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Miami Heat are a throwback to Pat Riley’s Knicks



Victor Oladipo and Jimmy Butler aren’t here for any bullshit.

Victor Oladipo and Jimmy Butler aren’t here for any bullshit.
Image: Getty Images

The Miami Heat are the only NBA contender built like a UFC promotion. Knowing that it was inevitable that Heat culture nearly turned that energy inward during a lousy loss to the Golden State Warriors. Udonis Haslem threatening to beat Jimmy Butler’s ass and Eric Spoelstra asking if Butler wanted to “fight him” is the elixir that keeps team President Pat Riley young. Why else would he keep assembling these backyard brawler squads?

Stylistically and personality-wise, this mix of players is the closest match to the DNA of Riley’s most pugnacious 90s Knicks teams than any we’ve seen in the last three decades. Put a mirror up and Kyle Lowry, Udonis Haslem, Bam Adebayo, Jimmy Butler and P.J. Tucker resemble pseudo-clones of Anthony Mason, John Starks, Patrick Ewing, Mark Jackson and Charles Oakley.

Thirty years ago, Anthony Mason rocked Xavier McDaniel’s chin during his first training camp and set the Knicks’ tone for the rest of the decade. This Heat squad has captured that same mix of ethanol and gasoline in a bottle without a true superstar in the fold. Jimmy Butler has never punched an opponent, but the infamous practice against Karl-Anthony-Towns and Andrew Wiggins where Butler called them soft and proved it on the court is the stuff of legend.

Udonis Haslem spent much of his Heat career as the Oakley to Dwyane Wade’s Jordan. He’s just here to set screens, box out, and potentially box if any whippersnapper steps out of line. It’s nearly been a year since his infamous three minutes, four points, one rebound, one ejection performance against the Philadelphia 76ers. Soon after, Miami rewarded him with another one-year contract so he could return for his 18th season.

After the two-year, $30 million extension they gave Andre Iguodala in 2020 expired, Miami signed P.J. Tucker to a 2-year, $14 million contract. Tucker is a 6-foot-5 micro-ball center who averages single digit points and plays basketball like a Monster truck. Tucker is either tussling in a cloud of dust on the floor or drilling one or two corner 3s a night.

Markieff Morris missed 58 games due to whiplash, stemming from an incident in which he committed a hard foul on Nikola Jokić and didn’t keep his head on a swivel when the reigning MVP retaliated. In the aftermath, Markieff’s twin brother, Marcus, promised revenge, which prompted the Jokić brothers to join Twitter and inform him they wanted all the smoke.

Miami Heat rotation players don’t have highlight videos. They have fight compilations.

Both teams needed a rabble rouser too. John Starks had one of the more punchable faces of the 90s, and he used that skill to bait opponents into doing so.The G-League gave Riley access to a whole host of John Starkses. Most haven’t been as obnoxious, but they’ve found spirited guards who can mix it up and won’t back down.

In 2015, he discovered Tyler Johnson, who repeatedly had his teeth dislodged during practice and games. The Heat have turned to their former two-way contract players Max Strus and Gabe Vincent this season. Strus played in 47 of the 49 games he was available for before the All-Star break, and Vincent played in 50 of the 54 games he was available for.

The ’94 Knicks, who came one win away from being crowned NBA champions, were one of the six lowest-scoring teams in the entire NBA. Riley constructed teams are here to bully and ball. If the Heat emerge from the East, it will be because their hand-to-hand combat All-Stars hoisted the rest of the league up a flagpole by their draws.

Miami’s defense ranks fifth in points per 100 possessions and defends the paint better than any team in the league. Beating Miami requires hot shooting from outside.

Miami has committed more fouls this season than 25 other teams and has drawn nearly double the charges of any team in the NBA.

They may seem like a primitive squad built to win in the ’90s, but if you wanna get into a long-distance contest with the Heat, they can do that too. Miami is shooting a league-best 37.3 percent beyond the arc even though Butler has been a 20 percent shooter from 3-point range all season.

Center Bam Adebayo is built like a defensive end but switches like a safety on the perimeter. That and the fact that his nickname was Bam are likely the only two things Riley needed to see in his scouting report to draft Adebayo in 2017.

Those Knicks were renowned for their scrappiness, but they couldn’t finish the job. Riley’s won with superstar-laden teams stacked to the brim with Hall of Famers like Shaq, Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade, Magic, Kareem and LeBron, but he’s proving a point with this Heat team.

