Don’t stop praying

first_imgJasmine Uys, AlicedaleIt’s amazing how quickly things can change. Less than six months ago, Covid-19, or the coronavirus, were just words to us. An illness in a distant country. China is very far from us, so for most of us, the fact that we can get the virus here in South Africa, didn’t even cross our minds. Now less than six months later, it’s on everybody’s lips. Most of us are living in fear that we, or our loved ones, may get the virus, and nowadays most of us know somebody who have the virus, or died of the virus. The virus truly has us all in a grip of fear. The prediction of the scientists of how many people will die when we reach the peak soon is even more grim. But we must remember, the scientists are human, they are not God. It’s what they predict, but what is God’s plan with us? Do we even ask or trust God to help us? It is true, God uses humans to do his work in many cases, but in the end we should put our trust in God, not human beings. We should also never stop praying for our health-care workers in these difficult times.last_img read more

BAF to host Belize Family Funday

first_imgThis Saturday is set to be a family affair as the Belize Association of Florida celebrates Belize Family Day, from 11 am to 6 pm at the Holy Sacrament Episcopal Church Pavilion in Pembroke Pines.The event, which seek to unite Belizeans across the region, will also be raising donations for the homeless in Belize.Children aged 2-10 can enjoy a bounce house, cotton candy, pop corn machine and bike decorating contest.To register for the bicycle decorating contest, call 954-614-2794last_img

Connacht Junior Rugby Team Named to face Ulster

first_img4Chris Ryan  ( Westport ) 17Cormac Groden  ( Westport )Prop 20Mickey Murphy  ( Ballina ) 10Ross Keller  ( Ballinasloe ) 14Coleman Maher  ( Monivea ) 5Liam Scahill (Captain) ( Westport ) 8Lorcan Laheen  ( Monivea ) 6Roy Stanley  ( NUIG ) 9Dylan Carpenter  ( Westport ) 22Ian Heanue  ( Connemara ) print WhatsApp Facebook Twitter Email The Connacht Junior Team has been named to face Ulster in Enniskillen on Saturday. The Team and replacements are…… 12David Mc Donagh  ( Connemara ) 19Eddie Dunning  ( Westport ) Substitutes 2John Keaveney  ( Ballina ) 11Kevin Corcoran  ( Westport ) 16Joe O’Connor  ( Westport )Hooker 3Adam Bourke   ( Westport ) 7Stephen Joyce  ( Monivea ) 13Matthew Mannion  ( Monivea ) 18Eugene Conroy  ( Connemara )Prop 21Sean Tobin  ( Westport ) 15Chris O’Neill  ( Ballina ) 1Conor Mason  ( Ballina )last_img read more

The 10 most expensive defenders featuring Chelsea, Liverpool and Arsenal men

first_img 10 10 10 5. John Stones: Everton to Man City for £47.5m in 2016 6. Davinson Sanchez: Ajax to Tottenham for £42m in 2017 9. Shkodran Mustafi: Valencia to Arsenal for £34.85m in 2016 10 10 7. Leonardo Bonucci: Juventus to Milan for £35.2m in 2017 10 10 10 10 8. Thiago Silva: Milan to Paris Saint-Germain for £35m in 2012 4. Benjamin Mendy: Monaco to Man City for £49.3m in 2017 Liverpool confirmed they have finally signed Virgil van Dijk from Southampton in what is a record fee for a defender.REVEALED: Why Crystal Palace rejected the chance to sign Van Dijk for just £6mThe Reds had their eyes on Van Dijk in the summer, but were unable to complete a deal and even apologised to Southampton for the whole affair.Now the move has been given the green light – the player will move when the January transfer window opens – talkSPORT.com looks at the other expensive defenders. 2. Kyle Walker: Tottenham to Man City for £50m in 2017 – The initial fee for the right-back was £45m 10. Antonio Rudiger: Roma to Chelsea for £34.2m in 2017 – The initial fee paid for the Germany international was £29m. 3. David Luiz: Chelsea to PSG for £50m in 2014 – It is thought the French club paid an initial £40m. 1. Virgil van Dijk: Southampton to Liverpool for £75m in 2018 – The Reds will pay a reported £70m up front. 10last_img read more

