Watney takes charge in World Challenge

Updated 30 November 2012
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Watney takes charge in World Challenge

THOUSAND OAKS, California: Nick Watney’s sharper short game has helped him to two titles in the past four months and put himself in good position to clinch a third by surging two shots clear at the World Challenge on Thursday.
The soft-spoken American birdied four of the last six holes at Sherwood Country Club to fire a five-under-par 67 in the opening round of the elite, 18-man event hosted by Tiger Woods where only three other players broke 70.
“I played pretty well on the back nine,” Watney said after coming home in four-under 32 to end an overcast day at the base of the Santa Monica Mountains two ahead of compatriots Keegan Bradley and Jim Furyk, and Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell.
“The front nine was a little sloppy. My short game is definitely where I need it to improve for next year. I’ve kind of been getting into that a little bit, and it helped me today.” Asked by reporters what particular area of his short game he had been working on, Watney replied: “For me personally, I can always get better at chipping.
“I’m not at the top of the tour in chipping stats, that’s for sure. So that is a huge key, especially in this month of December for me.
“But putting can hide a lot of things,” said Watney, who totaled 27 putts on Thursday. “If you make a lot of eight and 10-footers, you don’t have to chip it as well as other guys, so that’s definitely a huge key.” Watney’s overall form improved markedly after he worked with swing coach Butch Harmon for a week before the US Open in June.
Following a string of consistent performances, he went on to win the fifth PGA Tour title of his career at the Barclays tournament in August, then triumphed at the PGA Tour co-sanctioned CIMB Classic in Malaysia last month.
“After spending some time with Butch, something kind of clicked there, and I started playing much better,” the world No. 16 said. “I think that was kind of the turnaround.
“Now I want to keep going higher (in the world rankings). Tiger and (top-ranked) Rory (McIlroy) are very impressive, and all the top players, they continue to strive to get better.
“That’s my goal, is to really try to get better and really try and get in contention as much as I can. The more you’re there (in contention), the more you win, and that’s the best part about playing on the Tour — winning.”


LeBron’s 35 help Cavs beat Celtics 87-79, reach NBA Finals

LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers blocks a dunk by Terry Rozier of the Boston Celtics during Game Seven of the 2018 NBA Eastern Conference Finals at TD Garden on May 27, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images/AFP)
Updated 28 May 2018
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LeBron’s 35 help Cavs beat Celtics 87-79, reach NBA Finals

  • In the first close game of the series — and the lowest-scoring — James played all 48 minutes and had 12 of his points in the fourth quarter for his sixth straight Game 7 win.
  • The NBA Finals begin Thursday at either Houston or Golden State.

BOSTON: With another Game 7 victory at stake, LeBron James would not miss. He would not sit out. And he would not be denied an eighth straight trip to the NBA Finals.
The four-time league MVP scored 35 points with 15 rebounds and nine assists on Sunday night, leading the Cleveland Cavaliers to an 87-79 win over the Celtics and eliminating Boston from the Eastern Conference finals in the decisive seventh game.
In the first close game of the series — and the lowest-scoring — James played all 48 minutes and had 12 of his points in the fourth quarter for his sixth straight Game 7 win.
The NBA Finals begin Thursday at either Houston or Golden State. The Rockets host the seventh game of the West finals on Monday night.
Jayson Tatum scored 24 for Boston, which was looking to return to the NBA Finals for the first time since 2010. Al Horford scored 17 points and Marcus Morris added 14 with 12 rebounds for the Celtics, who led 72-71 with six minutes remaining before the Cavaliers scored 15 of the next 17 points to pull away.
James and Horford embraced after the buzzer, then the Cavaliers donned NBA Finals hats and Eastern conference championship shirts before shuffling off the court to receive their trophy.
It’s not the one they want.
James had to do it without Kevin Love — Cleveland’s only other all-star — who sustained a concussion in Game 6 and was replaced in the lineup by Jeff Green. Making his first start since the first-round opener against Indiana, Green scored 19 points and added eight rebounds — the star of James’ starless supporting cast.
The Celtics have had more time to get used to their injuries: Gordon Hayward has been out since the first game of the season, and Kyrie Irving has been sidelined since March. With the rookie Tatum and second-year Jaylen Brown, Boston established itself as the team of the future in the East.
But the present still belongs to James.
And, for now, that means Cleveland, too.

TIP-INS
Cavaliers: Shot just 2 of 17 from 3-point range in the first half. They made three of their first 22 shots before James and Green connected on back-to-back attempts midway through the third quarter.
Celtics: Paul Pierce, whose number was retired by the Celtics this season, cheered the team on from courtside. ... Rapper 21 Savage was also at the game. ... Boston was 7 for 39 from 3-point range, with Terry Rozier missing all 10 of his attempts.