A glimpse of the NBA’s future in Las Vegas
By TIM DAHLBERG
AP Sports Columnist
Thursday, October 11
LAS VEGAS (AP) — There was LeBron James, still somewhat of a startling sight in purple and gold. And there were Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors, still very much the champions of basketball for now and the foreseeable future.
Playing each other Wednesday night in a game that meant nothing — except for those looking for a glimpse into the future of the NBA.
Basketball’s biggest stars on stage in a city full of stars. An exhibition game, yes, but that didn’t stop fans from packing T-Mobile Arena on the Strip, where in a few years there almost surely will be a team they can call their own.
And maybe the best thing? Anyone in the arena with a betting account could pull out their phone and bet a few dollars during the game.
The gambling stigma is gone, thanks largely to NBA Commissioner Adam Silver’s progressive attitude and a Supreme Court decision that allowed sports betting in other states. The Vegas Golden Knights showed in their inaugural season that professional sports not only work in Sin City — it seems to be a perfect fit.
And nothing fits the city better than the NBA. The fans love it in Las Vegas, and so do the players.
“There’s a different energy here when you come, whether you’re from here or you’re just visiting,” Curry said. “We enjoy coming to play, it’s always fun.”
Fun was a key word on a night when Lonzo Ball played for the first time with James and the Warriors looked to sharpen their focus with just one more game before the regular season begins. The score mattered mostly only to bettors (the Lakers covered as four-point underdogs), but the effort — at least in the first half — seemed a bit more regular season than it did preseason.
Still, if there’s a budding rivalry between the California teams now that James has come out west, he wasn’t letting on.
“What’s the rivalry?” he said when asked after the morning shoot-around.
Indeed, there hasn’t been a rivalry in recent years as the Warriors dominated the NBA and the Lakers struggled getting used to life without Kobe Bryant. The arrival of James will surely change that at some point, though for now just seeing the best player of his era in a Lakers uniform seems special enough.
“It’s pretty cool for Lakers fans, and West Coast fans, to see LeBron out here on the west side,” Durant said.
Even cooler for Lakers fans was watching James with a behind-the-back pass to Ball, or a lob for a dunk to former Warrior JaVale McGee. The Lakers may be one more big acquisition away from really starting a rivalry with Golden State, but the sight of James already making his teammates better had to make them believe good times are coming in Los Angeles.
Even as James is becoming more comfortable in the purple and gold, though, he always been has comfortable in Las Vegas. He played in the city in AAU tournaments while growing up, spends a few weeks most summers in training camp here with USA Basketball, and is a fan of the NBA’s Las Vegas summer league.
It didn’t hurt when fans started chanting “MVP, MVP” during the first half and gave him a standing ovation when he hit a 30-footer at the buzzer to give the Lakers a halftime lead before posing for the crowd. James, who didn’t play in the Lakers’ last exhibition game, had 15 points, 10 rebounds and five assists in a dominating half.
“It just feels like the NBA is always flowing through Las Vegas, feels almost like our second home base,” Durant said. “Basketball around here has been really booming since I’ve been in the league.”
That showed during halftime when Magic Johnson, who heads basketball operations for the Lakers, was given a key to the city by Mayor Carolyn Goodman. Johnson talked about coming to Las Vegas for 40 years and his love for the city.
“I hope one day Las Vegas gets an NBA team,” he told the crowd.
Just when that day will be is anyone’s guess, though the head of giant casino operator MGM Resorts said last year he hoped to get a team on the Strip within five years. The company bought a WNBA team as part of its plan to land the NBA, with the Aces playing at the smaller Mandalay Bay arena.
For now, though, the NBA was here for just a day. James bowed out after playing 17 minutes in the first half, and the second half was more about getting court time for the reserves than it was determining which team was best.
A meaningless game, yes.
Look closer, though, and the future of the NBA comes a little more into focus.
W.G. Ramirez contributed to this story in Las Vegas.
Tim Dahlberg is a national sports columnist for The Associated Press. Write to him at tdahlbergap.org or http://twitter.com/timdahlberg
LeBron, Lonzo take the floor together for first time
By The Associated Press
Thursday, October 11
LeBron James watched Lonzo Ball play in Las Vegas during the 2017 NBA Summer League, taking in a Los Angeles Lakers’ game from a baseline seat as a spectator.
He had a better view Wednesday.
James and Ball were on-court teammates for the first time when the Lakers beat the Golden State Warriors 123-113, back in Las Vegas. Ball didn’t start the preseason contest, but replaced Rajon Rondo just 2 minutes, 13 seconds into the game.
“It’s just fun to have our full group,” James said.
