Renewable electric generation topped coal-fired output in the Netherlands in 2019 for first time

first_imgRenewable electric generation topped coal-fired output in the Netherlands in 2019 for first time FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享NL Times:The Netherlands generated more electricity from sustainable sources than from coal for the first time ever last year, Statistics Netherlands reported on Tuesday. The amount of energy produced also reached [a] record high.Last year the Netherlands produced 121 billion kWh of electricity, 6 percent more than in 2018. Electricity generated using coal decreased from over 27 billion kWh in 2018 to over 17 billion kWh last year. And energy generated from sustainable sources increased from nearly 19 billion kWh to nearly 22 billion kWh.As the electricity generation from coal decreased, production using natural gas increased, from nearly 58 billion kWh to 71 billion kWh. According to the stats office, this has to do with the low gas price, and high price of CO2 emissions. Generating energy from gas emits relatively less CO2 than doing so from coal.The Netherlands’ consumption of electricity was about the same in 2019 as in 2018. This combined with the record high production resulted in a decrease of electricity imports, from 26.8 billion kWh in 2018 to 20.4 billion kWh last year. Electricity exports increased slightly, from 18.8 billion kWh to 19.5 billion kWh.[Janene Pieters]More: NL produced more sustainable energy than coal power for first timelast_img read more

34 graduate from ‘Care for the Elderly and First Aid’ workshop

first_imgFirst Lady Sandra Granger this afternoon commended the 34 graduates for successfully completing the Care for the Elderly and the First Aid, Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) and the use of the Automated External Defibrillator (AED) training workshop.First Lady Sandra Granger and other officials posed with graduates on FridayThe workshop was organised by the Office of the First Lady in collaboration with the Ministry of Social Protection. The closing ceremony was held at the Baridi Benab at State House, Georgetown.Granger, in her remarks, encouraged the graduates to use the certificate that they have achieved to earn gainful employment. “We have embarked on a programme to ensure that whatever job you do, you are trained to do it, so you are going to be trained practitioners,” she said.The First Lady also thanked the Ministry of Social Protection for their continued support for the programme. She noted, “I am very thankful for the confidence reposed in me by the Minister and the Ministry, and of course by the support we get at all levels…which makes it possible for us to embark on these exercises…”Meanwhile, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) Secretary-General to Guyana, Patrice La Fleur, urged the graduates to not only seek employment, but to share the education and skills they have obtained through their participation in the workshop.“I urge you to make the most of your training. It is a huge and significant investment in your present and future status,” La Fleur stated.The five-day workshop was aimed at providing caregivers with the requisite knowledge that caregivers need to be effective at their job.Areas covered in the training were responsibilities of the caregiver and skills in communicating with the elderly. Focus was also placed on dealing with mental health issues such as Alzheimer’s disease, stress management, abuse of seniors, management and care of diabetics, and feeding of seniors.This training was facilitated by Licensed Clinical Social Worker Ismay Griffith and Gender Consultant at the Ministry of Social Protection, Hazel Halley-Burnett.In an invited comment, Dianna Deonarine, a graduate of the programme, said she plans to pursue the personal care assistant programme as she works towards her new career path as a full-time caregiver or nurse.Oneisha Lane, another graduate, expressed her gratitude to the First Lady for coordinating the programme, and said: “I have gained a lot of knowledge about how to care for elderly persons, and how much this need is overlooked by other people in society. So this programme really raised a lot of awareness about how we should care for the elderly,” She saidlast_img read more

Live updates: Warriors vs. Nets, Saturday at 5:30 p.m.

first_imgJoin us for live news and analysis Saturday at 5:30 p.m. as the short-handed Warriors look for a bounce-back performance when the Brooklyn Nets visit Oracle.The Warriors (10-2) had their eight-game winning streak snapped Thursday night in a rough effort that led to a humbling 134-111 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks. Golden State also lost star Stephen Curry to a strained groin during the loss. Curry and fellow All-Star Draymond Green (injured toe and foot), along with Shaun Livingston, …last_img read more

