ICC World Cup ICC Cricket World Cup 2019: Dominant India aim to pile on the pain against distracted Afghanistan

first_img New Delhi: A dominant win against South Africa. A clinical win against five-time champions Australia. A wash-out against New Zealand and a thrashing of Pakistan which enhanced their World Cup scoreline to 7-0. Virat Kohli’s Indian cricket team are on top of their game. Such is their depth and their confidence that this team resembles the aura which the dominant Australian cricket team had in the 2003 and 2007 period. The depth was exhibited when KL Rahul stepped up and played a brilliant knock in the high-pressure encounter against Pakistan. In the bowling, despite Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s injury, Vijay Shankar stepped up and displayed his mettle.In Bhuvneshwar’s absence, Mohammed Shami will step up and finally get an opportunity. Shami has been in great form and his addition will only boost the powerful Indian team line-up to another level. At the other end of the spectrum is Afghanistan, a team that has massive issues on the field and off it as well. Before the tournament, the appointment of Gulbadin Naib in place of Asghar Afghan had not gone down well with many Afghanistan players. On the field, the batting and bowling have fallen apart.The batting has suffered three major collapses against New Zealand, South Africa and against Sri Lanka. The bowling has lacked spark, with Rashid Khan, considered to their ace going without a wicket for the last couple of games. Rashid’s ineffectiveness and the strained team atmosphere has been detrimental to their World Cup campaign. Before the game against England, reports emerged that members of the Afghanistan squad were involved in a scuffle in a Manchester hotel and that also did not help their cause.Heading into the clash against India, Afghanistan might put up a fight but they face a massive problem on the confidence front.Team combinationsIndia has massive depth and resources. With Bhuvneshwar Kumar ruled out for this match, Mohammed Shami will slot in. Vijay Shankar suffered an injury while training but he is fine and is expected to play in this match as he looks for a greater contribution. Should the team decide to rest Vijay Shankar, either Dinesh Karthik or Rishabh Pant might get a look-in.India (Playing XI): Rohit Sharma, Lokesh Rahul, Virat Kohli(c), Vijay Shankar, MS Dhoni(w), Kedar Jadhav, Hardik Pandya, Mohammed Shami, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit BumrahAfghanistan (Playing XI): Hazratullah Zazai, Noor Ali Zadran, Rahmat Shah, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Mujeeb Zadran, Gulbadin Naib(c), Mohammad Nabi, Ikram Ali khil(w), Rashid Khan, Aftab Alam, Hamid HassanWho will win?On current form, looking at team morale and current form, India is winning the contest against Afghanistan.Weather and pitchThe build-up to the game has been marred by rain. The weather report for Saturday is sunny with some cloud cover but no threat of rain.StatisticsOn current form, India holds a massive upper hand against an Afghanistan side who are demoralised and unsettled both on the field and off the field.Stadium and timingsThe match will be played at Southampton and the match will begin at 3:00 PM IST. For all the Latest Sports News News, ICC World Cup News, Download News Nation Android and iOS Mobile Apps. India and Afghanistan are clashing for the first time in the World Cup.Afghanistan has lost all their five games in the 2019 World Cup so far.India and New Zealand are the only undefeated teams in the 2019 World Cup.center_img highlightslast_img read more

