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work, compete and battle level

  • 30 Jan
    MIAMI - Hassan Whiteside isnt sure what the low point of his overseas life as a ballplayer was. [b]Cheap Nike Air Max 270 All White[/b] .Maybe it was when he played in China and got chewed by mosquitoes every night because the windows were always open. Maybe it was the time his team gathered for dinner and was served a whole goat, head and all. Maybe it was the time in Lebanon when he missed a ride — a fortuitous twist, since the area where he would have been was the site of a bombing.Those days are over.An unknown to many just a few weeks ago, Whiteside is now the starting centre for the Miami Heat. Hes also one of the few bright spots in whats been a trying first half of the season for the franchise that has been to the NBA Finals five times in the past nine seasons and now finds itself struggling just to keep a playoff spot.It feels like Im living a dream, Whiteside said. A couple months ago, I couldnt even get anybody to look at me. Its crazy. Its just a dream I never want to wake up from and every day I come to the arena I just feel blessed. Even when I started my first game, I was like Wow. You just look up and have to soak it all in.Hes fast become a fan favourite in Miami, and some of his teammates rave about him as well. Whiteside — currently out with a sprained ankle, though not expected to miss significant time — is averaging 12.1 points and 8 rebounds per game in January, not exactly superstar numbers but far better than any other stretch of his limited time in the league.Hes big and he plays big, Heat guard Dwyane Wade said of the 7-footer who got plenty of attention after a 23-point, 16-rebound game against the Los Angeles Clippers earlier this month in a Miami victory. He protects the basket for us, he catches it and he finishes it. If he keeps doing that he will have a long, successful career.Whiteside plays with some anger, stemming from how every team in the NBA — some of them multiple times — had passed on the chance to have him.Theres a certain irony that on draft night in 2010, the Heat were the last team that opted not to call his name.Whiteside was the 33rd pick in that draft, going to Sacramento one spot after Miami selected another big man in Dexter Pittman. Whiteside spent parts of the next two seasons with the Kings, appearing in 19 games and never scoring more than five points in any of them.Soon, his well-travelled odyssey began: He bounced around the NBA Development League, played for a couple of teams in China, a couple more in Lebanon, all the while constantly hoping for someone at home to even offer a workout. He often wondered if any team was keeping tabs on him.The Heat were.Sometimes it takes the right team, the right opportunity, the right frame of mind, all of it working together, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. Wed gotten to know him over the last four years. Wed brought him in enough. I met with him extensively, for an hour, after the workout this year and there was something about how he responded, how he looked me in the eye, that I believed him.Whitesides work ethic, a source of concern in the past, has not been an issue in Miami.His daily routine essentially consists of waking up, going to the arena, studying film, practicing, working out, then going home. Hes worked out with Hakeem Olajuwon in the past, and tries to emulate the game of former Heat star Alonzo Mourning now.He doesnt have to worry about eating goat or fast food for dinner anymore, either: In Miami, he raves about the Boars Head barbecue chicken subs from Publix, a regional supermarket chain.He calls this chapter a fresh start.It just doesnt work out with some organizations, said Whiteside, who lists his goals as averaging a double-double and becoming one of the NBAs three best shot-blockers. Coach Spo, he really gave me a chance, just with the minutes. When they give players a chance, theyre really all-in. Theyre invested.So far, its paying off. [b]Cheap Nike Air Max 270 Gold[/b] . Patrice Bergeron and Daniel Paille scored 20 seconds apart a few minutes after Stamkos was taken off the ice on a stretcher with a broken right leg, and the Bruins beat the Lightning 3-0 on Monday afternoon. [b]Cheap Nike Air Max 270 White[/b] . General Manager Sam Presti said the three-time All-Star had knee swelling that would not subside, and the procedure was intended to solve the problem. He said doctors determined that a loose stitch was to blame for the swelling, that Westbrooks lateral meniscus has healed properly and the procedure was successful.The surprising Columbus Blue Jackets will try to grab their first lead of the Eastern Conference first round series when they visit the Pittsburgh Penguins for tonights Game 5 at CONSOL Energy Center. The Blue Jackets entered this series against the Metropolitan