Connect with us

Sports

LeBron leads Lakers to NBA West finals

Published

on

LeBron James had 29 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists as the Los Angeles Lakers advanced to their first NBA Western Conference final in a decade with a 119-96 blowout win over the Houston Rockets on Saturday.

Anthony Davis tallied 13 points and 11 rebounds, Kyle Kuzma had 17 and Markieff Morris finished with 16 for the Lakers, who eliminated the Rockets in five games in the quarantine bubble in Orlando, Florida.

Los Angeles advanced to their first NBA final four since the Kobe Bryant-led Lakers beat Phoenix for the conference title and then defeated Boston for the 2010 NBA championship, the last time they won.

“It’s the reason I wanted to be a part of this franchise is to take them back to a place they were accustomed to being. And that’s competing for a championship,” said James.

“It’s an honor for me to wear the purple and gold and for us to just try to continue the legacy and just play great basketball for our fans.”

This will be James’s 11th career conference finals but when asked by reporters how it feels, he changed the subject to talk about the group as a whole.

“Every game is a learning experience for us. Every game is another opportunity for us to get better. We want to continue to build,” said James.

They will face either the Los Angeles Clippers or the Denver Nuggets in the next playoff round. The Clippers lead that series 3-2.

The Lakers got off to their best start of the series, dominating the opening plays to take a 35-20 lead at the end of the first quarter.

Their only lull of the game came at the start of the second quarter when Houston briefly woke from their slumber and cut the lead to seven, 38-31.

But the Lakers outscored the Rockets 33-18 in the third to take full command.

They drained 19 three-pointers and shot 52 percent from the floor.

With the game in hand, the Lakers sat three-time NBA champion James and Davis for much of the fourth quarter.

“Everything is falling into place. When I got here the goal was to win a championship and now we are eight wins away,” said Davis.

– ‘A piece away’ –
Once again the James Harden-led Rockets put up little resistance as Houston, after surprising the Lakers in game one of the series, lost their fourth straight and their third in a row by more than 10 points.

Harden led the Rockets with 30 points and Russell Westbrook scored just 10 in the loss.

Harden had a disappointing series, delivering another series of fourth-quarter playoff disappearing acts that have pockmarked his career.

“Tough season for us. Obviously it didn’t end the way we wanted it to. So, we just got to figure it out,” he said.

In the past five years, Harden has shot less than 25 percent from beyond the arc in post-season fourth quarters and overtime. He finished two-of-eight from three-point range on Saturday.

Harden said Saturday all they need to become great is to add one more piece to the puzzle.

“It’s very, very frustrating. Especially the amount of work individually I put in,” he said. “But I’ve got to keep chipping away. I’ve got to keep going and keep going until I can’t go anymore.

“I feel like we’re a piece away and we’ve just got keep trying to figure it out. Keep trying to put the pieces around me and Russ to get us where we want to go,” said Harden.

Tempers flared in the fourth quarter both on and off the floor. The brother of Lakers Rajon Rondo now has the dubious honor of being the first fan thrown out of a bubble game after he exchanged words with Houston’s Westbrook.

The public is not allowed in the arena because of the coronavirus pandemic but players are allowed to invite a limited number of family and friends to watch the games in person.

Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni, whose contract expires at the end of the season, couldn’t say whether he will be back.

“We’ll see what happens. I had four years. Hopefully, it keeps going, but you just never know,” he said.

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Sports

Bale arrives at Tottenham to seal loan move

Published

on

Gareth Bale has arrived at Tottenham’s training ground after flying from Spain to complete his move back to the club from Real Madrid.

Bale completed a medical in Madrid on Thursday as he closes on a deal that will see him return to the club he left in a world-record £86m transfer seven years ago.

The Wales captain travelled to London Luton Airport accompanied on a private flight by Real Madrid team-mate Sergio Reguilon, who is set to join Spurs on a five-year deal for a fee that could rise to £32m after also completing a medical on Thursday.

