Tag: 上海贵族宝贝

first_imgBy Brad HaireUniversity of GeorgiaAn orange sun peers over the trees as green crops shimmer with morning dew. In the distance, cows are mooing. A farmer sets his coffee mug on the dashboard of his pickup, boots up a laptop computer and releases his team of robots.It may sound strange now. But in the not-too-distant future, unmanned vehicles could do a lot of work on the farm, say two scientists with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. They already have a prototype.The UGA “Row-bot” is a computer-guided vehicle that can perform many farm tasks: check the health of plants and fields, monitor cattle, spray for bugs.Autonomous vehicleIt’s the mechanical brainchild of Glen Rains, an agricultural engineer, and Stuart Pocknee, program coordinator with the National Environmentally Sound Production Agriculture Laboratory in Tifton, Ga. “What we’d like to develop from this is an autonomous vehicle that could be fitted with various sensors and equipment that could be used to work in and remotely view a field,” Rains said.The UGA Row-bot now is about the size of a stripped-down mid-sized car. It stands about 3 feet off the ground on four wheels. Guided by Global Positioning Satellite (GPS)technology, it has various sensors to control and monitor its movements. It’s connected to a computer network and can be accessed through the Internet. Labor-saving scoutDepending on the size of the farm, a team of these row-bots could be networked together and programmed to scout fields for insect or disease damage, take soil samples or other data and report it back in real time to a farmer on a computer, Rains said. Or, it could return to a shed, where a farmer could download the data for analysis.Using wireless technology, a farmer with mobile Internet access could connect with his row-bots and see what they see through a camera attached to them.”A farmer could be in another field or on vacation and check on his crop,” Rains said.It could be a labor-saving tool for farmers, Pocknee said. The row-bots could be equipped with sprayers or other field equipment and sent into fields to work. And they wouldn’t care if the sun went down. Using the GPS technology, they could work at night — virtually 24-hours a day.Farm tractor drivers shouldn’t start looking for another line of work just yet, Pocknee said. But taking a few computer technology classes wouldn’t hurt.Or course, there are safety concerns, they say, when the immediate decision-making capability of a human driver is removed. But the row-bot could also eliminate human errors. They envision a much smaller final row-bot, about the size of a riding lawnmower, for actual use on a farm. It would automatically shut down if it became disconnected from the network or encountered an object in a field it couldn’t recognize. It would send a message of trouble to the farmer.Farm-botsRobots are already being used on some farms.Some dairy farmers in Europe use them to milk their cows. And the practice is starting to take hold on U.S. dairies. Agribusiness companies are also looking into similar robot-like vehicles for row-crop farmers all over the world.The agriculture industry has long been in the forefront of technological advances. The farm tractor was revolutionary when it replaced the mule-drawn rigs of the past. And genetically modified crops are now common.The UGA scientists admit it may take a while for people to get used to farming robots. But like other advances, if robots can prove to be safe, practical, time- and cost-efficient farm tools, they could show up in fields sooner than you think.last_img read more

first_imgThese Trojans know drama all too well. On senior day and in the last game at the Galen Center for six of the Trojans’ 15 players, USC nearly blew it.Holding steady · Senior point guard Jio Fontan (above) fouled out of Saturday’s game in 22 minutes of action, but the Trojans held on down the stretch thanks to late free throws from senior forward Eric Wise. — Ralf Cheung | Daily Trojan But they didn’t. After relinquishing a 11-point second-half lead, the Trojans eked out a 57-56 win over Arizona State on Saturday after a 35-foot heave by the Sun Devils’ Jahii Carson clanked off the rim at the buzzer.The Trojans (14-15, 9-7 Pac-12) haven’t excelled at the line in their past two games, but it was an official review and two ensuing free throws that allowed them to avenge their overtime loss to the Sun Devils (20-10, 9-8) in January.USC led 55-52 and had possession with 53 seconds left. But after junior shooting guard J.T. Terrell bricked a jumper, senior forward Eric Wise managed to grab the rebound and get fouled. The only problem? It appeared that the shot clock expired before Wise was fouled.After five minutes of official review and hushed anticipation in the home crowd, the referees confirmed the foul. Wise coolly hit both free throws, and USC’s lead was back to five with 19 seconds left.“I didn’t know exactly what happened,” said USC interim head coach Bob Cantu. “We were going to plan on them having the ball and we were going to plan on defending that last possession. Then, we found out we got the free throws.”Some on the Trojan bench had a different take.“I knew,” said junior center Omar Oraby about the foul call. “I was right there on the bench, I saw it happen. So I knew that there was a foul and that the ball was ours. So, I wasn’t really worried about it.”Arizona State managed to get the final possession after two layups, a Trojan turnover while inbounding the ball and a Wise miss on the front end of a one-and-one. But Carson, who led all scorers with 23 points, couldn’t get one final shot to fall. Cantu didn’t underestimate the importance of the Pac-12 win.“It’s never easy,” Cantu said. “Everything you do in this conference is always earned, whether it’s home or away. We did a great job of hanging on, and at the end of the day we got the win.”Wise led the Trojans with 12 points, while sophomore guard Byron Wesley had 11 points and Terrell finished with 10 points. Junior forward Dewayne Dedmon was mired in foul trouble but finished with nine rebounds and three blocks to go with four points.The Trojans were cruising for most of the second half and went up, 46-30, with 11:08 to go. The Sun Devils shot 46.9 percent from the field in the second half compared to 37.5 percent in the opening half, but USC still maintained a 51-37 lead with 7:34 to go. Over the next two minutes, though, the Sun Devils went on an 8-0 run to cut the deficit to six.This stretch was punctuated by a flagrant foul by USC’s most tenured starter, senior point guard Jio Fontan. Fontan had exited the game eight minutes earlier after falling hard to the floor following a missed jumper and coming up holding his right wrist. But in his last game at home, Fontan went to the locker room, wrapped up his wrist and returned after missing about six minutes of the game.