Clippers traveling a rutted playoff road, again


It’s not simply the Los Angeles Clippers vs. the Phoenix Suns in the Western Conference Finals. The Clippers are fighting their own fraught playoff history.

It’s a rutted road of blown leads, blowout losses, and early dismissals. The burden has lingered far longer than any of the current players have been on the roster.

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Merely by reaching the conference finals for the first time, the Clippers have altered their playoff history. That they did it by overcoming 0-2 deficits to win series against Dallas and Utah is even more compelling.

And because they play in Hollywood, why not up the drama? They’re back home trailing the Suns 0-2.

Game 3 is Thursday night at Staples Center. The Clippers are a 1-point favorite, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.

Whether five-time All-Star Kawhi Leonard returns for the Clippers from a right knee injury remains to be seen. He was hurt in Game 4 against Utah. Leonard stayed back in LA to rehab while the team lost in Phoenix.

Chris Paul reportedly intends to play for the Suns after being sidelined for the first two games of the series while in the league’s health and safety protocols.

“It’s going to be that much tougher,” Paul George said about Paul’s impending return.

Paul would like nothing better than to win on his former team’s home court, where he, along with Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan, rehabilitated the Clippers’ reputation from woebegone franchise to exciting contender. Paul was MVP of the 2013 All-Star Game. His alley-oop passes to Griffin and Jordan for dunks established the team’s Lob City moniker.

The trio was part of an epic collapse in 2015. The Clippers led James Harden and the Houston Rockets 3-1 in the second round, but they dropped the final three games to lose 4-3.

After six seasons, in which the Clippers never got past the second round, Paul exited. Griffin and Jordan followed him out of LA.

The playoff shortcomings didn’t end there.

With George and Leonard in their first season together, the Clippers led Denver 3-1 in the bubble last year. They appeared headed toward their first appearance in the conference finals.

Instead, they blew a 15-point lead to lose Game 5, blew a 19-point lead in losing Game 6 and collapsed in the fourth quarter to lose Game 7. Coach Doc Rivers ended up getting fired.

In his first year guiding the Clippers, coach Tyronn Lue has made a series of tweaks in each round. His latest involved starting 7-foot Ivica Zubac and Patrick Beverley in Game 2, in place of the small-ball combo of Terence Mann and Nicolas Batum.

“We called T-Lue Bill Belichick, all the adjustments he makes,” guard Reggie Jackson said. “He’s definitely going to find a way, and we’re going to find a way, also, like we always do.”

BOOGIE’S T

Clippers center DeMarcus Cousins was issued a postgame technical by the league on Wednesday for his “actions at the conclusion of the game” in Phoenix.

Cousins exchanged words with Suns guard Cameron Payne before pushing him. Cousins then bumped into Devin Booker and shoved him. Both incidents occurred in the chaos after Deandre Ayton’s game-winning dunk — dubbed “The Valley Oop” in Phoenix — with 0.7 seconds to go, when the Suns were celebrating and the Clippers were asking officials to review the play.

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BOOKER’S NOSE

Booker might be wearing a mask for Game 3 after he and Beverley bumped heads hard enough to draw blood. Booker’s nose needed a few stitches and he had his right nostril plugged after the game. Beverley sported a Band-Aid on his forehead.

PLAYOFF P

George has been streaky in the playoffs during his career, first with the Indiana Pacers and then the Oklahoma City Thunder. With Leonard sidelined, the spotlight and burden is squarely on him.

He’s averaging 40.7 minutes this postseason, similar to his averages with the Pacers (40.8) in 2018-19 and the Thunder (43.0) in 2016-17.

“Whenever he’s taking a lot of jump shots and not really attacking, you can tell he’s tired,” Lue said after Game 2, when George led the team with 26 points. But he missed two huge free throws with 0.9 seconds after making big plays down the stretch to give LA the lead.

George insisted, “I got stronger as the game went on.”

The 31-year-old forward hasn’t been this deep in the playoffs since 2013-14, when the Pacers lost to LeBron James and the Miami in the Eastern Conference finals for the second year in a row.

After being the centerpiece in Indiana, George moved to Oklahoma City and partnered with Russell Westbrook for two seasons. The Thunder lost in the first round both times.

George had surgery to repair tears in both shoulders in two years ago. He missed training camp and the first 11 games of his initial season in LA. In the playoff bubble, he averaged 20.2 points. It was his lowest output since 2012-13, when he averaged 19.2 with the Pacers.

