Clippers halt skid, Lakers post rare big win

Updated 29 January 2013
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Clippers halt skid, Lakers post rare big win

LOS ANGELES: The Los Angeles Clippers arrested their four-game losing skid while their city rivals the Los Angeles Lakers provided a rare bright spot in their dire season by beating the NBA-leading Oklahoma City Thunder on Sunday.
The Clippers were again without star guard Chris Paul but this time his teammates picked up the slack and beat the Portland Trail Blazers 96-83.
The Lakers stood firm in the closing stages to hold off the Thunder and win 105-96, temporarily easing the gloom around the heralded title contenders who have a disappointing 19-25 record. The defeat cost Oklahoma City the league lead, dropping below San Antonio.
In other key games, Carmelo Anthony led New York to a tight win over Atlanta and Boston had a bittersweet night, beating Miami in double overtime but learning that guard Rajon Rondo will miss the rest of the season.
In the absence of Paul, it was Blake Griffin (23 points and nine assists) and stand-in point guard Eric Bledsoe (10 points, five assists and five rebounds) who played the key roles in the win over Portland.
All-Star forward LaMarcus Aldridge led the Trail Blazers with 21 points and 11 rebounds but the visitors were never in the contest.
The Lakers beat the Thunder 105-96, with Kobe Bryant having 21 points, 14 assists and nine rebounds.
Steve Nash added seven of his 17 points in the final 5 1/2 minutes as the Lakers coolly maintained a small lead in the closing stages.
Kevin Durant scored 35 points for road-weary Oklahoma City, who finished their longest trip of the season at 3-3.
The New York Knicks edged the Atlanta Hawks 106-104 thanks chiefly to the efforts of Anthony, who tied a franchise record with nine 3-pointers, then converted a go-ahead, three-point play with 12.5 seconds left to cap a 42-point night.
The Hawks shot a season-high 60 percent from the field but had their three-game winning streak snapped when Josh Smith missed a 3-pointer on Atlanta’s final possession.
Amare Stoudemire and J.R. Smith each had 18 points for the Knicks, who were 16 of 27 (59 percent) from 3-point range.
Boston’s Rondo will require major surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee which he damaged against Atlanta on Friday. The news put a dampener on the Celtics’ 100-98 win over the Miami Heat.
Paul Pierce hit a go-ahead jumper with 31 seconds left in the second overtime to give the Celtics victory.
Kevin Garnett had 24 points and 11 rebounds, and Pierce added 17 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists for the Celtics, who ended a six-game losing streak, their longest in six seasons.
LeBron James scored 34 points for the Heat, who had won four in a row. It was the first game in Boston for Ray Allen since he left the Celtics after five seasons and signed as a free agent with Miami. He scored 21 points.
The New Orleans Hornets rode the hot shooting of Ryan Anderson to a 91-83 win over the Memphis Grizzlies.
Anderson scored 22 points connecting on seven 3-pointers. Anderson was 7 of 13 from the field, all of his attempts coming from outside the arc. Fellow reserve Jason Smith was 5 of 7 from the field for 16 points.
Zach Randolph led Memphis with 20 points and 13 rebounds for his league-leading 28th double-double.
In other games, the Dallas Mavericks had a 110-95 win over the Phoenix Suns to celebrate Shawn Marion’s 1,000th game, while the Detroit Pistons downed the Orlando Magic 104-102 with Brandon Knight scoring a career-high 31 points including five 3-pointers.


Brazil ace Fernandinho credits Dubai break with ‘extraordinary’ Manchester City victory

Fernandinho recieves words from his coach Pep Guardiola.
Updated 13 min 2 sec ago
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Brazil ace Fernandinho credits Dubai break with ‘extraordinary’ Manchester City victory

MANCHESTER: Fernandinho has revealed a Dubai break helped him recharge for a performance described by Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola as “extraordinary.”
The Brazilian midfielder’s curling strike capped a superb display in the 5-0 win over Burnley on Saturday that helped keep the champions top of the Premier League.
But Fernandinho believes both he and his team can get even better under the new “special” one.
They face his former club Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League on Tuesday and the 33-year-old, who has not played for his country since their disappointing World Cup, says he feels fitter than ever.
“Yes, I don’t know (why),” he added. “When you are out of international duty you can forget just a little bit about football, spend more time with your family and clean your mind and your body. I think it helps a lot.
“I had a rest last week. I’ve been in Dubai for a week. I have had enough time to rest. I am happy because it’s good to be important especially in a (City) team like this with a lot of good and important players and we just need to go for it, to improve and get better all the time.
“It's good to hear something like this (being extraordinary) about you, especially when it comes from Pep. He's a special guy, a special manager and I'm so pleased for that especially after my performance.”
Fernandinho, who joined City from Shakhtar for £30 million ($38 million) in 2013, has been labelled a “key player” by Guardiola, who has had to start him more regularly after missing out on another defensive midfielder in Jorginho.
But the player does not think he is in the best form of his career.
“Not so far, not yet,” he said. “It was good (against Burnley), but I want to improve more, improve some details and get better to help the team.
“Maybe (this squad is stronger than last season). We have conceded less goals I think and that's a good point we have to take. And when we have the chance to play, especially at home, we create a lot of chances to score goals.
“I hope that we can improve more now because we cannot stop. We are just at the beginning of the season, just nine games, we have a long season ahead and I think from now until the end of the season we have to improve and get better and better. Otherwise, there's no point playing for City.”
Fernandinho is excited about a return to Shakhtar, a club where he won six league titles and the UEFA Cup during an eight-year spell.
City are a point behind Lyon in Group F, having lost to the French side at home, and need victory to stay ahead of the Ukrainian champions.
Fernandinho added: “The next two games against them is going to be decisive to see who goes through to the next stage. They are going to be key games for us.
“They have a good team, good players and we have to be careful and try to play the same way we are playing now. Of course it's a different competition, a different way to play from Burnley to Shakhtar. But we have to do what we have to do out on the pitch and try to win that game because it’s going to be very difficult.”