Newly-appointed Team India head coach Ravi Shastri will meet the Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators (CoA) on Monday regarding the selection of his support staff.WATCH FULL VIDEOShastri is in London and will meet the CoA right after touching down in Mumbai. He was pitching for Bharat Arun’s return as bowling coach and is expected to get him on board on a full-time basis.The meeting will also be attended by the acting president of the board CK Khanna, secretary Amitabh Choudhary, CEO Rahul Johri and CoA chief Vinod Rai.”We have taken the board on the recommendations of the CAC for Mr. Ravi Shastri as the head coach. And we have decided that for further coaches and others, we must have a discussion with Mr. Ravi Shastri. We have discussed with him, he is away. He comes back tomorrow or day after,” said Rai.”We have set up a committee of Diana Edulji, Acting Secretary Amitabh Choudhary, acting president of the board CK Khanna and CEO Rahul Johri as a convener, who will speak to them and Ravi Shastri and make the selection of the other coaches,” he added.For further coaches&others, must hv discussion with Ravi Shastri. Then we set up a committee of Diana,Acting Pres,Secy&CEO as Convener:V Rai pic.twitter.com/edD7AefvdI- ANI (@ANI_news) July 15, 2017Recommendation has been made which COA has to act upon which will be done in consultation with head coach: V Rai on Rahul Dravid&Zaheer Khanadvertisement- ANI (@ANI_news) July 15, 20173 core appointments batting,fielding&bowling decided. Hv to consult them, ensure their willingness&see there’s no conflict of interest:V Rai- ANI (@ANI_news) July 15, 2017Team India already has Sanjay Bangar and R Sridhar as its full-time batting and fielding coach respectively. The role of Rahul Dravid and Zaheer Khan, who were appointed batting and bowling consultants respectively, will also be discussed in the meeting.While the BCCI has already clarified in a statement that Zaheer’s appointment is on a tour-to-tour basis, it is clear that he will be spending around five months with the Indian team.Zaheer reportedly did not wish to commit more than 100 days but with Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC) insisting, it is now a done deal for 150 days.”There’s no such thing as a contract as yet. These are just recommendations. A recommendation has been made and the CoA has to act on that. That recommendation will be acted upon in consultation of the head coach,” he said. Earlier there were reports which said that Shastri was unhappy with the appointment of Zaheer as bowling coach as he wanted to bring his trusted man Arun for the job.Reports in some quarters claimed the CoA felt that the CAC, comprising Ganguly, Sachin Tendulkar and VVS Laxman went out of their ambit in picking the coach.Hurt by these criticism and reports, the CAC wrote a letter to the CoA chairman Vinod Rai and said the appointments were made after informing the new coach Shastri and India captain Virat Kohli.”We spoke to Mr Shastri about getting Mr Khan and Mr Dravid on board in these capacities, and he readily agreed to the idea of having them in the set-up so that it could benefit the team and Indian cricket as a whole in time to come,” the CAC wrote in its letter.
Manchester United F.C. head coach Jose Mourinho has said the English football giants never considered bringing back Real Madrid star forward Cristiano Ronaldo to the club.The Portuguese superstar, a four-time Ballon d’Or winner, had been linked with a move back to United. There were reports that the Euro 2016 winner wanted to leave Real following accusations by authorities that he has committed a 14.7 million euros ($16.5 million) tax fraud.”We have never thought about it because he is such an important player for his club, of great economic power. We have not been able to find a reason that could have made us think that Ronaldo could leave,” Mourinho was quoted as saying by ESPNFC after United’s 5-2 pre-season match win over LA Galaxy on Saturday.”I am not a defender in my club once you waste time on players who are mission impossible,” Mourinho said on the Ronaldo move.On signing Alvaro Morata, another Real attacker, Mourinho said: “It is a question for Florentino. What I said today is what I say today. Clubs put price tags on players, not the one who wants to buy. He belongs to Madrid. Madrid has decided and we have not come to an agreement. It is simple. It is a shame.”It is a player who made it to the first team (at Real Madrid) with me. We have a special liking for, he is someone special. I enjoyed watching his evolution in Juventus and Madrid. It is like that. I don’t think he can end with us.”advertisement
Mo Farah launched the World Athletics Championships in scintillating fashion on Friday with another consummate 10,000 metres triumph that further embellished his claim to being the greatest distance racer in the sport’s history.With 55,000 of his home fans roaring their support at the London Stadium, the 34-year-old Briton sprinted away with his 10th consecutive gold medal in a global track final, a dazzling sequence that ranks among the greatest feats in sport.Farah survived being clipped twice from behind in the final lap, nearly tripping over and being forced to take a step off the track, and he ended with cuts and bruises to his “bad legs” that needed treatment.Yet still he was able to unleash one more trademark burst down the home straight to speed away from Uganda’s Joshua Cheptegei and Kenya’s Paul Tanui.The Briton clocked 26 minutes 49.51 seconds, the world’s fastest time in 2017, in what proved perhaps the hardest-earned of all his magnificent triumphs as he protected his six-year unbeaten streak in major championships.Silver medallist Cheptegei, just 20, clocked a lifetime best 26:49.94, chasing Farah all the way to the line, and Tanui 26:50.60.Yet, five years to the very night when he won the 25-lap title at his home Olympics on “Super Saturday” in the same London Stadium, Farah had still not lost that invincible aura, clocking a searing 55.63 seconds for the last lap in spite of his stumbles.It was the perfect way for him to begin his final championship as a track runner before he turns his attentions to the roads as a marathon man.advertisement”What a way to end my career in London. It’s special,” Farah said, after hugging his children on the track.”It was one of the toughest races of my life. With one lap to go I nearly get tripped, twice, that was hard. But I just had to be mentally stronger and think I didn’t work this hard for nothing.”After an epic test in which the powerful Kenyan and Ugandan athletes combined with mid-race bursts to test Farah’s resolve more fiercely than ever before, the Briton had to show remarkable composure on the final lap.Twice as he led straight after the bell while still closely pursued by four hunters, Farah was clipped. The first time, his heel was caught by Tanui and on the second bend, the same Kenyan brushed his arm, sending Farah off balance so that he took one step into the infield.BACK STRAIGHT(Reuters Photo)Yet despite momentarily losing his rhythm, the champion regrouped to take control on the back straight and he scorched off the final bend to forge clear and take his third successive world 10,000m title by a couple of metres.It was the fastest he had run in any of his five global 10,000m victories by more than 11 seconds.Still, though, he has only done half the job with the 5,000 metres to come next week and the prospect of completing a fifth straight 5,000/10,000 distance double in global championships.Whether the battering he took will affect his hopes remains to be seen but the race certainly took a toll, as he reckoned the second incident involving Tanui with about 300 metres left had hurt him.”I’ve got such long strides that I got caught and at that point I was just trying to stand up and think ‘I can’t go down, I can’t go down’,” he said.HOME TRIUMPH(Reuters Photo)The 16th edition of the Championships could not have been set up more ideally for Britain to celebrate a home triumph in the first medal event and Farah, as ever, did not disappoint his legion of fans.After he crossed the line, he swore that the noise in the stadium matched the incredible din of his 2012 tours de force when he won the 10,000m and 5,000m here.Down the years, his main opponents from Kenya have tried in vain to upset Farah’s equilibrium, sometimes working in teams and varying their pace and tactics but the master racer always has an answer in the sprint denouement.A couple of blistering 61-second laps were thrown in to try to shake him but Farah’s composure never wavered as he moved up the field to join the leaders and gestured to the crowd to turn up the volume.”I just wanted to play with the guys’ heads,” he said.He will have the chance to play with their heads on the track one more time in the 5,000 metres, the heats of which are on Wednesday.”I did actually hurt my leg but I’m going to see the doctor now and take care of it – a few stitches, maybe,” Farah said with a smile which suggested he is not about to have his incredible sequence ended in his final championship track race.advertisement