James and Ball didn’t play very much. Ball has been recovering from a knee issue, and it was his first appearance this preseason.
James didn’t want to burden his new point guard with a lot of expectations, so he was keeping his approach very simple.
“He plays basketball,” James said of Ball before the game. “He knows how to play basketball.”
It was James’ first game against the Warriors since last season’s NBA Finals — when his second stint as a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers ended with Golden State sweeping its way to a second consecutive championship. But he downplayed the exhibition being any extension of his rivalry with the Warriors, or the rivalry between the California clubs.
“Preseason game,” James said.
WIZARDS 102, PISTONS 97
John Wall scored 32 points, including a layup with 1:26 left that put Washington ahead for good.
Wall finished with nine assists and Bradley Beal scored 17 points for the Wizards. Andre Drummond led the Pistons with 17 points and 20 rebounds, and Blake Griffin added 16 points for Detroit.
WIZARDS: Markieff Morris scored 15 points and Jason Smith added 14. … Washington once led by as many as 14 before needing big plays from Wall late to pull out the win.
PISTONS: Detroit took 45 shots from 3-point range, 42 from 2-point range. … Reggie Bullock was 4 for 8 from beyond the arc.
UP NEXT: Washington (3-1) hosts the Guangzhou Long-Lions on Friday. Detroit (1-3) faces Cleveland in East Lansing, Michigan, on Friday.
MAGIC 102, GRIZZLIES 86
Jonathan Issac and Aaron Gordon each scored 15 points for Orlando.
Nikola Vucevic grabbed 11 rebounds and Melvin Frazier Jr. scored 10 points for the Magic. Mike Conley scored a game-high 24 points for the Grizzlies, shooting 9 for 14.
GRIZZLIES: Memphis was outrebounded 54-38, and 12-1 on the offensive glass. … Marc Gasol and Jaren Jackson each scored 10.
MAGIC: Orlando took control with a 12-1 run in the second quarter. … Rookie Mo Bamba didn’t play because of a bruised wrist.
UP NEXT: Memphis (2-2) hosts Houston on Friday. Orlando (2-2) hosts San Antonio on Friday.
HEAT 140, PELICANS 128
Bam Adebayo scored 26 points and grabbed 12 rebounds, and Josh Richardson scored 25 for Miami — which set a franchise record for preseason points in a game.
Derrick Jones Jr., back from a sore shoulder, scored 18 for Miami. Julius Randle led New Orleans with 23 points.
PELICANS: Anthony Davis and Jrue Holiday rested. … Nikola Mirotic scored 19, while Elfrid Payton and Darius Miller each scored 17. … New Orleans’ 24 turnovers turned into 39 Miami points. … The Pelicans shot 56 percent and never led.
HEAT: Dwyane Wade, Goran Dragic, Hassan Whiteside, Wayne Ellington, Rodney McGruder and Justise Winslow all got the night off. … Kelly Olynyk was 2 for 8 in 13 minutes, all of his shots coming from 3-point range.
UP NEXT: New Orleans (0-4) hosts Toronto on Thursday. Miami (2-3) hosts Atlanta on Friday.
HAWKS 130, SPURS 127
Rookie guard Trae Young connected on a 3-pointer — from the Georgia Tech logo near midcourt — with 2.2 seconds left to send Atlanta to the win.
Taurean Prince had 25 points for the Hawks, and Young finished with 22. Rudy Gay led all scorers with 28 for San Antonio, on a 10-for-15 shooting night.
SPURS: The Spurs shot 55 percent — and allowed Atlanta to shoot 58 percent. … Bryn Forbes scored 22 points. DeMar DeRozan and Derrick White each had 15. … White started at point guard in place of Dejounte Murray, who tore his ACL earlier this week and will miss the season.
HAWKS: Alex Len finished with 16 points and 10 rebounds. … Kent Bazemore scored 15 points.
UP NEXT: San Antonio (2-2) visits Orlando on Friday. Atlanta (2-2) visits Miami on Friday.
RAPTORS 118, NETS 91
In Montreal, Toronto point guard Kyle Lowry got ejected in the third quarter for getting two technicals.
Danny Green scored 22 points and Kawhi Leonard had 11 points, seven rebounds and seven assists for Toronto. Jarrett Allen led the Nets with 24 points.
NETS: D’Angelo Russell scored 18 points and Caris LeVert finished with 13. … The Nets were outscored 35-11 in the third quarter.
RAPTORS: Toronto was 16 for 36 from 3-point range, with Green going 6 for 7 from deep. … Fred VanVleet and Jonas Valanciunas each had 11 points.
UP NEXT: Brooklyn (1-2) visits New York on Friday. Toronto (3-1) visits New Orleans on Thursday.