Two years ago, Miami reached the Finals by thriving in the confines of the bubble. This season, they have a slim grip on the No. 1 seed in the East after a 2-game skid. In a superstar-driven league, the Heat’s hard-nosed culture has thrived in a cosmopolitan megalopolis.

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Mark Cavendish: Two men jailed over knifepoint robbery of cycling star and wife Peta at their home | News News



Mark Cavendish and his wife Peta were victims of a knifepoint robbery at their home in November 2021

Mark Cavendish and his wife Peta were victims of a knifepoint robbery at their home in November 2021

Two men have been jailed for robbing Olympic cyclist Mark Cavendish and his wife Peta of their high-value watches in a knifepoint raid at their home.

Intruders wearing balaclavas broke into their home in Ongar, Essex at about 2.30am on November 27, 2021 and threatened to stab the athlete, a trial at Chelmsford Crown Court heard.

They took items including two Richard Mille watches with a combined value of £700,000.

Romario Henry, 31, of Bell Green, Lewisham, south-east London, denied two counts of robbery but was found guilty following a trial and sentenced on Tuesday to 15 years in prison.

Ali Sesay, 28, of Holding Street, Rainham, Kent, admitted two counts of robbery and was jailed for 12 years.

“This was serious organised crime,” Judge David Turner KC told the defendants as he sentenced them. “This was no run-of-the-mill domestic burglary by opportunist amateurs.

“This was planned, targeted, orchestrated, ruthless offending aimed at an internationally known sportsman and his wife who happened to be brand ambassadors for exceptionally valuable Richard Mille watches.”

The trial was told that Sesay’s DNA was found on Mrs Cavendish’s phone, which was taken and found outside the property.

The charges were that the accused men robbed Cavendish of a watch, phone and safe, and robbed his wife of a watch, phone and suitcase.

Mrs Cavendish, who like her husband was naked during the robbery, had told jurors she had heard a noise that woke her in the night and went downstairs to investigate.

She said she could see “men’s figures in balaclavas, and they were running towards the bottom of the stairs”, and that she believed there were “between three and five” people.

Court artist sketch of Peta Cavendish giving evidence, watched by Judge David Turner, at Chelmsford Crown Court

Court artist sketch of Peta Cavendish giving evidence, watched by Judge David Turner, at Chelmsford Crown Court

She told the court she ran back to the bedroom shouting “get back” or “get in” to her husband, who was unable to activate a panic alarm.

Mrs Cavendish said one of the intruders “dragged” Cavendish “from his feet and started punching him”.

One had her husband in a headlock, she said, adding: “One of them held a large black knife to his throat and they said ‘where’s the watches?’ and ‘do you want me to stab you?”‘. She agreed with a suggestion that it was a Rambo-style knife.

Mrs Cavendish said that at the time her husband had been “out of hospital for four days, maybe” after a cycling crash which left him with three broken ribs and a tear to his left lung.

She said that when she went downstairs after the intruders had left, she saw that a patio door was smashed, and Cavendish cut his feet on the broken glass.

Edward Renvoize, prosecuting, said Henry had a previous conviction for supplying drugs in 2012, and for perverting the course of justice in 2013 by “assisting in burning out a vehicle that had been used in a murder as part of a gang enterprise”.

Archangelo Power, for Henry, said the defendant’s brother had been murdered three and a half months before the robbery and that had a “significant bearing on the psychological make-up of the defendant”. Mr Power said Henry had been “on the verge of committing suicide”.

Mark Cavendish and his wife had high-value watches stolen in the robbery

Mark Cavendish and his wife had high-value watches stolen in the robbery

Mr Renvoize said that Sesay had admitted at an earlier hearing to six unrelated firearms offences over the possession of two guns and ammunition, when he had been prohibited by a previous sentence from possessing such items.

The prosecutor said Sesay was arrested at an address in Thornton Heath, south London, on December 16 2021 and officers “had to use a chainsaw to gain access” and saw items, later found to be firearms, being thrown from a window to a neighbouring garden.

The judge jailed Sesay for eight years for the firearms offences, consecutive to the 12-year prison sentence for the robbery, making a total of 20 years. The judge said Sesay had previous convictions including for supply of cocaine and heroin in 2017.

Graeme Molloy, for Sesay, said the defendant was “truly sorry for his role” in the robbery and had admitted his involvement.