Had Prabhas not signed Baahubali, the franchise wouldn’t have been the same. After the humongous success of SS Rajamouli’s magnum opus, it is hard to see anyone else as Amarendra Baahubali. That’s the magic of Prabhas. In the last two years, Prabhas has earned the love of fans and respect of filmmakers across the country. A dedicated actor, Prabhas has proved his acting mettle with Baahubali series.And as the actor turns 38 today, we give you a sneak-peek into a few lesser-known facts about the versatile actor.1. In the last 15 years, the Telugu actor has made a name for himself in the film industry and his fans know him as Prabhas, but not many know that his real name is Venkata Satyanarayana Prabhas Raju Uppalapati. Now, that a tongue twister.2. Prabhas revealed that if acting bug wouldn’t have bit him in the 20s, he would have been a hotelier. A big time fan of butter chicken, it would have been a dream come true for him.3. Prabhas is the first South Indian actor to have a wax statue in Madame Tussauds, Bangkok.4. Owing to his love for filmmaker SS Rajamouli and Baahubali series, Prabhas did not sign any other project during the filming of Baahubali franchise. He dedicated five years of his life of Rajamouli and his ambitious project without any questions.5. Prabhas might be a Telugu actor, but he loves Bollywood films. In fact, the 38-year-old actor has admitted to watching Munnabhai MBBS, 3 Idiots at least 20 times.6. While fans are eagerly waiting for Prabhas to make his Bollywood debut , not many know that he has already done that. Back in 2014, Prabhas was briefly seen shaking a leg with Sonakshi Sinha in a song called Surya Ast, Punjabi Mast from Action Jackson.advertisement7. Prabhas received around 6,000 marriage proposals but he turned all of them down because he wanted to be focussed on Baahubali.8. Prabhas might be very busy in his career but still finds time to devote to his passions. He is an avid reader and has a personal library at home.9. Prabhas loves sports and prefers free-hand workout as opposed to sweating it out in the gym. He got a volleyball court set up in his courtyard to improve his reflexes, as Baahubali was a war movie and he needed better reflexes. He often plays volleyball with his friends because he considers it a good stress-buster. Prabhas is a fitness freak and considers rock climbing the best form of training.10. A nature lover, Prabhas has a garden which houses many birds. The birds reside in open cages which give them the freedom to take flight and return to their respective cages. ALSO WATCH: Everything you want to know about Baahubali
In a major expose, India Today TV caught Pune pitch curator Padnurang Salgaonkar on camera, promising a 340-run surface for the second ODI between India and New Zealand at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium.Two of India Today’s undercover reporters, posing as bookies, caught Salgaonkar on tape. The curator assured the reporters that the pitch would yield 337 runs and the target would be easily chaseable.He also said he could tamper the pitch to suit the needs of a particular team. Soon after the sting operation aired on India Today and Aaj Tak on Wednesday morning, BCCI and MCA swung into action.Salgaonkar was barred from entering the stadium and faced preliminary action from the MCA.”Two players want some bounce on the pitch. If that can be done,” one of the reporters is heard telling the curator on tape.”It will be given. I told you this is a 340-run wicket either way. New Zealand always bowl with their speedsters and our pitch has always favoured pacers,” he responded.However, India pacers Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah rattled the Black Caps, picking five wickets between them. Leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal snared two wickets as New Zealand managed only 230/9.For the visitors, middle-order batsmen Colin de Grandhomme (41) Henry Nicholls (42) and Tom Latham (38) were the major contributors.Unlike the first ODI at the Wankhede on Sunday, everything fell in place for India’s dangerous bowling attack. Bhuvneshwar and Bumrah chipped away with regular wickets while the spinners including part-timer Kedhar Jadhav never allowed the Kiwis to build any kind of momentum.advertisementNicholls and Grandhomme then got together to stitch a gutsy 47-run parntership, giving New Zealand’s total some kind of respectability.However, Bhuvneshwar, one of the world’s premier death bowlers returned to pack off Nicholls. Despite a few lusty blows from Grandhomme, New Zealand were restricted to a modest total on a pitch where India had chased down 350 against England in January.
Sri Lanka have been dealt with a huge blow as star all-rounder Angelo Mathews has been ruled out of the third and final T20 international against India due to a hamstring injury.The veteran cricketer suffered a grade one hamstring tear during the second T20I between India and Sri Lanka at the Holkar stadium in Indore on Friday.Mathews pulled out of his run-up while bowling the third ball of his third over in the first innings and didn’t take any further part in the match after that.India went on to post 260 for 5 in 20 overs with captain Rohit Sharma top-scoring in the match with 118 off 43 balls. The hosts then restricted Sri Lanka to 172 for 9 with Mathews not coming out to bat for his team.India clinched the series 2-0 with one game remaining which will be played at the Wankhede stadium in Mumbai on December 24.Confirming the news, Sri Lanka’s team management said that the injury would not only rule out Mathews out of the inconsequential third T20I against India, but will also put him out of action for at least two weeks.The injury means Mathews will also remain doubtful for the start of the forthcoming Bangladesh tour.The right-arm medium pacer has a history of suffering hamstring, calf and ankle injuries.In January this year, he was forced to return home early from the tour of South Africa before remaining out of action for another five months.Mathews made his return from injury lay-off during his side’s Champions Trophy campaign in England, where he featured only as a specialist batsman.advertisementNot only this, Mathews once against suffered a calf injury during a practice session, ahead of the series against Pakistan in UAE in September, and was subsequently ruled out for eight weeks before making a return in India.(With ANI inputs)
League-leading perennial power Panathinaikos looked lethargic but managed to come away with an 81-73 win against a hard-charging Apollon Patras team in the Greek basketball league on Jan 13, playing at an empty Olympic Sports Hall because of a penalty barring fans from attending.The win saved the Green perfect home record to stay on top of the A1 league heading into a game against its arch-rival Olympiakos next week. Olympiakos, the European champion, is playing poorly but managed to get into second place a day earlier by beating Panionios, 77-66, a few days after taking a 30 point beating to Armani Milano in European club play.“Our players have to realize where they are, and which vest they are wearing,” said an angry Argyris Pedoulakis after the match with Apollon. Panathinaikos almost blew a 19-point (49-30) lead as the visitors challenged the league leaders with a spirited effort against their highly favored opponents.Victories by Ilisiakos and Kolossos led to the firing of the coaches of their opponents. Ilsiakos beat AGO Rethymnou 86-72, whose coach Thanasis Yaples and his likely replacement with Giorgos Kalafatakis were dumped. The Rhodes team upset Aris in Thessaloniki 68-57 to force the return of coach Milan Minic to the Yellows after almost 11 years.PAOK, in fourth, beat cellar-dweller Ikaros 86-78 at Halkida to stay one point ahead of KAO Dramas, which beat visiting Trikala 83-70. Newly promoted Nea Kifissia climbed to the sixth place with its 81-73 win of Panelefsiniakos.TweetPinShare0 Shares
