FanPost

33. B2B Bashing: The View from Salt Lake City


Snips and clips from the Utah camp, plus:

Timlogo-be_medium

  • Is Winning Everything?
  • Haiku Game Review
  • Fried Rice
  • Blazers/Jazz Recap
  • Popcorn Machine

 

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(1)

Stop Jazz!!!

posted by RRR to SLC Dunk gameday open thread

Makeitstop_medium


(2)

Jazz Fans and Blazer Fans Agree...

posted by clarkpojo to SLC Dunk gameday open thread

This is some of the worst officiating ever. For both sides.

Really atrocious.

 

And furthermore...

About 1 in every 10 games, I think to myself, "what game is Jerry Sloan watching and why isn't he doing anything about it."

This is one of those games.

 

(3)

Easy Money

posted by Tabasco to RealGM Jazz message board

I am going to start betting a hundred bucks against the Jazz in the 1st quarter for the rest of the season. I should be able to retire by May.

 

(4)

Lacked Depth Tonight

posted by ut jazz to RealGM Jazz message board

I'm probably more ticked at the home loss because Portland wasn't a good road team coming into that game and we looked flat after the long break, was just inexcusable on our home court.

This team is still trying to figure itself out. We looked like we were missing players. If you are a good team you won't notice so much when guys are out. But we looked like we clearly lacked depth tonight.

 

(5)

Okur's MRI Under Review

by Brian T. Smith, Salt Lake Tribune

Injuries continue to get in the way of progress for veteran Jazz center Mehmet Okur.

After missing the first 26 contests of the season while recovering from left Achilles tendon surgery, Okur's first two games back in the lineup were rough and shaky. Still, he was on the court and gaining confidence as each minute passed.

But his return was cut short by a right ankle sprain, which forced him to miss two consecutive contests.

Four days of rest and practice followed... * * *

But another injury soon shadowed his forward movement. Okur left the game with 8 minutes, 15 seconds left in the fourth quarter due to a lower back strain and did not return. He underwent an X-ray after the contest that was negative.

Okur was then given a magnetic resonance imaging exam Thursday in Portland, in an attempt to pinpoint the source of his pain. Results of the MRI will be examined today by Jazz orthopedist Dr. Lyle Mason. * * *

 

(6)

Nothing to Blame

posted by Beantown to Jazzfanz message board

I wish I could blame this loss on the short handed Jazz but Blazers are missing Roy and Oden.

Also: will not matching Mathews end up being one of the biggest blunders for the Jazz?

 

(7)    HEY CHO, TRADE THE JAZZ A FIRST ROUND PICK AND JASON QUICK FOR BRIAN T. SMITH!!!

Blazers Leading Jazz in Battle of Shorthanded Teams

by Brian T. Smith, Salt Lake Tribune

Running the court without key players Andrei Kirilenko, C.J. Miles and Mehmet Okur was tough enough for the shorthanded Jazz on Thursday night. But getting beat twice in four days by the Portland Trail Blazers and severely pounded by ex-teammate Wesley Matthews? The absolute, pristine definition of adding insult to injury.

An increasingly smooth Matthews tied a career high with 30 points on 9-of-16 shooting and drilled four 3-pointers, as Utah fell 100-89 to the Blazers at the Rose Garden in a Northwest Division contest.

With Kirilenko and Okur sidelined due to back injuries and Miles dealing with the flu, Jazz (22-11) coach Jerry Sloan acknowledged prior to tipoff that his team was about to take the court just trying to find a way to win. * * *

Matthews' sharp shooting was complemented by the outside-in offensive game of Portland forward LaMarcus Aldridge.

After burning the Jazz for 26 points Monday during a Blazers victory in Salt Lake City, Aldridge was just as impressive - and damaging - Thursday, recording 27 points and constantly stretching Utah's already-strained defense. * * *

 

(8)

Utah Jazz Turnover And Then Rollover To The Blazers, 100-89

by Basketball John, SLC Dunk

* * *
Tonight it was too much LaMarcus Aldridge and Wesley Matthews. The Jazz have no answer for Aldridge. He can go over Millsap and he can go around Jefferson. Fesenko did a pretty good job on him and if he wasn't altering shots, made Aldridge take more jumpers. He's earned more minutes and got them tonight. After averaging 8 on the year, he got 18 tonight, tied for his season high. Aldridge finished with 27 points on 10-18 shooting.

