USA urged to improve defense ahead of Basketball World Cup

MELBOURNE, Australia (AFP) — United States basketball coach Gregg Popovich says his team has to improve its defense and communication ahead of the World Cup despite an impressive 102-86 victory over Australia. The reigning world champions posted a 31-point third quarter on the back of a barrage of three-pointers to overwhelm the Boomers Thursday evening after a tight first half. Boston guard Kemba Walker sank 23 points, the Indiana Pacers’ Myles Turner added 15 with […]

Serena, Sharapova to clash in US Open first round blockbuster

NEW YORK, United States (AFP) — Serena Williams will begin her quest for a seventh US Open title and record-tying 24th Grand Slam victory against long-time rival Maria Sharapova in the US Open women’s singles draw unveiled Thursday. Williams has dominated the Russian star in their head-to-head rivalry, winning 19 times with only two defeats, including their past 18 meetings, most recently at the 2016 Australian Open quarter-finals, although Sharapova advanced by walkover against Williams […]

Basketball coach Blatt reveals multiple sclerosis battle

PIRAEUS, Greece (AFP) — Olympiakos basketball coach David Blatt revealed on Monday that he had been diagnosed with primary progressive multiple sclerosis (PPMS). “Sometimes life throws things at you that really have no explanation or rhyme or reason. Those are moments that upon recognizing you have to make choices that test your true character,” the 60-year-old Israeli American said in a letter to the team. Blatt said he was diagnosed with PPMS a few months […]

NBA Lakers eye Howard with Noah also available: reports

LOS ANGELES, United States (AFP) — Dwight Howard has been given permission by the Memphis Grizzlies to talk with the Los Angeles Lakers, who are seeking a center after a knee injury to DeMarcus Cousins, according to reports. ESPN, USA Today and sports website The Athletic say the Grizzlies have approved talks between the Lakers and Howard, who led the NBA in rebounds when he played for the Lakers in the 2012-13 season. Cousins suffered […]

Alibaba co-founder Tsai set to own all of NBA Nets: reports

NEW YORK, United States (AFP) — Joseph Tsai, co-founder of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, is expected to purchase full control of the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets from Russian businessman Mikhail Prokhorov, according to multiple reports Thursday. The New York Post, New York Times and ESPN reported a deal is close to completion that would have the Taiwanese-Canadian businessman buy the remaining 51 percent of the club he doesn’t currently own. Tsai bought 49 percent of the […]

Lakers’ Cousins could miss NBA season with injury: report

LOS ANGELES, United States (AFP) — Injury-nagged Los Angeles Lakers center DeMarcus Cousins could miss the entire 2019-20 NBA season with a torn left knee ligament, his agent told ESPN on Thursday. In a major setback for a team that added star big man Anthony Davis to four-time NBA Most Valuable Player LeBron James, Cousins suffered the injury working out in Las Vegas on Monday when he “bumped knees” with another player, according to the […]

Djokovic advances as Serena pulls out in Cincinnati

CINCINNATI, United States (AFP) — World number one Novak Djokovic got his US Open build up off to a smooth start with a straight-sets win in Cincinnati on Tuesday as back trouble forced Serena Williams to withdraw. Defending champion Djokovic double faulted three times as he dropped serve in the opening game against Sam Querrey but quickly put things right and pulled away for a 7-5, 6-1 victory over the American. “I ended the match […]

Raptors’ Lowry withdraws from US World Cup team

LOS ANGELES, United States (AFP) — Kyle Lowry of the NBA champion Toronto Raptors has withdrawn from consideration for the US Basketball World Cup team due to a thumb injury. The Raptors guard had surgery on his left thumb in July and had hoped to recover and play for the United States in their bid to win a third straight World Cup title in China. “I was hoping to be cleared and ready for the […]

NBA’s Lowry, Smart will miss USA scrimmage with injuries

LOS ANGELES, United States (AFP) — Toronto Raptors guard Kyle Lowry and Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart will miss the United States’ national team’s intersquad scrimmage Friday with injuries, USA Basketball said Thursday. The squad of NBA players is training ahead of its bid to bring the USA a third consecutive Basketball World Cup title starting August 31 in China. Lowry, who underwent a procedure on his left thumb last month after helping the Toronto […]

Durant doesn’t blame Warriors for torn Achilles tendon: report

LOS ANGELES, United States (AFP) — Two-time NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Kevin Durant does not blame the Golden State Warriors for the torn Achilles tendon he suffered in the NBA Finals, Yahoo Sports reported Wednesday. Durant, who signed a four-year deal worth $164 million with the Brooklyn Nets last month, was hurt in game five of the NBA Finals after trying to make a comeback from a right calf strain. The 30-year-old forward, who […]

Serena again tops Forbes list of highest-paid sports women

WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — US tennis superstar Serena Williams topped Forbes magazine’s list of the highest-paid women in sports for the fourth straight year on Tuesday. The business publication calculated that the 23-time Grand Slam singles champion earned $29.2 million in the 12-month period ending June 1 — with just $4.2 million of that coming from prize money. Japan’s Naomi Osaka, who burst to international stardom with a stunning upset of Williams in the […]

Six-time Super Bowl champ Brady aims to prove himself again

WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, with six Super Bowl rings and a new two-year contract extension in hand, is ready to prove himself again in the NFL. The superstar signal-caller admitted that at 42, in his 20th year with the same team, he’s in “pretty much uncharted territory. “I’m going to go out there and do the best I can this year and see what happens,” said the player […]