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Celtics Notebook: Florida road show useful preparation



Celtics Notebook: Florida road show useful preparation

The Celtics fly to Orlando Monday for an extended Florida stay — they close out exhibition season with games in the Disney kingdom Wednesday and Miami on Friday — and there’s no time like now to get ready for the regular season’s opening burst of road games.

The Celtics will be tested early, with seven of their first 10 games on the road, including their Oct. 20 season opener in New York. Looking back on his own playing career, especially in San Antonio, head coach Ime Udoka can speak at length about the value of toughness away from home.

“I think that’s across the board everywhere I’ve been. You can take it back to the San Antonio days, we were one of the best road teams, traditionally,” Udoka said after Sunday’s practice. “Myself as a player, I always enjoyed going on the road. I always tell the guys that there’s no better feeling as a player or as a coach than to watch the fans empty out of a building.

“So you want to have that confidence on the road, and it can’t just be a home thing,” he said. “You’re going to have to be playoff tested, you gotta be able to win on the road, so all those things go hand in hand, but I think that confidence and that mentality carries whether you’re on the road or at home. So it’s something we have preached to them, especially with our start, like I said, seven out of 10 are on the road.”

As such, preparing to hit the hardwood running is a priority for this coaching staff.

“I think it’s a continuation from the preseason and some of the things we’ve done but you start to see pretty quickly what works for you, what lineups and what schemes as well, both defensively and offensively, what plays,” he said. “So you’re learning each other as you go, but you always want to get off to a get off to a good start, especially with seven of our first 10 are on the road this year, so we want to get off to a good start playing well on the road. So it’s a little bit of both. The shorter preseason, we feel like we’re going week-by-week and that will continue into the regular season. But at the same time, we have to find out what works for us to win games at the same time, so it’s a little bit of both.”

Schroder prognosis

Udoka sounds confident that Dennis Schroder, who missed Saturday’s exhibition win over Toronto, will be back in the mix this week.

“He just took a fall in practice the other day. He tested it out yesterday before the game, but he didn’t feel quite comfortable going, especially (since) I was being cautious obviously with the preseason game,” he said. “Got him some treatment today, he got it looked at, we’ll go through practice tomorrow and then we’ll determine what’s going on for Wednesday. But we all feel comfortable that he’ll be able to go. We’ll just test it out tomorrow and know more about it then.”

Big plans

Udoka continues to have great confidence in his double-big starting combination of Al Horford and Rob Williams, regardless of trends across the league.

“I think with Al’s strength and some of the versatility he has, you can get away with it,” said the coach. “There are still teams that play double bigs, and then teams that try to downsize with small ball fours, whether it’s  P.J. Tucker or a guy like last night, the young kid, there are guys he can actually guard and do well with. But also offensively he complements Rob very well — one guy can pick and pop and mix it up, and Rob is more of a roller there. When Al was in the pick-and-roll yesterday and Rob was in the dunker spot, I thought they worked really well together. We will stagger them as well, but Al brings a lot to the table. I don’t think it’s as much of a problem as people seem to think, playing two bigs.”

Udoka is experimenting with smaller combinations as well. He sounds particularly intrigued by a Schroder/Payton Pritchard ballhandling duo off the bench, with Pritchard’s shooting a particular benefit.

“Another thing we’ve talked about that’s worked well in practice, and we want to see if it can translate to the games, would be Dennis and Payton playing together at times,” he said. “Two playmakers and obviously Payton’s shooting ability. We want to see at times if we can get away with that smaller lineup, especially at the guard spot. So we’re looking at all those things in the preseason and we’ll look at some of those lineups in these last two games.”

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Philly native Chris Myarick’s ‘crazy’ first career catch helped bury the Eagles



Philly native Chris Myarick’s ‘crazy’ first career catch helped bury the Eagles

Chris Myarick is as Philly as they come. The Giants tight end was born in Elkins Park and went to Cheltenham High School before moving seven miles south to go to Temple University in North Philadelphia. So of course his first career NFL catch was a decisive touchdown for the Giants against their hated division rivals, opening up a 10-0 lead in a 13-7 win that had real implications on the fringes of the NFC playoff race.

“Crazy play. Crazy first regular season catch for me,” Myarick said Sunday. “It was just crazy for me personally — finally getting the sign up, and that’s the first touchdown of the game and it was coming to me. It was kind of a crazy experience.”

Myarick is right, because it isn’t just crazy that a Philly native caught his first career NFL pass for a touchdown in a huge moment. It’s how he ended up on the field, and how he caught it — or not.

Backup tight ends Kyle Rudolph and Kaden Smith were out with injuries, so Myarick was signed off the practice squad for the second straight week. Undrafted out of Temple in 2019, Myarick appeared in three games with the Dolphins the last two years before joining the Giants this fall.

