So an editor swings by my desk to let me know that the food writers of the Boston Globe and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch have been engaging in a spirited war of words over the merits — or lack thereof — of the other city’s food while their hockey teams duke it out on the ice.Maybe I could tease Toronto, he suggests, what with the NBA finals starting there Thursday.Tease Toronto? Well, I did unwittingly insult South Boston in a restaurant story, and Los Angeles and New York are always fair …
Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. View comments Kammuri turning to super typhoon less likely but possible — Pagasa MOST READ Stronger peso trims PH debt value to P7.9 trillion LATEST STORIES Read Next Japan ex-PM Nakasone who boosted ties with US dies at 101 “Throughout my time in ONE Championhsip, I have been a witness to some of the best martial arts talents,” said Franklin. “Stars today such as Angela Lee and Eduard Folayang came from the grassroots level of talent in Asia and the next martial arts superstar is just waiting to be discovered.”Selected athletes will compete in trial exhibition bouts and all have a chance to earn a six-figure contract with ONE Championship. Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC ONE Championship is in search of the next fighting superstar.The premier mixed martial arts promotion in Asia launched a new documentary series that features Rich Franklin traveling from gym to gym looking for up and coming martial arts talents.ADVERTISEMENT Kris Aquino ‘pretty chill about becoming irrelevant’ Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH Potts grateful to end college career with a title after season’s struggles QC cops nab robbery gang leader, cohort Sports venues to be ready in time for SEA Games PLAY LIST 00:59Sports venues to be ready in time for SEA Games01:27Filipino athletes get grand send-off ahead of SEA Games00:50Trending Articles01:37Protesters burn down Iran consulate in Najaf01:47Panelo casts doubts on Robredo’s drug war ‘discoveries’01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games CPP denies ‘Ka Diego’ arrest caused ‘mass panic’ among S. Tagalog NPA “One of our biggest missions is taking martial arts, Asia’s greatest cultural treasure, and placing it front and center for the entire world to witness,” said ONE Chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong.“We are excited to travel across Asia, visiting the most iconic cities, to discover the next big superstar.”FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSSEA Games: Philippines picks up 1st win in men’s water poloSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutFranklin, a multi-time middleweight champion when he was still fighting, will make stops in Bangkok, Manila, Seoul, Tokyo, and Beijing.Now serving as ONE’s vice president, Franklin said he looks forward to the new practitioners that can elevate the sport of mixed martial arts to a new level.
Touch Football Australia (TFA) today announced that Steve Mitchell will stand down from his role as Chief Executive Officer in February 2019 to become CEO of the Gold Coast Titans.Mitchell will continue his work with TFA in an advisory capacity to the TFA Board, to assist with the progression of the NRL/TFA Alliance and the NRL Touch Premiership.TFA has seen significant structural change during Mitchell’s time as CEO. These changes include the relocation of key national managerial and operational staff to the NRL’s headquarters, Rugby League Central, in Sydney, to work directly with NRL management teams.A heightened commercial focus in the organisation has resulted in successfully securing nine new national commercial partners, enhanced digital content, improved sports delivery resourcing, and the introduction of new formats of the game to drive participation.The close working relationship with the NRL also provided an opportunity for Mitchell to lead the TFA team to transform Touch Football Australia’s elite domestic competition into the new NRL Touch Premiership. In 2019 the NRL Touch Premiership will be even bigger than in its inaugural year – it will see eight NRL clubs, including the NZ Warriors, field elite men’s and women’s sides in a 17-week competition broadcast on FOX Sports.“I am extremely grateful to Anita Hagarty and the Touch Football Australia Board for giving me the opportunity to join the organisation and to work closely with them to achieve the advances we’ve made over the past 15 months,” said Mitchell.“Touch Football is a fantastic sport with a huge participation base, great athletes and a very bright future. I’m looking forward to assisting its development in the years ahead in an advisory capacity.”On behalf of the TFA Board, TFA Chair Anita Hagarty is grateful for the fantastic contribution Mitchell has made to the sport during his time as CEO. “In 2017, the Board saw the need to set a new direction and put Touch Football on a more commercial, strategic and professional path to achieve future growth. Stephen’s appointment as CEO has been integral to achieving success in this endeavour. By any measure, Stephen has done an amazing job driving our sport forward with his passion, commitment and energy.“We look forward to his ongoing involvement over the coming years in an advisory capacity. He leaves us with a team of very hard-working professionals that will lift the sport to new heights, and in particular, the continued progression of the NRL/TFA Alliance over the coming years, which will be important to the futures of both organisations.”NRL CEO Todd Greenberg agreed, applauding the advances Mitchell has made in strengthening the NRL and Touch Football Australia’s Alliance, and said he looked forward to continuing working with Mitchell as the Titans’ CEO and advisor to the TFA Board.
