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NBA All-Star Moment of the Night: LaMelo Ball produces must-see highlight sequence vs. Magic



NBA All-Star voting season is upon us!

With NBA All-Star voting tipping off on Christmas Day, fans now have the opportunity to select the players they believe should start in the 2022 NBA All-Star Game set to be held in Cleveland, Ohio. When potential All-Stars deliver vote-worthy performances, we’ll be sure to bring that to your attention with our “NBA All-Star Moment of the Night” series to highlight those deserving players.

You can vote for your 2022 NBA All-Stars here, or find several other ways to vote here.

Even though the Charlotte Hornets lost the game against the Orlando Magic, LaMelo Ball provided a few “wow” highlights that were worthy of being selected as our All-Star Moment of the Night. 

Ball and his Hornets teammate Miles Bridges have been fun to watch this season as they look to cement their first playoff spot since the 2015-16 season.

Ball went deep into his bag and showed off his entire repertoire of moves against the Magic. He displayed nifty ball-handling skills and dexterity of movement to put the Magic defender into a spin cycle with this move finished with a soft floater for the bucket.

The connection between Ball and Mason Plumlee on this play below was insane. (Also, note where Plumlee’s hands are when he actually catches the ball!)

And then, to top it all off, LaMelo must have forgotten he was playing in a regular season game when he decided to showcase an All-Star-worthy between-the-legs pass to Miles Bridges for the slam. 

This highlight adds to what has been a coming-of-age season for Ball, who has played with a poise that belies his age. He finished the game with a team-high 23 points to go with eight assists, four rebounds and three steals. The second-year player continues to build on what will likely be a potential All-Star campaign this season.

Ball is averaging 19.3 points, 7.6 assists and 7.3 rebounds per game, numbers that are well-worthy of an All-Star selection.

You can vote LaMelo Ball into the 2022 NBA All-Star Game here.

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Australian Open lifts restrictions against Peng Shuai protests




Fans at the Australian Open will be allowed to wear T-shirts supporting Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai after Tennis Australia backed down from its previous stance prohibiting the clothing. 

Peng, the former No. 1-ranked doubles player, wrote in a social media post in November that she was sexually assaulted by a former senior member of the ruling Communist Party, Zhang Gaoli. After the post, she disappeared from social media, raising concerns about her safety.  

MORE: Australian Open 2022: Top seed Ash Barty downs Jessica Pegula to reach semis 

Footage from the Australian Open last weekend showed security and police requesting a fan to remove a shirt with an image of the player on the front and “Where is Peng Shuai?” on the back. 

Tennis Australia said the shirts constituted “political messaging,” which is prohibited at the tournament.

MORE: Denis Shapovalov claims Rafael Nadal favoritism after Australian Open loss: ‘You guys are all corrupt’ 

“To ensure that the Australian Open remains a welcoming, safe and inclusive event for everyone, we have a longstanding policy of not allowing banners, signs or clothing that are commercial or political,” the organization said in a statement.

Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley told the Associated Press on Tuesday that the woman involved in the aforementioned incident would be invited back to the tournament since it was deemed she wasn’t trying to cause a disruption, adding that organizers are open to spectators wearing the shirts as long as they don’t cause disruptions. 

“If they want to do that, that’s fine,” Tiley said in a telephone interview. But “if anyone’s coming on site with the express intent of disrupting the comfort and safety of our fans, they’re not welcome.

“We can’t sell tickets in advance and have people come in and feel unsafe because there’s a large group of people that are using (the tournament) as a platform to espouse their views on whatever topic it is.”

MORE: Why are Australian Open fans shouting “Siuuu!” at tennis players? Cristiano Ronaldo’s celebration explained 

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“Absolutely sensational” – Jamie Carragher picks Manchester City star as his dream Premier League signing for Liverpool




Jamie Carragher has heaped praise on Manchester City star Kevin De Bruyne, stating the Belgian would be the perfect signing for Liverpool.

Manchester City midfielder Kevin De Bruyne is widely hailed as one of the best midfielders in the world. The midfield maestro is capable of improving any team in the world and the Anfield outfit are no exception.

🗣 “Kevin De Bruyne, I think he’s one of the best players in the world.”@carra23 picks the perfect signing for Liverpool if he had the option of any Premier League player

Jurgen Klopp’s men often tend to rely on their fullbacks and forward lines to breach the opposition. Liverpool’s midfield has often lacked the spark of creativity, which would have surely been rectified by the inclusion of the Manchester City number 17.

Former Liverpool man, Carragher is completely smitten by the “sensational” midfielder and has picked him as his club’s dream signing.

When asked to pick the perfect signing for The Reds on Monday Night Football (via Sport Bible), Carragher said:

“Kevin De Bruyne. I think he’s one of the best players in the world… certainly in the last two or three years he’s been the best midfield player in the world.

“People always say Liverpool lack creativity in midfield. I think it’s a bit harsh because I think Liverpool get their creativity from different areas, it’s just the way the team’s set up. That midfield three, whoever it is, does a lot of work for the front three and for the full-backs. So, they’ve got a job to do and they do it really well.