READ MORE

MBB : Last time they played: Syracuse vs. Villanova

first_img Comments Andy Rautins said Syracuse had the best fan base in the country. Wes Johnson said the game would be ‘breathtaking.’‘It definitely doesn’t (get any better),’ the junior forward Johnson said.The game that Johnson was referring to: SU vs. Villanova. The No. 4 team in the country against the No. 7 team. In front of the largest-ever on-campus crowd in college basketball history.The Orange did not disappoint. In front of 34,616 fans at the Carrier Dome on Feb. 27, 2010, SU trounced Villanova, 95-77. The win set Syracuse on track for its eventual Big East regular-season title, not to mention the No. 1 ranking.In one of the most hyped and anticipated games in SU basketball history, the Orange made sure the record crowd went home happy.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textLed by Rick Jackson’s 19 points, Syracuse overcame an early 23-14 deficit to take a 46-36 lead at the half. Kris Joseph and Scoop Jardine came off the bench and helped spark the Orange to a 31-30 lead, one it would hold for the rest of the game.‘I thought Kris and Scoop were just huge,’ SU head coach Jim Boeheim said. ‘They got us back into the game. I’ve said all year long, those two guys are like starters, and they play just like starters.’The game was one of redemption for the Orange. It was picked sixth in the Big East preseason poll, while Villanova was the chosen one to win the conference.But SU’s domination ended all thoughts about who the better team was, as it completely dominated the Wildcats.‘I don’t think anybody had drawn out that this would happen,’ Johnson said. ‘I think we came in with a chip on our shoulder and tried to prove everybody wrong.’With a 27-2 overall record and a 14-2 mark in the Big East, the Orange showed little doubt about who the best team in the nation was. Of course, SU got a little help from the top three teams in the rankings also losing that weekend.And after the game, Syracuse’s players could sense the move to the top spot.‘I definitely agree (we should be No. 1),’ center Arinze Onuaku said, ‘but we’ve been a team that’s not worried about numbers all year.‘Our goal is to be No. 1 at the end of the year and at the end of the season. When it’s all said and done, we want to be No.1.’That goal never happened, as SU lost to Butler in the Sweet 16 in the NCAA Tournament.But that wasn’t even a thought last Feb. 27. For one night, all SU knew was that it was as close to the top of the college basketball world as it had been in a while.The Orange and its fans could rejoice in winning one of the biggest games in SU history.‘It’s great,’ Onuaku said. ‘It’s big for us and our program and big for our team and just big for Syracuse as a whole.’-Compiled by Rachel Marcus, asst. copy editor, rnmarcus@syr.edu Facebook Twitter Google+center_img Published on January 20, 2011 at 12:00 pmlast_img read more

READ MORE

MLAX : Daddio still searching for consistent success at the faceoff X in frustrating season

first_img Published on March 22, 2012 at 12:00 pm Contact Chris: cjiseman@syr.edu | @chris_iseman Facebook Twitter Google+ Chris Daddio receives a clear-cut, on-the-spot evaluation of how he’s performing in every game. If he’s playing well, he stays in. If he’s not, he’s going to be doing a lot of standing on the sideline.With every faceoff Daddio takes, he knows he has the chance to earn more opportunities at the X. Lately, that number hasn’t been nearly where he’d like it to be.‘In faceoffs, if you keep winning or you’re doing well, there’s no reason for the coach to take you out,’ Daddio said. ‘But if they do take you out, then obviously you’re thinking that you did something wrong.’It’s been a frustrating season for Daddio, Syracuse’s primary faceoff specialist, as the sophomore’s year has been marred by inconsistency. Daddio always takes the game’s opening faceoff, and from there, the number of draws he wins determines how much time he sees on the field. The Orange’s opponents, though, have had an easy year at the X.Syracuse ranked 45th out of 61 teams in faceoff winning percentage at only 45.6 percent through March 18. Daddio is 42nd in the nation in percentage of faceoff wins, winning 49.4 percent of the time during that span. Possessions for Syracuse are key, and too often, it has had to force plays rather than allow them to unfold because SU’s possessions are so limited.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textIt’s been a constant struggle, and it’s one the No. 8 Orange (4-2, 2-0 Big East) will continue to focus on when it takes on No. 15 Villanova (4-3, 0-0) in the Carrier Dome at 2 p.m on Sunday. The Wildcats’ faceoff specialist Thomas Croonquist has won 59.1 percent of his faceoffs this season, a major part of Villanova’s success so far.And SU’s second faceoff specialist, Ricky Buhr, knows it.‘They’re going to be a team that’s going to be stalling the ball a lot,’ Buhr said. ‘They’ve stalled the ball a lot this year, just like they did last year. Last year, we felt faceoffs were weak against them.’Syracuse won only 5-of-13 faceoffs, and in a sloppy affair for both sides, the Orange barely squeaked by the Wildcats with a 5-4 win. Buhr said he wants to see a high-scoring game this year, something the Orange’s run-and-gun offense can accomplish if it the team wins enough faceoffs.It starts with Daddio, who has endured a rough start to the season for the Orange.Especially considering that coming into the season, he expected better of himself. And now, he’s left trying to correct mistakes he knows shouldn’t be happening. As a result, Syracuse’s offense is struggling due to a limited number of scoring chances.‘The more the offense gets the ball from the faceoff guys, the more they feel comfortable with the ball on offense,’ Daddio said. ‘If they just get the ball once in a while, they’re going to be frantic, running around or because they don’t have the ball that often and they need to score.’Daddio’s been at both extremes at the X this season. He’s been dominant at times, and completely overwhelmed at others.In Syracuse’s 10-9 win over Army on Feb. 26, the Orange won 16-of-22 faceoffs. Daddio took every single one in his best performance of the year.After that game, head coach John Desko spoke glowingly of his faceoff specialists, especially Daddio. At that point, it seemed faceoffs weren’t going to be the enigma many expected.‘Everybody talked about our faceoffs coming into the year,’ Desko said, ‘but the guys we used last year were freshmen for the most part and they’ve been getting better through practice and their experiences.’But that success was short-lived.Daddio and the Orange were at the other end of the extreme in its 14-10 loss to Virginia earlier this month. In a debilitating performance, Daddio won only 4-of-15 draws, and as a team SU won a paltry sum of 8-of-28 faceoffs.That loss to the No. 1 Cavaliers still stings for Daddio. On national television, in arguably the biggest game this season, Daddio failed to show up at the X.‘That game I definitely got the most frustrated I’ve been all year,’ Daddio said, ‘especially because it was such a big game for us. It meant so much, and the first time playing on ESPN, I was pretty nervous.’Villanova is a strong team and will employ a slow tempo if it’s winning possessions. If the Wildcats win consistently at the X, Daddio knows it’ll be nearly identical to last season’s game.Said Daddio: ‘If they do that the whole game, they’re going to keep it a lot closer than it should be.’cjiseman@syr.educenter_img Commentslast_img read more