Find Is Like iPods in Ancient Rome

first_imgDiscovering hafted spear points half a million years old is like finding iPods at a Roman archaeological site, a paleoanthropologist said.Half a million years ago, Neanderthals had not evolved yet, according to evolutionary anthropology.  There was only Heidelberg Man and “the last common ancestor of Neandertals and modern humans,” PhysOrg said.  National Geographic quoted John Shea saying this is “like finding an iPod in a Roman Empire site.  It’s that level of weirdness.”There is some doubt about the dating, but the news articles are quoting the paper in Science (Nov 16) with some confidence, where Wilkins et al., claimed, “Multiple lines of evidence indicate that ~500,000-year-old stone points from the archaeological site” in South Africa they excavated “functioned as spear tips.”If true, this nearly doubles the age for this kind of technology.  National Geographic wrote, “If the dating is correct, it suggests our evolutionary forebears mastered the art of the stone-tipped spear half a million years ago—some 250,000 years earlier than previously thought.”Putting a rock tip on a spear involves multiple mental and physical skills.  “To fasten a handle to a blade—a technique called hafting—a prehistoric hunter likely would have had to procure a stone blade, a wooden shaft, twine woven from plants or animal sinew, and glue made from tree resin. The glue itself may have required a mastery of fire, to liquefy the resin, said Shea, of New York’s Stony Brook University.”The hafting process requires forethought. “You have to plan days in advance before actually being able to use your weapons to hunt,” [Jayne Wilkins, lead author] said. And you’d want to teach your comrades to do the same, presumably by talking.So this find hints at language, too, as well as manual dexterity, mastery of fire, forethought and a large brain.  Shea thinks there is no question the skill involved speech.  “We have language, and Neanderthals likely had language … so it stands to reason that our last common ancestor had linguistic abilities too,” he said.  But that begs the question of when language emerged from ancestors lacking it.“At least one thing seems sure: Strapping a blade to a stick helped make us who we are today, according to Arizona State University anthropologist Curtis Marean.”  Some evolutionists propose that access to meat led to the expansion of the human brain (examples on Live Science #1, #2).  But why did that work for humans, and not lions and other carnivores?  What difference does it make if meat is cooked or not?  Does your dog get smarter by eating cooked meat scraps from the table?  Even if it did, how could it pass on that trait by Darwinian and not Lamarckian processes?At Live Science, Marean said, “These people were like you and I.”  But that comment was for an earlier find putting similar technology at 90,000 years ago, reported Nov 7.  “Every time we excavate a new site in coastal South Africa with advanced field techniques, we discover new and surprising results that push back in time the evidence for uniquely human behaviors,” Marean said.  “Now evidence has been pushed back to half a million years.”Prior to the spear-points story, Live Science had published an article highlighting evidence from stone tools that suggests that humans sailed to Mediterranean islands far earlier than expected – 170,000 years ago or more, not just 9,000 years.  This would suggest that Neanderthals or other pre-modern humans were seafaring people, capable of constructing boats as well as making tools.  The surprise from South Africa makes one wonder if it’s only a matter of time before scientists find sailing evidence even farther back in time.The news from the South African cave adds to the evidence that humans have always been humans, regardless of the artificial categories evolutionary anthropologists pigeonhole them in.  Only their collective technology has improved, not their bodies and brains.The evolutionary story of early man is unraveling.  It is no longer plausible to suppose that dumb brutes hundreds of thousands of years ago were grunting their way up to modernity.  Who can believe that these masterful hunters were too stupid to ride a horse and plant a farm?  With the fall of evolution’s colossal tale the evolutionary dating methods collapse, too.  Ditch the myth now so you won’t look so stupid later when a future, more enlightened consensus calls a halt to the storytelling.  There were no iPods in Rome, and there was no half million years of human evolution.(Visited 13 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Tim Clark captures Canadian Open

first_img29 July 2014South Africa’s Tim Clark captured the PGA Tour’s RBC Canadian Open on Sunday, storming to the title by carding five birdies on an inward nine of 30 to take a one-shot victory over third-round leader Jim Furyk.The victory, achieved on the Royal Montreal Golf Club’s Blue Course, was Clark’s second on the PGA Tour. He previously won the Players Championship in 2010.Furyk, a two-time winner of the Canadian Open, carried a three-shot lead into the final round, but couldn’t respond to Clark’s furious finish‘Suddenly I got hot’“It looked like Jim wasn’t going to make any mistakes. He was pretty solid, so I knew I had to make birdies. At that point, there was nothing to lose. Suddenly I got hot and I went with it,” Clark said afterwards.“Any national Open to me is special and it’s an honour for me to be the Open champion,” Clark told reporters.OptimisticVictory was a very welcome result for the South African star, who had struggled for consistent form in recent times after undergoing major elbow surgery in 2011. With his confidence restored by the win, he was optimistic that he could build upon it. “If I stay in this sort of frame of mind, there’s no reason why I can’t keep it going,” Clark said.All four of his rounds were comfortably in the sixties. He opened with successive 67s, followed by a six-under-par 64 and a 65 to finish on 17-under 263.Furyk closed with a one-under-par 69 to end on 16-under 264, three shots clear of third placed Justin Hicks, who totalled a 13-under-par 267.Els, Goosen on songClark was not the only South African on song in the Canadian Open. Ernie Els also showed some decent form and finished in a tie for twelfth, as did Retief Goosen.“It is one of the oldest national opens in world golf and as a player you feel that sense of national pride from the fans and from the sponsors and the people running the tournament,” Els wrote on his website“It’s fun to be a part of it and even more so when you play some good stuff, as I did on the way to finishing tied-12th last week. So pleased to see my old mate Tim Clark back in the winner’s circle, too.“Anyway, that’s my best finish in a strokeplay tournament in 2014, which says a lot about my year, but never mind that, I’ll take some positives away from Montreal.”LeaderboardEls tied with seven others on eight-under 272 after rounds of 70, 67, 69 and 66. Goosen went around in rounds of 69, 67, 69 and 67.Charl Schwartzel shared 43rd position on three-under 277 after posting a 66, 72, 70 and 69 scorecard.Thomas Aiken made the cut, but away in the last two rounds to end on five-over 285.last_img read more