“The trainer said he probably couldn’t,” Cantu said on Fontan’s return to the game. “I looked down the bench and asked [Fontan] if he could go, and he said ‘Yeah.’”Following his return, Fontan was dribbling the ball up the court when, while trying to shield his wrist, he swung and connected his elbow with Carson. Carson made the two free throws given for the ensuing flagrant foul call on Fontan, and then hit a jumper on the ensuing possession to convert a four-point play.“The rules are the rules,” Fontan said. “I swung my elbows, not intentionally to hit him, of course. I knew he knew it wasn’t intentional … [but] it was the right call.”Another issue that flared up in the second half was USC’s struggle to guard seven-foot-two ASU center Jordan Bachynski. The Canadian product had 12 of his 17 points in the second half and could force Cantu and the coaching staff to make adjustments in the post defense.“The key to it is if you can stop penetration, you don’t give any advantage,” Cantu said. “If penetration is coming from the top of the wing, then all of a sudden people are in a scramble and people are helping up and giving them opportunities to get layups and dunks.”In a gesture to his departing players, Cantu went with an all-senior starting lineup. This included the first starts of the season for center James Blasczyk and guard Tyler Sugiyama — in fact, it was Sugiyama’s first start of his four-year tenure at USC. Sugiyama played 60 seconds and then was subbed out to the chorus of an appreciative ovation from the home crowd.The Trojans raced out to a 28-9 lead, as Arizona State made just three of their first 16 shots. USC’s suffocating defense let down as the Sun Devils went on an 11-3 run to end the half down just 11, but the Trojans were by far the better squad in the opening half. The Trojan bench also outscored ASU, 16-3, in the first half and 34-10 for the game.last_img read more

first_imgThere was a saying on the mean sandlots of suburbia when I was a kid. “Heads I win, tails you lose.”You’d hear it invariably when the coin was flipped to determine who would receive the opening kickoff in a neighborhood game of football.I bring it up because Eric Reid, erstwhile 49er, current Carolina Panther and staunch advocate of social justice put himself in a no-win situation Sunday when he got into a hissing match with Philadelphia’s Malcolm Jenkins during, of all things, the pregame …last_img read more

first_img18 April 2011South Africa’s success as the new member of BRICS will be determined by how Pretoria relates to the rest of Africa and how it uses its membership of the group to address critical issues facing the continent, says Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies.“I think that will be our major area that we will be judged on,” Davies said on Sunday on his return from third meeting of the leaders of the grouping of influential developing countries – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – held in Sanya, China.“The issues are vast, and we need to ensure that we take the rest of Africa with us, because the way we relate to the rest of the continent will be very important to make our participation in BRICS a success,” Davies said.As the only African country in BRICS, South Africa was expected to push for Africa’s integration in trade and policies with the other BRICS members, Davies said.Building a domestic market that cut across Africa would be crucial, he said, if South Africa was to hold its own among four powerful emerging economies with a combined population of more than three billion.South Africa should also use its BRICS membership to craft a more vigorous trade and investment programme to ensure that its voice and that of the continent was heard in broader international platforms such as the G20 and the UN Security Council.The three-day BRICS meeting, which ended on Friday, called on the speedy achievement of the targets for the reform of the International Monetary Fund agreed to at the recent G20 summit, and reiterated that the governing structure of the international financing institution should reflect the changes in the world economy.In what could lead to a drastic shift in trade cooperation between the BRICS group, Davies said the five countries also discussed the possibility of using their own currencies to trade with each other.This formed part of a wide consultation meeting attended by the BRICS trade ministers that called for strong, open and rule-based multilateral trading systems among their countries.The meeting also denounced the “excessive” volatility in commodity prices, particularly those for food and energy, as posing a new risk for the ongoing recovery of the world market.“We support the international community in strengthening cooperation to ensure stability and strong development of physical markets,” Davies said. “The international community should work together to increase production capacity and strengthen producer-consumer dialogue to balance supply and demand.”The BRICS countries, which together account for about 20 percent of global GDP, are all part of the G20 grouping of the 20 major economies in the world, and are all currently members of the UN Security Council.The five countries see this as an opportunity to work closely together on issues relating to global peace and security.“We are deeply concerned with turbulence in the Middle East, the North African and West African regions, and sincerely wish that the countries affected achieve peace, stability and progress,” the group said in a declaration at the end of the meeting. We share the principle that any use of force should be avoided.”Source: BuaNewslast_img read more

