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first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Kari Lydersen for Midwest Energy News:Peabody Energy is one of the country’s largest coal companies, supplying power plants and steel mills around the world.But in the past few years the company’s fortunes have plummeted, and environmental leaders don’t believe Peabody’s promises that, when the time comes, it will be able to pay more than $250 million to clean up its Illinois Basin mines.Under federal law, mining companies must set aside money to pay for reclamation once mining stops. This is generally done through insurance policies known as surety bonds. But the government also allows companies in good financial shape to “self-bond,” promising that their own assets will be able to cover the cost of reclamation.A decade ago, Peabody Energy would have been considered a robust company, and there were few concerns about its self-bonding arrangements.Today it’s a different story. And industry experts doubt that the plan Peabody executives described on an earnings call earlier this month will do much to turn the tide, given the rapid retreat of coal-fired power and the slowing of China’s economy that’s a major factor in worldwide coal demand.“The risk is that Peabody’s responsibility to clean up from its mining operations will be washed away in a bankruptcy proceeding, and Illinois taxpayers will be left holding the financial bag,” said Howard Learner, executive director of the Environmental Law & Policy Center (ELPC). “That’s unacceptable.”The ELPC on February 12 filed citizen complaints on behalf of Illinois and Indiana residents calling on the states to require Peabody to revise its self-bonding agreements. If this doesn’t happen, the complaint asks for the federal Office of Surface Mining Reclamation Enforcement (OSMRE) to charge the company with violations of the federal Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977 (SMCRA).Meanwhile, Peabody is proposing a debt swap to shore up its finances, and offering three mines in the Illinois Basin and one in Arizona as collateral for credit holders. The Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) released a study this month arguing that Peabody’s financial predictions for the Illinois Basin mines are too rosy and “unsustainable,” potentially meaning more bad news for the company and for its mine reclamation prospects if those debts go bad.“They pretty much think they can reduce their commitments through the bankruptcy process,” said IEEFA finance director Tom Sanzillo, former first deputy comptroller of New York and an expert on bankruptcy. “We’re very concerned about this, and the states are being reckless in how they’re managing a federal program.”Peabody’s problemsOn the earnings call, Peabody CFO and executive vice president Amy Schwetz described 2015 revenues of $5.6 billion, down 17 percent from the previous year. In 2012, Peabody’s revenue was $8.1 billion.Executives blamed the decline on falling coal prices and low sales volume, driven in part by a mild winter which has decreased demand for power, and on the slowing economy in China. They noted that coal revenues have been impacted by low natural gas prices, which make coal-fired power less competitive.Peabody’s mines are concentrated in Australia and in the U.S. West and Midwest. Peabody has massive holdings in the Powder River Basin in Wyoming, which ships coal to power plants in the Midwest; and the company mines in the Illinois Basin, in Indiana and Illinois. The IEEFA says that coal prices in the Powder River Basin have dropped 19 percent since 2012, and prices in the Illinois Basin have dropped 38 percent since that time.“There is no doubt our debt and equity are trading at distressed levels, which is indicative of the headwinds the industry is facing,” said Peabody CEO and President Glenn Kellow on the earnings call. “And, whilst we fully expect 2016 to be another trying year for the U.S. coal industry, we continue to believe that our leading positions in the lowest-cost basins will best position us to benefit from any rise in natural gas prices and coal demand over time.Peabody Energy did not take questions after the earnings call and did not respond to a request for comment for this story.“This is moving fast,” said Learner. “You’re watching the coal industry deteriorate not because of the so-called war on coal – it’s simply not competing well in the market.”Self-bonding concernsCiting Peabody’s 2015 year-end financial results, the ELPC complaint charges that Peabody does not meet the federal requirements for self-bonding, that “the applicant has a ratio of liabilities to net worth of 2.5 or less and a ratio of current assets to liabilities of 1.2 or greater.”