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, put the Suns up 81-69 with 42.

#1 von miaowang123 , 01.04.2019 04:34

Spains 5-1 humiliation at the hands of the Netherlands on Friday came as a shock to everyone who follows the beautiful game. It also served as a reminder that at the highest level of the game, the margin for error is incredibly small. Up 1-0 in the first half after Xabi Alonso had converted a dubious penalty kick, Spain had a glorious chance to double their lead in the 43rd minute. An exquisite reverse pass from Andres Iniesta (pictured below) sent David Silva in alone on the Dutch goal. Unfortunately, Silvas finish wasnt up to the same standard as Iniestas pass. (CLICK FOR LARGER IMAGE) Just one minute later, the Netherlands equalized through a spectacular Robin van Persie diving header. With no apparent danger coming from the Netherlands, Spain set up in a very narrow defensive shape. (Spains opponents will do well to take note – exploiting this is a key to success against the reigning World Cup champs.) Yet just two passes later, the ball was in the back of the Spanish goal. The first pass came from Bruno Martins Indi to Daley Blind, who took up a wide position on the left flank. It was a free pass, with no Spanish player in a position to put pressure on Blinds first touch. (CLICK FOR LARGER IMAGE) Once Blind received the ball, Spains back four was vulnerable to the diagonal ball over the top to van Persie – because Sergio Ramos, the left central defender, fell asleep and got caught ball-watching. (CLICK FOR LARGER IMAGE) With no pressure on the ball, Blind was able to spot that van Persie managed to get a step in front of his marker, Ramos. (CLICK FOR LARGER IMAGE) The ball from Blind was exquisite, and it was matched only by the finish from van Persie - a diving, looping header over Iker Casillas in Spains goal. (CLICK FOR LARGER IMAGE) So what could Spain have done differently? In this situation, when the ball went wide to Blind, Gerard Pique was tight with Arjen Robben, the first striker – as he should be. His defensive partner, Ramos, needed to be in a deeper covering position, so that he could support Pique while also nullifying the threat of the ball in behind to van Persie. (CLICK FOR LARGER IMAGE) It is only a matter of Ramos being 3-4 yards deeper, but at the World Cup, that is sometimes all that is needed to create scoring opportunities. Had Spains back-four been properly aligned (highlighted in yellow, above), Blind would never had played the ball forward for van Persie to run onto because Ramos would have been in a position to head the pass away. This goal, scored right before the half-time break, was a real blow to Spains confidence. From nearly doubling their lead a minute earlier, to conceding a wonder goal to the Dutch, the momentum turned in favour of the Netherlands going into the second half. The Spanish collapse after the break – where they conceded four unanswered goals – should have been prevented, though. The second goal was down to a combination of wonderful skill from Robben and slack marking from Pique and Ramos; the third and fourth goals down to mistakes from Casillas, with the fifth goal a classic counter-attacking move from the Dutch. It would be naïve to presume that this result – as shocking as it was – is an indication that Spains style of play is now ineffective. La Roja still possess a squad full of some of the worlds most talented players, and they will continue to employ their tiki-taka possession game to great effect. Players like Alonso, Xavi, Iniesta and Silva are still a joy to watch, and they will go into their next game with Chile knowing they must win, as a loss will effectively end their tournament. What it does prove, though, is that even the best are fallible on an off day. 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Cabrera was first on the disabled list from June 27-July 20 with tendinitis in his left knee.PHOENIX -- Big games arent out of the ordinary for Markieff Morris anymore, and he had another one Friday night. Morris made his first 11 shots en route to a 25-point performance and the Phoenix Suns handed the Toronto Raptors their fifth straight loss, 106-97. "Ive just got a great feel for the game right now," he said. "Im not trying to shoot as many 3s as I have in the past. Ive just been working on driving to the basket and trying to get to the line." Morris, who also grabbed 11 rebounds, finished 11 of 14 from the field, tying his career high in field goals made. His scoring total was three shy of his career best. "Thats what he does," teammate P.J. Tucker said. "You get his motor like that every game, I think he can do that every single game, night in and night out." Entering this season, Morris career best was 23 points. Through the first 20 games of this season, hes scored at least 23 five times, whether it be as a power forward or as the backup to centre Miles Plumlee. "He is able to take a big guy and if a guy gets up on him, he is able to drive by him," Phoenix coach Jeff Hornacek said. "If he steps off him, he is a good shooter from that 15- to 18-foot range. He is being smart about when to drive it or when to shoot it. Then today, he was rolling to the basket." Eric Bledsoe added 19 points, including 3 of 3 on 3-pointers, and Tucker had 18 points and a career-high 13 rebounds for the Suns. Amir Johnson scored a season-best 22 points for the Raptors. Kyle Lowry added 19 and Rudy Gay 17. The Raptors lost Tyler Hansbrough with a sprained left shoulder in the first quarter. "He is going to get a look at his shoulder tomorrow (in Los Angeles)," Toronto coach Dwane Casey said, "but we missed his toughness." The Suns outrebounded the Raptors 53-36, including 18-11 on the offensive boards. "That has to be our biggest advantage of the year," Hornacek said. "EEverybody went for them.dddddddddddd" Morris and Tucker each had six offensive rebounds. "We did a decent job of getting stops," Casey said, "but then didnt get the rebounds. Thats about toughness, thats about attention to detail." Phoenix took control with a 16-6 run late in the third quarter. Bledsoe made a 3-pointer, fed Morris for a layup, then made a free throw when Lowry was called for a technical foul and Phoenix led 76-63 with 1:51 left in the period. Morris final field goal, a 17-footer, put the Suns up 81-69 with 42.9 left in the quarter. Toronto scored the next five to cut the lead to 81-74 entering the fourth. "They got out and played at their tempo in the third quarter," Lowry said. After the Suns scored the first five points of the final quarter, Steve Novaks 3-pointer cut it to 86-77 with 9:44 remaining, but Gerald Green made two 3s in an 11-6 surge to give Phoenix its biggest lead of the night, 97-83 with 4:37 to go. The Raptors scored the next eight to make it 97-91 on Johnsons layup with 2:42 left before Bledsoes 3 boosted the lead to 100-91 with 1:46 remaining. Morris string of baskets ended when he lost control going up for a layup and the shot went off the front of the rim. Toronto led by seven points in the second quarter before a late 9-0 Phoenix run. Goran Dragics 3 put the Suns up 48-47 with 2:05 left in the half, then Morris 12-foot turnaround jumper from the baseline made it 52-47. Phoenix led 52-50 at the break. NOTES: The Raptors had beaten Phoenix three times in a row. ... Toronto had two days off during a road trip for the first time this season. ... The Raptors entered the game first in the NBA in second-chance points at 17.7 per game but the Suns had 21 second-chance points to Torontos 16. ... The Raptors led by 27 in the third quarter Tuesday night at Golden State but lost, the largest comeback by an opponent in Raptors history. ... Toronto completes a three-game road trip Sunday against the Lakers. ' ' '

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