five games this month, he’s averaging 13.2 points, 7.6 boards and shooting better than 70 percent from both the court and the line.

“He’s definitely improving,” said Nash on Claxton’s play during the latest stretch of games. “He seems like he has more endurance, can play longer stretches. He’s stronger, He’s much more physical and better around the basket on both ends. He’s better facilitating the offense with his running into actions and his free-throw mechanics are even improving. A lot of growth from Nic and I’m really proud of him.”

As Nash continues experimenting and giving his young’uns a chance, Nets veterans wound up with little or no time. Blake Griffin played only 8:22 and James Johnson 7:55 while Bruce Brown, Paul Millsap and Jevon Carter didn’t play at all. Millsap hasn’t played in six straight games. With five games in seven days, there will be plenty of opportunities. As for LaMarcus Aldridge, he wasn’t available for the second time in four games.

“I don’t think it’s that serious,” Nash said of his center’s foot soreness. “I think he’s got some irritation and we’re just trying to get it behind him. I think it’s a short-term injury.”

Brooklyn got off to a strong start powered by their defense. The players were locked in on the defensive end which led to a smooth start, taking an early 11-5 lead through the first three minutes of play.

The Spurs quickly stormed back off a series of and-one plays and three-ball buckets through the play of their guards — Lonnie Walker IV (who scored the first 12 points for San Antonio), Dejounte Murray and Bryn Forbes to give San Antonio a 24-19 advantage with 3:17 left. Brooklyn weathered the storm, finishing the first knotted up at 32-32 behind 52.0 percent shooting from the field. Durant led the Nets after one with 11.

The Nets’ defensive activity dipped in the second but the team took some time to find a consistent offensive rhythm. After an emphatic slam by Duke Jr. that provided an energy boost, Brooklyn went on a 10-2 run to take a one-point lead (49-47) with 3:22 left in the second. In a half that included eight different lead changes, the Nets kept their foot on the gas and concluded the second outscoring the Spurs 21-6 to take a nine-point lead at the break (60-51).

Durant led the Nets with 18 points on 7-of-9 shooting from the field in 18 minutes. Harden got going in the second but his facilitating served volumes in the first half, tallying nine points, four rebounds and nine assists. Brooklyn’s bench compiled 17 points and the team shot 52.3 percent from the field but struggled from 3-point range (18.2 percent). A big difference maker was fastbreak points, where the Nets held a 16-4 edge in at the break.

San Antonio Spurs v Brooklyn Nets

Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

Brooklyn continued to capitalize on their two biggest keys in the second quarter: defense and rebounding to propel their offense. The Nets grew their lead to 14 points (the largest lead of the contest) and maintained a double-digit advantage for the majority of the frame. Edwards provided a boost, hitting a pair of threes to go with the good defensive activity.

But again, It was a smooth ride that ended bumpily for Brooklyn. Despite leading by 14 entering the closing minutes of the third, the Nets paid the price of pairs of late quarter turnovers and the Spurs took full advantage, ending the frame on an 18-7 burst to cut the deficit to only two points.

San Antonio knotted the contest up in the opening minute of the fourth but Brooklyn quickly grew the advantage back up to double-digits behind the play of Harden and a pair of strong sequences from Day’Ron Sharpe. That wasn’t enough to shut the door as the Spurs came back and made it a one-possession game entering the final two minutes of play. After a four-minute 10-0 run capped with a Josh Primo three, the game was tied up at 113 with 40.2 seconds remaining.

The game ended up going to OT and Thomas delivered a clutch game-winning 10-foot floater with 1.7 seconds remaining to lift Brooklyn to the must-needed win with a tough stretch ahead. How tough? Five games in seven days including today. Kyrie Irving will only be eligible to play in two of them, Portland on Monday and Chicago on Wednesday.

The Film

It’s been a while since we’ve done a “diagram-a-play” film room, so let’s break down what was the biggest, most impactful shot of young Cam Thomas’ career. We’ll have the man himself introduce things.

“It was just a 1-4 flat for KD. A game-winner to take us home, but they came and doubled, so I was open and made a play,” said Cam Thomas. “It was either shoot a three or get to the hoop. I got to the hoop, did a floater. Just a good basketball play.”

For starters, you might be wondering: What the heck is 1-4 flat?

