For Moscow’s quarantined, 100,000 cameras are watching

first_img‘Big Brother’ “Due to stronger data protection laws in Europe, facial recognition has not yet been implemented on a large scale. Russian and Chinese companies have had less legal constraints to gather and use data than their European counterparts,” Weber told AFP.Before the coronavirus pandemic, critics warned of the potential for excessive state surveillance reminiscent of the all-seeing “Big Brother” in George Orwell’s novel “1984”.The fear was that rather than protecting the general public, the cameras would be used to monitor Kremlin opponents and undermine civil liberties. “The security argument is the one always used to justify loss of privacy and personal liberty. That’s where the greatest problem and the greatest danger lie,” said French cybersecurity researcher and renowned hacker Baptiste Robert.The technology’s creator Minin says that he has confidence in the Moscow authorities and insists that personal data like passport details and phone numbers is not stored on the same databases as camera images.He says the data sets can only be matched by law enforcement if deemed strictly necessary.But opponents see such technology as threatening, given the Soviet history of mass surveillance of those deemed by the KGB secret police to be state enemies.Vocal rights activist and lawyer Alyona Popova launched legal action against the use of facial recognition at an officially authorized opposition protest in September last year.She said cameras were attached to metal detectors that every participant had to pass through. “The massive use of facial recognition technology amounts to state surveillance of its citizens and the state will certainly use it against political opponents,” she told AFP.Her complaint was eventually thrown out, but an online petition she launched on Change.org against the technology’s use gained almost 75,000 signatures before the COVID-19 crisis. The mayor’s office denies the technology is used to monitor the opposition.Yet to highlight the issue, four activists in February protested outside the presidential administration offices, their faces brightly painted with geometrical shapes and lines said to confuse cameras.A similar protest took place in London.”There have already been cases of political activists who were detained in the metro after being identified with the help of cameras,” said one of the protesters, artist Katrin Nenasheva. Four of the activists were later fined 15,000 rubles ($185) after being charged with organizing an unsanctioned protest.NtechLab chief Minin warned that face painting or covering up ultimately won’t help those wanting to avoid being identified.”We can work even when up to 40 percent of the face is covered by a helmet or medical mask,” he said. A vast and contentious network of facial recognition cameras keeping watch over Moscow is now playing a key role in the battle against the spread of the coronavirus in Russia.The city rolled out the technology just before the epidemic reached Russia, ignoring protests and legal complaints over sophisticated state surveillance.Since last month, thousands of Muscovites have been confined to their homes for 14 days of compulsory quarantine after returning from virus-hit countries, being in contact with those infected or diagnosed with mild symptoms. Police have logged their details and warned them that sneaking out into the city of 16 million residents and daily visitors could lead to a five-year jail term or deportation for foreigners.”We are constantly checking that this regulation is being observed, including through the use of automated facial recognition systems,” Mayor Sergei Sobyanin wrote in his blog in February.The Russian capital already had a tight network of 170,000 security cameras, set up in streets and metro stations throughout the city over the past decade.Around 100,000 have now been linked to artificial intelligence systems that can identify people being filmed. The remaining cameras are due to be connected soon. 600 neighbors Moscow City Hall has boasted that the network of cameras is a particularly effective tool.Sobyanin has said that the authorities have contacts and work addresses for 95 percent of those quarantined after returning from high-risk countries.”We’ve identified where they are,” said the mayor, who heads a working group on combatting the virus set up by Putin.Last month on his blog he praised the efficiency of the facial recognition system with a story of a Chinese woman who tested positive soon after arrival and was hospitalized.Her flatmate was quarantined but security cameras filmed her walking outside and meeting a male friend.The mayor added that the authorities swiftly gathered contacts of more than 600 of the woman’s neighbors and even her taxi driver from the airport. Facial recognition technology was first tested during the 2018 World Cup in Russia before going fully online in January, just before the pandemic hit.”The probability of a mistake by our facial recognition algorithm is 1 in 15 million,” said Alexander Minin, CEO of NtechLab, the company that won the city’s tender to supply the technology.The firm’s devices, which have been exported to China and Latin America, can identify someone from their silhouette alone “80 percent of the time,” he told AFP at the start of the year.Russia alongside China lead the field globally with the most sophisticated technology, which they export to some 100 countries, Valentin Weber, a researcher in cybersecurity at the University of Oxford, wrote in a 2019 paper.center_img Topics : Moscow police said last week that the cameras that are linked have allowed them to identify almost 200 people who broke quarantine rules. As well as the cameras, Russia has said it is drawing on an array of technology to fight the virus, including telemedicine consultations, the real-time monitoring of supermarket shelves and identifying and removing false news stories from social media.President Vladimir Putin last week toured a hi-tech center set up to monitor the virus situation and Russia’s response.The country, as of Monday, had reported 438 coronavirus infections, most of them in Moscow. One person who was infected has died but officials are not linking the death to the virus.last_img read more

