CLEVELAND — We witnessed how quickly everything can change in the finals during Game 1, arguably one of the more bizarre, topsy-turvy finishes in NBA Finals history. And in case you needed a reminder of the swiftness with which a narrative can change, consider this: Two-time league MVP Stephen Curry, who up until Wednesday night was the odds-on favorite to be named the most valuable player of the 2018 NBA Finals, may now be a long shot to win the honor, even though the Warriors are in a great position to sweep the series.With about eight minutes left in the final quarter of a game that would all but determine whether this was truly a competitive series or merely a foregone conclusion, Curry misfired from 26 feet out. The attempt marked his 10th-straight miss — tied for the second-longest shot-making drought of Curry’s career, according to ESPN Stats & Information Group1One shy of the 11 consecutive shots he missed against the Pelicans back on March 20, 2015. — and left him a dismal 1-of-14 on the night.Yet for all of Curry’s struggles, and pedestrian shooting nights from Klay Thompson and Draymond Green on the road, Golden State still had a 92-90 lead on the Cavs at that point. And Kevin Durant — who’d finish with a game-high 43 points, 13 boards and one lost shoe — was the reason. Doing exactly what he was brought in to do, Durant connected on a dagger from 33 feet out to seal Game 3 with just under a minute to play, very likely ending any hope of a Cavs’ title.Video Playerhttps://fivethirtyeight.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/Coldblooded.mp400:0000:0000:10Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.“This is the beauty of this team and the luxury we have of having multiple big-time scorers. There’s going to be [bad shooting] nights like this for all of them,” said Warriors coach Steve Kerr, referring to Curry’s 3-for-16 finish.2Curry hit two shots, including a key triple, in the final minutes. “We’ve got a lot of guys who can score and fill it up, and they lift each other up if one is having a tough night. It’s a pretty nice luxury as a coach, for sure.”That luxury is the one that so many NBA fans feared when Durant shocked the basketball world by signing on to play for the Warriors: that Golden State would have too wide a margin for error by adding Durant onto the core of a team that had already won 73 games the season before.This isn’t to say that the club is unbeatable, necessarily. After all, the Warriors just survived a seven-game series with the Houston Rockets in the Western Conference finals, a round that Houston might have won had it not been for an ill-timed Chris Paul hamstring injury or an epic drought from 3-point range.But Durant is the team’s back-up generator, an elite scoring force that kicks in when Curry, the team’s main power supply, is momentarily disrupted. Even as Curry struggled, Kerr and the Warriors still made good use of him by occasionally having him set a quick screen for Durant, which sometimes prompted LeBron James to switch off. On this play, Durant ends up with an easy shot over Cavaliers guard George Hill instead.Video Playerhttps://fivethirtyeight.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/KDSTEPH.mp400:0000:0000:19Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.“The margin of error is very low. You can’t — I mean, it’s almost like playing the Patriots. You can’t have mistakes. They’re not going to beat themselves,” said James, the Cavs superstar who finished with a “quiet” 33-point, 11-assist, 10-rebound triple-double but walked away with a seventh finals loss in eight tries against Golden State since the Warriors acquired Durant.“When you’re able to force a miscue on them, you have to be able to capitalize and you have to be so in tuned, razor sharp and focused every single possession. You can’t have miscommunication. You can’t have flaws,” continued James, whose team beat Golden State in the NBA Finals in 2016, the season before Durant signed there. “You can’t have ‘my faults’ or ‘my bads’ or things like that, because they’re going to make you pay. When they make you pay, it’s a 3-0, 6-0 or 9-0 run, and it comes in bunches. The room for error, you just can’t have it.”Wednesday night felt reminiscent of Game 3 of last year’s finals — particularly the cold-blooded, game-sealing triple that Durant drilled with nearly the same amount of time remaining in the game, again over the