Below, we’ve cooked a diagram to answer that question. Basically, 1-4 flat is a form of spacing that places four players — Cam Thomas, Nicolas Claxton, James Harden, and Patty Mills, all of whom are highlighted by red arrows — along the baseline. What this does is create as much space as possible for one supercharged player, like Kevin Durant, to score in isolation.

As Cam mentioned, the plan was likely for Kevin Durant to take the Nets home with his teammates on standby in rebounding position.

But, the Spurs were ready for this. Instead of letting Durant go mano-a-mano with Keita Bates-Diop, San Antonio sent rookie Josh Primo over to double and force the ball out of KD’s hands. Noticing this, Thomas, originally “guarded” by Primo in the corner, makes himself available by rising up the wing.

Thomas catches, is run off the line by Jakob Poeltl, and then lofts a ridiculous wrong-footed runner going left with his momentum carrying him away from the basket, but it’s money. That shot has become a bit of a trademark for Killa Cam.

Don’t believe us? Go to the Summer League video tape…

After the game, KD described the play from his perspective, noting that he read the overtime situation much better than the final play of the fourth quarter — when he threw San Antonio a lifeline by barfing up a pull-up three-pointer over a similarly aggressive Spurs defense.

“Especially late in the game, no matter how I’ve been shooting the ball, I’m starting, well, I’ve been realizing that teams might run and jump me out there,” said KD. “I seen them coming up at the end of the regulation and rushed a three-pointer. I maybe should have waited a little bit, we probably could have got the same set at the end of regulation. But it was good to go through that. So when I seen it again in the overtime, I was able to slow down a bit and find cam and find Cam and he just showcased his brilliance.”

Kevin Durant offers encouragement to Klay Thompson

Kevin Durant knows what it’s like to miss time. After going down with a torn achilles in Game 5 of the NBA Finals in 2019, he didn’t play for 552 days till last season. Klay Thompson, who went down in that same Finals, has missed 941 days with a variety of injuries and ailments. He’s back tonight and Durant offered words of encouragement.

Post-game, KD said his former teammate: “Talking to Klay the last couple years, you can feel it through text messages how excited he is to get back on the floor. I know every fan’s going to be tuned in. I’m looking forward to his return and hopefully healthy rest of the season and career. I’m glad he’s back.”

Pop on KD

Before the game, Gregg Popovich, coach of the gold medal-winning Team USA at the Tokyo Olympics, had a date with one of players, Kevin Durant. Pop presented KD with the USA Basketball Men’s Player of the Year award. Durant had previously been named the outstanding men’s basketball player in Tokyo.

As he had when asked about his NBA championships — “No Duncan, no championships” — Pop gave full credit to Durant, “No Kevin, no gold.”

Milestone Watch

A biggie for the Spurs: Josh Primo became the youngest player in San Antonio history to start a game. Primo is 19 years, 14 days old. Tony Parker was 19 years, 143 days.

Kevin Durant keeps moving up lists. Here’s the latest from Nets PR… KD is now second on the lists, the longest single-season streaks of 20-point games in Nets NBA history:

23 – Vince Carter (2005-06)

18 – Kevin Durant (2021-22 – active)

18 – Vince Carter (2004-05)

Nets avoided a six-team home losing streak. Good thing for a lot of reasons, including this one from ESPN Stats&Info: Only two teams in NBA history have had a 5-game home losing streak in the same season they went on to win the Title: 1994-95 Rockets, 2020-21 Bucks.

What’s next

Cleveland Cavaliers v Portland Trail Blazers

Photo by Soobum Im/Getty Images

The Nets will travel cross-country to Portland to play the Trail Blazers in the second game of a back-to-back on Monday, Jan. 10. The game is scheduled to tip at 10:00 p.m. ET.

For a different perspective on Sunday afternoon’s game, check out Pounding The Rock — our sister site covering the Spurs.

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FlyOver delivers exhilarating reprieve from the Vegas Strip

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The popular slogan ‘What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas’ likely won’t apply to Sin City’s latest attraction.


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Tourists are already lining up for the new FlyOver experience that takes them for a thrilling ride without ever leaving the Strip. It’s a welcome reprieve from the heat and the distractions outside, which include action heroes and scantily-clad showgirls posing for paid photos, supersized drinks on the street and a barrage of neon.