Matthews was a force on both ends. He had a career-high 30 (tied) and on efficient 16 field goal attempts along with 4 steals. I'm over Matthews now. What's done is done and his recent play had turned him into an enemy for me. It will probably always sting a bit but I'm openly rooting against him now and his self-imposed outrage over his contract from last summer. He's going to be a good player in the league for a while but I'm not going to lose sleep over it. If you have any feeling for Wesley, consider that when the game was decided, he jacked up three three-pointers before heading to the bench.

I mentioned in the game thread that sometimes it seems like the offense can't miss and other times I feel like the Jazz will never be able to put the ball in the basket ever again. The offense wasn't bad tonight though, when they could hang on to it. Their 18 turnovers compared to Portland's 9, is what did them in. They out-shot the Blazers from the field, 48% to 46%. Three-pointers and free-throws were pretty close. There was no one person to blame for the TOs. At least four players had three. Combine those with only 19 assists and that's a terrible ratio. * * *

 

(9)

Wesley Matthews

posted by Diana Allen to Utah Jazz 360

I'm still awake, I'm still upset. It takes awhile for me to get over a loss like the Jazz's loss against the Blazers. It is especially difficult since we lost to the same team twice in the last four days. Also lets not forget that we have a sub .500 record against teams in our division (3-4) thats terrible for tie breakers. Speaking of which we are now 2nd in our division and 5th in the Western Conference thanks to this loss.

What upsets me also about this loss is Jazz fans being upset for the Jazz not resigning Wesley Matthews. *  *  *

Ross Siler the former beat writer for the Jazz of the Salt Lake Tribune tweeted these tweets to me earlier this week about Matthews:

  • Jazz stated preference to do three- or four-year deal at start of free agency, asked what dollars the family wanted.
  • They didn't hear back any figure. Surely, they would've done a deal for $4 million a year.
  • Meanwhile, Wes' people were dragging their feet in hopes Portland would come through with huge offer.
  • Jazz later were told to offer full mid-level, which was the max Wes could receive after just one year in NBA.
  • They, rightfully, said if that was what it would take, Wes should bring offer to them to decide about matching.
  • Good for Wes that he got the contract. Good for him that he's having a strong season in Portland. He's a good player.
  • But while it's technically true the Jazz never made an offer, it's incorrect that they didn't try hard to re-sign him. * * *

 

(10)

Wesley Matthews Scores 30 points, Trail Blazers Win

by Jody Genessy, Deseret News

Because of an illness and three injuries — one of which wasn't even revealed until after the game — the Utah Jazz only had nine players available Thursday night.

And after Ronnie Price fouled out early in the fourth, the Jazz only had eight guys left.

Unfortunately for Utah, Wesley Matthews was not one of them.

The former Jazz guard haunted his old team, helping the Portland Trail Blazers blast outmanned Utah, 100-89, with a Rose Garden-pleasing 30-point outing.

"I'm motivated to go against anybody," Matthews said. "Utah is an added bonus, but there's no bad blood there. Everybody wants to play good against their former team."  *  *  *

 


The Bottom Line:

1. This has been a great season so far. This was not true tonight.

2. Our Jazz were missing key pieces, were tired, and the lineups on the floor didn't really mesh.

3. Only 2-3 in the division so far this year, but no worries at this point — this is just one of those games you ignore. It was just too hard to paddle against the current and that happens sometimes on back-to-backs.

4. Can we have Wesley Matthews back, please???

 

 

Winning_medium


I had the opportunity to exchange a bit of email with the esteemed Ben Golliver of the Blazers Edge recently. My boxers were bunched up over the direction of the mainpage of this blog and I felt the need to vent a little. "Why the obsession with trade rumors?" I asked. To me, it seemed obvious (1) that Blazer GM Rich Cho had shown absolutely zero "wild and wacky wheeler-dealer" characteristics; and (2) that the trade rumors being run were generally non-factual filler material being churned out by hack journalists on deadline; while (3) the Blazers as a team had actually showed signs of stabilizing in the new post-Brandon era and had, indeed, (4) truly become more fun to watch than the teams of previous seasons.

