Posts Tagged ‘Gordon Hayward’

Horry Scale: Hayward saves best for last


VIDEO: Gordon Hayward hits the fadeaway to cap off thrilling win

ALL BALL NERVE CENTERGordon Hayward delivered a reminder of the old philosophy that it doesn’t matter what you do early in a game as long as you deliver late.

The Jazz forward struggled to find a rhythm and the range on his shots all night long Tuesday at American Airlines Center in Dallas.  They came up long and short, bounced off the rim and clanked off the backboard.

Then teammate Rodney Hood dropped in the clutch 3-pointer at the end of regulation and Hayward had a fresh chance to start all over again in overtime.

And he jumped on it.

After shooting just 5-for-17 from the field in the first four quarters, Hayward couldn’t miss in OT.  He took three jumpers and made them all, including the pretty step-back, 20-footer from the baseline that beat the horn to give the Jazz their 121-119 win in overtime.

The shot gave the Jazz their seventh consecutive win and eighth in the last nine games, enabling Utah to jump ahead of Houston into the No. 7 slot in the Western Conference playoff race.

With big men Rudy Gobert and Derrick Favors healthy and back in the lineup, it’s looking like the Jazz are ready to end their four-year playoff drought.

Remember, the Horry Scale examines a game-winning buzzer-beater (GWBB) in the categories of difficulty, game situation (was the team tied or behind at the time?), importance (playoff game or garden-variety night in November?) and celebration.   Then we give it an overall grade on a scale of 1-5 Robert Horrys, named for the patron saint of last-second answered prayers.

One thing to get straight: The Horry Scale does not measure only a game-winning shot; the Horry Scale measures several facets of a Game-Winning Buzzer-Beater. So we’re talking about not only the shot, but also the play that creates the shot, the situation and the drama, the celebrations … basically, everything surrounding and including the shot.  In short, it’s about the total package.

DIFFICULTY — Once Hayward rubbed off would-be defender Raymond Felton by coming through the lane to take Joe Ingles’ inbounds pass, he kept on circling to the left baseline, then rose up to get off a gorgeous step-back jumper over the outstretched arm of too-late 6-11 Zaza Pachulia that buried into the bottom of the net as the horn sounded.

GAME SITUATION —There’s always less pressure when the score is tied.  But considering how much difficulty Hayward had finding the basket for most of the night, it was impressive the way he took over in overtime and stroked the game-winning shot with such confidence right in from of his teammates on the visitors’ bench.

CELEBRATION — Hayward didn’t have far to go to get his pats on the back since his fallaway motion practically took him into the arms of his happy teammates.  First a hug from Trey Lyles, then Chris Johnson and Hood and as the Jazz made their way toward the locker room.

GRADE — Pachulia definitely gave Hayward just enough of an opening to get the shot off, but it wasn’t a wide open, size-it-up.  For a guy who struggled all night with his shot, it was a redemptive thing of beauty.  We’ve giving it two Horrys.

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Utah Jazz rookies put to work immediately

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — The Utah Jazz left Salt Lake City behind for training camp and instead went to Hawaii. I know, tough for them. But while they may been training in paradise, it hasn’t been so nice for the Utah Jazz rookies, as we see in the videos below.

Following a team dinner on the beach, Gordon Hayward called up the Jazz rookies, and had them sing “Happy Birthday” to Joe Ingles and assistant GM Justin Zanick


VIDEO: Happy Birthday Rooks

So, nice enough job. It was kinda funny, and the guys were embarrassed, which is probably actually the most important bit of the whole thing.

But was that enough? Nope, not for Gordon Hayward, who also wants the guys to do “a little Hawaiian dance.” Get your groove on, fellas…


VIDEO: Jazz rookies dance

MUSCLEWATCH 2015 (Update 1)

METAIRIE, LA - SEPTEMBER 28: Anthony Davis of the New Orleans Pelicans poses for photos during NBA Media Day on September 28, 2015 at the New Orleans Pelicans practice facility in Metairie, Louisiana. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2015 NBAE (Photo by Layne Murdoch Jr./NBAE via Getty Images)

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — We’re ba-ack!