George has scored 20 or more points in all 15 playoff games so far.

“If I have to do more, I’ll do that,” he said.

FEELING THE PAYNE

The Clippers felt the Payne. Cameron Payne, that is.

He had a career night subbing for Paul, scoring 29 points in just his second career postseason start. Payne’s offense proved crucial, with Booker going 5 of 16 from the floor following his 40-point, triple-double in Game 1. Payne had nine assists, two steals and no turnovers in 37 minutes. He had just one turnover in Game 1.

“Cameron Payne has done an unbelievable job of filling in for CP,” George said.

Payne has traveled a start-and-stop path since leaving Murray State two years early for the draft.

He played his first few seasons with Oklahoma City and Chicago. He was with Cleveland on a pair of 10-day contracts and then got released by Toronto in October 2019. Payne briefly turned up playing in China before landing in the NBA’s G-League early in 2020.

Last June, he signed with the Suns and had his highest scoring and rebounding averages while coming off the bench in the bubble.



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Local couple turns former Navy bus into traveling tiny home | Local News


The mobile home has AC and heating, solar panels on the roof hooked to lithium batteries, and a rooftop deck accessed from an interior ladder. There’s even space up there for a pop-up tent.

“The only thing that didn’t make it in, because it just takes too much floor space, is a bathtub,” Borland said. “But I’m thinking we can find room at some point for a detached one stored up top.”

They say a part of their dream is to eventually own small pieces of property in two or three different parts of the U.S.

“The hope is to eventually build an A-frame or tiny houses on those pieces of property, and then use the bus–home to travel between them,” said Austin. “We could stay in one and rent out the bus if that made sense.”

Austin and Borland have been working on the TV show “The Walking Dead: World Beyond” in and around Richmond. They say productions happen all over the country, and their converted bus can both get them there and then serve as a residence for as long as needed. Austin figures the bus could remain off the grid for up to a month.

“And at pennies on the dollar to what it would cost for hotels and eating at restaurants,” he said.

Austin, who has experience building custom houses, developed an affinity for the trades by accompanying his grandfather—Don Austin, a welder—to work sites when he was young.



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Where Hollywood Is Traveling for Vacation – The Hollywood Reporter


Thanks to COVID-19 vaccines, many in Hollywood are traveling again.

In recent weeks, Miles Teller and wife Keleigh Sperry as well as Shailene Woodley and fiance Aaron Rodgers hiked in Hawaii; Molly Sims and husband Scott Stuber, Netflix’s head of global film, hit St. Barts; and Winston Duke hung out at Four Seasons Punta Mita, north of Puerto Vallarta in Mexico.

And as restrictions loosen up, travel specialists are noticing a trend. “Summer travel is much more emotional and intentional for our clients. People are less frenetic and are just really looking forward to getting back to the places that have previously brought a lot of happiness,” says Melissa Biggs Bradley, founder of boutique members-only travel company Indagare. Lia Batkin, co-founder of Virtuoso agency In The Know Experiences has heard the same sentiments. “Many travelers want to go back to something they love rather than trying out a new destination, with private yacht charters being particularly popular as well.”

That holds true for Lionsgate and BBC Studios L.A. Partnership head of scripted programming Rachel Bendavid, who is planning a return trip to Zihuatanejo, Mexico. “Being there is comfort food for us,” she says. Echoes Jennifer Gwartz, executive vp at UCP, “We’re returning to Nantucket, where we’ve spent past summers,” she says. “It’s back to basics, reuniting with friends and appreciating quieter, meaningful moments together.”

After missing going to Cape Cod last year due to the pandemic, casting director Seth Yanklewitz and his family can’t wait to return this summer. “Summers in Provincetown have been a tradition for us,” he says. “We’ll be there for two weeks along with five other families.”

Europe also is calling as many countries have opened or soon will open their borders to American visitors. “This is the time to experience Europe as authentically as you can without cruise ships, tour buses and wall-to-wall crowds,” says Jack Ezon, founder of bespoke travel company Embark Beyond. Bendavid and her family, recognizing the opportunity, later this summer will head to Spain (where Madrid’s grand Belle Epoque-era Mandarin Oriental Ritz recently reopened). “We’ve spent time there, it’s familiar and will feel more relaxing now,” says Bendavid.