first_img19 March 2013Experts from the BRICS group of countries have given their backing to the creation of a BRICS development bank, as well as an alternative to Western rating agencies for educational institutions, says the executive director of Russia’s National Committee for BRICS studies, Georgy Toloraya.The fifth Brics (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) summit will take place in Durban next week.Officials from the five countries met in Durban over a weekend earlier this month for a workshop aimed at mapping out a long-term strategy for a mooted consortium of BRICS think tanks.The experts held three days of sessions in the run-up to the summit, where they agree to establish a council of think tanks and to “support the idea of a BRICS bank”, Toloraya said last week.Toloraya said the first phase such a financial institution would serve as a centre of analysis.“We use World Bank and International Monetary Fund statistics and analytical reports all the time, as we have no such instruments of our own. A future BRICS Investment Bank is seen as a mechanism that would help realize where money should go, agree development strategies and coordinate investment,” Toloraya said.The experts also speculated that the BRICS countries might conclude preferential trade agreements. “It will not be a free trade zone yet, but a first step towards it. Settlements in national currencies are not ruled out,” Toloraya saidThe recommendation to create a BRICS rating agency for educational establishments has similar reasons behind it.“None of our universities is high on the Western rating lists. In the meantime, the Silicon Valley in the United States is crowded with Russians,” Toloraya said, adding that Western university ratings relied on publications in Western magazines and on Western awards.“Such an agency would be rather easy to set up. When we know how we rate ourselves, possibly students will decide to go to study in Russia or elsewhere, and not in the United States,” he said.Toloraya sees the BRICS grouping as an “intellectual project for formulating new rules of global co-existence”.An association of countries located on four continents was “an alliance of civilizations which will never develop into a military bloc,” he said. “BRICS is an elite project, an attempt by rising powers to safeguard their interests together.“BRICS is a civilized attempt at coming to terms as to what a future world order should be. It is not accidental that the group’s participants are advocates of non-interference in internal affairs and of the rule of international law.”Source: SAnews.gov.zalast_img read more

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest A mix of clouds and sun expected over the Ohio today as warm air continues to push into the region. We expect more clouds in the north, but better sunshine potential in the central and southern parts of the state. Southwest flow will continue through the day. A minor disturbance lingers over MI and southern Ontario this morning, and clouds from that will be drifting across Lake Erie and into northern Ohio.  We see chances of a few scattered to isolated showers in those areas, down to around US 20. WE do not expect anything of consequence through the day farther south.  However, clouds will be increasing as we move through the afternoon and evening.Rain and thunderstorms arrive tomorrow. However, we likely will not see much of that truly get here until mid to late afternoon and the moisture ramps up overnight tomorrow night through Thursday. That means tomorrow morning and afternoon we continue to see clouds build, but will see some sunshine too. The more sun we see, the bigger the concern will be for thunderstorms in the afternoon and at night, as we charge up the atmosphere with extra energy. The rains from tomorrow late afternoon through Friday will be from .5″-1.5″ with coverage near 100% .Then we see lingering rain through Saturday bringing up to another half inch of rain over 70% of Ohio. Clouds finally give way to better sun on Sunday, but perhaps not until the afternoon. The map at right shows system total rain potential through Sunday morning.Next week starts damp. Scattered showers return for Monday with 75% of Ohio seeing up to half an inch of rain. Tuesday scattered showers bring 40% coverage to the entire state with rain totals up to .25”. Then Wednesday afternoon we see the largest slug of moisture arrive with a frontal boundary. . Rain and thunderstorms Wednesday late afternoon through Thursday trigger totals of .25”-1” with 90% coverage.Partly to mostly sunny skies finally muscle back in for Friday. As we transition into the extended period, we keep dry weather in over most of the state for Saturday the 27th but have to look for showers from US 50 south. Partly sunny skies are expected for Sunday the 28th. If this pattern is realized, that will be a significant dry window for at least half of the state…but it comes after some pretty significant moisture to start next week.As we finish April and move into May, we have rain returning Monday evening, the 29th, and continuing through midday Tuesday, the 30th. This brings .25”-.75” with 80% coverage. It will be followed up with scattered showers for Wednesday, May first, with .2” or less expected. A dry finish to the 16 day period is anticipated at this time for the 2nd.last_img read more

first_imgHoping to lure cloud developers to the iCloud platform, Apple on Monday unveiled CloudKit, which gives developers “effectively free, with limits” storage for server-based apps. “You’ve gotta pay somebody to host it all,” said Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president for software engineering. Before CloudKit, that somebody was Amazon, Google, or Microsoft.At first glance, it sure sounds like it. CloudKit scales based on the number of users, and developers get up to a petabyte of assets an application relies on (such as images, user data, and other resources), one terabyte of database storage, and “all the bandwidth you could use,” Federighi said. Apple details what it gives developers free: How Intelligent Data Addresses the Chasm in Cloud Serverless Backups: Viable Data Protection for … Related Posts Sync, a serious problem for iCloud developers currently, is another issue Apple promises to tackle:The core idea behind iCloud is to eliminate explicit synchronization between devices. A user never needs to think about syncing and your app never interacts directly with iCloud servers. When you adopt iCloud storage APIs as described in this document, changes appear automatically on all the devices attached to an iCloud account. Your users get safe, consistent, and transparent access to their personal content everywhere.Developers are thrilled at the prospect of integrating their apps more tightly with iOS and iCloud.  “With extensibility in iOS 8, we’re excited to bring our users more options and the ability to seamlessly access all of their Box files right from within their favorite apps, eliminating the need to create additional copies,” Aaron Levie, Box founder and CEO said in a statement. “This is a major milestone for the Post-PC enterprise, and a bellwether moment for openness. “In yesterday’s keynote, when Federighi demonstrated saving a document to the cloud, the options for cloud storage included iCloud, Microsoft OneDrive, and Box. Noticeably absent from this cloud storage integration? Dropbox.Could it be in part because of Apple’s history with Dropbox? Steve Jobs notoriously called it a “feature,” and integration with iCloud certainly makes it look that way. Or could it be because Samsung bundles Dropbox with its devices, and gives away free storage? I contacted Dropbox for comment; a spokeswoman said that “we don’t have anything to share at this time.”What’s The Security?Apple also talked up the security aspects of iCloud. Via iCloud authentication, customers can sign in with their iCloud Apple ID without sharing personal information.In typical Apple fashion, it glossed over details, such as the type of security CloudKit uses for user authentication. The iCloud Design Guide barely mentions authentication. However, an Apple  support knowledge base article divulges a little more:When you access iCloud services using Apple’s built-in apps (for example, Mail, Contacts, and Calendar apps on iOS or OS X), authentication is handled using a secure token. Using secure tokens eliminates the need to store your iCloud password on devices and computers. Even if you choose to use a third-party application to access your iCloud data, your username and password are sent over an encrypted SSL connection.Developers are still waiting for the details, but initially, several developers commented that free storage is not enough in a cross-platform development world. Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Cloud Hosting for WordPress: Why Everyone is Mo… jodi mardesich Cian Clark, a developer, blogged that CloudKit sounds great, but cautioned about one “glaringly obvious point” that developers shouldn’t ignore—the potential for vendor lock-in:Storing data with CloudKit comes with huge risks of Vendor Lock-In which should not be overlooked, and as the data storage needs of an application expand, it’s worth considering the use of an mBaaS rather than relying on Cloud Kit alone for storage needs. If the queue for the CloudKit presentation at WWDC is any indication, developers are anxious to learn more. This sounds pretty generous compared to Amazon’s free tier for its cloud services, or Google’s free tier. It’s not a direct comparison, however. Amazon limits its free services to a specific number of hours, which Apple doesn’t, and its free tier data storage for various services is measured in megabytes and gigabytes, while Apple is talking about offering up to a petabyte for assets and a terabyte for storage. Googles gives developers up to 5GB of storage. However, despite the virtually free cloud services, Apple isn’t really competing with Amazon or Google in the war for cloud developers. What Apple appears to be doing is keeping the iOS developer ecosystem vibrant, said Quinton Alsbury, co-founder and president of product innovation for Roambi.“I really think it’s an attempt to keep innovation iOS centric, and keep the new ideas and new developers doing their first versions on iOS,” he told me. Most developers, especially small shops, write their first apps for iOS. Not having to worry about server-side components, such as authentication, “makes it even easier,” Alsbury said.CloudKit “helps developers eliminate the need for writing server code and maintaining servers,” Apple said in a press release. CloudKit gives developers a client-side programming model, and server side functions like app logic, iCloud authentication, asset storage, database storage, search, and notifications, Federighi said.In its iCloud Design Guide, Apple lays out its approach:A user never needs to think about syncing and your app never interacts directly with iCloud servers.Apple’s new appeal to cloud developers harkens back to its old, familiar mantra: “It just works.” That’s a great pitch for consumers, but will it appeal to developers, especially those who expect to tinker with server instances, virtual machines, and operating systems on cloud platforms like Amazon’s, Google’s, or Microsoft’s?A pre-release iCloud Design Guide for incorporating iCloud into your app explains the benefits of designing for iCloud:iCloud is a free service that lets users access their personal content on all their devices—wirelessly and automatically via Apple ID. iCloud does this by combining network-based storage with dedicated APIs, supported by full integration with the operating system. Apple provides server infrastructure, backup, and user accounts, so you can focus on building great iCloud-enabled apps. Tags:#Apple#cloud#CloudKit#WWDC 2014 last_img read more

first_imgThe announcement was made at a dinner with the three Australian teams in Mudgee on Tuesday night and the trio will lay a wreath at the Mudgee ANZAC Day ceremony on Wednesday morning. 2012 marks the 10th year that Hilder has represented Australia, having debuted at the 2002 Trans Tasman Series in Coffs Harbour. She has won three World Cup titles and has 37 Australian caps to her name. Roberts has 35 appearances in Australian colours, taking part in three World Cups and winning titles in 2003 and 2011. Rose has been a manager for the Australian Men’s Open, Australian Men’s 30’s and Australian Men’s 35’s teams since 1997, with 74 Australian caps to his name. Touch Football Australia would like to congratulate Kylie, Steve and Gary on being named as the Australian Flag Bearers.  Stay tuned to the website to hear what each of our flag bearers had to say about receiving this honour.last_img read more