OTTAWA – When Genevieve Boutin and her colleagues at the United Nations Children’s Fund were finished verifying the aftermath of last week’s carnage at the Gaza-Israel fence, they added seven more to their tally of dead children.That included a statistical first — a girl — the first female killed among the 13 children shot since protests erupted at the fence on March 30, a burning fuse that exploded Monday into the bloodiest day between Gaza and Israel in four years.They are among the 59 Palestinians shot by Israeli forces, a total that includes a Canadian doctor trying to help the wounded. A Hamas official has since said that 50 of those were from their militant group.That Hamas number that has been seized on by Israel, and their Canadian supporters, to fire back politically at several world leaders — including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau — for implying in their calls for an independent investigation of the incident that the Israeli military may have used excessive force.At least one Canadian Jewish group says Hamas is using Palestinians as human shields and that the Trudeau government should be standing in firm solidarity with Israel’s right to self-defence.For Boutin, a Quebec City native who is UNICEF’s special representative in the West Bank and Gaza, the politics and statistics graze the surface of a burning question that she has tried to answer in numerous conversations with injured children and their grieving families: what draws you to that dangerous fence?The answers she’s getting can’t be measured solely by rhetoric or numbers: “They exemplify the human drama that is taking place in Gaza.”In the first few weeks, many kids told her that “life is boring here, nothing ever happens” so they were curious about the growing fuss over their fence.“As the weeks wore on, more and more kids obviously know the risks as they go,” said Boutin. “There’s a number of kids who say, ‘there’s nothing I have to lose, I don’t see a future for myself and I’m showing the world our situation has to change so I am participating in it’.”In addition to the fatalities, more than 1,000 Palestinian children have also been wounded by live fire since March 30, said Boutin, 43.“Many of them are serious injuries that could lead to amputations and certainly handicaps for life. Just that, in and of itself, is horrific in terms of the impact on children.”She recalled consoling the father of a 10-year-old boy who was shot in the early days of the protests several weeks ago. The boy was hit by a bullet after running off. The father still has his son, but is tormented with regret.Two other older teenagers who were killed defied the stereotype of the bored, vulnerable youth who become easy prey for militants — both were about to take the equivalent of their final high school exams.“That means some of these kids were engaged still in the education system,” said Boutin.International law makes a simple point, she said: “a child is a child” and they shouldn’t be targeted by anyone — whether they were coerced into a dangerous situation or not.Still, UNICEF and others are trying to keep them away from the fence.“We’ve been advocating with community leaders and parents to try to say it would be good to discourage children from being there on the front lines. But we also are mindful that the right to peacefully protest is a right that children have.”Smoke from burning tires and the periodic crackle of gunfire returned Friday to the Gaza fence as the rallies resumed for the first time since Monday. Hamas, which took over Gaza in 2007, says they will continue until the blockade that Israel and Egypt has imposed is lifted.Israel is accusing Hamas of using the protests to carry out attacks and says it has to protect its border.But the condemnation of the international community against Israel is growing.The UN Human Rights Council said Friday it will set up a commission of inquiry into the Gaza border violence, something Israel rejects as the product of “a built-in anti-Israel majority, guided by hypocrisy and absurdity.”Part of Boutin’s job is to independently verify casualties and to ensure that emergency supplies, especially medical aid, reach those who need it most.The ripple effect of the increased violence has been crushing on a Palestinian medical system that was already under massive strain.Boutin sees hope fading in the faces of the local medical staff.“They were so devastated after the events of Monday. They keep doing their work. They’re very admirable, but it’s very hard for them to understand what’s happening … the international community — in their eyes — is not reacting as they would like it to react.”Boutin said she didn’t personally know Dr. Tarek Loubani, the Canadian citizen who was shot in both legs Monday while treating the wounded at the fence even though he and his team wore high-visibility jackets that identified them as medical staff.Trudeau said he was appalled by that shooting and called for an investigation.An Israeli embassy spokesman in Ottawa said Israel has asked Canada to help with information to assist the Israeli Defence Forces investigation of the incident.B’nai Brith Canada says Trudeau must apologize to Israel for not acknowledging the responsibility of Hamas. On Friday, the organization also released a statement that “suggests that a Gazan paramedic slain after assisting Canadian doctor Tarek Loubani was a member of the Hamas terrorist group and employed by its Interior Ministry.”Another group, Independent Jewish Voices, accused some Canadian Jewish organizations of acting as “little more than PR for the Israeli government.”Boutin had no comment on the political fallout of Monday’s events, including the response by her own government in Ottawa.Her main message is simple: it’s just as wrong to shoot doctors, as children.“Not only is it a last recourse to shoot at peaceful protesters, but there are certain categories that should be specifically protected.”
