Indiana Pacers 2019-20 Game #9 Review: Detroit Pistons

Indiana Pacers (5-4) 112-106 Detroit Pistons (4-6)

Venue: Bankers Life Fieldhouse

Date: 08.11.2019

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T.J. McConnell had his best game in an Indiana Pacers (5-4) uniform to date, as he led the Blue & Gold to a 112-106 victory over central division rivals Detroit Pistons (4-6) at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

The Pacers have now won their last four in Indianapolis after losing their first home game of the season to the Pistons on opening night. Victory also gives Indiana the chance to tie the four-game series between the two teams, after Detroit won the previous two encounters.

It was another encouraging performance given the ever-growing injury list that Nate McMillan has had to deal with. Myles Turner, Jeremy Lamb, Edmond Sumner, Goga Bitadze and Victor Oladipo all sat out on Friday night. The depth in the squad is much deeper than in previous years, with plenty of options now available to the Indiana coaching team once everyone is back healthy.

The match itself illustrated just how the season has unfolded for this Blue & Gold team. The first quarter was simply not good enough defensively, as the Pistons threw down 35 points and led by as many as 15 points. Communication wasn’t established between the starters, as Andre Drummond and Luke Kennard happily gobbled up the easy looks presented to them.

Then it clicked. The Pacers were resolute defensively and kept the scoreboard ticking over nicely. After that 35-point first quarter, Indiana only conceded 37 in the second and third quarters combined to turn the game in their favour. A 14-2 run towards the end of the first half gave the Blue & Gold a half-time lead which they never gave back up.

The next man up mentality, which has seemed to give this team an almighty boost, was continued by T.J. McConnell, who ran the show when he was the court. McConnell easily dribbled into the paint all night and either scored the bucket or found the perfect pass to a teammate to slam the ball home. He finished the night top-scorer with 17 points, including eight consecutive points in the third quarter, as the Pacers established a lead which rose as high as 17 points at one point.

17 seemed to the number of the night, with TJ Warren and Domontas Sabonis also ending the game with 17 points to their names. Domas also gathered 14 rebounds for his fifth double-double of the season.

In their previous matchups with Detroit, two factors had a heavy bearing why the Pistons came away with both wins – Andre Drummond and the bench. Drummond, who gathered 41 rebounds in the last two matches, only managed 13 this time around largely thanks to Sabonis and JaKarr Sampson. With four fouls to his name, the big centre couldn’t risk getting fouled out and had to be more conservative defensively in the second half.

The bench had been outscored by the Pistons bench on opening night and in Detroit last week by a combined total of 69 points. Last night, Indiana smashed Detroits second unit 51-28, with Doug McDermott getting into double figures for the second game running.

Indiana have gone 5-1 since their 0-3 start to the season and now sit over .500 for the first time this year. The Pacers will now look to continue their steady progression at the Orlando Magic (3-6) on Sunday.

Indiana Pacers 2019-20 Game #7 Preview: @ Charlotte Hornets

Opponents: Charlotte Hornets (3-3)

Venue: Spectrum Centre

Tip-off: 7pm ET, 12am GMT

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The Indiana Pacers (3-3) will be looking to make it four wins on the bounce as they travel to North Carolina to take on the Charlotte Hornets (3-3) at Spectrum Centre.

The Blue & Gold have very quickly eradicated fears of an early season slump after starting at 0-3, but have now got up the precious .500 mark needed stake a claim for a play-off spot in the Eastern Conference.

Impressive wins over the Brooklyn Nets, Cleveland Cavaliers and Chicago Bulls last week has coincided with better performances from the bench and fringe players. Goga Bitadze and T.J. Leaf had standout games in particular. Bitadze began to show why Indiana chose him in the draft in the summer after producing an excellent 10 points, none rebounds and four blocks against the Cavs on Friday night, whilst Leaf secured a much-needed double-double against the Bulls on Sunday.

