Monday, May 30, 2011

Dirk, Maino And T-Pain: All The Above

It's cool when a man and a song come together.

And this mix featuring Dirk Nowitzki and "All the Above" by Maino and T-Pain is just that occasion.

For anyone who has suffered and fought long and hard to get through it, this song by Maino is the perfect anthem for them.

Of course, the same would apply to Jason Kidd and some guys on Miami.

But Nowitzki beat them to the punch.

This is another video to get you ready for the NBA Finals.

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Invincible: Miami, Tinie Tempah And Kelly Rowland

These are some videos to get you ready for the NBA Finals.

The first features some highlights from Miami's season and LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh coming together.

The second is from Miami's first-round series against Philadelphia, with "Invincible" by Tinie Tempah and Kelly Rowland.

It's a beautiful song and a beautiful film.

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Saturday, May 28, 2011

Mavericks And Heat: NBA Finals Preview

It must first be pointed out that I have been a strong supporter of both teams from the very beginning.

I may be the only sportswriter in America who named Dallas as a contender before the season started.

And while everybody had Miami as a contender, not all of them stuck with Miami after they started 9-8 like I did.

I have been all over both coaches (Rick Carlisle criticism, Erik Spoelstra criticism) because they both deserved it based on the decisions they were making at the time.

But never did I back off my claim that each team had the talent to win it all.

The closest I came to writing Miami off was when Boston traded for Jeff Green, but after Miami countered by signing Mike Bibby I put them back in the game and gave them a near 50-50 shot to win the East.

I still think a fully-healthy Boston is the best team in the East, but as we all know with injuries, sugar-honey-iced-tea happens.

And going all the way back to September, I never liked Chicago as a legitimate contender because of the limited amount of talent on their roster, though I gave them an equal chance to win the conference finals because anything can happen.

As far as me questioning Spoelstra's ability to lead Miami to a championship, it's amazing how much better a coach can look once a few extra guys start contributing.

With Udonis Haslem and Mike Miller knocking down shots and snatching rebounds, Spoelstra suddenly looks like Red Auerbach.

Other than his disastrous decision to try to play small ball against Chicago in Game 1 and LeBron James' heavy minutes, I have little problem with anything he did in the conference finals.

He has the Cadillac on cruise control right now, with the AC blowing, listening to some Al Green or something.

With Miami in position to win it all, as they told everyone they would, other writers are coming to grips with the sad reality that the man and the team they love to hate could be hoisting a championship trophy soon; and it's not sitting well with them.

As I said before, I couldn't care less about "The Decision."

I wouldn't give a damn if LeBron James went on national television and announced his decision to leave Cleveland while talking out of his ass like Jim Carrey in Ace Ventura: Pet Detective.

It has nothing to do with basketball.

I cover the game, not the soap opera, the petty gossip and the ridiculous nonsense outside of the game, like "The Decision," James' mother getting arrested, Allen Iverson's Lambo getting impounded, how many children someone has out of wedlock or who Kris Humphries or anybody else is dating.

It's asinine.

And I thought Miami's introduction was fun and entertaining.

What else was I supposed to do in July? Watch baseball?

I haven't made any predictions in the playoffs so far and won't do so in this series.

Each team has advantages and disadvantages which could go either way when they collide against each other over the course of several games, and which way they will go is anybody's guess.

Both teams have a legitimate chance to win it all, and I can't tell you what the deciding factors will be in determining which team that will be.

But it should be fun to watch and find out.

Dirk Nowitzki, Jason Kidd and Dallas are the good guys.

LeBron James and Miami are the villains, the Evil Empire.

Will Dallas be able to fend off Miami and save everything which is good and pure about basketball?

Or will LeBron James and Dwyane Wade lead the NBA to hell in a hand-basket of super teams and big-market or warm-weather monopolies?

Tune in Tuesday at 9:00 to find out as two teams from opposite parts of the country battle for the future of the NBA.

I don't really believe that, but it's how the series is being billed by some people.