“The long walkway in is meant to be a decompression zone. The Strip is wild so this helps us decompress from the chaos on the street. As you walk through the long hallway here, each level is a little bit deeper. So we’re travelling from the upper level and the theme of the lobby is the bottom of a slot canyon,” says FlyOver general manager Jack Kenn. “So that all helps us decompress and move your mind away from everyday life. We’re all about telling a story and the story begins as soon as you walk in the door.”


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FlyOver Las Vegas has seat platforms that roll out and bank and tip according to the scenes on the screen. Courtesy FlyOver Las Vegas by Pursuit.
FlyOver Las Vegas has seat platforms that roll out and bank and tip according to the scenes on the screen. Courtesy FlyOver Las Vegas by Pursuit. Photo by 4FR /Getty Images

Last Vegas is the latest destination for the high-tech flying ride that has been a popular tourist attraction in Reykjavik, Iceland, and Vancouver. It will launch in Toronto in 2023. FlyOver gives you a birds-eye view of stunning scenery displayed on a 16-metre spherical screen that wraps around you as you hang suspended in your seat, feet dangling. Two moving platforms of seats have six degrees of motion, which follow the action onscreen. You’ll find yourself lifting your toes as you skim the top of a mountain or gripping the seat handles as you bank sharply into a canyon. Blasts of wind and mist, scents and sounds add to the realism.

“This is not a motion ride. It’s a flight ride. It’s basically a flight simulator that’s been put on its side,” explains Kenn.


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Either way, it’s a marvel of engineering from key creator Rick Rothschild, considered the founding father of flight rides. He brought 30 years’ experience from Walt Disney Imagineering, where he designed more than 25 rides, to programming the motion and special effects at all of the FlyOvers.

We apologize, but this video has failed to load.


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The co-star of the show is the scenery that unfolds before you. The Vegas FlyOver show is called The Real Wild West, which includes the neon lights of the Strip, but also the iconic peaks and valleys of the Grand Canyon and Arches National Park among others. Highlighting 22 cities, monuments and landscapes, the film has you flying above a herd of stallions racing through the Yellowstone desert, taking in solar evaporation ponds near Moab, flying above a wingsuiter descending Washington’s Stehekin Mountain, and soaring past the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. In all, scenery from Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Montana, California, Arizona, New Mexico and Utah was shot from a specially designed camera mounted on the nose of a helicopter.


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Other tourist attractions simulate flying, but this multi-sensory experience takes it to another level. At times, you sail along enjoying the sights and the cinematic score. Then the helicopter pilot goes into stunt mode, steeply banking through canyons, barely skimming the tops of peaks. The final scene of a cliff-top Hualapai tribal ceremony in Monument Valley with the scent of sage wafting through the air is a powerful end to the journey through the wild west.

“There’s no zoom so, as close as it looks, that’s as close as the helicopter flew,” says Kenn.

It’s no easy feat to capture imagery for the shows. It takes months of planning, getting permits, scheduling and flying. Hours of scenes get whittled down to mere seconds by Dave Mossop, the Canadian director for all of the FlyOver attractions. Adrenaline-fueled films are second nature to him, having co-founded Whistler-based Sherpas Cinema with two Calgary high school buddies. “Sometimes you only get two chances, maybe three with some of these stunts so you better get it right the first time, so that adds an element of challenge,” he said in relation to filming the sister show in Iceland.


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The preshow theatre at FlyOver Las Vegas. Courtesy FlyOver Las Vegas by Pursuit.
The preshow theatre at FlyOver Las Vegas. Courtesy FlyOver Las Vegas by Pursuit. jpg

To prep guests for the experience, each of the FlyOver rides also has a distinct pre-show element created by Montreal-based Moment Factory. In Las Vegas, the focus of the entry and pre-show is to reduce sensory overload from the Strip. You walk down a darkened corridor with moving images and blue lights. Guests make their way into a circular room for a short pre-show projected across wraparound walls and a central screen. Images chronicle the evolution of the west from prehistoric marine life to the Gold Rush and Silicon Valley startups.

“For me, the ride is just the cherry on top of the sundae,” says Kenn.