READ MORE

Michigan made: With big goals, Eric Devendorf hits the ground running at Detroit Mercy

first_img Comments Published on January 21, 2019 at 10:52 pm Contact Matthew: mguti100@syr.edu | @MatthewGut21 Facebook Twitter Google+center_img DETROIT — At 10:38 a.m. Friday, Jan. 4, sneakers screeched the hardwood floor inside Calihan Hall. The heating system and constant beating of basketballs provided the soundtrack for two bodies getting a little extra work, 13 hours after a conference win. Sweat dripped from Detroit Mercy forwards Chris Brandon and Boe Nguidjol as they listened to the voice that dominated the arena.They led drills of driving and finishing, while the man behind the voice peppered his players with passes and encouraged them to hold their follow-throughs on their shots. For more than a decade, 31-year-old former Syracuse star Eric Devendorf led similar drills — with a similar vigor — in the place he called “home.”Dating back to his time as a player at Syracuse, the Orange fanbase beloved his dogged style of play and durability. He arrived at SU in 2005 and ascended to stardom, sitting 14th on the program’s all-time scoring list. He went undrafted but played professionally in the NBA Gatorade League, then the Development League and overseas. From 2016-18, he fulfilled his late father’s wish to be on the Syracuse staff, where he molded head coach Jim Boeheim’s newcomers from stand-out high schoolers into college athletes at an ACC power.Then, last summer, Devendorf sacrificed his study under a Hall of Fame coach for a fledgling mid-major full of uncertainty. As special assistant to first-year head coach Mike Davis, Devendorf moved 400 miles east to a small Catholic school with less than one-quarter the enrollment of SU. Although he’s a 90-minute drive from his Bay City, Michigan hometown, he leaves behind his girlfriend, Triyah Jones, and two daughters, Madelyn (10) and Miranda (8) in Syracuse. He risked losing comfort to take a shot at his long-term goal.In his new role, Devendorf hopes to instill some of his own style. He believes in nurturing strong relationships with players, many of whom are only 10 years younger than he is. He’s learning to be patient with a roster of mostly freshmen at Detroit Mercy, which finished 8-24 last season.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textHe consulted the entire SU coaching staff before departing his alma mater, and he made sure Boeheim thought the move would propel him closer to his long-term goal of running his own Division I program. His former head coach, plus former associate head coach Mike Hopkins, both advised him to go.“It’s great for him to get a coaching job full-time,” Boeheim said. “He’s going to be a really good young coach.”Courtesy of Detroit Mercy AthleticsIn Calihan Hall in early January, Devendorf had Brandon and Nguidjol attack with power and make stronger moves with fewer dribbles. High above, three banners hung reflecting Detroit Mercy’s basketball history — just one NCAA Tournament appearance since 1999, when Devendorf was 12 years old. He left the packed Carrier Dome for the scarcely-attended arenas of the Horizon League, where only one team is guaranteed a ticket to the Big Dance.After an hour of drills, Devendorf threw his backpack over his shoulder, walked out of the building for lunch and spied his Nissan Rogue across the lot. The license plates still belonged to New York.“All of this is helping me be a head coach,” Devendorf said. “When that time comes, I know I’ll be ready.”—The clock hit 11 a.m. on Jan. 4, and Devendorf jogged to the 3-point line. He picked up a loose ball during an inside-move drill.