Injuries have plagued the Pacers in these opening two weeks of the season with Myles Turner, Domantas Sabonis and Edmond Sumner joining Victor Oladipo on the sidelines. Whilst this leaves the Pacers much lighter than usual, they still have enough to sting the Hornets in their own back yard.

One such weapon is ex-Hornet Jeremy Lamb, who faces Charlotte for the first time since swapping North Carolina for Indiana. Lamb has impressed since returning from a hip injury picked up on the opening week of the season. He was quiet against the Bulls, so expect him to respond against his former team.

Charlotte may have an identical record to the Pacers on paper, but the performances haven’t exactly been phenomenal. In the games they have won, the Hornets have edged out teams in a similar bracket to theirs. When they have been beaten, they’ve been beaten hard.

After losing their star point guard Kemba Walker in the off-season, Charlotte have struggled offensively. Only twice so far have they totalled over 101 points in a game, however they are shooting very well from behind the arch with the fifth-best 3-point shooting percentage (38.5%). This will no doubt be their strongest asset at Spectrum Centre, with Marvin Williams shooting just under 50% from 3-point range.

Indiana’s defence have been impeccable since the second half of their match in Detroit a week ago. They will be confident that they can hold the Hornets to a two-digit score for the third match in a row between the two teams to secure that fourth straight win.

Indiana Pacers 2019-20 Game #4 Preview: @ Brooklyn Nets

Opponents: Brooklyn Nets (1-2)

Venue: Barclays Center

Tip-off: 7:30pm ET, 11:30pm GMT

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The Indiana Pacers (0-3) finish their three-game road trip at the Barclays Centre against the free-scoring Brooklyn Nets (1-2) this evening.

Monday’s defeat at the Detroit Pistons (2-2) was a tough one. The team performed much better, particularly in that second half. The team’s chemistry – especially among the starting line-up – is evidently getting stronger, which is promising heading into November. The Brooklyn Nets will be no easy place to go this season, so the Pacers will need to perform like they did in that second half in Michigan if they are to get the win.

Kyrie Irving must be stopped at all costs. Signed in the summer from the Boston Celtics (2-1), Irving has led the charge on the scoring front. He put down 50 points on his debut and averages a league high 37.7 points per game. Alongside the Milwaukee Bucks (2-1), the Nets are averaging a massive 124 points per game. Despite signs of improvement in their last outing, the Indiana defence is still nowhere near a final product. It could be another long night on that front.

However, for all their firepower offensively, the Nets have not backed that up on the defensive end. A 134-133 overtime defeat to the Memphis Grizzlies (1-3) last time out was a bitter pill for them to swallow. Without being able to hold a team under 109 points in any of their previous three games, the opportunities to score high will be there for the Pacers.

Malcolm Brogdon has three double-doubles to his name and is currently the leading assist maker in the league, averaging just over 10 a game. Domontas Sabonis comes in off the back of a 21-point score in Detroit, as he looks to continue averaging over 20 points a game. Both men will need to lead the line offensively again tonight, but this game is there for the taking.

It is the 27th best offence against the 28th best defence in the league at present. If the second unit can finally put up decent numbers off the bench and the team manage to sink more 3 attempts, then there is no reason why Indiana cannot pick their first win of the season tonight.

It will also be imperative that the Pacers play four solid quarters. In their previous three games the Blue & Gold have been let down by one or two poor 12-minute phases which ultimately leave them too much to do. We saw that in the fourth on opening night, second last Saturday and first on Monday. If Irving is on it and this Nets team get away and obtain a 10 or 12-point lead early on, then it could be curtains early doors.

The Pacers may be buoyed by the possible return of Jeremy Lamb, who practised with the team yesterday. Lamb has missed the previous two with a slight hip injury and could come back into the team or make an appearance off the bench should Nate McMillan decide to mix it up a little to try and solve the low scoring issue.

