Madrid: Real Madrid’s Argentine head coach Santiago Solari has defended Brazilian forward Vinicius Junior against criticism over the player’s lack of goal scoring.The 18-year-old Vinicius has played well recently, so well in fact that his national team has called the young player up to compete against Panama on March 23 and the Czech Republic on March 26 in place of Neymar. Yet despite the forward’s talent he has failed to do the most important thing any player can do; score goals, reports Efe news.“I like to look at the positive things that football players do. He has many positive things, such as his youth, freshness, directness, ability,” Solari said of Vinicius at a press conference on Friday.Since joining Madrid in 2018, Vinicius has put in a total of 26 appearances with the first team across all competitions and his play has made the Brazilian a headache for opposing coaches to plan against.“There are so many things in such a short space of time. Improving what can be improved is his work and that of those around him. But I look at all the good things,” the Argentine coach added.Yet, the deficit of goals is concerning to fans and pundits alike, as Vinicius has managed to score only three goals this season, the most recent of which came in Madrid’s 3-0 home win over Alaves on February 3.And although he had several scoring chances against Barcelona in Wednesday’s second leg of the Copa del Rey semi-finals, Vinicius was unable to capitalise on any of them.On the other end of the pitch, a clinical Barcelona made the most of a few scoring chances to prevail 3-0 over host Madrid, advancing to the final, in its quest for a record extending 31st Copa del Rey title.Madrid holds the third spot on the La Liga table with 48 points, nine behind leader Barcelona. IANSAlso Read: SPORTS NEWS
Associated Press Top-end receivers this year include Colorado’s Laviska Shenault, Alabama’s Jerry Jeudy and Henry Ruggs III, Oklahoma’s CeeDee Lamb, LSU’s Justin Jefferson, Arizona State’s Brandon Aiyuk and Clemson’s Tee Higgins.“This receivers’ class is honestly unbelievable in my eyes,” Lamb said. “You can’t really go wrong with anybody you draft” in any round. “You’re going to get a great pick.”Whether in search of a crisp route-runner, a deep threat, a fearless player going over the middle or even taking the direct snap, there’s someone for everyone in this year’s draft.“I think this class is going to do great things,” Shenault said.Right from the start, no less. Share This StoryFacebookTwitteremailPrintLinkedinRedditThe upcoming NFL draft features a tantalizing class of wide receivers expected to make an immediate impact as rookies.It’s a tall task even for an exceptionally deep group that’s expected to produce up to a half dozen first-round picks Thursday night. Receivers face one of the hardest adjustments to the pros because they have to absorb a monster playbook, beat press coverage and elude D-backs who are quicker, stronger and savvier. Sometimes the gamble pays off; sometimes it doesn’t.“One of the things that makes it tough to evaluate is that there’s so much difference playing at the National Football League level because of all the defenses we see and all the adjustments they have to make,” said long-time talent evaluation expert Gil Brandt, a Pro Football Hall of Famer.Quarterback is the only position with a steeper learning curve, Brandt suggested.“These guys have to do a lot more things in the NFL as far as adjustments — and do it quickly,” he said. “And the other thing is separation. There’s a lot of guys that can run fast but they can’t separate.”Mark Dominik, a SiriusXM NFL Radio host and former Buccaneers general manager, said receivers go from facing “18-, 19- and 20-year-old young men who aren’t as strong or as physical as they’re going to end up being” to “going up against a 29-year-old man and it’s a huge difference. Intersecting this meet-you-halfway approach is an uptick in the athleticism of wide receivers, a product of the multiple-receiver sets now the norm all the way down to youth football.