Showing posts with label sports news. Show all posts
Showing posts with label sports news. Show all posts

Monday, May 28, 2012

Boxing champ Johnny Tapia found dead

Boxing champ Johnny Tapia found dead
Johnny Tapia celebrates after defeating Eduardo Alvarez during an international featherweight contest.

Nobody who knew Johnny Tapia can be remotely surprised that he was found dead inside his Albuquerque, N.M., home on Sunday.

The only surprise, perhaps, is that he survived the first four times he was declared dead.

Tapia won major world championships in three weight classes and was one of the elite fighters of the late 1990s and early 2000s.

Despite his brilliance in the ring, he was far better known for a life story that was far stranger than any fiction novel could ever be.

An 89-word passage from his 2010 autobiography, "Mi Vida Loca," probably best sums up the sad life of this small, troubled and talented man.

"My name is Johnny Lee Tapia. I was born on Friday the 13th. A Friday in February of 1967. To this day I don't know if that makes me lucky or unlucky. When I was eight I saw my mother murdered. I never knew my father. He was murdered before I was born. I was raised as a pit bull. Raised to fight to the death. Four times I was declared dead. Four times they wanted to pull life support. And many more times I came close to dying."

Sadly, on Sunday, he did. A spokesman for the Albuquerque, N.M., police department told Yahoo! Sports a body found in a home in the city's northwest section was believed to be Tapia's. He said circumstances do not appear to be suspicious and that the cause of death will be determined at autopsy. His death was confirmed shortly thereafter.

Tapia won world championships at super flyweight, bantamweight and featherweight, relying on guile, cunning and a barely controlled fury.

He ripped off punches in rapid-fire manner, as though he was trying to knock out all the demons that were attacking him. In the ring, he stayed calm amid all manner of chaos, keeping his cool as punches flew from all directions at his head and body. He'd duck, step to the side and return fire with remarkable accuracy.

It was when the gym doors were closed and the lights were turned off that Tapia couldn't win. Death was his constant companion. His mother was raped, stabbed repeatedly with a screwdriver and chained to the back of a truck. When he tried to tell family members what he saw, no one believed the 8-year-old until it was too late.

He saw friends murder and murdered. He ducked bullets more often than he did punches.

He went through hell in the ring with a smile because it was a breeze compared to his life outside it.

He nearly didn't make it through the second day of his marriage. On his wedding night, his cousins approached his new bride, Teresa, and said to her, "Why don't you go back there and see what you married."

Teresa Tapia walked into a bedroom in her new mother-in-law's home and saw her husband of a few hours shooting himself in the arm with a needle.

His heart stopped and he was declared dead in her car.

He inflicted intense amounts of pain on those he loved with his frequent bouts with drugs and numerous brushes with death, yet he remained a chipper and friendly man who never would simply say hello. If you were a Tapia friend, he'd throw a bear hug on you and squeeze, holding the embrace as if he forever would be safe if he never let go.

But the only place in his life where he truly was safe was in a boxing ring. He was 59-5-2 with 30 knockouts in a professional boxing career that covered 23 years, more than half his life. As an amateur, he won more than 100 fights and earned five New Mexico Golden Gloves titles and two national Golden Gloves championships.

Tapia never did quit fighting, inside or outside of the ring. He nearly died of a cocaine overdose in 2007, recovered and returned to fight three more times.

That he reached 45 was something of a miracle. He always said he expected to be dead long before he turned 40.

In his book, he wrote, "My mother was murdered when she was 32. I didn't think I would outlive her. I never thought I'd make it past my own 32nd birthday. I didn't even want to make it past her 32nd birthday. After turning 31, I could feel that time was coming on. It started growing in the back of my mind, and it was always there in my head. I was counting down the days, weeks, and months to the time that I would be the age she was when she died. I started to feel that time was running out for me."

Time ran out, finally, on Sunday.

He fought to win and he fought to survive. In the ring, he was knocked down just twice, once in his second pro fight in 1988 and then again in his final bout in 2011.

He got up both times to win.

On Sunday, though, the count reached 10.

This was a life he simply couldn't win.

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Friday, May 25, 2012

NHL hockey Stanley Cup Eastern Conference finals

us ice hokey final
New Jersey Devils' Adam Henrique (14) scores during the overtime of Game 6 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Eastern Conference finals, as New York Rangers' Henrik Lundqvist (30), Brad Richards (19), and Carl Hagelin (62) defend, Friday, May 25, 2012, in Newark, N.J.

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) -- The memory of missing the playoffs for first time since 1996 and the ghost of an 18-year-old wound were wiped out with a sweep of rookie Adam Henrique's stick.

The New Jersey Devils are going back to the Stanley Cup finals, thanks to Henrique, a 40-year-old goaltender and a coach who'd never been to the postseason in the NHL.

How's that for a turnaround?

Henrique scored off a wild scramble in front at 1:03 into overtime and the Devils defeated the rival New York Rangers, 3-2, in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals to advance to their first Stanley Cup finals since 2003.

"It means a lot," Devils leading scorer Ilya Kovalchuk said minutes after reaching the Cup finals for the first time. "It's a great feeling. Last year was a tough one, but this year was totally different. We played well all year. The first round of the playoffs was a little tough but after that, I think we figured out our game and what it takes to win."

After beating Florida, Philadelphia and their biggest rivals, the Rangers, only the Los Angeles Kings stand in 
the way of a fourth Cup for New Jersey.

The title round begins here Wednesday.

This series win came against the Devils' most intense rival, and it was that much sweeter.

"That one was like Christmas," said Henrique, who also scored the series winner in overtime as Devils' first-round, Game 7 win over the Panthers.

It also was needed. The Devils blew a 2-0 first-period lead and didn't want to head back to New York for a Game 7 on Sunday.

"It didn't matter how it got to overtime, we were in a good position," Devils captain Zach Parise said. "We were at home. We just needed one shot."

Actually, the Devils needed four shots to win the game.

Henrique's winner came after Henrik Lundqvist stopped Kovalchuk twice and Alexei Ponikarovsky. The last shot lay in the crease and Henrique tapped it home.

