NBA: Clippers blowout Lakers in Ball’s NBA debut

Los Angeles Lakers guard Lonzo Ball (2) reacts after making a three-point shot during the first half against the LA Clippers at Staples Center. (Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports)
Updated 20 October 2017
0

NBA: Clippers blowout Lakers in Ball’s NBA debut

LOS ANGELES, USA: The Los Angeles Clippers continued their domination of the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday by routing their cross-town rivals 108-92 and spoiling the NBA debut of second-overall pick Lonzo Ball.
Blake Griffin had 29 points and 12 rebounds and DeAndre Jordan tallied 14 points and 24 rebounds to lead the Clippers in the season opener for both teams.
The highly-touted Ball shot one-of-six from the floor and finished with just three points in front of a crowd of 19,000 at Staples Center arena.
Ball missed his first three field-goal attempts and both free throws before making his only basket, a three-pointer, with 4:49 left in the first half.
Ball didn’t collect his first assist until teammate Brook Lopez converted a jumper with 1:29 remaining in the opening half.
Clippers Patrick Beverley had the job of guarding Ball and said he wanted to “welcome his little young ass to the NBA.”
The Clippers led 86-63 after three quarters and led by as many as 30 points in the fourth.
The Clippers have now won 19 of the past 21 meetings over the struggling Lakers franchise since the start of the 2012-13 season. Over the last five seasons, the Clippers have outscored the Lakers by an average of 15.4 points.
Lopez led the Lakers with 20 points, Jordan Clarkson scored 18 off the bench.
Elsewhere, new additions Paul George and Carmelo Anthony joined forces with Russell Westbrook to score a combined 71 points as the Oklahoma City Thunder crushed Anthony’s former New York Knicks team 105-84 in their season opener.
“We all play for one another,” said George. “Nobody cares who scores. We are going to enjoy one another and that is what it is all about.”
Westbrook tallied a triple-double with 21 points, 16 assists and 10 rebounds. George finished with 28 points while Anthony delivered 22.
Anthony was the last piece added to the retooled Thunder roster. Anthony was the face of his former team but managed to win just one playoff series during his seven seasons with the Knicks.
“It is all good,” he said after Thursday’s win. “The most important thing was to get out here and start a new journey. This is a new chapter.”
Kristaps Porzingis led the Knicks with 31 points and 12 rebounds. The only other New York player to score in double digits was Enes Kanter, who had 10 points.
In Toronto, Jonas Valanciunas scored 23 points and grabbed 15 rebounds, C.J. Miles came off the bench to score 22 points and the Toronto Raptors defeated the Chicago Bulls 117-100 in the opening game of the season for each team.


Iraq coach Katanec looking for performances over results in Saudi friendly

Updated 14 October 2018
0

Iraq coach Katanec looking for performances over results in Saudi friendly

  • On Friday, Iraq were heavily defeated by Argentina, 4-0
  • Iraq coach Srecko Katanec has emphasised the importance of his team’s performance in Monday’s friendly against Saudi Arabia

RIYADH: Iraq coach Srecko Katanec has emphasised the importance of his team’s performance in Monday’s friendly against Saudi Arabia as he seeks to build ahead of next year’s Asian Cup in the UAE and the qualifiers for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
“Really, I don’t care about the results,” Katanec told Arab News. “What will be, will be. I hope that I will see good things from our players — personality and nothing more. I will just ask the players to give all that they have. Nothing more, nothing less. If you want to show too much in a game, that behavior can be a problem also.”
On Friday, Iraq were heavily defeated by Argentina, 4-0. Katanec fielded a reinforced five-men defense, but to little avail as Lautaro Martinez, Roberto Pereyra, German Pezzella and Franco Cervi all got on the scoreboard. “To prepare a friendly match with two training sessions… with players that I don’t quite know — how they are, how their behavior is and all these things, that’s difficult but anyway we are here, that is our job,” said Katanec
Ali Adnan from Atlanta in Italy and Justin Meram from Columbus Crew in the US started against Argentina, but the new Iraq coach may ring the changes against Saudi Arabia, a team he rates highly.
“I will give a chance to all the players who are now with us,” said Katanec. “I hope that we will be at a very good level. Saudi Arabia is a good team, a 100 percent. If they participated in the World Cup, they deserved it. They also played quite good football in Russia, even in the first game: a part of the first game, but the following two matches they were very solid. I know, in this region you have good players. Saudi Arabia have invested a lot of money in football and that’s important. So, big respect for them. They can show, if they can, that they are better than us, but we will also try to do our best.”
In September the Slovenian was appointed coach of Iraq, succeeding Basim Qasim.
Katanec enjoys a wealth of experience in the international game, having guided his native Slovenia to the 2002 World Cup finals in Japan and South Korea. He also coached the United Arab Emirates from 2009 and 2011, but his 2011 Asian Cup campaign ended in disappointment as his team failed to register a single point in a group with Iraq, Iran and North Korea.
The 55-year-old considers the friendly against the Green Falcons a part of the learning curve for Iraq as they look toward the 2019 Asian Cup and the qualifiers for the 2022 World Cup. In November, Iraq have confirmed a friendly against Jordan in preparation for the continental tournament where they will face Iran, Vietnam and Yemen in group D.
“These friendly games are very important in that I will know what to do before the Asian Cup,” explained Katanec. “We need information: how the players are, what their condition is like at this moment. You know, the media at all times want to put some pressure on all of us, but until now I am very satisfied with how the team works.”