James and Lakers down Suns while Bucks romp past Knicks

James and Lakers down Suns while Bucks romp past Knicks
Los Angeles Lakers’ LeBron James shoots against Phoenix Suns’ Kevin Durant during their NBA basketball In-Season Tournament quarterfinal game Tuesday in Los Angeles. (AP)
Short Url
Updated 06 December 2023
Follow

James and Lakers down Suns while Bucks romp past Knicks

James and Lakers down Suns while Bucks romp past Knicks
  • James produces trademark clutch fourth quarter performance with 15 points in a victory that sends the Lakers into a last-four showdown with the New Orleans Pelicans in Las Vegas

LOS ANGELES: LeBron James scored 31 points as the Los Angeles Lakers won a thrilling duel with the Phoenix Suns 106-103 on Tuesday to advance to the semifinals of the NBA’s in-season tournament.

James produced a trademark clutch fourth quarter performance with 15 points in a victory that sends the Lakers into a last-four showdown with the New Orleans Pelicans in Las Vegas on Thursday.

In Tuesday’s other quarterfinal, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Damian Lillard combined for 63 points as the Milwaukee Bucks advanced to the semifinals with a 146-122 rout of the New York Knicks.

But the game of the night was unquestionably in Los Angeles, where James and the Lakers held off a ferocious second-half fightback from Kevin Durant and the Suns to prevail in a classic.

The Lakers dominated the first half to lead by 12 at the break, up 59-47.

But the Suns roared back in the third quarter, outscoring the Lakers 35-24 to make it a one-point game heading into the fourth.

The 38-year-old James though was in no mood to surrender victory and found his scoring touch to shepherd the Lakers over the line.

Austin Reaves nailed a superb three-pointer to give the Lakers a four-point advantage with 15 seconds on the clock.

Durant cut the gap to two points with a reverse layup but missed with a last-gasp attempted buzzer beater that would have forced overtime.

“I’ve been there a lot in my career and I understand the assignment,” James said of his ruthless fourth-quarter display.

“I was happy I was able to make a couple of plays, but the big shot came from AR (Austin Reaves) to take us up by four... that was big-time.”

James finished with 31 points from 12-of-25 shooting, with 11 assists and five rebounds. Anthony Davis added 27 points with 15 rebounds while Reaves added 20 points in a scintillating cameo from the bench.

Durant led the Phoenix scoring with 31 points while Grayson Allen and Devin Booker finished with 21 points apiece for the Suns.

Milwaukee advanced to a showdown against the Indiana Pacers in Thursday’s other semifinal after pulling clear of the Knicks with a huge third quarter.

Antetokounmpo led the Milwaukee scorers with 35 points while Lillard weighed in with 28 points, including 5-of-7 from three-point distance.

Antetokounmpo finished with 10 assists and eight rebounds.

Malik Beasley (18 points), Khris Middleton (14), Bobby Portis (13) and Cameron Payne (12) all made double figures for Milwaukee.

Antetokounmpo was heartened by a display which provided more evidence that the former NBA Most Valuable Player’s blockbuster partnership with summer signing Lillard is starting to gel.

“Game by game we are getting more comfortable,” Antetokounmpo said of his on-court chemistry with Lillard. “We have a lot of games ahead of us.

“As we play more minutes we’re going to be more comfortable together... at the end of the day I think me and him are setting the tone for the whole team.”

New York were led by a 41-point display from Julius Randle while Jalen Brunson finished with 24 points.

The Knicks however were always chasing the game after Milwaukee’s third-quarter scoring spree.

A see-saw first quarter saw 15 lead changes before Milwaukee edged into a two-point lead at 37-35, and a similarly hard-fought second quarter left the Bucks up by just three at the break at 75-72.

But the game tilted decisively in favor of Milwaukee in the third quarter as the Bucks began to score at will, with Antetokounmpo pouring in 13 points to help the top seeds build an unassailable lead.

A 15-foot jump shot from Portis gave Milwaukee an 18-point cushion with a minute remaining in the third quarter, and there was no way back for New York.

The Knicks rallied to close within nine after Donte DiVincenzo’s running layup early in the fourth quarter made it 112-103.

But the fightback was shortlived as back-to-back three-pointers from Beasley quickly re-established Milwaukee’s double-digit advantage.

A Payne three-pointer put Milwaukee 20 points ahead at 125-105 midway through the fourth quarter and the Bucks cruised home to seal their last-four berth.