30 Years of National Competition – part three

first_imgIn this edition, we look back at the National Championships held between 1990 through to 1993, as well as the All Stars of Touch teams selected from the events. There wasn’t a National Championships held in 1989, due to the timing and location of the 1990 National Championships, to be played in Darwin. The 1990 National Championships in Darwin were the first to be held in the Northern Territory. Ashley Macrinos from the NT News wrote in one of his stories that although the home side didn’t have much luck on the field on the first day of the competition, it wasn’t all bad news. “The Northern Territory tasted success despite not winning a game on the first day of the Asics National Touch Football Championships at the Fannie Bay fields in Darwin yesterday.”“The NT was voted the best dressed State at the Titles for the first time in the Championships ten-year history,” Macrinos wrote. The NT News also quoted ATA President, Ken Wells, who gave the venue a huge wrap.“These fields are the best in the history of the titles. The lighting is superb. It is only the second time that the titles have been played under lights,” he told the NT News.New South Wales won back the Championship title in 1990, following their loss to Queensland for the first time in the previous Championships in 1988. Queensland, however, did win the Men’s Open division. After drawing the game 3-all, Queensland took out the title due to the fact that they finished higher on the competition table. The Queenslanders also won the Women’s 27’s division in the same fashion after their nil-all draw at the conclusion of their game. New South Wales won the Women’s Open title back in 1990 with a 4-0 win over Queensland, following their loss to their arch rivals in 1988. New South Wales also claimed the Mixed Open, Men’s 30’s, Men’s 35’s and Men’s 40’s divisions. The tenth National Championships was held at Canberra’s Bruce Stadium in March, 1991. Tasmania and Victoria both did not participate in the titles, making it the first titles since 1982 where all states weren’t represented. The Championships were opened by the Federal Minister for Sport, Ros Kelly, with the march-past being held at Parliament House. The ACT Women’s Open side started off the tournament strongly, as Graham Cooke from the Canberra Times reported.“With a second-half display as bright as the autumn sunshine bathing Bruce Stadium, the ACT Women gained a historic victory over Queensland on day one of the Australian Touch Championships. Touchdowns by Laura Basford, Lisa Camden and Jenny McClung, the last coming inside the final minute of play, gave the home side a 3-2 victory, fighting back from being 0-2 down.”“The ACT got better as the game progressed and the key to its win was the standard of communication among its players,” Cooke said in his story. New South Wales took a clean sweep in the Open’s divisions, winning back the Men’s Open title with their 4-3 win over Queensland in extra time, while also taking out the Women’s and Mixed Open divisions over Queensland. New South Wales defeated the ACT in the Men’s Over 30’s division. The result of the game was nil-all at full time and New South Wales were awarded the title due to being higher on the competition table. New South Wales also had victories in the Men’s Over 35’s and Men’s Over 40’s divisions over Queensland, while Queensland won their only title when they defeated New South Wales 2-1 in extra time in the Women’s Over 27’s division.  The presentation function was held at the National Convention Centre where Australian teams to compete at the Second World Cup in Auckland later in the year were announced. The Eleventh National Championships moved back to Hobart, Tasmania in 1992 and while the weather was questionable, it failed to dampen anyone’s spirits. Peter Staples from the Hobart Mercury reported on the opening ceremony of the event. “As the band played Waltzing Matilda, the elite of Australia’s touch footballers marched along Bligh Street, Rosny, yesterday to launch the start of the Australian Touch championship to be played at Wentworth Park this week.”“Hobart last hosted the national Touch championships in 1983 but the sport has since grown enormously in popularity throughout Australia and is played competitively in New Zealand, Japan and USA,” Staples wrote in his article. Queensland’s Men’s Open team won its third title in four years in 1992, with its 3-2 win against New South Wales after the match went into extra time. New South Wales made it three successive Women’s Open titles when it defeated Queensland 3-2 with seconds left on the clock.  Queensland also won the Women’s 27’s and Men’s 35’s division 3-1 in each game, while New South Wales defeated Queensland in the Men’s 30’s and Men’s 40 division. President of the ATA, Mr Paul Jonson, praised the Hobart tournament, saying that it was the best championship in eleven years of national competition.1993 signalled the move to the Tempe Velodrome in Sydney for the twelfth National Championships. In the lead up to the event, the Sunday Telegraph’s David Vujanovic wrote a preview on the Championships, saying:“In the premier divisions of the Men and Women’s Open, competition could not be tighter. The New South Wales team should reach the final in what is expected to be the highlight (of the Championships),” Vujanovic’s said in his story. And Vujanovic was correct in his predictions, with all three Open’s divisions going right down to the wire. Queensland’s Women’s Open team and New South Wales Men’s Open team both caused upsets, defeating their respective arch rivals in the final. New South Wales and Queensland also battled it out in the Mixed Open division, with New South Wales taking the win 2-1 in a drop off. Queensland took out the Men’s 30’s division with a 1-0 win over New South Wales, while New South Wales were winners over Queensland in both the Men’s 35’s and Men’s 40’s divisions.  1990 All Stars of TouchScott Notley (QLD), Paulette Oldham (QLD), Glen Haslam (NSW), Stacey Gregory (NSW), Kerry Norman (QLD), Andy Yiangou (NSW), John Fielding (WA), Peter Buckland (QLD), Sue Dorrington (NSW), Eddie Hilaire (NSW), Joanne Van Der Griend (NSW), Adrian Lam (QLD), Michelle Clough (NSW), Jamie Thomas (NSW).Coach of the Year: Maria Arthur (SA), Manager of the Year: Narelle Thompson (NSW) Referee of the Year: Tim Freebody (QLD), Official of the Year: Bob Watts (ACT – Tour Manager). 1991 All Stars of TouchJamie Black (NSW), Katrina Maher (NSW), Stacey Gregory (NSW), Tony Howard (NSW), Garry Lawless (ACT), Mick McCall (NSW), Donald Smith (QLD), Judy Malcolm (NSW), Darryl Fry (QLD), Michelle Clough (NSW), Jamie Thomas (NSW), Amanda Baska (QLD), Darren Shelley (NSW), Garry Clarke (NSW).Coach of the Year: Peter McNeven (QLD), Manager of the Year: Ian Rogers (QLD), Referee of the Year: Greg Summers (QLD), Official of the Year: Brian Rooney (NSW – Head Coach). 1992 All Stars of TouchMark Boland (NSW), Joanne Wong (NSW), Steve Hancock (QLD), Trevor Philips (QLD), Peter Buckland (QLD), Kerry Norman (QLD), Debbie Biddolph (NSW), Renee Clark (QLD), Alex Illin (QLD), Michael McGovern (ACT), Patrick Grehan (QLD), Kobie Jones (NSW), Jamie Thomas (NSW), Scott Notley (QLD). Coach of the Year: Garry Giles (NT), Manager of the Year: Ralph Powell (QLD), Referee of the Year: Tim Freebody (QLD), Official of the Year: Graeme Murphy (ATA Development Officer).  1993 All Stars of Touch Greg Young (QLD), Andy Yiangou (NSW), Ron Chilby (NSW), Teena Jennings (ADF), Darren Shelley (NSW), Katrina Maher (NSW), Mark Boland (NSW), Sharon Williams (QLD), Jeff Bartlett (NSW), Judy Malcolm (NSW), Giselle Tirado (NSW), Peter Marsh (QLD), Angela Daley (QLD), Stacey Gregory (NSW). Coach of the Year: Peter Bell (QLD), Manager of the Year: Ian Rogers (QLD), Referee of the Year: Rick Borg (QLD), Official of the Year: Bill Ker (QLD – Executive Director). Stay tuned to the TFA website for upcoming editions on the history of the National Championships. Touch Football Australia is calling on the Touch Community far and wide to celebrate 30 years of National Championships. Have you booked your tickets to the 30 Year Celebration Breakfast to be held on Sunday, 14 March, the day after the 2010 X-Blades National Touch League? Call Touch Football Australia on (02) 6212 2800 to book your seat.last_img read more