Indiana Pacers 2019-20 Game #3 Review: @ Detroit Pistons

Detroit Pistons (2-2) 96-94 Indiana Pacers (0-3)

Venue: Little Caesars Arena

Date: 28.10.19

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The Indiana Pacers (0-3) are the only side in the Eastern Conference to have not won a single game this season, after falling to an agonisingly late 96-94 defeat to the Detroit Pistons (2-2).

It was the second time in just five days that the Pistons have beaten the Blue and Gold, but the Pacers did begin to eradicate some of the errors they’ve made in their previous matches.

Andre Drummond, Derrick Rose and Luke Kennard all struggled to replicate their high scoring form from game one, which was largely due to Indiana’s defensive resilience.

The Pacers’ bench remains to be this team’s achilles heel. They were outscored convincingly once again, which must now begin to worry Nate McMillan. Justin Holiday has come in and done okay, but the likes of T.J. McConnell and T.J. Leaf need to do more offensively if they are to keep their place in the Pacers pecking order.

Brogdon had a quieter night but still managed to make it a third successive double-double. Domantas Sabonis was the biggest scorer of the night as he scored 21 points.

Detroit managed to keep Indiana at arms length through the first 36 minutes of this contest, but it was in the fourth quarter where the tide began to turn. Both Markieff Morris and Drummond committed four fouls each and subsequently left on the bench, as Pacers pushed hard. For the first time, we saw structure and defensive organisation, with rebounds being won on both ends of the floor.

However, for all their hard work at the back of the court, the Pacers struggled to capitalise offensively. The Pacers trailed the whole game until late in the fourth, with T.J. Warren dropping a lovely 3 in the corner to give Indiana a 94-90 lead. Kennard responded with a 3 of his own that, unfortunately for the Blue and Gold, went in via a ricochet off the rim which could have dropped anywhere. With a one point lead the Pacers only needed one more score which would have probably sealed the deal. If only it was that easy.

Brogdon struggled to shoot 3s all evening and missed two long-range opportunities before Rose drove to the hoop for the Pistons to give them a 95-94 advantage.

With one timeout left, Indiana had time on their side to try and get to the free throw line through a Detroit foul. Warren had eight seconds to play with, which was unbeknown to him. Panicked and feeling rushed, he threw the ball towards needlessly towards the basket, which was never going to go in. The Pacers then quickly fouled Kennard, who got to shoot twice from the free throw line. He scored one. With it a two-point game with two seconds left. Indiana knew a score would at least take it to overtime.

They went with the same move that secured a late win over Sacramento Kings (0-4) in India during the pre-season, with Warren the man to shoot. His shot rebounded back off the rim, and the game was done.

Lady luck is not on Indiana’s side at the moment, but the signs of improvement are there ahead of what will be their final game of this three-game road trip at the Brooklyn Nets (2-2) tomorrow.

Indiana Pacers 2019-20 Game #3 Preview: @ Detroit Pistons

Opponents: Detroit Pistons (1-2)

Venue: Little Caesars Arena

Tip-off: 7pm ET, 11pm GMT

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Everyone will be expecting a more dogged performance from the Indiana Pacers (0-2) this evening, as they head to Michigan for an early season rematch with the Detroit Pistons (1-2).

The Pistons won the first encounter between the two teams on opening night in Indianapolis, but the Pacers have every intention to repay the favour as they search for their first league win of the campaign.

In order to do so, they will need to tighten up defensively and make sure they are the aggressors early on. Both Domantas Sabonis and Malcolm Brogdon have echoed in the locker room previously that Indiana need to force their way into the game early on and control the tempo.

One man that caused Indiana havoc when the teams last faced off was Andre Drummond. His 32 points and 23 rebounds were instrumental in that Pistons victory, as well as his surprisingly accurate free throw shooting. Derrick Rose and Luke Kennard will also need to be watched much more carefully around the perimeter. It is unlikely they will shoot as freakishly well as they did last week against the Pacers, but if given an easy look or plenty of room to set then they will punish Nate McMillan’s fragmented team.