Note: This is an article I wrote on the valuable lesson I learned after picking Detroit and other teams to do well and watching their disappointing play during the season.

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Friday, May 27, 2011

Nick Young: Young Gun

Featuring a low-key version of "Coming Home" by Diddy and Dirty Money, these are highlights of Nick Young of the Washington Wizards.

I was hesitant to use this video because Carmelo Anthony already has his clips to the song, and I don't like using the same song over and over for different players because it takes away the meaning and the identification the more you use the song for different players.

And "Coming Home" is most definitely Carmelo Anthony's song.

But it is played kind of low and sort of used as background music more than anything else, so it's not as bad.

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Linkin Park, Kevin Durant And Russell Westbrook

Here are some highlights of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook from the season which just ended for Oklahoma City.

"Leave Out All the Rest" by Linkin Park is the song.

And I've been waiting to post this reel of Westbrook for a few days now, with "All Black Everything" by Lupe Fiasco used as the instrumental.

For some perspective on Oklahoma City, it would be instructive to read this article by JA Adande and pay particular attention to the "Age of Champions" chart he provides.

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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Kanye West And Boston's Big Four

Boston Celtics fans can send thank yous to my inbox.

It took me 10 days to find this! But it was worth it.

I tried searching for Paul Pierce, then Rajon Rondo, Kevin Garnett and finally Ray Allen. I even tried searching for the team but couldn't come up with anything of note for either individual or the team.

I stumbled across this video on a Ray Allen search. It's nine minutes long but worth every second.

The first song is "My Time" by Fabolous and Jeremih. The second is "All of the Lights" by Kanye West and Rihanna.

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Monday, May 23, 2011

Coming Home: 'Melo, Diddy And Dirty Money

This is it!

Some things just grow on you.

I saw this video a few days ago and wasn't crazy about it. But after surfing the net for several days I ran back across it and was blown away.

The song is "Coming Home" by Diddy and Dirty Money.

And the basketball is Carmelo Anthony and the New York Knicks.

It was made before the playoffs, so Anthony's big games against Boston aren't on there.

But never have a song and a situation been so perfect for each other.

And the way it is all put together is a sight to behold.

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JR Smith: On The Rise

Shaquille O'Neal had a song back in the day where he said he didn't need a hook.

And neither does JR Smith!

While these mixes go better with a song, Smith shows all he needs is a ball, an arena and an instrumental to get it cracking, and a little help from some game announcers.

I had to create a new category for players like Smith, HBIQ Underground Cinema.

Underground Cinema is for young players on the rise, underrated players who aren't stars but can play, players who are stars but not like the biggest stars in the game or who aren't as fun to watch as the other stars and anything which doesn't fit easily into another category.

That will allow me to showcase more players and at the same time make them easy to find.


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Sunday, May 22, 2011

Carmelo And Jay-Z: Empire State Of Mind

You wouldn't believe how hard it is to find a good highlight reel.

And for some reason, some players don't have anything out there while others have enough for themselves and five other guys.

Carmelo Anthony has quite a few, but they don't measure up in one way or another, so I'm still waiting for that perfect one.

You would think that with all of the filmmakers in New York that something more would be out there, but there isn't.

This is something to hold you over until that knockout mix comes.

It's a Carmelo Anthony reel to "Empire State of Mind" by Jay-Z and Alicia Keys.

It's a little short (under two minutes). That's my only problem with it.

The song has explicit lyrics.

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Encore: Jay-Z, Monta Ellis And Stephen Curry

Monta Ellis and Stephen Curry were fortunate enough to have mixes of them made to two different Jay-Z songs.

The Curry mix is to "Numb/Encore" with Linkin Park.

And the Ellis mix is to "Run This Town" with Rihanna, Kanye West and Drake.

The Ellis mix is missing some plays.

But I guess when you make a highlight play every other game there are bound to be some things left off. These videos can only be so long.

As far as Curry's, missing some plays but there isn't a complaint in the world.

