Celtics

A new word for your vocabulary: xoloitzcuintli

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A new word for your vocabulary: xoloitzcuintli

From Comcast SportsNet
NEW YORK (AP) -- Jose Barrera enjoys pretty things. A jewelry designer to the stars, his gold-plated breastplate is what Beyonce wore for her "I Am ... Sasha Fierce" album. These days, he's showing off another gem -- Alma Dulce, his tiny, trembling xoloitzcuintli. His what? With the 136th Westminster Kennel Club dog show which began on Monday, it's become time for some to know your Xs and Os. So start with the xoloitzcuintli, one of six new breeds welcomed this year to Madison Square Garden. "They are exotic," Barrera said. "You can't take her for a walk around the block without someone stopping you to ask, 'What is that, how do you spell that?'" Commonly known as a Mexican hairless, and featuring oversized batlike ears, they're pronounced "show-low-eats-QUEEN-tlee." That's according to Amy Fernandez, an expert who's written books about the breed. "We go around with little cards at shows telling people how to say it. Otherwise, you would lose your voice doing it every time," she said. Fernandez planned to enter two of her xoloitzcuintli in America's most distinguished dog show. There are 10 ready to compete, though little Alma Dulce will sit out this time at only 2 years old. The "show-low" expected to show best is Georgio Armani, the first xolo to win best in show at an American Kennel Club event. "As magnificent a dog of any breed that we might see," praised David Frei, longtime television host of Westminster. More than 2,000 pooches will take part, coming in 185 breeds and varieties. Among the favorites to become top dog are a wire fox terrier, a smooth fox terrier, an affenpinscher and a couple of standard poodles. Judge Cindy Vogels, who comes from a terrier background, will point to her pick as best in show around 11 p.m. Tuesday. CNBC and the USA Network will share the TV coverage on the first night, then USA will show the winner. Next year, Westminster expects to have 3,200 entries when it moves part of its show about 20 blocks north to an exposition space along the Hudson River. The show normally has 2,500 dogs, but an ongoing renovation at the Garden took away available space, so Westminster will hold its breed judging at Piers 9294. The nighttime events -- group judging and the best in show pick -- will remain at the Garden, the show announced Sunday night. Last year, Hickory the Scottish deerhound earned the prized silver bowl. Among the popular winners from the past were Uno the beagle, Josh the Newfoundland and J.R. the bichon frise. This year's six new breeds to Westminster are the xoloitzcuintli, the Entlebucher mountain dog, the Norwegian lundehund, the American English coonhound, the Finnish lapphund and the Cesky terrier. Watching any of them win would be a surprise -- it's taken more than a quarter-century for any newcomer to take the top honor. Seeing any xolo is pretty rare, be it in the nonsporting group or anywhere else. Sporting an Aztec name that meant "dog of the gods," the xolo dates back 3,000 years, Fernandez said. "An ancient, primitive breed," she said. Fernandez said there are about 2,500 purebred of them in the United States. They were able to meet the AKC criteria for recognition -- an ample number, a good geographic distribution in the country and a parent club to set proper standards. A xolo can range from about 10 to 24 inches high, weigh from 10 to 50 pounds and have hair or be hairless. Their skin is very warm, and once was believed to provide healing power to humans in chronic pain who slept next to them. Barrera certainly is having fun with Alma Dulce. He brought her to a recent dog event with an attractive turquoise necklace and a little tuft of hair atop her head. "I didn't even realize you could get a xolo in the present day," Barrera said. "I looked at breeds from A to Z. This was the X factor."

All signs point to LeBron James playing against Celtics Tuesday

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All signs point to LeBron James playing against Celtics Tuesday

INDEPENDENCE, Ohio -- A sprained left ankle injury kept LeBron James out of all but one of the Cleveland Cavaliers’ preseason games, and has created a certain element of uncertainty as to whether he’ll play against the Boston Celtics on Tuesday night. 
 
While it has yet to be determined for sure if he’ll play, all indications are that the 15-year veteran will be in the starting lineup as the Cavs kick off their quest to remain the team to beat in the East.