Victory over the Pacers on opening night remains Detroit’s solo win this season, having dropped their last two games at home. They will be desperate for get a first victory in front of their fans, but the challenge for them is to accomplish that with all-star Blake Griffin.

Jeremy Lamb is ruled out once again, which means Edmond Sumner will continue in his place in the starting lineup. The clash at Little Caesars Arena could offer a lifeline to Aaron Holiday, who wasn’t involved at all in Saturday’s 110-99 defeat to the Cleveland Cavaliers (1-1). He’s got the ability to stamp his mark on a game, as proven last year when he reached double figures in over a dozen matches.

The Indiana bench was blown out the water by their Detroit counterparts last week. They will need to emphatically improve on the measly 16 points they managed to score first time around. It could be last chance saloon for the likes of TJ Leaf if they don’t roll their sleeves up and prove their worth to the cause.

Brogdon was the lone bright spark in Cleveland on Saturday with his 30 points, but he will need to be supported better on both ends of the floor by Sabonis and Myles Turner. The team are near the bottom of the team stats for defence, which is surprising given Turner’s blocking ability.

A win in Detroit will go a long way for the Indiana Pacers. Not only will it level the four-match series between them and the Pistons, or relieve some pressure off of the board, coaches and players’ shoulders. It will more importantly provide some much needed hope for the supporters, who are starting to worry about what this season holds for the Blue and Gold. Confidence is a huge factor in this sport, and the longer a winless run goes on, the worse it plays on the minds and bodies of all involved with the organisation.

That first Victory could be just what this team needs to get the shackles off ahead of a busy week.

Indiana Pacers 2019-20 Game #1 Preview: Detroit Pistons

Opponents: Detroit Pistons (0-0)

Venue: Bankers Life Fieldhouse

Tip-off: 7pm ET, 12am BST

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It has been a long, long summer but finally the 2019-20 NBA season is off and running.

The Indiana Pacers open their account tonight at Bankers Life Fieldhouse against fellow Eastern Conference rivals the Detroit Pistons.

This is the fourth year in a row that the Pacers will open their season at home, having won their previous three. They have also won eight of their previous nine meetings with tonights opponents at Bankers Life.

The pre-season offered fans plenty of reasons to be optimistic about the team’s offensive prowess. Indiana averaged 119 points in their four matches. Scoring like that will see them win more games then they will lose over the course of the 82-game regular season.

With All-Star Victor Oladipo out until at least Christmas, acquiring players who can score was imperative for Head Coach Nate McMillan and co over the summer months. Instead of putting all their eggs in one basket and attempt to get another big name to fill the void, the Pacers were shrewd with their off-season business. Signing a group of players who strengthen plenty of areas where the team lacked last season has in many ways made more people excited for what this team can achieve over the next eight months.

Whilst they are still outsiders to win the Eastern Conference, some will see them as a team much more capable of doing so than 12 months ago. Improving on their 48-34 record and fifth-place finish has to be the target, and if they can get to that magic 50 wins for the regular season, home court advantage in the play-offs would be a considerable achievement in itself.


Three of the starting five will be new summer acquisitions in Malcolm Brogdon, T.J. Warren and Jeremy Lamb. Brogdon, who joined the Pacers from Milwaukee, comes off the back of a very impressive 2018-19 where he became just the eighth player in NBA history to join the 50-40-90 Club (averaging over 50% for field goals, 40% three pointers and 90% from the free throw line over the course of a season).

Warren, signed from Phoenix Suns, surprised many when he scored a massive 30 points on debut against the Sacramento Kings in India. He has the potential to average 20 points per game for the season. With those numbers, he is the perfect supplement to Oladipo once he returns as the two men leading the scoring charts for Indiana.

Lamb is a competent all-round player. Last year he was the Charlotte Hornets’ second-highest points scorer, averaging 15.5pts. He also has good handles, can get to the basket and defend well when required.

With any new team though, there will be a period where the team need to gel. Things will not be perfect on opening night, as the players begin to understand one another. Injuries pending, these five can expect solid spells in the starting five before Christmas, and it shouldn’t take long for them to settle.