"We caught them on a line change and their defensemen were tired," said Devils coach Peter DeBoer, who was fired by Florida after missing the playoffs in his three seasons. "We found a way to jam one in. That's the only way you're going to score on Lundqvist. You're not going to get a clean one. You're going to have to work for it around the net.

"And that's what we did."

Ryan Carter and Kovalchuk also scored for the Devils, whose biggest move this year was hiring DeBoer. He has more than proved his coaching ability.

Ruslan Fedotenko and Ryan Callahan tallied for top-seeded New York, which had a good flurry just before New Jersey scored to end it.

Henrique, who is nominated for the Calder Trophy - given to the NHL's top rookie - skated away from the crease and jumped against the end boards in the corner as his teammates hopped off the bench and mobbed him.

The six Rangers on the ice just stayed down in disbelief and frustration. This was very much like Game 5, which the Devils won 5-3. New York carried the play after the first period and had a 35-29 edge in shots.

But when it came time for a game-deciding play to be made, it was a Devil who made it.

"When they scored, it was such an empty feeling," said Lundqvist, who said the puck took a weird bounce on the final play. "It is shocking."

Henrique overcame injury to score this one. He seemed to take a stick from Brian Boyle in the groin area late in the third and had to leave the ice.

He felt no pain after the game winner.

All the Rangers could do was bow their heads and then line up for the traditional handshake after losing to their cross-rival rivals in a series that was close.

"That's playoff hockey, and that's usually where you get an overtime goal," Rangers veteran Brandon Prust said. "Just whacking away in front of the net, getting rebounds."

Martin Brodeur, 40, kept the Devils alive in the third. He stopped a power-play shot by Brad Richards, made a save on Artem Anisimov between the circles and used his stick to deflect a pass from the boards by Carl Hagelin in the final minute just before it got to Marian Gaborik on the edge of the crease.

"You could tell he was in the zone. He led us," Parise said. "He made some big saves tonight."

Lundqvist's best stop in the third was on Dainius Zubrus on a shot from behind the circles.

Facing elimination and down 2-0 after 20 minutes, the Rangers found their game in the second period and tied the game at 2-all on goals by Fedotenko and Callahan in a roughly four-minute span.

Defenseman Ryan McDonagh, who assisted on both goals, made the big play to get New York back in the game. He collected the puck above the left circle, skated around the net and tried a wrap around. The shot didn't go on goal but it turned out to be a perfect pass to Fedotenko who a tap-in into an open net at 9:47.

Callahan, who had a New York goal go off his leg in the Devils' 5-3 win on Wednesday, tied the game at 13:41 when Dan Girardi's shot from the right point deflected off his leg into the open lower corner of the net. Callahan's sixth of the postseason was set up when Brandon Dubinsky won a faceoff in the left circle.

Carter, who scored the game winner in New York on Wednesday night after the Devils blew a 3-0 lead, put New Jersey ahead again at 10:05 of the opening period.

The play started with a bad pinch at the point by Rangers defenseman Marc Staal. Steve Bernier led a 3-on-1 and found Stephen Gionta coming down the middle for a solo chance against Lundqvist. The Rangers goaltender stopped the shot, but Carter swatted the rebound home for his fourth of the playoffs.

Kovalchuk's seventh goal of the postseason and fifth on the power play was a thing of beauty. All five Devils skaters touched the puck with tape-to-tape passes with Zubrus finding Kovalchuk alone low in the left circle for a shot that Lundqvist had little chance to stop.

The Devils - as is the tradition for many Cup finalists - did not touch the Prince of Wales Trophy that was presented at center ice. As the team skated off to their locker room, "Glory Days," the 1984 hit from New Jersey rocker Bruce Springsteen serenaded them.

The game was played on the 18-year anniversary of the Rangers' dramatic, 4-2, Game 6 victory over New Jersey at the Meadowlands, a victory that pushed that classic Eastern Conference final series to a Game 7 and eventually led New York to its first Stanley Cup in 54 years. That game, of course, was preceded by a guarantee from Rangers captain Mark Messier, who delivered three goals en route to the victory.

This time, though, there will be no Game 7.

NOTES: The Empire State Building's tower lights were lit in red and blue on Friday to cheer on the Rangers. ... Mogul and TV personality Donald Trump was at the game. ... Devils C Travis Zajac left the ice briefly in the second after being slashed on the left hand by Prust. No penalty was called. ... New Jersey is 4-1 in overtime in the postseason. New York finished 2-3 after regulation. ... This is only the second time the Devils have defeated the Rangers in the postseason in six tries. ... The last time New Jersey played in the Stanley Cup finals, the Devils also played a California team: the Anaheim Ducks in 2003.

News by AP

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Thursday, May 17, 2012

Thunder rally to edge Lakers 77-75 in Game 2

sports news
Oklahoma City Thunder forward Serge Ibaka, left, tumbles over Los Angeles Lakers center Andrew Bynum during the first quarter of Game 2 in an NBA basketball playoffs Western Conference semifinal

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- Down in desperation time, Oklahoma City Thunder coach Scott Brooks called on Kevin Durant to show that he's more than just a three-time scoring champion. And that meant guarding one of the NBA's all-time best.

Durant was up to the challenge, keeping Kobe Bryant from excelling as usual in his closer's role while sparking the Thunder's rally for a 77-75 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 2 of the Western Conference semifinals Wednesday night.

Durant scored 22 points and rattled in the go-ahead basket on a baseline runner with 18 seconds left as Oklahoma City scored the final nine points. He also had a crucial steal from Bryant to fuel the rally.

"People talk about how I score the ball," said Durant, one of only seven players to lead the NBA in scoring three straight seasons.

"They don't look at me when we go on the other end. I think this whole playoff run, I've been picking it up on the defensive end."

Oklahoma City trailed by seven with 2 minutes left before surging back with a series of defensive stops by its stars to rally from that deficit in the closing stages of a game for the second time this postseason. The Thunder also were down by seven with 2 1/2 minutes left in Game 1 of the first round against defending NBA champion Dallas.

"They won't quit. That's not in their DNA," Brooks said. "They're not wired that way and if they were, they wouldn't be here. We're not going to win every game, but we're going to fight to the last second of the game and we did that tonight.

