Vettel reminds rivals how far they are behind with dominant win

Thursday, May 26, 2011 | 14 comments

Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel sent out a clear reminder at Sepang track of the pace of his car and how much work his rivals have to do in order to prevent the Formula One world championship from becoming a one-horse race.

The reigning world champion eased to an immaculate win in the Petronas Formula 1 Malaysian Grand Prix to take a comfortable 24-point lead to the Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai this week over Jenson Button.

It was thought that the wider tracks of Sepang would give a better indication of how the battles for the championships would be played out compared to the street circuit of Melbourne two weeks ago.

But Vettel expertly handled the shredding of the Pirelli tyres on the sweltering conditions of Sepang, requiring only three pit-stops in comparison to the four his more experienced team-mate Mark Webber made.

The German’s ability to stay comfortably ahead of rivals McLaren, Ferrari and Renault in a car he could not even employ the effective use of KERS (kinetic energy recovery system or power boost) for portions of the race made his rivals scratch their heads in charting out how to stop the rampaging Red Bulls.

But true to the 23-year-old German’s character, he played down talk of retaining his title with 17 races remaining.

“Some people were already talking about brutal dominance or whatever. I tried not to read anything. That’s just two races. I don’t think I need to explain how many things can change,” said Vettel after his fourth consecutive win dating back to last season.

Vettel also shrugged off growing comparison with the legendary countryman Michael Schumacher, who was also dominant in his heyday with Ferrari a few years back.

“Don’t talk to me about that stuff. Look over there, he is my hero,” said Vettel, pointing to Schumacher.

Closest rivals McLaren are, however, determined to close the gap.

Button finished three seconds behind Vettel on Sunday but the Briton was never in contention to win once the Red Bull driver come out from his final stop with a 10-second lead.

“The Red Bulls’ pace is very good. He’s won two races out of two and nobody else has been consistent. He’s got a 24-point lead and that’s a lot after two races,” said Button, who was still, nevertheless, satisfied to grab his first podium finish.


Souce from : THESTARONLINE.com

Michael Schumacher up for challenges in 2011 season

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Mercedes GP’s, Michael Schumacher, has announced recently that he is up for the challenge that lies ahead for his team this season and that he is fully motivated despite the disappointing start to the season.

“I am, of course, looking forward to racing in Shanghai as challenges fire me up as much as everybody else in our team”, said Schumacher.

Michael scored his first 2 points at the Malaysian Grand Prix, even though he qualified in a disappointing 11th place and as a result, did not even qualify for the final session of the qualifying round Q3.

Mercedes was looking pretty good until the pre-season testing period. But after a sudden deterioration during the Australian Grand Prix’s free practice sessions, it seems that the team is now nowhere near the pace of the top running teams Red Bull Racing Team and McLaren, even though they vowed to compete for titles this year.

However, Michael believes that he is eagerly anticipating the challenge his team will have to face in order to improve its new car in order to possibly give him his first podium position since his return to the sport back in 2010.

“We know that we have little time to build after the race in Malaysia but we are learning with every lap that we race, so we are heading there with an open mind and full of ambition to do better than in the opening races”, said the 7-time Formula 1 world champion.

His team’s boss, Ross Brawn, also admitted that as the team has been unable to deliver a promising performance for two consecutive races now, Mercedes will have to apply some major updates for the W02.

However, he added that the team is going to evaluate the problem at its full before getting rid of it.

“With the back-to-back races taking place in Malaysia and China on consecutive weekends, there is little time to make significant changes to the car ahead of our visit to Shanghai”, Brawn said.

The team is looking to make a comeback some way and it is believed that they are going to take some risks in improving their car before heading to Shanghai for the upcoming Chinese Grand Prix.


Source from : BETTOR.Com

Formula 1 gossip and rumours from international media

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Red Bull are unlikely to be using their Kers power boost system in Sunday's Chinese Grand Prix, where the circuit has the longest straight on the Formula 1 calendar. Technical chief Adrian Newey admits the Milton Keynes-based team is finding it hard to come to grips with the device.

Interlagos, the Sao Paulo track that stages the F1 Brazilian GP, is to make changes following the death of a driver in a truck race earlier this month. A section of stand will be removed to enable the addition of a slow-down area on the outside of the high-speed corner leading to the main straight.

The Yas Marina circuit in Abu Dhabi is also making changes after being severely criticised for a lack of overtaking opportunities. Chief executive Richard Cregan confirmed alterations between turns 6 and 9 will be completed before November's penultimate round of the 2011 F1 championship.