China delays renewing credentials for journalists at US outlets

first_imgBeijing has held off renewing the expiring press credentials of journalists at US media outlets including Bloomberg, CNN and the Wall Street Journal, the news organizations reported, amid a tussle with Washington over journalist visas.The move comes as Chinese journalists in the United States wait for their lapsed work visas to be renewed. The Chinese journalists have been allowed to stay in the United States during a 90-day grace period that expires in early November, according to people familiar with the matter.The Wall Street Journal’s Jeremy Page, who is British, as well as American CNN reporter David Culver and two non-American Bloomberg journalists were issued letters allowing them to continue working in China with their expired press credentials for about two months, the outlets reported respectively. Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said on Monday on Twitter that “we would be glad to continue our excellent cooperation with the US journalists here if Chinese journalists are treated fairly in the US””#CNN journalist and a few other US journalists’ visa extension applications are being processed, during which they can continue to live and work here with no problems at all”, she added.Visas allowing foreign journalists to live in China are linked to their press credentials.A CNN spokeswoman confirmed that one of its Beijing-based journalists was recently issued a visa valid for two months. Topics :center_img “However, our presence on the ground in China remains unchanged, and we are continuing to work with local authorities to ensure that continues,” she said.Journalist visas in China typically last for one year.A Bloomberg spokeswoman declined to comment. A spokesperson for Wall Street Journal parent Dow Jones did not immediately respond to a request for comment.The Foreign Correspondents’ Club of China said that at least five journalists at four US news organizations had been affected, and that the foreign ministry had indicated that the letters issued instead of press cards could be revoked at any time.”These coercive practices have again turned accredited foreign journalists in China into pawns in a wider diplomatic conflict,” it said.”The FCCC calls on the Chinese government to halt this cycle of tit-for-tat reprisals in what is quickly becoming the darkest year yet for media freedoms,” it said in a statement.Beijing and Washington, whose relations have deteriorated sharply over a range of issues, have exchanged several tit-for-tat actions involving journalists.In March, the United States slashed the number of Chinese nationals allowed to work at the US offices of major Chinese state-owned media to 100 from 160.China then expelled about a dozen American journalists working for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post.China has accused the United States of holding visa extensions for Chinese journalists “hostage” while it demands that the previously expelled journalists from the three US newspapers be allowed to return to China. last_img read more