HARRISON, N.J. – The crowd that watched Greece defeat Bolivia 2 -1 last night wasn’t huge – 11,024 people in a Red Bull Arena that seats 25,000 – but the ones donning Hellenic blue and white were loud, and passionate from start to finish.Greece, spurred by continuous chants of Hellas! Hellas! that sent chills down the spines of proud Greek–Americans on a warm night, drew first blood when Guerki Panagiotis Kone scored in the match’s 21st minute.In the 53rd minute, the captain, Konstantinos Katsouranis, scored a header off a Jose Holebas corner kick – and the crowd went wild, smelling a big win.The shot by Rudy Cardozo in the 70th minute that eluded Orestis Karnezis, however, did more than let the Bolivians back into the game at the 70th minute – it unleashed a wave of concern among Greek fans who know that their team will only advance as far as their defense permits.Most of that anxiety evaporated as time ran out on Bolivia and the Greek-Americans capped their cheering with a celebration.The large gathering of Greeks beneath a huge Greek flag that billowed throughout the night behind the goal on the north side kept the rest of the crowd pumped up, and certainly made the Greek squad feel at home – they expressed their appreciation for the diaspora support as they walked off the field after the victory. TweetPinShare0 Shares
Tony Stewart could still face criminal charges for running down Kevin Ward Jr. with his sprint car, even if the three-time NASCAR champion didn’t mean to kill Ward, hurt him or even scare him.Ontario County Sheriff Philip Povero, who announced on Aug. 12 that the investigation is continuing, has said that his initial findings have turned up nothing that would indicate criminal intent in the crash at the Canandaigua Motorsports Park.But legal experts agree that does not mean Stewart is in the clear.The NASCAR star could be charged with second-degree manslaughter under New York law if prosecutors believe he “recklessly caused the death of another person,” with negligent homicide another possibility, according to criminal law professor Corey Rayburn Yung of the Kansas University School of Law.“The question over whether someone was reckless is a factual one, and one a prosecutor might let a jury decide,” said Yung, who also posts at the Concurring Opinion blog.Athletes in competition often do things that would get the average person arrested — think two boxers in the ring, or a baserunner sliding into second with his spikes high.But sometimes an act is so far outside the bounds of accepted sporting behavior that it becomes a crime, as former major leaguer Jose Offerman learned when he was charged with felony assault for rushing the mound — swinging a bat — after he was hit by a pitch in a minor league game.So Stewart would not expect to be charged for the car-on-car bump that sent Ward spinning into the wall. But if, for example, he were to tell police that he saw Ward on the track and tried to shower him with dirt or otherwise send him a message, a first-degree manslaughter charge could be a possibility, Yung said.In a 1949 case that Yung uses in his class, midget car racer Joseph Sostilio was found guilty of manslaughter after he tried to squeeze a four foot-wide vehicle through a two-foot opening at 40 mph, crashing into another car and sending it into the one driven by Stephen D. Bishop. Bishop’s car flipped three times and he was killed.Sostilio’s conviction was upheld on appeal by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court. Noting that a violent or aggressive act on a football field or in a boxing ring is not necessarily a crime, Justice Henry Tilton Lummus wrote: “In the present case physical contact was not an essential part of the racing of automobiles.”That was a half-century ago, and racing has changed. Trading paint is a part of the sport, and it’s not even uncommon these days for racers to leave their cars to confront rivals after a crash, which Ward appeared to be doing when he was killed.“In sports we tend to allow all sorts of conduct we’d never allow in another circumstance,” Yung said. “But this isn’t a collision. It’s not in that ballpark; it’s something you don’t expect. This is a more complicated scenario. We’re assuming Stewart didn’t mean to do this, and yet a death resulted.”Whether Stewart’s actions were part of racing depends on what the police investigation finds. Unlike the cars Stewart drives on the NASCAR circuit, the sprint cars have no radios or instrument data recorders that could tell authorities exactly what was happening when Stewart hit Ward.Povero would not say how Stewart described the accident, but he said he has reviewed two videos and spoken to Stewart.“The worst thing that could happen for Stewart is if his story doesn’t seem to match other evidence,” Yung said. “Because then it might call into question his own story.”Povero’s previous comments that he found no criminal intent all but rules out the possibility of a first-degree murder charge, which would essentially require a confession that Stewart was trying to kill Ward.For second-degree murder, prosecutors would need to prove Stewart was reckless in combination with a “depraved indifference to human life.”“Mr. Stewart has fully cooperated with the police officers that are investigating,” Povero said in a news conference shortly after the race. “He was visibly shaken by this incident, and has promised his continuing cooperation in this investigation.”After the investigation is completed, Povero said, the evidence will be turned over to the district attorney as a matter of routine. Even if he is cleared by prosecutors, though, Stewart could face a civil suit.Although the standard of proof is lower than in a criminal case, the civil court would also consider Ward’s state of mind at the time of the accident and whether he was also negligent in venturing into racing traffic on a dark track in a dark suit.But Stewart would also have to weigh the damage to his image and career — with his own team, tracks and millions in endorsements — making a quick settlement likely.___By Jimmy Golen, AP Sports Writer. AP Auto Racing Writer Jenna Fryer contributed to this story.TweetPinShare0 Shares
NEW YORK — When the New York Yankees take the field against Toronto for their opener on April 6, it will be 556 days since Alex Rodriguez last played in a major league game.Will he resemble the star who won three MVP awards?Or will he look more like the broken-down third baseman who hasn’t played a full season since 2007 due to leg injuries, operations on both hips and a season-long suspension this year for violating baseball’s drug agreement and labor contract?“Really, until he gets out there and starts playing, you’re not going to know,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said.Spring training is more than three months from now, and already the spotlight is on A-Rod. Third base? First base? Designated hitter? The bench, if a suitable replacement is found?Addition or distraction?“You have the whole spectrum from minimal contributions to significant contributions,” Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman said at the GM meetings in Phoenix.“We are certainly hoping for significant contributions. But I think as you went through the process from a general manager’s standpoint, you enter that process with the expectations low and hoping for the best. But I don’t think I can bank for our fan base on significant contributions and count on it and be surprised if it’s not there.”The only certainty is Rodriguez becoming the focal point wherever he goes.“When Alex has walked into spring training, when hasn’t there been a lot of attention on him over the last five years?” Girardi said. “So, yeah, there’s going to be attention. Some of it is going to be negative. Some of it is going to be positive. We’ll deal with it.”Rodriguez was limited to 44 games in 2013 following his second hip surgery. He turns 40 next July but wants to come back to earn the $61 million he is owed in salary in the final three years of his contract.Girardi spoke to A-Rod about potentially playing some first base on days Mark Teixeira is given off. “I just wanted to put the thought in his mind,” Girardi said. “He said let’s talk about it. So, we’ll sit down and talk about it.”But first is likely to be only a part-time destination. “He may be the everyday third baseman. He may be the everyday DH,” Cashman said. “I don’t know.”Chase Headley, obtained from San Diego in July, could be an option to take over from Rodriguez as the primary third baseman. “If I signed or traded for a third baseman, that would be my third baseman,” Cashman said.Headley is a free agent, and the Yankees have interest in re-signing him.