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The Mandarin Oriental Ritz in Madrid (from around $970 a night), which reopened after a renovation.
Manolo Yllera/Courtesy of Mandarin Oriental Ritz

TV producer Laurie Zaks plans to travel to Puglia. “I haven’t been on a plane for over a year, but I love Italy and it feels like a good time to go,” she says. Many new sumptuous boutique hotels in the region are also luring industry executives including Borgo Santandrea on the Amalfi Coast, complete with a private sandy beach and the Castello di Reschio, a dazzling 36-room restored castle in the Umbrian countryside.

Given updated European entry requirements, planning is critical to avoid delays. “Each country has its own nuances, so plan ahead and double down on VIP greeters [through airport concierge services] to help usher you through arrival,” says Ezon. “Italy alone requires several conditions be met to enter without quarantining, including a 72-hour PCR test prior to boarding what’s designated as a COVID-Free Flight, followed by a rapid test upon arrival, and those testing and immigration lines can be over two hours long.” Ezon also recommends getting a membership to Covac Global, a medical evacuation repatriation service. “If you get COVID overseas, they’ll get you home safely.”

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Hotel Ynez in the Santa Ynez Valley (from $199 a night on weekdays; $264 on weekends).
Karyn R. Millet/Courtesy of Hotel Ynez

Those who find Europe still too daunting are vacationing closer to home. “No flying for us,” says This Radicle Act president Karyn Smith-Forge. She plans to spend time in Santa Barbara County’s bucolic Santa Ynez Valley wine country. Recently opened properties there include the Hotel Ynez, featuring hammock-studded guest room patios and a pool (a rarity for the area). Chef-helmed restaurants to check out include Peasants Feast, Coast Range & Vaquero Bar and Tavern at Zaca Creek.

In Sonoma, the reservation to score will be at chef Dustin Valette’s new experiential restaurant The Matheson when it opens in July on Healdsburg’s historic plaza. In Northern California’s wine country, MacArthur Place, Beltane Ranch and Auberge du Soleil are the most sought-after properties thanks to the bungalow-style guest rooms and private, expansive settings. “Everyone wants stand-alone accommodations in wide open spaces,” says Biggs Bradley. With wine tastings by appointment only and booking up, Nigel and Allyson Weekes of Bohemian Highway Travel Co. design unforgettable, private tasting experiences at such wineries as B. Wise Vineyards, Aperture Cellars, Three Sticks Wines and Far Niente.

Among mountain areas in the West, a hot new getaway spot is The Green O, an adults-only forest hideaway of 12 modernist home-style accommodations on The Resort at Paws Up’s 37,000-acre ranch in Greenough, Montana. It’s said to be one of the toughest reservations this summer as are both The Gant and The Residences at Aspen Valley Ranch in Aspen. Says Biggs Bradley, “We’re seeing an intense desire to be immersed in nature. It’s about returning nostalgically to those days of summers past.”

A version of this story first appeared in the June 16 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here to subscribe.





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What to Expect If You’re Traveling This Summer – NBC 6 South Florida


After a year of lockdowns and staycations, millions of Americans are ready to get away.

“We’ve heard from consumers that they’re ready to travel,” said Jorge Avalos, a senior brand manager for Travelocity. “The majority of them are planning to book a trip over the next nine months.”

Avalos said a recent Travelocity survey found one group of travelers was most eager to travel.

“Parents of kids are ready to get out there, especially right now over the summer,” Avalos said.

Another trend the survey found was reuniting with loved ones, he said.

“The thing that people are missing the most is socializing … with family and friends,” he said. “So here at Travelocity, we’re calling this summer the summer of family reunions because so many people are just ready to get back into it.”

But the pent-up demand will likely mean consumers will end up paying more for that family vacation.

“Summer travel is going to be more expensive,” said Adit Damodaran, an economist for Hopper.com, an app that monitors trip prices to help consumers find the best deals.

According to Hopper, consumers may want to consider traveling domestically later in the summer.

“Right now, June is looking to be the most expensive travel month,” Damodaran said.

Hopper said domestic ticket prices have already jumped 12% since April – a trend that is expected to continue in June, topping out at an average of about $293 roundtrip.

“We’re starting to return to pre-pandemic pricing for airfare,” Damodaran said.

Hotels will also likely cost more but expect to see the biggest increase in rental car prices.

“Those prices have nearly doubled since January,” Damodaran said. “Now, it’s almost $100 a day to secure a rental car.”

Kim Orlando, founder of Travelingmom.com, said now more than ever it is important to research a destination and have a plan B.