No fairy-tale ending for Andy Murray in Dubai, as Ugo Humbert advances to quarter-finals

No fairy-tale ending for Andy Murray in Dubai, as Ugo Humbert advances to quarter-finals
Updated 28 February 2024
Follow

No fairy-tale ending for Andy Murray in Dubai, as Ugo Humbert advances to quarter-finals

No fairy-tale ending for Andy Murray in Dubai, as Ugo Humbert advances to quarter-finals
  • The 2017 Dubai Tennis Championships winner receives standing ovation as he bows out with a 6-2, 6-4 defeat in what is likely to be his final appearance at event
  • No. 2 seed Andrey Rublev defeats qualifier Arthur Cazaux 6-4, 6-4, and Alexander Bublik enjoys a hard-fought 7-6 (10-8), 7-6 (7-2) victory over Tallon Griekspoor

DUBAI: Andy Murray’s hopes of fairy-tale ending to what seems likely to be his last appearance at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships were dashed by in-form Frenchman Ugo Humbert, who defeated the 36-year-old Scot 6-2, 6-4 on center court at Dubai Tennis Stadium on Wednesday night.

The three-time Grand Slam champion, winner of this tournament in 2017, cut a frustrated figure against the No. 5 seed, who is 11 years his junior.

Clearly desperate to give his enthusiastic and vocal Dubai fans something to cheer, Murray, who beat Fernando Verdasco in the final here seven years ago, could be seen continually talking to himself as he struggled with his own game and the energy of his opponent.

He won the opening game on serve but then Humbert, who needed three sets to see off veteran wildcard Gael Monfils in his opening match, broke serve twice in succession. He simply had too much for Murray to cope with and took the opening set 6-2.

The second set followed a similar path, with Murray holding serve in the opening game, only for Humbert to break twice in a row as he calmly wrapped up the set 6-4 to claim a spot in the quarter-finals.

Murray received a standing ovation as he left the court in Dubai for what is probably the final time, the fans acknowledging his service not only to the sport in general but to the evolution of this particular tournament.

After the game, the 2012 Olympic gold medalist admitted he is in the twilight of his illustrious career.

“Yeah, I mean, I’m likely not going to play past this summer,” he said. “I get asked about it after every single match that I play, every single tournament that I play.

“I’m not going to talk more about that between now and whenever the time comes for me to stop. But yeah, I don’t plan on playing much past this summer.”

Humbert, who has an ATP title to his name already this year, thanks to victory in Marseille this month, was a picture of relaxation as he celebrated his victory and looked forward to the quarter-finals.

“Consistency has been the key for me this year,” the 25-year-old said. “I’m really happy that I’m playing well. It’s really nice to play in a venue like this in front of a great crowd. I was really calm today and knew what I needed to do.”

In the bottom half of the draw, No. 2 seed and last year’s beaten finalist, Andrey Rublev, was the first player to book a quarter-final berth, dashing the hopes of French qualifier Arthur Cazaux.

Cazaux, who was making his debut in Dubai this week, produced some fine tennis to get through the qualifiers and then defeat Italy’s Lorenzo Musetti in the round of 32. But Rublev took control of their last-16 clash on center court from the opening game, breaking his opponent’s serve and holding firm to take the first set 6-4.

The second set went with serve until Rublev, a winner in Hong Kong in January, broke Cazaux in the seventh game and held his subsequent serves to seal a 6-4, 6-4 victory.

Alexander Bublik booked his place in the quarter-finals with a 7-6 (10-8), 7-6 (7-2) victory over Tallon Griekspoor of the Netherlands. Bublik, who survived a scare in his opening match when he came back from a set down against qualifier Tomas Machac, was once again pushed hard by Griekspoor, but dug deep to secure victory.


Anthony Kim joins LIV Golf after 12-year absence from pro competition

Anthony Kim joins LIV Golf after 12-year absence from pro competition
Updated 28 February 2024
Follow

Anthony Kim joins LIV Golf after 12-year absence from pro competition

Anthony Kim joins LIV Golf after 12-year absence from pro competition
  • American competing as wildcard in pursuit of full-time status, starting in Jeddah
  • Greg Norman: It’s clear that he (Kim) has the fire to win again and show why he was one of the most compelling players in the world

JEDDAH: US golfer Anthony Kim has joined LIV Golf as a season-long wildcard player after being out of the professional game for almost 12 years.

