Crawford leads Clippers past Rockets; Nuggets win

Updated 16 January 2013
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Crawford leads Clippers past Rockets; Nuggets win

HOUSTON: Jamal Crawford scored a season-high 30 points, including 12 straight to start the fourth quarter, and the Los Angeles Clippers looked just fine without Chris Paul in a 117-109 win over the struggling Houston Rockets on Tuesday night.
The Clippers won their second game in a row despite missing their star point guard, who is day to day with a bruised right kneecap.
Los Angeles used a big third quarter to take the lead, and Crawford extended the advantage to 20 by outscoring Houston 12-7 in the opening minutes of the fourth quarter.
James Harden had 23 points for the Rockets, whose four-game losing streak is a season worst.
The Clippers improved to 11-1 this season when Crawford leads the team in scoring.
Los Angeles opened the second half with a 10-0 run to take a 68-59 lead with about nine minutes left in the third quarter.
Nuggets 115, Trail Blazers 111, OT: At Denver, Wilson Chandler hit a tie breaking 3-pointer with 14.9 seconds remaining in overtime and Denver beat Portland for its season-best sixth consecutive victory.
Danilo Gallinari had 25 points, including a key 3-pointer in the extra period. Ty Lawson added 24 points and 12 assists for the Nuggets, who are 2-0 in overtime this season. Portland, which lost for the first time in six OT games this season, was led by LaMarcus Aldridge’s 28 points. Nicolas Batum had 22 points and J.J. Hickson 19.
Lakers 104, Bucks 88: At Los Angeles, Dwight Howard had 31 points and 16 rebounds, Kobe Bryant also scored 31 points and Los Angeles beat Milwaukee for its second straight win after a six-game skid.
Metta World Peace added 12 points as the Lakers prepared for Thursday’s visit from the NBA champion Miami Heat with an impressive effort against the Bucks, who lost for the second time in five games under interim coach Jim Boylan.
Bryant and Howard both had 30-point games for the second time in their brief tenure together, and the Bucks couldn’t cope with Bryant’s outside game or Howard’s inside dominance.
Monta Ellis scored 17 points for Milwaukee, while Brandon Jennings was held to 12 points on 4-of-14 shooting largely by Bryant’s defense.
Howard again played with an obvious spark in his second game back from a three-game absence with a torn labrum in his shoulder, defending aggressively in the paint while overpowering the Bucks on offense.
Pau Gasol missed his fifth straight game for the Lakers with a concussion, but the 7-foot Spaniard worked out before the game and will be re-examined before Thursday’s game against Miami.
Pacers 103, Bobcats 76: At Charlotte, Roy Hibbert had 18 points and seven rebounds, and Indiana handed Charlotte its 13th straight home loss.
The Pacers bounced back from Sunday’s 11-point defeat to Brooklyn and won for the fifth time in six games.
With team owner Michael Jordan looking on from the bench, the Bobcats lost their fifth in a row. They’ve dropped 24 of 26 since Thanksgiving.
Indiana won this one going away behind some dominant inside play, outrebounding the Bobcats 60-31 and outscoring them 52-22 in the paint.
Paul George had 16 points and 10 rebounds, while David West added 15 points and eight rebounds for the Pacers. George Hill chipped in with 16 points and seven rebounds.
The Central Division leaders (24-15) have not lost consecutive games since Dec. 9.Gerald Henderson led the Bobcats with 15 points.
Nets 113, Raptors 106: At New York, Brook Lopez had 22 points and nine rebounds, Joe Johnson and Deron Williams each scored 21 points, and Brooklyn beat Toronto to extend its season-high winning streak to seven games.
Andray Blatche added 14 points for the Nets, in the midst of their longest winning streak since running off 14 in a row late in the 2005-06 season. A .500 team when they fired Avery Johnson late last month, Brooklyn is 9-1 under interim coach P.J. Carlesimo and has pulled within 1½ games of the New York Knicks for the Atlantic Division lead.
The Nets dominated the fourth quarter again, pulling away for their sixth straight home victory.
Kyle Lowry scored 21 points for the Raptors, who have dropped two in a row but still have 10 wins in their last 15 games.
Hornets 111, 76Ers 99: At Philadelphia, Greivis Vasquez scored 23 points and Eric Gordon added 19 to help New Orleans beat Philadelphia.
Ryan Anderson had 14 points, Xavier Henry scored 11 and Anthony Davis 10 for the Hornets, who are last in the Western Conference at 12-26 — with matching 6-13 records at home and on the road.
Jrue Holiday led the Sixers with 29 points and 11 assists. Nick Young and Evan Turner added 14 points each while Thaddeus Young scored 12.
Philadelphia hasn’t won consecutive games since a three-game streak from Nov. 25-30.