While I'm generally not one to kiss and tell — or bump heads and tell, as the case may be — suffice it to say that Ben pretty much disagreed with me on every count. Where I was encouraged about the emergence of an actual fast break game and heartened by the dramatic improvement of a couple key players on the team, for Ben this current incarnation of the Blazers has left him disappointed and emotionally drained.

This was a simple "glass half empty" vs. "half glass full" situation, in Ben's view, and he shortly crafted a very nice research piece for the BE mainpage entitled "Quantifying and Visualizing Disappointment" to bolster the argument that there was an objective cause for the feelings of the more pessimistic segment of the crowd.

I hope all of you read Ben's piece — if not, please go back and do so. In essence, Ben accumulated and averaged out various pre-season predictions of NBA team success for the season, extrapolated current team records out to 82 games, and demonstrated that the Blazers were among the NBA's worst teams in fulfilling pre-season prognostications for victories.

It's a nice piece of work and I don't disagree that this is looking like a 40 or 42 or 44 win team when the pre-season guesses of the fanbase were 50 or 52 or 54. There has got to be a bit of a letdown associated with the best laid plans of mice and men going astray, but really — is winning everything?

 

Savor the Wine.

Wineglass_medium

I don't really see myself as either a "glass half full" or a "glass half empty" sort of guy, truth be told. I'm rather more interested in whether the wine in the glass is good or bad. Hell, there are some days that I'm more inclined to study the shape and construction of the glass itself rather than what's in it. It seems to me that there is plenty of room for a journalist or a fan to become involved in critiquing the wine or investigating the fabrication of the glass without becoming obsessed with the size of the portion or disconsolate that the wine bottle isn't bottomless.

The Blazers have suffered some serious losses, to be sure. The injuries are obvious: a three-time NBA All Star is revealed as suffering from a chronic condition in his knees which not only renders him mortal but seemingly brings the day of retirement near; the franchise Center, on the verge of his NBA return from a second knee surgery instead is subjected to a third. The formerly deep team is depleted through ill-advised trades (Webster, Bayless), poor draft choices (Claver, Babbitt), and an additional spate of injuries (Pendergraph, Przybilla).

When a team finds themselves going to battle against the Denver Nuggets and their powerful front line with four bigs including — in addition to LMA — the Small Forwardish Dante Cunningham, clumsy journeyman Sean Marks, and the utterly ineffectual Luke Babbitt, it might briefly seem that it's time to dump the wine in the sink and to hit the liquor bottle.

There's nothing to be gained from that emotion, as rational as it may seem on one given night or another. NBA teams can not be erased and recrafted in a day, a week, or a year. There is only one thing to do if one is a fan or a serious observer of a team: even if the glass is but one-third full — as well it may be with this Blazer team — savor the wine.

Appreciate what LaMarcus Aldridge is starting to accomplish in this, his 5th NBA season. He is just hitting his prime and is finally, of necessity, having to play in the paint and starting to do the things that fans of low post basketball have always dreamed for him. LMA is a 2-year college guy, he is two years Brandon Roy's junior and his game is only starting to emerge. Few bigs in the game have his size and speed, his full set of offensive and defensive tools. He may yet become a magical player.

Enjoy the growth of Wesley Matthews — a guy one year LMA's junior — not even drafted into the NBA but showing the combination or slashing and shooting skills in a sufficiently strong package to succeed at a high level in the NBA for years to come. Matthews is showing unmistakable signs of being an NBA star in the making. Watch him develop, celebrate his advancements.

Analyze the development of Nic Batum, a kid with astounding physical tools struggling to find his way as a scorer. Get a contact high from the on-court joy of Rudy Fernandez, moving and cutting and running and playing in a vaguely European style at last. Witness the rebounding skill of Marcus Camby, wonder at the passing acumen and sneaky physical moves of Andre Miller, applaud the hustle and moxy of Dante Cunningham...

There's plenty to watch... On nights when the Blazers are "on," the basketball wine can be very good indeed! Does it ultimately matter so much if this Portland Trail Blazer team wins 42 games instead of the 52 games abstractly predicted before the season even began?

 

Not Much Difference.