India vs Australia: Sehwag flops again as India fail to salvage pride

first_imgAfter a 4-0 whitewash in the recently concluded Test series, India’s disastrous show continued in the shortest format of the game with the visiting side’s biggest hope – Virender Sehwag – leading to yet another flop show with bat Down Under. Score | PhotosAfter failing to step up in the Tests, the fiery opener was yet again guilty of throwing it away in the opening Twenty20 tie in Sydney on Wednesday.Much was expected from Sehwag’s willow in T20 as India desperately sought to end its winless run on the Australian soil. However, the Nawab of Najafgarh sadly failed to fire yet again, edging a full pitched delivery off Brett Lee to David Hussey at the first slip.Sehwag’s dismissal at his personal score of 4 clearly showed lack of will and intent on his part.While his recent slump in form in the longer format could be ignored as a one-off, his record in T-20 international certainly leaves a lot to be desired. With an average in the early 20s, Sehwag has done little justice to his true worth in this format.last_img read more

Manohar Lal Khattar to be sworn in as Haryana CM on October 26

first_imgManohar Lal Kattar. Manohar Lal Khattar is the next chief minister of Haryana. The decision to appoint the 60-year-old leader, a former RSS member for four decades, as the tenth chief minister of the state was announced after a meeting of the BJP legislators in Chandigarh on Tuesday.Have been elected to be the leader of legislature & next Chief Minister of Haryana. Heartfelt thanks to everyone for their constant support!&; Manohar Lal Khattar (@bjpmlal) October 21, 2014Khattar, a Punjabi, is the first non-Jat chief minister of the state in 18 years after Bhajan Lal. A first-time MLA, he now represents Karnal in Haryana Assembly, a seat he won with a margin of 63,736 votes.”The MLAs have elected me as the leader of BJP Legislature Party. It was a unanimous decision. We are going to the Governor and will put forth our claim to form the government,” Khattar said after the announcement.Let us open a new chapter that focuses on good governance & development for all for a prosperous & progressive #Haryana. Jai Hind!&; Manohar Lal Khattar (@bjpmlal) October 21, 2014The swearing-in of the new Haryana chief minister and other ministers is likely to take place on October 26. The ceremony is expected to be held at a sports stadium in Panchkula, 15 km from Chandigarh, instead of the Haryana Raj Bhavan.(Also read: Who is Manohar Lal Khattar?)Khattar beat other frontrunners for the post including Captain Abhimanyu, Ram Bilas Sharma, Anil Vij, Union Minister Rao Inderjit Singh and former MP Chaudhary Birender Singh.Union Minister Venkaiah Naidu and senior BJP leader Dinesh Sharma were appointed as the party’s observers for Haryana, where the BJP won simple majority with 47 seats in the 90-member House, paving the way for the party’s first ever government in the state since its formation in 1966.advertisementWhy are Khattar and Modi considered to be close?  Khattar has been a prominent Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh leader for 40 years and is considered close to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.The unmarried former RSS pracharak, who was deputed to the BJP years ago, was chairman of the BJP’s campaign committee for Haryana in the Lok Sabha elections. The party won seven of the state’s 10 seats.The BJP did not announce a chief ministerial candidate in Haryana in the run-up to the October 15 elections, preferring to build its campaign around PM Modi’s popularity.Apart from sharing their RSS antecedents, Khattar is also said to have worked closely with Modi, who had begun his Haryana campaign this year from Karnal, Khattar’s constituency.last_img read more

Lava launches QPAD R704 voice-calling tablet at Rs 8,499

first_imgHome grown manufacturer Lava has introduced a new voice-calling tablet in the Indian market. The QPAD R704, a successor to the QPAD e704 tablet that was launched here back in April has been aggressively priced at Rs 8,499.The Lava QPAD R704 tablet features a 7-inch IPS display with a 1024×600 pixels resolution. It is powered by a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon processor clocked at 1.2GHz coupled with 1GB of RAM. It comes with  8GB of internal storage expandable up to 32GB via microSD card. The single-SIM voice-calling tablet runs Android 4.3 Jelly Bean out-of-the-box.Lava has promised an Android 4.4 KitKat for the device, although it hasn’t mentioned a time frame for the same. The QPAD R704 tablet sports a 2MP rear autofocus camera along with an another 2MP secondary snapper. Connectivity options on the device include: Wi-Fi, 3G, Bluetooth, EDGE, GPS, and Micro-USB. It decks in a 3500mAh battery that can deliver up to 300 hours of standby time and about 10 hours talk time, claims Lava. Moreover, the device also comes with Qualcomm Quick Charge technology that will reportedly offer 30 percent faster charging on the QPAD R704.The device boasts of an enhanced multimedia experience courtesy the in-build High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC) and Snapdragon Audio.last_img read more