“I think in today’s day and age where these guys were starting 7-on-7, it’s almost like AAU basketball,” Packers GM Brian Gutekunst said. “The receivers are so much more advanced in terms of their fundamentals coming into college and the league than maybe they have been in the past. It’s really just the NFL offense that will take time. “So I think there’s some guys sitting here today that I think will have a chance to make a pretty immediate impact, and I’m excited about that.”Washington Redskins coach Ron Rivera said today’s prospects are primed for the pro game as never before. “I think that’s why you see receivers bust, just because of the different player they’re going against.”That is starting to change, however.Teams are more willing than ever to bypass the old wait-and-watch standby for a plug-and-play approach with bigger, faster, quicker pass-catchers coming out. Calvin Ridley and D.J. Moore made big splashes in 2018, followed by Deebo Samuel, DK Metcalf, Marquise Brown, Terry McLaurin and A.J. Brown, who wasted no time establishing their credentials last season.“Last year was a good year in terms of a bunch of rookies coming in and having a lot of success, but if you look over the last several years, that second- and third-round receiver group has arguably been better than the first-round group,” said NFL draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah. “The challenge in scouting the position is it’s almost like two different games for college and the NFL in terms of what routes you’re asked to run, which are very limited at the college level,” Jeremiah said. “You watch a college game on Saturday you’re going to see a bunch of slants, hitches and go’s. It’s very limited in terms of what they ask them to do, very limited in terms of them having to read coverage and sight-adjust their routes. They don’t see very much press coverage.”Reading and reacting to coverage and keeping defenders from knocking them off their routes can prove difficult even for receivers who dominated college competition.“There’s just a lot of adjustment there, but I give the NFL credit,” Jeremiah said. “I think the last couple of years we’re seeing the NFL be a little smarter with the transition period for these guys and figuring out ways they can get them on fly sweeps or bubble screens and just get the ball in their hands and let them make plays, simplifying it a little bit while they’re young before they can grow and evolve into everything you want them to be.”Jeremiah said last season in particular provided “the blueprint to get these guys on the field and improve that track record at the position.” April 19, 2020 Deep receiver class faces high hopes for immediate impact ___Follow Arnie Melendrez Stapleton on Twitter: http://twitter.com/arniestapleton___More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL,Tampa Bay Lightning advance to face Dallas Stars in Stanley Cup finals, beating New York Islanders 2-1 in OT in Game 6
BARCELONA, Spain (Reuters) – Lionel Messi scored two goals and provided two more as Barcelona reached the quarter-finals of the Champions League in style, thrashing Olympique Lyonnais 5-1 at home yesterday and advancing by the same scoreline on aggregate.Barca captain Messi nonchalantly opened the scoring with a ‘Panenka’ penalty chipped down the middle of the goal in the 17th minute after Luis Suarez was fouled in the area, putting his side ahead in the tie after a goalless first leg in France.Suarez then rounded Lyon goalkeeper Anthony Lopes to lay on a perfect pass for the unmarked Philippe Coutinho to nudge into an open net and double Barca’s lead, although Lyon hauled themselves back into contention with a second-half strike from Lucas Tousart.Messi soon killed off any hopes of an unlikely comeback from the French side, however,carving his way through the defence to score in the 78th minute, before toying with Lyon’s back line twice more and laying off passes for Gerard Pique and then Ousmane Dembele to complete the rout.