With Domantas Sabonis extending his stay in Indiana on Monday, we will now definitely see whether he can link up with Myles Turner in the Pacers starting lineup. The two – dubbed by the media as the ‘twin towers’ – have the ability to make a deadly duo. Turner makes more blocks than most in the NBA, whilst Sabonis is better in offensive positions and scoring baskets.

Will it work though? We’ve seen it at the New Orleans Pelicans with Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins, and at the Pistons funnily enough with Griffin and Drummond. Both cases success is relatively low.

Playing two big men together works against some teams, but not all. In order for this alliance to fully blossom, Sabonis will need to be able to defend against the smaller, quicker power forwards in the league. We will see how he fares tonight, especially with the news coming out of Detroit about one of their star men.


All-Star Blake Griffin misses tonight’s matchup with a hamstring problem, which is a huge blow to Dwane Casey’s team. The forward comes into the season following one of his best seasons in the NBA. In 2018-19 he averaged 23.5 points per game, 7.5 rebounds and 5.4 assists. He was instrumental as the Pistons recorded 41-41 for the season which earned them a play-off place for the first time in three years.


6’11 centre Andre Drummond will now be the main threat for Detroit tonight. Ranking highest in the league for rebounds for the previous two seasons, Drummond could be a handful for the likes of Turner and Sabonis in and around the rim on both sides of the floor.

However, despite his defensive game winning over many plaudits, his offence does let him down at times. He’s tried to improve his free throw shooting and ball handling, so it will be interesting to see what he can conjure up this evening.

Should he struggle to make baskets, and with less depth in their roster, the Pistons may struggle for points altogether in Indiana. The likes of Derrick Rose and Luke Kennard will need to capitalise on Drummond’s ability at the pick-and-roll as that could be their most devastating weapon in their arsenal if executed well enough.

Drummond is starting his eighth season with the Pistons, and the 26-year-old will be hoping the team improves, especially with his contract up next summer and talks of a trade intensify. The Pistons should be in and around the play-off picture come April, but time will tell as to whether this roster has what it takes to mount a serious challenge on their Eastern Conference rivals.

A look back at the life of Sir Roger Bannister (1929-2018).

The world of athletics has today been grieving following of the death of Sir Roger Bannister. 

Bannister, who passed away at the age of 88, became the first man to run the mile in less than four minutes.

His time of 03:59.4 instantly gave him legendary status within the sport.

His story is one of perseverance, redemption and ultimately much joy and happiness. He inspired generation upon generation and was often looked up to as one of the great pioneers of British athletics.

Tributes have poured in from some huge names – including IAAF President Lord Seb Coe – to commemorate Bannister’s life as both a runner and for his work as a world renowned neurologist.

Here’s a look back at the glistening career of one of British sport’s biggest stars.

Bannister was born in Harrow on 23rd March 1929.

He took up running at the age of 17 and was considered to represent Great Britain at the 1948 Olympics in London, but at the time he didn’t feel ready to compete at such a high level.

He was subsequently inspired by the games and set himself a target of competing at the next Olympics, hosted by Helsinki, four years later.

However, things didn’t go to plan for the Brit in the Finnish capital.

Bannister scrapped through his 1500m semi by finishing fifth, before ending the Olympic final fourth and out of the medals.

Feeling down, deflated and defeated after his disappointing result, Bannister almost gave up with athletics. But after taking a two-month sabbatical, he instead gave himself a new goal: to become the first person to ever run the mile below four minutes.

Using his own cleverly devised training programme, his times showed significant improvements throughout 1953 and early ’54.

The historic moment took place on 6th May 1954 at Iffley Track in Oxford, where he finished six hundredths of a second clear of four minutes. Scenes of celebrations followed, but they were to be short-lived.