“I just think that Kevin De Bruyne is absolutely sensational. I think in that right channel, maybe getting in the way of Trent I don’t know! But I’d say Kevin De Bruyne is the first one that springs to mind.”

The 30-year-old midfielder has featured in 17 Premier League games for Manchester City this season, registering six goals and two assists.

Liverpool close in on Manchester City in Premier League race

Jurgen Klopp’s men cruised to a 1-3 win at Crystal Palace last weekend, which saw them move within nine points of Manchester City. Pep Guardiola’s men were uncharacteristically held to a 1-1 draw at Southampton on Saturday, dropping points for the first time in 13 matches.

FT: Southampton 1-1 Manchester City.After winning 12 Premier League games in a row, Manchester City finally drop points again. Liverpool could close the gap down to 6 points, should they win their 2 games in hand.

The Reds have played a game fewer than the Etihad outfit, meaning they could potentially bring the deficit down to six points. Overturning a nine-point deficit, even with a game in hand, won’t be easy, especially against a team like City.

The Merseyside outfit will nonetheless see their rival’s draw as a good omen and will do their best to put pressure on them.

Edited by Sankalp Srivastava

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Why is Alphonso Davies not playing for Canada in World Cup qualifying?




When Canada boss John Herdman named his squad for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Honduras, the United States, and El Salvador, one name remained absent from the list. While the absence was expected, it remains glaring.

Alphonso Davies will not be available for Canada in this international window as he continues to recover from his battle with COVID-19 earlier this month. In the aftermath of his positive test, Bayern Munich announced a diagnosis of “mild myocarditis,” or inflammation of the heart. Canada followed, announcing that Davies would miss the entirety of the international window.

Playing with such an issue could be dangerous, and therefore Davies will sit out indefinitely to recover, with no timetable for his return announced.

MORE: How long will Alphonso Davies be out?

“I don’t think there’s going to be any excuses from us in this period of time,” said Herdman on the announcement of his squad, with Davies absent. “I think we’ve shown we’re strong, we’re resilient. This is going to be tough, but qualifying for a World Cup is never easy.”

What was said?

With Davies out, the Canada head coach said he’s disappointed to be without one of the team’s best players, but they will have to trudge on without his services at this point.

“Firstly, we wish Alphonso the best of health and hope he recovers,” Herdman said to OneSoccer in Canada. “We can’t deny that it’s a big loss on a number of reasons. He’s such an infectious personality when he’s in the camp, and you miss him when he’s not here. But we have to adapt, it’s part of this story.

MORE: How Canada can qualify for the World Cup

“We’ve been on this World Cup qualification journey since March of last year, and we’ve had a lot of ups and downs with players coming in and out, and we’ve responded and I think that’s key to all this. There’s a mentality in this group that these things are going to happen, and it’s an opportunity now for someone else to respond and make sure that we stay on track to qualify for the World Cup.”

How long is Alphonso Davies out?

Bayern boss Julian Nagelsmann told reporters on Jan. 14 when offering an update on Davies: “Yesterday, during our follow-up examination that we do with every player that has had COVID-19, we detected signs of mild myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart muscle.

“He has stopped training for now, so he won’t be available to us for the next weeks.

“This myocarditis isn’t too dramatic based on the ultrasound, but more simply signs of an inflammation. Nevertheless, it needs to heal and that will no doubt take some time.”

According to a report at the time citing the player’s agent, Davies was expected to be out at least four weeks, which would see him return to Bayern Munich training in early or mid-February.

Alphonso Davies leading Canada in World Cup qualifying

There’s no debating Davies’ importance to how Canada plays, and his absence will be felt no matter who steps in.

MORE: How Mexico can qualify for the World Cup

Davies has appeared in every match throughout this World Cup qualification cycle except one, missing September’s 3-0 win over bottom-feeders El Salvador due to knee problems. He has played the full 90 minutes six times, and past the 80th minute in five others.

In his seven appearances in the Hex, Davies has a goal and three assists, while Canada has three wins and four draws in the matches he’s played. Expanding that to both stages, he has five goals and eight assists across all of World Cup qualifying. The Maple Leafs have not lost through this World Cup qualifying cycle, including a perfect six wins out of six from the previous stage to qualify for the Hex.

Alphonso Davies’ rise to stardom

The 21-year-old burst onto the scene with MLS side Vancouver Whitecaps, making his debut for the club as a 15-year-old in the 2016 season and going on to make 66 appearances for the side. Davies truly came to life in the 2018 season, scoring eight goals and assisting on 10 more across 31 appearances.

That caught the attention of European giants, and he completed a switch to Bayern Munich in January of 2019 for $11 million. That has proven to be a bargain for the Bundesliga side, as Davies has become an important piece of a Champions League title contender.

Across two-and-a-half seasons, Davies has collected four goals and 10 assists, and has been mentioned among the best fullbacks in the world. He was on pace this season to see more on-field minutes than he did in either of his first two campaigns with Bayern, but the recent diagnosis will likely scupper that effort.

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