– Former Australia Test skipper reveals meeting with substitute fielder Gary Pratt at end of 2005 Ashes seriesTHE epilogue to the major flashpoint of the greatest Test series this century came not with a terse exchange of words, but with a gift.More than two weeks after one of the most famous run-outs in Ashes history, Ricky Ponting finally came face-to-face with the man who played an unexpected role in handing Australia their first Ashes defeat in 16 years.“Gary Pratt came into our rooms after the last Test at The Oval … and I wanted to grab him by the throat and throw him off the balcony!,” Ponting recalled with a laugh to cricket.com.au last year.“Obviously, I say that tongue-in-cheek. It was all part of what had happened. It was all done and dusted and over.”Pratt had shot to fame during the fourth Test of that unforgettable series when, as a substitute fielder, his pinpoint throw ran Ponting out in Australia’s second innings of the nail-biting Trent Bridge Test.Ricky Ponting was furious after being dismissed. (AAP)The 23-year-old Pratt was regarded as one of the better fielders in England and despite not being part of his county Durham’s first XI at the time he was one of a handful of players who were drafted into the England squad as specialist fielders for the series.Ponting and the Australians had been aware for some time that England’s Test side had been tactically deploying their substitute fielders to replace fast bowlers during a game, allowing the quicks to have longer stints at the bowling crease with the promise of an extended break in the rooms to followIt was a move from the hosts that while not against the rules of the game, had riled up the Australians, particularly Ponting.And when Pratt made his decisive play on that day at Trent Bridge, weeks of frustration that had been bubbling beneath the surface finally boiled over.“I’d talked to the referee before the first Test match about the way we knew they were going to be handling their fast bowlers,” Ponting remembers.“We’d been watching them for two years beforehand and we knew what they were doing; they’d bowl an eight-over spell, go off the field for a while, come back and in time would be ready to bowl their next spell.“I wasn’t comfortable with the way they were playing their cricket like that so I let the referee know and made sure I monitored it where I could.“They would just bring their best fielders in from anywhere in the country. It wasn’t just their 12th man fielding; it wasn’t the big quick whom they didn’t pick out there fielding. They had their best fielders from anywhere in the country doing their fielding for them.“And it wasn’t unusual to have two or three (substitute) fielders on the field at the same time in that series.“It was getting to all of us.”The fallout to Pratt’s run-out is part of Ashes history.Ponting’s verbal spray at England coach Duncan Fletcher as he walked off Trent Bridge that day led to the Australian skipper copping a fine as the home side won the match by three wickets in a nail-biting finish.But despite his frustration at series end, Ponting made sure his Trent Bridge conqueror walked away from the campaign with more than just happy memories.“I actually signed a pair of my shoes and gave them to him and said ‘well done’,” Ponting said.“And that’s the last I’ve seen of him.” (Cricket Network)
*Attendance200 of the 736 players summoned to Russia have been to the FIFA World Cup before. 186 were at Brazil 2014, 61 were at South Africa 2010, 21 were at Germany 2006 and one was at Korea/Japan 2002: Rafa Marquez, who will become just the fourth man to go to five editions of the tournament after Antonio Carbajal, Lothar Matthaus and Gigi Buffon.*Leagues 100 per cent of Englandâ€™s players are based in their national league. The Three Lions are followed by Russia (21/23) and Saudi Arabia (20/23). Senegal and Sweden, on the other hand, didnâ€™t pick a single player from their domestic championship, while Belgium, Iceland, Nigeria and Switzerland selected only one apiece. Seventy-four per cent of the players at Russia 2018 are based in Europe.*Age19 years and five months is the comparatively old age that makes Australia winger Daniel Arzani the youngest player at Russia 2018. Femi Opabunmi (17 and two months), Theo Walcott (17 and three months), Christian Eriksen (18 years and four months) and Fabrice Olinga (18 years and one month) were the youngest players to go to the 2002, 2006, 2010 and 2014 World Cups. The average age of the 736 players â€“ almost 28 years old â€“ is the oldest in the tournamentâ€™s history.*Club Reps16 players make Manchester City the best-represented team at Russia 2018. The English Premier League champions are followed by Real Madrid (15), Barcelona (14), Chelsea, Paris Saint-Germain and Tottenham Hotspur (12). England is the base for the most players (124), followed by Spain (81) and Germany (67).* Germany and Spain9 members of Germanyâ€™s Brazil 2014-conquering squad have been selected by Joachim Low this time around. Among those to miss out were Benedikt Howedes and Christoph Kramer, who started the Maracana Final, and Andre Schurrle and Mario Gotze, who combined for the only goal in it.Vicente Del Bosque took 16 of Spainâ€™s South Africa 2010 winners to the next World Cup.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram
Comments Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on September 26, 2010 at 12:00 pm Contact Michael: firstname.lastname@example.org | @Michael_Cohen13 After 45 minutes of being outshot, outplayed and outhustled by Pittsburgh, Syracuse head coach Ian McIntyre knew adjustments needed to be made. It was halftime, but the Orange hadn’t conceded a goal. With the score still 0-0, his team was by no means out of the game. ‘Pittsburgh really got on top and created some quality opportunities,’ McIntyre said. ‘That had to change if we were going to get something out of the game.’ Change is exactly what McIntyre did. To start the second half, McIntyre backed away from the 4-5-1 formation the team had been using for most of the season. Instead he pushed one of his midfielders forward to play as an additional striker and create a traditional 4-4-2 alignment. Although the team failed to find the back of the net and the game ended in a 0-0 tie, SU more than tripled its shot output in the second half and had a more consistent, better organized attack.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text The extra striker on Saturday came in the form of junior Nick Roydhouse. He moved up from the center attacking midfield position to play up front alongside Federico Agreda. It took him a few minutes to acclimate himself. Five minutes into the second half, sophomore defender Jakob Karlgren made a run out of the back down the left sideline and crossed the ball to Roydhouse. Alone in the middle of the penalty box, Roydhouse ripped a left-footed volley that pinged off the crossbar. Stunned by the miss, Roydhouse could only throw up his hands in disbelief. ‘I thought it was in,’ he said. ‘I couldn’t have hit it any better. It just rose up too high. Next time, I’ll put it in. ‘Let’s hope so anyway,’ he joked. The new formation also provided an opportunity for senior Manny Sevillano to step in for Geoff Lytle as an outside midfielder. In a 4-4-2, there is added pressure on the outside midfielders to cover a huge amount of the field. They are responsible for pushing forward and assisting the two strikers, and then having to retreat and play defense to help the outside defenders. It was for that reason McIntyre inserted Sevillano into the game. He trusted his endurance, and he trusted his pace. ‘He basically said, ‘We’re going to need your legs,” Sevillano said. ‘I have that speed and fitness that usually really helps our team.’ Sevillano played 63 minutes Saturday, all of which came in the second half and overtime. Playing on the left side of the field with Roydhouse, he nearly tallied what could have been a game-winning goal with two minutes to play in regulation. A beautiful combination between Roydhouse and midfielder Mawuena Agbossoumonde slipped Roydhouse free into the left corner. He played a cross into the box that found its way to Sevillano’s right foot, but his volley attempt sailed over the crossbar. Nonetheless, his play caught the attention of McIntyre. ‘He brought us energy,’ McIntyre said. ‘He brought us legs. I thought he was very good tonight. … Having that athleticism really keeps another team honest, and I thought he worked his socks off tonight.’ Syracuse managed seven shots in the second half, compared to just two in the first. The more focused attack also earned the Orange three corner kicks. It even outshot Pittsburgh in the overtime periods. ‘I think in the second half, we were performing a little bit better,’ Sevillano said. ‘We were on top of Pittsburgh. Usually you try to leave (a team that’s playing well) and see if that team can produce.’ But despite the improved attack, the team couldn’t produce a goal. Through its first seven matches, the team has just four goals and hasn’t scored more than one in a game. The last time the Orange went seven games to open a season without netting at least two goals in a single game was 1960. And it has only happened twice in program history. The offense needs to come around, and it needs to do so quickly. ‘(Scoring goals) is a mentality,’ McIntyre said. ‘It’s an aggressive nature, and you keep working at it. That’s why we practice and that’s how we become confident. We’ll keep working on that quality service, and then the goals will come.’ email@example.com