“You may need to change on a dime,” Orlando said. “Or stay somewhere else or cancel your trip if you need to for whatever reason.”

While life is getting back to normal, don’t be surprised if you see COVID surcharges on your restaurant bill in some parts of the country, Orlando said.

“Be prepared and ask ahead of time, are surcharges going to show up on my bill and what is the surcharge?” she said. “Is it 4% or 3% and can I decline it and just tip according to how I want to tip?”

For international travel, the experts NBC 6 Responds spoke to recommend booking the week a country or region announces it is opening up to U.S. travelers, in order to find the best deals.

Damodaran said you may want to consider Iceland or Greece for decent deals for more immediate travel. If you plan to travel later in the summer, he said Portugal might be worth looking into.



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House Republican presses bill to prevent Harris from traveling overseas before visiting the border


Iowa Republican Rep. Ashley Hinson appeared on the House floor Monday to press for legislation that would bar Vice President Harris from taxpayer-funded international travel until she visits the southern border first.

Harris, whom President Biden deputized to lead efforts in Central America to eradicate the “root causes” of the massive waves of illegal immigrants heading from there to the U.S. border, has faced strong Republican criticism for not bothering to experience firsthand the crisis she’s playing a role in ending.

“This crisis is worsening by the day. Yet, the vice president has refused to go to the border herself and talk to the brave law enforcement officers, the men and women who are fighting this on the frontlines. This out-of-sight, out-of-mind approach is a disgrace,” Hinson said on the House floor.

“She’s been to yarn shops, she’s been to bakeries, and she just flew right over the crisis at our southern border to meet with foreign countries with the taxpayer’s checkbook in hand. When asked why she hasn’t visited the border, she laughed. She laughed, and this is no laughing matter. The border crisis impacts the safety and security of every Iowan, of every American. Every state is a border state right now.”

HARRIS FALSELY CLAIMS ‘WE’VE BEEN TO THE BORDER’ WHEN PRESSED ON HER LACK OF VISIT

Hinson asked for immediate consideration of her measure, but Democrats rebuffed her. House Rules Committee Chairman Jim McGovern, D-Mass., rejected the proposal as unserious and said it was not worth discussing any further.

The White House repeatedly has made the point that Harris was put in charge of addressing the reasons why migrants are leaving their homes, not border security itself.

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But, amid escalating pressure from Republicans, Harris recently said she would visit the border, though she declined to say when. 

The vice president flew to Guatemala and Mexico last week to address issues like corruption and economic reform as part of the administration’s effort to eliminate the causes of migration. Nevertheless, Harris was repeatedly forced during the trip to focus instead on questions about why she had not visited the border.
 



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Henry Golding Interview About Traveling Tips


Henry Golding is more than just an incredibly talented actor, new dad, and former hairstylist — he’s also an avid traveler with a passion for new experiences and the great outdoors. The Crazy Rich Asians star, who recently partnered with the buy now, pay later company Affirm to encourage people to go on their dream vacations, wherever those might be, talked to POPSUGAR about his best travel tips and how he’s anxious to get back out there and see the world again (same, Henry, same). “I suppose with me being in the professional travel realm for the longest time and us going through a place in history where we are all yearning to get out there again, Affirm is really going to allow people to get back on the road,” Golding told POPSUGAR in a recent interview.

Golding has been traveling since he was a kid, and was “lucky enough” to be located in London, a central area where he has had easy access to Europe, the US, and more. A former travel presenter for the BBC’s The Travel Show, his love for exploring has always been apparent, even after making the career shift to full-time Hollywood actor. From working on Crazy Rich Asians in Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Penang, and far-off Malaysian archipelagos, traveling for work is nothing new for the star. “It’s great when work and travel coexist in that sense,” Golding said. With a potential new project shooting in Italy (Sicily and Turin, to be exact), he can still capture snippets of the world even while being on set.

As for traveling outside of work, things have changed for the new dad — one of which being packing way more for his little one. The actor and his wife welcomed a baby girl into the world in April, and their lives — including their travels — have already changed drastically. The usually laidback traveler now has to plan his schedule a bit more, not to mention bring a couple more bags (playsets included). “Packing takes three hours longer, that’s for sure. We’re still like, ‘Have we got this? Have we got that? Does she need this? What do we do if this happens?'” the actor laughed. “We definitely pack more for her than we did for ourselves, so that’s different.”