Lmared_medium

Over the last couple days I have managed to listen to Ben's terrific podcast a couple times, in which he further discussed the deflated hopes and dreams of Blazer fans in this Year Of Roy 5. When you get right down to it, there's really not that much difference between his basic position and mine, it would seem. On good nights, the Blazers are fun to watch, we both agree. The team is too shallow to match up with every team or to play well every night, so there are other nights in which the sheer magnitude of the competitive horror makes for black humor. Again, we are of one mind.

Why, then, are some fans so down, so convinced that badly needed major restructuring of the Blazer roster must of necessity be in the offing, while grouchy old me is more or less at peace with the team's fate in 2010-11?

As Ben says: it's a matter of expectations...

My expectations for this team were tempered coming into the season. There were some who thought this was potentially a 60 win team this past summer, but I was not among them. I guessed Portland would be looking at a win total in the high 40s, maybe sneaking just over the 50 mark.

Things are starting to look like the actual number of wins will be in the low 40s. Whatever the projections of computer models and other fans may have been, the pre-season possibility and the actual reality of the 2010-11 Blazers are not that dissimilar in my eyes. I have not had enormous hopes that have been dashed.

You see, I've never been a Greg Oden fan — I'm a hardcore Przybilla guy — and both those two were coming off serious injuries. Greg Oden has never, ever demonstrated the ability to stay healthy for a full season. I imagine that if one were to do research into his junior high school days, he was probably only able to play half a season back then, too. If and when he made it back to the Blazers this year, he would soon be down with another season ending injury, I earnestly believed.

Moreover, the upstanding team-first lottery pick shooter Martell Webster had been sacrificed for non-basketball related reasons (the Octopus's dollars) to make way for a guy who was obviously a stiff from the first 30 seconds he had been on the court in the Las Vegas Summer League. Making matters worse, another of my personal favorites, the paint-attacking PG of the Future Jerryd Bayless was similarly dumped for salary-related reasons, his considerable on-court promise and very real potential contributions in the coming season netting a lottery-protected pick in the first round of a bad draft.

Brandon Roy? A great player with questionable leadership skills who monopolized the ball and was clearly a cause of one of the most plodding, visually unappealing offenses in the entire NBA. His loss was real and serious to the team, to be sure, but when it became clear that he was dinged and was no longer able to go, I could absolutely see the bright side of no longer being subjected to his self-conserving 3/4 speed isolation ball.

The team's early wins were not impressive, and the shallowness of the roster immediately obvious. The preseason 49 (or whatever) win team was going end up at 42 wins, it fairly rapidly became clear. Big deal.

I think it likely that Ben — and the tens of thousands of Blazer fans who Ben represents — probably had higher expectations than mine, which therefore fell further. In his article, Ben goes to a lot of work to demonstrate in numerical terms that Blazer fans had reason for high expectations and a predicted season which fell further than that of virtually any other team in the NBA. Thus any feelings of disappointment have an objective cause.

That's no doubt true; people feel as they do and every person's reality is a little different. The higher the expectations that one had, the further they have fallen and the more disappointing this season no doubt has been. My disappointments — losing Przybilla to injury, losing Marty Webster and the Rex to idiotic cash cutting, disillusionment with Brandon Roy and Greg Oden — came earlier than the mounting of the losses this season. I'm now well at peace with a bad outcome. Your situation may differ.

 

Q. What can ya do?

A. Swear and drink.

If you are one of those fans who are still down in the dumps about star players injured and losses starting to mount, the one piece of advice I can give is this: free yourself of those lingering pre-season expectations.

There's no point in blowing a gasket or in dreaming up trades that will never be. There's no point in breathlessly recapping the torrent of idiotic internet trade rumors fabricated by hack swill-stirrers on a deadline. If you follow a team, this team, accept it for what it is, enjoy the good moments even as you avert your eyes from the bad.

That's all you can do.

If you misjudged the team coming into the season, alter your horizons. There is still plenty of good basketball to watch.

 

 

*   *   *

Timlogo-haiku_medium

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That one was easy

The opponent on a trip

No sleep means no win

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Here's some more wackiness from the twisted tongue of goofy Uncle Mike...

Friedrice_medium

 

Mike Barrett is in a whimsical mood, giving us free bonus trivia...

MB: "Fesenko is 300 pounds plus — how many current players do you think are over 300 pounds in the NBA today?"

Rice: "Ummm, I'd say 10."