"If we would have gotten down on ourselves with 2 minutes to go, we would have lost by 12 and we would go to L.A. 1-1."

Instead, Oklahoma City takes a 2-0 lead into Game 3 on Friday night at Staples Center.

Bryant and Andrew Bynum scored 20 points apiece for the Lakers, who came up empty on their last six possessions after Bynum's hook shot made it 75-68 with 2:09 remaining.

Struggling throughout the second half and missing 20 of their first 27 shots, the Thunder came alive after Brooks called a timeout when Bynum's basket gave Los Angeles its largest lead of the game.

James Harden drove for a layup before Durant used his height advantage to reach up and tip away a pass from Bryant. He then ran out for a right-handed dunk at the other end.

Brooks had switched Durant onto Bryant with about 5 minutes left, after Bryant had hit a pair of jumpers as the Lakers started to inch away.

"That wasn't the game plan going in, but there was a moment when I thought Kobe was starting to fill it and I thought Kevin's length would bother him," Brooks said.

That's exactly how it played out - with the 6-foot-9 Durant using his wingspan to come up with an energizing steal and fast-break chance.

Russell Westbrook then forced another turnover by challenging an outlet pass to Bryant along the sideline. Officials originally ruled that it went off Westbrook, but changed the call after seeing on replay that he didn't touch it and Bryant whiffed on the contested catch.

"What they did the last few minutes there, they just made gambles," Bryant said. "They just jumped in the passing lanes. It's something that we're not accustomed to seeing. It's just flat-out risks defensively."

Harden made the next stop, blocking Bryant's jumper on the Lakers' next possession and getting a layup in transition off it to cut the deficit to one in the final minute.

Bryant then missed on a 3-pointer and the Thunder got the ball back with the chance to take the lead and Durant was able to make it happen on the offensive end.

"I think Kevin has improved on being a two-way player," Brooks said. "I think the last three years it's taken our team to a different level and it takes his game to a different level."

Steve Blake missed an open 3-pointer from the right side with about 5 seconds left after Metta World Peace couldn't get the ball to Bryant on the inbounds play.

Bryant, who was the primary option on the play, said Blake's shot was in the air by the time he turned around to look for an inbounds pass.

"Blake was wide open. We didn't have any timeouts left and he got a clean look, a really good look," World Peace said. "He can knock that down."

Durant was then fouled with 0.3 seconds left and made his first try before missing the second on purpose - failing to hit the backboard or rim for a violation.

The Lakers got a desperation try, but Harden intercepted World Peace's long pass for Bynum.

Westbrook added 15 points for Oklahoma City, which matched its lowest scoring total of the season but still gutted out the win. The Thunder had ripped apart the Lakers' defense with their pick-and-roll attack in Game 1, scoring 119 points in a 29-point blowout.

Pau Gasol had 14 points and 11 rebounds for L.A.

Historically, the loss makes a huge difference. Los Angeles is 29-12 when splitting the first two games of a seven-game series and has lost 17 of 19 when falling into a 2-0 hole. The Lakers' last comeback was in the 2004 West semifinals against San Antonio.

The Thunder have won all nine of their series after leading 2-0, dating to the franchise's days in Seattle.

"We've got to win," Bynum said. "It's do or die come Friday."

Bryant almost led the Lakers to a big bounce-back victory in this one.

He drilled a jumper from the left wing and Blake followed with a 3-pointer before World Peace hit one of two free throws for a 69-63 advantage with 7:27 remaining. Bryant then answered Serge Ibaka's jumper before missing his final five shots.

He also had a hand in two turnovers in the final 2 minutes, the first created by Durant's defense.

"He used his length on Kobe. Coming up with that steal was huge," Lakers' coach Mike Brown said. "That's what great players are supposed to do. They're supposed to take on the challenge at the end of the game and he did.

"He won the game for them, basically."

Notes: The NBA fined Devin Ebanks $25,000 on Wednesday for actions related to his Game 1 ejection and Bynum $15,000 for failing to speak to reporters Tuesday. Bynum talked at the Lakers' morning shootaround Wednesday and called it a make up for skipping the previous day. ... Harden caught World Peace with an inadvertent elbow to the face in the first quarter. ... After making 10 of 15 shots in Game 1, Westbrook was 5 for 17.

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Thursday, February 23, 2012

Girls basketball: Gordon's career-high leads South Charleston

 Girls basketball
Girl's Basketball

SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Never behind and never in doubt, South Charleston rode the shooting stroke of senior Brittany Gordon to the Class AAA Region 4 Section 1 championship game.

Gordon posted a career-high 42 points to lead the Black Eagles in a sectional semifinal game they never trailed for an eventual 89-45 win against St. Albans at South Charleston High School on Wednesday night.

South Charleston Coach Gary Greene said Gordon's offensive success was a result of St. Albans' decision to pack the interior.

"St. Albans decided they weren't going to let us get anything inside, so they were double- and triple-teaming the post in there ball-side and it opened up the top," he said. "Brittany just took what they gave her. They were doubling down so much, even when she was outside the 3. She got some great looks, as well as some of our other guards."

Gordon, a guard, finished the game 15-of-25 from the field, including 6-of-8 from 3-point range. Gordon scored 11 points in each of the first two quarters as the Black Eagles built a 50-23 halftime lead.

Gordon said she agreed with her coach's assessment that the Red Dragons' inside-first defense led to her offensive outburst.

"They were doubling down on our post players and it left a lot open for the guards - I was on tonight," she said.

Red Dragons Coach Scott James said his team lacked the fire early in the game as St. Albans (7-17) fell behind and Class AAA No. 3 South Charleston took advantage.

"We've got to come out with a purpose every single game and with that, intensity follows," he said. "At times we showed that, but tonight was a shame that we had to go out the season this way, but my hat's off to South Charleston. They did a great job."
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Sunday, January 01, 2012

Unsettled Bent becomes target for Liverpool as Dalglish eyes more firepower

Darren Bent
Liverpool are interested in a deal for Aston Villa striker Darren Bent.

The England international came off the bench to play a pivotal role in Villa’s 3-1 win against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Saturday — setting up Stilian Petrov for the second goal before scoring the decisive third himself.