The 38-year-old former Ryder Cup star will make his official return to pro competition at LIV Golf Jeddah, taking place from March 1 to 3 at the Royal Greens Golf and Country Club in King Abdullah Economic City, LIV Golf officials announced.

Kim said: “After stepping away from the game years ago due to injury, I’m happy to officially announce my return to the world of professional golf.

“It’s been a long time coming, and I’m very grateful for all the highs, lows, and lessons learned from the first part of my career. I want to compete with the best players in the world, and I’m on a mission to prove to myself that I can win again.

“The next step on that journey starts now, and I’m excited to give everything I’ve got this season on the LIV Golf League.”

LIV Golf commissioner and CEO, Greg Norman, said: “LIV Golf was launched to create new opportunities for players and fans that drive this sport forward in exciting ways, and when I think of Anthony Kim, I can’t imagine a more perfect fit for what we’re trying to do.

“His talent is undeniable, and we are thrilled to welcome him back to professional golf with our league.

“It’s clear that he has the fire to win again and show why he was one of the most compelling players in the world, and we will support him on that mission as he works to earn his way back to the top of the game,” Norman added.

Kim will compete in all remaining 2024 LIV Golf regular season tournaments as one of two wildcard players aiming to accrue points in the league’s individual standings and earn a team place in 2025. He joins season-long wildcard player Hudson Swafford, competing against the LIV Golf League’s 13 four-player teams across the 14-event global schedule.

The three-time PGA Tour winner posted his best full season in 2008 when he finished sixth on the money list and fourth in the FedEx Cup standings. That season led to a career-high eight top-10 finishes, including six top-three finishes.

The American spent 20 weeks inside the top 10, with a career-high of No. 6 in 2008 after winning the Wachovia Championship and AT&T National.

In 15 career major starts, his best finish was a third place at the 2010 Masters, where he finished behind current LIV Golf members Phil Mickelson (winner) and Lee Westwood (second).

Kim notched two other top-10 Major finishes both coming at The Open, once in 2008 – T7 and again in 2011 – T5. He also set a tournament record with 11 birdies during round two at the 2009 Masters.

Kim is no stranger to team golf after compiling a successful track record with Team USA and the University of Oklahoma. The California native has represented Team USA at both the amateur and professional level a total of three times and was victorious on each occasion.

He played a crucial role at the 2008 Ryder Cup, posting an emotional victory over current LIV Golf member Sergio Garcia in the opening match of the Sunday Singles as the Americans beat Europe for the first time since 1999.

A three-time All-American and freshman of the year (2004) while at the University of Oklahoma, Kim set the school record for the lowest scoring average in relation to par with a 71.73 (+0.22) – narrowly besting Abraham Ancer, 72.42 (+0.93).

In June 2012, Kim had surgery on an injured Achilles tendon in his left leg and was expected to return in the 2013 season on a Major Medical Exemption. However, he has not played in a professional event since the 2012 Wells Fargo Championship.


Red Bull F1 boss Horner cleared of inappropriate behavior

Red Bull F1 boss Horner cleared of inappropriate behavior
Updated 28 February 2024
Follow

Red Bull F1 boss Horner cleared of inappropriate behavior

Red Bull F1 boss Horner cleared of inappropriate behavior
  • A statement from Austrian energy drinks brand Red Bull, the parent company of the world champion Formula One team, said the “grievance has been dismissed”
  • The complainant has a right of appeal

LONDON: Red Bull team chief Christian Horner was cleared Wednesday of wrongdoing following an investigation into complaints of inappropriate behavior against him made by a female team member.
A statement from Austrian energy drinks brand Red Bull, the parent company of the world champion Formula One team, said the “grievance has been dismissed.”
Horner, who has been team principal since 2005, denied the allegations made against him and was subjected to a lengthy interview by an independent London lawyer acting as investigator, who submitted a report to Red Bull.
The lawyer’s report was delivered on Tuesday and has been considered by Red Bull directors.
In a statement, Red Bull GmbH said: “The independent investigation into the allegations made against Mr.Horner is complete and Red Bull can confirm that the grievance has been dismissed.
“The complainant has a right of appeal. Red Bull is confident that the investigation has been fair, rigorous and impartial.
“The investigation report is confidential and contains the private information of the parties and third parties who assisted in the investigation and therefore we will not be commenting further out of respect for all concerned.
“Red Bull will continue striving to meet the highest workplace standards.”
Horner flew to Bahrain from London on Wednesday, but was not present at the circuit for a media day ahead of the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix this weekend.
He is expected to be on the pit wall for the opening practice sessions on Thursday.
Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf reported the allegation of “inappropriate behavior” by a female member of staff for the British-based team earlier this month.
Asked about the accusations, Horner, 50, told De Telegraaf: “I completely deny these claims.”
Formula One chiefs had said they wanted the issue resolved at the “earliest opportunity.”
Mercedes team chief Toto Wolff described the investigation as “an issue for all of Formula One” and called for transparency.
Under Horner’s guidance, Red Bull have become the dominant force in Formula One, with Max Verstappen winning the past three drivers’ titles.
Horner, who is married to former Spice Girl Geri Halliwell, has been in charge of the team since they entered Formula One 19 years ago.
During that time he has overseen seven drivers’ world championships and six constructors’ titles.
Red Bull dominated the 2023 season, winning 21 of the 22 races as Verstappen defended his drivers’ crown.