NBA training camps have convened, exhibition games are underway, and we all know what that means: The return of MUSCLEWATCH.

Before we get to the muscles, what, you may ask, is MUSCLEWATCH? Basically, it began decades ago when my friend Matt and I noticed our local paper would always report that players had gained 15 pounds of MUSCLE in the off-season. No matter the sport, it was never 12 pounds, never 16, never 9, never 18, but it always seemed to be “15 pounds of muscle.” So we began keeping an eye on the papers looking for references to the magic 15 pounds of MUSCLE. Eventually, MUSCLEWATCH became about more than just the “15 pounds of muscle” and more about guys who had either gained or lost a lot of weight. Previous winners include Thaddeus Young and Rudy Gay.

And remember, MUSCLEWATCH cannot be successful without your help. The most effective way to let us here at MUSCLEWATCH HQ know if you see any MUSCLEWATCH news is to tweet and use the hashtag #MUSCLEWATCH.

Also, for what it’s worth, we need numbers. If you’re going to be vague, that’s not MUSCLEWATCH. I’m talking to you, Bulls GM Gar Forman

Hey. we’re all glad Derrick Rose “looks terrific,” but if you want to play MUSCLEWATCH, we need actual digits.

Now, let’s get swole …
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Gordon Hayward has your back, video gamers

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Utah Jazz forward Gordon Hayward has always been up-front about his love for video games. He even claimed that he could beat LeBron James one-on-one…in a game of League of Legends.

So when Fox Sports host Colin Cowherd recently went after what has traditionally been low-hanging fruit — people who play video games are nerds, etc. — Hayward hopped into the Google image search wayback machine and decided to post an embarrassing picture of Cowherd…

This turned into Hayward making an appearance on Cowherd’s show to defend e-sports and video games in general…


VIDEO: Hayward vs Cowherd

Horry Scale: Trey Day


VIDEO: Burke GWBB

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — The Knicks finally scored 100 points in a game this season. Unfortunately for them, Trey Burke and the Jazz weren’t quite finished.

Tonight’s Jazz/Knicks game presented two teams with similar journeys ahead of them. The Jazz have a young roster with a young coach and expectations bubbling. The Knicks have a superstar forward (Carmelo Anthony) and president (Phil Jackson) but have a way to go as they implement the triangle offense.

The Knicks entered the night having lost six straight, for a 2-7 record, and had yet to score 100 points in a game this season. The Jazz had a similarly sub-par record, coming in at 3-6, and in the midst of a five-game road trip. All of which culminated in tonight’s big finish by Burke.

Before we get too far into this, we should stop and explain why we’re here: What is the Horry Scale? For those who are new around these parts, the Horry Scale examines a game-winning buzzer-beater (GWBB) in the categories of difficulty, game situation (was the team tied or behind at the time?), importance (playoff game or garden-variety Kings-Pistons game?) and celebration (is it over the top or too chill? Just the right panache or needs more sauce?). Then we give it an overall grade on a scale of 1-5 Robert Horrys, the patron saint of last-second daggers.

One thing I’d like to clear up: The Horry Scale does not measure only a game-winning shot; the Horry Scale measures several facets of a Game-Winning Buzzer-Beater. So we’re talking about not only the shot, but also the play that creates the shot, the situation and the drama, the celebrations … basically, everything surrounding and including the shot. So when I gave Randy Foye a 3 Horry rating last season, that wasn’t only a reflection of his shot, which was admittedly remarkable, as I wrote, but also the play, which was awful. Taj Gibson’s lefty layup wasn’t the toughest shot, but that inbound play was terrific. Basically, everything matters.

Let’s get to the game-winner…

DIFFICULTY
With 2.3 seconds left on the clock, the Jazz didn’t have to rely on a catch-and-shoot. Two-plus seconds is enough time for at least a dribble, maybe even a pass.