10 months agoBarcelona defender Pique signs son of Vilanova for FC Andorra

first_imgBarcelona defender Pique signs son of Vilanova for FC Andorraby Carlos Volcano10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveBarcelona defender Gerard Pique has signed the son of Tito Vilanova for FC Andorra.Adria Vilanova is already training with Andorra, reports Sport.Adria came through Barcelona’s academy and was a highly-rated centre-back as a teenager. While with Barça B he joined Hercules on loan before moving to Mallorca B this season. His switch to FC Andorra is a step up to an ambitious club with the aim of re-finding his best football. TagsTransfersAbout the authorCarlos VolcanoShare the loveHave your saylast_img read more

Ohio State Fans Dominate Twitter Poll By 5-Star WR Trevon Grimes Asking Where He Should Go

first_img@TrevonGrimes7@TrevonGrimes7Trevon Grimes, one of the top wide receivers in the 2017 class, took to Twitter to ask fans where he should commit to. The 6-foot-3, 202-pound prospect out of Fort Lauderdale, Fla. is down to six schools – Alabama, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Miami and Ohio State – and plans on committing in August. Grimes, the No. 4 WR and No. 28 player in the class by 247Sports’ Composite Rankings, created Twitter polls asking his followers which of the six schools he should attend. Ohio State dominated the poll.  @TrevonGrimes7@TrevonGrimes7 @TrevonGrimes7@TrevonGrimes7Ohio State is believed to be the favorite to land the St. Thomas Aquinas product. The Buckeyes’ 2017 class is the No. 1 class in the country. MORE FROM COLLEGE SPUN:The 10 Most Aggressive Fan Bases In CFBIn Photos: Golfer Paige SpiranacESPN Makes Decision On Dick Vitalelast_img read more

How To Tell If A March Madness Underdog Is Going To Win

When the NCAA men’s basketball tournament picks up full speed Thursday, many fans will tune in with the hopes of seeing one thing: upsets. Some no doubt will come on last-minute buzzer beaters, but plenty will probably be long-simmering, the kinds of games that you can’t look away from. Those games will be all about tension: The underdog can’t possibly hold on to this lead, can it?We can figure out the answer to that question. Or at least what we should expect to happen when an upset is brewing — specifically, at what point in the game an underdog with a lead is more likely to win than lose.I analyzed play-by-play data from every NCAA tournament since 2004, which is the earliest that second-by-second scoring data is readily available. I considered all games played by teams with different seeds, leaving me with about 700 games to analyze. In the analysis, I estimated the probability that a lower-seeded team (i.e., the better team, according to the selection committee) wins the game, depending on the score and the time remaining.At the opening tipoff, the underdog has a 29 percent chance of winning the game. But if the game is tied or the underdog is ahead with five minutes remaining in the first half, the probability of an upset is higher than 50 percent.1The green line in the first chart does not fully reach 100 percent because games tied at the end of the second half are included in the analysis.It is, of course, not that simple. There’s a big difference between an “underdog” that’s a No. 2 seed and one that’s a No. 16 seed.To better distinguish between these two cases, I split the data based on “big” and “small” upsets. Any game in which there was more than a four-seed difference in the teams’ seedings was considered a potential big upset, and the games in which the difference was four or fewer were counted in the “small upset” category. (A No. 10 seed beating a No. 7 seed is a small upset, a No. 11 seed beating a No. 6 seed is a big one, etc.)2Ideally, I would break up the data more finely by looking at each possible seeding matchup, but with only 700 games and 120 possible matchups to work with, there was not enough data. The graph shows the difference between the average upset, the big upset and the small upset. As you might expect, the big underdogs begin the game with a slightly lower probability of winning (about 20 percent). Also unsurprisingly, a big underdog with the lead does not cross the 50 percent win probability threshold until around halftime.But the results are very different when you look at small upsets. In these matchups, when the underdog has a lead or the game is tied at any point more than five or six minutes into the game, it’s likely that we’re going to see an upset.We all know, however, that all leads are not created equal. Through the rest of the article, I’ll split the data a bit further, based on how big the underdog’s or favorite’s lead is: a three-possession game (a lead of 7 or more points), a two-possession game (a 4-to-6-point lead), or a one-possession game (0-to-3-point lead).The figure above shows the results from this analysis.3The jaggedness in the raw data has been smoothed with cubic regression. When a game is close, within 3 points in either direction (gray), the average favorite is still more likely than not to win. But, assuming the game stayed within 3 points all the way through, the chances of an upset increase throughout the game. By the last few minutes, if the game is within one possession, the average better-seeded team has only a slight advantage in win probability. The probability that an average underdog with a two-possession lead (light green) will win crosses the 50 percent threshold with about five minutes left in the first half. And an underdog who leads by more than 7 points (dark green) perhaps shouldn’t be considered an underdog at all.4Although there are almost zero games in which a team is ahead by seven points in the first minute or two, the cubic regression allows me to estimate these probabilities. There’s more uncertainty about the exact estimates early in the game because there is less data, but this problem disappears just a few minutes into the game. Its odds of completing the upset are more than 50 percent very early in the first half.Things are slightly different in big upset situations; the underdog must wait until the second half for a modest lead (4 to 6 points) to trump the seedings.5The tangling of the curves in the middle graph shouldn’t lead us to believe that a 4-point lead very early in the game is better than a 7-point lead. It is more the result of a very small number of games with huge score differentials early in the game. Those open up the possibility of outliers influencing the shape of the curves on the left side. If, however, you’re watching a game in which a big underdog has a three-possession lead in the first half, keep watching because there’s a good chance that it’ll pull off the upset.In smaller potential upsets, an underdog with at least a 4-point lead (light and dark green) at nearly any point in the game has a better chance of winning than losing. The underdog wins about 40 percent of one-possession games (gray), regardless of the time remaining.So, as you watch games, don’t get too excited about a big underdog with a small lead, at least until the second half. If there is not a big gap in the seedings between the two teams, then the scoreboard, not the seedings, is what matters. And remember, this whole analysis is the aggregation of hundreds of games. Any one particular game can certainly defy the odds. Check out FiveThirtyEight’s March Madness predictions. read more