Senior Maria Sanchez and freshman Kaitlyn Christian etched their names in the USC record books, as they became the first pairing in program history to advance to the semifinals of the NCAA doubles championship.Talented · Senior Maria Sanchez (pictured) and freshman Kaitlyn Christian became USC’s first doubles pair to reach the NCAA semifinals. – Summer Trojan file photo But when they got there, Clemson’s Josipa Bek and Keri Wong proved to be too much, putting an end to Sanchez and Christian’s stellar doubles campaign.“When they are playing their very best, I don’t think anyone beats them,” said USC coach Richard Gallien. “It wasn’t a slam dunk that they would win, but I wasn’t surprised that we were in the semifinals.”Sanchez also expressed happiness at making it so far in the tournament with Christian.“It was exciting making it to the semis,” she said. “It was a tough match we lost, but overall we had a good season together and I really enjoyed playing with her.”Sanchez also competed in the singles competition of the tournament, facing off against Baylor’s Diana Nakic in the first round.The match was delayed almost two hours because of rain. Despite the circumstances, the senior managed to eke out a victory.Though shaky in the first set, the ITA National Senior Player of the Year and Pac-10 Player of the Year came back to win the second and third sets 6-2. This put Sanchez up against California’s Mari Andersson in the following day.Sophomore Danielle Lao also beat her opponent from Baylor, Sona Novakoya, in the first round. Lao’s win 6-2, 6-4 moved her in to the round of 32 to face Stanford’s Nicole Gibbs.But after successful first rounds of play, Sanchez and Lao’s singles journeys ended in the second round.“Lao had an excellent win,” Gallien said. “She beat the number one girl from Baylor. Maria had such a great year and didn’t play her best tennis. It doesn’t change anything about her wonderful year.”Sanchez lost to Andersson in two sets, 6-2, 6-3, ending her singles run with USC, as she finished with an overall career singles record of 116-36 and a season record of 36-5.Lao’s match against Gibbs did not fare much better, with the sophomore suffering a 6-2, 6-1 loss. Lao finished her season with a 26-13 overall record and was also honored as an All-Pac-10 Second Team selection and won the ITA Southwest Regional Singles Champion this season.With play over this season, the Women of Troy hope things will only get better from here.“I think they are going to be really tough in the future,” Sanchez said. “They have some good recruits coming in. I’m excited to see how they do.”
Nine seconds stood between Syracuse and a 2-1 victory over Robert Morris. Even with senior forward Jessica Sibley in the box, it appeared the Orange would kill the penalty and escape that late November night with a victory. Then RMU’s Kirsten Welsh beat SU goalie Abbey Miller for the tie. The game ended that way and the Colonials won, 2-1, the next day.“I think everyone’s pretty disappointed in the last effort when we went and played Robert Morris,” sophomore defender Allie Munroe said.That weekend served as a microcosm of Syracuse’s season through its first 20 games: Right on the cusp, but never enough to push over the edge.The Orange (9-10-5, 8-2-2 College Hockey America) has a chance to break through against the No. 7 Colonials (16-2-6, 9-1-2) this weekend. A sweep of Robert Morris this weekend would vault Syracuse into first place in the CHA standings and move the Orange one step closer to a first-round bye in the conference tournament.“Right now,” junior forward Emily Costales said, “I think it’s the biggest weekend of the season.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textThe two teams enter the weekend in first and second place in the conference, respectively, with only two points — a win — separating them. A tie and an SU win would leave both teams tied for first and, if the Orange lose one of the two games, it will end up right back where it started: two points behind or worse.“We’re really looking for revenge this weekend,” Munroe said, “but also just focusing on us and focusing on getting first place and those two wins.”The biggest challenge facing SU is slowing down RMU’s Brittany Howard (39 points) and Jaycee Gebhard (33), the two leading scorers in the CHA. Together, the linemates have combined for 72, more than Syracuse’s top four point scorers combined. RMU also has the sixth leading scorer in the conference in Amber Rennie (21 points) and two players tied for ninth, Maggie Lague and Welsh (17 points each).“I think it’s just — obviously keeping an eye on (Gebhard and Howard) — giving them a few extra taps on the knees just to get them kind of angry,” Costales said. “Hopefully draw a few penalties.”The Orange enters the the weekend on a four-game tear. Over the last four games, SU has outscored its opponents by a combined margin of 15-2. Syracuse also outshot its opponents by a 142-59 margin.As the Orange heats up at just the right time, Robert Morris has faltered of late, winning only two of its last four and dropping a home game to Lindenwood, a team SU outscored 16-0 on the season.Despite the chance to reach first place, Syracuse head coach Paul Flanagan noted the Orange will still have six conference games after playing RMU.