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Chromecast Ultra is dead, long live Chromecast Ultra (and this new Ethernet dongle)

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Chromecast Ultra is dead, long live Chromecast Ultra (and this new Ethernet dongle)

Google’s new $50 “Chromecast with Google TV” has supplanted the Chromecast Ultra in practically every way — so you probably won’t be surprised to hear Google is getting rid of its original 4K streaming device. The Chromecast Ultra is now out of stock at every major US retailer, including the Google Store, where its product page redirects to the new Chromecast.

It’s not formally “discontinued,” mind you: Google says it will still be available at “select retailers,” even though we’re seeing no stock at Amazon, Best Buy, Target, Walmart, The Home Depot, Staples, etc., and even though B&H Photo actually lists it as “discontinued” right now.

But there is still one way to buy one — because when Google announced its 2020 Chromecast, the new product seemingly left a couple of gaping holes.

As we reported earlier today, the new Chromecast won’t support Google’s Stadia cloud gaming service until sometime in the first half of next year. What are those buyers to do? They can still purchase the $99.99 Stadia Premiere Edition, which Google confirms will still come with a Chromecast Ultra alongside its Stadia controller.

The new “Ethernet Adapter for Chromecast with Google TV.”
Image: Google

For some households (and for the best performance with Stadia), the fact that the new Chromecast doesn’t come with an Ethernet adapter like the Chromecast Ultra might also seem like an oversight, but Google has an answer for them too: it quietly launched a $20 Ethernet plus power adapter for the new Chromecast today.

At $50 for the Chromecast and $20 for the new adapter, you’d be paying the same $70 you would for the Ultra previously. Like the Chromecast Ultra adapter, it tops out at a 100Mbps wired connection, but neither Stadia nor today’s streaming video services need more. (You may also be able to use a USB-C to Ethernet hub for your new Chromecast; we found at least one that worked.)

It’s not like Stadia buyers would want a Chromecast Ultra without a Stadia controller anyhow. The original Ultra didn’t have Bluetooth, and Google’s proprietary Wi-Fi based controller is the only way to connect. That’s not a problem with the new Chromecast, as we discovered when we played some sideloaded Stadia with an Xbox gamepad.

9to5Google reports the $30 2018 Chromecast will stick around alongside the new $50 one, by the way. You won’t get a bundled remote control or 4K streaming with that one, though, merely 1080p content you sling from your phone.

Update, 5:13 PM ET: Added that the new Ethernet adapter is of the 10/100Mbps variety, just like the original Chromecast Ultra’s bundled one.

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MLB playoffs: Schedule, scores for Wednesday’s eight-game postseason bonanza

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MLB playoffs: Schedule, scores for Wednesday’s eight-game postseason bonanza

The 2020 Major League Baseball postseason continues Wednesday with a packed eight-game schedule in the best-of-three Wild Card Series. There are four games in both the American League and National League sides of the bracket, and four AL teams are trying to advance to the divisional round.

Because all of the Wild Card Series games are being played at the ballparks of higher-seeded teams, there will be no days off during these rounds. Here’s the full schedule for the best-of-three Wild Card Series on Wednesday. Games on ESPN and ESPN2 can be streamed via fuboTV (Try for free).

Wild Card Series schedule for Wednesday

(All times are U.S/Eastern)

Now, here are some takeaways from the day’s action:

Astros knock out Twins 

The No. 3 seed Twins saw their postseason nightmares continue this week. With the 3-1 loss to the Astros in Game 2, the Twins extended their record MLB playoff losing streak to 18 games and were knocked out of the postseason in the process. The devastating streak dates back to the 2004 ALDS, and is the longest in North American sports history. Houston, the team with the worst regular season record (29-31) in the playoff field, knocked out Minnesota in two games at Target Field. 

Aside from the fact the the Twins were simply a far better team than the Astros during the regular season, the Twins also held a 24-7 (.774) record when playing at home. Furthermore, the Astros had been terrible when playing on the road during the regular season, compiling an atrocious 9-23 (.281) record on the road. The Twins home record was the highest win percentage since the 1975 Reds, while the Astros away record is the worst road winning percentage by a playoff team in the World Series era.