Fulham 0-3 Arsenal FT: Frenchman nets first EPL goal of 2020-21

first_img Loading… Four minutes after the restart, Arsenal  new signing Gabriel, outmuscled Hector to send the ball home off what appeared to be his shoulder rather than head. Fulham vs Arsenal  saw the away side get their season up and running as Lazacette handed the Gunners an early lead in the first 45 minutes against newly-promoted side Fulham at Craven Cottage. Mikel Arteta’s side will be hopeful of a positive start to their campaign after finishing the last one so strongly and winning the FA Cup. The Gunners have added the likes of Willian and Gabriel Magalhaes to the squad as the aim for a return to Champions League football.center_img Read Also: Messi releases limited edition Budweiser beer And on the 57th minute mark,   Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang netted the third off a Willian assist to see the Gunners take charge of the proceedings. It is now Fulham 0-3 Arsenal as the encounter is proving to be tough first game for Scott Parker’s side in their first game back in the top flight. FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmail分享 Promoted ContentYou’ve Only Seen Such Colorful Hairdos In A Handful Of AnimeThe Highest Paid Football Players In The WorldThe 10 Best Secondary Education Systems In The WorldCouples Who Celebrated Their Union In A Unique, Unforgettable WayThe Funniest Prankster Grandma And Her Grandson40 Child Stars Who Look Incredibly Gorgeous As AdultsBest & Worst Celebrity Endorsed Games Ever Made5 Of The World’s Most Unique Theme Parks6 Incredibly Strange Facts About Hurricanes11 Most Immersive Game To Play On Your Table TopBirds Enjoy Living In A Gallery Space Created For Them7 Theories About The Death Of Our Universelast_img read more

GCF’s national championships to pedal off on Saturday

first_imgTHE Guyana Cycling Federation’s (GCF) National Road Race and Individual Time Trial will pedal off on Saturday on the Linden/Soesdyke Highway beginning at 09:30hrs from Hararuni Creek and ending at Long Creek, a distance of eight miles.The event will begin with the individual time trial for each category of cyclists and continues the next day (Sunday)with the road race for juniors, juveniles, ladies and veterans.The junior and veteran cyclists will contest a distance of 70 miles and they will pedal off from outside the National Sports Commission’s (NSC) office on Homestretch Avenue, Georgetown, at 08:00hrs and the cyclists will proceed to Camp Wesleyana, Linden/Soesdyke Highway before returning to the place of origin for the finish.The juveniles and ladies will cover a distance of 53 miles after moving off from the NSC office and travelling to Bottle Neck, Timehri, before turning back to finish on Homestretch Avenue.One week later (Sunday June 25), the seniors will cover a distance of 103.4 miles, beginning at Homestretch Avenue, proceeding to Camp Sewayo, Linden/Soesdyke Highway and back to Homestretch Avenue for the finish.Up to press time, it has not been confirmed if defending champion, Geron Williams, will be a part of this year’s championships as he is currently in the United States training and competing along with most of Guyana’s top wheelsmen, including Raynauth Jeffrey, Andrew Hicks, jamal John, Scott savory and Orville Hinds.Transportation for cyclists and officials for Saturday’s time trial will be provided by the GCF and the bus will leave the NSC’s office on Homestretch Avenue at 08:00hrs on Saturday.The GCF has also indicated that juniors and veterans will be allowed to participate in the senior road race.last_img read more