“Come on, dawg! Left hand!,” he told Nguidjol. “You ain’t ever used that left hand in your life.”At Syracuse, Devendorf earned a reputation for a relentless work ethic, enthusiasm and bluntness. He brings the same style to a new place.Devendorf started at Oak Hill Academy in Virginia, playing alongside Kevin Durant. He switched his commitment from Michigan State to Syracuse, where he played for four seasons. From 2005 to 2009, Devendorf was a double-digit scorer in all four of his seasons playing for Syracuse. He made the Big East All-Rookie team as a freshman and averaged 14.5 points across 116 career games for SU.He developed a knack for community involvement. His philanthropic approach included aiding in the Jim and Juli Boeheim Foundation, the Flint water crisis and coat drives in Syracuse. After a storied career as a player — one that plastered him on the front of a 2007 issue of Sports Illustrated that still hangs in his room — he started a family in Syracuse.Jan. 13 marked three years since his father, Curt, died of cancer. Curt had put a ball in the hands of a young kid with a dream. Before Curt’s health deteriorated, he had hoped for Devendorf to one day join the Syracuse staff. Devendorf fulfilled Curt’s wish and bounded forward.“Leaving Syracuse was tough, and I didn’t want to,” said Devendorf, who still says “we” when he refers to the Syracuse men’s basketball team. “That was my family. I have a lot more responsibility now and I feel like a real assistant coach. I can still play with them, so I think that helps when I go to show them something. I can still do it. The experience here has been priceless.”Matthew Gutierrez | Senior Staff WriterIn late July, his iPhone’s ring altered his career trajectory. On the other end was Davis, the former Texas Southern coach who’d met Devendorf a few times. They had exchanged texts every few months. Then Davis called and offered him the job. “Kind of random,” Devendorf said. “I told him I had to talk to coach Boeheim about it, but it was a no-brainer.”Boeheim called Davis and told him he’d be getting a good coach. Within a few days, Devendorf kissed his girlfriend and two daughters goodbye, packed up his car and embarked on a new life.—Devendorf misses his family a lot. Every day, he FaceTimes home, and he plans to figure out his long-term situation after this season. Any chance he gets, he drives nearly seven hours each way from his two-bedroom place in Detroit to see his girls. They’re active in the Liverpool Central School District in third and fifth grade, respectively, while competing in swimming and cheerleading.“It’s tough being without them,” he said. “I wanted to keep them there for the year until I know where I’ll be long-term. Maybe they’ll come to Detroit next year.”After lunch, Devendorf drove back to campus and parked his car. He climbed the stairs from the court to the basketball suite, where the coaches’ offices reside. He walked to the back left. A sign reads, “Conference Room: 225E.” He placed down his backpack beside a chair.For a couple of hours before practice, he pulled out an iPad and studied film on the Titans’ next opponent, Northern Kentucky. Devendorf brought with him the Syracuse 2-3, which his new team is just starting to get the hang of. Detroit’s coaching staffers said they appreciate his 2-3 insight.With “Madelyn” tattooed on the back of his neck and a gallon of water on the table, Devendorf analyzed the Titans’ zone. He hears Boeheim’s voice in his head when teaching rotations. Watch the high post. Cover the shooters on the wings. For zone feedback, he’s texted Boeheim a few clips.High energy and reliability are the hallmarks of Devendorf’s coaching philosophy. He tweets motivational quotes and feeds his brain with self-help books. Now he’s reading, “Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself.” As he hopes to rise in the coaching ranks, he wants to teach his players the power of a positive attitude.With his arms crossed near midcourt, he surveyed the defense in practice. He walked up to two players on the side of the court. He playfully grabbed their jersey and laughed. Then he high-fived freshman forward Willy Isiani, who requested a post-practice workout with Devendorf. A team manager noted that in his four years at Detroit, there’s been a “big jump” in the number of workouts outside of practice hours. Thanks to Devendorf.There are plenty of unknowns now. The Titans are a young team with a lot to prove. He doesn’t know what his next job will be. He’s unsure exactly when his girlfriend and two daughters will be able to move back in with him. Uncertainty followed him as he opened his car door outside the Detroit facility. But he’s found comfort in his new home, dragging along much of what he left.“You never know when your life could change on you,” he said, and he climbed inside the driver’s seat.last_img read more

