The 28 year old Lions and Ireland winger confirmed this morning that he was retiring due to a neck injury. Leinster coach Leo Cullen says Fitzgerald will be a massive loss to the team.
It’d be wrong to call Clash Royale’s BAFTA win “unprecedented”. Rather, it’s surprising, but not a victory without reason. Clash Royale was voted by its fans for the AMD Esports Audience Award.The internet went ballistic when the mobile game won the evening’s only esports award; the AMD Esports Audience Award. Clash Royale is only the latest in the game series, one of many brands that’s known for its app turnover rate and bearing the “cash cow” label-each traits that often spoil mobile games’ reputation. Still, any anger and confusion directed at the institution in charge went the wrong way. After all, the vote was put online, and Clash players likely flooded the polls. At the very least, this proves that Clash players, even in sheer numbers, are a force to be reckoned with.What esports endemics should truly take away from this, though, is that they aren’t keeping an eye on mobile gaming well enough-and they’re missing out in major ways. While there’s certainly the question of exploitation that comes with high-turnover mobile gaming series, the fact that games like Clash Royale are so continuously successful has drawn the attention of forces greater than self-labeled “hardcore” gamers. Tencent, which owns League of Legends developer Riot, bought out Clash series developer Supercell for $8.6 billion – multiple times what the esports industry, as a whole, is worth right now.Recent games like the Clash of the Clans line tap into a need for real-time multiplayer competition on an accessible platform, with simple and quick gameplay that can become truly addictive. As a moneymaker, it’s not far off from mobile and PC rival Hearthstone, urging players to buy new cards to keep up with rivals. It’s not mandatory for either, but not doing so puts one at a disadvantage. For these reasons, it’s easy for even the most casual players to build up a thirst for competition, and that’s where Clash has recently done some heavy lifting. They felt the rumblings underneath the surface and started tweaking updates towards competitive play, and they’ve been extremely active in their own community in ways that many non-mobile games aren’t. Even if their first major competitive event was beyond cheesy, it doesn’t invalidate the time, effort and perhaps money that players and developers have put in. Beyond that, mobile esports organisations are choosing to play their hands in the game, meaning there’s a thought put towards the long-term potential of the game. Speaking of long-term potential, it’s become a recent focus of this and other prominent mobile games, such as Vainglory and Critical Ops. This specific shift in strategy means that there’s more esports opportunity than ever, since players are likely to stick around. It’s especially critical since mobile games are present in a wider variety of demographics, regarding both identity and location. PC games and consoles can do their best to adjust their affordability and accessibility, but there’s no way they can match the explosive virality of mobile games, especially not ones with such renown as Clash. The esports community and industry will now be introduced to these demographics on these games’ shoulders.Even if series such as Clash may never gain the full respect of non-mobile gamers, if their BAFTA win proves anything, it’s that they have the smashing financial success and player respect that other developers may only dream of achieving. This has abruptly put Clash in the spotlight, and instead of booing at the stage, perhaps it’s time to watch and learn how to create that same level of potential.
Paul scored 23 points with 11 assists, seven rebounds and four steals. Griffin also scored 23. J.J. Redick contributed 20 points and DeAndre Jordan and Matt Barnes each scored 12 with Jordan grabbing 16 rebounds.The victory did not come without some stress. The Pelicans (37-33) jumped out to a 13-2 lead. The Clippers did well to trail just 28-27 at the end of the quarter. The Clippers then played solidly to lead 50-43 after a Paul 17-footer with 2:26 to play in the half. But Los Angeles did not score again in the half as New Orleans finished on a 10-0 run to lead 53-50 at the break.Coach Doc Rivers was asked if he said anything to his team at intermission. “No, I mean, I didn’t like the way we started the game,” said Rivers, whose team has won four in a row. “It’s amazing, when you look at like the Washington start (Friday) and then tonight, it was just two different teams. We didn’t get it going and they jumped out.“I mean, they were on fire. They moved the ball, they literally could catch the ball almost anywhere they wanted to. And then we called that early timeout and then after that I thought we got the message and started competing.” Sunday’s game between the Clippers and New Orleans Pelicans featured teams thinking about the upcoming playoffs. The Clippers are almost a lock to make them but are looking to move up in the conference standings. The Pelicans are trying to make the postseason, period.The Clippers began the day just percentage points behind idle fourth-place Portland (44-24) in the West. New Orleans was in ninth, two games behind eighth-place Oklahoma City.Thanks in large part to Blake Griffin and Chris Paul, the Clippers emerged with a 107-100 victory over the Pelicans before 19,299 at Staples Center.Record-wise the Clippers at 46-25 are now a half-game ahead of Portland. However, if the season ended today the Trail Blazers would still be considered the No. 4 seed because they lead their Northwest Division. Yet, the Clippers would have homecourt advantage if the teams played each other in the first round. Anthony Davis led the Pelicans with 26 points and 12 rebounds. He made his first eight shots before finishing 11 of 13 from the field. Eric Gordon scored 23.The Pelicans, who shot 50.7 percent for the game, shot 70.6 percent in the first quarter. But when the game was on the line in the fourth, the Clippers held them to 36.8 percent from the field.“We got stops down the stretch and found some plays that worked for us offensively and then we just kept going” said Griffin, whose team led 81-77 heading into the fourth quarter and just 94-91 with four minutes to play before Redick hit a big 3-pointer for a 97-91 cushion with 3:47 left. “It was a good grind-out win.“The Pelicans are a great team and have some great players, so it’s a big win for us.”The Clippers are playing well. But there are still 11 games left in the regular season, so there is more work to do. Barnes likes what he’s seeing.“We’re continuing to get better,” he said. “We have to stay healthy and get Jamal (Crawford) back. Every game we have, we are trying to move up (in the standings). But we have to take every game like it is a playoff game and try to get that second or third seed.”Jordan agreed that homecourt advantage is nice. But it’s not the end-all to winning.“I think it is important … but at the end of the day, playoffs are just about matchups and how hard we come out and play,” he said.As for the Pelicans, they are really fighting for their playoff lives. Oklahoma City won Sunday, so the Pelicans are now three games out of that final playoff berth.While the Clippers were without valuable sixth-man Crawford for the 10th consecutive game, New Orleans was missing guard Tyreke Evans (ankle), guard Jrue Holiday (leg), forward Ryan Anderson (ankle) and center Omer Asik (calf).“We have been dealing with a lot of injuries,” Davis said. “It’s tough not having Tyreke, Jrue, Ryan and Omer, who are all important pieces on this team.“But this is the NBA. We have to deal with the adversity and still try to find a way to win.” Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error