“I never hide stuff from you guys. I really don’t know,” Cavs coach Tyronn Lue said when asked if James would play against the Celtics. “Depending on how he feels, but I really don’t know.”
 
However, James looked pretty comfortable shooting the ball after practice with a trio of former Celtics in Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder and Jeff Green. 
 
And if you listen to the man who would likely start in James’ place -- J.R. Smith -- there’s nothing to worry about Cavs Nation. 
 
According to Smith, James will play. 
 
“We were talking about it, he’s never missed, since he was 8 years old and he started playing, he’s never missed a first game,” Smith said. “I’m preparing for him to play.”
 
Despite having played more than 41,000 minutes -- only 33 players in NBA history have done so -- James has been one of the game’s more durable players. Last season James he sat out only eight games, and that was the most he has missed in a single season.
 
 "He's gonna go [Tuesday]," Smith said. "He's gonna go, trust me [on] that. I don't care what he's gotta do, he's gonna play."
 

Celtics may spend a good part of the year playing 'Getting To Know You'

Celtics may spend a good part of the year playing 'Getting To Know You'

INDEPENDENCE, Ohio -- It’s hard to believe the Celtics are just hours away from their first regular-season game after having been together for less than a month. 
 
The quick turnaround isn't all that different than it is for the other 29 teams in the NBA.  But the Celtics, who advanced to the Eastern Conference finals last season, are returning only four players -- and just one starter -- from last year.
 
Training camp was indeed a crash course called Getting to Know My Teammates 101.
 
But listening to the players, and coach Brad Stevens, it’s clear there will be lessons learned all season long.

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“We have a good feel about how things can look, in the preseason,” said Al Horford. “But it is the preseason. Now it all starts. And right away we face a tough test (in the Cavaliers). But yeah, we’ll start learning even more. We’ve already learned a good amount, but even more when Tuesday rolls around.” 
 
That's when the Celtics kick off the regular season at Cleveland, which will once again be the favorite to advance to the NBA Finals.
 
Not too far behind (right behind them, by most accounts) are the Celts, whose season ended in the Conference finals a year ago in a five-game loss to the Cavs.
 
And the Boston players collectively feel that, despite the short amount of time together, they’ve developed a good sense of chemistry and understanding of how to play effectively with one another. 
 
Having said that, they also understand that there’s still plenty of room to grow. 
 
“I don’t expect it to be perfect by any means at all,” said Gordon Hayward. “We’ll definitely have some ups and downs this season. Like I said, one thing is we’ll be able to compete every night. We’ll be able to play together. Those things should stay the same.”
 
In many respects, the Cavaliers are going through a similar challenge this season.  They've added Derrick Rose, Isaiah Thomas and Jae Crowder -- and, when he recovers from his hip injury, Isaiah Thomas -- to a core group that’s led by LeBron James. 
 
While the increase in talent is undeniable, it’ll take some time before they too develop the kind of on-the-court cohesiveness that comes with time. 
 
“It’s gonna take time,” Rose said. “It’s going to be a process for everybody to learn their roles, learn everybody’s tendencies, and not think while they’re out there.”
 
And while there’s a heightened level of uncertainty as to how things will play out with the Celtics this season, Stevens embraces the unknown. 
 
“I think we're going to be learning about ourselves through the middle of the season,” Stevens said. “I think you do that with every team, but I think that's especially the case now. But this is, I've said this before, like, the first week, the first 10 days, the first few weeks, we have such great and unique challenges that it's gonna be really good for this team regardless."
 
Stevens added: “Because, to have to go into Cleveland with that level of intensity, with that level of attention, distraction, etc., is great. It's great to experience that in game one. A tremendous learning experience for our group. So, we're preparing to play as well as we can. And we know that they're really, really good. But this is, I'm looking forward to it because I want to find out where we are.”

Hayward added, “It’s a fun first game to start the year. Regardless of what happens, we’ll have some improving to do and things to get better at.”
  
 

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