natesilver: I guess I’m saying a team like Toronto that is quick (at least with certain lineups) and can switch a lot, maybe they can contest that Lopez 3.Or get a few steals when the Bucks telegraph their intentions too much.tchow: Nikola Mirotic also may be back in time for Game 1. So yeah, the Bucks will have shooters.neil: And for what it’s worth (maybe something?), Milwaukee beat Toronto in three of their four regular season matchups. Those games were also before all the little upgrades Milwaukee made around the trade deadline. But we’ll have to see how the Bucks look at full strength and if they and the Raptors can even make it all the way to the Conference Finals to face each other.Let’s move on to the West, where — here’s a surprise — the Golden State Warriors are the No. 1 seed, for the fourth time in five years. Our model currently gives the Warriors a commanding 78 percent chance of winning the conference (and a 60 percent chance of winning the NBA title). On the one hand, that is amazingly high, but does it sound right to you guys?natesilver: The West playoffs feel a lot less climactic to me now that the Rockets wound up on the same side of the bracket as Golden State.chris.herring: It sounds about right to me. The one side of the West bracket is the equivalent of Michigan State and Duke being in the same region.natesilver: Utah is also a pretty rough first-round matchup for Houston. Rudy Gobert is going to make it much harder for James Harden to get to the rim.neil: Well, Chris, we were talking the other day this idea that the Rockets may have actually wanted the No. 4 seed so that they’d face the Warriors sooner. Can you explain a little about what you meant there?chris.herring: I fully believe the Rockets may be happy with this setup. At this point, they’re probably of the opinion that they can beat anyone other than GSW (and maybe them, too).Utah isn’t a pushover at all. It’s kind of an amazing first-round matchup that, in most years would be at least a second-round matchup, and in a post-Warriors universe, maybe even a conference finals.But that said, Houston beat Utah last year. And they did it by neutralizing what the Jazz do best: Take away threes and the rim. They forced the Rockets to take midrange shots, which they basically view as evil. But the Rockets did that — Chris Paul is a midrange specialist and went off for 40 points one game — and were able to win. So if the Rockets can get by Utah again, having the Warriors in round 2 instead of the Western Conference finals might be beneficial. Just so Paul and Harden aren’t exhausted or injured like they were by round 3 last season, when they played the Warriors.natesilver: Yeah, I think Chris Paul is key in that series. Utah’s pretty optimally designed to curb Harden as much as you can curb him, but CP3 is a big problem for them.natesilver: Overall, though, I think if I’m Houston, I’d rather have a hope-and-a-prayer that someone else knocks Golden State out before they reach the finals. Or that someone on the Warriors gets hurt.chris.herring: Yeah. They’d never admit it out loud, but the potential theory that they want GSW early is fascinating to me. If your line of thought is that you’re almost certainly gonna have to go through them anyway, might as well do it before you’re too spent to have a chance.neil: Right, because fatigue seemed like a big issue for them by the Western Conference finals last year.chris.herring: Golden State doesn’t fear anyone, but I think they would privately acknowledge that they see Houston as the only team that, in optimal circumstances, could beat themnatesilver: It could make the Western Conference finals pretty boring though. Our model says there’s a 93 percent chance the Warriors win the WCF (!) conditional on reaching them.chris.herring: Yeah. That’s why I keep saying the semifinals are gonna be the best round this year. Especially if Houston-Golden State is the matchup, along with those East series.tchow: Hey kudos to Oklahoma City for avoiding Golden State AND Denver AND Houston. Actually, OKC vs. Portland is the only series in the entire playoffs where the lower seed is favored according to our model. We give the Thunder a 78 percent chance of advancing.natesilver: OKC and Denver saw their championship odds improve when Houston wound up in the No. 4 seed, and it’s mostly because of the parlay that Houston beats Golden State (possible) and then THEY beat Houston (also possible). I’m not sure that Denver would have any chance against Golden State in a seven-game series, however.chris.herring: I feel bad that I don’t believe in Denver, given how well they played all year, with injuries, and with so many young guys on that roster.neil: Is Denver the weirdest No. 2 seed we’ve seen in recent memory? They didn’t even make the playoffs last year, albeit with 46 wins.chris.herring: Also, every single time Denver plays Golden State, it feels very much like GSW goes out of its way to show how easily they can dominate the Nuggets when they want to. Basically to show that a playoff series could get embarrassing if Golden State felt like imposing its will.natesilver: The Nuggets benefited a lot from their depth in the regular season — that’s why they battled so well through injuries — but depth doesn’t mean much in the playoffs.chris.herring: Their relative inexperience in the playoffs concerns me maybe more than it should.natesilver: It’s a pretty weird roster, and I think the Nuggets have some offseason work to do to turn a couple of their many, many league-average players into another really good player, especially someone who can play out on the wing.chris.herring: Part of me feels like they simply may not have another gear. Almost like those Tom Thibodeau teams. Because they’re young, perhaps they don’t know to pace themselves. And how could they? They missed the playoffs in the final game of the season last year.But the fact that Golden State just runs them out of the building whenever they play very much feels like an experienced team versus one that isn’t and needs some playoff seasoning so that they’re ready for the next time.neil: They feel destined to become another poster child for the difference between what wins in the regular season and the playoffs, for all the reasons you guys mentioned. But