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Celtics outlast Charlotte in OT, 140-129

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Celtics outlast Charlotte in OT, 140-129

The Celtics have opened the season with five games in eight days — a stretch that ends Wednesday night at home against Washington.

In that time they have now played three overtime periods, including a season-opening double-overtime loss in New York and Monday night’s grinder — a 140-129 OT win over previously unbeaten Charlotte.

The Celtics exploded late offensively, getting 41 points from Jayson Tatum, 30 from Jaylen Brown, and 23 from Dennis Schroder in another emergency start, this time replacing Al Horford, who missed the game with an adductor strain.

And yet unlike last season, the Celtics didn’t have to live by the explosiveness of their scorers. Matched against one of the hottest young offensive teams in the NBA Monday night, they made their work stick with the kind of defense that wasn’t seen very often last season.

In other words, it was a typical Marcus Smart game, with the veteran guard stealing the ball and disrupting inbounds plays down the stretch, after nearly sitting out due to migraine and stomach issues earlier in the day that required constant hydration on the bench.

“This morning I woke up and I threw up and everything. It was killing me so bad. Body just weak. They wanted to put me as questionable. I told them let me see how I feel,” said Smart. “I started to feel OK, headache went away. But my vision was a little blurry. My whole head was really still spinning. Stomach still upset. Then literally right before the game, I told them, I said, at the moment, just be ready if I can’t go. So as you can probably see, they were feeding me water. I was just eating a banana to continue to have fluids in me. Like I said, I decided to go, I decided to fight through it and I’m glad I got out there and helped my team.”

It was also, as continues to become clear, a typical Rob Williams game, with the young center altering shots, rolling for lobs and dunks, and putting a 12-point, 16-rebound, three-block performance on the board.

It was Smart, after missing a 3-pointer, coming back to reach around LaMelo Ball and steal a Gordon Hayward inbounds pass with 11 seconds left to send the game into overtime. The play rewarded the Celtics’ best stretch of the night — a 20-8 run over the last 5:32 of regulation that erased a 12-point Charlotte lead.

“That was a great moment for us,” said Brown. “We were down in the fourth quarter, we ramped up the pressure a little bit and cut the deficit in a matter of minutes. Different group, resilient guys, Dennis played well. Marcus Smart was terrific by the way, especially at the end of the game. He may not get credit for having a great game, but defensively he won that game for us. And Dennis played well. Dennis is a starter in this league, we know that. He’s had some great seasons and some great years in spite all the controversy or whatever the case may be. He played well for us tonight. Looking forward to pairing him and Smart and getting after it in the defensive end. We can really be a good team.”

The Celtics then closed out overtime with a 14-0 run that was punctuated by Brown’s dunk over a player that doesn’t normally happen to — Charlotte’s Miles Bridges. And they’re doing it with a level of defense only occasionally evident last season.

“I don’t like to talk about last year. Last year was last year. It was COVID pandemic coming off the bubble, it’s a new year. This year we’ve got a lot to clean up but yes — we’re definitely trying to clean up and put an emphasis on that side of the ball,” said Brown. “Marcus made some huge plays, Rob made some huge plays and Dennis made some excellent plays. It led to us getting a victory. Have to continue to do that, have to continue to put pressure on teams and we’ll be alright. Last year was last year, this year is this year.”

Brown’s knee on the mend: As evidenced by his highlight reel dunk over Bridges in overtime, Brown’s left knee is feeling better after sitting out Sunday’s win in Houston.

“These overtime games are killing me,” he said. “But it held up nice. It’s fine. … I think last year (the knee) was more chronic. I think this year is just a spike just because of the amount of minutes coming out the gate from the double-overtime game, being in quarantine, et cetera, only having one day to come back. I think this one was just more of an isolated incident. I think last year was more chronic, it kind of dragged out all season. I’m hoping that’s not going to be the case here. So I think they’re just being cautious of that because they don’t want it to bother me all season long. I don’t think it will.”

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No final ruling over St. Louis County mask mandate after latest court hearing

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No final ruling over St. Louis County mask mandate after latest court hearing

ST. LOUIS – There is still confusion over whether a mask mandate continues to exist in St. Louis County. 

That after no final rulings were made this morning by the Judge overseeing the controversial St. Louis County mask mandate court case. 

Judge Ellen “Nellie” Ribaudo held about a half-hour hearing with lawyers for Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt and attorneys for St. Louis County. 

A key issue in the hearing was the impact of a ruling last week by Cole County Judge Daniel Green that bars local governing bodies from imposing COVID-19 health orders like mask mandates. 

We’re told the ruling does not officially go into effect until later in December. 

An attorney for St. Louis County, Neal Perryman, said county officials are still working through the ruling. 

Perryman conceded that county officials took the masking order off the county website following the ruling by Judge Green and that the St. Louis County masking order could now be moot. 

But Perryman would not go so far as to say that a mask mandate no longer exists in St. Louis County. 

An attorney for Missouri Attorney General’s office, Jeff Johnson, argued it’s not enough that the order was taken down from the website because St. Louis County Executive Dr. Sam Page said just yesterday that the mask mandate was still in effect in St. Louis County. 

A spokesperson for AG Schmitt says Schmitt wants a preliminary injunction officially ending the second St. Louis County mask mandate announced by County Executive Dr. Sam Page back in September. 

Officials with the AG’s office have filed a lawsuit contending the mandate is illegal under state law. 

Judge Ribaudo set another meeting for December 9th so that attorneys on both sides could meet and try to work out the various issues that are still outstanding. 

