Kevin Durant bags triple-double as Warriors tame Timberwolves

Golden State Warriors’ Stephen Curry, right, congratulates teammate Kevin Durant after he made a basket against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Thursday night, January 25. (AFP)
Updated 26 January 2018
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Kevin Durant bags triple-double as Warriors tame Timberwolves

OAKLAND: Kevin Durant showed why he was LeBron James’ first pick for the NBA All-Star game on Thursday as the Golden State Warriors romped past the Minnesota Timberwolves for a comfortable victory.
Durant, who was snapped up by James for next month’s All-Star extravaganza, bagged a 28-point triple-double as the Warriors cruised to a 126-113 win at Oakland’s Oracle Arena.
Stephen Curry added 25 points and Klay Thompson also got 25 to give the Warriors the perfect preparation for Saturday’s meeting with the Eastern Conference pacesetters Boston.
Durant contributed 11 assists and pulled down 10 rebounds in a commanding display which also saw him link superbly with Curry.
A brilliant three-pointer from Durant after a sublime no-look pass from Curry late in the third quarter drew gasps from the crowd and put the Warriors into a 101-88 lead.
“We play good defense, we can rebound, we can push we’ve got shooters everywhere. I was just trying to make the right decisions,” a satisfied Durant said, acknowledging the all-round potency of the Warriors offense.
“That’s just how we play. Everybody gets involved, everybody touches the ball,” he said.
Durant, meanwhile, revealed he was happy to have been chosen as the top pick in the All-Star game draft by James — even if it means he will line up opposite Warriors team-mates Curry, Thompson and Draymond Green.
“Finally somebody picked me number one. That feels pretty good. It’s going to be fun competing against Steph, Klay and Draymond over the weekend,” he said. “There’s going to be a lot of trash talking, a lot of fun.”
Although Minnesota closed to six points in the fourth quarter, Golden State always looked in control and were able to keep the Timberwolves at arm’s length.
Minnesota’s challenge was led by Karl-Anthony Towns with 31 points while Jamal Crawford had 21. Four other Timberwolves players had double figures.
Reigning NBA champions Golden State extended their lead at the top of the Western Conference to 39-10 with the win while Minnesota fell to 31-20.


Simona Halep positive despite Dubai defeat by Belinda Bencic

Updated 21 February 2019
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Simona Halep positive despite Dubai defeat by Belinda Bencic

  • Former world No.1 blames three-set loss on tiredness after nine matches in 13 days.
  • Halep has high hopes for the rest of 2019, saying her game is in good shape.

LONDON: Simona Halep is still certain a good year lies in store for her despite losing to Belinda Bencic in the Dubai quarterfinals.
The Romanian former world No. 1 was the favorite to win her second title in the emirate but ran out of steam as her Swiss opponent ran out 4-6, 6-4, 6-2 winner.
It was Halep’s ninth match in just 13 days and she admitted tiredness had caught up with her.
“It was really difficult physically. I was tired,” the world No. 2 said.

Bencic came from a set down to beat the favorite in the last-eight encounter in Dubai. (AFP) 


“After the second set, I felt like I’m getting cramping a little bit. It’s normal. I was sweating a lot.”
While, her fatigue was clear for all to see, Halep was not using it as an excuse, admitting Bencic, who has now beaten her in two of their three matches, was the deserved winner.
“Yeah, she played well. She played very well. In the end, she was a little bit stronger,” the Romanian said.
Having lost in the Qatar final last weekend and failed to make the last-four in Dubai you might think Halep would be disappointed with her Middle East stint. She was, however, far from glum and revealed she is looking forward to landing more titles to add to her collection during the rest of the year.

Cheerio from Halep after her defeat to the Swiss. (AFP) 


“I think were three good weeks. Tough weeks. A lot of tension, a lot of pressure. Also the Fed Cup,” she said.
“I take only positive things. I had great matches. My level is good. Physically also I’m good. But day by day I had to play, so is not easy.
“I’m confident for the next tournaments.”