“He really shored up our defense on that side, played a great third base,” Girardi said. “Grinded out at-bats, had some big hits for us and showed an extreme amount of toughness and was great in the clubhouse.”Girardi was at Yankee Stadium for the team’s United Service Organizations event to pack goods for American servicemen and servicewomen.While most of the questions were about Rodriguez, he also addressed New York’s offseason moves in the post-Derek Jeter era, of the need to “right the ship.” The Yankees hope to rebound from an 84-78 record, their poorest winning percentage since 1992.“I think there’s some question marks in our starting rotation, number one. There’s going to be some questions marks in our bullpen, and there’s some question marks on what our infield is going to be,” he said.Masahiro Tanaka, CC Sabathia, Ivan Nova, Carlos Beltran, Brett Gardner and Martin Prado are coming back from injuries.New York also has some interest in re-signing Brandon McCarthy, acquired from Arizona last summer and also a free agent.“He struggled in Arizona for whatever reasons, but he pitched really well for us,” Girardi said. “He showed that he had the ability to pitch in New York, and I think that’s always important.”New York would like to re-sign closer David Robertson, another free agent. If he leaves, Dellin Betances likely would inherit the role. “It’s somewhat of a different mentality,” Girardi said. “I think he’s capable of handling it.”New York finished four games behind Oakland (88-74) for the second AL wild card, and Girardi watched from afar as Kansas City (89-73) reached Game 7 of the World Series before losing to San Francisco, with the potential tying run stranded at third.“It shows you how close you were to be possibly being a World Series team, which even makes it hurt more,” he said. “If you look at five games where you could have scored maybe 10 more runs, two runs a game, with all the one-run games, that could have been us.”___(RONALD BLUM and BOB BAUM)TweetPinShare0 Shares
Olympiakos’ basketball power survived a scare from upstart Korivos Amaliadas to hold on to a 79-73 win while AGO Rethymnou defeated host Nea Kifissia, 74-64 to grab third place in the Greek league.Olympiakos trailed on several occasions to the newly-elevated Korivos squad which gave Reds’ coach Yiannis Sfairopoulos a start and reason to tell his players not to be complacent.The Cretan team Rethymnou was led by American point guard Vincent Council out of Providence College who scored 22 points and earned the league’s Most Valuable Player award for the second time in three weeks.Champion Panathinaikos was in good form, pounding Panionios 92-61 at home in front of about 9,000 fans at the Olympic Sports Hall, to extend its perfect record to eight games.PAOK suffered another loss, this one to Apollon Patras, 80-70 while while Aris put an end to AEK’s winning run with an 86-75 victory.Kolossos Rhodes lost the league’s top scorer, Mike James, to Euroleague challenger Laboral Kutxa, but still managed to beat visiting Trikala 77-69.Panelefsiniakos thrashed KAO Dramas 83-69, putting the losers in danger of relegation.TweetPinShare0 Shares
LAS VEGAS — Manny Pacquiao and his handlers have been hit with a lawsuit asking for damages for anyone who paid to watch his fight with Floyd Mayweather Jr. because he failed to disclose his shoulder was injured.The suit was filed May 5 in federal court in Las Vegas on behalf of two plaintiffs, identified as Staphane Vanel and Kami Rahbaran.It alleges that the two were defrauded after paying to watch the fight, and seeks class action status on behalf of anyone who bought tickets, pay-per-view or bet on the fight.The suit comes as Nevada boxing regulators are looking into possible disciplinary action against Pacquiao for failing to disclose the injury suffered in training for the fight.Pacquiao, who would go on to lose a unanimous decision, is expected to undergo surgery this week for a rotator cuff tear.In particular, members of the Nevada Athletic Commission want to know why Pacquiao checked “no” when filling out a state form the day before the fight that asked whether he had a shoulder injury.“Our job is to protect the health and safety of fighters and the integrity of the sport,” commission Chairman Francisco Aguilar said. “We expect our fighters to be forthright.”Pacquiao’s promoter, Bob Arum, said earlier the injury suffered four weeks before the fight appeared to have sufficiently healed, but Pacquiao’s handlers still unsuccessfully sought to get a pain-killing shot in the shoulder in the dressing room before the fight.Pacquiao said he reinjured the shoulder in the fourth round when he landed his best punches of the night against Mayweather.Meanwhile, Mayweather said in a text to ESPN personality Stephen A. Smith that he would welcome a rematch with Pacquiao.“I will fight him in a year after his surgery,” the text read.TweetPinShare0 Shares
NEW YORK — For the first time in more than a week, the Mets’ march through September was stopped.Jacob deGrom was hit hard during a rare dud at home against one of his favorite opponents, and the Miami Marlins halted New York’s eight-game winning streak with a 9-3 victory Sept. 15.Mets nemesis Dee Gordon homered and had four hits to back Tom Koehler, who plunked Yoenis Cespedes in the first inning and then helped silence the streaking slugger the rest of the way.“I think it bothered us a little bit,” Mets Manager Terry Collins said. “So we’ll answer in our own due time.”New York’s commanding lead in the NL East was trimmed to 8 1-2 games over Washington, which beat Philadelphia 4-0. The magic number remained 10 for the Mets to clinch their sixth division crown.Christian Yelich had three hits and two RBIs following a surprise meeting with his Saturday Night Live doppelganger, and Justin Bour had three hits and two RBIs.Pitching close to his suburban New York hometown, Koehler (10-13) gave up a run in the first inning but no more after the Mets loaded the bases with one out. He was lifted after walking the first two batters in the seventh.Lefty reliever Mike Dunn struck out Curtis Granderson, Cespedes and Daniel Murphy in succession as the Mets were thwarted in their attempt to put together yet another late comeback.“With this team, you give them a crack, they’ve shown this year that they can kick the door in,” Marlins manager Dan Jennings said. “To go get three punchouts in that situation was huge. I thought he stifled any momentum swing that was possibly taking place there.”Last season’s NL Rookie of the Year, deGrom (13-8) got the ball on the anniversary of a striking performance. The right-hander whiffed the first eight Marlins at Citi Field on Sept. 15, 2014, matching the major league record to start a game since 1900.He entered with a 1.63 ERA in 23 career starts at home — and 3-0 with a 1.80 ERA against Miami overall. But the Marlins pounded him for six runs and a season-high 10 hits in five innings.“He’s got great stuff and he’s taken it to us a few times before,” Yelich said. “It was really just a combination of good at-bats.”It was the first time deGrom allowed more than three earned runs in a start at Citi Field. New York might skip his next turn in the rotation to give him a rest.“I’d like to keep pitching. I’ve had bad starts before. It’s kind of how you react after them. I’d like to get back out there,” deGrom said.The crowd chanted “MVP! MVP!” as Cespedes stepped to the plate in the first inning, and he was hit near the left hip on the first pitch he saw from Koehler, a 92 mph fastball. Cespedes stared out toward the mound before taking his base.It appeared to be retaliation for Sept. 14, when Cespedes held his bat aloft and admired a 442-foot drive off Marlins left-hander Justin Nicolino for his ninth home run this month.Koehler disputed that notion. “I was trying to pitch him inside,” he said. “It got away a little bit.”In the seventh, Mets reliever Erik Goeddel threw behind Koehler as the pitcher squared to bunt. Plate umpire Dale Scott warned both benches immediately after the wild pitch, and there was no further trouble.Koehler scored in the fifth after driving a double to right field for his first extra-base hit in 134 major league at-bats.Gordon is batting .464 during a 16-game hitting streak against the Mets.(MIKE FITZPATRICK, AP Baseball Writer)TweetPinShare0 Shares