However, he has grown unsettled at Villa following a summer of change and a succession of niggly injuries. He expressed his frustration at the lack of service he was getting from his team-mates and incurred the wrath of fans by missing Villa’s 2-0 home defeat against Liverpool, opting to go Christmas shopping instead.

Selling Bent would be detrimental to Alex McLeish’s plans but club finances dictate that should the Villa manager want to strengthen his side then almost every player is susceptible to a bid. Villa paid £24million for Bent last January and would want more to justify the sale to fans.

That could yet work in their favour as Liverpool have made a defensive midfielder their priority for this window and know targets such as Fernando Reges from Porto or Riccardo Montolivo of Fiorentina could come at a hefty price. The Anfield club would then prefer to shelve a move for Bent until the summer.

Liverpool have also shown interest in Crystal Palace striker Wilfried Zaha and want an extra defender.

Bent has a lot of admirers at Anfield, not least director of football Damien Comolli, who helped take him to Tottenham from Charlton for £16.5m in 2007. He also has a good relationship with ex-Villa team-mate Stewart Downing and the other members of the England contingent at Liverpool.

However, his arrival would bring Andy Carroll’s long-term future at the club under the microscope once again. Boss Kenny Dalglish has been a staunch supporter of the £35m signing from Newcastle and there were signs of a promising partnership with Steven Gerrard during Friday night’s 3-1 win over his former club. But a signing of Bent’s magnitude would put serious pressure on places up front with Luis Suarez almost an automatic pick.


The Aston Villa striker has scored against every current Premier League team except Swansea and QPR and stands on 97 goals from 222 games.

His goals-per-game ratio is up there with the likes of Michael Owen, Wayne Rooney and Robbie Fowler, too. He is ninth on 0.44.

Bent’s best season was his first at Sunderland in 2009-10 with 24 goals from 38 games, accounting for 50 per cent of their goals that season.

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Saturday, December 31, 2011

Retired linebacker’s wife dies one month after their wedding

chris draft
Chris Draft
One month after getting married, former NFL linebacker Chris Draft lost his wife today after a long bout with lung cancer. She was so weakened by the disease that she was in a wheelchair for the private wedding, just one month before she died.

Draft, who played most of his 12-year career in Atlanta, released a statement on his wife on their family foundation website.

Not just an inspiration, but a light, and a force that led the way with a beautiful, sweet smile and bright shining eyes that both belied the pure steel of her strength and determination.

Strong is too pale, too shallow and too small of a word to describe Keasha's vibrancy… Quite simply, she was ferocious. She fiercely held onto life, and love with a forcefulness that was absolutely awe-inspiring and completely breathtaking. Rest in peace, Mrs. Draft.

Twitter was flooded with people moved by the Draft's love story. Hip hop mogul Russell Simmons  shared his condolences via Twitter, and a guestbook commemorating her quickly was filled with messages of support to the Draft family.

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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Dutch Cup game abandoned after goalkeeper attacks pitch invader at AZ Alkmaar vs Ajax

AZ Alkmaar
AZ Alkmaar's goolkeeper fights with supporter
A FOOTBALL match was abandoned after a goalkeeper fought with a pitch invader - and was then sent off for protecting himself.

The Dutch Cup game between AZ Alkmaar and Ajax ended when AZ keeper Esteban Alvarado was shown a red card for battling the drunk 19-year-old hooligan.

The Costa Rican keeper, 22, launched into a kung-fu kick when the thug attempted to attack him, before kicking him twice after he had been floored.

Security guards dragged the drunk away before referee Bas Nijhuis dismissed the keeper for violence and insisted Esteban should have walked away.

Furious Alkmaar coach Gertjan Verbeek then ordered his side to walk off in protest after just 36minutes, forcing the game on Wednesday night to be abandoned.

Referee Nijhuis said: “I understand that Esteban was defending himself, but he walked to him (the supporter) and kicked him multiple times. He could also have walked away.”

Ajax apologised for the security lapse and said the supporter would receive a lifetime ban from games.

Jeroen Slop, a director of the Dutch giants, said: “This was a terrible incident and we deeply regret it and offer our sincere apologies.

“The supporter has been handed over to the police.

“It was a 19-year-old man who was probably under the influence of alcohol. He said he hated the AZ goalkeeper and had therefore attacked him.”

Toon Gerbrands, an Alkmaar club director, said his players “didn’t feel safe any more in this situation” at the Amsterdam Arena.

Ajax were leading the game 1-0 at the time, and Dutch Football Association director Bert van Oostveen said that although organisation was considering the incident, but is not certain whether the game will be replayed.

The Dutch FA today rescinded the red card, saying Alvarado’s reaction was triggered by the unprovoked attack on him - but adding that referee Bas Nijhuis was right according to the rules when he sent the goalkeeper off.

They confirmed that Alvarado’s reaction “will not result in a ban.”

It also emerged the fan responsible had already been banned from Ajax’s stadium for a year due to a previous run-in with security guards, but managed to sneak into the cup match with a ticket purchased by a friend.

He has now received a lifetime ban from all Ajax matches.

- Eric Cantona: The temperamental Manchester United star famously kung-fu kicked a racist Crystal Palace fan in January 1995. He received an eight-month ban from the FA.

- Brian Clough: The legendary Nottingham Forest manager punched one of his own pitch-invading fan in 1989 after beating QPR.

- Trevor Brennan: Toulouse Rugby Union star Brennan punched an Ulster fan who had been hurling abuse at him during a Heineken Cup game in 2007. He was given a life ban from the dame.

- Peter Schmeichel: The giant Man United keeper hurled an invading fan of Turkish club Galatasaray off the Old Trafford pitch in 1993.

- Ty Cobb: a legendary baseball players who rarely went a game without fighting fans, oppostion players or his own team-mates. He once said: “I had to fight all my life just to survive. They were all against me.”

News by Mirror

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Sunday, December 18, 2011

Kansas City Chiefs end Green Bay Packers' 19-game winning streak

Tamba Hall and Kendrick Lewis of the Kansas City Chiefs celebrate
(CNN) -- The Kansas City Chiefs beat the Green Bay Packers on Sunday in Arrowhead Stadium, ending the defending Super Bowl champions' quest for a perfect season.