It's about perfect.

I'm still looking for a Monta Ellis one as good as that.

"Numb/Encore" contains explicit lyrics.

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Saturday, May 21, 2011

Winner: Kevin Durant, Jamie Foxx, JT And TI

I'm searching for a good reel of Kevin Durant for this season and can't find one.

But I was able to find a nice one from just before the season started. It has footage from Team USA included.

The song is "Winner" by Jamie Foxx, Justin Timberlake and TI.

This may have to do until after the playoffs because it would be best to have Durant's playoff performances included on whatever highlights I come up with.

Oklahoma City is tied 1-1 with Dallas right now, so there is no telling how long they will be playing.

But I'll keep looking and will provide the newest one when I run across it.

The song contains a few explicit lyrics.

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Friday, May 20, 2011

Classic: Dwyane Wade and Lupe Fiasco

I posted some Derrick Rose highlights with Kanye West this morning.

But since Dwyane Wade is from Chicago too and is also playing in the playoffs, and there are other Chicago musicians around with hit songs, I thought it only fair to find something showcasing Dwyane Wade.

And I was very fortunate to come up with a nearly flawless video of Wade's 2010-11 season with music by Chicago's own Lupe Fiasco, "The Show Goes On."

It has almost everything from Wade's season that you would expect.

And what would a good Dwyane Wade highlight reel be without his famous, "This is my house!" antics?

The footage I found of Blake Griffin and Derrick Rose the past couple days inspired me to start HBIQ Cinema and HBIQ Legends Cinema.

Some highlight reels go beyond being just highlights and turn into total entertainment experiences.

So I'll use the HBIQ Cinema label for them and use HBIQ Cinema as a place where you can go to watch them and just be entertained for as long as you wish.

HBIQ Legends Cinema is for players no longer in the NBA like Michael Jordan.

But be warned: In what has to be some sort of internet record, the Michael Jordan highlights I linked to just last month have already been removed; so you might want to watch these as quickly as possible before they disappear forever.

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Thursday, May 19, 2011

Power: Derrick Rose and Kanye West

No two men should have all this power.

Since Derrick Rose and Kanye West are both from Chicago, I thought it would be cool to find some Rose highlights with some West music.

And I so happened to find a really good one.

It starts kind of slow, but if you wait 50 seconds it will be worth your while.

For those of you who can't get enough Derrick Rose, here is a story Steve Aschburner wrote about him last month.

He tracks Rose's roots all the way back to elementary school and Murray Park, where Rose used to play basketball growing up, and follows him to high school and college and the NBA.

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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

My Time: Blake Griffin, Maino, T-Pain And Fabolous

Now that the season is over and a little time has passed, highlight reels are starting coming out.

And you'll be hard pressed to find one better than this one featuring Blake Griffin.

The music is a mix of "All of the Above" by Maino and T-Pain and "My Time" by Fabolous and Jeremih.

And it shouldn't be missed!

I didn't write about Blake Griffin much during the season because in August I wrote that he was all-world, and the NBA had never before seen a power forward like him.

What else is there to say after that?

I mean, how many different ways can you say Blake Griffin is awesome?

Someone needs to come up with a list of a bunch of different words you can use to describe Griffin in new and exciting ways.

Not to toot my own horn, but I nail a bunch of these player evaluations and usually do so long before anyone else.

But I always go back to what John Thompson said about Allen Iverson. He said he knew Iverson was good, but he had no idea Iverson was that good!

And that's what almost always happens to me with these guys.

Even though I sometimes go way over the top in praise of them, they usually end up being even better than I thought.

And that is certainly the case with Blake Griffin.

I was extremely high on him, but never in my wildest dreams did I think he would turn out to be as sensational as he was last year. He literally took the world by storm and set off a movement which may know no bounds.

He was just that unbelievable.

Not only did he make the Clippers relevant, he helped make the NBA relevant again.

And that is saying a ton.

