Pacers score over Heat

Updated 10 January 2013
0

Pacers score over Heat

INDIANAPOLIS: Paul George had 29 points and 11 rebounds, and the Indiana Pacers held the Miami Heat to a season-low point total in an 87-77 win Tuesday in Indianapolis.
George made four 3-pointers to get the best of his matchup with LeBron James. David West added 14 points and 11 rebounds, and Lance Stephenson chipped in with 13 points for the Pacers (21-14), who have won 11 of 13 games.
Dwyane Wade scored 30 points, and James had 22 points and 10 rebounds for Miami (23-10), which still has the best record in the East.
It was the first time the teams had met since Miami beat Indiana in six games in the conference semifinals last year.
George, 22, has moved from shooting guard to small forward and has become a primary scoring option with Danny Granger, Indiana’s leading scorer last season, out all season because of a knee injury.
“The simple fact that Danny Granger is hurt has created this opportunity for him to show what he can do,” James said. “He’s doing everything. He was a good player last year, but we weren’t able to see it because he wasn’t a featured player.”
The Pacers outrebounded the Heat, 55-36, to help make up for 36 percent shooting.
Miami entered leading the N.B.A. in field goal percentage, while Indiana led the league in field-goal percentage defense. The Heat scored 35 points in the second half, their lowest-scoring half of the season.
Rockets 125, Lakers 112: James Harden scored 31 points and Chandler Parsons 20 to lead host Houston to its fifth straight victory. The Rockets trailed by as many as 14 points in the first half but took control with a 38-26 run through the third quarter.
Metta World Peace had a season-high 24 points and Kobe Bryant added 20 for the Lakers, whose top three big men — Dwight Howard, Pau Gasol and Jordan Hill — were out with injuries.
Bucks 108, Suns 99: Brandon Jennings scored 29 points as host Milwaukee gave Jim Boylan a win in his first game as coach. The Bucks parted ways with Coach Scott Skiles on Monday in what was called a mutual decision, and Boylan, Skiles’s top assistant, was promoted to replace him.
General Manager John Hammond played down the notion that Skiles had lost control of the locker room or otherwise felt friction with management.
“Scott and I did not have a frosty relationship; Scott did not hate this team,” Hammond said.
This is the second time Boylan has succeeded Skiles at midseason. He took over the Bulls when Skiles was fired in December 2007.
T’wolves 108, Hawks 103 Nikola Pekovic had 25 points and a career-high 18 rebounds, and Andrei Kirilenko added 21 points for host Minnesota. Coach Rick Adelman missed the game because of unspecified personal reasons.
Josh Smith had 21 points and 13 rebounds for the Hawks.


IPL final will pitch batting might of Chennai against bowling mastery of Sunrisers

Updated 26 May 2018
0

IPL final will pitch batting might of Chennai against bowling mastery of Sunrisers

  • Seven-times finalists Chennai go up against 2016 winners
  • Chennai have beaten Sunrisers three times already this season

On paper, the Indian Premier League (IPL) final on Sunday evening is a clash between the batting prowess of Chennai Super Kings, who will be contesting their seventh final, and the bowling might of Sunrisers Hyderabad, winners back in 2016.

At first glance, the stats would bear that out too. Four Chennai players — Ambati Rayudu (586), MS Dhoni (455), Shane Watson (438) and Suresh Raina (413) — have topped 400 runs for the season. And while Kane Williamson, Hyderabad’s captain, sits atop the run charts with 688, only Shikhar Dhawan (471) among his teammates has crossed 300.
On the bowling side, Hyderbad’s Rashid Khan and Siddharth Kaul both have 21 wickets, while Shakib Al-Hasan has 14. Not one of them has gone for more than eight runs an over. Chennai’s leading wicket-takers, Shardul Thakur (15) and Dwayne Bravo (13) have both conceded more than nine an over.
Such numbers, however, don’t really tell you how things have gone at the business end of the tournament. Chennai’s campaign has been invigorated by the inclusion of South Africa’s Lungi Ngidi, who had left for home earlier in the competition after the death of his father. He has 10 wickets from six games at a stellar economy rate of 5.9. The new-ball pairing with Deepak Chahar, who can swing it at decent pace, has transformed the team’s fortunes.
Hyderabad have lost four of their last five, and reached the final only after a monumental implosion from Kolkata Knight Riders in front of their home crowd. And it wasn’t a team effort either, with Rashid’s brilliance — 34 off 10 balls, 3 for 19, two catches and one run-out — dragging an underperforming side past the finish line.
Chennai have won all three of their meetings this season, though each game has gone to the wire. After being taken for 49 in the first game between the two sides, Rashid has returned figures of 0 for 25 and 2 for 11. It goes without saying that his intervention will be crucial if Hyderabad are to win a second title.
Chennai lead 8-2 in the head-to-head stakes, and have six players in their likely starting XI who have won the title before. But you have to go all the way back to 2011 for Chennai’s last success, and four losses in the final suggest that they are susceptible to big-match pressure. For that pressure to be felt, Hyderabad need runs. Williamson and Dhawan have scored at a decent clip when they’ve got starts, but there’s been a noticeable lack of oomph in the middle order. Manish Pandey has been dropped after a dreadful season, and Yusuf Pathan seems a shadow of the player who once bullied bowlers. Shakib, too, has failed to play an innings of substance.
It will also be interesting to see who Hyderabad pick for their playing XI. The decision to bench the steady Sandeep Sharma — 11 wickets at an economy rate of 7.02 — in favor of Khaleel Ahmed backfired spectacularly, as he was taken for 38 in three overs. Carlos Brathwaite held his nerve against Kolkata, but Chennai will doubtless target his medium pace after Faf du Plessis took him apart in the first qualifier.
Chennai will likely keep faith in du Plessis. Sam Billings, who he replaced for the first knockout game, started the season with a dazzling 23-ball 56, but has not been able to kick on from that. When Chennai plumped for a squad high on experience but relatively low on youthful vigour, there were more than a few skeptics. This run to the final, Dhoni’s eighth as captain (one of them was with Pune), has changed many of those minds, but the biggest hurdle remains to be crossed.
For Chennai, the IPL final has often been as hard to surmount as Becher’s Brook is for many horses at the Grand National.