READ MORE

CAS to fast track decision on Suarez

first_imgThe Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has agreed to deal with Luis Suarez’ appeal as an ‘express hearing’ so that a decision is reached before the start of the Spanish season.Barcelona are also asking CAS to allow Suarez to train with his teammates for the duration of any ban for biting Giorgio Chiellini – the FIFA punishment restricts him from even entering a training ground.The sanction also includes a nine-month international ban from playing for Uruguay.FIFA’s appeals committee rejected an appeal in mid July, but the ban did not prevent Suarez moving from Liverpool to Barcelona for £75million.If Suarez’s four-month ban stands, he would be in line to make his debut in the El Clasico against Real Madrid on the weekend of October 25.The international players’ ”¨union FIFPro has claimed the terms of the ban infringes ”¨Suarez’s right to work.A statement issued in June said: “The fact that Suarez is prohibited from working for a long period must be addressed as it directly infringes his right to work. Luis Suarez deserves all the support he needs, including legal support in the appeal case in order to achieve a reduction of the sanctions.” Barcelona’s fellow new signing Jeremy Mathieu believes Suarez will learn from his mistakes.Mathieu said: “We know Luis Suarez has a very strong character and that he is a great player. I think after the ban he will show what he is capable of and that everyone will be very happy to have him at Barcelona.”Mathieu was asked what he would do if Suarez bit him.The French defender replied: “To be honest, if he bites me, I will do nothing. But I think he will learn from his mistakes for sure. He is a great player, and hopefully that will never happen again.”last_img read more