So enjoy the music and the clips of the all-world power forward who not only did the impossible on the court but off the court as well.

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Monday, May 16, 2011

Western Conference Finals Preview

This is a classic battle of experience versus youth.

Dallas is one of the most seasoned teams in the NBA and Oklahoma City one of the youngest. Boston, Los Angeles and San Antonio have all been eliminated, leaving Dallas to carry the torch for the older generation against a league of up-and-coming teams.

Vincent Thomas is sad to see the last generation pass, and his feelings touch people who loved watching the guys play in their day.

I guess you could say that I'm more used to it.

I watched in the same pain and sadness the last days of Muhammad Ali, Reggie Jackson, Lawrence Taylor, Isiah Thomas, Larry Bird, Walter Payton, Franco Harris, Jack Ham, Terry Bradshaw and many others.

Charles Barkley said it best, "Father Time is undefeated."

Dallas has older players who you would expect to make fewer mistakes than Oklahoma City. Due to their relative experience, they are generally smarter than Oklahoma City and know how to play winning basketball better.

Oklahoma City is much younger and much more athletic than Dallas. And due to their relative youth, they should be able to play with more energy for longer periods of time.

Rick Carlisle and Scott Brooks are both very good coaches, and the talent is pretty much equal. Both teams have outstanding players and contributors everywhere you look.

They haven't met since January, so you can throw the regular-season matchups (Dallas won 2-1) out the window because of the roster changes Oklahoma City has made since then.

No team has an edge in this series which I can see.

The NBA has evolved over the past several years and made such a quantum leap in the volume of talented players that the difference between teams is very minor and almost non-existent, and that becomes more apparent when you look at the final four teams.

This is yet another series which is unpredictable and way too close to call.

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Coaching Experience Vastly Overrated

When I read that Jerry Sloan and Jeff Van Gundy declined interviews to coach the Golden State Warriors, I can't help but think they did Golden State a favor.

And to me Mike Brown is little more than Keith Smart with glasses.

Sloan had ample opportunity to win a championship in Utah and never got it done. And Van Gundy had his chances in New York and Houston and never brought home any championship hardware either.

And that is where Golden State got lucky because history tells us that a coach who doesn't win it all on his first job will probably never do it on his second job or later.

Going all the way back to the early days of the NBA, first-time coaches rule.

John Kundla, who coached the first dynasty in NBA history, had no head-coaching experience when he took over the Minneapolis Lakers in 1948.

The same can be said for Phil Jackson and Pat Riley.

Experience wasn't necessary when they took over Chicago and Los Angeles and led them to 10 championships.

With the number of first-hire championships in parentheses, here is the list of first-time coaches who won multiple titles on their first job: John Kundla (4), Bill Russell (2), Tommy Heinsohn (2), Pat Riley (4), Phil Jackson (6), Rudy Tomjanovich (2), Gregg Popovich (4).

Only 22 titles in NBA history have been won by coaches on their second hire or later after they didn't win one the first time around, nine of those by Red Auerbach.

You have to go all the way back to Chuck Daly in 1990 to find a coach who won more than one title after failing to win one on his first job, although Larry Brown and Doc Rivers came close, losing Game 7s on the road in 2005 and 2010.

Multiple championship winners after failing to win one on the first hire are as follows: Red Auerbach (9), Red Holzman (2), KC Jones (2), Chuck Daly (2).

Bill Sharman, Jack Ramsay, Dick Motta, Lenny Wilkens, Bill Fitch, Larry Brown and Doc Rivers all won one championship on their second hire or later.

First-time coaches who won one title the first time include Les Harrison, Al Cervi, George Senesky, Alex Hannum, Larry Costello, Al Attles, Paul Westhead and Billy Cunningham.

All other championships were won by coaches who won at least one on their first hire and others on their second or later.

Put it all together and 39 of the 61 NBA titles (63.9%) have been won by the coaches who started by winning one on their first job after being hired with no head-coaching experience in the NBA.