GRANDE PRAIRIE, A.B. – The RCMP in Grande Prairie are investigating a fatal collision that occurred at the intersection of Canfor Road and the Forestry Trunk Road on Thursday.At roughly 12:45 p.m. on February 22nd, a truck travelling southbound on the Forestry Road collided with a logging truck that was travelling eastbound on the Canfor Road. The 67-year-old driver of the southbound vehicle and his 27-year-old passenger, both from the Edmonton area, were confirmed to be deceased at the scene.A female passenger from Mundare was airlifted to a hospital via STARS air ambulance with serious injuries. The driver of the logging truck was uninjured. The RCMP is currently investigating all possible contributing factors that could have caused the crash.
New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Monday sought JNU’s response on a plea by several women students seeking early hearing on a contempt petition filed against the varsity and a professor who is accused in a sexual harassment case. Justice J R Midha issued notices to the university, its vice chancellor, professor Atul Johri and Delhi Police on the early hearing application and listed the matter for consideration on July 2. The court also called for the records of the main petition on the next date. Also Read – More good air days in Delhi due to Centre’s steps: JavadekarThe students sought early hearing after the court on May 3 listed the contempt as well as the main petition for hearing on October 31. In the main petition, the students have challenged the clean chit given by JNU’s Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) to the professor. The ICC report of July 23 last year followed the high court’s May 29, 2018 direction to the committee to find out whether a prima facie case of misconduct was made out against the professor to suspend him from the Jawaharlal Nehru University. Also Read – Union min Hardeep Singh Puri, Delhi L-G lay foundation stones for various projects in DwarkaAdvocate Vrinda Grover, appearing for the women students, said there was urgency on hearing because the petitioners are scholars who will not be able to complete their PhD if not given access to the laboratory. She said the contempt petition has been filed against JNU, its vice chancellor and the professor for allegedly “wilfully disobeying” the earlier directions of the high court given in its orders of May 29 and May 2, 2018. The plea said the court had directed that Johri will have no access to a particular laboratory and the authorities will give complete access of the laboratory and separate keys to the students. It said the petitioners have learnt that on the request of Johri, the executive council of JNU in February allowed him access to the laboratory in School of Life Sciences and delegated teaching responsibilities back to him. The plea sought contempt proceedings against JNU, VC and Johri and that the resolution passed in the EC’s meeting be stayed.
WASHINGTON – A regional human rights body Thursday condemned the United States’ forced repatriation of an Algerian detainee from Guantanamo Bay prison earlier this month.The Inter-American Human Rights Commission said in a statement the transfer was “against the will of Djamel Ameziane and in violation of international human rights.”Ameziane and another Algerian, Bensayah Belkecem, were sent home from Guantanamo December 5 despite their protests that they faced persecution there. The United States said the transfers were coordinated with the Algerian government “to ensure these transfers took place with appropriate security and humane treatment assurances.”The commission, a body of the Organization of American States, took up Ameziane’s case in March 2012.It said he was held in a secret prison in Algeria after his arrival in the country but was released on December 16.Nevertheless, it said the US transfer was “a violation of the principle of ‘no expulsion,’ which prohibits transfers and deportations of people to countries where they run the risk of being tortured.”The United States recently has stepped up repatriations of Guantanamo prisoners as part of a long-stalled bid by President Barack Obama to close the 12-year-old “war on terror” detention center on the southeastern tip of Cuba.Currently, 160 detainees are still being held at Guantanamo, about half of whom have been approved for transfers.