“Peabody Energy has a ratio of liabilities to net worth of 11.6 and a ratio of current assets to liabilities of 0.84,” the complaints note.Peabody’s Illinois Basin self-bonding is done through a wholly-owned subsidiary of Peabody Energy, Peabody Investments Corporation.Experts say that if Peabody Energy declares bankruptcy, its subsidiary would not be able to make good on the self-bonding and cover the costs of reclamation. The federal regulations on self-bonding, developed in 1983, make clear that companies with a chance of bankruptcy should not be eligible.Companies are required to report to regulators if they have a significant deterioration in their financial condition. And even if they don’t report, it is regulators’ responsibility to keep an eye on the situation and ask the tough questions, in Sanzillo’s view. If a company’s position declines to the point that it can’t be trusted to cover its self-bonds, regulators have the power to demand a different reclamation guarantee.Peabody’s plansWith the debt swap, Peabody is hoping to reduce the principal of $1.5 billion in debt by $730 million, also reducing annual interest payments by $47 million.“Relative to the overall size of the Peabody debt burden and ongoing net losses, the savings are too small to have a meaningful impact on company finances,” says the IEEFA report.As part of its financial efforts, Peabody is selling its share of the troubled Prairie State Energy Campus in central Illinois. Peabody was one of the originators of the plant billed as an innovative “clean coal” “mine-to-mouth” operation fired by coal from an adjacent mine.The cost of the plant and its electricity has ballooned beyond original projections, and Peabody reduced its stake to a 5 percent ownership while municipalities and power authorities across the Midwest have been saddled with deals forcing them to pay well above market rate for power. Peabody is now selling its share to the Wabash Valley Power Association for $57 million. According to the IEEFA’s analysis of SEC filings, Peabody has invested $246 million in Prairie State.“They’re taking a haircut on this investment even though they’re saying they took a gain, which explains to me why they’re [potentially headed for] bankruptcy,” said Sanzillo. “They can’t tell a loss from a gain.”A dark future for coal?The precarious reclamation situation and the offering of three Illinois mines as collateral for Peabody’s debt swap could put pressure on the company to keep mines running that would otherwise be shuttered. This could contribute to a vicious cycle of increasing supply and diminishing coal prices.“The continuation of the self-bonding while these companies are in financial distress creates the conditions for them to maintain mines that should be closed,” said Sanzillo. “It’s a zombie mine, a dead mine that’s still alive – chasing a ghost market.”The Illinois Basin mines offered as collateral are the Wild Boar mine and Francisco Mine in Indiana, and the Gateway Mine in southern Illinois.“If they can’t come up with the premium payments or no one will insure them, then they need to close the mines,” Sanzillo continued. “No, they don’t have the money for reclamation. So the state would have a claim. I would just sue immediately, get in line on their bankruptcies.”An investigation released by Reuters in June 2015 noted that Peabody and the nation’s three other largest coal companies – Arch Coal, Alpha Natural Resources and Cloud Peak Energy – have $2.7 billion worth of future reclamation costs covered by self-bonding. Arch and Alpha, which have both declared bankruptcy, are also under federal scrutiny for their self-bonding practices.“If the industry was disciplined and realized the price of coal isn’t sufficient to cover what they’re doing, they should be closing mines – to tighten the supply, to increase the price and do better,” Sanzillo said. “We look at the fundamentals – the price of coal won’t carry it any time for the foreseeable future. You cut through the smoke…and the mule can’t pull the cart anymore.”Critics: Peabody can no longer be counted on to clean up coal mines Skeptics Say Peabody Is So Broke It Can’t Even Clean Up After Itselflast_img read more

first_imgGenerous provisions Applications for unemployment benefits peaked at 665,000 during the 2007-2009 recession, when 8.7 million jobs were lost. Economists say the country should brace for jobless claims to continue escalating, partly citing generous provisions of a historic $2.3 trillion fiscal package signed by President Donald Trump last Friday and the federal government’s easing of requirements for workers to seek benefits.As a result, self-employed and gig workers who previously were unable to claim unemployment benefits are now eligible. In addition, the unemployed will get up to $600 per week for up to four months, which is equivalent to $15 per hour for a 40-hour workweek. By comparison, the government-mandated minimum wage is about $7.25 per hour and the average jobless benefits payment was roughly $385 per person per month at the start of this year.”Why work when one is better off not working financially and health wise?” said Sung Won Sohn, a business economics professor