outstretched arm of a helpless Cavaliers defender. Much like last year, Durant’s otherworldly performance was enough to neutralize, if not outdo, Cleveland’s superhuman star on a night when other factors would have threatened Golden State’s grip on the series.Aside from overcoming the lackluster shooting from Curry, the Warriors managed to win despite a productive night from Kevin Love (20 points on just 13 shots) and a legitimately good showing from Rodney Hood, who went from being out of the rotation entirely to scoring more (15 points) off the bench Wednesday than he had logged in a game since early April.Yet while the Cavs were happy to get production out of Hood — and finally bench the slumping Jordan Clarkson, who’d been awful — the Warriors were getting contributions from multiple players. Forward Andre Iguodala was back from injury, and despite looking rusty at times, he chipped in defensively on James and finished the contest a +14, tied for the second-highest plus-minus, just behind Durant’s +15. JaVale McGee, Shaun Livingston and Jordan Bell were all solid in limited roles of 17 minutes or less each and shot a combined 13-of-17 from the field.And to add insult to injury, the Warriors went after JR Smith — whose monumental brain freeze in Game 1 earned him a standing ovation from Golden State fans in Game 2 — incessantly on defense. Smith has always struggled when defending away from the ball, and the Warriors bludgeoned his inability to sink into the paint after passing Curry off to Love after a switch. Golden State found countless open looks as a result of Smith’s on-court confusion defensively.Video Playerhttps://fivethirtyeight.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/SmithOnD.mp400:0000:0002:04Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.In any case, whenever this series ends, in a fifth or six game or even in a sweep on Friday, we’ll hear more about Smith’s blunder in Game 1 and how the events surrounding it might have changed the complexion of the series had they played out differently. Given how good the Warriors are, and all the weapons they possess, it’s difficult to argue otherwise. There simply is little to no room for error against this ballclub, perhaps in a way that we’ve never seen before.Check out our latest NBA predictions.CORRECTION (June 7, 2018, 11:30 a.m.): A previous version of this article incorrectly said Cleveland’s Game 3 loss in the 2018 NBA Finals was the eighth finals loss by LeBron James to Golden State in nine tries since the Warriors acquired Kevin Durant in 2016. It was the seventh finals loss in eight tries.
With the announcement that Star Wars Galaxies is being shut down, the need for a replacement MMO set in the Star Wars galaxy is higher than ever. So it’s fitting that BioWare has just opened up pre-orders for Star Wars: The Old Republic.Three editions are available: Standard, Digital Deluxe, and Collector’s Edition. The Standard Edition gets you the game, and a Color Stone in-game. Pay more for the Digital Deluxe Edition and you receive 6 digital items including a Color Stone, Flare Gun, Training Droid, HoloDancer, HoloCam, and STAP.True Star Wars geeks will be heading right for the Collector’s Edition pre-order button though, and BioWare is certainly rewarding you for doing so. As well as the 6 digital items included with the Digital Deluxe Edition there’s also a Mouse Droid and Collector’s Edition Store that can be acecssed in-game.Real-world objects that form part of the collection include a Gentle Giant Darth Malgus statue, The Old Republic galaxy map, custom security authentication key, The Journal of Master Gnost-Dural annotated by Satele Shan, and a Star Wars: The Old Republic Music CD. You also get special packaging including collectible metal cases for the game disks and a collector’s box that everything fits inside to be stored away.All editions come with 30-days of game time and by pre-ordering you get early access to the game. When that early access becomes available depends on when you redeem you pre-order code which involves registering your code on a special page.As BioWare is owned by EA they are pushing the Origin digital store heavily. You can buy the Stanbdard Edition there or from a whole host of retailers worldwide. The Digital Deluxe edition can only be pre-ordered through Origin, where as the Collector’s Edition is the only version not on Origin due to the physical items it ships with.As for pricing, this isn’t going to be a cheap game to purchase. The Standard Edition is $60, Digital Deluxe is $80, and the Collector’s Edition an eye-watering $150 and therefore only for serious collectors. As for a release date, there’s nothing set in stone, but it looks likely the early access will begin in September.via PC World