Paul di Resta claims he was hit several times by tyre "marbles" during the Malaysian GP. "In the middle of a fast corner, these lumps of rubber would be smacking into my hands as I turned the wheel," said the Force India driver. Tyre manufacturer Pirelli have responded by pointing out they were specifically instructed to provide tyres that degrade more quickly.

Nick Heidfeld's third-place finish in Malaysia means the German driver now holds the record for the most podium finishes without a win. Heidfeld has finished second or third 13 times, one more than previous record-holder Stefan Johansson. Ferrari is planning immediate action after their cars finished fifth and sixth in Malaysia. "We need to introduce some developments as soon as we can, maybe from the next race in China," team principal Stefano Domenicali is quoted as saying.


Source from : BBCSPORT.com

Hot Corner: NBA's best coach is in Chicago

Wednesday, May 25, 2011 | 1 comments

I move that nominations for NBA Coach of the Year be closed with just one name -- Tom Thibodeau of the Chicago Bulls.

And don't be too quick to discount his worthiness for this award because he has the league's best player on his roster. Teams that have had the best player have not always produced. Consider the Michael Jordan-led Bulls before Phil Jackson came to the Windy City.

Yes, Derrick Rose is an amazing player who can take over a game whenever the notion strikes him. But, as LeBron James learned, it takes more than a superstar, or even three, to produce a championship.

Thibodeau has gotten everybody on his roster to buy into the defense-first philosophy that has been the staple of his career. This group has taken off and quickly reached for the potential that had James considering the Bulls last summer.

Would the Bulls have been better had The King graced their roster? Who knows? But I'm figuring Thibodeau would have made it work.

Source from : AL.com

How would the Lakers match up with San Antonio in the playoffs?

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This is the last thing the Lakers should be reading or discussing. They're in the midst of a five-game losing streak. They aren't even sure whether they'll finish as a No. 2 seed or drop down to No. 4. And they've demonstrated such a riddling amount of inconsistency, that it's plausible they wouldn't even advance this far in the postseason to see such an outcome.

So why on Earth am I analyzing how the Lakers and San Antonio Spurs would match up in the playoffs? Give me a break. The Lakers will turn things around. They just have to prove that they will. As Kobe Bryant said, "Everybody wants to put the nail in the coffin, but we've been there before and it doesn't bother us."

That's why it's plausible that the Lakers and Spurs matchup Tuesday at Staples Center won't be the last time they meet this season. The Lakers can take care of their responsibilities, secure the No. 2 seed and meet the Spurs in the Western Conference Finals. Or they may end the season on a seven-game losing streak, drop down to No. 4 and face a tougher road by playing the Spurs in the West semifinals. Either way, it would be one great series.

"I love those guys, but at the same time, I want to beat the hell out of them," Bryant said of the Spurs. "But I have a lot of a lot of respect for what they do and how they do it."

After the jump, I size up how each team could win.

Why the Lakers would beat the Spurs in the playoffs: The Lakers and Spurs have shared similar success, with the Lakers winning five NBA championships in the last decade and San Antonio three. The Lakers have often mentioned that the preparation for a playoff series is easier when they're familiar with the opponent. Obviously that history also applies to San Antonio, but here's where the Lakers have the edge: The Lakers have met the Spurs in the postseason this decade five times, and the Lakers have won four of those series.

This season, the Lakers have shown how that familiarity can pay off. There's no doubt that future Hall of Famer Tim Duncan has taken a backseat this season, willing to sacrifice his offensive production so he can facilitate a more up-tempo offense that runs through Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili. But the Lakers have taken Duncan out of his comfort zone this season, with Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol helping to limit Duncan to 12 points on five-of-26 shooting in three meetings.

The Lakers' stiff defense hasn't applied only to Duncan. In their 1-2 regular season series with the Spurs, the Lakers have held San Antonio to an average of 89.66 points a game. That included poor shooting nights for Ginobili (three of 12) and Richard Jefferson (six of 14) in the Lakers' 97-82 loss Dec. 28, for Ginobili (five of 17) in the Lakers' 89-88 loss Feb. 3 and for Ginobili (three of 10), Parker (six of 14) and Jefferson (zero of three) in the Lakers' 99-83 victory March 6. The Lakers' defensive presence was a large reason they went 17-1 after the All-Star break and it could be a huge if they were to overcome San Antonio's homecourt advantage and sixth-best offense, averaging 103.83 points a game.