The Warriors And Raptors Are Finals Favorites But Should They Be

neil (Neil Paine, senior sportswriter): The NBA is now two games in to every second-round series, and each matchup is currently tied at 1-1 … except Warriors-Rockets, which was the series most people had circled as the most competitive (and compelling) of Round 2.So what better place to start our chat than that matchup, which the Warriors lead 2-0 heading back to Houston for Game 3 on Saturday. The Rockets have done a lot of Rockets-like things in the first two games: They’re making almost 16 threes and 22 free throws per game. Yet they were unable to steal away home court in the series late in either Game 1 or Game 2. Do the Rockets still have a realistic chance at knocking off Golden State, or were we all just foolishly trying to convince ourselves that we might see a different outcome this year?chris.herring (Chris Herring, senior sportswriter): I think it goes without saying that 2-0 against a team of that caliber is a tough place to be. We talked about it before, but the fact that Houston is Houston might have been enough to get the Warriors playing their hardest and most focused early on.Draymond Green has been a beast, in particular.natesilver (Nate Silver, editor in chief): I mean, they lost two games by 4 points and 6 points. And they have some excuses: the officiating in Game 1, and they were without James Harden for parts of the first half in Game 2, and then he was not entirely himself.I don’t think Game 2 felt quite as close as the final score, but Game 1 was pretty even.I guess all I’m saying is that we have had nine high-stakes playoff games between these two teams, and it feels like the Warriors are the better team, but hardly a dominant team.tchow (Tony Chow, video producer): I feel like what’s going to happen at the end of all this, if the Warriors do end up winning it all (which is very likely — our predictions still give them a 49 percent chance), fans and basketball critics alike are going to come out and say, “See? Why even watch basketball? We all knew the Warriors were gonna win.” And they will all forget how unlikely it did seem at times. It is far from a sure thing still.neil: And that was definitely the case last year as well. The Warriors were far from assured winners, even though in the end they won, as expected.chris.herring: I think the challenge is that so much of what Houston does is tied to Harden, who hasn’t played poorly at all, despite the eye issue in Game 2.I thought it was really noteworthy that, after he got none of those calls in Game 1, he simply didn’t kick his legs out in Game 2.But the real story is that Golden State is forcing him into more floaters, a bit higher up, than he normally likes to take his shots.tchow: I’m gonna be honest. I only watched the first quarter of Game 2 and maybe five minutes of the second quarter because the game started at 10:30 p.m.!! I have a 1-year-old. I can’t do this sh*t anymore.natesilver: The competition from the East should be a lot stiffer this year. But, again, we’re getting a liiiiiittttle ahead of ourselves. Our algorithm says the Warriors have a 77 percent chance of reaching the NBA Finals, which is high but also sort of in the Hillary Clinton zone of not a done deal. I do think Kevin Durant flipping the switch into looking like an MVP++ player is a big deal, though.chris.herring: I am kind of shocked Steph Curry continues to have the foul issues this far into the playoffs. It’s been bad for a hot minute now.But you’re right, Nate: It’s given Durant a chance to showcase what he’s capable of. (Honestly, my favorite versions of the Warriors are when KD gets to play without Steph and when Steph plays without KD — those guys are unbelievable scorers, but we rarely get to see them at their best because they play so many of their minutes together.)neil: Well, I want to talk officiating in general. As you guys alluded to, it’s been a huge theme in the series so far, whether over Draymond Green’s arguable contact with James Harden at the end of Game 1, the Rockets’ “audit” of missed calls in last year’s Western Conference finals, or Green’s comments that the officiating talk itself was embarrassing for the NBA. Does Houston have a case? Or is that just a natural consequence of how the Rockets play? Is there something inherently limiting about relying on drawing fouls in the playoffs, when it’s tougher to get a whistle?natesilver: A “natural consequence” doesn’t seem like quite the right phrase because I’d imagine that a lot of this is fairly deliberate — exploring the boundaries of the rules, especially in terms of Harden’s shooting form.chris.herring: Like I was saying a minute ago, I thought it was pretty interesting that Houston fell to the ground so much in Game 1 but, from what I remember, essentially didn’t do that at all in Game 2. I’d have to go back and watch the close-outs, but to me that signals that the Rockets might have known they were waging a losing battle.natesilver: I do think, if the game is called by the book, they got screwed out of a couple of three-shot shooting fouls in Game 1.chris.herring: Oh, absolutely.At least two or three, which, in a game that close … I’d be upset, too. You have to call the fouls the same way you would have during the regular season. I didn’t even think some of those were debatable in the first half.The crazy thing: In watching Game 2, it makes me wonder whether the Rockets are better off just trying to stand up straight as opposed to drawing fouls.It might have merely been a Game 2 improvement, with no reason for it, but they were great from the perimeter, and it happened on a night where they weren’t flailing or kicking their legs out, which I imagine changes the shot’s rhythm some.natesilver: Part of it is that awarding three free throws is such a high-stakes decision. It’s not quite like awarding a penalty in soccer, but you know