Darjeeling: A tourist died at Tumling en route to Sandakphu on Wednesday. Incidentally, Tumling, situated at an altitude of 2,970 metres, falls on the way to Sandakphu (3,636 metres), which is the highest point of Bengal. It is a well-known tourist destination and an internationally famous trekking route in Darjeeling.63-year-old Chandrasekhar Ghosh, a resident of Regent Park, Kolkata, had arrived on Tuesday at Tumling. The tourist was travelling alone. He was scheduled to continue his journey to Sandakphu from Tumling. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal lifeAccording to police sources, Ghosh, a retired police constable, had checked in to Hotel Shikhar in Tumling. On Wednesday morning, he complained of severe chest pain and uneasiness. Without wasting time, he was brought down to Sukhiapokhari Block Medical Centre in a vehicle by local residents. At around 11 am when they reached the hospital, he was declared brought dead by the doctors. His body was sent to Darjeeling District Hospital for post mortem. Medicines for high blood pressure were recovered from his belongings. Doctors state that he could have been suffering from high blood pressure. His medical condition could have been aggravated owing to the high altitude and the immense cold, causing a cardiac failure. Police have contacted the family members of the deceased. His son is scheduled to arrive at Darjeeling on Thursday to take back his body.
Balurghat: Mahipal Dighi of Kushmandi block has turned into safe haven for migratory birds. Around 2500 migratory birds from all over the world including Tibet, Mongolia, Kazakhstan and Russia arrive in Mahipal, which is about 59km from here.The state government is taking concrete steps to convert Mahipal and its adjoining areas into a popular tourist destination. Aiara forest and Nilkuthi, two local spots here, attract many tourists. A resort was also established here recently. This apart, awareness campaigns have been launched to stop poachers’ activities in the area. Also Read – Bose & Gandhi: More similar than apart, says Sugata BoseAn elderly local resident Gouranga Sarkar said the area was entirely ruled by avian guests between November and February. “The birds enter in flocks together in search of food and shelter. Their number is increasing every year,” he said. Mahipal is home to Lesser Whistling Teal, Common Teal, Gadwall, Mallard, Cotton Pygmy Goose, Great Cormorant, Northern Pintail, Grey Lag Goose, Ferruginous Pochard, Northern Shoveler and Comb Duck. Suman Ghosh, a member of Indian Bird Conservation Network and a bird-watcher, said: “What is uncommon and significant this year is the presence of Bar Headed Goose, a rare bird. It usually arrives in India by crossing Himalaya from countries like Tibet, Mongolia, Kazakhstan and Russia. It flies above 27000 ft where the supply of oxygen is thin. I have even seen them flying over Mount Everest before entering India. It can fly an enormous distance of more than 1500 km without rest and even survive in extreme climatic condition.” Also Read – Rs 13,000 crore investment to provide 2 lakh jobs: MamataAccording to experts, these species have not been spotted in Mahipal before Ghosh said Bird Life International, (BLI) a UK-based organisation, worked to identify important bird areas around the world. While in India, Bombay Natural History Society, an NGO attached with BLI, with the help of Indian Bird Conservation Network (co-partner of BNHS) works for protection of migratory birds. There are 10 important bird areas in the state. Of them, nine are in north Bengal districts including Darjeeling, Kalimpong, Jalpaiguri, Cooch Behar, Alipurduar, Malda and Raiganj covering Mahananda Wilde Life Sanctuary, Singalila National Park, Neoravalley National Park, Jaldapara National Park, Garumara National Park, Buxa Tiger Reserve, Nayabandh, Panchanandapur and Kulik Bird Sanctuary while the Sundarban Biosphere Reserve is in South Bengal. Mahipal has the potential to become an important bird area in future as the number of migratory birds has been increasing day-by-day.