The Gold Rush cocktail with a little gold dust sprinkled on top for luck at the Lost Cactus bar inside FlyOver Las Vegas.
The Gold Rush cocktail with a little gold dust sprinkled on top for luck at the Lost Cactus bar inside FlyOver Las Vegas. jpg

After the ride or between rides, guests can head to The Lost Cactus, FlyOver’s lobby bar to try one of their signature cocktails. The prickly pear margarita or Durango to Silverton old-fashioned will help gird you for a return to the world outside.


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That world outside is packed with attractions, restaurants and hotels. FlyOver Las Vegas is on the southern end of the Strip next to the Hard Rock Cafe. Across the street, via one of the many pedestrian walkways, is the Park MGM hotel which makes a great base for exploring the area, which includes the T-Mobile Arena — home to the Golden Knights NHL team.

The Park MGM is an oasis of its own with lush courtyard pools, the NoMad Bar — ranked one of the best bars in the U.S., and The Dolby Theatre where Lady Gaga has had a long-running residency. If you can’t manage a ticket to the show, there’s always the free and fascinating Haus of Gaga/Las Vegas exhibit which features many of the singer’s iconic fashion pieces. Inside is an ever-changing collection of dresses, shoes, headpieces, hats, and costumes such as the infamous meat dress, boots and hair piece she wore to the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards. There’s also the custom Armani constellation dress Gaga wore at the 2010 Grammys, vibrantly coloured bodysuits, and several nearly impossible-to-wear shoes.


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Park MGM also sports several top-notch restaurants such as the French-inspired and serene Primrose bistro, La La Noodle with high-end Pan Asian cuisine (try the massive pan-fried lobster and shrimp, spicy Asian cucumber or any of the hand-pulled noodle dishes) and the high-touted Eataly. The Italian food hall, which originated in Torino in 2007, now has 40 locations around the world. It’s a giant hall of Italian food shops, restaurants, quick-service counters and cooking schools all within one space.

Of course, Park MGM also includes a casino but be sure to cash in your chips at some point and take a gamble on the high-flying action outside.

FlyOver Las Vegas is open daily, with prices starting at US$34. https://www.flyoverlasvegas.com.

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The three pools at Park MGM are a relaxing escape from gambling or walking the Strip.
The three pools at Park MGM are a relaxing escape from gambling or walking the Strip. jpg
The headpiece Lady Gaga wore for her Telephone video is one of many costumes, wigs and props in the Haus of Gaga exhibit inside Park MGM.
The headpiece Lady Gaga wore for her Telephone video is one of many costumes, wigs and props in the Haus of Gaga exhibit inside Park MGM. jpg
Pizza is being made in one of the ovens at Eataly food hall in Park MGM.
Pizza is being made in one of the ovens at Eataly food hall in Park MGM. jpg



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James Harden delivers late to secure Nets fifth straight win, defeating Raptors, 116-103

The Beard delivered when the Nets needed it most.

The Nets defeated the Raptors, 116-103, Sunday afternoon in Toronto. With the win, Brooklyn improves to 7-3 on the young season while snapping a long 10-game losing streak in Canada. The 7-3 start ties the best 10-game start in team history, matching the starts in 2001 and 2002 when the New Jersey Nets got to the NBA Finals.

Heading into the final three minutes of play nursing an 11-0 lead after another dominant third quarter, James Harden did what was needed. The Nets superstar, who is still trying to gain confidence and play like his usual self, scored 16 of his 28 points in the fourth and nailed the 27-foot dagger from deep to seal the deal. He finished with a double-double of 28 points and 10 rebounds to go with eight assists in 39 minutes of play.

“I thought in the first half, he didn’t give himself enough credit. I thought he had opportunities to attack more. I tried to implore him to go and to be aggressive. In the second half, he was excellent,” said Nash on Harden’s play. “This game, the Atlanta game and games he gets to the paint, he can really cause a lot of problems for the defense.”

Kevin Durant extended his streak of 20+ points to 10 games Sunday afternoon. The league’s leading scorer finished with a game-high 31 points, seven rebounds and seven assists in 37 minutes of action. It was his first game back in Toronto since tearing his Achillies in the Game 5 of the 2019 NBA Finals.