The same model holds true in the NFL.

Paul Brown, Weeb Ewbank, Vince Lombardi, Chuck Noll, Tom Landry, Don Shula, John Madden, Tom Flores, Bill Walsh, Joe Gibbs, Bill Parcells, Mike Ditka, Jimmy Johnson and George Seifert (pretty much all of the greatest coaches in NFL history) had never been head coaches in the NFL but went on to win championships during their first hires.

Mike Shanahan and Bill Belichick are the only coaches to win multiple Super Bowls after failing to win one with their first team.

This isn't to say that no experienced coach should ever be hired again, only that inexperienced ones shouldn't be overlooked simply because they don't have the experience.

Inexperienced coaches who are in over their heads can be public relations nightmares, so teams tend to hire experience out of "CYA" more than anything else.

But we have more than a half century of history in two different sports which tells us that first-time coaches are the best coaches, particularly for teams which want to win multiple championships.

Jerry Sloan and Jeff Van Gundy don't want to coach Golden State?

The Bay Area should be so lucky.

Note: NBA coaching data is from Basketball NFL coaching data is from Pro Football Here is a quick reference to NBA champion coaches.

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Friday, May 13, 2011

Eastern Conference Finals Preview

NBA officials and television executives are probably still drunk after all of the champagne they popped when the Atlanta Hawks didn't advance to the conference finals.

MVP Derrick Rose and Chicago's media market going against the star power of LeBron James and Dwyane Wade for David Stern and the NBA was no doubt an orgasm-producing outcome.

And either of those teams advancing to the championship will be great business for all parties involved, not only for this season but for future seasons as well.

Many think Miami will roll over Chicago. But don't be fooled by what we just saw in the last round.

Atlanta has as much talent as almost any team in the NBA and is a good coach away from being a legitimate contender. And Miami benefited significantly from injuries to Shaquille O'Neal, Jermaine O'Neal and Rajon Rondo.

After seeing how the series played out, I would take a fully-healthy Boston team over a fully-healthy Miami team in a seven-game series.

Unfortunately for Boston, it didn't work out that way.

There is nothing to be gained from looking at Chicago's 3-0 sweep of Miami during the regular season.

LeBron James didn't play in the first game. Mike Bibby (not on the team yet) didn't play in the second. Joel Anthony didn't play in the third.

You could go back and forth with these playoff (or regular season) matchups for five hours and end up more confused than when you first started.

I wouldn't dare pick a winner in this or any other series.

The only thing I can say for sure is that it will be great television.

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Gordon Hayward's Rookie Season Highlights

You've got to see this highlight reel of Gordon Hayward's rookie season.

Set to Rage Against the Machine's "Wake Up," it's not flawless but is still one of the best you'll see.

Before the season I wrote about rookies who could have the next Iverson moment, and Hayward was certainly the one who had it with his magnificent performance against Kobe Bryant and the Lakers.

He had a bunch of other key moments too. And many of them are included in this wonderful highlight reel.

It starts off at the draft and goes to summer league before moving quickly to the regular season.

Showing skills and versatility, Gordon Hayward certainly made a name for himself as a rookie this year.

And the best part about it is that there is still more to come.

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Spoelstra Survives

Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra made it past the second round and did it quite easily thanks in part to some fortuitous injuries to key members of the Boston Celtics.

I was critical of him heading into the second round for a few reasons that I didn't fully detail at the time.

My main problem with Spoelstra's coaching is that it looks like he is letting Tom Haberstroh and the guys at Heat Index coach the Miami Heat.

Haberstroh has been critical of Miami's starting five.

He planted the seed about Miami's starting lineup featuring Mike Bibby and Zydrunas Ilgauskas near the end of the regular season and started beating the drum during the Philadelphia series.

The next thing you know, Bibby and Ilgauskas were benched four minutes into Game 5 against Philadelphia, never to return.

All of a sudden, Bibby and Ilgauskas were Siamese twins, linked in a joint performance where their value couldn't be determined individually but only in concert with one another.