Pot stocks riding high on Trump commitment to support states where legal

first_imgCanadian and U.S. marijuana stocks are riding high on news that President Donald Trump will support congressional efforts to protect states that have legalized cannabis, which is illegal south of the border under federal law.Licensed producer Aphria Inc.’s stock rose nearly 15 per cent to close at $11.40 on the Toronto Stock Exchange while Friday Night Inc., which owns cannabis assets in Las Vegas, saw its shares rise by more than 20 per cent to close at $0.65 on the Canadian Securities Exchange.Liberty Health Sciences, which has interests in U.S. states where the drug is legal and in which Aphria has a stake, saw its shares rise more than 19 per cent to close at $0.99 on the CSE.While several states have legalized cannabis for medical or recreational use, marijuana remains an illegal schedule 1 drug under U.S. federal law.And in January, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded an Obama-era memo which suggested that the federal government would not intervene in states where the drug is legal and said it would be up to federal prosecutors to decide how aggressively to enforce the law.But earlier today, Colorado Senator Cory Gardner said he received a commitment from Trump that the memo’s recission would not impact Colorado’s legal marijuana industry, ending a standoff with the U.S. Department of Justice.In response to Sessions’ recission of the Cole Memorandum, Gardner had placed a hold on all Department of Justice nominees until he received a commitment that Colorado’s rights would not be infringed.“President Trump has assured me that he will support a federalism-based legislative solution to fix this states’ rights issue once and for all,” Gardner said in a statement. “Because of these commitments, I have informed the Administration that I will be lifting my remaining holds on Department of Justice nominees.”Almost all marijuana stocks got a lift from the news, even those without U.S. exposure. Canopy Growth Corp.’s shares rose 7.84 per cent to close at $29.84, while Aurora Cannabis’ stock rose 8.58 per cent to close at $8.73 on the TSX.Vahan Ajamian, an analyst with Beacon Securities, called Trump’s commitment “a massive gamechanger” for the marijuana sector.“This is consistent with our thesis and excellent for U.S. cannabis operators,” he said in a note to clients.Marc Lustig, chief executive of CannaRoyalty, called the change in tone at the U.S. federal level “significant.”“Given how much larger the U.S. cannabis market is in comparison to Canada or any other country this development is potentially game-changing for industry participants,” he said in an emailed statement. “As one of the largest licensed operators of cannabis in the state of California, we expect this change of direction to significantly clarify things in state-legal markets.”Companies mentioned in this story: (TSX:APH, TSX:WEED, TSX:ACB)last_img read more