at least they do have a legit star in Nikola Jokic.natesilver: Denver does have a pretty big home-court advantage because of the altitude. So that they got the No. 2 seed is actually pretty relevant.chris.herring: That’s true. I at least like that they aren’t reliant on the altitude anymore to win games. (Although those teams that played at a breakneck pace under George Karl — and Doug Moe before that — were pretty fun to watch.)neil: Good point. They were an NBA-best 34-7 at home this season, and they are in that relatively lesser bottom section of the bracket.natesilver: I mean, we have the Nuggets with a 53 percent chance of reaching the Western Conference finals … and a 6 percent chance of reaching the NBA Finals. That tells you a lot right there.chris.herring: What else are you all interested to see in the West? Any hope whatsoever for Portland, despite the injury to Jusuf Nurkic?neil: Portland is another team with a lot to prove after that unexpected first-round sweep vs. the Pelicans (remember THEM?) last year. But OKC is a very tough draw.chris.herring: Portland got swept this year by OKC. Our projection model is right to not trust them. And Nurkic not being there is a killer. They had put together a really, really nice run before his injury, and perhaps could have made things interesting.tchow: I really feel for Portland fans. So many “what ifs” due to injury, and they always seem to happen when it looks like they’re on the cusp of putting it all together.natesilver: Pretty unusual to have a No. 6 seed be better than a 3 to 1 favorite (OKC is 78 percent to win the series, according to our model), but I think I agree, too.chris.herring: Yeah. There’s isn’t much to love about Portland’s chancesnatesilver: The Thunder are also the team that I’d fear the most if I were Golden State after Houston.chris.herring: Damian Lillard went nuts during the regular season against the Thunder. Had a 50-point game and averaged better than 30 a night against them, yet they dropped all four meetings.tchow: Is CJ McCollum going to be back for this first round?chris.herring: Yeah. McCollum is back. But he had a true shooting percentage of 46 against OKC, his worst mark of any opponent out West that he played at least three times.natesilver: Tenacious defense + Paul George (especially if he can get back to his midseason form) is a formula that gives you a puncher’s chance against any opponent.chris.herring: I don’t trust OKC yet. Some of that is Russell Westbrook’s tendencies being all over the place at times. Some of it is George not having played the way he was playing earlier in the year (still not sure his shoulder is completely right at times).Their defense, which is one of the best in the league, has been merely average since the break. They don’t have enough shooting. But their top-level talent is better than anybody else’s, outside of Houston and GSW. And that ultimately matters. And their side of the bracket is amazing.natesilver: Jerami Grant shot 39 percent from three this year, although that’s likely a fluke (he’s 33 percent careerwise).chris.herring: He’s been a big bright spot for them.natesilver: If they had another wing that was a true 39-40 percent 3-point shooter, that would make a ton of difference.neil: OK, so to wrap things up, let’s look at the big picture for the title as it runs through Golden State (like always). If we each had to put together a short list of teams — from either conference — who could beat the Warriors in these playoffs, how many teams would be on it and who are they?Mine might be two: Rockets and Bucks.natesilver: Our algorithm feels strongly that the list is EXACTLY three teams long: Milwaukee, Toronto and Houston.tchow: Bucksnatesilver: I guess people — or Neil and Tony, anyway — have trouble envisioning the Raptors doing it.tchow: Sorry, Toronto.natesilver: And to be clear, the Raptors would be big underdogs. Like 3:1 underdogs, per our model, despite having home-court advantage.tchow: Another way to ask that question, Nate, as a fan of gambling, Warriors have a 60 percent chance of winning another title. Would you bet on the field?natesilver: No. I think that’s a pretty fair price. And it’s pretty close to the Vegas odds, I think.chris.herring: Yeah. I feel much better about Milwaukee, just based off their season, analytics and star power than anyone else. But I don’t think Toronto would match up poorly at all with Golden State. They’d have guys who could credibly guard Kevin Durant, Steph Curry and Klay Thompson and have enough offense of their own to make things interesting.Boston seemed like a good bet to get there in preseason, but I don’t trust them to accomplish that without Smart being healthy., a And without them putting together a solid string of performances, I still ultimately think it’s the Warriors winning it all again. But I hope someone at least gives them a competitive series, be it Houston, Milwaukee (Toronto?) or both.tchow: That’s all folks! neil (Neil Paine, senior sportswriter): Now that every NBA team has played Game 82 of the regular season, we can finally get to the real business at hand: The playoffs. Let’s start with the Eastern Conference, where the Milwaukee Bucks earned the franchise’s first top seed since the league adopted the 16-team playoff format in 1984.What do we think about the big picture in the East? The No. 1 Bucks and No. 2 Raptors were the most dominant during the regular season, but seeds 3 and 4 (Philadelphia and Boston) have as much talent as anybody in the conference on paper. Who do you think should have the edge and why?natesilver (Nate Silver, editor in chief): I’m going to go ahead and agree with our algorithm that there’s a big gap between the top two (Milwaukee and Toronto) and No. 3 and 4 (Philly and Boston). Milwaukee and Toronto were a LOT better in the regular season. I agree that Philly might have as much talent on paper, but they didn’t really get it together. I’m not sure you can say that about Boston, especially with Marcus Smart out.chris.herring (Chris Herring, senior sportswriter): Yeah. I spent some time around the Sixers over the past week, and Brett Brown admits what Nate just said: That the Sixers have an enormous amount of talent on paper, but he almost would’ve preferred to have less rest if it meant having more cohesion with that group.The Marcus