Monday, May 23, 2022

December 5, 2019  -No team in the NBA has a better record than the Los Angeles Lakers, who are off to a 19-3 start. LeBron James looks very much like an MVP candidate. They are grabbing headlines almost every night. There is a buzz around them again. The Lakers have been so good, in fact, that they’ve manage to cast a shadow over Milwaukee.

Just like the Lakers, no team in the NBA has a better record than the Bucks, who are also off to a 19-3 start. Giannis Antetokounmpo not only looks like an MVP candidate — he is the reigning MVP. They lead the league in scoring. They lead the league in field-goal percentage, rebounds and scoring margin.

So it’s a mistake, even a disservice, to forget the Bucks.

The Lakers have earned every bit of their attention, of course. James is playing like a man on a mission. Anthony Davis might be the top early candidate defensive player of the year. They’ve won 10 in a row on the road, just the fourth time in franchise history they’ve put together such a streak.

“I believe in our guys,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel said. “If we play to our abilities, there’s nobody we can’t beat and nowhere we can’t get a ‘W.’”

Same goes for the Bucks.

Maybe people are just used to the Bucks being good again by now. Maybe it’s because they’re in a small market or that their best player hails from Greece. Maybe it’s because they were supposed to be great again this season. They won a league-best 60 games last season. Remember, they led Toronto 2-0 in the Eastern Conference finals and had a look at a 3-pointer with 9 seconds left in Game 3 for what would have been a 3-0 series lead. It missed, they lost in double overtime and didn’t win another game for the rest of the season.

They, too, are driven. James is driven by a fourth ring and a desire to disprove the notion that he’s washed up. The Bucks are driven by a bad week last year at the end and having to watch Toronto not only go to the NBA Finals but throw itself a parade for winning the title.

“We lean on our daily routines, lean on our process, just kind of get ready to come and play basketball, do what we do every day,” Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said. “Take care of the defensive end of the court, play unselfishly, all the things that we preach and good things usually happen when you kind of follow that.”

If history holds up, it’ll be either the Bucks or Lakers celebrating come June.

This is the seventh time that at least two teams have gotten off to 19-3 starts (or better) in the season’s first 22 games. The most recent was 2008-09, with the Lakers (19-3), Cleveland (19-3) and Boston (20-2). In 1996-97, it was Chicago (19-3) and Houston (19-3). In 1993-94, Seattle (20-2) and Houston (21-1). In 1985-86, the Lakers (19-3) and the Celtics (19-3). The Lakers and Celtics were both 19-3 again in 1972-73. So were the Lakers and Bucks in 1971-72.

In the previous six instances, the NBA champion was one of those 19-3 or better teams five times — the Lakers in 2009, the Bulls in 1997, the Rockets in 1994, the Celtics in 1986 and the Lakers in 1972. The only year where a different champ emerged was 1973, when New York wound up beating the Lakers.

This time last year, the Lakers were 13-9 and looking like a playoff team — which they were until James got hurt on Christmas and everything fell apart. This year the Lakers know they can be elite.

“It’s a good start,” James said.

The Bucks, meanwhile, just keep rolling along relatively quietly. They entered the year slated to have nine fewer nationally televised games than the Lakers — those numbers could change a bit, given how the national outlets are dropping Golden State games like wildfire with the Warriors now at the bottom of the standings.

Antetokounmpo won the MVP vote easily last year and his numbers are even better so far this season — sans for an inexplicable dropoff in his free throw percentage. Go figure: He’s now starting to make the 3-pointer, the former supposed “weak” link in his game, but he’s bricking free throws at a baffling rate.

“He’s in a good place,” Budenholzer said. “He just needs to keep playing, taking what the game gives him.”

That’s the Bucks. Understated, all business, almost quiet.

The Lakers, they’re certainly not understated. There’s nothing quiet about them.

They took different paths to the best record in the NBA at the quarter-pole. But it wouldn’t be wise to think that the team that isn’t from Los Angeles isn’t capable of this season’s Hollywood ending.

SXM Radio Online

Entertainment

September 7, 2021  NEW YORK (AP) — Actor Michael K. Williams, who as the rogue robber of drug dealers Omar Little on “The Wire” created one of the most beloved and enduring characters in a prime era of television, died Monday. Williams was found dead Monday afternoon by family members in his Brooklyn penthouse apartment, New York City police said. He was 54. His death was being investigated as a possible drug overdose, the NYPD said. The medical examiner was investigating the cause of death. Little, a “stick-up boy” based on real figures from Baltimore, was probably the most popular character among the devoted fans of “The Wire,” the HBO show that ran from 2002 to 2008 and is re-watched constantly in streaming.