Saudi Paralympic weightlifters participate in Dubai’s Fazza Para powerlifting championships

Saudi Paralympic weightlifters participate in Dubai’s Fazza Para powerlifting championships
Updated 28 February 2024
Follow

Saudi Paralympic weightlifters participate in Dubai’s Fazza Para powerlifting championships

Saudi Paralympic weightlifters participate in Dubai’s Fazza Para powerlifting championships
  • Saudi participants who win gold, silver or bronze qualify for Paris 2024 Olympics
  • Mohammed Al-Harbi, president of the Saudi Weightlifting Federation, heads 12-player team

DUBAI: The Saudi Paralympic weightlifting team hopes taking part in the Fazza 13th Para Powerlifting 2024 World Cup will mean qualification for the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris.
The championships, which started on Wednesday, are being held in Dubai until Mar. 6. Saudi participants who win gold, silver or bronze medals are automatically eligible for the 2024 Olympics.
Mohammed Al-Harbi, president of the Saudi Weightlifting Federation, heads a 12-strong team that comprises Adnan Bousaid, Talal Al-Balawi, Asil Hausawi, Tariq Balghaith, Saeed Hausawi, Khalid Al-Najim, Sulaiman Al-Shaddoukhi, Abbad Hausawi, Fajr Al-Sumairy, Shareefa Al-Amari, Hassna Al-Najm, and Maha Al-Rashidi.


Saudi Arabia’s PIF, ATP announce multi-year strategic partnership to accelerate tennis growth

Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund on Wednesday announced a “multi-year strategic partnership” with the ATP. (PIF)
Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund on Wednesday announced a “multi-year strategic partnership” with the ATP. (PIF)
Updated 28 February 2024
Follow

Saudi Arabia’s PIF, ATP announce multi-year strategic partnership to accelerate tennis growth

Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund on Wednesday announced a “multi-year strategic partnership” with the ATP. (PIF)
  • PIF’s Head of Corporate Brand Mohamed AlSayyad: “Through our collaboration with ATP, PIF will be a catalyst for growth of the global tennis landscape”
  • Massimo Calvelli, ATP CEO: “It’s a shared commitment to propel the future of the sport”

RIYADH/LONDON: Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund and the Association of Tennis Professionals have signed a multi-year strategic partnership that marks a significant shared commitment to developing global tennis for players, fans, tournament organizers and stakeholders at all levels.
The agreement means the PIF becomes the official name partner of the ATP Rankings, celebrating players’ journeys and progress and championing excellence.
PIF’s Head of Corporate Brand Mohamed AlSayyad said: “Through our collaboration with ATP, PIF will be a catalyst for growth of the global tennis landscape, developing talent, fostering inclusivity and driving sustainable innovation.”
He added the partnership aligned with PIF’s broader vision of enhancing quality of life and driving transformation in sport, both within the Kingdom and across the world.
ATP CEO Massimo Calvelli added: “It’s a shared commitment to propel the future of the sport. With PIF’s dedication to the next generation — fostering innovation and creating opportunities for all — the stage is set for a transformative period of progress.”
PIF will partner with ATP Tour events in Indian Wells, Miami, Madrid, Beijing and the Nitto ATP Finals in Milan, as well as the Next Gen ATP Finals to be hosted in Jeddah until 2027.
The two bodies will also collaborate to elevate the long-term future of tennis. PIF will actively contribute to ATP’s OneVision Strategic Plan which focuses on driving unity, enhancing fan experiences and leveraging scalable growth opportunities across the sport.