The Packers, who were 13-0 this season, were defeated 19-14 by the 5-8 Chiefs.

Despite the loss -- the Packers' first in 20 games -- Green Bay remains firmly atop the NFC standings. The Chiefs are in last place in the AFC West.

Kansas City executives on Monday fired head coach Todd Haley after the team lost four of its previous five games. Sunday's win was the first under interim head coach Romeo Crennel. Crennel was previously the team's defensive coordinator.

Also Sunday, the Indianapolis Colts ended their winless season with their first victory, beating the Tennessee Titans 27-13. The Colts, previously 0-13, have been struggling without star quarterback Peyton Manning as he recovers from neck surgery.

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Messi double secures Club World Cup for all-conquering Barcelona

Lionel Messi
(CNN) -- Lionel Messi scored twice as European champions Barcelona secured the Club World Cup with a 4-0 rout of Brazil's Santos in Yokohama Sunday.

Messi opened Barcelona's account and added their fourth and final goal in a one-sided match against their South American counterparts.

Xavi and Cesc Fabregas scored their other goals in a first-half which saw Pep Guardiola's men 3-0 ahead and in total control.

It is their second Club World Cup title after 2009 and the 13th trophy won since Guardiola took charge at the Camp Nou in 2008.

"We've got a core of very talented players and the secret of our success is simple," he told the official FIFA website.

"We study our opponents closely, use space well, keep control of the ball and move it around very quickly. My players are real competitors and I'm sure they're going to want to keep on going and win more trophies."

The match was billed as a showdown between Santos' Neymar, who inspired their semifinal win over Kashiwa Reysol, and Argentina's Messi.

Villa injury mars Barcelona semifinal win

But the Brazilian teenager was kept quiet and uncharacteristically wasted two second half opportunities.

By contrast, Messi was at his irrepressible best, and set up by Xavi on 17 minutes made no mistake with a chipped finish.

Xavi then struck after a fine run by Dani Alves and Barcelona were 2-0 up and cruising.

Barely half and hour was on the clock when former Arsenal star Fabregas beat Rafael Cabral at the near post, with Xavi again the instigator after an impudent backheel from Messi.

Barcelona were able to coast through the second half as Santos enjoyed their best spell, but it was fitting that Messi added his second with eight minutes left.

Earlier Al Sadd, who lost 4-0 to Barcelona in the semifinals, beat Japanese champions Kashiwa Reysol 5-3 on penalties to take third place at the annual intercontinental tournament after the match had ended scoreless.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

David Villa out for six months after breaking shinbone during Barcelona's Club World Cup semi-final

David Villa faces a long time on the sidelines
Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola confirmed David Villa would be sidelined for a "long time" after the Spain striker broke his shinbone in today's 4-0 Club World Cup semi-final victory over Al-Sadd.

Reports in Spain suggest the 30-year-old will be out of action for between four and six months after being carried off on a stretcher six minutes before half-time.

Barca announced soon after that he had suffered a "fracture to the tibia in his left leg", with the player taken to hospital in Yokohama for further tests.

The news comes as a setback not only to Barca but potentially to world and European champions Spain, with their all-time record scorer's availability for Euro 2012 now in doubt.

Guardiola said after the match: "He will now travel to Barcelona as soon as possible. He will be greatly missed as a colleague and as a player. I hope everything goes well.

"He will be a long time. It's a big blow to the team. We just hope that he can play again as soon as possible.

News by The Telegraph

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Monday, December 05, 2011

Golf: American Tiger Woods won his first tournament in two years

Tiger Woods
AFP - American Tiger Woods found the colors on the golf course by winning Sunday in Thousand Oaks (California) the Chevron World Challenge, two weeks after helping the U.S. win in Australia the Presidents Cup.

His victory in Thousand Oaks is the first individual trophy for two years (Masters of Australia November 15, 2009). Shortly after, triggered the much-publicized sex scandal that cost him a divorce, the loss of many sponsors and also greatly altered the image of the world No.1 at the time.

This scandal, his many injuries the past two seasons and his decision to change his swing have contributed to make him fall beyond the 50th place worldwide and has accumulated against performance-worthy player with 14 Grand Slam victories that the world knew before.

This success, however, is to relativize the tournament because of Thousand Oaks, which organizes itself in favor of its foundation, is not an official event sanctioned by a major professional tour and only had 18 players.

But it does offer points for the world ranking and his opponents in California were not anonymous. Four of the first eleven players in the world were also present on the greens of Thousand Oaks (Americans Steve Stricker, Matt Kuchar, Nick Watney and Webb Simpson).

"It feels good," he soberly said Woods, who shackled 27 individual tournaments without a win. The Californian could not suppress a roar of joy after her successful birdie the final hole. With two birdies on holes n.17 and n.18, Woods erased a disbursement from a blow to compatriot Zach Johnson to win a step ahead with a total of 278.

"I screamed, said Woods. I won birdie-birdie by the last two holes when I was a late hit, we could not do better as a scenario," said one who should go back to 21st place worldwide. "It is under pressure, the last two holes, I hit three of my best shots of the week, it's really a good thing."

Johnson, former Masters champion, had taken control of the tournament after the third round Saturday, but Woods was able to find this killer instinct that he cultivated so well before his career takes an unexpected turn one evening in November 2009 with the accident car out of his home in Florida, followed by the revelation of his many extramarital affairs.

Woods made one last card of 69, three under par, to finish on a total of 278.

"The Tiger", 35, had already distinguished himself in late November, giving the point of victory in the U.S. at the Presidents Cup, won in Melbourne at the expense of the rest of the world (best non-European international players).

In early November, said Woods had to take "fun again" playing golf. He can look with more confidence towards the ultimate goal of his career beating the 18 major titles of Jack Nicklaus.

Monday, November 28, 2011

United States duo Matt Kuchar and Gary Woodland win World Cup Golf 2011

Golf 2011
World Cup 2011: Final-round leaderboard

    * -24: U.S.
    * -22: England, Germany
    * -21: Australia, Scotland, Ireland
    * Selected others: -20: Wales, Netherlands
    * -19: Spain, Korea

United States duo Matt Kuchar and Gary Woodland hit six birdies in a closing 67 to win the World Cup by two shots.