Smart injury could end up being really problematic for the Celtics for a couple reasons, too — we don’t know exactly how much time he’ll miss, but it could even be a bad sign in this series vs. Indiana.Smart would have been the guy guarding Bojan Bogdanovic, who’s essentially taken over as the Pacers’ top gun since Victor Oladipo went down with injury.Bogdanovic struggled against Smart all season, and his worst numbers of the year were against Boston because of it. But now, I assume they’ll go to Jaylen Brown to defend him, and that hasn’t worked well at all in those instances.tchow (Tony Chow, video producer): Our predictions give the Celtics a 79 percent chance to advance. Even with the Oladipo injury for the Pacers, that still seems … high?chris.herring: Probably a little high, yeah. Especially now, without Smart.natesilver: I mean, I think people tend to underestimate how little luck there is in a seven-game series. The better team tends to win out, especially if it has home-court advantage.chris.herring: I tend to think the Pacers are The Little Engine That Could. They play very hard … but that will probably only get them so far.natesilver: For what it’s worth, our algorithm is giving Boston some credit for being more talented “on paper” than they played like during the regular season. Jayson Tatum is probably a better player going forward than what he showed this season, for instance. Gordon Hayward is obviously in a different category, but maybe him, too. Boston also had the point differential that you’d associate with a 52-win team instead of a 49-win team, which is not huge, but it’s something.chris.herring: Yeah. Hayward has come on really nicely as of late, including a 9-of-9 game vs. Indiana last week. If he’s getting back to his old self, it could be tough for Indiana.natesilver: It does seem, though, that it’s a team with only one real star-level talent right now, and Kyrie Irving seems pretty checked out. That’s subjective, I know, but they have a pretty big hill to climb — having to win three road series against three VERY good teams (likely Milwaukee, Toronto and Golden State, in that order) even if they get past Indiana.chris.herring: I’ll be honest: I’m not very amped about the East’s first round at all. But that second round will probably be eons better than the West’s conference final.neil: Yeah, it sounds from this like Boston-Indiana is the first-round series that has caught your attention the most. But that might be by default.chris.herring: I think Philly-Brooklyn could be somewhat interesting. It doesn’t sound like an absolute given that Joel Embiid will play Game 1. The Nets are essentially playing with house money, and though they’ve struggled as of late, they had a harder end-of-season schedule than the other teams fighting their way into the playoffs.natesilver: The Nets are kind of a buzzy team. But Philly, maybe in contrast to a Marcus Smart-less Boston, has enough talent that maybe they can be slightly subpar and still win fairly easily.chris.herring: Yeah. I don’t expect much from Brooklyn, but I could see them making things interesting because of the limited time the Sixers have had together. Other than that — and some slight interest in how Boston looks without Smart/what it means for Indiana — I wish I could just simulate the East’s first round like a video game or somethingneil: Haha. Let’s just play it out in NBA 2K.chris.herring: Maybe that isn’t fair to Orlando, though. They’ve been good for a decent amount of time now.neil: They’ve been on fire (11-2) since mid-March.chris.herring: I just feel like it ultimately won’t matter against a club like Toronto.natesilver: I also think Philly has more flip-the-switch potential than Boston. Maybe Jimmy Butler accepts his role as what’s essentially a third fiddle on offense and plays dominant defense and starts hitting 3s again. Maybe they treat the playoffs as a fun eight-week road trip instead of worrying too much about how the team is constructed in the future.tchow: Just tell me what needs to happen to get Sixers vs. Bucks in the Eastern Conference finals.neil: Well, the Raptors would have to lose in the second round AGAIN. How soul crushing would that be for that franchise? This was sorta supposed to be their year after LeBron left the East. (Especially after adding Kawhi Leonard.)chris.herring: I don’t know how I feel yet about the Sixers-Raptors series, assuming it happens. But I think the Bucks should be favored against everyone, honestly. I think everybody has downplayed them, even as they’ve had this unbelievable season, with the likely MVP and coach of the year.natesilver: The Raptors somehow won 58 games with Kawhi only playing 60. That’s seriously impressive.chris.herring: I don’t know if it’s a small-market thing. Or if it’s just that people seem to be a year late on everything. It is impressive!At the same time, they won 59 last year without him. So I’m more impressed by the Bucks essentially having the same cast and transforming into what they are now. I don’t know. Maybe it’s simply Milwaukee’s newness that I’m taken by.neil: Are we also maybe holding Toronto’s playoff track record against them? (Even if it’s a relatively new version of that team this season?)chris.herring: Nah. I’m not. Kawhi is such a different player than DeMar DeRozan, who had a game that didn’t translate all that well to postseason. Also, Pascal Siakam has improved by leaps and bounds. You could ignore him before on defense, and now that’s tantamount to having a death wish.natesilver: They also have one of the two real stars in the East that’s won a ring before (Kawhi, with Kyrie being the other). Which I know sounds like boilerplate sports radio talk, but our research has found that playoff experience is actually fairly predictive.chris.herring: I think Toronto fans have wanted to believe their team was different for a couple years now. Almost like that “Shawshank Redemption” scene where Red keeps going to the parole hearing and saying he’s a changed man, ready to rejoin society. But this time, the Raptors are different. Kawhi alone would have made them that way, but Siakam is a different player. As is Lowry, who hasn’t quite looked himself at all times. But has the experience, and has a better roster around him.natesilver: Our algorithm also thinks that all six of their top rotation