NBA

'Day One in the books' - LeBron and AD return to Lakers practice

LeBron James and Anthony Davis are back in practice ahead of the NBA restart.

Paul-Andre Walker

Paul-Andre is the Managing Editor at SportsMax.tv. He comes to the role with almost 20 years of experience as journalist. That experience includes all facets of media. He began as a sports Journalist in 2001, quickly moving into radio, where he was an editor before becoming a news editor and then an entertainment editor with one of the biggest media houses in the Caribbean.

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  • Pacers appoint Raptors assistant Bjorkgren as head coach Pacers appoint Raptors assistant Bjorkgren as head coach

    The Indiana Pacers have appointed Toronto Raptors assistant Nate Bjorkgren as their new head coach, the NBA franchise announced.

    Bjorkgren replaces Nate McMillan, who was sacked after the Pacers were swept in the first round of the playoffs for a second consecutive year.

    The 45-year-old Bjorkgren served as Raptors assistant for the past two seasons, helping Toronto to their first NBA championship in 2018-19.

    "I am honoured to take on the role as head coach of the Indiana Pacers," said Bjorkgren. "This is something I have prepared for during my career. I want to thank Kevin, Chad [Buchanan], Kelly [Krauskopf], Larry Bird, Donnie Walsh, and Herb and Steve Simon for this opportunity.

    "I also want to thank Nick Nurse for giving me my first professional coaching job 14 years ago.

    "I'm looking forward to working with this great team to achieve our goal as NBA champions."

    Bjorkgren was also player development co-ordinator and assistant coach of the Phoenix Suns between 2015 and 2017, having served as a head coach in the NBA G League for four seasons – compiling a 126-74 record with the Bakersfield Jam (2014-15), Iowa Energy (2013-14), Santa Cruz Warriors (2012-13), and Dakota Wizards (2011-12).

    "We are very pleased and excited to have Nate as our new coach," said president of basketball operations Kevin Pritchard. "This was an extensive and thorough search, and when we reached the conclusion, we felt strongly Nate is the right coach for us at the right time.

    "He comes from a winning background, has experienced championship success, is innovative and his communication skills along with his positivity are tremendous. We all look forward to a long, successful partnership in helping the Pacers move forward."

  • Lampard praises Mendy and Thiago Silva for role in Chelsea clean sheet Lampard praises Mendy and Thiago Silva for role in Chelsea clean sheet

    Frank Lampard singled out defensive additions Thiago Silva and Edouard Mendy for praise after Chelsea drew 0-0 with Sevilla in the Champions League.

    The Blues' last outing saw them concede three times as Southampton snatched a draw at Stamford Bridge, but they looked a far more solid outfit en route to their first point in Group E on Tuesday evening.

    Lampard had made three changes to his defence from Saturday, bringing in Reece James at right-back, Mendy in goal and Silva in the heart of the back four.

    He reserved special praise for the latter pair, who he believes can have a major impact on Chelsea's defending after arriving during the transfer window.

    "It's something you strive for always and I mentioned before about the personnel we had back in today," Lampard told reporters.

    "Thiago I thought showed the things I've spoken about, experience and quality; Mendy has probably one good save to make and he makes it, was good with his feet.

    "[It was] against a very good team, a very organised defensive performance. They give you a lot of threats, they're very good, that's why they've been so successful in the last year or two, so I was pleased with that side of it.

    "We lost a goal in the last minutes at the weekend that loses us two points. When you've got that feeling fresh in your mind, it's really important that you get over it. To get through that game will give us confidence.

    "We're going to get better, I keep saying the same thing, but we haven't had the personnel in there playing regularly, getting relationships, working off each other.

    "The more we do that, then we'll get better naturally."

    Lampard, who has experienced his first goalless draw as Chelsea boss in what was his 62nd match in charge, also hailed work done on the training ground as a key factor in largely keeping a potentially dangerous Sevilla side quiet across the 90 minutes.

    He continued: "It's always both. The work is a constant and you analyse the opposition and the threats that they're going to give you. With Sevilla, it was crosses and getting balls in the box.