But it looked as if the play wasn’t even drawn up for Burke to get the shot. Burke began in the far corner and set a screen for Gordon Hayward, who already had 33 points on the night. Hayward popped to the top of the key and looked to receive a pass. But Knicks forward Quincy Acy denied the look to Hayward, just as Burke flashed to the ball around the free throw line. Burke caught the ball, dribbled left into the corner, and fired up a fadeaway jumper over J.R. Smith, who was all over Burke and contested the shot well. But Burke cleared just enough space with a step-back move to release the jumper, and he drilled the shot as the buzzer was ringing.

Smith actually defended fine on the play — he went under three separate screens and stuck to Burke on the shot. Burke had to make a perfect play just to clear room for the shot. And Burke played it perfectly.

GAME SITUATION
After squandering a last-second attempt earlier in the week, when J.R. Smith eschewed a pass to Carmelo Anthony to fire up a three, tonight the Knicks cleared out for Anthony, who banked in a three to tie the game at 100 with 2.3 left. Anthony finished with 46 points for the Knicks, who were without Amar’e Stoudemire, and Anthony was brilliant all night.

But Utah called a timeout after Anthony leveled the game and calmly came up with the play. A shoutout to Jazz coach Quin Snyder, who came up with a play that had multiple options; and a shoutout to inbound passer Joe Ingles, who calmly went to Burke after not being able to get the ball to Hayward.

IMPORTANCE
It was big, for both teams. Yes, we’re still early in the season, but after losing six straight, the Knicks needed a win, especially at home. And Melo had put them on his back and carried them throughout the game.

The Jazz entered this season in rebuilding mode, and though they’re below .500, they’ve looked promising as they’ve tried to implement Snyder’s pace and space offense. Also, it’s worth noting that this is already Utah’s second appearance on the Horry Scale this season. So not only are they competing, but they’re giving themselves opportunities to win games (and taking advantage of those opportunities).

CELEBRATION
It was fortuitous that Burke popped the shot directly in front of the Utah bench. Because as soon as the shot went in, he was swarmed by his teammates. The Jazz couldn’t give an all-out celebration because they were on the road, so they didn’t get that awesome crowd reaction like they did at home against Cleveland. Still, the team huddled around Burke and let him have it (including a towel over the head) while Smith looked up in disbelief to check the replay.

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Also, we can’t ignore Carmelo’s reaction. After such a big game, all he could do was grimace with the realization that better days are ahead. Hopefully sooner than later.

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GRADE
It was a great play, a great shot, and an important result for a team that needed a win. But being pragmatic, this was a regular season game between two teams under .500. And considering we gave Hayward’s previous Horry Scale entry rated four Horrys, I don’t feel like this one quite matches that one, particularly on the celebration matrix. So I’m giving Trey Burke’s game winner 3 Horrys.

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What say you? How many Horrys would you give Trey Burke’s GWBB?

Horry Scale: Hayward shocks Cavs


VIDEO: Gordon Hayward’s game-winning buzzer-beater

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — When it rains, it pours. We waited more than a week into the season to get our first taste of last-second lusciousness — and suddenly we have an embarrassment of riches.

Tobias Harris tickled our fancy first in Philly. But it was most definitely Gordon Hayward who sent an electric shock from Salt Lake City all the way into the heart of Cleveland with his theatrics by putting his thumb down heavily on the Horry Scale.

One minute it seemed LeBron James was going to pull the rug out from under all those excited fans at EnergySolutions Arena, not to mention the Jazz, with some clutch play of his own. A clutch corner 3 and then three free throws inside the final 14 seconds.

But in the next minute LeBron was taking LeTumble to the floor and Hayward stepped into the hero’s role with a 23-footer as time expired to give the Jazz a roaring 102-100 win.

Since it’s still opening night in Horry World, let’s repeat the ground rules. The Horry Scale examines a game-winning buzzer-beater (GWBB) in the categories of difficulty, game situation, importance and celebration.  Then we give it an overall grade on a scale of 1-5 Robert Horrys, the master of avoiding last-second disaster.

Remember, the Horry Scale does not measure only a game-winning shot; the Horry Scale measures several facets of a Game-Winning Buzzer-Beater. So we’re talking about not only the shot, but also the play that creates the shot, the situation and the drama, the celebrations, the whole magilla.

