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.


Saudi Arabia errors causing problems for Juan Antonio Pizzi

Updated 17 October 2018
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Saudi Arabia errors causing problems for Juan Antonio Pizzi

  • The Saudi Arabia coach was speaking having watched his side draw 1-1 with Iraq in Riyadh on Monday
  • Despite snatching a draw from the jaws of defeat the Chilean coach admitted he was happier with the Green Falcons

RIYADH: Juan Antonio Pizzi has told the Green Falcons they can kiss goodbye any chance of Asian Cup glory unless they stop committing sloppy errors.
The Saudi Arabia coach was speaking having watched his side draw 1-1 with Iraq in Riyadh on Monday — a match that once again laid bare the Pizzi’s players’ propensity to gift the opposition goals.
The hosts were facing defeat at the King Saud University Stadium after Muhanad Ali put Iraq ahead after 71 minutes but there was relief in injury time as Abdulaziz Al-Bishi scored deep into added time to salvage a draw.
Despite snatching a draw from the jaws of defeat the Chilean coach admitted he was happier with the Green Falcons after their 2-0 loss at the hands of Brazil on Friday.
“We did not meet the level we have set for ourselves (against Iraq),” Pizzi said. “We were not at the level that we saw against Brazil. Iraq played well in defense and were well-organized. Iraq also took advantage of our mistakes during the game.”
Individual mistakes have littered Saudi Arabia’s matches over the past few months and were in evidence in September in a 2-2 draw with Bolivia. Once again, Iraq took advantage of a sloppy pass at the back to score the opening goal to leave the hosts chasing the game.
Pizzi is all too aware that the side cannot afford to continue being generous to the opposition ahead of the Asian Cup.
“Repeated individual mistakes do have an effect,” said the 2016 Copa America winning coach.
“We also need to take our chances when they come.”
Errors at the back and a lack of a reliable goalscorer are the major issues going forward into January where they will face North Korea, Lebanon and Qatar in their group.
Pizzi handed a debut to Niger-born striker Abdulfatah Adam but the Al-Tawoun struggled to make an impact before being withdrawn before the hour.
Overall, however, the coach is positive about the upcoming continental tournament.
“It is good to see what we need to do ahead of the Asian Cup. These two games with Brazil and Iraq have given us a chance to look at some of the players and their readiness.
“I am a serious coach who works with precision and effectiveness and this will stand us in good stead of the Asian Cup.”
The coach was buoyed by praise from Brazilian star Neymar, talking ahead of the South American clash with Argentina.
“I was not surprised by the level of Saudi Arabia against us,” the Paris Saint-Germain forward said.
“We saw at the World Cup what they could do and this is a team that I feel has lots of potential. They will develop further in the coming years.”
Iraq coach Srecko Katanec was left frustrated after the 94th minute equalizer cost him a first victory with Iraq since taking charge of the team last month.
“We deserved to win but decisions went against us at the end when we should have had a foul given against us,” the Slovenian said before taking the positives from the game.
“We played well against a strong Saudi Arabia team in Riyadh and the overall performance was a strong one.”
Iraq lost 4-0 to Argentina last Thursday and bounced back to give the former UAE coach hope ahead of the Asian Cup and group games against Iran, Vietnam and Yemen.
“We haven’t had much time together on the training pitch so there were lots to be encouraged about in two games against good teams. We need more time to build team cohesion and improve our organization.
“I have been happy with the players and there is obviously a lot of talent here.
“We are developing and gradually improving.”