Finland would once again came back to haunt him as fierce rival John Landy broke his world record run just 26 days later in Turku with a time of 03:58.0

The rivalry between the Briton and Australian led to one of the most anticipated mid-distance races in history at the 1954 Commonwealth Games in Vancouver.  Built up as the ‘Miracle Mile’, Bannister would end up triumphant on this occasion, with a personal best of 03.58.8.

A bronze statue of the two racers can still be found in the Canadian city.

Towards the end of 1954, Bannister retired from athletics and was awarded a CBE 12 months later for his contribution to the sport.

Following retirement, he focused on studying in Medicine, and went on to become a successful neurologist. He felt his 40 years practising in neurology was a more important and more significant acccomplishment in life than his achievements on the track.

Bannister was knighted in 1975, and also became the first chairman of what is now known as Sport England.

In 2002, the British public voted in a poll conducted by Channel 4 that Bannister’s sub-four minute mile was 13th in the list of  ‘100 Greatest Sporting Moments’.

In 2011, Bannister revealed he was suffering with Parkinson’s Disease in a interview with the BBC, and he died peacefully surrounded by his family on 3rd March 2018.

RIP Sir Roger. You will be surely missed.


Footballer Gerard Pique is showing his business ambitions with plans to reform tennis’ Davis Cup into an 18-nation extravaganza, but his proposal needs some finishing touches.

Hours before lining up for Barcelona in their La Liga match against Girona last Saturday, Gerard Pique gave a presentation to the International Tennis Federation proposing a radical change that could make or break the men’s game. 

Pique and his company Kosmos have entered a partnership with the ITF. Image Credit:

“Together we can elevate the Davis Cup to new heights by putting on a must-see World Cup of Tennis Finals featuring the top nations and top players,” said the 31-year old footballer, who for a long time has had entrepreneurial ambitions he plans to pursue now and long after hanging up his boots.

The Spaniard, with the backing of Barcelona shirt sponsors Rakuten, is set to cough up an investment of £2.2 billion – spread over a 25 year period – to help transform the Davis Cup into an 18-nation extravaganza.

This would mean the likes of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic could all  compete for up to £14.1 million in prize money as part of the revamp set to take place next year.

Pique is a huge tennis fanatic. The proud Catalan tries to get to as many events in his native Spain as possible, which even includes throwing himself into the lion’s den by visiting rival city Madrid to watch the sport he adores. Now he plans to help it reach new heights.

The World Cup of Tennis Finals – which would take place over the course of a week in November – is both his and the ITF’s answer to prolong the sport’s historic men’s team competition as a major global sporting event.

For many the change is needed. The Davis Cup has been stuttering at late and needs to be regenerated into something that will get people talking about it again.

A final meeting is scheduled for August in Orlando, USA to decide whether to finalise the proposal. A two-thirds majority is needed to give the new tournament the green light.

The format of the new competition would follow a similar set-up to that of many World Cups in other sports, with an initial round robin (six groups of three) followed by a knockout phase (quarter-finals, semi-finals and final). The 16 World Group nations will automatically qualify for the finals, with a further two places up for grabs.

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Pique has played in 265 matches for Barcelona. Image Credit: AFP via.

Pique may see this as the new big thing for tennis, but there are still question marks about one or two aspects of the Spaniard’s proposed blockbuster.

One of the greatest aspects of the Davis Cup was the home and away ties. Playing on different surfaces and either with or against a home crowd provided every nation with a different challenge at every round. Having the World Cup located in one place could hinder that.

This new competition could therefore follow the example of others World Cup and have a different host each year. With countries bidding for the Finals, it could help grab fans attention and generate that level of excitement knowing that the tournament was coming to your home city.

With 18 nations taking part you’d expect around 100 tennis stars to be involved in the week-long event. Normally it’s only during one of the Grand Slams where you’d have the opportunity to see all your favourite players in one place. This again makes it appealing for countries who aren’t home to one of the four major tournaments and can accommodate so many fans and athletes to bid for the competition.

To host something of this magnitude costs a lot of money though, and with Japanese company Rakuten pledging their allegiance into the project, there is a good chance that the World Cup will take place somewhere in Asia.