what I mean.If all shooting fouls were two free throws instead, save maybe for the last two minutes when a team might try to maul a guy to prevent him from taking a 3-point shot, that might help.Or if referees were allowed to call nonshooting fouls in the event of incidental contact. Sort of the difference in a roughing the kicker penalty vs. running into the kicker.chris.herring: I’ve never seen something be such an enormous story for one game, then just not be a factor at all in the following oneI’m sure the league loves that it died down during Game 2. But it almost felt like the Rockets realized they weren’t going to get anywhere with that hope that they’d get more calls.neil: And yet, most of the fan reaction I was reading online was that the Rockets basically need to be quiet. That Harden has cried wolf too many times, etc. And remember, these are people siding with the Warriors, a team that has become hated over the years as it’s won so much. That kind of speaks volumes about the distaste for Houston’s foul-drawing strategy.natesilver: Yeah, I thought the “Rockets-are-sore-losers” narrative, while understandable, maybe made people less objective in evaluating the situation.chris.herring: I felt like I was seeing a lot of that the last few days, too.tchow: Yeah, Nate, on the latest Hot Takedown podcast, we had Kirk Goldsberry on as a guest, and he made the point that from an economical standpoint, drawing three free throws percentage-wise is worth more than a wide-open Steph or KD 3-pointer. In that sense, it would make sense to try to draw those so often.chris.herring: But here’s my thing:If the Rockets pour over the missed-calls report and find that the refs missed a bunch of those last year — which suggests it’s either not easy to catch, or that refs don’t like to call it — why make it such a big part of the strategy as you start another series with Golden State now?tchow: To prove themselves right?chris.herring: Idk. Part of me feels like the basketball world is too worked up about this series, when in reality, it’s the only one that’s not tied up at 1-1.It’s been a good second round so far.natesilver: I dunno, one thing about basketball is that there’s not usually a lot of luck.In a seven-game series, the better team wins a large majority of the time.But I wonder if Daryl Morey feels a little tilted (in the poker sense of that term) how his series have gone against the Warriors.They’ve had some bad luck with injuries, some bad luck on 3-point field-goal percentage — and whether you want to call it “luck” or something else, some frustrating games with the officials.And it’s also, like, if the league designs a bad set of rules and incentives, you shouldn’t get blamed for taking advantage of those incentives.There should be better incentives instead. The rules should be changed.chris.herring: That’s been the story of James Harden’s career: Fantastic player who’s always been fantastic at taking advantage of what’s there, whether fans like it or not.I really love watching that dude ball. It’s not his fault the loopholes are there.neil: As Kirk writes in his book, “Don’t hate the player, hate the game.”Either way, right now we give the Warriors an 84 percent chance of moving on to the conference finals.tchow: The good news is that Game 3 is at 8:30 p.m.!neil: On behalf of all of us East Coasters, thank goodness.In the other series out West, the Trail Blazers evened things up with the Nuggets with a 97-90 win Wednesday night. Portland stole-home court advantage, but our model still gives Denver a 61 percent chance of advancing. Are the numbers still too low on the Blazers?chris.herring: Probably. I have no idea, honestly.The Nuggets might be the most inconsistent team left in the playoffs. Last night was extremely rough for them — one of their worst shooting nights of the season. Their offensive rebounding was unreal, and so it left them with an outside chance to win late.I feel like they may have the better team, but their inconsistency scares me a bit. The 61 percent probability sounds about right to me for now.Quietly feel like the Moe Harkless ankle injury could be a tough one for the Blazers depending on how hurt he actually is going forward.I have it going seven games, and I won’t be surprised at all if and when it actually goes the distance.natesilver: I’m going to reiterate that this part of the bracket feels like the NIT to me. Unless whoever emerges from GSW-HOU does so with an injury, I don’t expect the Western Conference finals to be super competitive.neil: Yeah, conditional on making the conference finals, the Warriors have a 92 percent chance at the NBA Finals in our model; Houston has an 81 percent chance.natesilver: I almost feel like, narrative-wise, Portland has become a little bit underrated just because they’re facing off against two other very flawed teams. That Portland team with Jusuf Nurkic is pretty interesting, but they have a pretty low ceiling IMO without him.neil: I have been surprised at how well Enes Kanter continues to play. He’s averaging 21 points and eight rebounds in this series. (As someone who hated on him as an empty stat-padder early in his career…)natesilver: The knock in him (I almost typed “the Knick on him”) has always been his defense, though.What’s his +/- in the series?neil: It’s minus-4. But the team as a whole is in the red anyway.chris.herring: He’s useful for them, without a doubtI think he actually might be even more useful in a playoff series, depending on the opponent.Against OKC, for instance: Leaving him in the paint, without an easy way for Westbrook to get around him, was great for Portland. Westbrook wasn’t good or comfortable shooting his jumper in that series.So it mitigated the concerns about Kanter’s pick-and-roll defense.And in this series, you’re dealing with Jamal Murray, who’s a hot-and-cold shooter in the pick and roll, too.Kanter’s offensive rebounding is