“I didn’t think about that. That this is the scene of the catastrophe sort of speak. Like we said since day one, Kevin has been unbelievable this season: both ends of the floor, rebounding, scoring, facilitating,” said Nash on Durant’s play through 10 games. “I think that’s under a team that is trying to find itself so I think we can either make things a little bit easier for him at times. That’ll take time as we keep saying. That doesn’t detract seemingly ever from how elite he is, how efficient he is and how well-rounded he is.”

Brooklyn had a total of six players finish in double figures in the road victory — Durant and Harden plus Blake Griffin (14), Bruce Brown (12), Joe Harris (11) and Mills (13). A huge factor into having six players in double-figures was the ball movement — 29 assists on 41 made shots. The Nets also had five players with three or more 3-pointers, led by Griffin’s four, the most since he joined the Nets last season.

“The defense was really strong. In the first and second, we get some slippage. I think that was down to turnovers. They got out and ran for easy baskets, so the turnovers and offensive rebounds, again were an issue. Offensively, there were pockets of play where we were really happy with,” said Nash. We still have to push to play that way naturally and from start to finish. I thought tonight, we obviously made shots but we were sharp with our intent and our purpose offensively for stretches. That’s what got us through.”

The Nets ran the same starting lineup — Harden, Harris, Durant, Brown and Griffin — for the seventh straight game. Although Brooklyn had difficulty early finding space on the offensive end due to Toronto’s length, the team found a rhythm behind the play of Durant, who scored 12 of the Nets’ 29 points to take a 29-26 lead after one. Griffin snagged six rebounds in the frame.

It was a back-and-forth second quarter, but Brooklyn’s second unit held it down defensively, holding Toronto to only 21 percent shooting from the field through the first six minutes of the second. Still, the Raptors forged a 9-2 run in the span of a minute to grab a six-point lead. Following the run, Durant picked up a technical foul for arguing with the officials over a push in the back call on Chris Boucher. “I didn’t touch him! I didn’t touch him!” KD pleaded.

In the final minute, the Raptors tough defense sent a pair of double teams at Durant in the midrange, resulting in two turnovers. Toronto, in fact, flipped Brooklyn’s nine first-half turnovers into 13 points and as the second quarter buzzer sounded, the home team hit the break nursing a seven-point advantage. The Nets did not play Griffin throughout the second quarter and instead, attempted to go small against the lengthy Raptors.

Durant led the Nets with 16 first-half points on 6-of-12 shooting from the field and 1-of-4 from deep in 19 minutes of play. Harden followed with 10 points on 4-of-11 shooting from the field but went 0-of-5 from three.

Brooklyn Nets v Toronto Raptors

Photo by Mark Blinch/NBAE via Getty Images

Then, when the second half opened, things changed and fast. The third quarter was all Brooklyn. The frame opened with a 9-0 Nets run behind the play of Griffin, Durant and Harden. A two-man maneuver between Harden and Durant that led to a flush from the NBA’s leading scorer served as a big catalyst to the hot start. The ball movement continued to boost the Nets’ offense and helped contribute to Toronto’s defensive confusion. The Raps picked up their fourth team foul with nearly eight minutes remaining in the fourth, allowing Brooklyn to go to the line off fouls for the remainder of the quarter.

Brooklyn’s offense was clicking on all cylinders but it was the defense that helped the Nets build their largest lead (11 points). The team held the Raptors to only five points through the first six minutes of play and a total of 17 points. Although Toronto answers with a quick six-point boost, Brooklyn concluded their dominant third on an 11-2 run to lift their advantage to a game-high 11 points.

Toronto hung around and kept clawing away to cut the deficit to single-digits, but Harden began to feel it late. Despite the Raptors forging a late 7-0 run for more breathing room, Harden scored 16 points in the fourth and nailed the dagger from deep in the 32.5 seconds remaining to seal it.

Fred VanVleet led the Raptors with 21 points in 41 minutes followed by OG Anunoby with 16 points in 38 minutes. With the defeat, Toronto falls to 6-5 on the young season.

The Film Room

James Harden had his best performance of the season. Some might say he looked like himself… Debate a wall.

Much of Harden’s scoring through Brooklyn’s first 9 games had been at the three-point line — 49.7% of his scores came from behind the arc, which would’ve been the highest of his 13-year career. Essentially, Harden was living and dying by the three more than ever, supplementing for what had largely been iffy burst off the dribble.

Yet on Sunday, the three-point shot was not there. Harden finished 3-of-10 from three. And he still finished with 28 points.