at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles.Last week’s claims data has no bearing on the closely watched employment report for March, which is scheduled for release on Friday. For the latter, the government surveyed businesses and households in the middle of the month, when just a handful of states were enforcing “stay-at-home” or “shelter-in-place” orders.It is, however, a preview of the carnage that awaits. Retailers, including Macy’s, Kohl’s Corp and Gap Inc, said on Monday they would furlough tens of thousands of employees, as they prepare to keep stores shut for longer.According to a Reuters survey of economists, the government report on Friday is likely to show nonfarm payrolls dropped by 100,000 jobs last month after a robust increase of 273,000 in February. The unemployment rate is forecast to rise three-tenths of a percentage point to 3.8% in March.”A rough look at the most affected industries suggests a potential payroll job loss of over 16 million jobs,” said David Kelly, chief global strategist at JPMorgan Asset Management in New York. “The loss would be enough to boost the unemployment rate from roughly 3.5% to 12.5%, which would be its highest rate since the Great Depression.”Thursday’s claims report also showed the number of people receiving benefits after an initial week of aid jumped 1.245 million to 3.029 million for the week ended March 21, the highest since July 6, 2013 Topics : The number of Americans filing claims for unemployment benefits shot to a record high of more than 6 million last week as more jurisdictions enforced stay-at-home measures to curb the coronavirus pandemic, which economists say has pushed the economy into recession.Thursday’s weekly jobless claims report from the Labor Department, the most timely data on the economy’s health, reinforced economists’ views that the longest employment boom in US history probably ended in March.Initial claims for state unemployment benefits surged 3.341 million to a seasonally adjusted 6.648 million for the week ended March 28, the government said. Data for the prior week was revised to show 24,000 more applications received than previously reported, lifting the number to 3.307 million.center_img Economists polled by Reuters had forecast claims would jump to 3.50 million in the latest week, though estimates were as high as 5.25 million.”Similar to last week’s unemployment claims numbers, today’s report reflects the sacrifices American workers are making for their families, neighbors, and country in order to slow the spread,” US Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia said in a statement.The United States has the highest number of confirmed cases of COVID-19, the respiratory illness caused by the virus, with more than 214,000 people infected. Nearly 5,000 people in the country have died from the illness, according to a Reuters tally.The dollar was little changed against a basket of currencies. U.S Treasury prices were trading higher while US stock index futures pared gains.last_img read more

first_imgTelegraph (UK) 6 Feb 2012A two-year-old boy with “three parents” – his lesbian mother, her partner and a gay father – is at the centre of an Appeal Court test case on the status of “alternative” families. The mother says she made a pact with the father during a restaurant meeting before the boy was conceived that she and her lover would fill the role of “primary parents” within a “nuclear family” and that he would not stand on his paternal rights. But now she and her partner say they feel “bitter and betrayed” after the father – a former close friend who attended the birth and held the new-born baby in his arms – demanded overnight and holiday contact with his biological son. All three parents are highly-paid professionals living in central London and the father, in his 40s, insists he was always far more than a mere sperm donor and he wants to play a full paternal role in the life of the only child he is every likely to have. The father was formerly in a “marriage of convenience” with the mother, although they are now divorced, and three Appeal Court judges are being asked to rule on whether the little boy would be best off with “three parents and two homes”. Alex Verdan QC, for the father, warned the judges against “importing traditional or stereotypical models” into their consideration of the case, and added: “This appeal raises important issues relating to the court’s approach to children born into alternative families”.http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/law-and-order/9064241/Lesbian-parents-betrayed-by-gay-father-demanding-to-see-his-son.htmllast_img read more

first_imgTipperary head into the third round of Division 2 of the National Football League having already faced both promotion favourites.While last weekend’s game against Roscommon didn’t go their way – Tipp manager Liam Kearns says they’ve given both Cork and Roscommon plenty to think about.The Premier face Clare tomorrow afternoon in Cusack Park, Ennis, with their goals for the season still intact. Liam Kearns says they’ll hold their own in the division.Tipp FM’s live coverage of this Sundays Allianz Football League Tipperary versus Clare comes in association with Gleeson’s Pub, Irishtown, Clonmel.last_img read more