DIFFICULTY

It was the kind of shot Hayward probably made a zillion times in the back yard while growing up in Indianapolis and he definitely made his share in the clutch during a celebrated career at Butler. But the truth is they’ve been hard to come by in four seasons in the NBA. Last season was his first in the starring role and he struggled, shooting just 41 percent from the field.  That made a lot of Jazz fans struggle to accept that four-year, $63 million contract Hayward signed last summer after getting a free-agent offer sheet from the Hornets.

But here was Hayward in all his glory, doing it against the best player in the game. He took the inbounds pass from Joe Ingles at the top of the key and moved immediately to his right when LeBron slipped to the floor after making contact with Derrick Favors.  It was the opening Hayward needed, taking two dribbles and letting fly before the Cavs’ defense could recover, burying the step-back fallaway over the desperately reaching arm of Tristan Thompson.

GAME SITUATION

It was a game that might have stuck in the Jazz’ craw past Thanksgiving and Christmas if they had let it slip away. Utah held a 96-90 with 1:29 left to play and was still on top 98-94 with 17.9 seconds to go.  But LeBron is LeBron and, on a night when he finished with 31 points, he was just really getting warmed up. First he drilled a trey from out of the left corner. Then after Alec Burks made two free throws for a 100-97 lead, the veteran James got Favors to go for a pump fake and leaned in himself to draw three free throws. He nonchalantly made them all to tie it up at 100-all.  That set the stage for Hayward and the ex-Butler Bulldog sank his teeth in to the bone. Tough spot, tough shot.

CELEBRATION

From the way the crowd reacted, the streamers fell from the ceiling and all of Hayward’s Jazz teammates went bonkers, this is what it might have been like in the 1998 NBA Finals — if Michael Jordan’s shot over Bryon Russell in Game 6 rimmed out. It was that kind of wild and crazy. Hayward himself was virtually speechless in a post-game TV interview.

GRADE

The bigger the profile of the opponent, the higher the score and there’s nobody bigger in the game these days than LeBron. Even if his getting-to-know-you Cavs have now sagged to a 1-3 start and are cranking up the sirens of early season overreaction-to make-your-ears-bleed level.  The Jazz, under rookie coach Quin Snyder, are a young team that needs confidence. And nobody needed a shot of adrenaline more than Hayward. This was Uma Thurman sitting bolt upright in “Pulp Fiction.”

I’m giving it four Horrys for all those reasons and also for sheer early-season fun.

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Gordon Hayward says he is the “best in the game”

Utah Jazz Media Day

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Whenever an NBA player is asked if he believes he is better than another player, there’s no graceful way to answer the question. If the player says that yes, he’s the best, then people accuse of him of unbridled egotism. If he says he’s not the best, then people wonder why he doesn’t have enough confidence.

This latter scenario won’t be an issue for Utah’s Gordon Hayward, who in a post on his official website comes right out and announces that he’s “the best in the game.”

Well, almost. Here it is in Gordon’s words…

I know this sounds like bragging. That’s because it is. I’m so confident in my abilities that I would put money on myself, hypothetically speaking.

One on one versus LeBron James? He would get crushed. We would all be witnesses to a straight up annihilation.

The reigning MVP, Kevin Durant? I’m LOLing. Go ahead and put him with Russell Westbrook. Throw Blake Griffin, Chris Paul and Dwight Howard in there, just for kicks. They’d still have no chance.

Honestly, take any five NBA players you want and put them on the same squad. It doesn’t really matter. I’d beat them all. It would be like playing a bunch of kindergartners.

I repeat: I’m the best in the game. And probably in all the other major sports, too.

No athlete on earth is as good at League of Legends as I am.

Just so you didn’t miss it, Hayward is saying no NBA player is as good as he is…at the video game League of Legends.

Hey, you can’t say he’s not confident. Now we just need to find out if there’s another NBA player who’s actually as good at League of Legends.

MUSCLEWATCH 2014 (Update 2)

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — It’s a Friday in the fall, which means it’s time for…wait for it…MUSCLEWATCH!