3rd quarter spurt keys No. 18 Syracuse’s win over No. 20 Texas A&M

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on November 14, 2018 at 10:54 pm Contact Billy: wmheyen@syr.edu | @Wheyen3 WHITE PLAINS — In Syracuse’s halftime locker room, head coach Quentin Hillsman drew a “3,” Chennedy Carter’s number, on the board at the front of the room and circled it.Carter, Texas A&M’s reigning National Freshman of the Year, scored 15 points against Syracuse in the first half on Wednesday. The Aggies took a one-point lead into the break.“She was gonna get 35 or 40 points and beat us if we didn’t control the game,” Hillsman said. “… She can win a game by herself, so I was more concerned about that more than anything else.”That concern, and ensuing extra focus, paid off.No. 18 Syracuse (2-1) scored the first 13 points of the second half en route to a 75-65 win over No. 20 Texas A&M (2-1). The Orange won the third quarter by 14 points, and held Carter to three points in the second half. After a late comeback spurt by the Aggies, that third quarter proved to be the decisive blow in the game.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“We really wanted to concentrate on closing out short and protecting the paint,” Hillsman said. “… We did a good job in the second half of shrinking the floor.”SU wanted to make Carter work on the defensive end in an effort to slow her offense, Hillsman said. And on the Orange’s first second-half possession, Tiana Mangakahia dribbled right with Carter on her, then crossed back to the left and tried to get to the lane. Carter blocked her, a foul early in the half, and exactly what Hillsman wanted.Moments later, Mangakahia squared up from the top of the key and swished a 3. It put the Orange ahead by two, and from that point, Syracuse didn’t trail again.“I just do what the defense gives me,” Mangakahia said. “So if they’re sagging off, I’ll shoot the 3. If they’re up in my grill, I’ll take it.”Then, it was Maeva Djaldi-Tabdi joining the offense. She caught a pass on the right block, back to the basket and pivoted into the lane. Rising up with two hands, she put the ball off the glass. It took a small bounce on the back rim and went in. The whistle blew for an and-1. Djaldi-Tabdi missed the free throw but had stretched the Orange lead. The redshirt freshman finished with 15 points and 11 rebounds.The Aggies were still scoreless in the half when Djaldi-Tabdi went to down screen for Miranda Drummond a few possessions later. Popping to the top of the key and receiving a pass from Gabrielle Cooper, SU’s leading 3-point shooter from a year ago drained it.Immediately down at the other end, Drummond stole a pass intended for the corner and pushed the floor. She found a cutting Mangakahia, who bounced off contact in the lane and scooped it off the glass with her right hand. The whistle blew, Mangakahia pumped her fist, and the Aggies used a timeout. She made the free throw out of the break, giving the Orange an 11-0 run. Then she gathered an offensive rebound and scored to make it a 13-0 run moments later.“The fact that she pushed the ball helped us run more and push, too,” Djaldi-Tabdi said of Mangakahia.Syracuse didn’t shutout the Aggies in the third, but the Orange kept pushing. Mangakahia led the way with 10 in the frame, including the final bucket when she caught a Djaldi-Tabdi kickout and brought it back to the rim to finish with her right hand again.Mangakahia answered the call at the other end, too, helping the top of the SU 2-3 zone limit Carter in the third. The sophomore missed a 3 from the top, missed a running shot on the right side of the basket, and missed a right-wing 3. Her only points in the quarter came on the second of two free throws midway through the third.“Halftime wasn’t really the result we wanted,” Mangakahia said. “… We adjusted to (Carter) and we came out a little bit more aggressive, and our defense was better when we were guarding her.”The Aggies got within six points in the fourth behind an intense full-court press. But Syracuse had done enough in the third quarter to keep it from getting any closer.Hillsman said that, before the game, he told the Orange it was a must-win. At halftime, he implored them to shut down Carter. SU’s response to the second instruction helped the Orange deliver on the first.“You have to tell them that you expect them to win,” Hillsman said. “… It’s a big win, that’s all I can say.”center_img Commentslast_img read more