Frustrations piled up for the Twins in Wednesday’s elimination game when the Twins’ offense went ice cold. Altogether in the two Wild Card Series games, the Twins lineup managed just seven hits and two runs. Minnesota’s usually hot bats going quiet during the postseason isn’t a new storyline. The last time the Twins scored more than four runs in a playoff game was when they scored five runs in a loss to the Yankees on Oct. 9, 2004.

Braves only need one

Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman secured a 1-0 victory with a walk-off single in the 13th inning of Atlanta’s series opener against the Reds on Wednesday. Freeman’s knock was just the sixth of the day for a Braves team that reached base six fewer times than the Reds did.

What everyone will remember about Game 1 was how dominant the pitching was for both teams. The Braves were paced by left-hander Max Fried, who struck out five over seven shutout frames. Atlanta then received three-plus perfect frames from relievers Chris Martin, Will Smith, and Mark Melancon before turning things over to the rest of the bullpen. Darren O’Day, Tyler Matzek, Shane Greene, and A.J. Minter bent but didn’t break by putting on eight baserunners and stranding them all across 2 2/3 shutout frames.

The Reds arguably outpitched the Braves. Trevor Bauer struck out 12 and allowed just two hits in 7 2/3 innings. Raisel Iglesias, Lucas Sims, and Michael Lorenzen then combined to strike out nine batters and gave up a hit and two walks over four-plus innings. Archie Bradley and Amir Garrett couldn’t keep the good times rolling with no margin for error, however. Every starter on both teams struck out at least once, resulting in a record 37 punch outs. As our Mike Axisa noted elsewhere, the Braves and Reds also set a record for the longest scoreless playoff game. It was just that kind of afternoon.

Yankees-Cleveland Game 2

RHP Masahiro Tanaka (3-3, 3.56 ERA) vs. RHP Carlos Carrasco (3-4, 2.91 ERA)

Game 1 was touted as the best pitching duel of the season with Gerrit Cole facing Shane Bieber, but instead, resulted in the Yankees offense blowing out Cleveland. It’s possible that Game 2 could make up for the nonexistent pitching battle, with Tanaka and Carrasco set to take the mound in a potential elimination game for Cleveland. Tanaka has been lights-out in the postseason, and the veteran owns a 1.76 ERA with 37 strikeouts in eight playoff starts.

Brewers-Dodgers Game 1

LHP Brent Suter (2-0, 3.13 ERA) vs. RHP Walker Buehler (1-0, 3.44 ERA)

Milwaukee has decided to go with a bullpen game in the Wild Card Series opener. Suter and his fellow bullpenners will face the best offense in baseball.

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Oct. 31, 2020: Astronauts to Launch on NASA and SpaceX Crew-1 Mission

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Oct. 31, 2020: Astronauts to Launch on NASA and SpaceX Crew-1 Mission – YouTube

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Driver suffers life-threatening injuries in east El Paso crash

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Driver suffers life-threatening injuries in east El Paso crash

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EL PASO, Texas (KVIA) — El Paso police said a driver was taken to the hospital with life-threatening injuries after a crash on the east side early Wednesday morning.

Traffic investigators were looking into the cause of the collision at the intersection of Viscount and Hawkins.

An emergency dispatcher told ABC-7 another person was taken to the hospital with minor injuries.

El Paso police have not said how many vehicles were involved, or what may have caused the crash.

No other information was immediately released by police.

