US survive Turkey scare to win in overtime at World Cup

Turkey's Furkan Korkmaz (C) holds onto the ball as Donovan Mitchell (L) of the US guards him during a Group E match on Tuesday. (AFP)
Updated 04 September 2019

US survive Turkey scare to win in overtime at World Cup

SHANGHAI: Reigning champions the US were given a huge scare in a nail-biting 93-92 overtime victory over Turkey at the Basketball World Cup in China on Tuesday.

Khris Middleton was the overtime hero for Gregg Popovich’s young team, who are chasing a third title in a row but are yet to gel.

After Sunday’s comfortable but unspectacular 88-67 win over the Czech Republic, Popovich said there was room for improvement.

There was more evidence of that in Shanghai as they made incredibly hard work of dismissing Turkey, beaten by Team USA in the 2010 final.

The US led at halftime only for Turkey — ranked 17th in the world to America’s No. 1 — to tie at 59-59 with less than two minutes left of the third quarter.

That brought a huge roar from much of the crowd and the Turks looked all set for victory with seconds left, only for Jayson Tatum to rescue the Americans by making two of three free throws at the death.

In overtime, Milwaukee Bucks forward Middleton — who was to lead the US scoring with 15 points — held his nerve to nail two free throws to snatch a dramatic win.

Popovich’s team, one of the youngest at the 32-team competition, look uncharacteristically vulnerable.

They lost 98-94 to Australia in a warmup ahead of the World Cup, the hosts ending the USA’s run of 78 consecutive wins in major competitions and exhibition games.

After four days of competition, Serbia look most likely to snatch the Americans’ long-held crown.

Australia, another touted as a threat to the US, reached the second round with a Joe Ingles-inspired 81-68 victory over Senegal.

The Boomers defeated Canada in their opener in Group H — the so-called “Group of Death” — and recovered from an indifferent start to grind down Senegal with Utah Jazz forward Ingles one assist away from World Cup history.

Australia, who were not at their best, were 36-33 ahead at half-time after narrowly trailing a determined Senegal at the end of the first quarter.

Ingles, who admitted that the Australians were “rattled” by Senegal in the first half, was instrumental in the victory with 17 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists — just one assist short of the first triple-double in World Cup history.

Patty Mills, the 31-year-old San Antonio Spurs guard, was also in the thick of it for the Boomers, drilling 22 points.

Coach Andrej Lemanis called Senegal the tallest team he had faced and admitted that his side had been “a little clunky at times” offensively.

“Senegal present some unique challenges with their overall size,” he said. Also in Group H, Lithuania are into the last 16 after beating Canada 92-69.

However Greece, led by their NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, are in danger after they were squeezed out 79-78 by Brazil.

Arab and Muslim fans mourn Kobe Bryant’s death

Updated 27 January 2020

Arab and Muslim fans mourn Kobe Bryant’s death

  • All passengers on board of helicopter died
  • NBA player Kareem Abdul-Jabbar said he will remember Kobe as more than an athlete

DUBAI: The sudden death of basketball legend Kobe Bryant in a helicopter crash on Monday has stirred fans around the world.

The player died after the private helicopter he was traveling in crashed, erupting in a ball of flames in Calabasas, California. His daughter Gianna, 13, was with him.

LA County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said there were no survivors, all eight passengers and the pilot died.

Arab fans from across the region took to social media accounts to mourn the death of the player.

“I couldn’t believe it, I thought it was all fake news. A couple of tears came out of my eyes… my heart was beating really quickly and my face turned red. Kobe was more than a basketball player to me, he was a real life superhero. He motivated me to give it my all with anything I do, he’s the main reason why I decided to play and watch basketball,” Journalism student at the American University of Sharjah Amro Eldahshoury told Arab News.

And posts calling Bryant a legend and offering condolences filled Twitter.

“Tomorrow is not granted, love each other today. Basketball legend Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gigi died in a helicopter crash… he has taught us a lot about work and doing what one loves,” Cofounder and CTO of MarkeetEx Sharifa Al-Barami tweeted on Monday.

Another NBA legend, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar mourned Bryant’s death and said he will remember him “as a man who was much more than an athlete.”

Celebrities with Arab descent or who are partly Arab took to Instagram.

Gigi and Bella Hadid posted images of the player, offering condolences to his wife over the loss of her husband and daughter and praying for the families of those affected by the crash.

Shanin Shaik, a model of Saudi descent, captioned an image of the player saying “Legends live forever.”


Legends live forever

A post shared by SHANINA SHAIK (@shaninamshaik) on

Another model of African-Arab roots, Imaan Hammam, also took to Instagram to honor Bryant. She urged people to value their blessings because of the fleeting nature of life.

But Bryant was also loved by people who were not even basketball fans.

“It shocked me. Kobe the basketball legend has died in a helicopter crash. It all just seemed so paradoxical. I was not that into basketball but I’ve always loved Kobe. I loved how humble he was. I loved his sense of humor and his kindheartednesses. Rest in peace legend, my heart goes out to his wife and kids,” AUS graduate Moza Al-Nabouda told Arab News.

Kobe Bryant played 20 years with the Los Angeles Lakers, before he retired in 2016. He was named NBA’s Most Valuable Player in 2008 and two-time NBA Finals MVP.

Bryant had two Olympic gold medals for men’s basketball.