Clarke relishing leadership role with big scores

Updated 13 November 2012
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Clarke relishing leadership role with big scores

BRISBANE: Michael Clarke’s rich vein of form continued with another big innings, which threatened to give Australia an outside chance of beating South Africa in the first Gabba Test.
Skipper Clarke ripped apart the vaunted Proteas’ bowling to be undefeated on 218 at stumps yesterday, batting right through the fourth day, to help push the Australians 37 runs ahead of the world’s best team with a day to play.
It continued an outstanding 2012 for the Australian captain following his unbeaten 329 and 210 against India at home last January.
Clarke, 31, is the highest scorer in Tests this year with 1,000 runs at 111.11 prior to this match.
He has maintained an average of above 60 since assuming the captaincy earlier this year from Ricky Ponting and is in the form of his life.
“I’ll say it’s coincidental, I’m trying to get better every day. It’s been to lead the way with the bat,” Clarke said.
“I’ve said for a while now, it’s not what you say, it’s what you do and Ricky (Ponting) certainly did that as captain of Australia for a long period of time.
“He was scoring lots of runs and the boys followed. Hopefully I’ve got a few left in me.” Clarke, who raised his 20th Test century in his 84th Test, said he had followed advice from Australia legspin great Shane Warne on his confident batting approach.
“One of things Warney’s taught me over the years is the better the bowling, the more positive you’ve got to be and that was certainly my intent from the first ball I faced yesterday,” he said.
“That is I wanted to be nice and positive and play my way, and put it back on the South African bowlers because I know they’re a very good attack.” Although Clarke has been at the crease for 504 minutes with more time out in the middle to come today, he hardly flagged in yesterday’s final session of play.
“For me it’s about being fit and strong,” he said. “Over the last couple of years I’ve taken myself away from the team and done my own boot camp for my mind, as much as my fitness.
“That couple of weeks away of preparation has held me in really good stead over the last couple of seasons.” Clarke ensured in large partnerships with Ed Cowan and Mike Hussey that Australia would not be beaten in the first Test and go to Adelaide 1-0 down in the series to the Proteas.
His 259-run stand with opening batsman Cowan, who made 136, was the highest fourth-wicket partnership by Australia at the Gabba, surpassing Clarke and Hussey’s 245-run effort against Sri Lanka in 2007.
Clarke also put on an unfinished 188 runs for the fifth wicket with Hussey, who maintained the momentum with his lively unbeaten 86 off 109 balls to ram home the advantage.


Curry comes alive to score 35, Warriors rout Rockets by 41

Updated 21 May 2018
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Curry comes alive to score 35, Warriors rout Rockets by 41

OAKLAND, California: Stephen Curry got his groove back to score 35 points with five 3-pointers, shooting over James Harden and driving past the Houston star as the Golden State Warriors made a second-half statement to beat the Rockets 126-85 on Sunday night for a 2-1 lead in the Western Conference finals.
Kevin Durant added 25 points, six rebounds and six assists, while Draymond Green grabbed 17 rebounds to go with 10 points and six assists. The Warriors won an NBA-record 16th consecutive home postseason game, surpassing the Chicago Bulls’ mark of 15 in a row from April 27, 1990-May 21, 1991.
The defending champions got defensive — and maybe a little mad — after a 127-105 Game 2 defeat Wednesday night at Houston, determined to make stops to ignite the transition game and open up 3-point shooters.
And they eventually got Curry going with 18 points on 7-for-7 shooting in the third quarter.
Harden had 20 points and nine assists, while Chris Paul added 13 points and 10 rebounds as they combined to shoot just 12 for 32.
Game 4 is Tuesday night at Oracle Arena.
Curry and Durant each scored five quick points as Golden State opened the third quarter with a 10-0 burst to go ahead 64-43.
Under pressure from Paul, Curry swished a 3 from way back with 5:06 left in the third. He struggled with his long-range shot again early but drove through the paint at every chance.
Curry hit a baseline 3-pointer at the 9:02 mark of the first but missed his next five 3s before going 4 for 5 in the second half. He is now 7 of 25 from long range — he made one in each of the first two games.
The Warriors’ five starters all scored in double figures, the first time they’ve done so this postseason.
Trevor Ariza and Green received a double-technical with 6:49 to play when Ariza shoved Green as they traded words.
Both potent offenses were slow getting rolling as the teams played strong defense.
Harden and Paul began 3 for 14 with Paul missing six shots before getting his first basket on goaltending against Andre Iguodala 2:39 before halftime.
Golden State began getting the looks it liked after halftime. The Warriors faced more stingy, in-the-face pressure from Houston, making it hard to get any early flow shooting. Durant hit his first 3 6:27 before halftime then missed from the deep the next time down.
A moment of silence was held before the national anthem for victims of the Houston school shooting.

TIP-INS
Rockets: The Rockets surrendered 10 fast-break points in the first period while getting none of their own. ... They were outrebounded 49-41 and shot 32 for 80 from the floor.
Warriors: Kevon Looney had two key blocks off the bench in the first. ... Durant notched his 20th straight postseason game with 20 or more points. ... Golden State is 36-5 at home in the playoffs since the 2015 postseason. ... Thompson (1,786) moved past Rick Barry (1,776) for second place on the Warriors’ career postseason scoring list. ... Curry (712) moved past Barry (699) into sole possession for most postseason baskets in franchise history. ... The “Run TMC” trio of Tim Hardaway, Mitch Richmond and Chris Mullin were honored with a standing ovation during a first-quarter timeout. On Monday, Richmond will introduce Hardaway as he goes into the Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame of which Richmond and Mullin are already members.


PAUL’S HEALTH
Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni made the point once again about Paul being healthy: “There’s nothing wrong at all.”
“We’re not going to win without him,” D’Antoni said. “So if he’s got to limp and drag his leg to the finish line, so be it. And he’s ready to do that.”


ORACLE AURA
That deafening, bright yellow sellout crowd was imposing once again.
“Somebody asked me, ‘Is Oracle tough to play?’ Yeah, because the Warriors play here,” D’Antoni said. “There’s a certain energy that their fans will give them and moments they hit two or three 3s you can get a buzz going that helps the home team. You just have to try to keep that crowd out as much as you can.”