El Paso / News / Top Stories

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Foul-Mouthed Parrots to Return to Park, Possibly Reformed

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Foul-Mouthed Parrots to Return to Park, Possibly Reformed

The birds are expected to be released back into the main colony Wednesday, after their time removed for bad behavior.
A major problem of the parrots language, he said, was that it was hilarious.
Wh…
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Fargo season 4 review: A tale that sounds a little too familiar

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Fargo season 4 review: A tale that sounds a little too familiar

Through the lens of a lot of popular fiction, the story of organized crime in America is the story of American immigration. From The Godfather to Scarface to American Me and Gangs of New York, gangster dramas chronicle the stories of those who arrive on these shores to find they are immediately the underclass, denied the privilege and goodwill held by those already here and blamed for society’s ills. Shut out from earning the American Dream, they decide to take it, banding together with their fellow immigrants for protection and then power. They often survive, these stories argue, by putting the next wave of immigrants after them under their boot.

The FX anthology series Fargo — which returned for its fourth installment this week after a three-year absence — has traditionally not been about this sort of crime story. Prior installments spun pulp yarns that were more in tune with the film of the same name the series is inspired by, where the trademark niceness of Midwestern folk is demonstrated as a farce partly thanks to a suitcase full of money. To creator Noah Hawley, Fargo, both the film and his series, are chapters in a book about the history of crime in the Midwest. Its first three seasons were each set in a different time period and featured a different cast, but they rarely strayed far from the bloodstained Minnesota Nice of the film.

This new season is different. 2020’s Fargo weaves a tale of warring crime families in 1950s Kansas City, Missouri, and in turn becomes a story about immigrants and grand ideas of America. It is ambitious, slick, and ponderous, carefully lining up dominoes for a spectacular collapse, but never illuminating anything a student of the gangster epics doesn’t already know.

The stage is set when Loy Cannon (Chris Rock) arrives in Kansas City. The head of a black crime syndicate comprising migrants fleeing the Jim Crow South, Cannon seeks to establish a foothold in a town run by the Fadda family, the local mafia. In the show’s premiere, “Welcome to the Alternate Economy,” Fargo recounts how the Faddas came to control Kansas City: First the underworld belonged to the Jewish Moskowitz Syndicate, who were then supplanted by the arrival of the Irish who formed the Milligan Concern. The Milligans betray the Moskowitz Syndicate, and once they’re in power, the Faddas arrive and do the same to the Milligans. The cycle is about to begin anew, but there’s chaos afoot.

Fargo’s new season sprawls in ways that don’t make sense at first. One of the first characters viewers meet is Ethelrida Pearl Smutney, a precocious girl (E’myri Crutchfield) giving a school report; in short order we are also introduced to Oraetta Mayflower (Jessie Buckley), a nurse with a cruel streak, along with Zelmare Roulette (Karen Aldridge) and Swanee Capps (Kelsey Asbille), a volatile pair of lovers and robbers. All these characters are ancillary to the plot of Cannon’s struggle against the Fadda family, but Fargo slowly traces lines between them, attempting to form a tapestry for all of America through the diorama of its version of Kansas City.

The series gestures at ideas of assimilation and the construction of whiteness, depicting generations of immigrants poorly regarded until times changed and the immigrant class with them. With writing that’s not nearly as deft as its filmmaking, Fargo examines whiteness as a construct of power, dramatizing ideas expressed in scholarly works on immigration and race like Noel Ignatiev’s How the Irish Became White or David Roediger’s Working Toward Whiteness. Reading those books for yourself would probably be more illuminating. Fargo remains exquisitely made and very well acted, but this season is plagued by characters prone to giving speeches whenever possible. It’s a story where characters constantly talk at each other and not to each other, which eventually becomes as annoying to observe as it would be to experience.

A great premiere coupled with Fargo’s three-year absence from television earns a lot of goodwill that is slowly sapped over the next few episodes, as this story’s sprawl begins to get the better of it. Episodes feel like they have multiple endings; actors give impeccable performances, but characters give very little to hold onto beyond their big speeches; and there’s a general lack of wit in this installment that is often present when Fargo is at its best. Perhaps it’s a side effect of a story prominently about criminals, omitting normal folk almost entirely.