September 8, 2021 LOS ANGELES (AP) — Britney Spears’ father filed Tuesday to end the court conservatorship that has controlled the singer’s life and money for 13 years. James Spears filed his petition to terminate the conservatorship in Los Angeles Superior Court. “As Mr. Spears has said, again and again, all he wants is what is best for his daughter,” the document says. “If Ms. Spears wants to terminate the conservatorship and believes that she can handle her own life, Mr. Spears believes that she should get that chance.” Judge Brenda Penny, who oversees the case, will need to approve the move. Britney Spears attorney Matthew Rosengart said in an email the filing “represents another legal victory for Britney Spears — a massive one — as well as vindication for Ms. Spears.”

September 8, 2021  NEW YORK (AP) — With Katie Holmes and Lil’ Kim on his front row and singer Marina on the mic high above his runway, Christian Siriano helped kicked off New York Fashion Week’s first big pandemic round of in-person shows Tuesday with a flurry of neon and lace-inspired in part by all the Italian women in his life. From ornate Gotham Hall, beneath a stained-glass skylight 70 feet up, Siriano’s commitment to size inclusivity was never stronger as he opened and closed the show with plus-size breakout model Precious Lee. She first walked in a stunning yellow trouser suit with wide loose pants and an asymmetrical jacket, a matching crossover bralette underneath.

September 7, 2021  VENICE, Italy (AP) — Paul Schrader knows he has a limited number of films left, so whatever he does from here on out is going to be for himself. At 75 years old, the writer of “Taxi Driver” and “Raging Bull” and director of “American Gigolo” and “Mishima” was even somewhat prepared to call it a day after his 2018 film “First Reformed,” for which he got his first Oscar nomination. He didn’t want to. He just knew it might be the reality. “I thought I would go back to this character again for about the fifth time,” Schrader said in a recent interview. By “this character” he means “the man in the room.” It’s Travis Bickle. It’s John LeTour. It’s Julian Kay. And it’s a formula he’s been working with for 45 years.

Business News

September 8, 2021  -Stocks were mostly lower in Asia on Wednesday after a lackluster session on Wall Street, where weak jobs data and pandemic concerns weighed on sentiment. Shares rose in Tokyo after economic growth for the April-June quarter was revised upward to an annualized 1.9% from an earlier estimate of 1.3%. “Any feel-good factor was ignored, though, given the climb was less than half of the 4.20% fall in Q1,” Jeffrey Halley of Oanda said in a commentary. “Japan will be lucky to break even this year as the current Covid-19 wave will almost certainly have weighed on domestic consumption,” he said.

September 8, 2021 NEW YORK (AP) — There will be something missing at two Whole Foods stores opening next year: the rows of cashiers. Amazon, which owns the grocery chain, said Wednesday that it will bring its cashier-less technology to two Whole Foods stores for the first time, letting shoppers grab what they need and leave without having to open their wallets. Cameras and sensors track what’s taken off shelves. Items are charged to an Amazon account after customers leave the store with them. But there will be an option for those who want to shop the old-fashioned way: Self-checkout lanes will be available that take cash, gift cards and other types of payment. Amazon first unveiled the cashier-less technology in 2018 at an Amazon Go convenience store and has expanded it to larger Amazon supermarkets. But it will be the first time it has appeared at Whole Foods, a chain of more than 500 grocery stores Amazon bought four years ago.

September 8, 2021  BEIJING (AP) — An avalanche of changes launched by China’s ruling Communist Party has jolted everyone from tech billionaires to school kids. Behind them: President Xi Jinping’s vision of making a more powerful, prosperous country by reviving revolutionary ideals, with more economic equality and tighter party control over society and entrepreneurs. Since taking power in 2012, Xi has called for the party to return to its “original mission” as China’s economic, social and cultural leader and carry out the “ rejuvenation of the great Chinese nation.” The party has spent the decade since then silencing dissent and tightening political control. Now, after 40 years of growth that transformed China into the world’s factory but left a gulf between a wealthy elite and the poor majority, the party is promising to spread prosperity more evenly and is pressing private companies to pay for social welfare and back Beijing’s ambition to become a global technology competitor.

Fashion News

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