Lakers whip Warriors after Brown’s firing
Lakers whip Warriors after Brown’s firing
Kobe Bryant scored 27 points, and Pau Gasol added 14 points and 16 rebounds for the Lakers, who had just a few hours to absorb Brown’s dismissal after just 18 months in the job. Following a bumpy first half under interim coach Bernie Bickerstaff, they pulled away in the third quarter with a 25-9 run led by Bryant, who also had nine rebounds and seven assists.
Stephen Curry scored 18 points for the Warriors, who have lost five straight to the Lakers overall.
The comfortable victory doubled the Lakers’ victory total for the season and capped one of the most tumultuous days in recent history for a franchise that’s never short on drama. General manager Mitch Kupchak and owner Jim Buss abruptly dismissed Brown, informing the players during their morning shootaround.
LeBron James scored 21 points at Atlanta, including the clinching jump shot with 13.6 seconds remaining, as the Miami Heat earned their fourth straight win with a 95-89 victory over the Hawks.
Jeff Teague hit consecutive 3-pointers as the Hawks rallied from a nine-point deficit in the fourth quarter. But Josh Smith missed two free throws with just over a minute remaining, and James finished off Atlanta after the teams traded turnovers.
Chris Bosh led Miami with 24 points. James just missed a triple-double, adding 11 rebounds and nine assists.
Teague paced the Hawks with 20 points and 11 assists.
New York’s Carmelo Anthony scored 31 points as the Knicks improved their best start in nearly two decades to four wins and no losses in a 104-94 home win over the Dallas Mavericks.
Reserve JR Smith added 22 points for the Knicks, the only unbeaten team in the NBA. They hadn’t been perfect after four games since the 1993-94 team started 7-0 en route to the NBA Finals.
O.J. Mayo scored 23 points for the Mavericks, who had their three-game winning streak snapped and lost to the Knicks for just the fourth time in the last 22 meetings.
Anthony Davis had 23 points, 11 rebounds and five blocks in his first game back after a concussion to lead the New Orleans Hornets past the Chartlotte Bobcats 107-99, while Shannon Brown scored 12 of his 22 points in the fourth quarter and helped key a late 14-4 run as the Phoenix Suns rallied from a 26-point deficit to beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 107-105.
At Boston, Evan Turner scored 25 points and Jrue Holiday added 21 as the Philadelphia 76ers held off several fourth-quarter rallies to hold out the Celtics 106-100.
In other games, the Minnesota Timberwolves edged the Indiana Pacers 96-94, the New Jersey Nets downed the Orlando Magic 107-68, the San Antonio Spurs defeated the Sacramento Kings 97-86, the Oklahoma City Thunder beat the Detroit Pistons 105-94, the Denver Nuggets earned a 104-85 home win over the Utah Jazz, the Memphis Grizzlies were 93-85 winners over the Houston Rockets and the Milwaukee Bucks rallied for a 101-91 win over the Washington Wizards.
Ahmed defends Pakistan squad as ‘best of the best’
- Fawad Alam is a seasoned player, but the players we selected are also equally good and have been scoring continuously as well, says Pakistani skipper
- Former test opener Ramiz Raja claims there are flaws in Alam’s batting technique
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed has defended the 16-man national squad for tours of Ireland and England as the “best of the best” despite criticism over the omission of batsman Fawad Alam.
“It’s not like I voted him (Alam) out,” Ahmed said on the last day of Pakistan’s training camp in Lahore on Saturday, adding that “I would have picked all the 25 ... but we had to pick the best of the best 16 players.”
Wasim Akram was among several former Pakistan test players who have criticized selectors for ignoring Alam in the middle order — especially since Misbah-ul-Haq and Younis Khan have now retired.
Alam was among 25 players called up for the camp after scoring consistently on the domestic circuit, but he failed to make the final squad.
Former test opener Ramiz Raja claimed there were flaws in Alam’s batting technique and that he would not have considered the left-hander, considering the tough conditions in England.
Ahmed played down the dispute.
“People can make as much reasons to talk, but there is nothing like flaws in anyone’s batting technique,” Ahmed said. “If you look back, Fawad had played a test in 2009 and he is a seasoned player ... (but) the players we selected are also equally good and have been scoring continuously as well.”
Ahmed said it had been a “unanimous decision” by coach, captain and selectors.
Pakistan has included uncapped batsmen Usman Salahuddin and Saad Ali in the final 16, as well as Fakhar Zaman, who has done well in limited-overs cricket but is yet to play a test match.
Misbah and Younis will be missed on a tour of England where Misbah scored a century at Lord’s in 2016 and Younis made 218 at The Oval in the fourth test to draw the series 2-2.
Pakistan has two four-day matches against Kent and Northamptonshire before meeting Ireland in a one-off test at Dublin, starting May 11. It plays two tests against England, starting May 24.
Pakistan will also play Scotland on June 12-13 in two Twenty20 Internationals.
Pakistan faced a major blow when its premier legspinner Yasir Shah was ruled out due to injury. However, Ahmed said he wasn’t sure that Shadab Khan, who has played just one test match, would make it to the final team with the English conditions more suitable for pace.
“The weather will be much cooler and I am not even sure if we are going to play a spinner,” Ahmed said.