Saikhom Mirabai Chanu wins gold at Qatar International Cup

first_img COMMENT Press Trust Of India FOLLOW US Former world champion weightlifter Saikhom Mirabai Chanu notched up the women’s 49kg category gold medal to open India’s account at the 6th Qatar International Cup on Friday. The 25-year-old Chanu won gold with an effort of 194kg in the Olympic qualifying silver level event, the points from which will come in handy when the final rankings for 2020 Tokyo Olympics cut are done. To qualify for Tokyo, a weightlifter must compete in at least one event in each of the three periods of six months (spread over November 2018 to April 2020), at least six events overall and in at least one gold and another silver level event.READ | Global Sport Doping Cases Up 13% In 2017: WADAChanu’s performance on Friday was, however, way below her personal best of 201kg which she lifted during this year’s World Championships in Thailand. The 2018 Commonwealth Games gold-medallist Indian managed to register only one clean lift in both the snatch and clean and jerk categories. She manged to lift 83kg in her second attempt in snatch event but then failed to clear 87kg in her final try.READ | Cody Rhodes Confirms All Elite Wrestling Are Interested In Signing Luke HarperIn the clean and jerk section, Chanu lifted 111kg in her first attempt but was unable to heave 115kg and 116kg in her final two attempts. The French duo of Anais Michel (172kg) and Manon Lorentz (165kg) took home the silver and bronze medals respectively. Earlier this year at the World championship, Chanu had breached the much anticipated 200kg mark by lifting her personal best in all three section. In snatch she lifted 87kg followed by 114kg in clean and jerk for a total of 201kg. China’s Jiang Huihua (212kg) had won the gold.READ | Grandmaster Viswanathan Anand Reveals His Constant Pre-match RitualChanu, who had won 48kg gold at the 2017 edition in Anaheim, USA with an overall effort of 194kgs, returned to action in February following a lower-back injury. She had missed the World Championships and Asian Games in 2018 owing to a back injury. The Manipuri had also clinched the gold medal in 49kg at the EGAT Cup, which was the first of the six Olympic qualifying events for her. READ | Tokyo Olympics Say Costs $12.6B; Audit Report Says Much More SUBSCRIBE TO US WATCH US LIVEcenter_img Written By Last Updated: 20th December, 2019 17:41 IST Saikhom Mirabai Chanu Wins Gold At Qatar International Cup Former world champion weightlifter Mirabai Chanu notched up the women’s 49kg category gold medal to open India’s account at the 6th Qatar International Cup LIVE TV First Published: 20th December, 2019 17:41 ISTlast_img read more

Antonio Conte confirmed as new Chelsea head coach

first_imgItaly manager Antonio Conte has signed a three-year contract to become Chelsea’s new head coach.He will begin his role after the end of this summer’s European Championship.”I am very excited about the prospect of working at Chelsea Football Club. I am proud to be the coach of the national team of my country and only a role as attractive as manager of Chelsea could follow that,” Conte said in a statement.”I am looking forward to meeting everyone at the club and the day-to-day challenge of competing in the Premier League. Chelsea and English football are watched wherever you go, the fans are passionate and my ambition is to have more success to follow the victories I enjoyed in Italy.’I am happy we have made the announcement now so everything is clear and we can end the speculation. I will continue to focus on my job with the Italian national team and will reserve speaking about Chelsea again until after the Euros.”Italy face Belgium, Ireland and Sweden in this summer’s tournament.  –Follow Joy Sports on Twitter: @JoySportsGH. Our hashtag is #JoySportslast_img read more

Six Nations 2019: Sean Maitland replaces hat-trick hero Blair Kinghorn on Scotland side

first_imgSean Maitland replaces hat-trick hero Blair Kinghorn in the Scotland starting lineup that will face Six Nations defending champion Ireland in one of four changes to the starting XV.Kinghorn will have to settle for a place on the bench at Murrayfield on Saturday despite his treble in the Round 1 victory over Italy, as wing Maitland has recovered from a hamstring injury. Prop Simon Berghan and back row Josh Strauss come into a new-look pack in the absence of Willem Nel (calf) and Sam Skinner (ankle).Gregor Townsend also handed a start to lock Jonny Gray, who has been sidelined with a shoulder injury, at the expense of Ben Toolis. Six Nations 2019: Chris Farrell to start after Robbie Henshaw added to Ireland injury list Fit-again duo Fraser Brown and Pete Horne have been named among the replacements along with uncapped prop D’Arcy Rae and flanker Rob Harley.BREAKING | Scotland make four changes for this Saturday’s Guinness Six Nations clash with Ireland @BTMurrayfield.Berghan and Strauss replace injured Nel and Skinner, Gray & Maitland return from injury for Toolis and Kinghorn who move to the bench.https://t.co/y0gRovACwY pic.twitter.com/wob5Ffn4JO— Scottish Rugby (@Scotlandteam) February 7, 2019Scotland: Stuart Hogg, Tommy Seymour, Huw Jones, Sam Johnson, Sean Maitland, Finn Russell, Greig Laidlaw (captain); Allan Dell, Stuart McInally, Simon Berghan, Grant Gilchrist, Jonny Gray, Ryan Wilson, Jamie Ritchie, Josh Strauss.Replacements: Fraser Brown, Jamie Bhatti, D’Arcy Rae, Ben Toolis, Rob Harley, Ali Price, Pete Horne, Blair Kinghorn. Related Newslast_img read more