Brexit Could Drastically Change English Soccer

As debate has intensified over the plan for the United Kingdom to leave the European Union, industries across Britain are preparing for a post-Brexit world. Along with the agriculture, automotive, pharmaceutical and financial services fields, there’s another prosperous British business that could feel the brunt of Brexit: the English Premier League.From March 29 onward, all foreign soccer players — regardless of their origin — could require a work permit to sign for a club in the U.K. This would have enormous consequences for English clubs and the future of the English Premier League.By separating from the EU, the U.K. will aim to end “freedom of movement of people” between the U.K. and EU — one of the four freedoms of the EU’s single market.1The others are freedom of goods, services and capital. For many years, freedom of movement has bestowed on citizens of the European Union (or the wider European Economic Area)2The European Economic Area refers to the countries in which freedom of movement of people (and goods, services and capital) applies. It includes all 28 members of the European Union plus Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein. Switzerland is not a member of the EU or EEA but is a part of the EU’s single market. the right to travel, reside and work in any member state. Because of this, a baker from Nice can open a shop in Manchester, a bond trader from Frankfurt can join a bank in London, and, yes, soccer players from continental Europe can freely transfer to the English league. If the player holds an EU passport, there are no restrictions: From an employment perspective, he is treated the same as a U.K. national.Freedom of movement has had a seismic impact on the demographics of the league — all of which could change with Brexit. Prime Minister Theresa May has stated that freedom of movement will end when the U.K. leaves the EU, but she has yet to announce the new immigration rules that will replace it. Although EPL clubs will not immediately be required to obtain work permits for their players who aren’t British or Irish (citizens of the Republic of Ireland are likely to retain the rights to live and work in the U.K. post-Brexit), new arrivals from the EU3Along with the EEA and Switzerland. could become subject to the rules that currently apply only to non-EU players. Essentially, all players not eligible for a U.K. (or Irish) passport would have to obtain a work permit.To investigate the potential impact on English soccer, we took a look at the characteristics of European players who have played in the EPL over the past 26 years. What proportion of them would have qualified for a work permit? By answering this question, we can gain an insight into what might happen to the EPL in the future. National team’s FIFA rankingMin. share of matches played in past 24 months 1-1030% 11-2045 Before we can assess who might be affected, we first need to look at how the system of work permits works in English soccer. To obtain a permit, a foreign player must secure a Governing Body Endorsement from The Football Association (the governing body of English soccer). Each season, the FA publishes guidelines to help clubs determine whether transfer targets would qualify for an endorsement. The figure above shows two future scenarios. The first is the status quo, in which EU passport holders can continue to play in the U.K. without work permits (or any other bureaucratic hurdles). The second explores the end of freedom of movement to the U.K. In this scenario, EU players are subject to the same immigration requirements as players from the rest of the world beginning with the 2019-20 season. That is, they require a work permit and must meet the relevant criteria.In both cases, we assume that the total number of players in the EPL remains constant, as does the inflow and outflow of players from the rest of the world. In the status quo scenario, we assume that the inflow of players from Europe remains at its recent historical average; in the end of freedom of movement scenario, we assume that it drops to 42 percent of the recent average.In the status quo scenario, the percentage of U.K. and Irish players remains close to its present value, gradually declining over the next decade. The proportion of players from the EU increases slightly, eventually exceeding U.K. and Irish players, while those from the rest of the world remains relatively constant.The end of freedom of movement scenario paints a very different picture. The proportion of EU players declines substantially — from 41 percent last season to 20 percent by 2028-29 — while the proportion of British and Irish players increases from 41 percent to 64 percent over the same period. By the end of the next decade, the EPL would begin to resemble its constitution at the end of the 1990s: Nearly two-thirds of all players would be British or Irish.A large drop in the number of EU/EEA players does not necessarily imply a substantial reduction in terms of the quality of players. The money and allure of the Premier League would still entice elite players to come to play in England, at least for a while. The wealthiest clubs would continue to attract the biggest stars; the rest, on