READ MORE

Report: MLB, union discuss playing all games in Arizona

first_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error How Dodgers pitcher Ross Stripling topped the baseball podcast empire NEW YORK (AP) — Putting all 30 teams in the Phoenix area and playing in empty ballparks was among the ideas discussed Monday by Major League Baseball and the players’ association.The sides held a telephone call to talk about paths forward for a season delayed by the new coronavirus pandemic, people familiar with the discussion told The Associated Press. They spoke on condition of anonymity because no details were announced.Ideas are still in the early stage, and the Arizona option would have many obstacles to overcome, the people said.Half of the MLB clubs hold spring training in Arizona, the other half in Florida. Angels’ Mike Trout working on his defense, thanks to Twitter Arizona’s advantage is 10 spring training ballparks plus the Arizona Diamondbacks’ Chase Field all within about 50 miles. Florida’s spring training ballparks are spread by as much as 220 miles.“It allows for immediacy of a schedule, where you might be able to begin it and televise it, provide Major League Baseball to America,” said Scott Boras, baseball’s most prominent agent. “I think players are willing to do what’s necessary because I think they understand the importance of baseball for their own livelihoods and for the interest of our country and providing a necessary product that gives all the people that are isolated enjoyment.”“It gives them a sense of a return to some normalcy,” Boras added. “You talk to a psychologist about it and they say it’s it’s really good for a culture to have to have sport and to have a focus like that, where for a few hours a day they can take their minds off the difficult reality of the virus.”Baseball’s season had been set to start March 26 but spring training was halted on March 12. After the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended restricting events of more than 50 people for eight weeks, MLB said it would not open until mid-May at the earliest.Texas Rangers president of baseball operations Jon Daniels said MLB is examining different options and he didn’t want to speculate.Related Articles Dodgers hit seven home runs, sweep Colorado Rockies Angels fail to take series in Oakland, lose in 10 innings “But, obviously, we’d all love to find a way to play, provided we could do safely, and that would be the priority,” he said.The players’ association would want to survey its members to determine whether they would support such a plan, one of the people said.“You’re going to be largely separated from your families and you’re going to have to function in a very contained way. It’s not it’s not a normal life, this idea,” Boras said. “You’re going to have an identified group of people. You’re going to have a constantly tested group of people. And you’re going to have a very limited access of those people to the outside world so that you can assure a very uncontaminated league, if you will, to produce a product that is inspirational to our country.”Chase Field, with artificial turf and a retractable roof, could be the site of daily tripleheaders, Boras said.MLB and the union reached a deal March 26 to advance $170 million in salary to players for the first 60 days of the season. As part of the deal, players would get only prorated portions of their salaries if the regular season is cut from its usual 162 games and would receive no additional salary if the season is scrapped.Both sides have agreed to attempt to play as full a season as is possible, and this plan would enable to season to start while waiting for health and government officials determine whether it is safe to resume play in regular-season ballparks, with the travel that would entail. Angels’ poor pitching spoils an Albert Pujols milestone last_img read more