Fargo introduces us to its story by presenting a cycle; it begins its tale in earnest by setting up the conflict that will either break or define that cycle. The trouble is, we’ve already watched it play out. “Families are always rising and falling in America,” says Leonardo DiCaprio’s character in The Departed, another work about such patterns. He’s summarizing Hawthorne, yet another observer of American power. The role of whiteness in that power is now obvious to us. It is hard to watch a show that seems interested in exploring that as if we’ve never heard it before.

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Wall Street is ‘doomsday prepping’ for the election. It might not be necessary

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Wall Street is ‘doomsday prepping’ for the election. It might not be necessary

Wall Street is ‘doomsday prepping’ for the election. It might not be necessary – CNN
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Google Pixel 5 phone launch: Watch today’s virtual event live

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Google Pixel 5 phone launch: Watch today’s virtual event live

It’s been a busy month for virtual phone launches and now it’s Google’s turn. The company is today hosting its Sept. 30 Launch Night In. It already unveiled the Pixel 4A budget phone in August, confirming on the same day the existence of its next flagship, the Pixel 5, and the upcoming Pixel 4A 5G, both of which will have support for 5G. The invitation for Google’s September event confirmed that “new Pixel phones” would be among the products unveiled today, along with a new Chromecast and a new Nest-branded smart speaker.

Read more: Pixel 4A officially has the best camera for the money


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Google Pixel 5 preview



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The Pixel 5, like Google’s previous flagship phones, has been poorly protected from leaks (or perhaps, as CNET’s Lynn La suspects, the leaks are part of an intentional strategy on Google’s part). We got a first look at the design of the Pixel 5 last week, when photos surfaced along with details about the new phone’s processor, display, cameras, battery life and more. 

Rumors suggest that Google’s next flagship will include a hole-punch camera, a fingerprint sensor on the back (unlike the Pixel 4, which swapped it for Face Unlock), wireless charging and no headphone jack. Not much is officially known about the Pixel 5, other than its support for 5G, but leaks suggest a price of 629 euros (roughly $735, £575 or AU$1,035), with color options reportedly including green and black. The phone’s on-sale and release dates are not yet known.

An apparently leaked image of the Pixel 5. 


WinFuture

Google’s new Chromecast streamer (code-named Sabrina) has also attracted a flurry of rumors. According to photo leaks, the device will come with a remote, a first for the Chromecast family.

Google’s virtual Launch Night In event will take place on today, streaming online at 11 a.m. PT (2 p.m. ET, 7 p.m. BST). The event will be hosted on a webpage set up by Google (which is currently streaming some interactive elevator music to entertain you while you wait — check it out). The livestream will also be available on Google’s YouTube channel. And CNET will be hosting a watch party on our YouTube channel and right here on this page, so check back an hour before the event starts.

Keep on top of the latest news, how-to and reviews on Google-powered devices, apps and software.

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NBA Finals: -Heat, and why

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NBA Finals: -Heat, and why

7:30 AM ET

  • Zach LoweESPN Senior Writer

After much springtime bloviating, there will be no asterisk on this NBA championship. If anything, it will be more badge of honor — a mark of perseverance through isolation, mental strain, and the internal discord of performing a job in the entertainment industry while issues of social and racial justice roiled outside the Orlando bubble.

We remember some champions more than others. This champion will stand out forever.

The bubble did not produce a fluke finalist. The Los Angeles Lakers ranked among the league’s three favorites all season. The Miami Heat did not, but they have been a different team in Orlando — new starting lineup, remade identity, more powerful two-way force. They faced a slightly tougher slate of playoff opponents than the Lakers, and outscored them by 4.5 points per 100 possessions — two points fatter than their regular-season margin.

Perhaps the bubble took a larger toll on the LA Clippers and Milwaukee Bucks. We will learn more as players, coaches, and staff decompress and reflect. Three key Clippers left and returned. But every team dealt with more or less the same on-the-ground realities in Orlando. Two of Miami’s regular-season starters — Bam Adebayo and Kendrick Nunn — contracted COVID-19 during the hiatus.