first_img Trail Blazers, Grizzlies advance to NBA play-in game; Suns, Spurs see playoff dreams dashed AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREUCLA alum Kenny Clark signs four-year contract extension with PackersThe Clippers finished with a 42-40 record, their fewest wins in a full 82-game season since going 32-50 in 2010-11, the season before Chris Paul landed in their laps instead of the Lakers’ because of “basketball reasons,” in the immortal words of then-commissioner David Stern.The Clippers’ streak of consecutive playoff appearances ended at six.Tobias Harris led the Clippers with 23 points. DeAndre Jordan scored six points and grabbed nine rebounds in what could be his final game with the only team for which he has played during his 10-season career. He can opt out of his contract, although there’s been no indication he will.“Whenever that time comes, we’ll address it, and figure out what’s the best option for me and my family and my career,” Jordan said of possibly opting out and signing elsewhere. “I want to be where I’m wanted and I want to continue my career where I have a chance to contend and win again.“That’s really what I’m looking at.” – PreviousLos Angeles Clippers coach Doc Rivers, left, talks with Los Angeles Lakers coach Luke Walton after an NBA basketball game Wednesday, April 11, 2018, in Los Angeles. The Lakers won 115-100. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)The Lakersu2019 Thomas Bryant #31 dunks the ball as Clippers Sindarius Thornwell #0 looks on during their game at the Staples Center in Los Angeles Wednesday, April 11, 2018. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)The Clippers Tobias Harris #34 grabs a rebound away from the Lakersu2019 Thomas Bryant #31 during their game at the Staples Center in Los Angeles Wednesday, April 11, 2018. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG) SoundThe gallery will resume insecondsThe Clippers Tobias Harris #34 reacts after being called for a fouls as teammates Tyrone Wallace #13 and Sam Dekker #7 stand nearby during their game against the Lakers at the Staples Center in Los Angeles Wednesday, April 11, 2018. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)Lakersu2019 Tyler Ennis #31 and Thomas Bryant #31 collied while going after a loose ball during their game against the Clippers at the Staples Center in Los Angeles Wednesday, April 11, 2018. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)The Clippers Sam Dekker #7 lays the ball up during their game against the Lakers at the Staples Center in Los Angeles Wednesday, April 11, 2018. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)The Clippers Montrezl Harrell #5 shoots the ball during their game against the Lakers at the Staples Center in Los Angeles Wednesday, April 11, 2018. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)The Lakersu2019 Ivica Zubac #40 grabs a rebound away from the Clippers Sam Dekker #7 during their game at the Staples Center in Los Angeles Wednesday, April 11, 2018. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)The Clippers Tyrone Wallace #12 dunks the ball as the Lakersu2019 Ivica Zubac #40 looks on during their game at the Staples Center in Los Angeles Wednesday, April 11, 2018. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)The Lakersu2019 Julius Randle #30 shoots as the Clippers Tobias Harris #34 defends during their game at the Staples Center in Los Angeles Wednesday, April 11, 2018. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)The Clippers’ Sindarius Thornwell #0 goes to the hoop as the Lakersu2019 Brook Lopez #11 defends during their game at the Staples Center in Los Angeles Wednesday, April 11, 2018. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)The Clippers DeAndre Jordan #6 is fouled by the Lakersu2019 Josh Hart #5 during their game at the Staples Center in Los Angeles Wednesday, April 11, 2018. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)The Clippers DeAndre Jordan #6 grabs a pass as the Lakersu0092 Brook Lopez #11 defends during their game at the Staples Center in Los Angeles Wednesday, April 11, 2018. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)The Lakersu2019 Thomas Bryant blocks a shot by the Clippers’ Sindarius Thornwell (0) during Wednesday’s ragged season finale at Staples Center. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)Los Angeles Lakers guard Tyler Ennis, right, shoots as Los Angeles Clippers guard Tyrone Wallace defends during the first half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, April 11, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)Los Angeles Lakers guard Andre Ingram, left, shoots as Los Angeles Clippers center DeAndre Jordan defends during the first half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, April 11, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)Los Angeles Lakers guard Andre Ingram, left, shoots as Los Angeles Clippers guard Sindarius Thornwell defends during the first half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, April 11, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)Los Angeles Lakers guard Alex Caruso, center, shoots as Los Angeles Clippers center DeAndre Jordan, left, and guard Austin Rivers defend during the first half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, April 11, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)Los Angeles Clippers forward Wesley Johnson, right, shoots as Los Angeles Lakers center Brook Lopez defends during the first half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, April 11, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)Los Angeles Clippers guard Austin Rivers, right, shoots as Los Angeles Lakers guard Josh Hart defends during the first half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, April 11, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)Los Angeles Clippers forward Sam Dekker, right, shoots as Los Angeles Lakers guard Tyler Ennis watches during the first half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, April 11, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)Los Angeles Clippers forward Montrezl Harrell, right, dunks as Los Angeles Lakers guard Gary Payton II defends during the first half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, April 11, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)The Clippers DeAndre Jordan and Lakers coach Luke Walton end their seasons with a handshake after their game at the Staples Center in Los Angeles Wednesday, April 11, 2018. The Lakers defeated the Clippers 115 to 100. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)The Clippers Sam Dekker #7 and the Lakersu2019 Gary Payton II #23 battle for a rebound during their game at the Staples Center in Los Angeles Wednesday, April 11, 2018. The Lakers defeated the Clippers 115 to 100. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)The Lakersu2019 Gary Payton II #23 shoots as the Clippers Boban Marjanovic #51 defends during their game at the Staples Center in Los Angeles Wednesday, April 11, 2018. The Lakers defeated the Clippers 115 to 100. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)The Lakersu2019 Alex Caruso #4 lays the ball up during their game against the Clippers at the Staples Center in Los Angeles Wednesday, April 11, 2018. The Lakers defeated the Clippers 115 to 100. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)The Clippers Sam Dekker #7 drives to the basket during their game against the Lakers at the Staples Center in Los Angeles Wednesday, April 11, 2018. The Lakers defeated the Clippers 115 to 100. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)The Lakersu0092 Tyler Ennis #10 passes the ball as the Clippers Sam Dekker #7, Boban Marjanovic #51 and Tyrone Wallace #12 defend during their game at the Staples Center in Los Angeles Wednesday, April 11, 2018. The Lakers defeated the Clippers 115 to 100. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)The Lakersu2019 Gary Payton II #23 shoots as the Clippers Boban Marjanovic #51 defends during their game at the Staples Center in Los Angeles Wednesday, April 11, 2018. The Lakers defeated the Clippers 115 to 100. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)The Lakersu2019 Tyler Ennis #10 passes the ball as the Clippers Tyrone Wallace #12 defends during their game at the Staples Center in Los Angeles Wednesday, April 11, 2018. The Lakers defeated the Clippers 115 to 100. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)The Clippers C.J. Williams #9 passes the ball in-between the Lakersu2019 Tyler Ennis #10 and Travis Wear #21 during their game at the Staples Center in Los Angeles Wednesday, April 11, 2018. The Lakers defeated the Clippers 115 to 100. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)Los Angeles Clippers forward Sam Dekker, left, and Los Angeles Lakers guard Gary Payton II vie for a rebound during the second half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, April 11, 2018, in Los Angeles. The Lakers won 115-100. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)Los Angeles Clippers forward C.J. Williams, right, shoots as Los Angeles Lakers forward Travis Wear defends during the second half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, April 11, 2018, in Los Angeles. The Lakers won 115-100. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)Los Angeles Lakers guard Andre Ingram, left, talks with Los Angeles Clippers forward C.J. Williams after an NBA basketball game Wednesday, April 11, 2018, in Los Angeles. The Lakers won 115-100. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)Los Angeles Lakers center Ivica Zubac, left, of Croatia, grabs a rebound away from Los Angeles Clippers center Boban Marjanovic, of Serbia, during the second half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, April 11, 2018, in Los Angeles. The Lakers won 115-100. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)Los Angeles Lakers guard Gary Payton II, right, shoots as Los Angeles Clippers center Boban Marjanovic, of Serbia, defends during the second half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, April 11, 2018, in Los Angeles. The Lakers won 115-100. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)Los Angeles Clippers sit on the bench during the second half of the team’s NBA basketball game against the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday, April 11, 2018, in Los Angeles. The Lakers won 115-100. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)Los Angeles Clippers coach Doc Rivers, left, talks with Los Angeles Lakers coach Luke Walton after an NBA basketball game Wednesday, April 11, 2018, in Los Angeles. The Lakers won 115-100. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)The Lakersu2019 Thomas Bryant #31 dunks the ball as Clippers Sindarius Thornwell #0 looks on during their game at the Staples Center in Los Angeles Wednesday, April 11, 2018. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)NextShow Caption1 of 37The Lakersu2019 Thomas Bryant #31 dunks the ball as Clippers Sindarius Thornwell #0 looks on during their game at the Staples Center in Los Angeles Wednesday, April 11, 2018. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)ExpandLOS ANGELES — The Lakers and Clippers had one final run before hanging the “Gone Fishing” sign on Staples Center. Meaningless games are now the norm for the Lakers, who missed the playoffs for the fifth consecutive season, but something new for the Clippers.Neither team looked as it was intended, with the Lakers playing without injured regulars Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma and Isaiah Thomas and the Clippers going without Patrick Beverley, Avery Bradley, Jawun Evans, Danilo Gallinari, Milos Teodosic and Lou Williams.The game barely resembled NBA basketball, a ragged 48-minute finale.By night’s end, the injury-depleted Lakers defeated the injury-depleted Clippers 115-100. The Lakers ended their season with a 35-47 record, the most victories they’ve had since they won 45 in 2012-13, which also was the last time they advanced to the playoffs. The Lakers and Clippers hardly resembled the teams that began 2017-18, when Ball got a rude welcome to the NBA from Beverley and the Lakers were no match for their hallway rivals in a season-opening 108-92 beatdown back on Oct. 19. Ball had only three points on 1-for-6 shooting.Ball was unavailable to play Wednesday because of a sore left knee.Beverley has been sidelined since undergoing right knee surgery Nov. 22.Andre Ingram, the Lakers’ feel-good story, kept the crowd enthralled with his every dribble, pass and shot. He scored five points one night after making his NBA debut and scoring 19 points after spending 10 seasons in the G-League, including this one.Lou Williams, the Clippers’ feel-good story, couldn’t play because of a sprained right ankle that sidelined him for the final two games. Williams led the Clippers with averages of 22.6 points and 5.3 assists and is a heavy favorite to be named the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year.“Overall, I think it was a successful season,” Williams said. “I would say that based on what we had. I think a lot of teams would have folded a long time ago. A lot of team that would have been put in the position we were in, it probably would have been over a month or so ago.” How athletes protesting the national anthem has evolved over 17 years “It was a full team effort tonight, which I thought was fitting for our season that we’ve had and what we’ve tried to emphasize as far as the type of culture we want,” Lakers coach Luke Walton said. “And I thought it was nice that everyone kind of got a chance to kind of do their thing and different guys contributed throughout the game.”The Lakers are ascending because of Ball, Ingram, Kuzma and other young players.The Clippers are rebuilding without falling to pieces after trading Paul and Blake Griffin.What happens next is anyone’s guess.The NBA draft lottery is May 15. The draft is June 21. Free agency begins July 1.It’s highly likely each team will look far different when 2018-19 training camps being next fall.Related Articlescenter_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error Josh Hart scored a career-high 30 points to lead the Lakers, who led almost from start to finish. Hart made 9 of 15 shots, including 7 of 9 from 3-point range. The Lakers, who were 17 of 39 from beyond the arc, led almost from start to finish, including by as many as 22 points in the third quarter. Lakers practice early hoping to answer all questions Trail Blazers beat Grizzlies in play-in, earn first-round series with the Lakers Lakers, Clippers schedules set for first round of NBA playoffs last_img read more