George powers Pacers past Spurs 110-100

Updated 10 December 2013
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George powers Pacers past Spurs 110-100

NEW YORK: Paul George had 28 points and six assists to lead the Indiana Pacers to a 111-100 victory over the San Antonio Spurs in a battle between the top teams in the East and West.
George was perfect from the three-point line (four of four) and the free throw line (six of six).
Indiana (18-2) boasts the best record in the league but had lost the last 11 straight games to the Spurs, with their last win in San Antonio on Jan. 4, 2002.
San Antonio (15-4) was led by Kawhi Leonard with 18 points.
Warriors 108 Grizzlies 82: Golden State halted an 11-game Memphis winning streak in the series with a 108-82 win over the Grizzlies.
Klay Thompson paced the Warriors with a game-high 30 points while David Lee scored 23 points and grabbed 11 rebounds.
Steph Curry had 22 points and tied his career high with 15 assists.
The Warriors (12-9) last beat the Grizzlies (9-10) on Nov. 3, 2010 and they had not won in Memphis since April 2008.
Mavericks 108 Trail Blazers 106: Guard Monta Ellis' fadeaway jumper at the buzzer gave the Dallas Mavericks a 108-106 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers.
Forward Dirk Nowitzki scored nine of his team-high 28 points in the final 3:40 for the Mavericks (13-8), who led by six points with 45 seconds to play.
The loss snapped a four-game win streak for Portland (17-4), which got a game-high 32 points from guard Damian Lillard.
Ellis' game-winning shot came after Lillard sank a three-pointer to tie the score at 106 with 1.9 seconds left.
Nuggets 103 76ers 92: Jordan Hamilton and J.J. Hickson each scored nine fourth-quarter points as the Denver Nuggets beat the Philadelphia 76ers 103-92 to snap a two-game losing streak.
Hickson finished with 12 points, including the dunk with 6:20 left that snapped the last of the final period's four ties and put the Nuggets ahead to stay, at 88-86.
Hamilton notched 13 points, including three three-pointers in as many fourth-quarter possessions.
Pistons 92 Bulls 75: Brandon Jennings scored 33 points to lead the Detroit Pistons to a 92-75 victory over Chicago.
While extending their winning streak to four games, the Pistons ended another long streak as they had lost 14 in a row in Chicago (8-10).
Jennings hit 12 of 22 shots from the field, including five baskets from three-point range. Kyle Singler added 12 points for Detroit (10-10), while three players grabbed double-digit rebounds.
Cavaliers 88 Clippers 82: Andrew Bynum scored 18 points and grabbed six rebounds, all in the first three quarters, and the Cleveland Cavaliers continued their dominance of the Los Angeles Clippers with an 88-82 victory.
The Cavs (7-13) have now won 13 of their last 15 games against the Clippers.
Cavs forward Tristan Thompson and Kyrie Irving each scored 20 points, with Thompson grabbing a team-high 13 rebounds.
Chris Paul had 13 points and a game-high 16 assists for the Clippers (13-8).
Heat 103 Timberwolves 82: Dwayne Wade threw an alley-oop pass off the backboard to Lebron James as part of a 17-6 run to close the third quarter in the Miami Heat's 103-82 win at Target Center.
It snapped the Heat's two-game losing streak, while handing the Wolves' a second straight loss.
James flirted with a triple-double with 21 points, 14 rebounds and eight assists.
Kevin Martin led the Wolves with 19 points.
Nets 90 Bucks 82: Brook Lopez scored a season-high 32 points and pulled down seven rebounds as the Brooklyn Nets avoided a share of the Eastern Conference cellar with a 90-82 win over the Milwaukee Bucks.
Joe Johnson finished with 15 points, knocking down a pair of three-pointers, while Andray Blatche added 11 points and grabbed eight rebounds off the Brooklyn bench.
Guard O.J. Mayo led the Bucks with 22 points.
Kings 112 Jazz 102: Rookie Ben McLemore forced overtime with a game-tying three-pointer and the Sacramento Kings dominated the extra time to beat the Utah Jazz 112-102.
Center DeMarcus Cousins scored a game-high 28 points and reserve guard Isaiah Thomas had 26 as the Kings (5-13) snapped their six-game losing streak.
Utah shooting guard Gordon Hayward scored a team-high 22 points and rookie point guard Trey Burke contributed 19 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists, but the short-handed Jazz (4-18) dropped their third straight.