massive a lot of the time.natesilver: I guess mayyyyybe you could say that Kanter has never been in a position before to have teams take advantage of his skill set. OKC has never really been expert at maximizing its role players. And the Knicks, well, are the Knicks.tchow: For what it’s worth, in Game 2, Nikola Jokic went 1 for 8 when guarded by Kanter.chris.herring: I’m interested to see what happens as they shift to Portland.neil: Your point about defense is well-taken, Nate. Portland’s key might be to continue to play so uncharacteristically well at that end.Right now, they’re holding the Nuggets to 41.9 percent shooting from the field, including 31 percent from three.chris.herring: I feel like I’m so in and then so out on Denver. They have had some really rough performances.But the fact that they were still in it last night despite how poorly they shot was encouraging. Jokic has been playing out of his mind.neil: OK, since this is the NIT series of the playoffs, let’s leave Denver and Portland and move over to the East.tchow: In our playoff preview chat, I think we all agreed that the Eastern Conference playoff bracket looked a lot more interesting than the West, and I think that’s still pretty much true. I have no idea who will make it out of the East of the remaining four teams and could easily see both series going seven games.neil: Yeah, things have not really gotten clearer since either series opened. Let’s talk first about the semifinal series between the Raptors and Sixers, which resumes tonight with Game 3. Philly gritted out the win Monday night to even up the series, despite Kawhi Leonard going off again for 35 points. What has stood out about each team so far that might swing the series going forward?chris.herring: In the chat last week, we talked about the question of who Tobias Harris could realistically guard.The answer in Game 1 was nobody, which was problematic, as the Raptors’ two best scorers did serious damage.The difference in Game 2 was Philly’s adjustment to play Harris on Marc Gasol, and to have Joel Embiid and the other centers guard Pascal Siakam. It paid really, really nice dividends for them, and that’s the thing I’m really curious to watch in Game 3.natesilver: I guess those defensive matchups sort of make sense but also the sort of thing that you could counteradjust to, especially with an extra day off to scout and strategize.chris.herring: Exactly.neil: That shows up in the stats, too: Harris was a game-low minus-23 in Game 1 but was plus-6 in Game 2.chris.herring: In both series, I think, it’s going to be a question of whose adjustments are better.Because each set of changes and adjustments have pretty clear counters.tchow: Btw, I don’t know if Neil is doing this on purpose but we have NBATV on at the office right now, and Neil is moving the chat along at the same exact pace as Grant Hill and company are moving along their playoff coverage. They just wrapped up DEN-POR and moved on to PHI-TOR before cutting to commercial break. Uncanny.neil: LOL, Tony. Definitely a coincidence… 😒chris.herring: I did think the put-the-big-on-Siakam adjustment was smart, though.When Siakam is in the middle of the floor, you can give him some space, because he shoots really terribly from the top of the key. By contrast, he’s solid from the corners. (And when he’s in the corner, you have the help of the baseline as a second defender.)tchow: It definitely made a difference. Siakam shot 80 percent from the floor and 75 percent from three in Game 1. In Game 2, he shot 36 percent from the floor and 29 percent from three.chris.herring: The Sixers don’t have but maybe one guy who can credibly guard Siakam (and Ben Simmons is doing his best to guard Kawhi), so that shift was really important for them.It may not work going forward, but you had to try it.natesilver: What if Gasol decides to take more shots? He’s been pretty passive, offensively, since joining the Raptors. But he is capable of scoring, either in the post or from downtown.chris.herring: If Gasol ends up being the guy to torch you, I think you can live with that more easily than Siakam.Also, I’d expect for the Raptors to do more to get Siakam rolling, and to use him in pick and rolls in hopes of having Philly switch them. That would nullify the Harris/Embiid stuff they’re doing.Again, the countermoves are going to be fascinating.To Neil’s initial question, too: The other thing that stands out is just how damn good Kawhi is.The guy is Terminator in a basketball uniform.He couldn’t do it all by himself in Game 2. But he’s just having his way from a scoring standpoint.neil: He’s probably been the best player of the playoffs so far, at least by the advanced metrics.chris.herring: I’m surprised Toronto is at 24 percent and Milwaukee only 14 percent. (Although a lot of that is due to head to head Toronto-vs-Milwaukee odds.)natesilver: I mean, there’s a case to be made that Toronto is just super good.chris.herring: Yeah. I think almost 70 percent sounds about right in that case.natesilver: They won 58 games in the regular season while missing a bunch of Kawhi and Kyle Lowry. And with Gasol only on the roster for the last third of the season.chris.herring: The matchups still favor them, and I think they’ll figure out a way to get Siakam going. Just not guarding him at the top of the key isn’t going to be enough.Am interested to see whether Kawhi can keep doing this for the whole series, though. He’s completely wrecking Philly.natesilver: Kawhi looks like an MVP in the playoffs, and neither of the two losses they’ve taken in the playoffs (to Orlando in Game 1 or Philly the other day) seemed to expose particularly exploitable problems.Our model also thinks Philly is quite good, by the way. It gives them a lot of credit for being good “on paper.”So I think our prices are relatively fair, but if I had to pick one, maybe it’s the over on Toronto. natesilver: Are people