LOS ANGELES (AP) — When LeBron James checked the stat sheet as he left the Staples Center court after his latest high-scoring Christmas victory, he realized the Lakers had scored 138 points with a mere 22 from him.
The NBA champions already look like they could be even better this year. In their second game of the new season, even Luka Doncic didn’t stand a chance of keeping up.
Montrezl Harrell scored 17 of his 22 points in the second half, and Dennis Schröder had 18 points and six assists in a second strong game for both new additions to the champs. Los Angeles outrebounded Dallas 53-27 and closed out its first win of the season with a dominant fourth quarter.
“We have the ability to where we can have four, maybe even five guys that can score in the 20s any given night,” James said. “As long as we defend and we’re efficient, it’s a beautiful thing to see.”
Doncic had 27 points and seven assists in his first starring role in the NBA’s showcase Christmas evening game for Dallas. Josh Richardson and Trey Burke had 17 points apiece as the Mavs started 0-2 with a late fade.
Dallas’ three offensive rebounds were fewer than Harrell, who had five.
“You can’t win a game where the second-chance points are 35-0,” Doncic said. “It’s as simple as that. We box out, we win the game.”
The Lakers were aggressive and accurate from the opening tip, taking a 69-57 halftime lead while hitting 61.4% of their shots. Doncic went 3 for 10 in the first half but combined with Burke for 22 points in the third quarter to keep it close.
“The more we play with each other, the more we’re going to figure things out,” Davis said. “We prided ourselves on not losing two in a row last year, so we wanted to come out and make sure we do that.”
James moved into second place behind Kobe Bryant for the most points scored on Christmas, passing Oscar Robertson in the third quarter. James has 383 points in 15 games on Christmas, while Bryant had 395 in 16 holiday appearances.
Mavericks: Kristaps Porzingis is on the Mavericks’ trip while recovering from knee surgery in October. Coach Rick Carlisle said the Latvian big man is “making progress all the time. I’m confident in saying it’s weeks, not months (before his return, but that’s all I’m going to tell you. He has a ways to go.” … This was Dallas’ only scheduled meeting with the Lakers this season.
Lakers: Davis was accidentally elbowed in the face by Burke in the first quarter. He had a split lip, but stayed in. … ESPN reported Schröder has already opened contract extension talks with LA, and the German guard confirmed he would “love to” sign a long-term deal: “It’s just got to be fair on both sides.” … Wesley Matthews, Marc Gasol and Alfonzo McKinnie all scored their first points for the Lakers after going scoreless in the opener. … They wore powder-blue warmups over their silver-on-white Christmas uniforms with blue accents.
Olympic Football Tournaments 2020 – Men – News – Ripoll: France’s youngsters are gifted, dependable and committed
Men’s Olympic Football Tournament
Men’s Olympic Football Tournament kicks off in exactly six months
We talk to Sylvain Ripoll, coach of France’s Espoirs (U-21) team
“I’m part of a generation that dreamed of going to the Olympics”
This Friday 22 January marks six months to the day before the Men’s Olympic Football Tournament kicks off in Tokyo. The tournament will see France back on the Olympic stage 25 years after reaching the quarter-finals at the Atlanta Games in 1996.
So what has caused such a prolonged absence from the Olympics? “I can’t give you an exact answer, since I wasn’t there,” says Sylvain Ripoll, coach of the France Espoirs (U-21) team since 2017. “Qualification for such a prestigious competition is always on a national federation’s wish-list, but for some reason we’ve been unsuccessful in recent times. In any case, we’re delighted to be back with the French team in a major tournament like the Olympics,” said the 49-year-old strategist.
“I’m part of a generation that dreamed of the Olympics – just talking about it always makes our eyes light up,” says the man who was not yet 13 when Les Bleus won gold at Los Angeles 1984. “And I think it’s the same with my players,” he adds. “It generates so many memories and great moments that just being part of it is bound to be an honour.”
For now, though, it is still too early to be focusing on Tokyo, with tournaments looming before then both for the U-21s and senior team. “We have the EURO (11 June-11 July) taking place shortly before the Olympic Tournament (22 July-7 August), so one event will influence the other. Before that, there’s the European U-21 Championship, which we’ve qualified for, starting in March in Hungary and ending in June. So, the best thing we can do is to deal with those in the order they come.”
There is no point then in Ripoll looking too far ahead or contemplating which three players over the age of 23 he might include in his squad for Japan, as permitted under the rules of men’s tournament. “Logically, the priority will always be the France senior team,” says the Rennes native, who was nevertheless amenable to remarks last year by Kylian Mbappe, who expressed his desire to take part in the Tokyo Olympics. “We can only rejoice that we have a player in France of the calibre of Mbappe who thinks this way.”
An insatiable talent scout, Ripoll carefully monitors a good 60 players, including 20 who play abroad. He works closely with France’s World Cup-winning coach Didier Deschamps, who is always looking for new blood to energise his squad. “Didier and I talk a lot about the Espoirs’ potential to establish themselves into the senior team. You need to be performing regularly at the highest level for some time to break into the senior side, whereas with the Espoirs, that process can happen much more quickly,” he explains.
“Didier and his staff keep a very close eye on the Espoirs and watch a lot of their matches. We talk a lot about the players’ mentality, commitment and potential,” adds Ripoll, who takes immense pride in seeing one of his young players called up. He also regularly talks with the selectors of the younger age-category teams to try to progress the most promising talents through the ranks.
If we add to the mix the exemption that allows the inclusion of the 1997 generation that was eligible for the postponed Olympics last summer, then there will be a particularly large group to choose from when deciding on the final squad for Tokyo.
For all that, Ripoll already has grounds to be satisfied with his current crop. “This is the second generation I’ve been in charge of since I arrived four years ago. Apart from being gifted, which has been the case for many years in France, given our enormous reservoir of talent, I find them to be very dependable and committed. For now, I feel my players are very focused on their goals, and I hope that remains the case,” says the coach, whose aim is not to assemble only a squad of big names for Tokyo.
“There are a lot of criteria that come into play when you put together a squad for a tournament like this. There are performances, of course, but the priority is to have the best possible squad, which doesn’t always mean you only take the best players. We have to assess how squad members complement each other and perform together.”
Boxing schedule for 2021: Canelo Alvarez vs. Avni Yildirim, Angelo Leo vs. Stephen Fulton on tap
After a tumultuous 2020 that saw many major fights canceled or postponed, boxing is ready to head into 2021. As many champions and pound-for-pound elites hung on the sidelines amid the coronavirus pandemic, boxing missed out on some big-time fights. However, as the year went out, fighters slowly started to trickle back into the ring, albeit not against the competition we would like to see.
But with guys like Anthony Joshua, Terence Crawford, Errol Spence, Canelo Alvarez and GGG all getting in some tune-up fights, things are looking bright for 2021. And things got rolling with a strong start from Ryan Garcia, who rallied from an early knockdown to stop Luke Campbell and claim the interim WBC lightweight title. Garcia, along with Gervonta “Tank” Davis, Teofimo Lopez and Devin Haney are setting up the prospects of some tasty matchups over the next 12 months in the 135-pound division.
Now as we head into the early part of the year, there’s a plethora of big fights on the books already. IBF super middleweight champion Caleb Plant is set to take on Caleb Truax at the close of January in his first action in nearly a year. Plus, Canelo Alvarez will make his return to the ring rather quickly when he takes on mandatory challenger Avni Yildirim at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami. Alvarez is hoping to fight three times this year and could be on a path to facing Plant down the road now that he’s a promotional free agent.
Below is a running list of boxing main events for the 2021 year.
Note: This will be updated constantly with changes and additions.