What, you may ask, is MUSCLEWATCH? I really hope by now you’re not still asking that question. But basically, it stems from my friend Matt and I noticing years ago that our local paper would always report that players had gained 15 pounds of MUSCLE in the offseason. No matter the sport, it was never 12, never 16, never 9, never 18, always 15 pounds of muscle. So we began keeping an eye on the papers looking for references to the magic 15 pounds of MUSCLE. I started chronicling this each season in my blog over at SLAM, and eventually MUSCLEWATCH became about more than just the 15 pounds of muscle and more about guys who had either gained or lost a lot of weight. Previous winners include Thad Young and Rudy Gay.

If you see MUSCLEWATCH info, please tweet it and use the hashtag #MUSCLEWATCH to help us keep all this info straight.

One question I saw on Twitter that’s worth addressing…

No. Despite my best efforts, it’s impossible to tabulate a precise number. Has anyone counted all the stars in the sky? Do we know how many broken dreams line Broadway? No, no we don’t. It’s better to just understand that there are thousands if not millions of pounds won and lost out there and keep it moving.

WHEN WE LAST LEFT MUSCLEWATCH, there was a lot of sound and fury and MUSCLE, but not a lot of detail. Let’s get into the MUSCLE…

• Once again, actual NBA teams are using the #MUSCLEWATCH hashtag, as we saw in this tweet from the Toronto Raptors regarding Terrence Ross

That tweet was welcome, if a bit vague, so we also appreciate this clarification from Holly McKenzie, from which we learn Ross actually put on the MUSCLEWATCH gold standard of 15 pounds…

HOWEVER! Nobody actually specified if it’s 15 pounds of MUSCLE. And it matters, believe me, it matters.

• Last week we saw a few MUSCLEWATCH names in Minnesota, and we get more detail this, as Anthony Bennett, Ronny Turiaf and Shabazz Muhammad got into some, frankly, really weird workout stuff. Just read the beginning of this story

The children are slipping down Shabazz Muhammad’s back, inches away from falling into a pit of whitewater rapids and fire.
As Muhammad gropes for another handhold, his entire weight and an additional 100 pounds of helpless youth suspended above the perils below, he falters. A pair of guiding hands help steady him but only for a moment. Regaining his balance and summoning some interior-laden surge of strength, he climbs his way to safety while the kids on his back remain unharmed.

They worked out using HELPLESS YOUTH! Children were SLIPPING DOWN HIS BACK INTO A DEATH TRAP WHIRLPOOL! OK, OK, this was all imaginary, but still, this is extreme MUSCLEWATCH. No wonder they call their guy Hell’s Trainer.

Despite the insane workout, Muhammad said he came into camp at 224, which is two pounds more than he supposedly weighed a year ago before the draft. And Bennett, according to the story above, lost “about 10 pounds.” So while they each may be in much better shape, for MUSCLEWATCH purposes they still have some work to do.

Kobe Bryant has had a love-hate relationship with MUSCLEWATCH through the years, and this year is no different. A few months ago, paparazzi photos seemed to suggest that Kobe had put on, well, a few pounds. But then Kobe showed up in camp looking svelte, and Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak suggested Kobe had lost 10-12 pounds.

How did Kobe do it? By eating “clean.”

I guess that means a lot of hand washing?

• We need to send a shoutout to Utah Jazz beat writer Jody Genessy from the Deseret News, who has been all over MUSCLEWATCH, including several tweets…

And since we’re talking Jazz, we’ve had our first-ever announcer appearance on MUSCLEWATCH, as Jazz radio voice David Locke was reported to be in phenomenal shape…

I caught up with David this week and he confirmed that he is feeling good, although he noted that once the season begins his bicycling regimen will likely fall by the wayside. Still, a terrific showing all around in Utah. We salute you!

• Bonjour, Monsieur Diaw! Spurs forward Boris Diaw has had some ups and downs with his weight through the years. At Spurs media day this season, coach Gregg Popovich acknowledged Diaw’s struggle…

Boris used social media to respond, as one should, with the following photo and this caption: “No worries pop only one glass of wine and daily workouts!”

No worries pop only one glass of wine and daily workouts!

A post shared by Borisdiaw (@diawboris) on

Also, thanks to the San Antonio Express News, which put together a 117-photo gallery about which players are and are not arriving in shape in San Antonio.