READ MORE

Kyle Kuzma scores career-high 38 to carry Lakers past league-best Rockets

first_imgPreviousLakers rookie Kyle Kuzma went toe to toe with Rockets guard James Harden on Wednesday, scoring a career-high 38 points in the Lakers’ 122-116 victory in Houston. Harden scored 51, but the Rockets lost for only the fifth time this season and had their 14-game winning streak snapped. (Photo by David Sherman, NBAE via Getty Images)Los Angeles Lakers forward Corey Brewer (3) drives around Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) in the first half of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, Dec. 20, 2017, in Houston. (AP Photo/Michael Wyke)Los Angeles Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma (0) puts up a three point shot over Houston Rockets forward Tarik Black (28) in the first half of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, Dec. 20, 2017, in Houston. (AP Photo/Michael Wyke) SoundThe gallery will resume insecondsLos Angeles Lakers forward Larry Nance Jr. (7) reaches for a rebound between Houston Rockets forward Trevor Ariza (1) and guard Chris Paul (3) in the first half of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, Dec. 20, 2017, in Houston. (AP Photo/Michael Wyke)Los Angeles Lakers forward Brandon Ingram (14) drives around Houston Rockets forward Trevor Ariza (1) in the first half of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, Dec. 20, 2017, in Houston. (AP Photo/Michael Wyke)Los Angeles Lakers guard Lonzo Ball (2) passes over Houston Rockets forward PJ Tucker (4) in the first half of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, Dec. 20, 2017, in Houston. (AP Photo/Michael Wyke)Houston Rockets forward Trevor Ariza (1) looks for a way around Los Angeles Lakers center Andrew Bogut (66) in the first half of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, Dec. 20, 2017, in Houston. (AP Photo/Michael Wyke)Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) backs into Los Angeles Lakers guard Josh Hart (5) in the first half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Dec. 20, 2017, in Houston. (AP Photo/Michael Wyke)Houston Rockets forward Tarik Black (28) gets a rebound in front of Los Angeles Lakers guard Lonzo Ball (2), Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) and forward Larry Nance Jr. (7) in the first half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Dec. 20, 2017, in Houston. (AP Photo/Michael Wyke)Lakers rookie Kyle Kuzma went toe to toe with Rockets guard James Harden on Wednesday, scoring a career-high 38 points in the Lakers’ 122-116 victory in Houston. Harden scored 51, but the Rockets lost for only the fifth time this season and had their 14-game winning streak snapped. (Photo by David Sherman, NBAE via Getty Images)Los Angeles Lakers forward Corey Brewer (3) drives around Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) in the first half of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, Dec. 20, 2017, in Houston. (AP Photo/Michael Wyke)NextShow Caption1 of 9Los Angeles Lakers forward Corey Brewer (3) drives around Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) in the first half of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, Dec. 20, 2017, in Houston. (AP Photo/Michael Wyke)ExpandHOUSTON — LeBron James was too strong, Golden State too deep. However, in the midst of the most daunting lab test from the diabolical minds behind the NBA schedule, the Lakers had managed not to humiliate themselves.But they hadn’t won. Then the scrappy group of upstarts arrived in Houston. Missing two starters and facing a Rockets team that boasted the league’s best record and had not lost since Nov. 14, the Lakers broke through.Kyle Kuzma countered a 51-point outburst by James Harden with a career-high 38 points and the Lakers – yes, the Lakers – beat the Rockets 122-116.“Our guys haven’t lost faith or work ethic in what we are doing,” Coach Luke Walton said, “even though we have been losing games.” Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREUCLA alum Kenny Clark signs four-year contract extension with PackersThe Lakers improved to 11-18 while Houston dropped to 25-5.With Brook Lopez sidelined for at least three weeks with a sprained ankle and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope restricted from leaving California due to a court order, Walton reshuffled his starting lineup, pairing Kuzma with veteran Andrew Bogut in the frontcourt and sending Larry Nance Jr. to the bench.What followed was Kuzma’s most remarkable performance of an unexpected rookie campaign. He did not miss until four minutes into the third quarter, making his first nine shots including six 3-pointers.He eclipsed his previous career high of 30 points, set last month in Phoenix.The 27th pick in June’s draft keeps resetting expectations that started reasonably low. Could he have ever imagined this kind of success?center_img “Why not?” he said flatly. “I scored (in the) 30s in Summer League.”But that … was Summer League. This was the prime time of the NBA, with Harden answering each of his baskets with one of his own.Kuzma finished 12 for 17 from the field, including 7 for 10 on 3-pointers, and 7 for 10 from the foul line. Harden finished 15 for 27 from the field and shot an eye-popping 21 free throws.“I mean, it was going to happen,” Kuzma said. “He’s James Harden, he’s probably going to win MVP this year.”If the rookie from Utah was ever wowed by his own early success or the stage he now plays on, he refuses to show it.“I’ve played like 30 games,” Kuzma said. “I’ve played LeBron James, so it can’t get much higher after that.”The forward who counts Kobe Bryant as a mentor has even started to talk like him.“I’ve got the same mentality every time I step on the court,” Kuzma said. “Play my hardest and just be locked in.”The Lakers were boosted by 21 points off the bench from former Rocket Corey Brewer, whose 3-pointer with 3:16 left not only put the Lakers firmly in control with a 113-104 lead, but gave fans one of the better celebrations of the year.In front of his former fans, Brewer extended his arms like a jet plane coming in for landing and tapped his feet in a celebratory shimmy.“He played here for a couple years,” Kuzma said, “and I guess they didn’t want him. Gave them a little revenge game and shoot, tore it up. That was one of the biggest reasons we won.”Rookie point guard Lonzo Ball added 16 points with nine rebounds and four assists.It was always going to be the toughest stretch of the Lakers’ season; a long, cold December with juggernauts lined up in succession: Cleveland, Golden State, the Rockets and Golden State one more time.The Lakers set the tone Wednesday by making their first three shots, all 3-pointers, to take a 9-0 lead. Versus a juggernaut like the Rockets, such an advantage feels tenuous and temporary. And it was, but not before the Lakers put one of their most impressive offensive stretches of the season.Kuzma buried back-to-back 3-pointers to kickstart a 13-0 run, their best of the season, and take a 36-20 advantage. Three minutes into the second period, the lead had grown to 22 points.Was the rout on?Never against Houston.“They have that ability to really blow a game out quickly,” Walton said before the game, “or if they’re down they have the ability to get back.”Harden checked back into the game and seemed to accept the challenge of Kuzma’s so-far perfect shooting night. The L.A. area native and perennial league MVP candidate made all eight of his shots in the period, maneuvering easily around the hapless Lakers in the pick and roll.Harden scored 24 of his 51 points in those nine minutes before halftime to pull the Rockets within four points at 63-59. They pulled ahead briefly in the third quarter, going ahead by three points.It did not last long, however. The Lakers rallied and this time they had more depth. They were stronger.last_img read more