Reds+0.58-0.04-0.22 Diamondbacks+0.28+0.04+0.17 Rangers+0.24-0.78-0.08 Cubs+0.49+0.74+0.84 Padres+0.94-0.11+0.13 Twins+0.41-0.03-0.10 Phillies+0.35+0.05+0.35 Red Sox+0.63-0.27-0.12 Cardinals+0.44-0.26-0.02 Royals+0.85-0.27-0.20 Mets+0.23-0.19-0.04 Giants+0.50-0.04+0.05 Astros+0.87+0.09+0.11 Rockies+0.88+0.13+0.12 Pirates+0.92-0.13-0.07 Yankees+0.90+0.62+0.74 Braves+0.46+0.11+0.08 Mariners+1.07-0.38-0.35 SENTIMENT SCORE Tigers+0.55+0.15-0.11 Baseball teams have a way of dragging their fans’ moods with their fortunes on the field. It’s no fun to root for a perpetually losing team, especially if its performance seems unlikely to improve. Conversely, an unexpected contender has a way of lifting one’s spirits.But wins and losses are much easier to measure than happiness. We do have a proxy, though: the masses at Reddit. I scraped comments from each team’s subreddit1Using this script to get text from specific subreddits. on the website and determined how happy their comments were.2In technical terms, the valence of each subreddit, or how positive it was. To do this, I used the AFINN-111 word list, which was assembled by Finn Arup Nielsen in 2011. To do that I used sentiment analysis, collecting the words used by each fan base to determine their overall level of joy. More positive words (“win,” “wow,” “wonderful”) point to a happier fan base, and more negative words (“unimpressed,” “miserable,” “wrong”) suggest the opposite.Here are some highlights of what I found (a full table is at the bottom of this post):There are some caveats, as there always are with sentiment analysis. The word list I used was calibrated to a sentiment analysis of Twitter — it’s possible that language is used differently on Reddit, and so the sentiment scores may not be as calibrated to the medium as they would be if we had Reddit-centric sentiment scoring. For example, the word “damn” is rated as strongly negative, since it is usually a negative exclamation (“damn, we lost again”). However, it can also be used in a positive sense: “damn, that was our fifth straight win, we are pretty good.” And maybe people on Reddit “damn” more positively than the hordes on Twitter. (The same can go for any word used atypically in any sentence, making its meaning different from how the algorithm interpreted it.) Also, people who write on Reddit do not constitute a random sample of a team’s fans.But let’s get back to the results. Hope springs eternal in the offseason but is extinguished for many fan bases by July.3All measurements come from three time periods: one preseason (Feb. 15 to March 15), one pre-trade-deadline (June 15 to July 15), and one crossing the trade deadline (July 15 to Aug. 15). That makes sense given how many teams don’t have any hope left. In the preseason, only one team — the Phillies — had playoff odds less than 1 percent, per FanGraphs. Now, 11 teams have odds less than 1 percent. Sentiment scores per word — our index of happiness — tended to be between 0.3 and 1 on the sentiment scale in the offseason, indicating that the average word was a positive one (between a neutral word and the word “agreement”). Nowadays, the same scores have plunged. Clearly the grind of the MLB season wears on the fans’ happiness as it does the players.Every fan base lost some of its happiness from the preseason, save one: the Chicago Cubs, who increased their sentiment score by a bit. The Cubs have not only been contenders in the crowded National League Central, they have also seen a number of top prospects called up, most notably Kris Bryant (but also Addison Russell and Kyle Schwarber). Not only are the Cubs contending a little earlier than expected — the future is even brighter.All other teams’ fans have become much less happy since February, but not all by the same amount. The change in sentiment score from February to July is roughly in proportion to the change in playoff odds of each team.4The correlation coefficient is r = -.3, which is not quite significant. Teams that made strides in their playoff hopes such as the Yankees, Angels and Dodgers have seen the smallest declines in sentiment since February. At the other end of the spectrum, teams such as the Mariners, Athletics and Padres have seen their playoff odds tumble. Their fan bases also have had some of the most pronounced declines in sentiment scores per word.From July to August, sentiment scores were steady, fluctuating about four times less than they did from February to July.5The Pearson correlation value was a strong .746. The trade deadline didn’t seem to do much to move the needle in terms of fan happiness, but the teams that did gain are mostly the ones you’d expect: the Blue Jays (who strengthened their roster enormously), the Cardinals (who locked down a playoff spot) and a few others who were riding winning streaks. On the other side, the Tigers lost happiness, witnessing their championship window close and their highly regarded general manager leave.Although on-field success can buy happiness, it doesn’t seem to work for every team. The Royals have gained the most playoff probability of any team since the preseason, but they lost the fourth-most happiness from the offseason to July. There are any number of potential