Spoelstra didn't take the time to see which one was the problem.

He reacted quickly and benched both in what looked like a move to appease his critics more than anything else.

But it turns out Haberstroh hadn't done his full research.

The Bibby-gauskas twins weren't the problem at all; it was Ilgauskas alone. And Haberstroh had some more numbers to back it up.

It so happened that Miami was lethal when Mike Bibby and Joel Anthony played together with Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh, even against Philadelphia and going back to the regular season.

In there was this astonishing statistical nugget: That unit had played only nine minutes together against Philadelphia and only 35 minutes together during the season.

Haberstroh released this story before the Miami series against Boston.

Four games into the series, Spoelstra was reacting again, this time removing Ilgauskas from the starting lineup in favor of Anthony.

There are two problems here, the incomplete information it looked like Spoelstra reacted to the first time and the fact that he had a strong lineup which he hadn't yet discovered.

Isn't Erik Spoelstra the coach of the Miami Heat?

Shouldn't he know who his best units and players are without me (see Joel Anthony) or someone else having to tell him?

Isn't that what he is paid for?

And how is he going to lead a team to a championship when he can't filter good information from bad in making the best decisions for his team?

Every team Miami faces isn't going to be as small as Philadelphia or as injury-riddled as Boston. At some point Spoelstra is going to have to win some games against some legitimate competition.

And when that time comes, I'm still not sure that he'll be able to get it done.

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Thursday, May 5, 2011

The Jeff Teague Movement

Jeff Teague fans told us he was this good from the very beginning.

Whenever a point-guard issue comes up for the Atlanta Hawks, you'll see them all over the comments section of the AJC website, always vocal, always supportive.

Sometimes the issue doesn't have to involve the point guard, but they'll be there anyway, telling anyone who will listen/read about Jeff Teague and how great he is and how he should be getting more playing time.

"Free Jeff Teague," they will say.

I ignored them for about a year. I saw Teague in garbage time last year in the playoffs against Milwaukee and didn't see what they were seeing.

But eventually, it started to set in: Jeff Teague can play.

I named this group of Jeff Teague supporters the "Jeff Teague Movement" because they reminded me of how a political movement supports their candidate, and I voiced my support for the movement back at the trade deadline.

The problem was Larry Drew supported another party, so Teague continued to go mostly unused at the end of Atlanta's bench.

With the injury to Kirk Hinrich at the end of the Orlando series, Jeff Teague's moment had finally arrived.

But it was a tremendous challenge: the second round of the playoffs, his first playoff start, the team with the NBA's best record, playing on the road against the league MVP.

Cautiously optimistic would be the best way to describe my feelings going into the series.

The defense without Hinrich was never a concern because defense is what Jeff Teague is all about, and Atlanta has other athletes, as noted by Derrick Rose before the series, to help Teague whenever he slips up.

But what about the moment? Would it be too big for him?

Before the series he said these were the type of moments "you live for," indicating that he was more than ready for the challenge.

It sounded good.

But this was still Derrick Rose and the Chicago Bulls on the road in the second round of the playoffs.

By halftime, all questions had been answered.

It was Teague who scored the first basket of the series, not Rose, and he outscored Rose 6-5 in the first half of an Atlanta win in which he played 45 minutes.

After the game, Larry Drew gave him the game ball.

That was nice, but what about Game 2?

Could he follow up on Game 1 and show he truly belonged?

In Game 2, Teague led the Hawks in scoring and had three steals and two blocks and forced at least two other turnovers with his active defense.

He even stripped Rose in the open court, leading to two made free throws.

It's only two games, and he still has a long way to go in this series, but it looks like all of those Jeff Teague fans in the comments section of the AJC website were right.

And everyone else is starting to realize what they knew all along: Jeff Teague can play.

And most importantly, he is finally free.

Here is a really good highlight reel featuring Teague, including clips from his six points in 9.2 seconds against Portland on March 12.

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