“I’d say it was pretty much just like any other week for me,” the understated Myarick said after the win. “I always try to prepare like I’m playing, prepare like I’m starting, even when I was on the practice squad. Not much of that changed. Obviously, a little bit more reps here and there, but that was pretty much it.”

The catch itself was outrageous. The one-yard pass from Daniel Jones late in the third quarter bounced off his stomach and slid down his leg before Myarick used his knees to squeeze the ball and then got a hand under it. Or at least that’s what replay officials concluded, as it was hard to tell if the ball hit the ground.

In a statement, the NFL said that Myarick “bobbles the ball, but gets his left hand underneath the ball before it touches the ground,” and therefore it was a touchdown.

Asked Sunday, he said that the ball didn’t hit the ground. “It wasn’t the cleanest catch,” he said, “but it still counts. I’ll take it.”

The Giants will take it too. Jason Garrett’s firing was supposed to result in an increased emphasis on playmakers like Kenny Golladay and Saquon Barkley, but for the second straight game, Jones’ only touchdown went to an extremely unlikely source. (Tackle Andrew Thomas caught one in the blowout loss to the Bucs.)

But Myarick’s teammates were thrilled for him, telling him to go ahead and celebrate and they would worry about tracking down the ball later. “I was holding on to it at first and they wanted me to spike it,” he said. “Saquon went and got it for me. I appreciate him for that.”

The people in his life who probably don’t appreciate him much right now? Eagles fans, including his friends and family. He lost his Eagles fandom once he got closer to pro ball, saying “Once you get to college … you root for guys you know in the league.” But that doesn’t apply to everyone he knows, obviously. “They might be a little mad at me,” he said of the countless Eagles fans in his life, “but that’s all good. I’ll take our win for sure.”

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Missouri adds 5,380 COVID cases after holiday break



Missouri records 1,987 new COVID cases; fifth straight day below 2,000

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – After taking the last few days off for the Thanksgiving break, Missouri health officials announced more than 5,000 new COVID-19 cases.

According to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS), the state has recorded 738,823 cumulative cases of SARS-CoV-2—an increase of 5,380 positive cases (PCR testing only)—and 12,529 total deaths as of Monday, Nov. 29, an increase of 9 over yesterday. That’s a case fatality rate of 1.70%.

It’s important to keep in mind that not all cases and deaths recorded occurred in the last 24 hours. The state health department did not report new data from Nov. 25 through Nov. 28.

State health officials report 57.8% of the total population has received at least one dose of the vaccine. Approximately 69.3% of all adults 18 years of age and older have initiated the process.

The first doses were administered in Missouri on Dec. 13, 2020.

The state has administered 106,282 doses—including booster shots—of the vaccine in the last 7 days (this metric is subject to a delay, meaning the last three days are not factored in). The highest vaccination rates are among people over 65.

Joplin, St. Louis City, and Kansas City, as well as St. Louis, St. Charles, Boone, and Atchison counties are the only jurisdictions in the state with at least 50% of its populations fully vaccinated. Thirty-five other jurisdictions in the state are at least 40% fully vaccinated: Cole, Jackson, Franklin, Greene, Cape Girardeau, Jefferson, Nodaway, Cass, Ste. Genevieve, Carroll, Andrew, Callaway, Gasconade, Christian, Benton, Adair, Clinton, Dade, Livingston, Ray, Lafayette, Montgomery, Shelby, Osage, Henry, Clay, Camden, Warren, Howard, Cooper, Phelps, Stone, St. Francois, and Chariton counties, as well as the city of Independence.

Vaccination is the safest way to achieve herd immunity. Herd immunity for COVID-19 requires 80% to 90% of the population to have immunity, either by vaccination or recovery from the virus.

(Source: Missouri Dept. of Health and Senior Services)

The Bureau of Vital Records at DHSS performs a weekly linkage between deaths to the state and death certificates to improve quality and ensure all decedents that died of COVID-19 are reflected in the systems. As a result, the state’s death toll will see a sharp increase from time to time. Again, that does not mean a large number of deaths happened in one day; instead, it is a single-day reported increase.

At the state level, DHSS is not tracking probable or pending COVID deaths. Those numbers are not added to the state’s death count until confirmed in the disease surveillance system either by the county or through analysis of death certificates.

The 7-day rolling average for cases in Missouri sits at 1,197; yesterday, it was 528. Exactly one month ago, the state rolling average was 709. 

The 10 days with the most reported cases occurred between Oct. 10, 2020, and Nov. 18, 2021.

Approximately 49.9% of all reported cases are for individuals 39 years of age and younger. The state has further broken down the age groups into smaller units. The 18 to 24 age group has 89,422 recorded cases, while 25 to 29-year-olds have 62,444 cases.