MB: "Three: Fesenko, Shaq, and Yao Ming. Actually they list Fesenko at 280 but they probably took that measurement on the moon recently."

Rice: "There are probably about 8 liars in the league, too."

 

Jerry Sloan is one tough mother...

MB: "He still looks like he could take half the league in a street fight."

Rice: "I wouldn't challenge him, that's for sure."

 

Sight gag: Rice with no headset coming out of break, scrambling for McDonalds freebie coupons...

Rice: "I wonder if they'd give me a Happy Meal.™"

MB: "I'm sure you'd talk them into it." 

Rice: "These McDonalds coupons have an expiration date marked out in black Sharpie. Will they take them?"

MB: "I'm sure you'll talk them into taking them."

 

Mikey likes it...

"I love to beat Utah — not as much as I like beating the Lakers, but Utah is second!"

 

 

Game 33.

Jazz 89 at Blazers 100.

December 30, 2010.

Blazers' record is now 17-16, the Jazz are 22-11.

1. Both teams made concerted efforts to get the ball into the paint, Portland with somewhat better effect. Utah was short Memo and Kirilenko and Miles, which made sides more or less even, given that Camby was back in uniform after his recent ankle tweak. Deron Williams dropped a couple more treys on the Blazers' head, trying to top his career high 6 that he landed in the last Portland game. At the first TV break it was Portland 19 and the back-to-backin' Jazz 10, with the Blazers hitting 8 of their first 10 shots.

Deron Williams picked up a bucket AND ONE to run his scoring in the quarter up to 9, but on the other end LMA answered with a forceful putback dunk. The Blazers had difficulty pulling down offensive rebounds due to a packed-in Jazz zone defense defense. Blazers stopped taking the ball low and Utah chipped away, capping the quarter with a 3 point bomb from 5 feet on the other side of half court by All Star Deron Williams, who finished the quarter with nearly half of Utah's points. END OF THE 1ST QUARTER: PDX 29, UTAH 25. Blazers shooting 58%.

2. Opening the 2nd Quarter, Nate put in Sean Marks, who promptly fouled Kyrylo Fesenko, who promptly missed two free throws badly. In other words, everybody was performing their specialty well... Only 1 minute in, the klutz Gordon Hayward committed his third personal foul, forcing Utah Head Coach Jerry Sloan to insert Raja Bell at SF. Blazers kept shooting long jumpers and the Jazz kept pulling down the misses. At the first TV time out it was Portland by just 2, with the visitors heading to the line for a chance to tie up the game.

First 5 minutes and zero Portland points scored. The Jazz lead was only 1 though, which proves that incompetence is contagious. Nic got sent to the line to shoot 2 at 6:22, and our long national nightmare was at an end. Blazers were back up by 1, incredible though it seemed. Millsap got sent to the line on a phantom foul called on LMA by a drug addled red, leaning into a stationary and earthbound LMA on a missed jumper. Nic took the lead back with a corner trey on the other end, fortunately. The refs, not gonna be shown up by actual competitive basketball promptly called a make-up call on Nic away from the ball on the other end. Don't frick with the fix...

Portland reinserted starters and a few buckets started to fall. At the second TV time out it was Blazers by 4 with Marcus Camby headed to the line to shoot 2. Actually, "shoot" is a polite phrasing for the pathetic bricks he chucked, but you get the point. Big Al bulled to the rim with 1:30 remaining, cutting the lead to 2, but LMA got 'em back beating Albert down low on the other end. LMA with a nice bucket at the end and yet another completely fixed whistle when Al elbowed into a backing away Aldridge with 0.2 on the clock. I usually don't complain about refs, but this looks like organized criminality this evening by Sterns Donaghys... HALFTIME SCORE: PDX 46, UTAH 41. Fully 10% of Utah's points were flat out stolen from Portland by the refs.

HALFTIME ENTERTAINMENT: Time Zone "World Destruction" (Afrika Bambaataa + Johnny Rotten, 1984) — LYRICS

 

3. Back to our previously scheduled fixed game... LMA with a couple buckets, couple of Jazz buckets, dumb foul by the klutz Hayward — more of the same, in other words. Quick message: Camby should NEVER, EVER SHOOT ANOTHER SHOT FROM LONGER THAN 10 FEET, thank you for your attention. What an airball. I could do that from 12 feet for $10M a year less, seriously. Drop me a line, Cho. Nic crashed hard to the floor at 9:00, undercut by the klutz Hayward. No idea how this incompetent doof wound up in SLC, the Jazz usually are on top of their stuff on draft day. I guess their scouts made the mistake of watching the NCAA Tournament or something... At the first TV break it was Blazers back by 8 again.