the other hand, would be forced to focus more on the domestic market. Teams often scout for potential in soccer leagues across Europe, but many of those players would no longer be allowed to make the leap. Champions League places would move even further beyond the horizons of most clubs, and “near miracles” such as Leicester’s fairytale league win — on the strength of the star turn from Riyad Mahrez,7Despite choosing to play for the Algerian national team, Mahrez was born in France and is a French citizen. who was acquired from Le Havre in France’s second tier — would become even less likely.On the other hand, some will argue that a drop in foreign recruitment would be a positive thing if it affords greater opportunities to British players. While the situation would be unchanged in terms of top-end recruitment at the elite clubs, even they would be forced to review their recruitment of young players from abroad. Homegrown players might have more of a chance of making it at the highest level.There is no doubt that the Premier League has benefited enormously from freedom of movement, with the rapid influx of foreign players helping to drive the league’s huge international popularity. But freedom of movement was also a crucial factor in the opposition to continued U.K. membership in the EU. It could well be that one effect of Brexit would be to diminish, perhaps sharply, the number of highly talented European footballers in the Premier League — which could have huge consequences for the future of the sport. ​Check out our latest soccer predictions. Over the past 20 years, the EU has expanded, bringing more countries into the “freedom of movement” area. The proportion of U.K. and Irish players in the EPL has continued to decrease: Last season, they accounted for only 41 percent of all EPL players. Players from the rest of the EU accounted for 41 percent, while non-EU players accounted for 18 percent.From the inaugural 1992-93 EPL season to the end of last season, a total of 1,022 players have transferred to an EPL club from an EU club outside of the U.K. and Ireland and played at least one league match for that club. This includes players who played nationally for countries outside the EU but also possessed EU passports (such as André Ayew, who was born in France but plays for Ghana). Of the 1,022 players, we judge that only 431 — or 42 percent — would have qualified for a work permit under the current rules when they first arrived in England. Had they not held an EU passport, the remaining 591 players would not have been permitted to play professional soccer in the U.K.6This analysis used data taken from TransferLeague.co.uk, 11v11.com, transfermarkt.co.uk, futbol24.com, Wikipedia, www.parliament.uk and the Transfer Price Index of Tomkins & Riley.What would be the consequences if, from next season onward, incoming players from the rest of the EU were subject to the same immigration requirements that currently apply only to non-EU players? 31-5075 21-3060 There are effectively two paths by which a player can qualify. To automatically qualify, a player must have participated in a minimum share of his national team’s senior competitive matches in the preceding two years.4This is reduced to 12 months if the player is 21 years old or younger. The minimum percentage is determined by the FIFA world ranking of that nation.If a player doesn’t qualify automatically, he can appeal. The appeals process is a points-based system that boils down to this: If the transfer fee is above the average amount paid by EPL clubs the previous year, and the club is willing to make him one of its higher earners, the appeals board can recommend that a permit should be approved. Players age 21 and younger may meet the senior match threshold in just 12 months.Source: The Football Association In the early 1990s, a quota system was enforced for foreign players in English soccer that limited teams to fielding a maximum of three “foreigners” in domestic league and cup matches. A foreign player was defined as someone who held neither a U.K. nor an Irish passport. There was no distinction between players from Belgium and Brazil, even though Belgians had held the right to live and work in the U.K. for several years. Thirteen percent of the players that featured in the 1994-95 season were classified as foreign.In December 1995, after the so-called Bosman ruling, the quota was rescinded, instantly removing all restrictions on fielding players from the rest of the EU.5A new kind of quota would be instituted in 2010, when the EPL introduced a homegrown players rule. This rule requires that at least eight of the 25 players on a Premier League squad were registered with a club in England or Wales for a period of at least 36 months (or three seasons) prior to their 21 birthday. Clubs were still required to obtain work permits for non-EU players — a significant obstruction — but because of freedom of movement, the demand for soccer players with EU passports grew enormously. Cultural barriers aside, there were now no differences between recruiting a player from the Netherlands and one from Newcastle. Share of senior competitive international matches required to qualify for an English soccer work permit endorsement read more