“It’s certainly not do or die,” Flanagan said. “It’s not the last weekend of the regular season. Two points behind, home weekend, we’re very excited to have (RMU) come in. Our destiny is in our own hands.”Syracuse’s best chance at table-turning the CHA standings starts on Friday night.“It’s a huge weekend for us,” Munroe said. “We’re on a four-game win streak right now and we’re just trying to focus on Friday, but obviously in the back of our heads we know that first place is on the line. It’s a huge weekend.” Comments Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on January 25, 2017 at 10:35 pm Contact Andrew: firstname.lastname@example.org | @A_E_Graham
The Caribbean ministers of culture have approved a permanent logo for the Caribbean Festival of Arts (CARIFESTA).The approval was given during the two-day meeting of the Council for Human and Social Development (COHSOD) that ended in Guyana over the past weekend.Traditionally, each CARIFESTA host country was required to design a logo to be used in their branding of the region’s premier festival, which meant that for each hosting, there was a different logo.Standardized logo“With this new logo, every CARIFESTA participating country subsequent to the 14th staging this year, will use the new design. The aim is to give the Community’s mega cultural Festival a more uniformed brand,” the Guyana-based Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat said in a statement following the COHSOD meeting.It said the logo for the first CARIFESTA was “a dark hand rising, grasping the sun, depicting the skills and aspirations of the tropical man with talent untold”, a symbol of the Caribbean people defining themselves and articulating their aspirations.August 15- 26 in Trinidad and TobagoCARIFESTA will be held this year in Trinidad and Tobago from August 15-26 under the theme ‘Connect, Share, Invest’.Trinidad and Tobago’s Minister of Community Development, Culture and the Arts, Dr. Nyan Gadsby-Dolly, provided the meeting with an update on the preparations.She told the ministers that Trinidad and Tobago was introducing several niche festivals to the event that could become stand-alone events in the region.Cultural assetShe said that CARIFESTA was one of the Region’s best cultural assets and it was up to the Community to find innovative ways to reinvigorate and re-imagine the Festival each time.The Secretariat said that the calendar of the events can be accessed at the CARIFESTA website www.carifesta.net.CARICOM Secretary-General, Irwin LaRocque, took the opportunity to reiterate that culture plays a significant role in the region’s sustainable growth and development.He said that cultural industries in the region had out-performed sectors such as agriculture, finance, insurance and construction in some member states.He, however, said that there needed to be the necessary enabling environment for the creative industries to be more competitive, and to increase their contribution to employment and growth.Catalyst for creative industry developmentSpeaking on CARIFESTA, which he referred to as the Community’s highly valued regional space that showcased arts and culture, LaRocque said the mega cultural event was being positioned as a catalyst for creative industry development within CARICOM.He noted that since CARIFESTA XI in Suriname, a business component – the cultural marketplace – was introduced where managers of venues, international festivals and performing arts, buyers and booking agents were invited to see and network with Caribbean artists.LaRocque said that the initiative was intended to create more opportunities for the professional development of artists and for the export of their products and services.Caribbean Creative Industries Management Unit (CCIMU)In the statement, the CARICOM Secretariat said that other matters that were discussed at the meeting included a proposal for the establishment of the Caribbean Creative Industries Management Unit (CCIMU) developed by Caribbean Export and the establishment of national and regional registries of artists and cultural workers were also discussed.The CCIMU is intended to provide business and other support services to the sector to build the export capacity of artists and cultural entrepreneurs. The national registries and the regional registry are important tools to complement the free movement provision for artists and cultural workers under the CSME and enable greater market access to the European Union as Contractual Service Suppliers.