• WE HAVE A CONTENDER! Add Kendrick Perkins to the long list of guys who have dropped weight this summer, and with Perk, unlike with LeBron and Melo, we actually have a concrete number…

• Up in Boston, Celtics forward Jeff Green has put on some MUSCLE…

And Kelly Olynyk is “definitely stonger,” with a #MUSCLEWATCH in the story!!

• And finally, in Phoenix, Alex Len has apparently added “10-15 pounds.” Of MUSCLE? Well, that’s unclear.

See you next week. Keep MUSCLING!

MUSCLEWATCH 2014 (Update 1)

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — And here we are again. Summer has officially given way to fall, which means many things, but really only means one thing that we care about around these parts: IT’S ALMOST TIME FOR A NEW NBA SEASON.

And when training camps convene around the country, that means it’s time for … wait for it … MUSCLEWATCH!

What, you may ask, is MUSCLEWATCH? It stems from my friend Matt and I noticing years ago that our local paper used to always say that players had gained 15 pounds of MUSCLE in the offseason. No matter the sport, it was never 12, never 16, never 9, never 18, always 15 pounds of MUSCLE. So we began keeping an eye on the papers looking for references to the magic 15 pounds of MUSCLE. I started chronicling this each season in my blog over at SLAM, and eventually MUSCLEWATCH became about more than just the 15 pounds of muscle and more about guys who had either gained or lost a lot of weight. Previous winners include Thaddeus Young and Rudy Gay.

If you see MUSCLEWATCH info, tweet it and use the hashtag #MUSCLEWATCH to help us keep all this info straight.

MUSCLEWATCH has truly evolved from when it was Matt and I sitting around our apartment cracking jokes. I thought we’d come a long way a year ago when the official television network of the NBA was running promos for it…

#MUSCLEWATCH is reaching critical mass

A post shared by Lang Whitaker (@langwhitaker) on

And now actual NBA teams are referencing #MUSCLEWATCH…

.

I feel like we’ve got a movement on our hands. This is a wonderful thing.

WHEN WE LAST LEFT MUSCLEWATCH, Anthony Davis and Jrue Holiday were putting in work. Let’s get into the muscles…

• The biggest story in the NBA this summer was LeBron James leaving the Miami Heat to return to the Cleveland Cavaliers. But pretty soon after the dust settled from The Announcement, LeBron started posting photos online where he looked drastically thinner than he looked last season.

Love getting back in the lab with my brothers @druondemand @rometrav #StriveForGreatness

A post shared by LeBron James (@kingjames) on

In an interview this week with CNN’s Rachel Nichols, LeBron talked about his weight loss. (Around the 2:45 mark here.) According to LeBron he’s around 250 pounds — even though he’s been listed at 249 for years — thanks to eating only fish, meat, fruits and vegetables for 67 days. He also said, “I had the Cookie Monster chasing me in my dreams a few times.

We don’t know exactly how much weight LeBron lost or even how much he weighed before, unless someone gets it out of him at Cleveland’s media day, which I’m afraid makes him ineligible to win the MUSCLEWATCH title this season.

Instead, LeBron, in recognition of your efforts, we will give you this GIF of Cookie Monster dancing …

cookiedance

• While we’re talking about the NBA’s bold names, how about Carmelo Anthony slimming down?

Last season Melo was listed at 240, but he has apparently been making better choices when eating, according to this article. No Cookie Monster nightmares that we know about yet, however. YET.

• There were reports earlier this summer that Detroit point guard Brandon Jennings had added 25 pounds of muscle (more…)

Delonte West Reminds Gordon Hayward of 8th Grade

by Micah Hart

The NBA is a tough, physical game, and as the season winds down and playoff berths are at stake, it shouldn’t be a surprise to see tempers flare a bit from time to time. Usually that means a little pushing and shoving, maybe some jawing, or a staredown. Or, if you are Delonte West, maybe a shove to the ear:



Yeah, that just happened — and it earned Mr. West a technical, too. It’s a good thing Gordon Hayward took the high road, or things might have escalated and West might have snapped him with a wet towel.

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