Another issue would be player participation. The exhausting ATP Tour season and gruelling Grand Slams already make it a demanding calendar for the stars. Injuries have hijacked the sport’s biggest names in recent years, with many of the top players deciding to finish their season in October so that they can fully recover and recharge the batteries.

The Davis Cup has had a constant struggle with this problem in recent times, with only two of the current top 10 in the rankings taking part in the first round of the competition earlier this year.

The money may be an enticing incentive for the players, but you’d feel that more will be needed to get the likes of Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray fully on board and extend their seasons by another couple of weeks.

Pique has also got to think about sustaining the competition past it’s initial phase.

You’d assume that for the first couple of years people will flock into the arenas to see this new competition.

However, should the World Cup fall on it’s head and not provide the entertainment or the big names it intends too, attendance numbers could stutter. The WTA Finals is a prime example of this. The climatic showstopper for the women’s tour is moving to Shenzhen in China next year after spending four years in Singapore. Unfortunately, the tournament failed to entice the locals to come and watch. The Spaniard will have to keep things fresh to keep the interest going.

It won’t be perfect from the very first moment and it will take getting some adjusting too. But Pique has seemingly provided himself to the ITF that he can make this huge change a successful one.

Ambitious projects such as these aren’t new to the Barcelona defender. For years the 31-year-old has voiced his support for Catalan independence – which was won in a referendum back in October. He even said he would step down from Spain duties should his opinion cause a disturbance within the Royal Spanish Football Federation. He has already played a part in creating a new chapter for Catalonia, now he was ready to do the same again for men’s tennis.

Pyeongchang 2018: Speed skating is as entertaining as it is infuriating.

Today I watched speed skating for the first time, and to be honest with you it was pretty entertaining.

Something about watching half a dozen people skate in a circle really quickly appealed to me. Perhaps it was just being in awe of these people who can not only stand on the ice, but run at up to 50kph on it! Or it could have been all the falls and photo finishes.

This is regarded as Korea’s sport. The host nation have won 42 of their 57 all-time Winter Olympic medals in short track speed skating. 12,000 spectators inside the Gangneung Ice Arena burst into euphoria whenever a home skater took to the ice. This event was the golden ticket of the games for many of the Korean people.

So it didn’t come as a surprise when Lim Hyo-jun won the host nation’s first gold of the games in the men’s 1500m. The 21-year-old led from the halfway point in the final, and soaked up all the cheer and jubilation after he crossed the line.

Elise Christie showed Great Britain exactly why she was nominated for a SPORTY last year. The 27-year-old is on the hunt for a first Olympic medal after a disappointing Sochi games four years ago where she was triple disqualified. The 27-year-old controlled her heat to progress to the quarter finals of the women’s 500m. Her sheer power saw her steer clear of the chasing pack going into the first corner as she posted a time of 42.872 seconds.

But for all it’s excitement, speed skating is also infuriating. VAR may have just been introduced into football, but it is most definitely needed here. Every race ended with a judging panel staring at a screen, watching the same replays time and time again to determine if any competitor was the culprit of any crashes during the race.

It was like a convict waiting for their verdict in a courtroom from the jury: Guilty or not guilty. Sometimes it only took a couple of minutes, other times it took up to 10.

For a sport where a race can last less than a minute, there is a lot of waiting about.

At one point, the commentators even struggled to fill the time, that goes to show that quicker decisions are needed.

I also got to glimpse parts of the first two runs of the men’s single luge event. These men are brave, and perhaps a little bit mad to do this for a living! Did they go down the slide in their local playground as a kid and decide this is what they wanted to do for the rest of their lives?

Replacing metal with ice, and travelling at speeds as fast as 135kmh is something I would only consider if I was uncontrollably intoxicated.

These men fly down the track. Blink and you miss it! You can only sit back and admire the amount of bottle this guys have to do this.

If you haven’t seen Jozef Ninis literally start to fly halfway through his run then you must!


