PLAYA VISTA — The Clippers had a plan for rookie Sindarius Thornwell, but it didn’t involve checking Paul George in his first NBA start. Coach Doc Rivers’ options were limited when the Clippers faced the Oklahoma City Thunder last week without injured guards Patrick Beverley and Milos Teodosic.“I made a joke before the game: I’m starting, and they’re going to throw me on Paul George for my first starting matchup?” Thornwell said. “They should have thrown me on Andre Roberson. It was fun, though. You’ve got to be ready when your name is called.”George torched the Clippers for 42 points in the Thunder’s victory last week, although not all of them came against Thornwell. Roberson scored only four points. Thornwell countered with a career-high 10 points on 4-for-5 shooting in nearly 23 minutes in his first start.Welcome to the NBA, rookie. “I really want to see if it’s really what everybody says it is,” Thornwell said of facing players like George and Russell Westbrook. “It’s just the experience of putting up a fight. You’re never going to stop those guys. The best you can do is make it tough on them and slow them down.”One night later, Thornwell scored seven points in a career-best 31:52 in the shorthanded Clippers’ loss to the New Orleans Pelicans. Then, during Monday’s defeat to the Philadelphia 76ers at Staples Center, he had seven points in 30:43.Overall, Thornwell is averaging 4.8 points on 44.9 percent shooting in 13 games, including three starts. His fourth start will be against LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday, although he’s not likely to be matched up one-on-one against James. It’ll be a team effort.“I’m looking forward to that,” said Thornwell, who helped lead South Carolina to the Final Four last spring. “It’s going to be an experience to guard him.”So far, Thornwell’s defensive game is ahead of his offensive play, which was to be expected. “My confidence on the offensive side is coming. Slowly,” said Thornwell, who turned 23 on Wednesday. “On defense, I feel like I’m good. Defensively, I feel like I’m doing my job and what they ask of me. Sometimes I hold myself back on offensive because I don’t want to make a mistake.”Rivers said he isn’t disappointed. He’s realistic. He’s willing to be patient because, well, there’s no alternative to playing Thornwell at the moment. Thornwell has filled Beverley’s role as a defensive-minded guard as well as can be expected under the circumstances.“We’re telling him who he is,” Rivers said of playing Thornwell against George, only partly joking with a group of reporters. “That’s exactly what we’re telling him. You’re a defensive player. That’s exactly the announcement our coaching staff has made to our rookie.“Actually, overall, he’s done pretty well.”Rivers then laughed after mentioning George’s explosive game against Thornwell. The rookie was simply overmatched against the veteran. Rivers said he doesn’t have high offensive expectations from Thornwell. Not yet, anyway.Defensively, it’s a different story, as far as Rivers is concerned.“Whatever offense he gives us, we’re good with that,” Rivers said. “He has a chance to be an elite defender, but his offense will come because he has great offensive instincts. What I don’t want him to do is what most young guys do, which is they get lost in their offense and then they don’t defend.“The quickest way to get on the court when you’re a young guy is to play defense. He has a gift. He should want to do that. His instincts, his strength, his quickness. He’s a want-to defender. There’s no great defender that doesn’t want to be a great defender.” Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error
MASON CITY — The open enrollment period for Medicare is underway. The spokeswoman for the organization that oversees the enrollment, Julie Brookhart, says it’s an important time. “Beneficiaries can take a look at the way they receive their Medicare and change their plan if they can find one that is better for their needs. We tell people to take advantage of this opportunity — because usually when they do compare — they usually do find something that will meet their needs better for next year,” according to Brookhart. She says the 625-thousand Iowans who use Medicare have several options. She says there are 39 Medicare Advantage health plans if you do not want to be in the original Medicare. And she says there are 29 stand-alone Medicare drug programs across Iowa. Brookhart, who works for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, says you should have received a mailing that would let you know about any changes in your current plan. “Everyone should get what’s called an annual notice of change. And that’s from any plan that they are in currently — and it’s going to tell them what’s changing for the next year. It would ell them if their monthly premium is going up. It might tell them if a specific drug they take is no longer going to be on their formula” Brookhart says. “And so, these are the reasons why you would definitely review your options.” She says you can use that information to help you decide what will work best in the coming year. “The Medicare Advantage plans might be an option for people. It covers everything original Medicare A& B covers — but the offer additional benefits — dental, vision, hearing and sometimes gym memberships. They key there is you have to go to the providers in their network,” Brookhart explains. There is a Medicare Finder Tool available to help you. “It’s just been updated for the first time in ten year…the biggest change is that it is going to connect you if you have a mymedicare.gov account. You would just register for a mymedicare.gov account. And it’s going to pull in the last 12 months of your Medicare Part D prescription claims data, so its already going to populate the prescriptions you already take,” Brookhart says. Brookhart says you can also call and get help in making your decision. “1-800-633-4227. A customer service rep can walk you through this comparison over the phone. They’ll just need some of your basic information like your Medicare card number. If you don’t want to connect to the mymedicare.gov portal — they are going to need your prescriptions so they can input those,” Brookhart says. The Medicare Open Enrollment period runs through December 7th.