READ MORE

Cucho’s Farewell: “Watford wants to count on me”

first_imgThe attacker narrates how the injury prevented him from being able to choose a club, despite the fact that, in the first instance, he did not lack proposals: “There was Espanyol, Betis, Valladolid … But after the injury almost everything fell and the only one left was Mallorca. Anyone does not do that, rarely in the First Division an injured player is hired and I am very grateful for that. “ The ‘Cucho’ Hernández has given an interview on the Toque Sports program in which he has practically confirmed that he will not continue in Mallorca and will return to Watford, club that owns him, to earn a place in the Premier League. “They have given me incredible confidence. I recently had the opportunity to renew and when you do it is because they want a project with you“, recognizes the forward.However, the Colombian footballer goes further and explains Watford’s plans with him: “They have let me know that they intend to count on me for next year. I’m not confirming anything, but there is that interest and that possibility of being there. I am very grateful and after several years belonging to Watford it is time to wear his shirt. Now I am in Mallorca, the injury cut everything and prevented me from seeing options. Mallorca was always there despite the operation“ Finally, he spoke of the U-20 World Cup in which he regrets not having been able to give his best level, despite scoring a hat-trick: “I was very frustrated for not being able to do what I wanted to demonstrate, although I had the opportunity to take part. Although we could go much further I have a good memory“last_img read more

READ MORE

Sports Briefs

first_imgJamaican Chow on top WINNIPEG, Canada (CMC): Barbadian, Chris Husbands, won twice on Wednesday but Jamaican Chavion Chow maintained a healthy lead heading into the final weekend of racing at Assiniboia Downs, despite clinching just one win on the day’s six-race card. Husbands, the defending champion, won race two with 5-1 chance La Pieta and returned to win the day’s final race aboard favourite Truly North. The double moved Husbands to 50 wins but still seven wins adrift in second of Chow who won with 4-1 bet Stand Up Rita in race one, to grab his only victory. Guyanese Rohan Singh also won once to move to 50 but sits third in the standings. With just three race days left in the season, Chow is now expected to wrap up his first triumph at the western Canada racetrack, though both Husbands and Singh remain within striking distance. Bridgmohan holds off rivals TORONTO, Canada (CMC): Jamaica-born jockey Jermaine Bridgmohan held off a late rally from favourite Spadina Road and 2-1 chance Bear No Joke, to carry 15-1 outsider Rexton to a gutsy win in the CAN$125 000 OLG Kenora Stakes here Wednesday. Going six furlongs, the pair led every step of the way to reach the wire by half-length in a time of one minute, 9.43 seconds, as the John Mattine-trained five-year-old won his first win in five starts this year. “That was the game plan (setting the pace). John’s done a great job with this horse,” Bridgmohan said afterward. “He just ran his race. He’s just real fast. I was confident when he was on the lead. He’s got a big heart. He ran great.” Antiguans eye medal in Rio ST JOHN’S, Antigua (CMC): Despite a disappointing sixth place finish at the recent IAAF World Championships, Antigua and Barbuda’s coach Teddy Daley believes the men’s sprint relay team can still rebound with a medal at next year’s Rio Olympics. He said the team was a young one and that he expected them to improve significantly over the next year to become a force to be reckoned with. “I strongly believe that we can medal at the Olympics,” he told the Observer Radio’s Good Morning Jo-Jo. “Our guys, they are 19, 20, 21, so physical maturity has not yet been realised. It means, therefore, next year they are going to be stronger.” Antigua were clocked at 38.61 seconds in finishing sixth behind eventual winners Jamaica who posted a world-leading 37.36 to win easily.last_img read more

READ MORE