NBA Coach of the Year race: The cases for four of the league’s top coaches

first_imgOFFSEASON PREVIEWS: Lakers | Knicks | BullsThere is obvious value in a coach that leads a team to the top seed in the conference. There is also the coach that takes his team to another level from the year before. And there is the coach that gets the most out of a roster with limited talent. These factors make the 2018-19 Coach of the Year race intriguing and unpredictable.A few NBA coaches have a case this season, but we’ve whittled it down to a final four. Let’s take a look at the argument for each coach winning the award.Mike Budenholzer, BucksCoach of the Year case: Budenholzer is no stranger to the award. He was the Coach of the Year in 2014-15 after leading the Hawks to the top seed in the East with a 60-22 overall record, but this might be his best coaching job yet.After a first-round exit at the hands of the Celtics in the 2018 playoffs, the Bucks decided Budenholzer was the right man to develop Giannis Antetokounmpo and push them to the next level. No one knew just how good this Bucks team could be, or what Antetokounmpo could do with a proper roster and strategy built around his game. Budenholzer hasn’t disappointed.Milwaukee’s offense has transformed under Budenholzer. Surrounding Giannis with shooters like Brook Lopez, Malcolm Brogdon, and Khris Middleton has allowed him to thrive and develop into a possible MVP. The Bucks are the third-most efficient offensive team after finishing 10th last season. They take the second-most 3-pointers in the league (up from 25th in 2017-18), and they’re top three in both field goal percentage and effective field goal percentage.MORE: Giannis surprised by Bucks’ sensational seasonDefensively, they have improved by leaps and bounds as well. Under Jason Kidd and Joe Prunty in 2017-18, the Bucks were 18th in defensive efficiency (109.1). They currently sit at the top of the league in that category (104.5). They are much less aggressive on the perimeter and prioritize protecting the paint. That has led to a boost in rebounding — Milwaukee went from dead last in defensive rebounding percentage last season (70.9) to second this year (75.4).It’s not always easy to judge a coach’s impact, but what Budenholzer has done for the Bucks cannot be overstated. He’s been Milwaukee’s best offseason acquisition. He took a team with potential and turned it into a title contender with the best record in the league. He certainly is deserving of his second Coach of the Year award.Doc Rivers, ClippersCoach of the Year case: Vegas had the Clippers’ over/under win total at 35.5. They are currently at 47 wins with four games left on their schedule. Proving the doubters wrong is often a tired cliche in sports, but that’s exactly what Los Angeles has done.The Clippers were only supposed to be rebuilding after the “Lob City” era and chasing free agents this summer. Competing in the stacked Western Conference seemed delusional. Sure, the roster had competent role players, but hardly anything approaching star status. (The one potential star the Clippers did have, Tobias Harris, was traded to the 76ers ahead of the February deadline.)And yet, here we are. The Clippers have a shot at 50 wins. They hold the sixth seed in the West, and they’ve become the best team in LA. Rivers, rightly so, is getting plenty of praise.This is the start. pic.twitter.com/k1251e8jtx— x – LA Clippers (@LAClippers) March 27, 2019MORE: Lou Williams is much more than Sixth Man of the YearNot long ago, Rivers’ time in LA seemed to be coming to an end. His role as president of basketball operations and head coach didn’t go as planned with a few roster-building misfires. But with the burden of personnel decisions no longer on his shoulders, Rivers has rediscovered his magic touch. He’s taken a team without a superstar and found a way to maximize this roster.Danilo Gallinari is enjoying a career year now that he is finally healthy. Lou Williams is going to win his third Sixth Man of the Year award. Montrezl