How’d he do it? By driving. Just like the James Harden we know.

After a shaky start, Harden found himself a mismatch with Raptors center Chris Boucher at the end of the first half. In previous games, matchups with slower centers or smaller guards had proved to be fruitless. He couldn’t get by either one of Cory Joseph or Kelly Olynyk during Friday’s game against Detroit, for example.

Yet against Boucher, Harden got into his bag and simply put his head down. The help was late just never showed up, and what resulted was the best drive of Harden’s 2021-22 season, bar none.

“When he’s aggressive, then the defensive focus has to shift, said Blake Griffin about Harden’s scoring. “I think he’s done a great balance lately.”

That sound you’re hearing is a thunderous sigh of relief echoing down the wide streets of Flatbush and Atlantic.

The beauty of Harden’s early struggles is that it slowly but surely birthed new counters. He’s toyed with a step-back midrange shot in each of the last three games to counteract when defenses overplay his drives. Lately, he’s been making threes in spot-up situations, which was basically unheard of last year. A pass fake breaks Toronto’s zone defense and Harden cooly breaks the Raptors with a 0-dibble three.

“I thought in the first half, he didn’t give himself enough credit. I thought he had opportunities to attack more. I tried to implore him to go and to be aggressive. In the second half, he was excellent,” said Steve Nash when summarizing Harden’s performance.

Don’t look now, but he’s finding his groove. There’s a chance he’s added a few new layers in the process.

(More) Blue Collar Boys

It’s been a while since the Nets have had a bit as funny as the Blue Collar Boys. Sunday’s game gave us more priceless snippets into what appears to be a jovial locker room.

Blake Griffin provided updates on the application statuses of two potential new members, Kevin Durant and Patty Mills, both of whom have strapped into their working boots and taken some bone-crushing charges in Brooklyn’s last two contests.

Kevin Durant took a particularly nasty charge and after the game, he joked he was “nearly concussed.” It appears Blake Griffin was impressed by Durant’s commitment to the team… though he’s still got a long way to go to get into the exclusive club.

Patty Mills, meanwhile, is officially in. The news we’ve been waiting for.

Clearly overjoyed by the news of his acceptance, Mills joked that he wasn’t sure if the co-presidents of the Blue Collar Boys (Blake Griffin and Joe Harris) had sent the news to the wrong email address.

Inside goofs like this are what make the NBA season all the more enjoyable.

O Canada!

Sunday was Kevin Durant’s first time playing in Toronto since he got hurt in the 2019 Finals, famously tearing his Achilles tendon while attempting to will back his Golden State Warriors from a 3-1 deficit. Durant called it one of his “lowest moments” of his career.

“I had some great memories in Toronto. I love playing in Toronto, the fans have been amazing to me,” said Durant. “The last time I was here was one of my lowest moments as a basketball player, but it’s good to come back here, play, see the fans, and get a W.”

Sunday’s win was the first the Nets have put together in Canada’s largest city since 2015. They had lost 10 straight. It was also the first win in Canada for the team’s two high-profile Canadian citizens, head coach Steve Nash and owner Joe Tsai.

“It means a lot,” said Nash on winning Sunday afternoon as a head coach. “This is a very special place for me. Not obviously Canada but Toronto. I spent so much of my time here. I have so many close friends, relationships and memories in the city. I have a lot of admiration for the Raptors organization and Nick Nurse. To get a win here is really special for me. For me, this is definitely a sweet one.”

It was also the first time the Nets had traveled to Toronto in 638 days. Due to COVID travel restrictions, the Raptors wound up in Florida for the 2020 “bubble” and all of the 2020-21 season.

What’s next

Philadelphia 76ers v Chicago Bulls

Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

The Nets will travel to Chicago to face the Bulls Sunday, Nov. 8 for their second back-to-back of the season. The game is scheduled to tip at 8:00 p.m. ET. and will be televised on YES Network.

“They got three elite level scorers from all areas and one at the big man position. And then you got a point guard in Lonzo who can orchestrate it all. We got our work cut out for us. Another test for us,” said Durant looking ahead to Chicago.

When asked about the availability for Kevin Durant and Blake Griffin for Monday’s matchup against the Bulls, Steve Nash said the team will decide after the Raptors game. Griffin said he expects to play Monday after the victory over the Raptors.