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — The game film pretty much confirmed what the New York Jets already thought of their loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.“It was messy,” quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick said bluntly. “It was an ugly game,” added wide receiver Brandon Marshall. “It wasn’t good.”Sure wasn’t, and it knocked the surprising Jets (2-1) from the ranks of the unbeaten.Interceptions, fumbles, missed tackles and sloppiness all played a role in the 24-17 defeat. It followed an impressive victory over the Indianapolis Colts that prompted fans and media to hype the Jets as a team to watch.“We didn’t lose this game because we thought we were better than we are,” center Nick Mangold said. “We lost because of execution.”Or, lack thereof.The Jets fell behind 24-0 in the second quarter, with an 89-yard punt return for a score by Darren Sproles sparking the previously winless Eagles.Meanwhile, New York trudged through the first half with five three-and-outs in its first six drives.“That’s a recipe for disaster,” Fitzpatrick said. “It’s such a slow start, trying to play from behind because of that all game.”The Jets nearly came back, though, making a game of it by keeping the Eagles off the scoreboard for the final two quarters. But New York had trouble overcoming the absences of Eric Decker (sprained knee) and running back Chris Ivory (quadriceps) as Fitzpatrick struggled for the first time in his three starts.He finished 35-of-58 for 283 yards and two touchdowns, but three second-half interceptions — even though two weren’t entirely his fault — ended any hopes of a big comeback.“The 58 attempts or whatever it was is too many,” Fitzpatrick said. “That’s not our formula for success. There’s a lot of things coming out of that game that we’ve got to be better at, and that starts with me.”The quarterback was hardly the only problem, though.The special teams unit fanned on at least four tackles on Sproles’ big return. With Ivory out, the running game came to a screeching halt with just 47 yards rushing.And then there was also Marshall’s ill-advised backward pass attempt — something he called “the worst play in NFL history” — that resulted in a fumble and led to Philadelphia’s final touchdown.Marshall replayed the play in his mind all night, saying the only positive thing was that it happened right near the Jets’ sideline so he didn’t have far to walk off the field. He said he had successfully tried a play like that three times during his career.“Now, I think my record for the rest of my career is going to be 3-1,” Marshall said. “I’m never going to try that again.”Coach Todd Bowles made a point of remaining understated following the Jets’ first two victories, and he predictably maintained that approach after his first defeat as New York’s coach.“It’s just as important not to overreact for a loss as it is to a win,” he said. “We didn’t overreact to the two wins, we’re not going to overreact to the one loss.”Next up for the Jets is a trip to London to play the AFC East rival Miami Dolphins on Sunday. Then, New York has a bye, so the focus is on bouncing back — even if it’s overseas.“I love the 1 o’clock game and getting home and eating food from the crockpot and doing all that, but I think it’s exciting, too,” Fitzpatrick said.“I think guys think it’s cool to go over there. It will be a unique experience for all of us and hopefully bring the team together even more.”The Jets brought in a sleep specialist to help get the players bodies’ prepared for the five-hour time difference. They have to stay well-hydrated for the long flight, and need to watch their caffeine intake during the day so they can get to bed earlier than usual leading up to the trip.The team will practice at their facility on Sept. 30 and Oct. 1, and then leave for London on the night of Oct. 1. “Just getting our bodies acclimated and everything with the time change will be interesting,” Fitzpatrick said.(DENNIS WASZAK Jr., AP Sports Writer)TweetPinShare0 Shares
Exciting news for fans of sailing in New York, America’s Cup-related sailing returns to New York waters for the first time in 96 years this weekend, and a crew of Kiwis would love to shine in the Big Apple. A good showing in the America’s Cup World Series regatta off the southern tip of Manhattan won’t make up for the soul-crushing loss Emirates Team New Zealand suffered to Oracle Team USA in the 34th America’s Cup on San Francisco Bay in 2013. The race is scheduled to begin at 2pm EST. The points earned at the competition this weekend will count toward the final competition which decides who will challenge the defending champion Oracle Team USA for the 35th America’s Cup, scheduled for next June in Bermuda’s Great Sound.By Bernie Wilson.TweetPinShare0 Shares
TweetPinShare0 Shares RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Olympic roommates Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte maintain a relaxed vibe at the athletes’ village. There’s an ongoing card game in their suite and they amuse themselves with endless Snapchat sessions.It’ll be all business on Thursday night.They’ll race against each other for the final time in the 200-meter individual medley, ending a 13-year rivalry that has been one of the greatest in swimming history. The Americans are the top two all-time performers in the event.Phelps and Lochte have each medaled in the 200 IM in the last three Olympics. Phelps won each time and Lochte finished second, third and second.“The history him and I have had with one another, it’s something special and something I’ve never had in another competitor of mine,” Phelps said. “We’ll have one more time to hop in the pool and duke it out.”Phelps is finally retiring after these games, where he has already won his 20th and 21st gold medals. He’ll try to become the first swimmer, male or female, to win the same event in four straight Olympics.Lochte has owned the 200 IM world record for seven years, but Phelps usually comes out on top against him. That’s how it went four years ago in London, when Phelps won and Lochte finished second. Lochte beat Phelps in the 400 IM on the first day of swimming in London, his most notable victory on a big stage in their rivalry.“It’s going to take a perfect performance in order to beat him just because of how tough a competitor he is,” Lochte said. “He won’t give up and that’s awesome. That’s why he brings out the best in me and hopefully I do the exact same for him.”Lochte turned 32 last week and is non-committal about whether Rio is his last Olympics. The clock is ticking down on Phelps, who races five more times before hanging up his suit at age 31. He plans to marry his fiancé after the games and focus on life with their infant son.Regardless of the outcome, the atmosphere back in their room at the Olympic Village will stay chill.“We’ll hang out because swimming doesn’t dictate our friendship,” Lochte said.The Brazilians have a stake in the 200 IM, too. Thiago Pereira could deliver the host country’s first swimming medal of the games. Since 1988, Greece has been the only host country not to win a swimming medal — in 2004. Keep an eye on Japan’s Kosuke Hagino, who also has a shot to make the podium.Before Phelps and Lochte go at it in the pool, Katie Ledecky swims the preliminaries of the 800 freestyle, her last individual event in Rio.The 19-year-old American is the heavy favorite to win the grueling race, which would give her a sweep of the 200, 400 and 800 freestyles for the first time since Debbie Meyers of the U.S. in 1968.“The week has gone good so far, and I think I’ll be able to top it off well in the 800,” she said.Ledecky seeks her fourth gold medal in Rio, which would tie her with Amy Van Dyken (1996) and Missy Franklin (2012) as the only American female athletes to win that many in a single Olympics.On the sixth night of swimming in Rio de Janeiro, the Campbell sisters seek the same golden prize in the women’s 100 freestyle.Cate Campbell posted the fastest time in the semifinals, an Olympic-record 52.71 seconds and younger sister Bronte was fifth-fastest at 53.29. Bronte is the reigning world champion, but Cate is the world-record holder.“I am really looking forward to it, I can’t wait,” Bronte said.The sisters already have teamed up to lead Australia to a gold medal in the 4×100 freestyle relay.Meanwhile, Ranomi Kromowidjojo of the Netherlands will try to defend her sprint title. And Russia goes for its first gold medal in the pool in the men’s 200 backstroke. Evgeny Rylov was the leading qualifier in 1 minute, 54.45 seconds. World champion Mitch Larkin, and Americans Jacob Pebley and 100 back winner Ryan Murphy will vie for medals.