guys are above-average defensively. So that’s likely to keep them in every game unless they get mentally checked out.Which, I don’t know. I wouldn’t totally rule out the possibility that they take a rough loss in a Game 1 or 2 somewhere and start panicking, and Kawhi starts thinking about how nice the Clippers could look next year with him in L.A.But on balance, I think I’m on the side that says people are reading too much into the Raptors’ past playoff failures. It’s a different team this year, and there’s no LeBron.chris.herring: Like the Munchkins when they realize the Wicked Witch is dead. Why do I keep using these movie references? What is wrong with me?neil: LOL.tchow: As of right now though, our model actually favors Toronto (slightly) over the Bucks to make the Finals (46 percent vs. 42 percent). Toronto fans have to be happy to see that.neil: Do you guys agree?natesilver: Yeah, that surprised me a bit. But Toronto has more playoff experience and Milwaukee has some injury issues.tchow: I guess it’ll go a long way in the “playoff experience” argument to see how far a team like the Bucks go this year after that seven-game series last season against Boston. I have a hard time betting against them in the East though.natesilver: On the flip side, Giannis Antetokounmpo is presumably going to start playing 37-38 minutes a game now after only playing 32.8 minutes in the regular season. That actually makes a pretty big difference.chris.herring: That surprises me, but only a little. Their records aren’t that far off. The Raptors have played Kawhi a lot fewer games than Giannis.What I do think will be key at some point, which we haven’t talked about yet, is the Bucks’ need to get back to full strength. They’ve been without Malcolm Brogdon, and Tony Snell has missed time, too. It doesn’t matter in a round 1 matchup. But it comes into play in a very big way in the following two rounds, should they get that far.natesilver: I do wonder if Milwaukee’s whole floor spacing thing will work slightly less well in the playoffs. If you can contain Giannis — obviously not at all easy — there really isn’t a second iso-ball scorer on the whole roster. Maybe Eric Bledsoe, I guess.chris.herring: I just don’t know how it’s donenatesilver: Containing Giannis you mean?chris.herring: Before, there wasn’t much trust or belief. But now, you kind of either have to help in the paint against him, or leave open someone like Brook Lopez, who will gladly shoot a triple.There were screenshots last postseason of four Celtics standing in the paint at one time to stop him, because Milwaukee wasn’t trained to score outside of his drives to the basket.Now, even Giannis will pull 3s every now and then, just to keep defenses honest. Bledsoe’s had a nice year. Lopez is there, but wasn’t before. read more

Columbus Crew vs. Real Salt LakeThursday, 8pm at Crew StadiumGame 1: RSL 1, Crew 0Players to watchColumbusForward Guillermo Barros Schelotto.  Because the Crew are entering the game in need of two goals to advance, Crew coach Robert Warzycha must employ his top goal scorer if the Crew wish to advance.Real Salt Lake Goalkeeper Nick Rimando.Real Salt Lake knows that the Crew will be pulling out all the stops when it comes to scoring goals. Rimando will surely face an onslaught for the Crew forwards, especially if the game is scoreless late.Key to the MatchWith the Crew already in a one-goal hole, Warzycha must employ his top goal scoring lineup. They don’t have the luxury of playing their usual game, as they must score at least two goals to advance. The Columbus Crew are losing 1-0 in their second playoff game of the season and the referee hasn’t yet blown the opening whistle.The first-round format in the MLS Cup playoffs features a home and home series in which the winner is determined by which team scores a higher total of goals over a two-game stretch.This makes it effectively a 180-minute match where the half-time is days, not minutes.The Crew will take the field Thursday evening in the hole. Their play as of late does not easily lend itself to confidence in their ability to dig themselves out. They don’t even appear to be using all of their shovels.Columbus coach Robert Warzycha’s constant lineup shifting has been well documented this season. Last season’s MLS MVP and current Crew leading scorer, Guillermo Barros Schelotto, has been kept out of games when the opponent has artificial turf.Imagine, by way of comparison, if Jim Tressel had held Beanie Wells out of a game against Penn State because they don’t play on FieldTurf.Warzycha will need to put his best goal-scoring combination on the field without sacrificing the integrity of the defense.When asked about sitting his top goal scorer in the first match against Real Salt Lake, the Crew’s first round opponent, Warzycha simply said he wanted to try something new.“We didn’t score any goals in the last five games when they were on the field,” Warzycha said about Schelotto and Crew forward Alejandro Moreno. “I thought we’d go with a different combination.”Even the opposing coach appeared surprised by Warzycha’s decision to sit Schelotto, but that didn’t make him unhappy about the turn of events.“I don’t know what’s going on inside of their locker room,” Kreis said. “I don’t have all the information that goes into the decision, but we’re feeling good about it.”Regardless of the reason for the 1-0 victory, RSL forward Robbie Findley can smell the blood in the water.“We’ve been talking all week about this home game being our chance to get out on top,” Findley said. “Now we’ve got to go over there for a tough game, a hard-fought game, and now we’ve got to leave it all on the field.”Columbus will run onto the field at Crew Stadium Thursday night knowing they have their work cut out for them. A one-goal victory, such as they’ve recorded eight times this season, will not suffice. Fans can hope they won’t make the task more difficult on themselves by leaving their biggest producers off the field.Crew captain and defender Frankie Hejduk isn’t sounding an alarm just yet.“[Being down a goal] doesn’t change anything,” Hejduk said. “We’re going to come out firing and we’re pretty solid at home, so we’re not too worried about it.”Somebody had better start worrying about it. Otherwise, the Crew’s road to a repeat will come to an unhappy end. read more