reasons6Including the All-Star controversy, an injury to their star player (Alex Gordon), and enmity from other teams/fan bases. for the relative grumpiness of Royals fans, but one may be that fans were more optimistic about the Royals than the projection systems. While contention in Kansas City may seem surprising to sabermetricians, it may not to Royals fans who were riding high off a World Series appearance.Conversely, failure on the field isn’t necessarily enough to dissuade a happy fan base. The Phillies, hopeless since the beginning of the year, nevertheless have fans who aren’t that much sadder than they were before the season. Despite the loss of erstwhile ace Cole Hamels at the trade deadline, fans have gotten happier since July — his trade and others signaled a shift in direction for the team toward rebuilding. As above with the Cubs, fan bases seem to not only weigh the present but also to consider the prospect for future improvement.There are also some inexplicable cases such as that of the Rays, whose fan base declined in sentiment much more dramatically than their playoff odds would lead one to expect. It’s possible that the Rays’ 4-8 slide in July before the All-Star break had something to do with it, or the seven-game losing streak from June 28 to July 4. The streaks, winning and losing, may play havoc with fans’ emotions, causing people to see false patterns suggesting imminent decline in what is mostly random fluctuation.Obviously, we’re grasping for answers as to why fans are happier or sadder as the season goes by. But the general trend seems to be that a complex calculus of current performance and hope for the future dictates how happy each team’s fan base feels. Of course, it all resets come March. Hang tight, Reds fans. Only a few more months to go. Angels+0.28+0.21+0.08 TEAMFEBRUARYJULYAUGUST Blue Jays+0.28-0.03+0.21 Nationals+0.61-0.11-0.18 Rays+2.24+0.04+0.27 Dodgers+0.29+0.07-0.15 Athletics+0.62+0.10+0.10 Marlins+1.44-0.08+0.19 White Sox+0.940.00-0.07 Brewers+0.71-0.29-0.06 Indians+0.66+0.05-0.02 Orioles+0.43-0.07+0.08
The Boston Celtics and Milwaukee Bucks have faced off in plenty of playoff showdowns over the years, including four clashes in the 1980s alone, during the heyday of Larry Legend and Sid the Squid. This year’s series renewed the rivalry after a 31-year hiatus, and it’s largely lived up to expectations so far: Game 1 featured a pair of buzzer-beaters at the close of regulation before Boston won in overtime, then the Celtics handily took Game 2. But the Bucks managed to claw their way back, running away with Game 3 before winning Game 4 in thrilling fashion to tie the series up.Here are four questions to ponder as the teams head back to Boston and begin what’s now a best-of-three affair.Can Milwaukee’s offense stay hot?The biggest statistical trend helping to turn the tide in this series has been the newfound efficiency of the Milwaukee offense, which went from averaging a mediocre 105.9 points per 100 possessions1The league’s regular-season average was 106.2. in Games 1 and 2 to a scorching 122.8 points per 100 in Games 3 and 4, according to NBA Advanced Stats.You don’t heat up an offense that quickly without an abrupt change in shooting fortunes, and the Bucks have certainly turned things around from beyond the arc. In Games 1 and 2, Milwaukee averaged just 7.5 3-pointers per game — a number below its paltry regular-season average of 8.8 — with only Khris Middleton (who, granted, made a whopping 4.5 threes per game) providing any consistent spacing from the outside. Over the past two games, however, Milwaukee has increased its threes per game to 13, with 10 different players making at least one 3-pointer. In Game 3 alone, the Bucks set a franchise postseason record with 16 threes, according to ESPN’s Stats & Information Group.So much of the Bucks’ offense is tied up in the playing style of its leading talent, Giannis Antetokounmpo, a player whose unmatched combination of size, length and athleticism allows him to get shots as close to the basket as he wants. (During the regular season, Giannis led the NBA in paint scoring at 15.7 points per game, and the Bucks were tied for the fifth-most buckets from the restricted area.) But as great as Antetokounmpo is, the reality of the modern NBA is that such a defense-collapsing force needs to be complemented with shooting that pushes opponents into impossible defensive dilemmas.The Bucks have often struggled to pose such a threat from deep; they made the league’s fourth-fewest threes per game during the regular season. But they hinted at a fuller offensive potential over the past few games versus Boston, with their increased focus on long-range shooting. It’s worth watching to see if Milwaukee can keep pairing those threes with a Giannis-led interior attack to potentially key a playoff series victory.Can Boston get Terry Rozier back on track?One of the keys to whether Boston could survive the loss of Kyrie Irving has been the play of Terry Rozier, the third-year guard who enjoyed a breakout regular season and took on an increased role in March after Irving’s knee surgery. Rozier was stellar in the first two games of this series, averaging 23 points (on 