stretching a little too hard to call this an even series? Game 1 really wasn’t all that competitive, the Raptors have the best player, they were the much better team in the regular season, and all the adjustments and counteradjustments are gonna cancel out.I mean, there are only five games left and the Raptors have lost home-court advantage, but I feel like if this is a nine-game series, or an 11-game series, the Raptors are a huge favorite.chris.herring: I dunno. On the one hand, yeah: Toronto should have the upper hand. But we haven’t seen Nick Nurse under all that much pressure before. I assume they’ll counter well, but if they don’t … it’s not as if Philly doesn’t have talent.There are pretty clear things that could happen to tilt this in the Sixers’ favor, though I wouldn’t put my money on those things.And the next two are in Philadelphia. I think this is about all the Sixers could ask for at this stage.I would like to see Embiid do a bit more offensively. He was sick during the last game, but if he can’t find advantages against Gasol (which has been the case for a while now), it becomes harder to see how Philly can beat them four times. Unless the Raptors have no counter whatsoever for what happened to Siakam in Game 2.tchow: Nate, are you proposing we make the postseason even LONGER to ensure the best team wins?natesilver: I think it should vary based on how enjoyable the series is.Like if people find GSW-HOU annoying, just make it a three-game series.neil: We should develop a metric: The SILVER (Series’ Ideal Length Varied by Enjoyability Ratio)chris.herring: Oh, Lord.natesilver: Neil.tchow: According to SILVER, Sixers vs. Raptors should be best-of-11 and Bucks vs. Pistons should have been a one-game playoff.neil: LOLSo while we workshop our latest backronym metric, let’s end the chat by focusing on the Bucks and the Celtics. After disappointing at home in Game 1, Milwaukee can breathe again thanks to a 123-102 win in Game 2.Was that Game 1 loss just a blip on the radar for Milwaukee, or something to legitimately worry about for them as the series shifts to Boston?tchow: Giannis Antetokounmpo had a +/- of minus-24 in Game 1. What happened?(FWIW, he did bounce back fine. Game 2, his +/- was plus-20.)chris.herring: I think it’s actually pretty similar to Toronto-Philly. The Bucks punched back with a different strategy in Game 2, and now the ball is seemingly in Boston’s court to try and adjust to it.natesilver: Gordon Hayward was pretty nonexistent in Game 2 and not great in Game 1, which is bearish for Boston because I really think they need him to be pretty good to compete at an elite level.neil: Also, Kyrie scored 26 on 57 percent shooting in Game 1. Had 9 points on 22 percent in Game 2.natesilver: It did feel a bit like maybe the Celtics were gonna steal one game in the series because of Brad Stevens and their coaching/analytics/scouting staff, and maybe Game 1 was that game.chris.herring: We touched on it last week, when we discussed the Bucks being ranked No. 1 in the league on defense but doing so with a drop strategy in pick and roll coverage. They got torched with that in Game 1, and Boston had a field day from deep. But they moved to a completely different scheme in Game 2 and switched everything (something they almost never did in the regular season).And for what it’s worth, Boston was the least-efficient team in the NBA against switches during the regular season, according to data from Second Spectrum.So I’m interested to see what they counter with, because the Bucks certainly have the length and versatility to make life difficult for them with that strategy.To Tony’s question from before, we did some writing on what went wrong for Giannis in Game 1.The truth is, Giannis kind of lives off of open-court opportunities. He’ll score plenty without them, but if he has them, it showcases how and why he’ll likely be the MVP. It’s nearly impossible to stop him with just one guy (and sometimes even two) in the open floor.But Milwaukee wasn’t forcing enough misses in Game 1 for that to even be a real possibility for him. And even when it was, the Celtics set up a wall against him. Was something they did effectively against Giannis all year.natesilver: So are you saying that Giannis is liable to be less effective in the playoffs, when it becomes more of a half-court game?chris.herring: Yes and no.I think he will still score, and if you overcommit to trying to stop him, he’s unselfish and will find his teammates, who finally hit shots in Game 2The other thing that’s interesting: Giannis’s struggles as a jump-shooter are well-documented. He was the worst wide-open shooter in the NBA from three on 150 or more attempts.But he started knocking them down at a somewhat respectable clip after the turn of the new year. And when Boston dared him to shoot them in Game 1, he shot 3 of 5.He’s 5 of 9 from three for the series!I imagine that if you’re Boston, you’re simply going to make him prove he can hit that shot. But the idea that he’s begun to figure out how to hit threes should be terrifying for everyone outside of the state of Wisconsin.natesilver: I’m happy to let him shoot as many threes as he wants.I don’t think you learn how to shoot threes in one series. Maybe if it’s a big offseason focus of his, sure.neil: Either way, the model currently gives the Bucks a 70 percent chance of winning. In fact, it also gives Toronto exactly the same 70 percent chance against Philly, despite both series being 1-1.Do those probabilities seem right to y’all? If you had to take the over or under on one, which would it be?chris.herring: I feel like Milwaukee’s is a touch high, even though they’re my favorite to come out of the East.tchow: Interesting, I was going to say I would pick the Bucks to be too low.neil: I’m in the same camp, Tony. Really more based on looking at our title odds for each: Check out our latest NBA predictions. read more