Portland went on a 14-2 run that made the lead double digits, with Wesley Matthews looking real good with a trey and a long stepback two. Wesley was beneficiary of a sketchy clear path foul and the lead was stretched to 15 points at 4:45. Portland went cold after that, however, and Utah chipped it back down to 10 points at the 3:00 mark.

Out of time out, LMA missed a nice looking hook; Price hit a long 2 cutting things to 8. Patty bricked a long 2, Millsap scored low — the run was 9-0 and the Blazer lead down to 6. That's where the run ended, when LMA was put on the line to shoot two, followed by a Matthews drive of the lane for two more. Utah missed again and Matthews again drove the ball into the jaws of death, to be sent to the charity stripe yet again. Wesley also drained a 3, running his tally to 26 points for the night. END OF THE THIRD: PDX 79, UTAH 68.

4. One minute, three Portland fouls. Ugh. Blazer second unit is not good, firing up long bricks and letting the Jazz get into the paint. At 9:52 LMA returned in place of Sean Marks, with Utah's Ronnie Price fouling out in sending Rudy to the line. Momentum returned to Portland and the Blazer lead puffed up again to 13 at the time of the first TV time out.

With 7:19 showing, Portland went into penalty with LMA's 4th foul, the lead cut to just 9. Blazers were relying on Patty Mills jumpers, which isn't the brightest offensive strategy for those desiring to win. Utah converted on the other end off a Mills miss and the lead was 7. With 6:44 remaining in the game Nate needed time out.

Out of the time out, it was another jumper, this by LMA, and another miss. But an offensive foul by Utah on the other end stalled their run; LMA took a lob at the rim and finished AND ONE. Camby came up with a block and another backdoor lob, this time to Matthews, drew contact. He lamarcused and the lead was 11.

That was pretty much it for the Jazz, who got into Portland at 3 am on their back-to-back LA-Portland extravaganza. Blazers put a 10-1 run on the Jazz, extending to 16 points with 3:30 remaining. Mike Barrett did his best to wet himself, but even his bladder was dry with this sort of a lead-and-time situation. The Blazers ran clock and Marcus Camby snagged his 20th rebound of the night. "He can do that," Rice should have said, but didn't.

LMA finished with 27 points, adding yet another to his series of All Star caliber performances. Somewhere in California, Mr. Snake was heard moaning, his world crashing down around his feet... 

Three starters were pulled at 1:10 to a nice ovation. Wesley stayed on the floor and the crowd obligingchanted: "WES - LEY - MATTH - EWS - clap, clap, clap-clap-clap." Thirty points for him and his shooting slump is officially over. FINAL SCORE: PORTLAND TRAIL BLAZERS 100, VERY TIRED UTAH JAZZ 89.

 

 


Let's take at this thang graphically, shall we?

Popcornlogo_medium

Ya gotta click THIS-HERE LINK to see the swell graphs, that's the way these things work... Ready? Set??? GO!!!

Now here are a few observations about the Popcorn Machine material from me to you:

A. This is what a big, fat beefy W looks like in graphical form... 

B. A 17-4 run in the 3rd Quarter was decisive for the Blazers. Hero Squad™ included Camby, LMA, Matthews, Rudy, and Andre. Wesley had 15 big points in this critical quarter.

C. Popcorn Machine shows Wesley with 29 points instead of the 30 that MB kept repeating; LMA had 27, Andre with a quiet 16. NBA.com has Matthews at 30, so it looks like Mr. Reddenbacher made a boo-boo tonight...

D. A 15-3 Blazer run in the 4th Quarter put it away... That was all starters.

E. All Blazer starters had massive positive numbers in Plus/Minus, all bench players were in the red. This is a night when Plus/Minus is really saying something, so listen closely.

 


Photo Credits: Wine glass: André Karwath, Wikipedia, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0. LMA: Jack Dempsey, Associated Press.

 

 

 

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