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For Shiffrin, the Olympic gold medal is clearl

FIVE QUICK NBA THOUGHTS 1. [url=http://www.topikks.com/adidas-nmd-r1-uk.html]Adidas NMD R1 UK[/url] . CHRIS GRANT (Cavs): The GM gets fired on Thursday after his team won only 29 per cent of its games during his tenure. Obviously, a totally undermanned Lakers team beating them on their home floor was the final straw. Wow, what a mess it is right now. Many folks thought with the addition of Jarrett Jack, Andrew Bynum, head coach Mike Brown and first overall pick Anthony Bennett that they would be knocking on the door for a seven or eight seed in the East. No such luck. Its been dysfunctional and the idea of signing LeBron James in the summer looks like a pipe dream and the ability to hold onto Kyrie Irving (in spite of what he says) is in serious doubt. Fragile business. 2. ENES KANTER (Jazz): Have watched him twice in person and on TV a bunch of times and I gotta confess, Im more of a Derrick Favors fan. Not sure both of these guys can co-exist. Kanter is averaging 12 and 6 and when I watch him I see a guy that is a bit robotic with his game. Yes hes a bruiser but its hard to play that style unless you have great skill to go with it. Still a work in progress. 3. CHRIS PAUL (Clippers): Its a bit chilly and rain is in the forecast here for later today in L.A. Rather this than snow and freezing temperatures. News that warmed me up today was the fact that the All-Star point guard wont make his return from injury until Sunday so the Raptors catch a break not seeing him. But it will still be a very difficult game to win for Toronto here on Friday. It will be great for Paul to get on the court this weekend and play next weekend at his first professional stop (New Orleans) in the All-Star Game. Good for the sport. Terrific player and class act. 4. RAPTORS at KINGS: It was the fourth time in the last few weeks (Celtics, Lakers, Bobcats) that the Raptors played down to their competition and "Played the Record". Games like these haunt teams and cause sleepless nights for coaches. I felt for Dwane Casey on Thursday night - he tried everything to get his team going with little success. Im sorry but this team isnt good enough to overlook anyone. Totally got outplayed and didnt deserve to win. Winning teams have real good habits. This team still floats big time with its focus. Its easy to get up for the name teams but as usual guys get it backwards. Its really hard to win those games. Play really hard against the teams you can beat and youll have a really nice season and then steal the occasional game when you play a team thats in the upper class. Tough lessons to learn. Time they actually learn the lesson and do something about it. You want the third our fourth seed and home court in the first round of the Playoffs? Punch the clock, bring the lunch bucket and hard hat and compete like crazy. You do that - youll have success. Time to grow up a bit. I have no issues with losing if you lay it all on the line to the best of your ability and the other guy happens to be better that night - that happens. Shake his hand and hold your head high and get ready for the next one. Stop teasing folks. This team is good enough and has good people on it - theyll figure it out. 5. TOM THIBODEAU (Bulls): I like what he said recently about playing time. Hes the boss and he and only he will determine who gets the privilege that you have to EARN to play and finish games. Carlos Boozer is upset with his fourth quarter role of late. I have a suggestion - play really hard and well and guess what? Youll play and finish games. Coaches want to and have to win. Its your job to please your coach, not the other way around. A coachs ultimate loyalty has to be to winning and team. Nothing else comes close. Believe me you could coach a guy you completely dislike personally yet youll play him every minute if he helps you win. [url=http://www.topikks.com/adidas-nmd-r1-uk.html]Adidas NMD R1 Black[/url] .ca! There is plenty of blame to be shared as a result of the most recent NHL player (Pittsburghs Brooks Orpik) to be evacuated from the ice on a stretcher following an ugly incident Saturday night in Boston. [url=http://www.topikks.com/adidas-nmd-xr1-uk.html]Adidas NMD XR1 Black[/url] . Fielder ended 4-for-5 with a solo homer, while Avila was 4-for-4 with two runs scored for the Tigers, who put the brakes on a three-game skid and rebounded from a loss in Mondays opener. Victor Martinez and Austin Jackson both contributed two hits, an RBI and a run scored as Detroit maintained its healthy lead atop the AL