Although he was a travel host and has always been a passionate sightseer, Golding has one favorite place in particular that he’s been to, and it’s a “beautiful oasis” that he’ll never forget. On a trip to Kenya with the BBC, Golding went to Amboseli National Park and realized “it was one of those life-changing experiences of how grounded and how beautiful nature is.” The star toured the area with a couple of park rangers, and was able to encounter countless elephants while on top of a so-called “ratty old Land Rover.” “They just surrounded us and it was just remarkable,” he said. “The most joyful experience I’ve had while traveling.”

“Losing yourself in a city is one of the greatest joys. You just come across the most fantastic things.”

The Snake Eyes actor also enjoys going on vacations that include street food, learning from the locals, and sitting on a beach and becoming “red as a lobster” (although we feel it’s our duty here to advocate for sunscreen!). The Golding way to travel involves a flexible itinerary where he usually only books the accommodation and wings the rest. Exploring the streets, indulging in new food, and forgoing Google Maps is his way to do it, leaving the rest up to chance. “Losing yourself in a city is one of the greatest joys. You just come across the most fantastic things,” he said.

While he often travels in Europe and the surrounding countries, the actor has also spent time in the US — on the East Coast specifically. Golding did a whole day in Massachusetts, exploring both Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket. “I would really recommend Nantucket, it’s one of my favorite little spots. Beautiful restaurants, and just vibey,” he told POPSUGAR. To make the most of his trips like he did there, Golding’s one main tip is this: travel with patience. Have an agenda, but don’t get too wrapped up in a schedule. “By forcing yourself to be somewhere at certain times, do this and do that, and trying to tick off so many things in a day, you lose that sense of adventure.” Whether he’s shooting the next big Hollywood hit or packing up carseats and toys, Golding’s love and appreciation for traveling is enough to kick anyone’s wanderlust into overdrive!

Interested in learning more about Golding’s partnership with Affirm? You can do so right here.





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Minimize risk while traveling this summer | News


After a year of being quarantined, many are ready to get out and travel this summer. And although business travel is expected to be slow and steady, The American Hotel & Lodging Association predicts a boom in leisure travel this summer. And according to the Expedia Travel Trends Report, the average person saved $3,444 for a trip in 2021. The Better Business Bureau advises consumers not only to anticipate crowding and congestion, but also to be prepared for an increase in scam activity during this travel season.

As the travel industry adapts to new regulations, health awareness, and customer requirements, the overwhelming theme for consumers is trust.

This season brings a new set of challenges to travelers,” Mechele Agbayani Mills, President and CEO of BBB Serving Central East Texas said. “Doing your homework ahead of time to be well informed about travel restrictions as well as to ensure you are working with reputable companies will help make your vacation worry-free.”

BBB provides the following to ensure safe and hassle-free travel as restrictions are lifted or changed:

Research before booking. Read up on masking and vaccination requirements at the location where you intend to travel. States and countries are handling restrictions differently. If the information is not found on the website, check the Centers for Disease Control – cdc.gov and the International Air Transport Association (IATA) – iata.org

Have proper identification. The deadline for the TSA-required Real ID has been delayed to October 1, 2021; however, make sure parties traveling together have a current compliant ID as required by each state. Check tsa.gov or travel.gc.ca/travelling/documents for those traveling between Canada and the US.

Be a savvy traveler –avoid scams. According to the 2020 BBB Scam Tracker Risk Report, travel scams ranked in the top ten riskiest scams, with victims losing on average more than $1,300. Scammers are great at mimicking official seals and fonts to make travel and vaccination documents seem real. Double check the website by looking for a direct contact phone number or physical address and confirming that information through a reliable source.

If it sounds suspicious, it probably is. The rollout of the COVID-19 vaccines has led to several different scams, from fake vaccination cards to falsely claiming there is a fee to get the vaccine. Check BBB.org for more information on how to avoid these traps.

Read all cancellation policies carefully. Not all situations, including a pandemic, require a full refund of the ticket value and fees. Each online travel agency, airline, hotel and broker is different.

Use secure and traceable transactions. Do not pay by wire transfer, prepaid money card, gift card, or other non-traditional payment method. Keep all personal information personal.

BBB means trust in the marketplace. 88% of US consumers who are familiar with the BBB letter grade are more likely to purchase from a business with an A rating or higher.





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10 Mistakes to Avoid While Traveling Abroad During the COVID-19 Pandemic




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