The Americans eroded the overnight two-stroke lead held by Ireland's Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell in China, with birdies on the first two holes.

Four more birdies lifted them to 24 under as Ireland faded with four bogeys in a level-par 72 to stay 21 under.

England's Ian Poulter and Justin Rose carded a nine-under-par 63 to finish second alongside Germany on 22 under.

"We were a little subdued [after the third round] and neither of us were much company," admitted Poulter.

"We stayed in our own rooms, and kind of rightly so as four under par in fourball was very disappointing.

"But to go and shoot nine under par in foursomes is crazy."

Poulter and Rose sank four birdies on the front nine and finished with two birdies and an eagle in their last four holes as they recorded the lowest score of the final round at the Mission Hills course on the southern Chinese island of Hainan.

But although they caught and passed McIlroy and McDowell, who had held an eight-shot advantage over the Englishmen going into the final round, they were unable to match the Americans.

Kuchar and Woodland played solid, rather than spectacular, golf in the alternate shot foursomes format as they finished with a five-under-par 67 to record the United States's first victory in the tournament since Tiger Woods and David Duval teamed up in 2000.

"You think of all the sporting events, and you think of all the teams that become world champions, and in golf there are not that many opportunities to be world champions," said Kuchar.

"So to represent the United States of America and become world champions just feels great."

Their only blip was a bogey on the par-three 11th, but that dropped shot was wiped out on the 12th with a sixth birdie of the round following on the 13th.

In contrast, McIlroy and McDowell, who led by three on the back nine two years but were beaten to the title by Italian brothers Francesco and Edoardo Molinari, again struggled on the final day.

They mixed two bogies with two birdies on the front nine to fall two behind the Americans.

A birdie on the 10th brought them within one shot of the lead, but a bogey on 12 checked their progress and another shot went on the par-three 15th after McDowell's tee shot plugged under the lip of a greenside bunker.

McIlroy could only blast the ball a few feet out of the sand but when his playing partner missed the 25-foot par putt, their challenge was effectively ended.

They finished joint fourth with Australia, Netherlands and Scottish pair Martin Laird and Stephen Gallacher who closed with eight birdies in a six-under-par 66.

German duo Martin Kaymer and Alex Cejka did not drop a shot over the last two rounds and played the final 18 holes in a three-under 69, sinking a lengthy par putt at the last to ensure they finished joint second.

The World Cup used to be held annually but was switched to biennial after 2009 to accommodate golf's inclusion in the 2016 Olympic Games.

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Sunday, November 27, 2011

Hope Solo says DWTS told her she ‘had too much muscle’

hope solo
Hope Solo
Coming off the high of last summer's second-place finish at the Women's World Cup, U.S. goalkeeper Hope Solo and partner Maksim Chmerkovskiy made it to the semi-finals of televised celebrity ballroom dancing spectacle Dancing with the Stars before being eliminated.

Between gossip mongers pushing stories of problems between Solo and Chmerkovskiy and the show's judges upsetting the goalkeeper with their harsh critiques early on in the competition, it was clear that this wasn't always a fun experience for Solo even before it was over. But in her first interview since the end of the competition, Hope said that the show's criticisms of her ran deeper than opinions on dance technique. She told Anderson Cooper:

    "I was told I had too much muscle and I was too intense and wasn't very dainty. Well, hello -- you cast a female professional athlete. Help me get better as a dancer. There's no hard feelings at all. I understand that it's television."

Six of the show's 13 winners have been athletes, but only two of those winners have been female athletes: Kristi Yamaguchi and Shawn Johnson. And the figure skater and Olympic gymnast are much more in line with the judges' narrow vision for "dainty" female dancers than the 5'9" shot stopper, who recently showed off her impressive form in ESPN The Magazine body (read: naked) issue. However, in season four of the show, former boxer Laila Ali (who is 5'10") was also paired with Chmerkovskiy, finished third in the competition and received the first perfect "10" from judge Len Goodman for their rumba dance.

It does seem Solo has calmed down a bit since her reaction to the judging of her final performances got her branded as a "sore loser," though. From People:

    In a video recap of Monday's performances, Solo, 30, complained about her scores: "Sevens? The same thing I got in week one. Kiss my booty," she said, adding, "The scores at this point, the judges at this point mean nothing." The pair were also heard swearing about the judges as they awaited their second set of scores: "F——— 'em," they said, with Solo also tossing in that she didn't even want to look at the panel.

Solo also told Cooper that she was "a little naive" going into the "reality show." It sounds like the same (as well as a few other choice words Hope already used) can be said for the show's producers.

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Cowboys cheerleader knocked over by Witten forced off Twitter

melissa kellerman
Melissa Kellerman
Cheerleader Melissa Kellerman was barely into the middle part of her 15 minutes of fame when the Dallas Cowboys pulled the plug.

Kellerman, a 22-year-old student in her fourth year with the team, became a national sensation on Thanksgiving when she was accidentally tackled on the sideline by Cowboys tight end Jason Witten.

CNBC's Darren Rovell reported that Kellerman was forced to delete her Twitter account after posting two messages on Friday morning about the incident. Her Tweets were good-natured and innocuous.

Those were pretty much the perfect tweets: Clever, self-deprecating and a bit funny. (We'll even ignore the winking emoticons.) Why did she have to delete her Twitter account? Do the Cowboys believe cheerleaders are only to be seen, not heard?

Hardly. The team allows cameras to record cheerleader auditions for a reality show on CMT. It's alright when the team controls the message but not when a cheerleader begins to get a following and has the stage to herself? This should have been a win-win for everyone involved. Witten looked chivalrous when he helped up Kellerman, she became endearing with her laughter and positive attitude. Both the franchise and the cheerleaders looked good after this. Now, only Kellerman does.

The 22-year old South Carolina native is studying to become a teacher.

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Roger Federer reaches 100th career final

roger federer
Roger Federer
LONDON— Every time Roger Federer steps onto the court, another milestone seems to be within grasp.