BULLS 104, PACERS 89
Justin Holiday and Zach LaVine scored 22 points apiece to lead Chicago.
Thaddeus Young, who missed Indiana’s first three preseason games due to a foot injury, made 8 of 12 from the field and finished with 16 points and 10 rebounds in 29 minutes.
BULLS: Bobby Portis made his first start of the preseason, scoring 20 points on 8-of-11 shooting. … Jabari Parker, who signed a two-year, $40 million deal with Chicago in July, had 11 points in 26 minutes off the bench. … The Bulls hit 13 of 30 (43.3 percent) from 3-point range.
PACERS: Rookie Aaron Holiday hit three 3-pointers and finished with 15 points. … Domantas Sabonis had 13 points and nine rebounds in 20 minutes and Victor Oladipo scored 12 points with seven turnovers.
UP NEXT: Chicago (2-2) hosts Denver on Friday. Indiana’s preseason ended at 2-2, and the Pacers open the regular season at home against Memphis on Oct. 17.
TRAIL BLAZERS 116, SUNS 83
Jake Layman scored 28 points for Portland on 10-of-14 shooting, including 5 of 7 from 3-point range.
Josh Jackson led Phoenix with 13 points and Richaun Holmes added 12.
TRAILBLAZERS: Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum (coach’s decision) did not play. … Evan Turner (shoulder), Gary Trent Jr. (quadriceps) and Moe Harkless (ankle) — a last-second scratch — missed the game due to injury. … Nik Stauskas had 10 points, seven rebounds and five assists and rookie Gary Payton II scored eight points in eight minutes.
SUNS: Devin Booker, who underwent hand surgery on Sept. 10 and was expected to miss six weeks, said he’d like to play against the Mavericks in the regular-season opener next week. … No. 1 overall pick Deandre Ayton had nine points and four rebounds in 15 minutes. … Phoenix (2-3) made just 8 of 31 (25.8 percent) from 3-point range.
UP NEXT: Portland (2-2) closes out its preseason schedule at home against Sacramento on Friday. Phoenix opens the regular season on Oct. 17 when it plays host to Dallas.
LAKERS 123, WARRIORS 113
Brandon Ingram scored 26 points for the Lakers, and James had 15 points, 10 rebounds and five assists in 18 minutes — all in the first half.
Stephen Curry had 23 points and Klay Thompson scored 20, including four 3-pointers, for Golden State (1-3).
WARRIORS: Draymond Green (knee) did not play. … Kevin Durant had 18 points and 12 rebounds before fouling out in 24 minutes. … Golden State made just 20 of 36 free throws and committed 25 turnovers.
LAKERS: Ball had seven points and four steals. … Kyle Kuzma scored 22 points and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope added 20. … Los Angeles made 38 of 46 (82.6 percent) from the free-throw line.
UP NEXT: The Lakers (2-3) and Golden State play again Friday, at the SAP Center in San Jose, California, in the preseason finale for both teams.
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RACES FOR OHIO GOVERNOR AND A U.S. CONGRESS SEAT LINKED BY TOXIC ALGAE AND FACTORY FARM POLITICS
TOLEDO – Advocates for a Clean Lake Erie today released documents showing that gubernatorial candidate and Ohio Attorney-General, Mike DeWine, has known since 2015 that the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) has issued permits for and regulated hundreds of factory farms without ever receiving permission from the USEPA as required by federal law.
The documents also reveal that Ohio’s 5th District Congressman, Bob Latta, signed on to two letters pressuring the USEPA Administrator to approve Ohio’s request to shift regulatory authority for factory farms from the Ohio EPA to the ODA. Previously, as a member of the Ohio House, Latta, with dozens of factory farms in his district, had voted to transfer that authority. Latta’s letters to the USEPA were unsuccessful thus ODA’s actions are still outside the law.
Throughout DeWine’s time as Ohio AG beginning in 2011, the ODA has issued more than 200 permits to confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs or factory farms) without the authorized permission to oversee the centerpiece of the Clean Water Act, the federal National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit program.
Mike Ferner, ACLE coordinator, said, “This scheme needs to be plainly called what it is: ‘illegal’ and it should concern every Ohioan. Not only are CAFOs a major reason Lake Erie turns toxic every summer, but now with pressure building to clean it up, politicians are looking for ways to hang the bill on taxpayers.”