Sky Sports News’ Paul Gilmour says Gareth Bale’s return to Tottenham from Real Madrid is just hours away from being completed

Lawyers in Spain and England have been drawing up contracts that will make Bale a Spurs player again on a season-long loan deal. Tottenham have agreed to pay about £20m in wages and loan fees.

Both Bale and Reguilon are likely to meet conditions that will enable them to avoid quarantining upon their arrival to London.

Along with having arrived from an elite sporting environment where coronavirus protocols have been adhered to, the players will both need to have returned negative test results within five days prior to entering the United Kingdom.

Although he played for Wales twice this month, he is not fully matched fit and it is expected that it will take a month for him to get back to his best.

Real Madrid have agreed to let him leave on loan in order to get his £500,000-a-week wages off their books and Tottenham has made all the running to sign him this week.

As well as being frozen out by Zinedine Zidane, Bale has had a difficult relationship with the Spanish media and Real fans, and he is looking forward to making a fresh start back at Spurs.

Manchester United considered making a move for him as a back-up option to Jadon Sancho, but they did not make an offer, even though they have tried to sign him on numerous occasions since he was at Southampton 13 years ago.

Continue Reading

Sports

Naomi Osaka withdraws from French Open

Published

on

Japan’s Naomi Osaka has withdrawn from the upcoming French Open with a hamstring injury.

The 22-year-old had her left hamstring taped when she battled back against Victoria Azarenka in the U.S. Open final in New York on Saturday to win her third Grand Slam title.

“Unfortunately, I won’t be able to play the French Open this year,” the world number three wrote on social media in a message she also posted in Japanese.

“My hamstring is still sore so I won’t have time to prepare for the clay – these two tournaments came too close to each other for me this time.

“I wish the organizers and players all the best.”

French Open will be held from Sept. 27 to Oct. 11 after being moved from its usual late May-June slot due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The hamstring issue had prompted Osaka to withdraw from the final of the Western & Southern Open in the run-up to the U.S. Open but it did not appear to hamper her at Flushing Meadows.

Osaka made headlines in New York as much for her performances on court as for her commitment to social justice causes.

For each of her U.S. Open matches, she wore a different mask that carried the name of a Black American, aiming to highlight racial injustice in the United States to a wider audience.

The withdrawal of Osaka, who has never advanced past the third round at Roland Garros, comes as another blow to the tournament after world number one Ash Barty of Australia said she would not be defending her title due to COVID-19 concerns.

On the men’s side, Roger Federer will not compete as he continues to recover from knee surgery.

Osaka’s absence would improve Serena Williams’s chances of winning a record-tying 24th Grand Slam title if the American chooses to play.

The 38-year-old has pulled out of the Italian Open with an Achilles issue.

The French Tennis Federation (FFT) said on Thursday it would allow 5,000 spectators per day following a recent spike in COVID-19 cases in the country.

It had previously said the clay-court major would permit a maximum of 11,500 fans per day.

Continue Reading

Sports

Juve terminate Higuain contract, to lose €18.3m

Published

on

Serie A champions Juventus confirmed on Thursday they had terminated Argentina striker Gonzalo Higuain’s contract by mutual consent.

The former Real Madrid and Napoli forward is reportedly set to join David Beckham’s Major League Soccer franchise Inter Miami.

“This operation generates a negative economic effect of approximately €18.3m on the 2019/20 financial year due to the residual value write-down of the registration rights of the player,” Juve said in a statement.

Juventus paid the €90m release clause to sign Higuain from Napoli in 2016, and he had unsuccessful loans at AC Milan and Chelsea before returning to Turin last season.

But the 32-year-old was immediately told by new Juve coach Andrea Pirlo he was no longer part of the nine-time Serie A champions’ plans.

“He was a great champion, a great player but the cycle is over,” said Pirlo on his arrival in Turin.

“We looked at each other in the eyes, we talked and we made this decision.

“I admire him a lot, but we have decided that the paths will separate.”

Continue Reading

SignatureTV Trending

Copyright © 2020 Signature TV Communications