He seized another one Saturday, reaching his 100th career final by beating David Ferrer 7-5, 6-3 in the semifinals of the ATP World Tour Finals. Federer could add a few more Sunday. He's in position to win his 70th title overall and a record sixth at the season-ending tournament for the world's top eight players.

"It's obviously a special occasion for me," said Federer, who will play Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the final.

Tsonga beat Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic 6-3, 7-5 in the late match, putting the sixth-seeded Frenchman into the final of this event for the first time, in only his second appearance.

"Roger is the best player for the moment indoors," Tsonga said. "It's going to be really special here, for my first final here. It's going to be an amazing atmosphere on court, and I like that. ... I know it's the last match (of the year) so I will give it everything."

The victory over Ferrer sent Federer past Andy Murray to No. 3 in the year-end rankings, trailing No. 1 Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal.

Djokovic and Nadal were eliminated after losing two of their round-robin matches this week, both saying their minds and bodies weren't up for top-level tennis following another grueling season. Murray pulled out injured following his opening loss to Ferrer on Monday.

Federer — who holds a record 16 Grand Slam titles — is tied with Ivan Lendl and Pete Sampras with five victories at the ATP Finals, formerly known as the Masters Cup. A win Sunday would also tie Lendl's record of 39 match victories in the event.

Federer became the fifth player to reach 100 finals in the open era, joining Jimmy Connors (163), Lendl (146), John McEnroe (108) and Guillermo Vilas (104).

"I'm shocked every time that I've reached so many finals or won against so many players or whatever record it is," Federer said. "It strikes me and makes me obviously very happy and very proud that I've been able to do it for so many years at the highest of levels."

And with his 806th victory Saturday, Federer moved into a share of sixth place on the career list with Stefan Edberg.

"Stefan was my idol," Federer said. "So to achieve something that he achieved is obviously very nice. I don't think it matters much, but it's still very nice to get reminded that you equaled your idol's or hero's achievements."

In a tournament where his biggest rivals complained of fatigue after failing to make it out of the group stage,Federer showed no signs of slowing down. The 30-year-old Swiss star extended his unbeaten streak to 16 matches after winning titles in Basel and Paris before coming to London.

Federer has played some of his best tennis of the year in London, and while he did not look as sharp against Ferrer as he did in his three group-stage victories, he never faced a break point. He broke the fifth-seeded Spaniard twice in the second set and converted his second match point with a forehand winner.

Ferrer came within two points of the first set six times in Federer's service game when the Spaniard led 5-4. But he never earned a break point in a game that went to deuce five times, and Federer finally held when Ferrer sent a backhand passing shot wide. That marked a turning point, with Federer winning the next four games as well to take control.

"Obviously it was a key 5-4 game for me," Federer said. "That was a crucial sort of 15, 20 minutes for me. I'm happy I was able to decide the match right there."

Ferrer dropped to 0-12 against Federer. The Spaniard started the week by beating Murray and Djokovic convincingly, but couldn't keep up that level of play less than 16 hours after losing a three-set match against Berdych on Friday.

"Maybe I didn't have really time to relax, but (that) is not the excuse here," Ferrer said. "He played better than me."

Berdych also struggled against the rested Tsonga, landing just 53 percent of his first serves and double-faulting five times — including on break point to go down 4-3 in the second set.

The Czech broke back immediately but then lost serve again to let Tsonga take a decisive 6-5 lead, and the Frenchman served out the match with an ace.

Tsonga will play Federer for the third Sunday in a row, after losing to him in the Paris final two weeks ago and their first round-robin match in London last weekend.

In doubles, Max Mirnyi of Belarus and Daniel Nestor of Canada reached the final, beating American twins Bob and Mike Bryan 7-6 (6), 6-4. They will play Mariusz Fyrstenberg and Marcin Matkowski of Poland, who beat Mahesh Bhupathi and Leander Paes of India 6-4, 4-6, 10-6.

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Togo Bus Crash: Soccer Players Killed After Vehicle Plunges Into Ravine

togo bus crash
Soccer Player
LOME, Togo — At least six topflight Togolese soccer players were killed and another 28 people critically injured on Saturday after a bus carrying their team plunged into a ravine and caught fire.

In a statement read on national television, the Togo government said President Faure Gnassingbe had ordered that those injured from the Etoile Filante club be taken to the military wing of the Lome Central Hospital to receive urgent medical attention.

A delegation, led by sports minister Christophe Tchao, traveled to the accident site with an ambulance to evacuate the injured.

The accident happened near the city of Atakpame, about 160 kilometers (100 miles) north of Lome, as Etoile Filante was on its way to Togo's second largest city of Sokode for Sunday's league game against Semassi.

A tire is believed to have burst, causing the bus to topple over and plunge down a ravine. Some of the victims reportedly burnt to death. Eyewitness accounts said the bus flipped over several times as it crashed into the ravine.

"We do not know how we managed to get out of the accident," said one of the survivors, goalkeeper Mama Souleyman.

Images on Togo national television showed the smoldering wreckage of the bus, which was almost completely burnt to ashes.

Lome-based Etoile Filante is a seven-time Togo national league champion and was runner-up in Africa's continental club competition in 1968.

Last year, two Togo national team officials were killed and several players hurt after a gun attack on the team's bus as it traveled to the African Cup of Nations tournament in Angola.

In 2007, Togo sports minister Richard Attipoe was among 22 people who died when a helicopter carrying Togolese soccer fans and officials crashed in Sierra Leone after an African Cup qualifying match.

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Monday, November 14, 2011

Brady, Patriots take control of AFC East with win over Jets

New England, facing the prospect of dropping three successive games for the first time since 2002, instead gained the upper hand in the AFC East by silencing the New York Jets 37-16 Sunday night.

Defending champion New England, New York and the Buffalo Bills had all owned a share of the division lead when the day began at 5-3. But Buffalo was pummeled by the Dallas Cowboys 44-7 one week after the Jets handed the Bills a damaging 27-11 loss at home.

New England got it done in all three phases: offense, defense and special teams.

Quarterback Tom Brady regained his hot hand, completing 26 of 39 passes for 329 yards without tossing an interception. He twice found tight end Rob Gronkowski for TDs, hitting him from 18 yards out to establish a 13-9 halftime lead before they connected on a 5-yarder for a 23-9 margin late in the third quarter.