The Heat are 12-3 in the playoffs, same as the Lakers. They are running roughshod over weakening teams in fourth quarters. They represent the best defense the Lakers have faced in the postseason. The Lakers and LeBron James owe no apologies for arriving on the precipice without facing the Bucks or Clippers, no matter how many implacable critics stand ready to proclaim LeBron’s potential fourth championship tarnished.

The terms of the LeBron-Michael Jordan debate shift if the Lakers win. That would also give Los Angeles 17 titles — tying the Boston Celtics for most ever. Haggle over whether five Minneapolis-era titles should “count” if you want, but record books would list the Lakers with 17. (And if we discount those five, how do we account for nine of Boston’s 17 coming from 1957 to 1966 — when the NBA featured fewer than 10 teams?)

The Heat, meanwhile, meet LeBron at the summit six years after he spurned them — a decision that enraged Pat Riley and left Miami to pick up the pieces after planning for LeBron’s return.

The rage faded fast. There is mutual respect now, and the joy of shared past triumphs. But tension remains — perhaps something akin to the extra competitive juice you feel facing a distant sibling who has outdone you over the past half-decade.

Riley and the Heat want championships, regardless of the opposition. They won’t say it out loud, but they would surely take special satisfaction toppling James.

The bigger-picture stakes are fun, and meaningful, but they won’t decide the series. Let’s look at the X’s and O’s that will.

Who does Bam Adebayo guard?

When the Lakers shift Anthony Davis to center, the answer is easy: Adebayo guards Davis, and the Heat can switch most LeBron-Davis pick-and-rolls — even if doing so leaves Jimmy Butler or Jae Crowder jostling with Davis.

But despite all the clamor — including from here — for the Lakers to “go small,” there is really no statistical evidence the Lakers need to against anyone but the micro-ball Houston Rockets. The Lakers are plus-55 in 194 combined postseason minutes with the LeBron/Davis/Dwight Howard and LeBron/Davis/JaVale McGee groupings, per NBA.com. They are plus-21 in 123 minutes when LeBron and Davis play without any of Howard, McGee, or Markieff Morris. The LeBron/Morris/Davis trio — a tweener look — is a monstrous plus-38 in 68 minutes.

The Lakers will start big, and play a good chunk of the series that way. They are huge with LeBron, Davis, and a 7-foot center on the floor. It is one thing to watch it on TV, quite another to encounter all those limbs in person. Frank Vogel and the players have weaponized that size in smart ways. They can switch pick-and-rolls and double-team opposing stars — tactics they will sometimes use against Butler and Goran Dragic — knowing two fast and very large humans still lurk around the paint, ready to barricade the rim and leap at shooters.

Howard has earned the starting spot, with one caveat: He fouls a lot, and the Heat ranked No. 1 in free throw rate. Spot the Heat five extra free points per game, and you embolden an underdog.

I get the appeal in slotting Adebayo onto Davis: Put your star defender on L.A.’s star big man. Don’t overthink it. You can switch the LeBron-Davis pick-and-roll without fatal mismatches.

If the Lakers redirect their offense away from Adebayo, that means going away from Davis too — a win for Miami. We will see a lot of Adebayo on Davis — in crunch time, and when the Lakers go small.

But I can see Erik Spoelstra starting the other way: Adebayo on Howard (or McGee), Crowder on Davis. The Lakers in their bigger alignments use the LeBron-Howard/McGee pick-and-roll more than the LeBron-Davis version; Davis often spaces the floor. Having Adebayo on Howard might put him in more of L.A.’s two-man action.

It would also keep Adebayo closer to the rim, where Miami really needs him. The Heat do a good job keeping opponents out of the restricted area, but enemies who encroach shoot well: 66% in the regular season and 64% in the playoffs, per Cleaning The Glass.

The Lakers are the league’s fiercest rim-attacking team. Almost 40% of their attempts came at the rim in the regular season, second most, and they converted a league-best 69% there.

