Sports — International

McGregor demolishes Cerrone in 40-second return to UFC octagon

LOS ANGELES, United States (AFP) — Conor McGregor made a triumphant return to the UFC octagon on Saturday, pummelling Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone for a technical knockout victory in just 40 seconds. The mixed martial arts superstar from Ireland — returning to the Ultimate Fighting Championship for the first time since he was battered into submission by arch-rival Khabib Nurmagomedov in October 2018 — overpowered his American foe without ever being tested. After charging in with […]

LeBron stretches lead in NBA All-Star Game fan voting

NEW YORK, United States (AFP) — Los Angeles Lakers star forward LeBron James stretched his overall lead in NBA All-Star Game fan balloting to 149,564 votes over Dallas guard Luka Doncic in returns revealed Thursday. It appears that James and Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo will be captains for next month’s 69th NBA All-Star Game on February 16 at Chicago as they were for last year’s all-star contest, in which Team LeBron beat Team Giannis 178-164. Five-time […]

Derrick Rose fined in felt-tip fiasco

LOS ANGELES, United States (AFP) — The National Basketball Association has slapped Detroit Pistons player Derrick Rose with a hefty fine for throwing a pen into the crowd at The Palace arena in Detroit. Rose was hit with a $25,000 fine for his actions with 37 seconds left in Monday’s 117-110 overtime loss to the visiting New Orleans Pelicans. The incident took place after Detroit called a timeout following a New Orleans basket. A dejected […]

Australian Open qualifying delayed due to bushfire smoke

MELBOURNE, Austalia (AFP) — Qualifying for the Australian Open Grand Slam was delayed Wednesday as toxic smoke from widespread bushfires continued to shroud Melbourne, organizers said. The decision to push back the time players take the court followed a qualifier retiring with breathing difficulties on Tuesday and Canadian Eugenie Bouchard needing medical attention. Play will not begin before 1:00 pm (0200 GMT), an hour later than scheduled, with practice sessions also suspended. “Conditions at Melbourne […]

Bucks’ Antetokounmpo bounces back, Houston’s Harden hits milestone

LOS ANGELES, United States (AFP) — Giannis Antetokounmpo rebounded from his season-worst performance to tally 32 points and 17 rebounds as the Milwaukee Buck routed the Portland Trail Blazers 122-101 on Saturday. Milwaukee, who are on pace to win 70 games, won for the eighth time in the last nine games to improve to 35-6 on the season. Khris Middleton added 30 points and Eric Bledsoe scored 29 for the Bucks who are hoping to […]

Jazz stretch NBA win streak to nine by toppling Wizards

LOS ANGELES, United States (AFP) — Croatia’s Bojan Bogdanovic scored 31 points as the Utah Jazz won their ninth straight game with a 127-116 victory over the Washington Wizards on Sunday. Frenchman Rudy Gobert finished with 21 points and 14 rebounds, one of a half-dozen players who finished in double figures for Utah, which improved to 27-12 on the season. The Jazz tightened up their defense in the second half to knock the Wizards off […]

LeBron leaps Doncic, Giannis into NBA All-Star vote lead

NEW YORK, United States (AFP) — Five-time NBA Most Valuable Player LeBron James leaped over Slovenian guard Luka Doncic and reigning NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo to lead early fan voting totals for the NBA All-Star Game released Thursday. Los Angeles Lakers star James was more than 53,000 votes behind Dallas star Doncic for the top spot in last week’s first early voting results announcement by the league. But new totals show James with 3,359,871 votes […]

NBA fines ‘reckless’ Portis after flagrant foul on Caldwell-Pope

NEW YORK, United States (AFP) — New York Knicks forward Bobby Portis was fined $25,000 Wednesday for a nasty foul on Kentavious Caldwell-Pope that saw Portis ejected from the Lakers’ win over the Knicks on Tuesday. The fine announced by Kiki VanDeWeghe, executive vice president of basketball operations, was for “recklessly making contact above the shoulders of an airborne shooter.” Caldwell-Pope was driving for a basket in the second quarter, with the Lakers up by […]

Aussie NBA stars donate to bushfire relief effort

LOS ANGELES, United States (AFP) — Nine Australian NBA stars have partnered with the league and the National Basketball Players Association Foundation to donate $750,000 towards relief and recovery efforts for Australia’s bushfire disaster, the NBA said Tuesday. “We are heartbroken over the devastation these fires are causing all across our homeland,” the players said in a joint statement. “Our thoughts are with our families, friends and all of the people of Australia. We hope […]

Nets guard Irving says he hopes to avoid shoulder surgery

NEW YORK, United States (AFP) — Kyrie Irving said the right shoulder injury that has disrupted his debut season with the Brooklyn Nets might need surgery, but he still hopes to avoid it. Irving, who hasn’t played an NBA game since November 14, told reporters on Saturday that he had received a cortisone injection on December 24 as part of his continuing recovery, but the effects can be variable. “You either continue to get cortisone […]

Australian Open delay valid if smoke haze worsens: Djokovic

BRISBANE, Australia (AFP) — Novak Djokovic said Australian Open organizers should consider delaying the first Grand Slam of the year if haze from bush-fires raging around the country threatens players’ health. The opening major of 2020 is due to start at Melbourne Park on January 20 and the city was blanketed by smoke from blazes burning to the east on Saturday, compromising air quality. Djokovic, president of the ATP players council, said in the early […]

Red-hot Porter pushes Nuggets past Pacers, Heat beat Raptors

LOS ANGELES, United States (AFP) — Rookie Michael Porter Jr. put on a shooting clinic on Thursday, scoring a career-high 25 points to lead the Denver Nuggets to a 124-116 NBA victory over the Indiana Pacers. Porter came off the bench and connected on 11 of 12 shots from the field — a 91.7 percent success rate — as the Nuggets shook off a slow start and rebounded from a New Year’s Eve loss to […]