Why LeBron And The Lakers Imploded

2016Cleveland Cavaliers29-682.8 2010Miami Heat37-588.0% 2015Cleveland Cavaliers30-488.2 2012Miami Heat36-490.0 LeBron’s clubs usually dominate the NBA’s bottom-feedersRegular-season record against sub-.500 teams for teams led by LeBron James, since 2010 2018Los Angeles Lakers*16-1355.1 As the Los Angeles Lakers limped into the All-Star break, there was no use in sugarcoating reality: Just about everything that realistically could go wrong had gone wrong in the weeks prior.LeBron James had suffered the lengthiest injury of his career, which kept him out five and a half weeks. The team’s young players — vitally important to keep the club afloat in James’s absence — had undoubtedly heard the swirling rumors about the Lakers’ willingness to part ways with everyone except James if it meant acquiring superstar Anthony Davis from the New Orleans Pelicans. Yet once it became clear that a Davis deal wasn’t happening, it became easier to see the biggest problem: Los Angeles, which lost four of five heading into the break, wasn’t finding ways to win and their chances of making the playoffs were edging from likely to unlikely. Heading into All-Star weekend, they stood at 40 percent. seasonteamRecordWin PERCENTAGE 2013Miami Heat27-1367.5 2014Cleveland Cavaliers30-1468.1 Winning some of those games might not have gotten the Lakers into the playoffs. But losing them makes it a little harder to argue that it was the steeper competition in the Western Conference that stopped James from reaching the playoffs.It was the veterans who failed down the stretch.It was fair to criticize the youngsters for awhile. Forwards Kyle Kuzma and Brandon Ingram and guards Lonzo Ball and Josh Hart didn’t play particularly well early on and really struggled during LeBron’s absence, perhaps making it even more difficult to convince the Pelicans to make a deal with the Lakers.But it’s hard to pin too much of this on Ball, who’s been out with an injury. Kuzma hasn’t shot well from deep this year at all, but he’s still been a decent enough scorer. Ingram has played the best basketball of his life lately. The only young player who’s really struggled is Hart, whose perimeter shooting has fallen off a cliff since the turn of the new year. (And even he’s played better the past few games.)If anything, a couple of the veterans who were brought in this summer have been to blame. Even after his 24-point showing Monday, Rondo has taken more shots than he has points over the past month and a half. And Lance Stephenson, when he’s been able to play, has been even worse. The forward has shot just under 27 percent in the last two and a half weeks of February.All offseason, critics wondered: Why are the Lakers targeting these free-agents, who don’t come close to fitting the mold of the prototypical LeBron teammates? Which leads to the final critique …This roster never made sense.Some were bold enough early on to suggest that the Lakers didn’t have a playoff roster. An abundant belief in LeBron, who’d been to eight consecutive NBA Finals, undoubtedly masked the need for more reinforcements. But Magic Johnson and general manager Rob Pelinka now have to shoulder the blame for not having a good enough contingency plan in place for if and when James got hurt.Getting LeBron was fantastic — a coup of epic proportions. But entering the season without a bonafide second star to pair with James — who at 34 may be in perhaps the last true season of his prime, even — was tempting fate. Having that second fiddle could’ve given the club enough to keep its head above water during LeBron’s absence. Assuming that player would have been acquired before the season, at the expense of some of the Lakers’ young talent, it’s a safe bet that the Davis speculation that distracted the team midseason wouldn’t have existed.But setting aside the talk of what it would’ve meant to have a second star, what if Johnson and Pelinka had simply built the roster in the image of James’s former teams? Instead of getting players who struggle to shoot, like Rondo and Stephenson, why not hold onto center Brook Lopez, who damn-near spaces the floor more on his own than the team’s free-agent acquisitions combined?It almost seems like the Lakers treated much of this season like an experiment. They got a chance to see how the youngsters looked alongside LeBron. They saw how Luke Walton handled the spotlight of coaching James and his new teammates.1It’s almost a given that Walton won’t be back next year. And they saw — in very awkward, hardball fashion — that other clubs won’t just hand them stars to help build them into a superteam.But hopefully, above all else, they learned that merely having James on the roster isn’t enough to guarantee success. And that only figures to become more and more true as he gets older. Record against teams under .500 2017Cleveland Cavaliers28-975.6 * Through March 5Source: ESPN There was still plenty of belief in the Lakers, though, if only because of James, and his legendary switch-flipping ability that we’d seen so many times over the past few years. “It’s been activated,” James said late last month of his playoff-level intensity.But fast-forward to now, and all belief has ceased to exist. With Tuesday’s loss to the Los Angeles Clippers, James and the Lakers have now dropped nine of their last 12 games, with their playoff probability dropping to a microscopic 2 percent in FiveThirtyEight’s projection model. As such, it’s almost certain that the banner franchise will extend its playoff drought to a sixth year (longest in team history), while James will fail to make the postseason for the first time since 2005.How did things go off the rails so quickly and disastrously in James’s first season out West?James’s injury — a possibility that should’ve been taken more seriously all along, given his age and the mileage on his tires — obviously was a killer. The Lakers were tied for fourth place at 19-14 on Christmas (when James was sidelined with the groin strain), then went just 6-11 without him.Many other factors came into play, though.The once-solid defense vanished.Los Angeles ranked eighth in defensive efficiency as it closed out the month of January. That defense routinely gave the Lakers a fighting chance most nights even as the team’s offense was still trying to develop a rhythm with James. But the defense has been nonexistent since the start of February, a span in which the Lakers have ranked dead last on that end of the floor.Lonzo Ball’s absence has been a key factor here. He ranks sixth among point guards in ESPN’s defensive real-plus minus, while veteran Rajon Rondo, who has played most of Ball’s missing minutes, ranks No. 62 in the same metric. The team has also suffered as Tyson Chandler — who gave the Lakers a boost when he first signed with them — hasn’t been able to play nearly as much or as effectively because of a neck injury.But let’s be honest: Some of this boils down to sheer effort at times. LA ranked 11th at securing loose balls through the end of January, but since February sits just 21st in the same category. And while LeBron has put up numbers since his return, he’s been part of the problem on D, where he often looks flat-out disinterested in closing out or making rotations.The Lakers have had a ton of success on defense when they’re willing to work. They rank as the stingiest team in the NBA, allowing just 0.93 points per possession when they close out on jump-shooters, according to data from Second Spectrum. The effort to do so just hasn’t been consistent enough.They didn’t take advantage of the NBA’s worst teams.The decreased hustle has doomed the Lakers lately in games against inferior competition where victories should have come easy. In the past month alone, they’ve lost to Atlanta, the Pelicans without Anthony Davis, Memphis and Phoenix. (This season, they’ve been beaten by five of the six NBA clubs that own sub-.400 records. The Chicago Bulls are the lone exception.)Los Angeles currently sports a mediocre 16-13 record against teams under .500, a considerable contrast from James’s last eight seasons in Cleveland and Miami. 2011Miami Heat21-580.7 read more