Almost half LeBron’s postseason shots have come at the basket. He has rammed in 76% of them. He is shooting 64% on 2s overall, the best postseason mark of his storied career. The Heat should want Adebayo either near the basket, or guarding LeBron on switches late in possessions. Starting him on Howard might be the best way to accomplish that.

It also decreases the chances of Adebayo suffering early foul trouble, something the Heat cannot afford. They are a team-high plus-89 with Adebayo on the floor in the playoffs, and minus-14 when he sits.

Leaving Crowder on Howard would risk a bundle of L.A. offensive rebounds and the accompanying hacks.

The downside is obvious: Davis roasting Crowder. But Crowder is a sturdy post defender. He has a low base and battles hard. He’s sly about fronting. He has given taller, skinnier scorers more trouble than they expected.

None are as accomplished as Davis, perhaps the best overall player of this postseason. If Davis gets rolling against Crowder — and even before he does — the Heat can send help, including from their biggest and most explosive defender in Adebayo. The Heat are fast, and connected on defense. They fly around, and rarely make mistakes.

Swarming Davis and James in the paint invites more L.A. 3s. Miami will accept that tradeoff. Only the Bucks and Toronto Raptors allowed more 3-point attempts than Miami during the regular season. That has changed some in the playoffs — probably due to Miami going smaller — but the Heat still defend from the rim out. Elite shooting teams can wobble that structure. The Lakers are not such a team. They attempt relatively few 3s and have hit them at about a league-average rate.

How do the Lakers deal with Miami’s zone?

Boston solved Miami’s zone by the end of the conference finals. The Heat have allowed 1.1 points per possession when playing zone — around the league’s overall postseason scoring average, per Second Spectrum. The zone has worked for stretches, but it has been demystified.

The Lakers studied Boston’s counters, and have answers Boston did not. James and Davis can hurt the zone from the middle as passers and scorers. Give them a quarter-step advantage there, and they are on the rim. Davis, McGee, and Howard are lob threats in dead zones along the baseline. Zones are vulnerable to offensive rebounding; the Lakers have gobbled offensive boards all season.

The Lakers have the second-worst turnover rate in the playoffs, and Miami’s zone has wrenched away lots of steals. The Lakers need to be careful.

After posting a (slightly) below-average mark in the regular season, the Lakers in the playoffs have scored more than one point per possession in their half-court offense — second among postseason teams, and tops among those who advanced beyond the first round, per Cleaning The Glass. They have gotten enough 3-point shooting, including some from unlikely sources; Rajon Rondo and Morris are 30-of-68 combined from deep in the playoffs.

What happens if they regress? Danny Green and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope have hit 39% combined; expecting more might be unreasonable. Kyle Kuzma and Alex Caruso have struggled all season.

The Heat are disciplined in transition defense — a must against the Lakers’ fast-breaking, touchdown-passing machine. They are going to make L.A. grind this out. A few cold-shooting games from the Lakers, and the Heat could be in business.

How do the Lakers defend Bam?

LeBron figures to guard Butler a lot. The Lakers can probably switch the Butler-Adebayo two-man game, even when their centers start off defending Adebayo. (The Lakers have prided themselves on not switching, but top postseason offenses demand flexibility.) LeBron can hold up against Adebayo; L.A.’s centers can back off Butler and dare him to shoot long 2s or drive into them. They just have to stay down on Butler’s pump fake — easier said than done.

LeBron will dart under some screens for Butler and flash back into Butler’s shooting window.

The Lakers can also defend traditionally: Have Howard drop back to corral Butler, and bank on the three defenders behind the play — including Davis — rotating and smothering Miami’s shooters.

The Lakers have to be on high alert for Butler to reject screens, and slice the other direction. Few ball handlers do that more, per Second Spectrum.

Green will guard Butler some, though that forces LeBron to chase Dragic or Duncan Robinson when the starting lineups face off. (LeBron defended Robinson a bit in the regular season, and he can bulldoze Robinson after stops if Miami doesn’t extricate itself out of that matchup.)