After New York responded with a 10-play, 71-yard drive that culminated in Mark Sanchez's 7-yard pass to Plaxico Burress, narrowing the deficit to 23-16 at the start of the fourth quarter, Brady took his club on a surgical 84-yard march that required 13 plays and burned 6:51 off the clock. Brady hit Deion Branch for an 8-yard scoring strike with 8:04 remaining.

New England's maligned defense, ranked last in allowing 416.3 yards per game and last in surrendering 314 yards passing when play began, finally rose up after the Patriots were outscored at the Pittsburgh Steelers (25-17) and against the New York Giants (24-20).

The latter ended New England's 20-game regular-season home winning streak, marked its first loss to a visiting NFC team since 2002 and spurred talk that the perennial power was primed for a mighty fall.

Such talk now appears to be as much off target as the boast by Jets coach Rex Ryan that his club will win the Super Bowl after consecutive appearances in the AFC Championship Game.

The Patriots' defense kept New York from moving the chains consistently and linebacker Rob Ninkovich produced a pair of key interceptions of Mark Sanchez. He returned the second of those 12 yards for a back-breaking touchdown that produced the final margin.

New York began the game driving from its 33 to first-and-goal at New England's 9. But Shonn Greene's 3-yard run off left tackle was followed by two incomplete passes. It was bad enough that the Jets were turned away without a TD. It got worse when Nick Folk missed the 24-yard field goal attempt.

New England, meanwhile, produced field goals on its first two possessions, with Stephen Gostkowski connecting from 50 and 36 yards out. He would add a 27-yarder early in the third quarter.

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Sunday, November 06, 2011

Freestyle Motocross rider dies before exhibition at Texas Motor Speedway

Jim McNeil
Jim McNeil
- By Nick Bromberg

Freestyle Motocross rider Jim McNeil died Sunday after suffering injuries while practicing for a FMX exhibition before Sunday's AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway.

McNeil, 32, was practicing in the midway area outside the frontstretch grandstands before the area was open on Sunday morning. He was taken by CareFlight to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

McNeil, who was known as "Jumpin' Jimmy," had competed in Freestyle Motocross for 11 years, and finished fourth overall in FMX at the X Games in 2006. He had been part of the Boost Mobile FMX team for nine years.

In Freestyle Motocross, riders are scored by judges based on a series of jumps and tricks. The most famous FMX rider may be Travis Pastrana, who is transitioning to NASCAR, or Carey Hart, who is married to the singer Pink.

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Thursday, October 27, 2011

Masters Women's Tennis: Azarenka and Kvitova qualified for the semi-finals

victoria azarenka
Vitoria Azarenka
AFP - The Belarussian Victoria Azarenka and Czech Petra Kvitova are the first qualified for the semifinals of the Masters women, after their victories respectively on China's Li Na and World No.1 Caroline Wozniacki on Thursday in Istanbul. Azarenka (world No.4) has imposed the same score as yesterday against the Australian Samantha Stosur, 6-2, 6-2. The Belarus took revenge against Li Na (N.5), who had beaten this year in two Grand Slams, the Australian Open and Roland Garros.

The Chinese suffered from a too many unforced errors (39 to 17 against his opponent) to hope worry his opponent. The winner of Roland Garros has not given up hope of qualifying as one of the white group tickets will be played Friday between it and Stosur (N7). In the red group, Kvitova (N.3), winning at Wimbledon this year, dominated a very pale Wozniacki 6-4, 6-2. Little verve on his first ball (only 54 winning %), Denmark's never seemed able to disturb his opponent. Wozniacki, who has not won major titles on the WTA Tour, is now dependent on the outcome of the meeting between Russian Vera Zvonareva and Agnieszka Radwanska, following Thursday to advance to the semis. Only a victory of the Polish would allow him to retain some hope.

Euroleague Basketball: Nancy already under pressure

AFP - After initial setbacks Cantu (69-80), Nancy no longer has any room for error against Bilbao, received Thursday (20.45) during the second day of the Euroleague Basketball Men -ball. With eight games still to play after this one, it might seem premature to speculate on the future and the champion of France. The Sluc have ample time to recover from the first two defeats. Yes, but here it is: Cantu and Bilbao are a priori the two teams are relegated to the locals as behind to hope to become the first French team since Pau-Orthez in 2007, reaching the Top 16.

Other clubs in Group A, Fenerbahce, Olympiakos Vitoria and seem well above the rest. Although the Greeks have done something wrong last week in ... Bilbao, winning 76-61. The indication that this is not a small team that comes Thursday night in Lorraine, while Bilbao is participating for the first time in the Euroleague. The Basque club last season reached the final of the Spanish Championship, after having eliminated Real Madrid in the semifinals, and had only yielded to the great FC Barcelona, ​​with no demerits. "Bilbao is now even better with the arrival of new players, good players who have experience in the Euroleague. After their victory against Olympiakos, who can doubt of their potential," says coach Nancy Jean Luc Monschau.
While inside the Belgian Axel Hervelle, injured his knee before the Euro in Lithuania, is hardly restored and should leave a few minutes from the bench, the team coached by Greek Fotios Katsirakis has many other advantages . 

Always dangerous offensively, Spanish winger Alex MumbrĂș should provide an interesting challenge to Nicolas Batum. Croatian winger Marko Banic, MVP (best player) of the Eurocup in 2009-2010, was the leading scorer (23 points) against Olympiakos. But Nancy shall not overlook another player, who had many hardships to the team of France in the Euro: the leader of Latvia Janis Blum, author of 32 points against the Blues. To beat the Spanish, Nancy must first be more regular than Cantu. In Italy, he managed the first twenty minutes of top flight. But Cantu had then found a way to slow the tempo of the match and were locals as runaway.

"We're a little disappointed because we had the means to beat them at home," observes Adrian Moerman. "But you learn ... There is still a little young in the Euroleague." "It will lose less balls (20 to Cantu, Ed) and play better in the second half," takes the power forward. The private Sluc will always be the young pivot Abdelkader Sylla. Injured left wrist, it is still available for two weeks.