Speaking about the firearms offences, Mr Molloy said Sesay claimed the guns were not his but that he had thrown them from the window. Mr Molloy said the guns “were loaded but the cartridge wasn’t in the firing chamber”.

Jurors were told that two other men, Jo Jobson, from Plaistow, east London, and George Goddard, from Loughton in Essex, have been named as suspects in the robbery but have not been apprehended. Jobson was 25 and Goddard 26 at the time of a police appeal last March.

Oludewa Okorosobo, 28, of Flaxman Road, Camberwell, south London, denied two counts of robbery and was cleared by jurors after a trial.

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Eagles’ Nick Sirianni asked if Super Bowl is a ‘must win’ game



Gotta be a gag, right?

Gotta be a gag, right?
Image: Getty Images

In the Eagles’ Nick Sirianni’s first Super Bowl as a head coach, he experienced one of the true jewels of Super Bowl week: Being asked one of the most ridiculous questions that he will ever hear.

One of the best things that the NFL does is credential almost any and everybody for the artist formerly known as Super Bowl Media Day. Of course no dollar can be left on the table, so since 2016 it has been a Monday primetime event known as Super Bowl Opening Night.

Fortunately, even though the day and name has changed, the spirit of the event remains the same. Some head-shaking questions are asked out of ignorance. Others are from someone trying to be the class clown in a large group.

There has been no Opening Night for the previous two Super Bowls due to the pandemic. The evening was back in full effect on Monday night, and somebody came out swinging. From somewhere in the scrum of people on the floor at the Footprint Center, someone asked the head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles if the Super Bowl was a must-win game.

Someone asked what?

The championship game. The final game of the season. The highest rated broadcast on the American television calendar. The game that Rihanna has decided to take her jersey down from rafters and — while worth a billion dollars and also a new mom — spend time rehearsing to perform at.

Sirianni was able to keep a straight face and quickly move past might either the most asinine or possibly the most hilarious question that will be asked all evening

If the person who asked this is mocking the event, then by all means continue. Ask Jalen Hurts if he is happy that the Eagles won the NFC. Maybe ask Travis Kelce if he knows how to spell his last name. Or even better, ask Patrick Mahomes if State Farm truly is the best choice for car insurance.

Either make an artistic display with silly questions, or be escorted out by security. If you’re going to waste peoples’ time at least do it with a sense of humor.

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Chelsea FC: Brilliant Badiashile leading way for new signings as Thiago Silva partnership blossoms




helsea have not conceded a goal in the first 270 minutes that Benoit Badiashile has been on the pitch since his £35million move from Monaco.

His promising early form at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea will hope, hint at better times to come through their new signings.

The arrival of French centre-back Badiashile at the start of last month kick-started a record January spending spree of more than £300m.

After Chelsea were sent spiralling into crisis with defeats by Manchester City and Fulham, Badiashile made his debut in a 1-0 win over Crystal Palace.

After the Blues claimed a further two clean sheets in 0-0 draws away at Liverpool and at home to Fulham, he is building an impressive partnership with Thiago Silva.

Impressive start: Benoit Badiashile has formed a promising partnership with Thiago Silva

/ Getty Images

Badiashile was one of five new signings to feature in Friday’s 0-0 draw with Fulham. He started alongside £106.8m Enzo Fernandez, who started well but faded over 90 minutes, £89.5m Mykhailo Mudryk, who struggled over 45 minutes while carrying a cold, and £30m Noni Madueke, who was bright after being brought on at half-time.

“What a waste of money” was the regular chant from the Fulham fans in the away end.

That felt harsh in Badiashile’s case. With his size and speed, he looks like a perfect partner for 38-year-old veteran Silva.

In addition, he showed the ability to play brilliantly out of Fulham’s well-drilled press and he coped in his duels against Aleksandar Mitrovic.

There is still adaption to be done, as Graham Potter barked instructions about his positioning in relation to Silva.

However, using French to communicate with the former Paris Saint-Germain captain, Badiashile has helped steady the ship in the absence of the injured Wesley Fofana, and with Kalidou Koulibaly out of form.

While still only averaging just 1.05 goals per game in the Premier League, Chelsea will draw more than they win unless their new midfielders and forwards step up.

Arriving in the weeks after Badiashile, the likes of Fernandez, Joao Felix, Mudryk and Madueke have not had as much time to adapt to their surroundings.

With Chelsea still in 10th place and increasingly falling behind in the race to qualify for Europe, they must follow Badiashile’s lead and hit the ground running before time runs out.

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