Arabian Gulf League CEO shares bright vision for the future

Updated 19 min 18 sec ago
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Arabian Gulf League CEO shares bright vision for the future

  • Waleed Al-Hosani has been Arabian Gulf League CEO for 18 months
  • Al-Hosani's vision for the league includes making attending matches more appealing to fans

DUBAI In an unassuming office 
block above an Audi showroom in Abu Dhabi, Waleed Al-Hosani is plotting the future of professional football in the UAE.
It is a task that requires creativity and the Pro League Committee (PLC) workspace is certainly conducive to that; a replica substitutes’ bench complete with leather chairs sits in the reception area, while a running track weaves its way among the desks and chairs.
The PLC office is bright and innovative, mirroring Al-Hosani, who for 18 months has been the organization’s CEO. In that time, the Emirati has already demonstrated significantly more foresight than his predecessors. Al-Hosani’s goal is to reinvigorate the Arabian Gulf League (AGL).
From the outside, it may appear that it does not need reinvigorating. UAE clubs have appeared in two of the past three AFC Champions League finals and the UAE has been ranked as the AFC’s best league for the past four years. Millions of dollars have been plowed into the AGL, with marquee players improving the standard of football and ensuring progress to the latter stages of continental tournaments.
Competitiveness is not, however, the criteria that concerns Al-Hosani.
Last season, the average attendance for AGL matches was just 2,500. The league commands some princely sums in TV rights and reportedly attracts an impressive viewership of up to eight million people. But empty stands are a source of both embarrassment and worry.
Tackling this fan apathy is the central tenet of the PLC’s new four-year plan, introduced at the start of the 2017-18 season.
“Poor attendances is the biggest issue we are facing in the Arabian Gulf League,” Al Hosani told Arab News.
“When the Pro League Committee first launched in 2007, the focus was on investing in the teams, getting better players from around the world and creating a big buzz in the media.
“Unfortunately they didn’t manage to balance this with community engagement. This has resulted in clubs becoming closed, not realizing the role they can play in the community and the responsibilities they have to preserve and develop their fanbase.”
This failure by the clubs strikes a personal chord with Al-Hosani. Raised within a stone’s throw from Al-Wahda FC in Abu Dhabi, the PLC chief spent his childhood immersed in the club.
“For many of us, Al-Wahda was our life,” he recalled. “Of course we played football there whenever we could. But beyond that they put on classes to helped us with maths and English, we went bowling — there were a lot of activities. It created loyalty between us and the club.
“Somewhere along the way, this was lost. You look around the AGL and that sort of environment doesn’t exist. I think I’m fortunate I had this experience in my childhood as I can now try to recreate that feeling for people again.”
Diverting money away from transfers and salaries and into infrastructure has been the PLC’s main aim this season. Each club now has a budget set aside for marketing and community activities, which must be designed with long-term benefits in mind.
“A lot of clubs want to use the money for 
prizes but you cannot buy loyalty. A few years ago, Al-Jazira did an amazing giveaway — if you attended matches you could win a Ferrari. It received a lot of attention and attendances exploded that season.
“It was a nice project but when it finished, the fans were gone. The people didn’t come for the club, they came for the prizes. We want to avoid that — we want to build a new, loyal generation of supporters.”
Al-Hosani is demanding that clubs focus their efforts on engagement with supporters. He wants to see community initiatives and liaison with schools and neighborhoods — in order to create a greater sense 
of belonging.
The matchday experience, too, is a target for improvement. It has been lacking for some time for UAE football fans, who have grown accustomed to broken Wi-Fi and closed food and beverage outlets. The rebuilding and refurbishment of a number of stadiums ahead of next year’s Asian Cup in the UAE will be a welcome boost for supporters.
“The improved stadiums will help many clubs,” Al-Hosani explained. “But it’s not enough — we want them to build fan zones, F&B structures — anything that improves the experience of going to an AGL match for fans.
“This change is not easy as most clubs have never thought about it, but that is why we are providing workshops and education so they can understand how to engage 
with the fans and increase the attendances.”Even the act of purchasing a ticket is now significantly easier. It seems remarkable that just a year ago, the majority of UAE football supporters could only buy a ticket when they arrived at the stadium. The introduction of a new central online ticketing system, in English and Arabic, 
has created a more efficient mechanism that also opens up the AGL 
to a wider audience.
Attracting expats and tourists to games has long been regarded as the Holy Grail for the AGL. Almost 90 percent of the country’s population are non-UAE nationals, but in the 11 years since the Pro League Committee was formed it has failed to unlock the secret of how to get them to matches. More accessible tickets is the first step, according to Al-Hosani, who has been encouraging clubs to recognize the importance of diversifying their fanbase. “Reaching out to expats is of course vitally important. I’m not sure why we are so late to do this but based on my experience when I was a fan of the league, I think the initiatives weren’t consistent. Maybe they did one campaign and then stopped for two years before doing another one. “We are working on future promotional activities. We will go to beaches, malls, public gardens — we will do kids’ activities, entertainment, competitions — we want people to know the AGL. The key is to be patient and persistent.”
A desire for quick wins has long been an issue for both the league and its clubs, who are notoriously trigger-happy with their managers. Al-Hosani and his PLC team are working hard to change that mentality and have already made admirable inroads. “As any change anywhere in the world, it’s difficult,” Al-Hosani said. “People are afraid of the unknown, this is natural. There will be resistance but there is a growing understanding that these changes will benefit UAE football in the 
long term.”