up after 15 years here on Friday. The hosts, who l

in Freiwillige Challenges 25.07.2019 04:06
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Blake Fergusons stint at fullback may be short-lived despite his performance against Melbourne getting the thumbs up from Sydney Roosters coach Trent Robinson.While the Roosters went down 26-10, they matched the competition pace-setters for much of the contest, with Ferguson one of their best.The NSW Origin three-quarter started at the back for the AAMI Park match, with regular fullback Latrell Mitchell switching to the wing. Robinson said it was to give Mitchell a rest.Ferguson opened the scoring for his team, pouncing on a kick that ricocheted off Storm skipper Cameron Smith.Smith and halves Cooper Cronk and Blake Green pulled out the full repertoire of kicks, regularly peppering him and while he lost his footing a few times, he was pretty solid.Ferguson was considered a long-term option for the Roosters as custodian after Roger Tuivasa-Sheck defected to the Warriors in the off-season but Mitchell got the jump on him.I thought he was busy, I thought he organised our defensive line well, Robinson said of Ferguson.I think he grew as the game went on and was improving but theres still a way to go for him and Latrell in that position.Robinson said he would decide in the next few days who would play fullback against Brisbane at Allianz Stadium on Thursday night.Its the Roosters second five-day turnaround in succession but skipper Jake Friend wasnt complaining, and after making a mammoth 72 tackles against the Storm if anyone should be it was him.We played well in the last two games in periods and sometimes a quick turnaround is good to get straight back out there and play footy and to fix the things that we didnt right, Friend said.Its tough on the body but its good like that. 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Westbrook has missed 27 games since having a procedure on Dec. 27 to deal with swelling in his injured right knee — the third operation on the knee in nine months. Memphis coach David Fizdale is working some kind of magic with the Grizzlies and is about to get a big trick back.Point guard Mike Conley is expected to make his return from breaking two bones in his lower back when Memphis hosts the Sacramento Kings on Friday.The Grizzlies made the announcement shortly after Conley participated in the mid-day shootaround for the contest against the Sacramento Kings.Hopefully, Ill have the opportunity to play, Conley told reporters. Well see.Conley was injured during a Nov. 28 contest against the Charlotte Hornets when he took a charge from Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and landed hard on his back.The original prognosis was for Conley to miss at least six weeks.With a roster more akin to a M*A*S*H unit, all the first-year coach has done is put his 18-9 Grizzlies in a position to do more than succeed -- once it gets healthy, Memphis may make some Western Conference powers seriously worry.Case in point: In a span of five days, the Grizzlies have defeated both the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers. Against the Warriors on Saturday, it wasnt close -- neither Stephen Curry nor Draymond Green played in the fourth quarter. Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant logged less than two minutes in the final stanza in the 21-point victory.On Wednesday, it was NBA champion Clevelands turn to witness Fizdales wizardry. Granted, LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love sat out, but Memphis led by as many as 25 in a wire-to-wire victory.Sacramento (9-16) will be next to get a close up look at Fizdales early season genius when the Kings and Grizzlies tip off at 7 p.m. Friday at FedExForum.The contest marks Dave Joergers return to Memphis after three solid seasons as coach. Joerger went 147-99 before being fired in May and he quickly caught on with the Kings.Sacramento (9-16) lost for the sixth time in eight games Wednesday in a 132-98 loss to Houston. The Kings played without center DeMarcus Cousins rest), forward Rudy Gay (hip) and guard Ben McLemore (quad).Four starters scored in double figures, paced by guard Garrett Temple, who had 20 points and was 5 of 9 from long range. Sacramento finished 11 of 32 on 30-pointers.The Sacramento defense was porous. The Kings had allowed an NBA-record 50 3-point attempts in a 117-104 home loss to Houston on Nov. 25 and Joerger was ready for another onslaught, and the Rockets didnt disappoint.They flirted with the NBA record for 3-pointers, hitting 22 of 42 in a game where the Rockets produced a season-high 40 assists on 50 field goals.Certainly they shot well, Joerger understated. They were shooting 65 percent from 3 for most of the night, andd once they got ahead of us they became free and easy.ddddddddddddMemphis defense is on the other end of the spectrum as Fizdale has his group of patchwork players playing at a high level. The Grizzlies are in the top three in defensive rating, scoring defense and third in shooting defense.Because of the attention to detail on the defensive end, Memphis is on pace to win 50-plus games despite a bevy of injuries that would cripple most teams chances of competing.In his first season with the Grizzlies, Chandler Parsons has been limited to six games because of a balky knee.Vince Carter missed seven games with a hip injury before coming back against Golden State.Zach Randolph missed seven games after the death of his mother.Deyonte Davis, James Ennis III and Brandan Wright have missed significant time.A rookie coach. A ton of injuries. How has Fizdale kept the Memphis ship from sinking?Coach Fizdale is someone that embodies resiliency, general manager Chris Wallace told NBA.com. Whenever weve got down into a valley this year and havent been playing well, hes had the ability to immediately snap us back and go get a win and raise our level of play instead of staying down for a long period of time and wallowing in that negativity.Joerger hasnt been able to flip the right switches like Fizdale has with Memphis.We still have to play hard throughout the season, Kings forward Matt Barnes said. People are going to be shorthanded and thats going to give other guys opportunity to step up and try to get a rhythm. They got off to a hot start and had all the confidence in the world and never really slowed down.After starting all 24 games this season, Cousins was given the night off in Houston to rest. He leads the team in scoring (28.3 points), rebounding (10.9), and blocks (1.5) while ranking fourth in assists (3.6).Fridays matchup of Cousins versus Marc Gasol should be worth watching. Gasol has picked up the slack with all of the Grizzlies injuries. Fizdale praised his leadership qualities, too.Gasol followed up his Western Conference Player of the Week honors with his fifth double-double of the season, scoring a very efficient 17 points on 6-of-9 shooting from the field and grabbing 11 boards against the Cavs. He also hit all three of his 3-point attempts, marking his fifth game with three-or-more shots made from beyond the arc. He had never achieved such a feat before this season.Hes good, Fizdale said. Hes our MVP. Im a little biased but I think hes the best center in the league. ' ' '

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