Harrell has been a revelation, and rookie Shai Gilgeous-Alexander has thrived under the tutelage of the former point guard.To put it simply, Rivers has been masterful. He’s created a culture that preaches family and togetherness. If you’ve spent any time around the locker room, you know how much Rivers’ team loves him. The respect and trust in Rivers has resulted in a playoff berth — and maybe Rivers’ second COY trophy.Mike Malone, NuggetsCoach of the Year case: The Nuggets have morphed into one of the best teams in the West under Malone. They likely won’t take the top seed in the conference after losing to the Warriors on Tuesday night, but the fact that they were even in that position is its own accomplishment.The Nuggets have officially made “the leap.” They’ve easily surpassed last season’s win total, and Malone has overseen the impressive development of All-Star center Nikola Jokic. Malone has also been a major factor in the development of young guards like Jamal Murray, Monte Morris and Malik Beasley.The most obvious improvement has been on the defensive side of the court. Last year, the Nuggets struggled to stop anyone. They finished 23rd in defensive efficiency, just behind the lowly Knicks.MORE: Malone frustrated by mistakes in loss to WarriorsWhile the Nuggets aren’t going to blow anyone away with their defensive prowess, Malone has been able to make them respectable. They’re currently a top-10 team in terms of defensive efficiency, and Jokic in particular has made strides on that end. Denver has also jumped from the worst 3-point defense in the league last season all the way to second-best.Malone’s job hasn’t been easy. Denver has been bit by the injury bug throughout the season. Paul Millsap, Gary Harris and Will Barton have all missed significant time with injuries. Malone has been able to keep winning while waiting for his roster to get healthy.Denver could enter the postseason with a better record than every West team except the mighty Warriors. Malone deserves credit here.Nate McMillan, PacersCoach of the Year case: When Victor Oladipo was lost for the season in late January, the Pacers became an afterthought in the East. Without the services of their lone All-Star, Indiana was expected to slide down in the standings.Somehow, McMillan and Co. have been able to collect enough wins to have a fighting chance at home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs. The Pacers share an identical record with the Celtics (46-32) in the fight for the fourth seed.They’ve done it with a starting lineup consisting of good-but-not-great players. Myles Turner, Darren Collison, Bojan Bogdanovic and Thaddeus Young aren’t stars, but they are typically reliable with effort and production. Domantas Sabonis, a Sixth Man of the Year candidate, and Doug McDermott have contributed off the bench.MORE: The story behind Pacers players appearing on “Parks and Recreation” The Pacers have remained competitive because of their defensive energy. They’re third in defensive efficiency, seventh in opponent field goal percentage and fourth in opponent turnovers. As FiveThirtyEight’s Chris Herring notes, this team has no problem with winning ugly.Though a deep playoff run seems unlikely, don’t count out the Pacers against a Celtics team that has been inconsistent. With Boston’s inability to find its rhythm and Indiana’s defensive pressure, the Pacers will have a fighter’s chance at advancing to the second round.Considering the Oladipo injury and a roster that is far from loaded, it would be quite the accomplishment. McMillan should be recognized for keeping his team afloat during a trying season. Every year around this time, NBA media types get the awards ballot in their inboxes. Voting for awards like MVP and Rookie of the Year is an inexact science, but there are certain guidelines to follow that can limit the pool of players and ultimately decide a winner.When it comes to Coach of the Year, however, the reasoning behind voting for a particular candidate can be murky.last_img read more