Women’s skiathlon: Gold- Charlotte Kalla (SWEDEN), Silver- Marit Bjorgen (NORWAY), Bronze- Krista Parmakoski (FINLAND)

Men’s 1500m speed skating: Gold- Lim Hyo-jun (KOREA), Silver- Sjinkie Knegt (NETHERLANDS), Bronze-  Semen Elistratov (OAR)

Women’s 3000m speed skating: Gold- Carlijn Achtereekte (NETHERLANDS), Silver- Ireen Wust (NETHERLANDS), Bronze- Antoinette de Jong (NETHERLANDS)

Women’s biathlon: Gold- Laura Dahlmeier (GERMANY), Silver- Marte Olsbu (NORWAY), Bronze- Veronika Vitkova (CZECH REPUBLIC)

Men’s normal hill ski jumping:  Gold- Andreas Wellinger (GERMANY), Johann Andre Forfang (NORWAY), Robert Johansson (NORWAY)

Queen’s 2017: Day Three

The second round begins, with Gregor Dimitrov and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga featuring once again.

With Andy Murray out, Queen’s will have a new champion in 2017.  Here are the reports from today’s action on centre court.

Donald Young bt. Viktor Troicki (6-3, 6-4)

Donald Young beat Serbian Viktor Troicki in straight sets as he made through to the quarter-finals of an ATP Tour event for just the third time this year.

Troicki didn’t have long to recover from his mammoth match with fellow Serbian Janko Tipsarevic yesterday, and that showed against a much fresher Young.

The world number 55 was a set up against Nick Kyrgios in the first round before the Australian retired with injury.

Young broke early, and raced to a 6-3 first set win in just under 30 minutes.

The 27-year old then broke Troicki again in the second set with a cross-court forehand, in what was a comfortable victory for the American.

Gilles Muller bt. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (6-4, 6-4)

Gilles Muller’s impressive 2017 continued after he beat world number 10 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in straight sets.

The Frenchman’s elimination means only Marin Cilic is the only one of the top five-seeded players remaining in the tournament.

Muller, who is ranked 26th in the world, has already won two ATP Tour events this year. The 34-year old made a fantastic start to the grass-court season by winning last week’s Ricoh Open in the Netherlands.

Tsonga – who made the final of Queen’s back in 2011 – struggled against the Luxembourger’s movement around the court, as he became the latest victim of what has been a extraordinary tournament in London.

Muller came up with the only break of the first set, which he then won 6-4.

The 34-year old then broke Tsonga again as he raced to a 2-0 lead in the second set.

Fifth-seeded Tsonga dropped two break points himself during the second set, and the Luxembourger took full advantage by winning it 6-4.

Grigor Dimitrov bt. Julien Benneteau (4-6, 6-3, 6-4)

Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov came from a set down to beat Frenchman Julien Benneteau and keep his Queen’s title hopes alive.

The world number 12 made a slow start as temperatures reached 40 degrees on court. He lost his first service game to Benneteau, which ultimately cost him the set.

However, the Bulgarian seemed to grow into the game, and won the match in just under two hours with three consecutive aces in the final game.

World number 87 Benneteau produced a fine display despite ultimately coming up short against the sixth-seeded Dimitrov.

Tomas Berdych bt. Denis Shapovalov (7-6, 6-7, 7-5)

Tomas Berdych saw off the brave 18-year old Denis Shapovalov after a gruelling match to close proceedings on day three at Queen’s.

The match was closely fought throughout it’s two-hour duration, but the experience of seventh-seed Berdych helped him close it out with the first break of the contest in the final game.

But the performance of young Canadian Shapovalov will stand out, and he will be a name to watch out for in the years ahead.

The first two sets went to tie-breaks, with both men finding it difficult to return each other’s serve .

Berdych – a former Wimbledon finalist – remains on course to face Gregor Dimitrov in the semi-finals. Both will now have an eye on the title following the shock results of the past couple of days.