Meanwhile, the latest COVID numbers from the St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force show local cases rising again. 

The seven-day moving average of hospital admissions is at 48. The Task Force wants that number below 40. 

The total number of COVID patients hospitalized is nearly 400. Earlier this month there were just above 250. 82 confirmed COVID patients are now in ICUs. 

Less than three weeks ago that number was 53.  And there are now 52 confirmed COVID patients on ventilators. Two weeks ago there were just 32. 

Tragically 10 more people died from COVID in the latest numbers. 

That has pushed our region into double-digit COVID deaths in a single day for the first time in more than two months. 

The Pandemic Task Force is expected to address the latest COVID developments later today. 

The mask mandate controversy is also on the agenda for tonight’s St. Louis County Council meeting. 

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Ravens’ Week 15 game vs. Packers pushed back to late-afternoon kickoff

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Ravens’ Week 15 game vs. Packers pushed back to late-afternoon kickoff

The Ravens’ Week 15 home game against the Green Bay Packers has been pushed back to a 4:25 p.m. kickoff, the NFL announced Tuesday. Fox’s telecast of the game had been scheduled to start at 1 p.m. on Dec. 19.

The NFL uses “flexible scheduling” in Weeks 11-18, meaning that, after consultation with its broadcast partners, it can move games into prime-time or late-afternoon slots. The announcements are made no later than 12 days before the game.

The Ravens are 3-0 against NFC North teams this season, edging the Detroit Lions, Minnesota Vikings and Chicago Bears, but Green Bay should be the division’s stiffest test. The 9-3 Packers, led by reigning NFL Most Valuable Player Aaron Rodgers, have the NFC’s second-best record. On Sunday, they knocked off the Los Angeles Rams, 36-28, in Green Bay.

The Ravens’ Week 15 game will be second of three late-afternoon kickoffs in a five-week span. On Sunday and in Week 17, they face the Pittsburgh Steelers and Los Angeles Rams at 4:25 p.m.

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Denver’s homelessness response includes permanent cleanup zone in Five Points, safe outdoor space in Clayton

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Denver’s homelessness response includes permanent cleanup zone in Five Points, safe outdoor space in Clayton

The city of Denver has quietly stepped up its efforts to prevent encampments of homeless people from forming in one downtown neighborhood while also working to provide city land for a sanctioned camping site a few miles away.

City crews are now clearing unhoused people and their belongings from sidewalks and other public rights of way at least three times a week in a roughly 10-block area in the Five Points neighborhood, officials said.

“Permanent, regular cleanups are needed in this area to consistently promote the health and safety of everyone in the area, including those experiencing homelessness … ” Nancy Kuhn, spokeswoman for the city’s Department of Transportation and Infrastructure, said in an emailed statement.

The area identified by officials in late September is bounded by Broadway, Park Avenue, Welton and 20th streets. It’s dotted with signs that mark it a permanent zone for what opponents to the camping ban refer to as sweeps. The permanent cleanup zone was first reported by Westword.

Kuhn said the cleanup actions make the sidewalk accessible so people don’t have to walk in the street and help to mitigate public health risks created by trash, decomposing food, discarded needles, human waste and flammable materials such as propane and gasoline.

RJ Sangosti, The Denver Post

The city of Denver has posted signs marking a new permanent no-camping zone in a portion of Five Points in Denver on Nov. 22, 2021.

Unlike in most encampments cleanups, the city does not provide notice to people camping in the area seven days in advance. The notice rule was established by a federal injunction earlier this year.

“It’s an attempted end-run around the requirements of the preliminary injunction,” Andy McNulty, the attorney who filed the federal lawsuit against the city’s camping ban, said last week. “They are putting up a zone that essentially says you can’t exist here if you’re an unhoused person.”

McNulty and Assistant City Attorney Conor Farley delivered arguments in a hearing with a panel of judges on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit last week about the merits of the preliminary injunction. The city’s goal was to have the restrictions on its camping ban enforcement powers lifted.

Farley noted in his comments there is a process through which the city can speed up enforcement actions to a 48-hour timetable if an emergency public health risk exists in an encampment but said that is still not soon enough. He also acknowledged the public record is thin on examples of public health emergencies that require a speedier response.

A representative for the City Attorney’s Office declined to comment on the arguments which are still being considered by the judges on the panel. McNulty said the hearing was a demonstration that the city has been disingenuous about its motives for clearing encampments.

“They just want the power to do whatever they want whenever they want with no consequences and they are not happy that someone is actually holding them accountable for once,” he said.

The permanent cleanup area the city marked out in September is the second of its kind, Kuhn said. Another area, roughly outlined by Larimer, Arapahoe, 22nd and 24th streets, is also subject to regular enforcement, she said.

In her emailed statement, Kuhn encouraged people who are homeless to embrace the city services available to them rather than stay on the streets.

“Our shelters have capacity; they are open 24/7, many do not require sobriety, they are safe and clean, and provide essential services to exit homelessness, including case management and rehousing,” she wrote.

Kuhn emailed The Denver Post her statement before a Denver Rescue Mission employee was fatally stabbed at the organization’s shelter for men at 4600 E. 48th Ave. Saturday night.

The potential for violent episodes is just one thing that can keep unhoused people from using the city’s shelter network. Cathy Alderman, chief public policy officer for the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless, noted that sleeping in a large, open room with other people is not ideal for everyone and the environment can be triggering for people struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder.

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