    "They've got quality, they play really well throughout the team but you might expect a team from La Liga to come and try and play a lot of passes through the lines, but they get a lot of crosses in.

    "We dealt with all the things they threw at us, we had a few moments ourselves in the game as well. I think it was almost cagey, two good teams cancelling each other out in the first game, which is understandable, and we take the point and move on."

    Chelsea's defensive resilience may have come at a cost in terms of their attacking play, with the Blues managing just one attempt on target during the first half.

    Their attack did improve after the break, with Chelsea ultimately mustering six attempts in total, with four of those hitting the target.

  • Rash tango in Paris: Solskjaer delivers best game yet as Man Utd stun PSG again Rash tango in Paris: Solskjaer delivers best game yet as Man Utd stun PSG again

    Manchester United should not have beaten Paris Saint-Germain two seasons ago.

    That miraculous comeback by that youthful side was resilient, spirited, but lucky – a result born of mindset rather than tactics from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, where 28 per cent of the ball and four shots on target somehow became a 3-1 win.

    On Tuesday, when Marcus Rashford blasted home his second winning goal at Parc des Princes in as many visits, there was no great sense of incredulity, no vilifying of VAR; this time, Neymar's look of astonishment was aimed at his team's listless display, not at the officials from up in the stands.

    That game in March 2019 may have got Solskjaer the permanent job, but this one showed what is expected, what is demanded of a United manager: going to Europe's elite and cowing them. His tiger-print-clad charges really earned their stripes.

    PSG have their problems and that was laid bare in a sodden French capital. A midfield without Marco Verratti could not dictate; a defence without Marquinhos could not contain. Thomas Tuchel has already aired his grievances with sporting director Leonardo in public over their transfers and, after that performance, that relationship is unlikely to get any easier.

    But that should not detract from United's success. That 6-1 humiliation to Tottenham two weeks ago suggested Solskjaer is a man without a plan, and with no players prepared to execute it even if he did. This will have driven some of the wolves from the door.

    Solskjaer has often gone with a back three against stronger opponents who are expected to have more of the ball, but nobody will have expected Luke Shaw, Victor Lindelof and Axel Tuanzebe – whose only previous appearance in this competition was nearly three years ago – to play like this.

    Tuanzebe, with seven clearances and just two misplaced passes all game, and Aaron Wan-Bissaka, who made six tackles and two interceptions, shut down the Neymar-Mbappe left-channel link-up in impetuous style. Ahead of the defence, Fred and Scott McTominay won back possession 15 times and contested 30 duels between them. They were so efficient, so effective with and without the ball, that it seemed to rub off on Paul Pogba; again consigned to a substitute role, he seemed positively enthused when he entered the fray and looked more authoritative than he has in weeks.

    It meant PSG, despite having 61 per cent of the ball, managed only five shots on target throughout - one fewer than United. When they did breach the defence, they found a confident and competent David de Gea, who saved brilliantly from Layvin Kurzawa and Mbappe in each half. It took a bizarre header from Anthony Martial into his own net to get them on the scoreboard.

    At the other end, Tuchel's men were a mess by comparison. Abdou Diallo's careless challenge on Martial, which allowed Bruno Fernandes to score from the spot at the second time of asking, was a moment of rashness that seemed to set the tone. Martial and Rashford broke at will upon the back four and could have put the game out of sight earlier, with Rashford producing an infuriatingly poor pass in a clear two-on-one.

    Still, Rashford again had the final word. Whereas last year it was a nerveless penalty in front of the PSG ultras, this was a quick turn and thunderous low strike beyond Keylor Navas, a finish that deserved to be seen by fans in the ground.

    This is a truly tough group but United have made a brilliant start. Unlike last time, this is just the start of their Champions League campaign, not the shock highlight towards its end.

    Few would make United true contenders for the trophy, but this at least showed they have the nous to mix it with the favourites. Once again, Rashford was the hero in Paris, but this was Solskjaer's night.

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