Division champions as heavy underdogs, but they sit tied with the Penguins at two wins apiece. Columbus has arrived at this point with a pair of overtime victories, including a 4-3 triumph in Wednesdays Game 4 clash at Nationwide Arena that gave the franchise its first home playoff win. Pittsburgh, meanwhile, hopes to rebound after coughing up an early 3-0 lead in Wednesdays game. Holding leads has been an issue for both clubs in this postseason encounter. According to Elias Sports Bureau, this series is the first in league history in which four consecutive games have been won by a team which has trailed by at least two goals. Marc-Andre Fleury made 42 saves in Game 4, but the Penguins goaltender is aiming for a bounce-back performance on Saturday. The veteran backstop made a stickhandling blunder to allow Columbus to tie the game in the final minute of regulation before yielding a weak goal to Nick Foligno in overtime. "He was our best player in the (Game 4) last night. Unfortunately a mistake, the bouncing puck behind the net, cost us in the last 30 seconds of the game," Penguins head coach Dan Bylsma said of Fleury. "He was our best player in the game. He has to rebound now from that, as does our team." Although he helped Pittsburgh win a Stanley Cup title in 2009, Fleurys postseason struggles for the Pens over the last few seasons have been well- documented. Last spring, he was benched in the middle of Pittsburghs first- round series win over the New York Islanders and replaced by Tomas Vokoun as the starter for the rest of the playoffs. Vokoun is still with the Pittsburgh organization, but hasnt played an NHL game since last spring due to ongoing issues with a blood clot. Fleurys current backup Jeff Zatkoff has never played in the postseason. Fleury isnt Pittsburghs only problem in this series, as the club is still waiting for superstar forwards Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin to record their first goals of the 2014 playoffs. Both players have four assists through four games. "(Crosby and Malkin) are our best players," Bylsma said. "We need more from our whole team. We need more from them." Foligno, who sat out the first two games of this series due to injury, tallied the game-winner 2:49 into OT on Wednesday. He carried the pucck up the left wing through the neutral zone in a 1-on-1 with Pens defenseman Matt Niskanen, then released a long-distance shot from above the left circle. [b]Cheap Nike Air Max 270 All Gold[/b]. The puck fluttered toward Fleury and dipped below his glove hand before hitting the net and ending the game. "I didnt think it would actually work, but it ended up working, so Im thanking my lucky stars tonight," Foligno said. Fleury also was responsible for a miscue leading to the Blue Jackets tying goal with less than 24 seconds remaining in regulation. He headed behind his net to play a Jack Johnson dump-in, but the puck hopped over his stick and found Ryan Johansen, who dished into the slot for a successful shot by Brandon Dubinsky. In a performance that was the polar opposite of Fleury, Columbus goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky started the game slowly and finished strong. Last seasons Vezina Trophy winner clocked in with 22 stops after giving up the games first three scores in a span of just over five minutes in the first period. Johansen and Boone Jenner notched the other goals for the Blue Jackets, who had gone 0-3 in Ohios capital in the postseason before Wednesdays triumph. Craig Adams, Chris Kunitz and James Neal tallied for the Penguins, who will try to bounce back with a better effort tonight on home ice to regain a lead in this best-of-seven battle. "The work, compete and battle level has been the most troubling thing from our team," Bylsma said. "Thats been the thing throughout this series thats been the most troubling. Thats got to be raised up to a level that is necessary at this time of year, this type of hockey, playoff hockey. We have ourselves in a series now. Its 2-2, best-of-three. We have to have that in our game and in our team if we are going to win this series." Prior to Game 4, the Blue Jackets scratched defenseman Ryan Murray with a right foot injury suffered when he took a shot to the skate in practice. Murray is questionable for Game 5, as is fellow defenseman Fedor Tyutin, who could be back in the lineup Saturday after missing the past two outings with an upper-body issue. Pittsburgh was 28-9-4 in the Steel City during the regular season, while the Blue Jackets were 21-17-3 as the visiting team. Columbus road win in Game 2, a 4-3 double-overtime victory, marked just the third time the Jackets won in Pittsburgh over 11 all-time meetings. Game 6 of this series is scheduled for Monday in Columbus. If needed, a decisive seventh game is set for Wednesday at CONSOL Energy Center. 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