Why the Lakers would lose to the Spurs in the playoffs: The Lakers' effort in stifling Duncan has had little correlation to actual victories. For example, Duncan finished with a one-of-seven clip in two games this season, but one came in the Lakers' 97-82 loss Dec. 28 and the other came in the Lakers' 99-83 victory March 6. Their defense in general also did very little to stop San Antonio. That's because the Lakers performed abysmally on the offensive end.

The Lakers' 35.4% clip in their double-digit loss to September mostly pointed to Bryant shooting eight of 27, but only Bynum and Matt Barnes shot above 50%. Bryant also shot only five of 18 in the Lakers' one-point loss in February. Surely, two of the Lakers' games against the Spurs came when L.A.'s chemistry wasn't as sharp as it was after the All-Star break, showing why the Lakers blew out the Spurs so drastically. But the Spurs are quite familiar with the Lakers and could disrupt them enough offensively at least to cost them a game in the series. Considering that the Spurs would have homecourt advantage and own a two-game winning streak at Staples Center indicates they're capable of stealing a road game, that would be a lethal combination.

But here's more. The Spurs' bench has proven vastly superior to the Lakers'. San Antonio boasts George Hill (17.3 points on 56% shooting in his last seven games) and three-point specialists in Matt Bonner and Gary Neal, who have been instrumental to the team's league-leading 39.9% shooting from three-point range. The Lakers can count on only Lamar Odom off the bench, which also features a cold-shooting Shannon Brown, a tentative Steve Blake and a previously aggressive Matt Barnes, who hasn't looked the same since returning last month from surgery on his right knee. That's why it comes as no surprise that Jackson removed his reserves in the Lakers' win in March after they allowed San Antonio to creep back into contention.


Source from : LAKERSBLOG.com

Michael Jordan is the legend of Basketball

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Michael Jeffrey Jordan (born February 17, 1963) is a former American professional basketball player, active businessman, and majority owner of the Charlotte Bobcats. His biography on the National Basketball Association (NBA) website states, "By acclamation, Michael Jordan is the greatest basketball player of all time.". Jordan was one of the most effectively marketed athletes of his generation and was instrumental in popularizing the NBA around the world in the 1980s and 1990s.

After a standout career at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he was a member of the Tar Heels' National Championship team in 1982, Jordan joined the NBA's Chicago Bulls in 1984. He quickly emerged as a league star, entertaining crowds with his prolific scoring. His leaping ability, illustrated by performing slam dunks from the free throw line in slam dunk contests, earned him the nicknames "Air Jordan" and "His Airness". He also gained a reputation for being one of the best defensive players in basketball. In 1991, he won his first NBA championship with the Bulls, and followed that achievement with titles in 1992 and 1993, securing a "three-peat".

Although Jordan abruptly retired from basketball at the beginning of the 1993–94 NBA season to pursue a career in baseball, he rejoined the Bulls in 1995 and led them to three additional championships (1996, 1997, and 1998) as well as an NBA-record 72 regular-season wins in the 1995–96 NBA season. Jordan retired for a second time in 1999, but returned for two more NBA seasons from 2001 to 2003 as a member of the Washington Wizards.

Jordan's individual accolades and accomplishments include five MVP awards, ten All-NBA First Team designations, nine All-Defensive First Team honors, fourteen NBA All-Star Game appearances, three All-Star Game MVP awards, ten scoring titles, three steals titles, six NBA Finals MVP awards, and the 1988 NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award. He holds the NBA records for highest career regular season scoring average (30.12 points per game) and highest career playoff scoring average (33.45 points per game). In 1999, he was named the greatest North American athlete of the 20th century by ESPN, and was second to Babe Ruth on the Associated Press's list of athletes of the century. He was elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame on April 6, 2009 and was inducted on September 11, 2009.

Michael Jordan wowed us year after year with breath taking abilities while still managing to attain every accolade possible. MVP, Finals MVP, Rookie of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year, All-NBA, All-Star, Slam-Dunk Champion and Olympic Champion are awards that highlight Jordan's memorable career.

Many people, including MJ himself, wonder how all that greatness would translate to today's game. In the era of the "Black Mamba" and "King James," one has to wonder how Jordan would fare. Well, wonder no more! The following list tells you exactly how a prime Michael Jordan would fare on each team in the NBA today, including their playoff result.
 
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