Key to ACLE’s claims include
1) A Statement of Legal Authority (SOLA), signed by DeWine in 2015 as Ohio AG which accompanied Ohio’s second transfer application, confirmed that Ohio legislation supported by then-State Rep Latta and State Senator Randy Gardner, was in place and awaited only USEPA approval to have the ODA take over responsibility for the NPDES permit program. By then, ODA had already issued permits and regulated CAFOs for over a decade. The SOLA acknowledged “[T]his Chapter 903 authorized the Ohio Department of Agriculture to participate in the NPDES program and transferred the authority to issue NPDES permits to CAFOs and AFOs in Ohio from the Ohio EPA to the Ohio Department of Agriculture upon approval of the program submission by the United States Environmental Protection Agency.” (CFR 123.1 – 123.64)
2) Letters addressed to the USEPA Administrator in 2008 and 2011, urging the agency’s approval, were signed by several Republican members of Ohio’s Congressional delegation, including Congressman Latta.
That approval has never been granted.
Ferner added that “Political corruption on this scale is a major cause of Lake Erie’s toxic algae problems. If you took Ohio’s five largest cities: Columbus, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Toledo and Akron, then doubled their annual sewage output and dumped it, untreated, on farm fields draining into western Lake Erie, you would equal what CAFOs in Northwest Ohio do every year.”
“We have a rogue State agency running a rogue program with no legal authority, allowing factory farms to proliferate and devastate Lake Erie. This doesn’t just suggest a conflict of interest, it defines it. The ODA’s prime responsibility is to promote agriculture. No wonder Lake Erie is choking on animal waste.”
In a recent gubernatorial debate, De Wine said he was in favor of a $1,000,000,000 bond issue, proposed by State Senator Randy Gardner, to provide tax money to clean up Lake Erie.
ACLE has generated hundreds of post cards, emails and phone calls to public officials urging a moratorium on additional CAFO permits until sewage treatment plants – paid for by CAFO operators, not the public – are required just as they are for cities.
Responses from the USEPA to Freedom of Information Act requests filed in 2013 and 2018 confirm there is no signed memorandum of agreement between it and the ODA.
Risk of streaming fatigue as Walmart, AT&T, Disney join fray
By MAE ANDERSON
AP Technology Writer
NEW YORK (AP) — As Walmart, AT&T and Disney join stalwarts such as Netflix in streaming video and creating original shows, a reality sets in: Not all will survive.
Over the past week, Walmart announced plans to partner with MGM Studios on original shows for Walmart’s video-on-demand service, Vudu, while AT&T’s WarnerMedia said it would create its own streaming service centered on HBO and Turner properties. Disney, meanwhile, is buying Fox’s entertainment businesses to beef up its planned streaming service , set to debut next year.
Add to that some existing, but little-known services, such as Filmstruck, Sundance Now, Mubi and others that offer older movies or niche offerings to subscribers.
These companies are trying to keep up with the changing tastes of consumers as they stream video on demand rather than rely on traditional cable subscriptions. But consumers have limited funds to spend; streaming behemoths like Netflix and Amazon got an early start and a lion’s share of subscribers so far.
“Too many services (are) going after the same consumer and piece of the pie,” Wedbush analyst Dan Ives said. “Streaming represents a significant market opportunity for the coming years but ultimately (streaming video) will have a few clear winners and a graveyard of those vendors that will fail.”
In a way, the overabundance of streaming services echoes the proliferation of too many cable channels in the traditional cable model and the old complaint of “so many channels and nothing is on.” Back then, cable companies forced you to get those channels and raised monthly fees regularly. Now the power is shifting to the consumer: if they don’t want to watch something, they don’t buy it.
The streaming market is growing, although at a slowing pace. EMarketer expects the number of people who use one or more video services in the U.S. to grow about 4 percent to 206 million by 2020. Google’s YouTube and Netflix are the clear winners so far. YouTube has an estimated 191 million users and Netflix about 133 million, according to eMarketer. Amazon has been nipping at its heels, with an estimated 90 million.
Newer upstarts will face a tough battle to compete.
Each company is hoping its own exclusive content will pique viewers’ interest. Walmart and MGM will debut an update on “Mr. Mom.” WarnerMedia has HBO’s arsenal of hit shows like “Game of Thrones.” Disney has an endless stream of popular movies such as “Frozen” and the “Star Wars” and Marvel franchises. It’s also planning original shows based on those franchises.
Companies risk extinction if they cannot create their own versions of “Must See TV” shows of the past, said Seth Shapiro, a professor at the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts.
“How many things are people going to want to pay for at once? How many subscriptions can the market bear?” he said. Services “that are sort of nice to have but not really essential will fall by the wayside.”
The contest has parallels to the DVD-by-mail competition more than a decade ago. In 2002, Walmart created its own online DVD rental service to compete with Netflix. But the retailer ended that in 2005 and transferred its customers to Netflix, signaling the world’s largest retailer couldn’t beat the internet upstart at its own game.