MILWAUKEE (AP) — BUCKS 102, TIMBERWOLVES 95Tony Snell scored 19 points while Giannis Antetokounmpo had 18 as the Bucks earned their season-high sixth consecutive victory.Milwaukee had seven players score in double figures. Matthew Dellavedova scored 16 points and Greg Monroe finished with 12.Karl-Anthony Towns had 35 points and 14 rebounds for Minnesota, which was coming off a victory against Golden State on Friday night. Ricky Rubio added 22.The Timberwolves got within two with just under three minutes remaining on a Rubio jumper but the Bucks held off the late challenge.SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Patty Mills had 21 points as the San Antonio Spurs rolled to a 107-85 victory over the Golden State Warriors on Saturday night in a game short on star power to pull within a half-game of the NBA’s top record.The big showdown between the league’s top two teams turned into a huge letdown with both teams missing their star players.Already without Kevin Durant due to a knee injury, Golden State opted to rest Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala.The Spurs were expecting to be without Kawhi Leonard, Tony Parker and Dejounte Murray due to injuries, but received a jolt when they were informed that LaMarcus Aldridge will be out indefinitely with a minor heart arrhythmia. Aldridge underwent tests Saturday and will have more Monday.Ian Clark had 36 points to lead Golden State, which has dropped three in a row and five of seven.WIZARDS 125, TRAIL BLAZERS 124, OTPORTLAND, Oregon (AP) — John Wall scored 39 points as the Wizards picked up a controversial road win.It looked as if Markieff Morris stepped out of bounds before making a go-ahead baseline jumper with 0.4 seconds left in overtime. The crowd at the Moda Center howled in protest and the players pointed to the video replay to no avail.Bradley Beal added 26 points for the Wizards, who have won five straight.CJ McCollum scored 34 points for Portland, which had won four in a row. Damian Lillard had 33.HEAT 104, RAPTORS 89MIAMI (AP) — Dion Waiters scored 20 points while Tyler Johnson added 16 as the Heat improved to 21-4 over their last 25 games.Goran Dragic scored 15 and Hassan Whiteside added 12 points and 14 rebounds for Miami.Dragic played only 41 seconds in the second half, leaving after taking an elbow from Toronto’s Cory Joseph. Dragic eventually returned to the bench with an icepack over his right eye, which appeared to be swollen nearly shut.DeMar DeRozan scored 17 points for the Raptors, who have lost 15 of their last 24 games. Toronto, still without injured All-Star point guard Kyle Lowry, managed only seven assists — an NBA low for any team this season — on 32 field goals.THUNDER 112, JAZZ 104OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Russell Westbrook had 33 points, 14 assists and 11 rebounds for his 32nd triple-double of the season, leading Oklahoma City to the victory.Westbrook broke a tie with Wilt Chamberlain (1967-68) for the second-most triple-doubles in a season. Oscar Robertson set the record of 41 in 1961-62.Victor Oladipo added 22 points to help the Thunder win for the third time in four regular-season meetings with the Jazz.Utah was without center Rudy Gobert and forward Derrick Favors because of leg soreness while Gordon Hayward played only 21 minutes, finishing with nine points — 13 below his average.PELICANS 125, HORNETS 122, OTCHARLOTTE, North Carolina (AP) — Anthony Davis had 46 points and 21 rebounds as the Pelicans defeated the Hornets with DeMarcus Cousins sitting on the bench during crunch time.Davis had 15 points in the fourth quarter and nine more in overtime, including a three-point play on an offensive rebound to put the Pelicans ahead for good with 1:11 left. Davis finished 18 of 31 from the field and was 4 of 5 from 3-point range.Jordan Crawford had 19 points and Jrue Holiday added 15 points and 13 assists as the Pelicans improved to 3-6 since adding Cousins. But Cousins didn’t play a big role in the win. He didn’t play after picking up his fifth foul with 9:35 left in regulation.The Pelicans’ win offset an impressive night from Marvin Williams, who had a season-high 27 points to go along with 10 rebounds for Charlotte.CAVALIERS 116, MAGIC 104ORLANDO, Florida (AP) — LeBron James had 24 points, 13 assists and 12 rebounds as Cleveland stopped a three-game losing streak.Kyrie Irving scored 22 points and Tristan Thompson added 14 points and 13 rebounds for the Eastern Conference-leading Cavaliers, who had dropped four of five overall. The Magic played them close for much of the game, but couldn’t match shots with James and the defending NBA champions down the stretch.Orlando had four players score in double figures, but lost for the fourth time in five games. Nikola Vucevic had a team-high 20 points and 16 rebounds after missing the previous four games with a sore right Achilles.DALLAS (AP) — Devin Booker hit a 19-footer with 1.4 seconds left to lift Phoenix to the road win.Booker scored 25 of his 36 points in the second half. He scored the Suns’ final eight points, twice making tying baskets. After the Mavericks’ Wesley Matthews missed a 3-point attempt, Booker hit the winner.The Mavericks failed to get off a shot before time expired.Dirk Nowitzki had 23 points and 11 rebounds for Dallas. Harrison Barnes also scored 23 points for the Mavericks, making a career-high 13 free throws in 14 attempts.CLIPPERS 112, 76ERS 100LOS ANGELES (AP) — Chris Paul scored 30 points and DeAndre Jordan had 19 points and 20 rebounds, helping the Clippers to their fourth win in five games.Paul also had seven assists and Blake Griffin added 15 points and 10 rebounds.The Clippers trailed 79-75 after three quarters but opened the final period with a 10-0 run. Los Angeles has beaten Philadelphia in 10 of their last 11 meetings.Richaun Holmes led Philadelphia with 24 points and nine rebounds. Dario Saric added 16 points, and Jahlil Okafor had 14.The Sixers have lost four in a row and seven of eight overall.HAWKS 107, GRIZZLIES 90MEMPHIS, Tennessee (AP) — Taurean Prince scored a career-high 17 points as the Hawks handed the Grizzlies their fifth straight loss.Prince had three of Atlanta’s 15 3-pointers. Paul Millsap had 16 points and 11 rebounds for the Hawks, and Dennis Schroder finished with 16 points, eight assists and seven rebounds.JaMychal Green led Memphis with 20 points and 11 rebounds, while Mike Conley scored 16. Brandan Wright finished with 10 points.NUGGETS 105, KINGS 92SACRAMENTO, California (AP) — Jamal Murray scored 11 of his 14 points in the fourth quarter as Denver held on for the road win.Gary Harris had 24 points and Nikola Jokic added 20 points and 14 rebounds as the Nuggets beat the Kings for the second time in six days to even the season series.It also was Denver coach Mike Malone’s second straight win over his former team after going 0-4 against Sacramento.More importantly for Denver, the Nuggets increased their lead to two games over Portland for the final playoff spot in the West.Buddy Hield had 17 points for Sacramento, which lost its eighth straight. The Kings are 1-8 since trading All-Star DeMarcus Cousins to New Orleans.PISTONS 112, KNICKS 92AUBURN HILLS, Michigan (AP) — Tobias Harris scored 23 of his 28 points in the first half, leading Detroit to the victory.The Pistons have had some issues with slow starts lately, but they raced out to an 18-point lead in the first quarter against New York. Harris finished the period with 11 points in what was an encouraging effort by Detroit, which was coming off an emotional win over Cleveland on Thursday night.The Pistons are 12-6 since the start of February and they’ve boosted their postseason hopes in the process.Andre Drummond had 24 points and 15 rebounds for Detroit while Reggie Jackson had 19 points and eight assists.Kristaps Porzingis scored 18 points for the Knicks, who had six players in double figures but lost for the fourth time in five games.TweetPinShare0 Shares