People 80 years of age and older account for approximately 41.9% of all recorded deaths in the state.

Trending: Missouri senator pushing to eliminate personal property taxes 

Month / Year Missouri COVID cases*
(reported that month)
March 2020 1,327
April 2020 6,235
May 2020 5,585
June 2020 8,404
July 2020 28,772
August 2020 34,374
September 2020 41,416
October 2020 57,073
November 2020 116,576
December 2020 92,808
January 2021 66,249
February 2021 19,405
March 2021 11,150
April 2021 12,165
May 2021 9,913
June 2021 12,680
July 2021 42,780
August 2021 60,275
September 2021 45,707
October 2021 33,855
November 2021 35,903
(Source: Missouri Dept. of Health and Senior Services)

Missouri has administered 7,842,004 PCR tests for COVID-19 over the entirety of the pandemic and as of Nov. 28, 16.9% of those tests have come back positive. People who have received multiple PCR tests are not counted twice, according to the state health department.

According to the state health department’s COVID-19 Dashboard, “A PCR test looks for the viral RNA in the nose, throat, or other areas in the respiratory tract to determine if there is an active infection with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. A positive PCR test means that the person has an active COVID-19 infection.”

The Missouri COVID Dashboard no longer includes the deduplicated method of testing when compiling the 7-day moving average of positive tests. The state is now only using the non-deduplicated method, which is the CDC’s preferred method. That number is calculated using the number of tests taken over the period since many people take multiple tests. Under this way of tabulating things, Missouri has a 10.6% positivity rate as of Nov. 26. Health officials exclude the most recent three days to ensure data accuracy when calculating the moving average.

The 7-day positivity rate was 4.5% on June 1, 10.2% on July 1, and 15.0% on Aug. 1.

As of Nov. 26, Missouri is reporting 779 COVID hospitalizations and a rolling 7-day average of 1,063. The remaining inpatient hospital bed capacity sits at 24% statewide. The state’s public health care metrics lag behind by three days due to reporting delays, especially on weekends. Keep in mind that the state counts all beds available and not just beds that are staffed by medical personnel.

On July 6, the 7-day rolling average for hospitalizations eclipsed the 1,000-person milestone for the first time in four months, with 1,013 patients. The 7-day average for hospitalizations had previously been over 1,000 from Sept. 16, 2020, to March 5, 2021.

On Aug. 5, the average eclipsed 2,000 patients for the first time in more than seven months. It was previously over 2,000 from Nov. 9, 2020, to Jan. 27, 2021.

The 2021 low point on the hospitalization average in Missouri was 655 on May 29.

Across Missouri, 179 COVID patients are in ICU beds, leaving the state’s remaining intensive care capacity at 24%.

If you have additional questions about the coronavirus, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services is available at 877-435-8411.

As of Nov. 28, the CDC identified 48,106,615 cases of COVID-19 and 776,070 deaths across all 50 states and 9 U.S.-affiliated districts, jurisdictions, and affiliated territories, for a national case-fatality rate of 1.61%.

How do COVID deaths compare to other illnesses, like the flu or even the H1N1 pandemics of 1918 and 2009? It’s a common question.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), preliminary data on the 2018-2019 influenza season in the United States shows an estimated 35,520,883 cases and 34,157 deaths; that would mean a case-fatality rate of 0.09 percent. Case-fatality rates on previous seasons are as follows: 0.136 percent (2017-2018), 0.131 percent (2016-2017), 0.096 percent (2015-2016), and 0.17 percent (2014-2015).

The 1918 H1N1 epidemic, commonly referred to as the “Spanish Flu,” is estimated to have infected 29.4 million Americans and claimed 675,000 lives as a result; a case-fatality rate of 2.3 percent. The Spanish Flu claimed greater numbers of young people than typically expected from other influenzas.

Beginning in January 2009, another H1N1 virus—known as the “swine flu”—spread around the globe and was first detected in the US in April of that year. The CDC identified an estimated 60.8 million cases and 12,469 deaths; a 0.021 percent case-fatality rate.

For more information and updates regarding COVID mandates, data, and the vaccine, click here.

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Winning $800,000 Illinois lotto ticket sold in Pontoon Beach



College visit road trip results in $50,000 Powerball win for St. Charles family

PONTOON BEACH, Ill. – Someone hit the jackpot at Casey’s General Store in Pontoon Beach, Illinois. The Illinois Lottery reports that a player matched all five numbers Sunday night. The winning “Lucky Day Lotto” ticket is worth $800,000.

Jackpots in the Lucky Day Lotto game start at $100,00 and increase in size until someone matches all five numbers. The game costs one dollar to play and the chances of hitting the jackpot are around one in 1,221,759. This makes it one of the best odds of any Illinois Lottery draw game.

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