Freeman Cebu Sports

Celtics choke

SPORTS EYE - Raffy Uytiepo - The Freeman

Even the best players in the NBA succumb to pressure, such was the case of Jaylen Brown who missed two free throws with 7.6 seconds to go in overtime that would  have given the Boston Celtics the lead and probably win the game against the New York Knicks  who nipped  Boston  120-117 in overtime  at the TD Garden.  The Celtics who still owns the best record in the league (35-15), has lost three straight after racking nine wins in a row.  The Celtics were given up for dead after trailing the Knicks 102-89, but tied the score in regulation behind Jayson Tatum’s superb plays.  The Celtics led by RJ Barrett drilled a 3-pointer with 29 seconds left.  Then Julius Randle who rattled 37 points, sank two free throws to put the Knicks back up by one.  In the next play, Jalen Brunson fouled Brown who missed both free throws.  Then Barrett continued his heroics by making his free throws to put the final nail on the Celtics coffin.  Marcus Smart again missed his third straight game with an ankle sprain while Tatum and Brown are playing hurt.  In the game against Miami, Boston went scoreless from the 8.46 mark of the fourth quarter to the 2:20 mark.  The Celtics however, tied the game 95-95 with 42.6 seconds left and a chance or take the lead after Bam Adebyo made a jumper to give the Heat a two-point lead.  Call it stupid but Boston did not call time out and the Celtics had to inbound up court.  Tatum who scored 31 points, tried to bring the ball up but the Heat swarmed him and forced a turnover with 1.2 seconds to seal the win.  Some of the factors that led to the Celtics loss were the 17 turnovers compared to Miami’s seven and the Heat outscored the Celtics’ bench 39-10.  Rewind to the game versus Orlando, Paolo Banchero scattered  23 points  to break the Celtics nine-game  winning streak. Boston also lost to the Magic in its two previous encounters.  Did Orlando cast a magic spell on the Celtics?, or Boston  just chook, este… choke.

Karpov coming

Don’t look now, but former world chess champion Anatoly Karpov of Russia will be arriving next week here in the Philippines,  and guess who  will be meeting him at the airport? No less than his former tormentor now good friend, GM Eugene Torre. Torre said Karpov is closest to him among the former world champions, Boris Spassky, Vassily Smyslov and Tigran Petrosian.  Of course, Bobby Fischer was his best friend.  On Tuesday, Karpov will hold a simultaneous exhibition match at the Ninoy Aquino Stadium and will view a Russian movie about his 1978 world  title duel with Viktor Korchnoi.  He will also visit Baguio City where he defeated Korchnoi in 1978 at the Baguio Convention Center.   Torre and Karpov also had lots of memories in the City of Pines, having played there 11 times with Torre winning two and Karpov four with five ending in draws, Torre said Karpov was almost unbeatable when he was world champion but he beat him twice in the 1976 King’s Challenge at the Phil-Am Life building in Manila and in London in 1984 where Karpov eventually took the title.

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