London clash between Al-Hilal and Al-Ittihad a chance to showcase Saudi football to the world, says SAFF

Updated 16 August 2018
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London clash between Al-Hilal and Al-Ittihad a chance to showcase Saudi football to the world, says SAFF

  • Super Cup final in UK capital can boost Saudi football's image around the world, claims SAFF official
  • SAFF defends number of foreign players allowed to play in Saudi Pro League claiming they help raise the standard.

LONDON: Saturday’s Super Cup final between Al-Hilal and Al-Ittihad in London will not just be a great experience for the players, but also a chance to showcase the best of Saudi Arabian football on an international stage ahead of what should be a season to remember.
That is according to Luai Al-Subaiey, the General Secretary of the Saudi Arabia Football Federation (SAFF)ahead of the cup clash at Loftus Road, the home of Queen’s Park Rangers. The match is the traditional season curtain-raiser that features the champions and the winners of the King’s Cup. And with holding fixtures overseas a growing trend in modern football, Al-Subaiey told Arab News the decision to play the match in London was a no-brainer.
“Club teams from one country playing in another country is commonplace,” Al-Subaiey said.
“Teams from the English, German, Spanish, French, Italian and Portuguese leagues played in the US this summer. The Spanish Super Cup was played in Morocco last week.
“We do it because it is good for our players to gather more international experience, to learn what it’s like to play in large overseas stadia, and of course, there is a large Saudi Arabian and Middle Eastern population living and working in London, (roughly) 300,000 people there.”
Al-Subaiey and Co. are confident that a great game in London this Saturday will be a springboard to a great season to come, especially with leading clubs in the country active in the international transfer market.
With eight overseas players allowed in Saudi Arabian teams in the upcoming Saudi Pro League season, there have been concerns that opportunities for local talent could be reduced. Al-Subaiey, however, believes that importing quality players can only be a good thing.
“Foreign players in the Saudi League will help improve the quality of football,” he said.
“But it also needs to be managed and balanced with the need to nourish domestic talent and provide our homegrown players with a pathway to the top.”
International stars such as Omar Abdulrahman have a part to play in the development of the Saudi Pro League and its ambition to be one of the leading leagues in the world. The United Arab Emirates playmaker joined Al-Hilal earlier in August in a season-long loan deal worth a reported $15 million — the second highest in football history.
As well as Abdulrahman, Al-Hilal have signed Peruvian international Andre Carrillo, who scored at the World Cup this summer, as well as former Barcelona defender Alberto Botia. Al-Nassr have bought Nigerian international Ahmed Musa from Leicester City and Nordin Amrabat from Watford.
“Has Wayne Rooney added something to DC United and the MLS? Has Omar Abdulrahman added to Al-Hilal? Of course, additions like these improve the quality of football,” Al-Subaiey said. “For the fans, these players bring excitement, and for the clubs and their league, these players bring a higher profile and greater attention — but there is something deeper too.”
For the official, what the best players bring is attitude and the utmost professionalism.
“Central to high performance sport is the right mindset. People like Rooney and Abdulrahman bring a great work ethic and possess great skills — but they also possess a professional mindset. And the young players who will work with them will see this, experience this — and learn from this.”
If all goes according to plan Saudi Arabia will qualify for the 2022 World Cup and perhaps even
progress to the second round for the first time since 1994. In Russia the Green Falcons started off with a 5-0 thrashing at the hands of the hosts in the opening game in Moscow. The team tightened up before losing narrowly to Uruguay, and then going on to beat Egypt 2-1 in the final game.
“We were absolutely delighted to be at the World Cup,” Al-Subaiey said.
“As you can tell with teams like Italy, Holland and the USA not qualifying and teams like Germany and Argentina not progressing (far in the tournament), the standard of play in international football is very high.
“Our particular group was quite challenging, and our initial game against host Russia, one of the biggest surprises of the World Group, was a difficult first match. Our final game, our win against Egypt, was a World Cup high point for our team. It was a match our young players and our national program can build on.”