When Davis plays center, he will guard Adebayo — allowing the Lakers to switch more if they like. Davis could in theory start games on Adebayo, leaving Howard to chase Crowder, but I’m not sure that contortion is worth it.

It was the Dragic-Adebayo pick-and-roll that tore apart Boston. That is tougher to switch; Adebayo can hurt the Lakers’ guards with post-ups and offensive boards. (Among Adebayo’s glowing playoff stats, don’t sleep on him draining 82% from the line after shooting 69% in the regular season. That is a big deal considering how often he finds himself in scrums.)

If the Lakers do switch a guard onto Adebayo, they could have LeBron or Davis rescue that guy with a second switch on the fly. LeBron is really good at that. Having so many players moving around opens windows — dangerous against a team with shooting — but the Lakers are big, fast, and adept at slamming those windows shut.

The Lakers could stick LeBron on Dragic late in close games to switch more smoothly, but that means someone else has to guard Butler. Green can hang. Maybe Kuzma can. Butler has bullied Caldwell-Pope. The Lakers have tried Caruso on Butler; Caruso backs down from no one.

The Lakers could keep it simple against the Dragic-Adebayo action: Hang back, help from the outside if required, and coax Dragic into contested floaters. The Heat station Robinson on the weak side to discourage normal help rotations; teams are paranoid about giving Robinson any airspace. Miami synchronizes some Robinson off-ball action on one side with a pick-and-roll on the other to further distract help defenders.

But the Lakers are a high-IQ team. If they have to help from unconventional places, they’ll figure that out. LeBron and Davis are big and fast enough to lunge off Robinson and recover:

Davis has the quicks and anticipation to stick with Adebayo’s hard slips to the rim.

The Lakers are better equipped than Boston to switch the Dragic-Butler pick-and-roll; they will live with Caldwell-Pope switching onto Butler in that circumstance. They can trap late in the shot clock, as they did against James Harden, using time as an extra defender.

That other part of Miami’s offense

You still have to contend with Robinson and Tyler Herro slingshotting off Adebayo picks — and into catch-and-shoot 3s. Most centers are wary leaping out to contest 30 feet from the rim. When they do, Robinson and Herro slip passes to Adebayo — who then orchestrates a vicious 4-on-3.

The Lakers’ centers have been smart about lurching and swiping at Robinson to buy their teammates’ time — and then moonwalking back to Adebayo.

If Davis is playing center, he can switch in a pinch. Robinson and Herro will get theirs, anyway. It is exhausting guarding them.

LeBron will go guard hunting

Dragic, Robinson, and Herro need to steel themselves for LeBron dragging them into one pick-and-roll after another. Switch, and it’s a crisis; LeBron is feasting at the basket unless Miami sends a double-team.

Miami will mix coverages to try to keep LeBron off-balance. The Heat might trap high on the floor and force the Lakers to pass their way into a good shot. They might switch and then trap LeBron late in the shot clock — if he allows any time for that. They’ll play zone to protect their weakest defenders. They might even scoot under screens and see if LeBron takes the bait. (LeBron is shooting 24% on long 2s in the playoffs, but the Heat are in trouble if his run of jumpers to eliminate Denver signaled a resurgence.)

The Lakers can spring off-ball actions designed to generate mismatches for James and Davis:

Does Miami tweak its rotation?

The Heat can’t get much smaller than the Butler-Crowder-Adebayo trio against the biggest L.A. lineups. Could we see the return of the double-big look? The Adebayo-Kelly Olynyk duo treaded water during the regular season, but Olynyk doesn’t really play like a big in ways that matter in this matchup — rebounding and interior defense.

Meyers Leonard relishes full-contact boxouts. Does Spoelstra dust off the Leonard-Adebayo combo that started pre-bubble?