46.9 percent shooting) and zero turnovers per game as the Celtics built their 2-0 lead. But he has cooled down substantially, with his averages falling to 9.5 points (on 26.3 percent shooting) and 3 turnovers per game in Boston’s pair of losses.Which Rozier will show up now? It will depends on how he cracks the defense of Eric Bledsoe and, increasingly, Matthew Dellavedova — who guarded Rozier with success in Games 3 and 4. That pair has succeeded in making Rozier much less dynamic as both a passer and a scorer in the past two games, holding him to 8.5 potential assists per game (down from 10 in Games 1 and 2) and a usage rate of 18.4 percent (down from 20 percent).The Celtics have still gotten plenty of scoring punch from Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, who in Game 4 became the second pair of teammates under 22 years old to ever notch 55 combined points in a playoff game, according to the Elias Sports Bureau — joining Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant from 2010. But with Rozier suddenly struggling, the Celtics are missing an important version of the stellar backcourt production that had been so central to the team’s success, both with and without Irving.Will Giannis’s teammates keep up the help?As noted, Milwaukee’s chances are inextricably tied to the Greek Freak — and Antetokounmpo has been holding up his end, delivering a superstar performance. Over the past two games, he’s anchored the Bucks with a 30.1 percent usage rate, 64.5 true shooting percentage and 28.9 assist percentage as the team was fighting its way back to draw the series even. But the irony is that those numbers weren’t too different when Milwaukee was falling into its early series hole: In Games 1 and 2, Antetokounmpo had a 30.2 percent usage rate, a 66.3 true shooting percentage and a 28.8 assist percentage.So for the Bucks, the determining factor isn’t merely how well Giannis plays — it’s how much everyone around him contributes. In the two opening losses, Antetokounmpo’s teammates averaged 74 total points and 13 total assists per game, with a 57.3 percent true shooting mark. In the Bucks’ two victories, those numbers skyrocketed to 87 points, 20.5 assists and a 65.2 true shooting percentage.Of particular note has been the strong play of Middleton and an expanded role for Jabari Parker, who was limited to about 12 minutes per game in Games 1 and 2. Parker has come on strong since, averaging 16.5 points (on 54.5 percent shooting), 6.0 rebounds, 2.5 blocks, 1.5 steals and only 0.5 turnovers per game in Games 3 and 4. He helped Milwaukee’s bench outscore Boston’s 31-15 in Game 4, an important edge in a matchup decided by just two points.This doesn’t mean Giannis should be taken for granted, of course. He’s personally dominating this series, with his own play putting teammates in a position to produce efficient numbers for themselves. He willed the Bucks to victory in Game 4’s closing seconds, fighting off Tatum under the rim to tip home the game-winning bucket with 5.1 ticks to go. But the biggest difference between Milwaukee’s losses and wins in this series has been how well the Bucks not named “Antetokounmpo” have been able to execute in their supporting roles.Where’s Al Horford?Though Irving was forced to shoulder Boston’s scoring attack after Gordon Hayward went down with injury five minutes into the season, the 2017-18 Celtics’ most valuable player might have been center Al Horford, whose mega-efficient combination of skills make him the unsung catalyst who improves everyone around him.Boston’s first two games against Milwaukee featured Horford at his versatile best. He scored 20 points per game — while needing only 9.5 shots per game to do it — grabbed 8.5 rebounds and dealt out 4 assists. Every time you looked, he was doing some kind of proverbial “little thing,” like setting a key screen, contesting a shot or getting to the line. Despite taking responsibility for only 15.2 percent of Boston’s offensive attempts2Including shots and turnovers. while in the game, Horford managed to personally account for 17.8 percent of all the positive actions that took place on the court (for either team), according to NBA Advanced Stats.Horford didn’t play poorly in the following two games. He still averaged double-digit points and shot better than 50 percent from the floor. But he individually accounted for only 11 percent of the positive events that happened when he was on the floor, and the Celtics went from plus-4.9 points per 100 possessions with him to minus-8.9. On defense in particular, he had few answers for Antetokounmpo’s forays to the basket (in fairness, who does?), as the Bucks’ offensive rating swelled to 119.9 with Horford on the court.One of Horford’s greatest gifts is that he doesn’t need plays called for him to make a big impact. But there’s a fine line between unselfishly playing all-around basketball and not being involved enough, and Horford was probably on the wrong side of that line as Milwaukee chipped away at Boston’s 2-0 lead — especially in Game 4. He’ll need to get back to exerting his influence at both ends of the court in Game 5 for the Celtics to turn this series around.Check out our latest NBA predictions.