“We’ll see. We haven’t made any decisions. We’ll see how today goes so we’re really just going to focus on this one and then we’ll have a chat about it after the game and see what we do tomorrow,” said Nash prior to Sunday’s game.

For a different perspective on Sunday’s game, check out Raptors HQ — our sister site covering the Raptors.

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Southwest Airlines Delivers Gift Of Travel For Medical Patients And Caregivers

DALLAS, March 2, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Southwest Airlines Co. (NYSE: LUV) today announced it has donated 7,500 roundtrip tickets to help remove the financial burden for those who need to travel for life-changing or specialized medical care. More than 75 nonprofit hospitals and medical transportation organizations across the United States received the tickets through Southwest’s® Medical Transportation Grant Program, allowing them to bring patients and caregivers closer to much-needed medical care.

“As the airline with Heart, we have a passion for making a meaningful difference in the communities we serve,” said Laura Nieto, Director of Community Outreach. “Through our Medical Transportation Grant Program, our hope is to ease the financial burden of air travel expenses and provide a critical lifeline for patients and caregivers, allowing them to stay focused on medical treatment and recovery.”

This year, Southwest is supporting hospitals in 26 states, providing access for patients and their caregivers.

“Southwest’s generous gesture of aloha provides much-needed help to our patients and their families who travel for essential medical care,” said Jill Hoggard Green, PhD, RN, President and CEO of The Queen’s Health Systems in Honolulu, Hawaii; one of two new hospital groups in Hawaii to join Southwest’s Medical Transportation Grant Program in 2021. “Southwest’s donation provides assistance and peace of mind where it is most needed by making health care more easily accessible.”

To view the full list of participating hospitals and charitable organizations for 2021, visit Southwest.com/medicalgrant. Since this signature program’s inception in 2007, Southwest has donated nearly $39 million in transportation value, helping to remove the financial costs associated with travel for more than 96,000 patients and caregivers. Visit Southwest’s 50th Anniversary website to see the Medical Transportation Grant Program at work.  

In its 50th year of service, Dallas-based Southwest Airlines Co. continues to differentiate itself from other air carriers with exemplary Customer Service delivered by more than 56,000 Employees to a Customer base that topped 130 million Passengers in 2019. Southwest has a robust network of point-to-point service with a strong presence across top leisure and business markets. In peak travel seasons during 2019, Southwest operated more than 4,000 weekday departures among a network of 101 destinations in the United States and 10 additional countries. In 2020, the carrier added service to Hilo, Hawaii; Cozumel, Mexico; Miami; Palm Springs, Calif.; Steamboat Springs; and Montrose (Telluride), Colo. Thus far in 2021, Southwest began service to both Chicago (O’Hare) and Sarasota/Bradenton on Feb. 14; and will begin service to both Savannah/Hilton Head and Colorado Springs on March 11; both Houston (Bush) and Santa Barbara, Calif. on April 12; Fresno, Calif. on April 25; Destin/Ft. Walton Beach on May 6; Bozeman, Mont. on May 27; and Jackson, Miss. on June 6.

The carrier issued its Southwest® Promise in May 2020 to highlight new and round-the-clock efforts to support its Customers and Employees well-being and comfort. Among the changes are enhanced cleaning efforts at airports and onboard aircraft, along with a federal mandate requiring every person to wear a mask at all times throughout each flight. Additional details about the Southwest Promise are available at Southwest.com/Promise.    

Southwest coined Transfarency® to describe its purposed philosophy of treating Customers honestly and fairly, and low fares actually staying low. Southwest is the only major U.S. airline to offer bags fly free® to everyone (first and second checked pieces of luggage, size and weight limits apply, some carriers offer free checked bags on select routes or in qualified circumstances). Southwest does not charge change fees, though fare differences might apply.  

Southwest is one of the most honored airlines in the world, known for a triple bottom line approach that contributes to the carrier’s performance and productivity, the importance of its People and the communities they serve, and an overall commitment to efficiency and the planet. Learn more about how the carrier gives back to communities across the world by visiting Southwest.com/citizenship.  

Book Southwest Airlines’ low fares online at Southwest.com or by phone at 800-I-FLY-SWA.  

SOURCE Southwest Airlines Co.

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