Shorthanded Bulls impress in victory over Hawks
Shorthanded Bulls impress in victory over Hawks
Luol Deng had 25 points and 14 rebounds for the Bulls, who opened a one-game lead atop the Central Division.
In other key games, Portland beat Utah to move within 1-1/2 games of its Northwest rival, Cleveland pulled off a shock result by beating high-flying Oklahoma City, San Antonio lost Tim Duncan to a knee injury during the win over Washington, and New York routed Sacramento, going on a 38-4 run at one point.
Chicago played without injured starters Kirk Hinrich, Joakim Noah and Carlos Boozer, but dominated near the basket and got a lift from the frenetic play of Nate Robinson (20 points). The Bulls used only eight players for the second straight night, but it was more than enough for an impressive road win.
Josh Smith led Atlanta with 19 points and 13 rebounds but he scored only three points in the second half.
The Portland Trail Blazers had a 105-99 home win over Utah Jazz, reversing the result of Friday’s game in Salt Lake City.
Damian Lillard had 23 points and J.J. Hickson added 21 points and 11 rebounds for the Blazers.
Randy Foye scored 23 points for the Jazz, who led by as many as 10 points in the third quarter.
Cleveland’s Kyrie Irving put in a spectacular performance that led the Cavaliers to an unlikely 115-110 win over Oklahoma City Thunder.
One night after saying he was “disinterested” during a loss in Detroit, Irving scored 35 points, including 13 in the final 2:52 to seal the win.
Marreese Speights scored 21 points, including eight straight in the fourth when Cleveland’s reserves opened a lead. Kevin Durant scored 32 points for the Thunder, but left briefly in the third quarter with an apparent back injury.
San Antonio’s Tim Duncan sprained his left knee and right ankle as the Spurs beat the Washington Wizards 96-86.
Washington’s Martell Webster rolled into the back of Duncan’s legs while fighting for a rebound in the second quarter, and there were audible gasps in the crowd while the All-Star was on the floor holding his left knee for several minutes.
The severity of the injuries is not known, but Duncan did not return to the bench after being helped off the court by teammates.
Tony Parker scored 19 points and Danny Green added 15 for San Antonio, which has won 18 straight at home. John Wall scored 21 points for Washington, which has lost 13 straight to San Antonio.
The New York Knicks crushed the Sacramento Kings 120-81, with even that big margin disguising the home team’s dominance, because Sacramento actually led by 10 points early.
New York’s Amare Stoudemire was 10 for 10 from the field for 21 points, entering the game when the Knicks were trailing.
The Knicks didn’t even need much from Carmelo Anthony, who tied a season low with nine points and had his run of 20-point games snapped at 31, the longest single-season streak in franchise history.
DeMarcus Cousins had 25 points and nine rebounds for the Kings.
Golden State’s Stephen Curry returned in style from an ankle injury, scoring 19 of his 29 points in the second half to steer the Warriors to a 113-93 win over the Phoenix Suns.
Harrison Barnes matched his season high with 21 points for the Warriors, who have won four straight to close within 3-1/2 games of the Pacific Division-leading Los Angeles Clippers.
Michael Beasley scored 24 points for the Suns.
Elsewhere, the Milwaukee Bucks beat Orlando 107-98 to inflict a ninth straight loss on the Magic, the Minnesota Timberwolves ended a six-game losing skid by downing the New Orleans Hornets 115-86, while Houston’s James Harden recorded his first career triple-double — 21 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists — as the Rockets beat the Charlotte Bobcats 109-95.
‘Good, but not good enough’: Juan Antonio Pizzi on Saudi Arabia’s defeat to Uruguay
- A Luis Suaréz goal midway through the first half gave Uruguay a 1-0 win
- Pizzi had spoken passionately about the need for his side to demonstrate a higher level of focus and performance
ROSTOV-ON-DON: Good, but not good enough.
That was what Juan Antonio Pizzi stated as he declared himself pleased with his team’s performance in the 1-0 defeat to Uruguay on Wednesday night.
But he lamented his side’s lack of firepower as they exited the World Cup after just two matches.
Pizzi had spoken passionately about the need for his side to demonstrate a higher level of focus and performance in Rostov-on-Don after losing their opening game 5-0 to hosts Russia in Moscow last week.
The Argentine got his wish with a display that saw the Green Falcons fight throughout and edge possession against a Uruguay side ranked 14th in the world.
A Luis Suaréz goal midway through the first half after poor goalkeeping from Mohammed Al-Owais, however, was enough to hand the Green Falcons a 12th successive World Cup defeat.
The result means that even with a win against Egypt on Monday, the Green Falcons are no longer capable of progressing to the knock-out stages from Group A.
“We had a lot of ball possession and were able to impose our style of play and distribution,” said Pizzi. “We conceded a goal from a random play and didn’t have the weapons or tools to try to equalize. We kept the ball well and weren’t really troubled defensively, but lacked that ability to score.”
Indeed, for all their possession, Saudi Arabia have managed just three shots on target in 180 minutes of football. Against Russia, they failed to muster a single effort on target and the managed just three against Uruguay, two of which came in the final minutes when they knew they had to score or face elimination. None of the three shots came from a striker.
“This is our weakness. We have good ball possession, but no effectiveness. We lack the depth and skill required to win these games,” Pizzi added. “We have that deficiency and have looked for solutions, but we haven’t quite come up with one yet. But that is one of the reasons great forward are in high demand and are the elite players in world football.”
Pizzi had made four changes ahead of the match, dropping goalkeeper Abdullah Al-Mayouf in favor of Al-Owais and introducing Ali Al-Bulayhi at the heart of the defense alongside Osama Hawsawi. Further upfield, Hattan Bahberi came in for Yahya Al-Shehri and Fahad Al-Muwallad replaced Mohammed Al-Sahlawi. The changes, particularly the inclusion of Bahberi, seemed to give the side more impetus in midfield.
“The difference between the performance in the first game and this game is enormous,” Pizzi said. “The only way to compete at this level is to play at the level we did here. And even then it was not enough even to get a draw. Undoubtedly there were other factors aside from the pressure of playing in the opening game that made a difference, but it’s true that the difference was enormous.”
Many critics had predicted a deluge of goals from the likes of Suarez and Cavani, yet both were kept at bay. Save for a couple of half-chances early on, neither came close to scoring until the 23rd minute.
A corner from Carlos Sanchez sailed into the area and when Al-Owais came for it but failed to connect with his punch, Barcelona forward Suaréz was left with the simplest of tap-ins. He was so caught off-guard, he actually looked surprised as he reeled away in celebration.
“I believe you cannot be relaxed in any match,” Suarez said when asked by a Uruguayan journalist whether he had taken it easy against the Saudis.
“We wanted to win and to progress to the knock-out stage and this game simply showed how difficult it is. That’s the World Cup for you though and we are obviously delighted with how we have performed so far to progress.”
Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez did not share his striker’s sentiments.
“Saudi Arabia wanted to excel and give a better account of themselves after losing to Russia,” he said.
“They did that very well and we have to respect them. But what surprised me the most is how we played. We underperformed.”