Curry silences critics as Warriors rout Rockets

OAKLAND, United States (AFP) — Stephen Curry silenced his critics with a 35-point display as the Golden State Warriors thrashed the Houston Rockets 126-85 to take a 2-1 series lead in the NBA Western Conference finals on Sunday. Curry, targeted relentlessly by Houston as the Rockets levelled the series in game two, overcame a sluggish first-half display to lead a Warriors blowout in game three. The two-time NBA Most Valuable Player exploded for 18 points […]

Boston’s Brown vows to bounce back from ’embarrassing’ defeat

LOS ANGELES, United States (AFP) — Boston forward Jaylen Brown says he’ll use an “embarrassing” performance in the Celtics’ 30-point NBA playoff loss at Cleveland as fuel to rebound on Monday against the Cavaliers. “I thought it was embarrassing,” the 21-year-old said Sunday as the Celtics practiced in preparation for game four on Monday. “The way I played, the way I performed, how not aggressive I was in the first half, I look at that […]

Pacquiao says Matthysse bout to be ‘basis’ for retirement call

MANILA, Philippines (AFP) — Philippine boxing legend Manny Pacquiao says the outcome of his July bout against Argentine Lucas Matthysse will likely determine whether he will hang up his gloves after a storied career. After a one-year hiatus from the ring, the 39-year-old has started training two weeks earlier than usual to bring himself up to peak fighting condition. “I am not saying it will be the last, but it will be the basis for (me) […]

Warriors’ Curry says ‘no panic’ after big loss to Rockets

LOS ANGELS, United States (AFP) — Two-time NBA Most Valuable Player Stephen Curry said there’s “no panic” in the Golden State Warriors locker room after a 22-point loss to the Houston Rockets in game two of the Western Conference finals. Curry looked significantly off his game on Wednesday night, connecting on just seven of 19 shots from the floor, including one of eight from three-point range. He finished with 16 points but never established the […]

Rockets dominate to level NBA series with Warriors

LOS ANGELES, United States (AFP) — The Houston Rockets bounced back with a vengeance on Wednesday, powering past the NBA champion Golden State Warriors 127-105 to level their Western Conference finals series at one game apiece. Houston’s Most Valuable Player candidate James Harden scored 27 points and Eric Gordon added 27 off the bench as five players scored in double figures for a Rockets team chastened by a 119-106 series-opening defeat on their home floor […]

Harden, Davis, James finalists for NBA MVP award

LOS ANGELES, United States (AFP) — Houston’s James Harden, Cleveland’s LeBron James and Anthony Davis of New Orleans are the finalists announced Wednesday for NBA Most Valuable Player honors. Harden, the league’s leading scorer in the regular season with an average of 30.4 points per game, appears the favorite to succeed Oklahoma City Thunder star Russell Westbrook as MVP when the awards are announced on June 25. The Rockets star, who was runner-up in the voting […]

Durant, Thompson power Warriors over Rockets in NBA playoffs

WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — Kevin Durant scored 37 points and Klay Thompson added 28 as defending champion Golden State defeated season win-leader Houston 119-106 in Monday’s opener of their NBA playoff semi-final series. Stephen Curry added 18 points, six rebounds and eight assists for the Warriors, who were outclassed early but battled back to seize the lead in the best-of-seven Western Conference final, which continues in Houston on Wednesday. “It’s a great start. We […]

No LeBron worries despite Celtics playoff rout of Cavs

NEW YORK, United States (AFP) — LeBron James says he’s not worried after the Cleveland Cavaliers were routed 108-83 Sunday by the Boston Celtics in the opening game of the NBA Eastern Conference final. But the four-time NBA Most Valuable Player, trying to reach his eighth consecutive NBA Finals, admits the Cavaliers need to make some changes before the best-of-seven playoff series resumes Tuesday in Boston. “I have zero level of concern at this stage,” […]

Once taboo, Russian women’s football eyes World Cup boost

  by Dmitry Zaks © Agence France-Presse MOSCOW, Russia (AFP) — The sniggering kids kept pointing and staring at Margarita Chernomyrdina when she was small because she played football with the boys. She was the first girl brave enough to try and make the junior league. Now rapt crowds watch the 22-year-old lead the women’s national team in its quest to win acceptance and respect in Vladimir Putin’s socially conservative Russia. The technically-gifted midfielder with the […]

LeBron seeks eighth NBA Finals in a row as Cavs face Celtics

    WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — LeBron James is on the verge of reaching the NBA Finals for an eighth consecutive season, but his Cleveland Cavaliers face a familiar and formidable obstacle in the Boston Celtics. The Cavaliers visit Boston on Sunday for the opening game in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference Finals, with the winner to face either regular-season pace-setter Houston or defending champion Golden State in the NBA Finals. Four-time NBA Most Valuable Player […]

Refs missed 2 late calls in Celtics win over Sixers – NBA

NEW YORK, United States (AFP) — Philadelphia 76ers star Joel Embiid was right in thinking he was fouled with 14.6 seconds left in his team’s season-ending playoff loss to the Boston Celtics, the NBA confirmed Thursday. In the league’s Last Two Minute Report on officiating in the late stages of the Celtics’ 114-112 triumph, the league said game officials missed two key calls against Boston. Celtics center Aron Baynes should have been called for a shooting […]

Olympic hockey champ warns of mental pressures for elite athletes

by Pirate Irwin © Agence France-Presse LONDON, United Kingdom (AFP) — British hockey star Helen Richardson-Walsh — who battled back from depression to win an Olympic gold medal in Rio — says young athletes need help to manage the pressures that come with top-level sport. Richardson-Walsh, 36, said young, ambitious elite sportsmen and women may be unaware of the incessant and challenging demands they will face. “Transition into sport is equally if not more important than […]