Miami has also tried Derrick Jones Jr. against LeBron, Davis, and even the Lakers’ centers. I bet he gets a shot in this series. The Heat could even use him as backup center when Adebayo rests. That role went mostly to Olynyk before Spoelstra dispensed with non-Bam bigs against Boston, and it will be interesting to see if Olynyk carves out a role here. LeBron will attack Olynyk every chance he gets; if Miami uses Olynyk, it might have to be when LeBron rests. (Interestingly, Adebayo and LeBron typically rest around the same times.) The Jones-Olynyk frontcourt was effective in the first round against the Indiana Pacers.

Andre Iguodala has a ton of experience guarding LeBron. The Heat closed Games 4 and 6 against Boston with the Butler-Iguodala-Adebayo frontcourt. That is fine against Davis-at-center lineups; can it hold up against bigger ones? Is Solomon Hill really an answer?

Any increase in minutes for Jones or Iguodala alongside Butler/Adebayo means playing three non-threats from deep — something Spoelstra has mostly avoided.

But those lineups have worked in small doses in the playoffs. Miami is plus-90 in 62 postseason minutes with Iguodala, Butler, and Adebayo on the floor. That trio went minus-42 in 45 regular-season minutes.

Prediction

A Heat championship should not blow fans away. How can anyone doubt them now? But the Lakers have the two best players, and both of their core lineup types — big and “small” — have some pressure points against Miami. Depending on your conception of the 2014 Finals against the San Antonio Spurs, LeBron’s teams have not lost a series in which they have been favorites since the 2011 Finals. Lakers in 6.

NBA Finals schedule: Game 1, 9 p.m. ET, ABC and the ESPN App

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Earth set to get a new mini-moon

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Earth set to get a new mini-moon

An object known as 2020 SO is heading towards Earth, and from October, it will be a ‘mini-moon’, which could stay in orbit of our planet until May next year. While we have The Moon, Earth regularly gets many small asteroids and meteors which caught in its orbit, which astronomers call ‘mini-moons’.

The definition of a moon is any natural object which is caught in a planets gravitational pull.

Now astronomers have detected a small, non-threatening object which is heading towards Earth, and could get caught in the gravity of the planet for up to eight months, according to simulations from astronomers.

A video of the simulation shows the object 2020 SO making two close approaches to Earth while in orbit of our planet.

The first will come on December 1, when it will fly by at a distance of around 50,000 kilometres (31,000 miles).

Earth set to get a new mini-moon – but astronomers are confused by its origin (Image: GETTY)

2020 SO has a chaotic orbit (Image: TONY DUNN – TWITTER)

The object then looks like it will make an attempt to swing away from our planet, before getting sucked back in by the gravitational pull for a close approach on February 2, 2021.

However, this is only from initial observations and could easily change over the next few months.

Astronomer Tony Dunn said: “Asteroid 2020 SO may get captured by Earth from Oct 2020 – May 2021. Current nominal trajectory shows shows capture through L2, and escape through L1.

“Highly-chaotic path, so be prepared for lots of revisions as new observations come in.”

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2020 SO could be a discarded piece of rocket (Image: GETTY)

However, experts have noticed something strange about the incoming mini moon.

The velocity of 2020 SO is much slower than any space rock, which has led to suggestions it could be something man-made.

The average space rock travels at a speed of anywhere between 11 kilometres per second, and 72 kilometres per second.

The object 2020 SO has a speed of just 0.6 kilometres per second.

NASA’s Paul Chodas of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) has identified the object as possibly being a piece of old space junk.

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Phases of the Moon (Image: EXPRESS)

More specifically, Mr Chodas said it is likely a piece of rocket from the Surveyor 2 spacecraft which was sent to the Moon all the way back in 1966.

Astronomer Kevin Heider said: “Asteroid 2020 SO is suspected of being the Surveyor 2 centaur rocket booster, launched on 20 September 1966.

“The Earth-like orbit and low relative velocity suggest a possible man-made object.”

Earth’s last mini-moon came earlier this year when a small meteor called 2020 CD3, which was about the size of a car, was captured by the planet’s orbit.

The space rock stayed in orbit for around three months, before continuing its voyage across the solar system in March.

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