Just one day removed from one of their most impressive victories of the season, the Clippers stunk for the final 31/2 quarters Sunday against the Miami Heat.The Clippers led by 13 points midway through the first quarter, but the Heat defeated them 104-90 before a sellout crowd of 19,060 at Staples Center.That’s a negative 27-point turnaround against a Heat team that is now just 16-21. Again, it demonstrates the inconsistency of this Clippers team, which is now 25-13.But coach Doc Rivers scoffed when that subject was broached. Griffin was bummed out, to be sure, about the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde persona of his team.“That’s the thing that’s probably the most frustrating,” he said. “Playing so well the last two games, especially yesterday, just the energy and spirit we played with yesterday. I thought we started the game well. We just didn’t do a good job after that.”The Clippers had won five of six, Miami had lost five of six.Griffin led the Clippers with 26 points, Paul had 23 points and nine assists and J.J. Redick scored 14. But post DeAndre Jordan had just four points and six rebounds – he led the league with a 13.7 rebounding average going in – and Jamal Crawford scored just four points on 1 of 9 shooting.Chris Bosh led everyone with 34 points, Hassan Whiteside scored 23 points and grabbed 16 rebounds off the bench and Dwyane Wade scored 17 and doled out 10 assists.The statistic of the night came from the rebounding department, where Miami outrebounded the Clippers 46-27, 15-6 on the offensive boards.“Bad rebounding,” Rivers said. “A lot of it was penetration. They lived in the paint. I thought we had very little impact on the ball the entire day. Their guards got to the paint and our bigs had to help. Usually when that happens, we give up offensive rebounds.”Griffin took a lot of blame for that.“That puts us in a terrible position,” he said of the disparity. “I need to do a better job on the boards. Offensive rebounds are kind of a bigger thing for me. Fifteen to six. … That’s too many.”Miami had 18 second-chance points, the Clippers nine.Whiteside, who began the season in the D-League and was in just his 13th game with the Heat, got five of his team’s offensive boards. He really opened some eyes.“He’s playing phenomenally,” Wade said of the 7-foot post. “He’s doing exactly what a big guy is supposed to do.”Whiteside’s points and rebounds were career-highs.“I knew it would be hard to be in the league and rebounding,” he said, “so I had to do a good job of keeping them off the boards.”The Clippers did a good job for six minutes Sunday. That was about it.“I thought we came out with pretty good energy to start the game,” Rivers said. “After that, our energy went way down and we never could get it back. Our defense was terrible today, but our offense was just as bad.“I did not think that was the same team you saw the last few games with our pace and our movement.”It’s called being inconsistent.BREAKOUTThe Clippers next play Wednesday night at Portland (29-8) at 7:30. “I’m not concerned. I’ve been saying it all year. I don’t think particularly you are hearing that,” Rivers said to a reporter. “What’s our record? Where are we? I mean, we’re right in the middle of things, right? So, I mean, I would love to win every game. I guarantee you we’re not. It’s just not going to happen.“I would love to be more consistent. As far as it being a concern, it’s not a concern right now for me.”The Clippers, who Saturday routed the Dallas Mavericks 120-100, finished their nine-game homestand 6-3. The other two losses came against elite teams Atlanta and Toronto. Of the six victories, only two – against Golden State and Dallas – came against teams that figure to make the playoffs.Rivers may not be worried about his team’s inconsistency, but Chris Paul and Blake Griffin are concerned.“It has to be a lot better,” Paul said. “Like Doc always said, we’ve gotta pay more attention to detail. We’ve gotta execute better and defensively, we’ve gotta find a way to be more consistent.” Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error