Central. [url=http://www.topikks.com/adidas-tubular-sale-uk/adidas-tubular-x-primeknit.html]http://www.topikks.com/adidas-tubular-sale-uk/adidas-tubular-x-primeknit.html[/url] . Defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, the Houston Texans No. 1 pick in the draft, was on the field Tuesday for the first time with former NFL Defensive Player of the Year J.LEVI, Finland -- American teenager Mikaela Shiffrin easily won the World Cup slalom opener Saturday, beating reigning Olympic champion Maria Hoefl-Riesch of Germany by more than a second to send an immediate message to her rivals ahead of the Sochi Games. The 18-year-old slalom world champion led by half a second after the first run and raced seamlessly at the top of the hill in the second to extend her advantage, overcoming a mistake near the end to clock a combined time of 1 minute, 55.07 seconds. "Im really happy with how the day went and Im also really excited because it looks like there are some pretty fast girls in the back of the pack," Shiffrin said. "Im excited for the Olympics for sure but there are a couple of races between now and then, so hopefully I can just keep this going." Hoefl-Riesch, who was in a tie for third place after the first run, skied nearly flawlessly in the second but still finished 1.06 seconds behind in second place. Last years overall World Cup champion Tina Maze of Slovenia, who struggled in the giant slalom opener in Soelden last month, was third, 1.61 back. Shiffrin emerged as a major star in the discipline last season by winning both the World Cup slalom title and the world championship race, making her one of the major medal favourites for the Sochi Olympics. Her dominant display on Saturday did little to lower expectations on the teenager -- although Shiffrin thinks theres still plenty of room for improvement. "Every day there is something you can do better," Shiffrin said. "Im going to go back and study my skiing from today and study all the other girls to see who is doing what well and try to get better." Another 18-year-old also made a name for herself, as Christina Ager of Austria finished fourth in her first career World Cup start. Ager started with bib No. 53 but was fifth after the first run -- in part because of favourable winds -- and then missed the podium by just 0.07 seconds. Hoefl-Riesch has won three World Cup slaloms in Levi and made the podium for the seventh time here. "It was a great day for me. I had a good feeling in training already,"; she said. [url=http://www.topikks.com/adidas-nmd-xr1-uk.html]Adidas NMD XR1 Blue[/url]. "Its always really special for me here because of my first win many years ago and because of my many good results here." Maze said she was happy to get back to skiing fast after the disappointing result in Soelden, where she struggled with the high expectations after her dominance last season. "I got a lot of pressure in Soelden race, it was the start of the season so it was not easy to handle all of this pressure so I felt really empty," Maze said. "But at the end I realized its nothing important, the only thing important is to ski fast." Marlies Schild of Austria, the slalom specialist who injured her knee in December 2012, returned for the first time since recovering fully but was already well behind Shiffrin in the first round by the time she missed a gate and skied out. Still, Schild was just happy to finally be able to ski without feeling any effects of the injury. "Of course I wanted to race a second run but yeah, its not so bad at all," Schild said. "Im in a good shape, I have no pain anymore and thats very important for me and I just have to wait, I think, to get a good feeling." Four-time former overall World Cup champion Lindsey Vonn skipped the Levi meet and will make her debut in the speed events in Beaver Creek, Colorado, after recovering from a right knee injury sustained in a crash in February. "She is back and shes strong," Shiffrin said of her teammate. "Im impressed with how strong she is. ... I dont think anybody should count her out thats for sure." For Shiffrin, the Olympic gold medal is clearly main goal for this season, although she received another memorable prize on Saturday. In a first for this year, organizers presented the winner with a live reindeer from the local Lapland region. Shiffrin named the 6-month-old reindeer Rudolf, although she wont be allowed to take him home with her. "I scared him off a bit when I jumped off the podium to meet him but I think we will be getting along," Shiffrin said. "I hope that when he gets older and trained I can go for a ride on a sledge with him." 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