HOUSTON (AP) — Chris Paul delivered on a night James Harden had one of his worst shooting performances of the season.Paul had 28 points, eight assists and seven steals to lead the Houston Rockets to their 12th straight victory, a 124-109 win over the San Antonio Spurs on Friday.Paul became the first player in NBA history to post 28 points, eight assists and seven steals in a game against the Spurs. In the past 11 seasons, that stat line has been achieved just 10 times — Paul has done it six of them. The Rockets are unbeaten when he plays this season.“What I lack in athletic ability, I just try to make up for it in anticipation and knowing the game,” Paul said of his steals. “I’m not jumping and dunking on nobody and all that stuff like that, but I’ve got a pretty good idea how to play.”Paul’s dazzling performance came with Harden making 6 of 18 from the field, including 2 of 11 from 3. Harden still had 28 points, seven rebounds and six assists, scoring half his points on 14-of-16 shooting from the free throw line.“We complement each other, and we’re staying good at getting guys involved while we’re being aggressive as well,” Harden said. “Obviously, Chris had his shot going tonight, but he got Clint (Capela) dunks and Trevor (Ariza) and Eric (Gordon) 3s, and Ryan (Anderson) 3s. Nights aren’t going to be perfect, and we just got to figure it out. Keep pushing and keep grinding.”The Rockets are on the fourth-longest win streak in franchise history and the longest since a franchise-best 22 straight in 2007-08.The Rockets beat the Spurs for just the third time in their last 12 meetings.LaMarcus Aldridge led the Spurs with 16 points.“I thought our starting group, our veteran group, started out the game very badly with fouls that were unnecessary, bad communication, turnovers, that sort of thing,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. “But as the game went on, I thought the younger guys and the guys that haven’t played as much, the energy was great. They took better care of the basketball and were more physical and focused. Our starting group let us down.”The Rockets jumped to a 31-16 lead at the end of the first quarter and led 60-43 at the half. The Rockets entered the fourth quarter with a 92-72 lead.At 23-4, the Rockets are tied for their best 27-game start in franchise history, matching the 1993-94 season when they won their first championship.“We can get better,” Paul said. “The scary part is when you think you’ve arrived. We can get better offensively and defensively, but right now, it’s just about piling up wins.”Kawhi Leonard played in his second game back after making his season debut on Tuesday night in Dallas after missing the first 27 games of the season with a right quadriceps injury. Leonard, who has been recovering from a quadriceps condition that causes pain and weakness in the knee, started and had 12 points in 17 minutes, all in the first half.“I want to play and do what I can do to help the team win, but I know the situation I’m in and I’ve got to take the right steps to get back,” Leonard said. “Playing 16 minutes and not playing a full game, it’s hard to tell where I’m at. But I think we’re taking the right steps.”Before the game, Popovich hinted that Leonard and Tony Parker were unlikely to play Saturday night in Dallas in the second half of San Antonio’s back-to-back.TIP-INSSpurs: SF Kyle Anderson missed his sixth straight game with a sprained left MCL, but he is progressing well and could return after San Antonio’s back-to-back in Houston and Dallas, possibly as early as Monday when the Spurs host the Clippers. … Danny Green started and played through left groin tightness, scoring two points in 19 minutes.Rockets: Houston played its first game without Luc Mbah a Moute, who suffered a dislocated right shoulder on Wednesday night against Charlotte. Mbah a Moute could be out 2-3 weeks with the injury. … The Rockets improved to 19-1 when leading after the third quarter, winning by double digits for the 17th time in 27 games.SCORING ON THE SPURSHouston’s 124 points were the most San Antonio had allowed in a regulation game since Mar. 8, 2013, in a 136-106 loss to Portland. It was also the most points the Rockets had scored in a regulation game against the Spurs since Apr. 3, 1986, when Houston scored 136.SAGER STRONGOn the one-year anniversary of the passing of NBA sideline reporter Craig Sager, the Rockets hosted Sager’s wife, Stacy, along with other family and friends at the game. There was a tribute video played in the first quarter, and both the Rockets and Spurs donated $25,000 to the SagerStrong Foundation. The First Shot was attempted by Sager’s daughter, Riley Sager. Sager swished her pregame free throw attempt, securing a $5,000 donation from the Rockets to the SagerStrong Foundation.ANOTHER ONEThe Rockets hit a Spurs opponent season-high 18 3-pointers. Houston improved to 18-0 when making 15 or more 3s. The 18 games with 15 or more 3s made is already the fourth-highest single-season total in NBA history.UP NEXTSpurs: Host Dallas on Saturday night.Rockets: Host Milwaukee on Saturday night.TweetPinShare0 Shares
ATHENS (AP) — Dusan Tadic scored twice in the second half Tuesday to take Ajax to the last 16 in the Champions League for the first time in 12 years with a 2-0 win over 10-man AEK Athens, in a match marred by fan violence in and around the stadium.The Serb defender scored from the penalty spot in the 68th minute after Marko Livaja received a second yellow card for handling the ball. He struck again four minutes later, tapping in an unselfish pass from substitute Klaas Jan Huntelaar.AEK had managed to keep Ajax at bay thanks to the unyielding center-back duo of Dmytro Chygrynskiy and Marios Oikonomou, but struggled after losing Livaja.AEK fell to its fifth straight loss in the competition. The host’s best chance came four minutes before the end of the match when a powerful shot on target from Lucas Boye forced an athletic save from Andre Onana.The game was preceded by violence inside Athens’ Olympic Stadium and in parts of central Athens, mostly involving Greek fans who clashed with local rivals and riot police. Moments before the match started, riot police charged into the stands to break up AEK fans who hurled flares and smoke canisters. Police reported no injuries or arrests, although images seemed to show one fiery explosion going off near a section of supporters.Smoke raises from the stand of Ajax fans after flares are thrown during a Group E Champions League soccer match between AEK Athens and Ajax at the Olympic Stadium in Athens, Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2018. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)Four-time European champion Ajax returned to the Champions League group stage this season for the first time in four years. The team’s 19-year-old captain, Matthijs de Ligt, was only 6 the last time Ajax made it out of the group stage.“That was so long ago, so it’s really tremendous for this to be happening again,” he said. “We were happy to make it to the Champions League, but sometimes we surprise ourselves and exceed our own expectations.”The center-back said Ajax is now hoping to overtake Bayern Munich at the top of Group E.“It would be great for us to come out of the winter break in the top spot,” he said. “Now that’s what we will fight for.”—By DEREK GATOPOULOS , Associated PressAjax’s Matthijs de Ligt flies in the air after a challenge with AEK’s Alef during a Group E Champions League soccer match between AEK Athens and Ajax at the Olympic Stadium in Athens, Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2018. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)Ajax’s Matthijs de Ligt flies in the air after a challenge with AEK’s Alef during a Group E Champions League soccer match between AEK Athens and Ajax at the Olympic Stadium in Athens, Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2018. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)Ajax goalkeeper Andre Onana saves an attempt on goal by AEK’s Ezequiel Ponce, on the ground, during a Group E Champions League soccer match between AEK Athens and Ajax at the Olympic Stadium in Athens, Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2018. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)A fan throws a flare towards Ajax supporters during a Group E Champions League soccer match between AEK Athens and Ajax at the Olympic Stadium in Athens, Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2018. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)Ajax’s Dusan Tadic celebrates his goal gainst AEK during a Group E Champions League soccer match between AEK Athens and Ajax at the Olympic Stadium in Athens, Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2018. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)TweetPinShare0 Shares
MILWAUKEE (AP) — Giannis Antetokounmpo attacked the rim, Khris Middleton connected from long range and Eric Bledsoe turned in an effective performance.The Milwaukee Bucks looked more like themselves in Game 2.Antetokounmpo had 29 points and 10 rebounds and Middleton made seven of Milwaukee’s franchise playoff-high 20 3-pointers, helping the Bucks even their second-round playoff series against the Boston Celtics with a 123-102 victory Tuesday night.Antetokounmpo, one of the top candidates for NBA MVP, went 7 for 16 from the floor and 13 of 18 at the foul line. It was an important turnaround for Milwaukee after he had 22 points on 7-for-21 shooting in Game 1 on Sunday.Middleton finished with 28 points. Bledsoe, who was held to six points in the series opener, finished with 21 points and five assists.The Bucks led by as many as 31 points after a closely played opening half. Game 3 of the Eastern Conference semifinal series is Friday night in Boston.“I think that’s more what we’re accustomed to seeing,” Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said. “I liked our spirit, our activity, our competitiveness all up and down the roster. Giannis and Khris and Bled really set a tone.“We need to capture that, take it to Boston with us and play that way up there.”Marcus Morris paced Boston with 17 points. Jaylen Brown had 16, and Al Horford finished with 15.Kyrie Irving, who had 26 points and 11 assists in the Celtics’ 112-90 victory in Game 1, had nine points on 4-of-18 shooting.“We weren’t very good on either end,” coach Brad Stevens said.Milwaukee broke it open by outscoring Boston 39-18 in the third quarter. Antetokounmpo scored 15 points in the period, including a 3-pointer over Horford to give the Bucks an 81-71 lead with 5:33 left.Antetokounmpo tipped in his own miss and made another 3 to help Milwaukee pull away. The Bucks went on a 24-2 run to carry a 98-73 lead into the fourth.“I think in Game 1 I didn’t do a good job finding my teammates,” Antetokounmpo said. “So of course I wanted to be aggressive, but then you’ve got to make the right plays. At the start of the game tonight, the right play was the pass.”Irving credited the Bucks’ defensive plan.“They did a great job of switching tonight and forcing me left,” Irving said. “I started the game off well getting downhill and setting an example for my teammates of how we want to play. I just didn’t put my stamp on that.”Brook Lopez and George Hill each finished with 10 points for Milwaukee, which went 20 for 47 from beyond the arc. Pat Connaughton grabbed 11 rebounds to help the Bucks to a 54-45 advantage on the glass.Milwaukee switched on screens more often than usual and held Boston to 39.5% shooting (34 of 86).“That’s an easy thing for them to adjust to and I thought they did a very good job of it,” Stevens said. “Basically, Giannis and smaller were doing that and they kept Lopez as a protector. They have a lot of defensive versatility. Everybody knew Game 1 was not going to repeat itself.“They did a good job of owning the space on both ends of the court.”MIDDLETON’S NIGHTMiddleton went 7 for 10 from deep. He also grabbed seven rebounds.“I think one of our main things is playing with pace,” he said. “They’re a great defensive team once they get set. So the main thing for us is to try to get a stop and get out and run. And I was able to find open 3s and pull-up 3s with that.”TIP-INSCeltics: Morris started at forward for the second straight game in the series, with Horford at center. Backup center Aron Baynes was available after twisting his left ankle in Game 1 and played 10 minutes while picking up four fouls. Stevens said Baynes’ role would not change. “He will rotate off Giannis and their other bigs,” Stevens said before the game. … Boston has won five of six playoff series against Milwaukee, including the 1974 NBA Finals. The Celtics won that series in seven games, taking three of the four games played in Milwaukee.Milwaukee: F Nikola Mirotic was in the starting lineup in place of Sterling Brown, who struggled in Game 1 and also experienced back spasms. Mirotic picked up two quick fouls guarding Jaylen Brown and was replaced by Connaughton with 8:43 left in the opening quarter. Mirotic finished with nine points and nine rebounds in 25 minutes. “He added a physicality; his defense is what stood out to me,” Budenholzer said. “He’s such an incredible shooter. To get him in the game more, to get that 3-point threat out there just makes sense.”UP NEXTGame 3 is Friday night in Boston.By CHARLES F. GARDNER, Associated PressTweetPinShare0 Shares