Favourites Cavs open East finals on road vs underdogs Celtics

first_imgBOSTON (AP):The Celtics are heading to the Eastern Conference finals with the No. 1 seed and home court advantage. But they are still very much underdogs to the defending champions Cleveland Cavaliers.That’s because throughout this season the conversation hasn’t so much been about which team would come out of the East, as much as how much resistance any team could offer the Cavs.So far it hasn’t been much, with Cleveland posting back-to-back sweeps in the first two rounds.After waiting more than a week for an opponent, the Cavs have their latest challenger. It’s a Boston team that many wrote off after the Celtics fell into a 0-2, first-round hole against the Bulls.Now, fresh off a Game 7 semi-final win over the Washington Wizards, the Celtics in many ways find themselves playing with house money as they prepare to host a LeBron James-led Cleveland team carrying all the expectations into Wednesday’s Game 1 in Boston.”We’ve been counted out since I’ve been here, so it’s nothing new,” Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas said. “We’re not really focused on the outside noise and what they think we’re going to … . We’re just going to take care of business as we go.”That’s easier said than done.Boston have yet to beat the Cavs this season with Cleveland at full strength. The Celtics’ lone victory came on March 1, with Kevin Love out after minor left knee surgery. Cleveland won the other games by a combined 35 points, including a 114-91 romp on April 5.Thomas has spoken several times this post-season about wanting to experience the make or break moments that only the playoffs can provide. He has his chance against a team that both he and coach Brad Stevens have acknowledged is better than it was even in April.”That’s where LeBron is so good,” Stevens said. “I think that you can’t throw him one look, because he will eventually pick that look apart.”BAD BLOODThere were major fireworks the last time the Cavaliers and Celtics met in the playoffs.In Game 4 of their 2015 first-round series, which was swept by Cleveland, Boston’s Kelly Olynyk and Love got tangled up, and Love was sidelined with a shoulder injury. Cavs forward J.R. Smith delivered a backhand punch to the face of Boston’s Jae Crowder and former Cavs enforcer Kendrick Perkins delivered a crushing blindside screen on Crowder.Smith earned a two-game suspension, Perkins was fined and Love missed the rest of his first post-season after undergoing surgery.Olynyk was branded Public Enemy No. 1 in Cleveland, but James wouldn’t bite when asked if he thought Boston’s physical forward was a dirty player.”I’m not about story lines,” he said. “I’m just going to play basketball.”The Cavs are 15-3 in road playoff games over the past three seasons.last_img read more

Oil, tobacco raise millions in fight

first_imgSACRAMENTO – Oil and tobacco companies and their allies have raised nearly $144 million to defeat propositions 86 and 87, which would boost tobacco and oil taxes to pay for health and alternative energy programs. Altogether, supporters and opponents have raised $305.3 million to try to pass or defeat the 13 state measures on California’s Nov. 7 ballot. The totals are likely to set a new record for spending on ballot measures in a single California election, but the Secretary of State’s Office said it didn’t have an up-to-date count to determine the current record. Proposition 86 would triple the tax on a pack of cigarettes, to $3.47, and boost taxes on other tobacco products to raise $2.1 billion a year for a variety of health programs, including tobacco prevention and education, nursing education and emergency room and public clinic funding. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORECalifornia’s bungled $1 billion accounting system Proposition 87 would impose a tax on oil production to raise $4 billion for loans, grants and subsidies to promote alternative fuels and more energy-efficient vehicles. Led by R.J. Reynolds and Philip Morris, tobacco companies have poured $61.5 million so far into the campaign against Proposition 86. Philip Morris USA and its parent company, the Altria Group, have given $34 million through Thursday. R.J. Reynolds has contributed $22.8 million. Supporters reported raising $13.9 million. Major contributors include the American Cancer Society, $2.2 million; the American Heart Association, $682,000; the American Lung Association, $288,000; and the California Hospital Association, $10 million. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg gave $250,000 in support. Oil companies have raised $82.4 million so far to try to kill Proposition 87. Most of that money has come from Chevron and Aera Energy, a joint project of Shell and ExxonMobil. Supporters have contributed $50.9 million, including $43.6 million from Hollywood producer Stephen Bing. Here are breakdowns on fundraising by supporters and opponents of the other statewide measures on the ballot: BONDS: Supporters of a constitutional amendment to protect transportation funding and $37.3 billion in school, transportation, housing and flood control bonds that lawmakers put on the ballot as Propositions 1A, 1B, 1C, 1D and 1E have raised nearly $43.9 million so far. That money has come from a variety of groups that include unions, construction companies and Indian tribes. Environmental groups that support Proposition 84, a $5.4 billion water and parks bond measure, have raised $9.1 million. There are no campaign committees opposing the bond measures. PROPOSITION 83: Supporters have raised nearly $1.6 million to pass Proposition 83, which would toughen controls on sex offenders. No opposition has surfaced. PROPOSITION 85: Backers of Proposition 85, an initiative that would require a doctor to notify a girl’s parents before performing an abortion, have raised $4.2 million. Abortion-rights advocates have generated $5.6 million to oppose the measure, which is nearly identical to a proposal voters rejected in last year’s special election. PROPOSITION 88: Supporters have raised $7 million to convince voters to approve an initiative that would place a $50-a-year tax on most pieces of property to support schools. Its opponents have taken in nearly $1.1 million. PROPOSITION 89: This campaign reform measure, which would authorize public financing for state candidates who give up most private donations and tighten contribution limits for those who don’t, has generated $4.6 million in funding. Most of the money has come from its sponsor, the California Nurses Association. Opponents, which include both corporations and some unions that lobby at the Capitol, have raised $4.7 million. PROPOSITION 90: Supporters have raised $3.8 million for Proposition 90, which would slap tougher limits on the use of eminent domain and on government regulations affecting property. Opponents, which include teachers, environmentalists and local governments, have raised $11 million.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more