Coronavirus: California governor says sport could return in June

By Sports Desk May 18, 2020

California governor Gavin Newsom says the state could start holding sporting events without spectators in the first week of June if the current trend of declining hospitalisations and ICU patients due to COVID-19 continues. 

"Sporting events, pro sports in that first week or so of June without spectators and modifications and very prescriptive conditions also can begin to move forward … if we hold these trend lines in the next number of weeks," Newsom said during a press conference on Monday. 

Newsom said California, which was the first U.S. state to issue a stay-at-home order on March 19, is allowing more counties to accelerate their re-opening process. 

However, he said not all areas are in the same position and specifically mentioned the San Francisco Bay Area and Los Angeles County – home to many professional sports teams – as ones that may not be ready to move forward just yet. 

"They can move at their own pace based upon their own local conditions," Newsom said. 

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    Denver Nuggets coach Michael Malone and center Nikola Jokic took heart from Sunday's 105-103 buzzer-beating defeat to the Los Angeles Lakers, with the duo praising the team's spirit.

    The Nuggets were heading into the final seconds of Game 2 of the Western Conference finals with a slender lead, but Anthony Davis showed his class with the decisive action.

    The Lakers forward sunk a three-pointer on the buzzer to seal the win and open up a 2-0 series lead in Florida, Los Angeles having won handsomely 126-114 in Game 1.

    Davis was able to make his game-winning shot due to a defensive mix-up in the Nuggets ranks that saw both Mason Plumlee and Jerami Grant guarding LeBron James when the former was initially on the game-winner.

    Jokic put it down to poor communication, though there was a hint of rueful helplessness to his post-game comments as he suggested if Davis had not been decisive, James could have.

    "[It was] either going to be him or LeBron [James to have the last shot], so we kind of knew it," Jokic said.

    "It just happened, a little bit of miscommunication. I think I had a really good contest, to be honest. I think I was right there.

    "As soon as he shot the ball, he shot it really well. Like, I kind of felt it going in. Great players make great shots."

    But given his side were 70-54 down in the third quarter, Jokic – who had 30 points and nine assists – felt the Nuggets showed good spirit to get back into the contest.

    "I mean, we are here [as] underdogs," he continued. "I mean, we need to fight. That's our only chance. They were up 15 or 16. I don't know how much they were up.

    "We could just call it a game and quit. I think we just want to give the fight. Maybe it's going to be 30 points, but fight needs to be there, and effort."

    Malone was similarly frustrated but seemed encouraged by the fact the top-seeded Lakers required a last-gasp attempt to take the win.

    "Losing sucks, that's the bottom line, losing sucks," he admitted. 

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    "I think that if I'm not thinking that way, I'm crazy to, because if you want to be great you have to believe in who you are and what you have and all the things that you do.

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