Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant lead Warriors past Mavericks

Golden State Warriors’ Stephen Curry shoots over Dallas Mavericks’ Dirk Nowitzki during the second half of their NBA basketball game on Thursday, February 8. (AP)
Updated 09 February 2018
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Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant lead Warriors past Mavericks

OAKLAND, California: Stephen Curry had 20 points, eight assists and seven rebounds, and the Golden State Warriors bounced back from a tough recent stretch to beat the Dallas Mavericks 121-103 on Thursday night.
Kevin Durant added 24 points, nine rebounds, four assists and two blocked shots while Draymond Green put up another impressive line: 12 points, 10 rebounds, six assists, two blocks and two steals.
Dallas star Dirk Nowitzki had 16 points, 11 rebounds, season-high five steals and two blocks, while rookie Dennis Smith Jr. scored 22 points.
Curry’s pretty three-point play with 1:28 left in the third put the Warriors up 88-83, and once Golden State got going in transition the Mavericks couldn’t keep up in what became a dunk fest. The Warriors began the fourth on a 14-5 tear.
Despite another slow start, Golden State eventually found its groove and delivered all the big plays when it mattered.
The defending champions had dropped three of four, including their worst defeat at home in Tuesday’s 125-105 loss to the Thunder.
Klay Thompson added 18 points, five rebounds and four assists on his 28th birthday.
Durant dunked in transition on back-to-back possessions late in the second quarter, one off a steal he made, and Andre Iguodala also had a slam as the Warriors sent the game to halftime tied at 60.
David West contributed 10 points, seven rebounds and seven assists in nearly 17 minutes for Golden State, which earned a 10th straight victory in the series.
Green was fined $50,000 by the NBA for directing inappropriate and offensive language toward an official during the Oklahoma City loss.
Green was ejected with 8:13 remaining after a second technical for arguing with the officials, specifically female referee Lauren Holtkamp. The NBA said the specific incident for which he was penalized occurred in the second quarter.
On Thursday night, Green got hit with his 14th technical of the season — two away from an automatic suspension — in the second quarter for arguing after a delay of game warning.
Green will wear clear braces for a couple of weeks after his front right tooth was knocked back in a collision with Russell Westbrook during Tuesday’s loss.
Green said dentists will monitor his tooth.
“It hasn’t died. Hopefully it stays alive,” he said.


Juan Antonio Pizzi is still the right man to lead Saudi Arabia, says former Green Falcons boss

Updated 22 June 2018
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Juan Antonio Pizzi is still the right man to lead Saudi Arabia, says former Green Falcons boss

  • Saudi Arabia's 1996 Asian Cup-winning coach Nelo Vingada backs Pizzi to lead side into next year's Asian Cup.
  • Green Falcons face Egypt on Monday with both looking to land their first point in Russia.

MOSCOW: Saudi Arabia’s 1996 Asian Cup-winning boss Nelo Vingada has called on the country’s football authorities to keep faith with head coach Juan Antonio Pizzi despite a disappointing showing in Russia.
The Green Falcons still have to face Egypt in the final match of Group A, but have already been eliminated following a 5-0 defeat at the hands of Russia in the opening game on June 14 in Moscow and a 1-0 loss to Uruguay five days later in Rostov.
 “I was expecting a little more from Saudi Arabia to be honest,” Vingada told Arab News.
“In the first game they were disappointing but a first game of the World Cup is always hard and especially when it is the first game and everyone is watching. Plenty of teams at the World Cup did not play well in the first game.
“But playing Russia in Russia and to lose is what you would normally expect from Saudi Arabia and while it was far from positive, people should not get carried away.
“The game with Uruguay was much improved in terms of organization and defense and it showed more of the character of the Saudi Arabia team.”
In the past, coaches have been axed following disappointing World Cup campaigns but with the 2019 Asian Cup just seven months away, the Portuguese tactician would prefer to see some stability rather than yet another new man in the dugout.
 “The Asian Cup is in the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia will be one of the contenders,” Vingada said. “It is better to stay with the same coach. He has a vision of how he wants the team to play and he now knows the players and the players know him.”
Constant changing has not helped Saudi Arabia in the past and Pizzi himself has been in the job just seven months.
“The problem is not the coach. He should not be changed, that has happened before but results did not improve, but the mentality has to change.”
Despite that Vingada, who has coached 
Egyptian club giants Zamalek and the country’s Under-23 team, believes that the Pharaohs, also eliminated, will prevail when the two regional rivals meet on Monday in Volgograd.
 “This is an important game for pride, the players and the countries. It is still the World Cup. Egypt have a little more quality I think and have Mohamed Salah too.” 
The Liverpool striker has been recovering from a shoulder injury sustained in the Champions League final defeat to Real Madrid in late May and missed the opening game 1-0 loss to Uruguay. He played in the second game, a 3-1 defeat at the hands of Russia, scoring from the spot late in the match to earn a consolation.
“Any coach would take Salah because he can win you games but overall Egypt have been a little disappointing and a little unlucky.”
The bad luck came when conceding a last-minute goal to Uruguay and a fluke own goal to get Russia off the mark. “Uruguay are a tough team and it is no shame to lose 3-1 to a Russia team at home who are playing to qualify for the next round. It showed that European and South American teams still have a little more quality.”
 “Egypt just made some mistakes at the wrong time but this is football and without mistakes there are no goals.”
Ahead of the clash against Egypt Pizzi confirmed his intention to stay as Saudi Arabia boss, looking to build on the seven months he has had to imprint his ideas on the team ahead of the Asian Cup.