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Rwanda set to host regional basketball tournament

Rwanda set to host regional basketball tournament

Rwanda won the rights to host the annual event that tends to attract not less than seven continental teams as they tussle out for qualification to the Africa championships and Olympic qualifiers slated for next year.

After the failure of the national team last year to qualify for this year’s Africa championships, focus was turned on the junior teams that are expected to be the springboard for future teams.

Senior men’s coach Moise Mutokambali is leading the training camp and noted, ” all our players (both boys and girls) are quickly picking up pace and we expect a strong performance.”

Over forty youngsters are undergoing regular training at petit stadium but like so many times the preparations have been met with similar challenges especially at a time when the senior volleyball team prepares for its own engagements.

“At times we don’t have a practicing area and that tends to set us back in preparing the team,” Mutokambali adds.

The lack of a court for practice continues to affect indoor sports in the country as the gymnasium is shared with other sports disciplines such as volleyball and sitball.

The national volleyball team is currently in camp as it gears up its own preparations for coming ties against Kenya and Cameroon.

April 15, 2015 By : Category : English featured Tournament Tags:
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Miami Heat overpowers Magic to stay alive in playoff race

Miami Heat overpowers Magic to stay alive in playoff race

Hassan Whiteside #21 of the Miami Heat looks on during a game against the Orlando Magic at American Airlines Arena on April 13, 2015 in Miami, Florida

Hassan Whiteside tallied 24 points and 13 rebounds and the Miami Heat kept their postseason hopes alive with a 100-93 victory over the Orlando Magic on Monday.

The Heat would have been eliminated from the playoff race with a loss or a Brooklyn Nets win over the Chicago Bulls. Miami led by as many as 22 points but needed to hold off a late Magic surge to post their second win in eight contests.

The four-time reigning Eastern Conference champions will have to win again in their regular season finale on Wednesday in Philadelphia to have a chance of making the postseason.

“I don’t now what the percentage is now,” said Heat coach Erik Spoelstra, “but at least it’s gone up a couple of ticks.”

Dwyane Wade scored 22 points, Luol Deng finished with 14 points and 10 rebounds and Goran Dragic scored 13 with eight assists, for Miami who have not missed the postseason since the 2007-08 season.

Victor Oladipo scored 30 points and Tobias Harris had 26 points and 12 rebounds to lead the Magic, who have dropped three straight contests.

Miami went 3-1 against Orlando this season and has won 12 of the last 13 meetings between the teams.

April 15, 2015 By : Category : English featured Tournament Tags:
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Basketball league resumes on Friday

Friday

Patriots vs UGB 6pm

Basketball league resumes on Friday

United Generation Basketball (green) won the corresponding fixture against Patriots (blue)

The Rwanda national basketball league resumes on Friday with one match set to be played at NPC Gymnasium.

League leaders Patriots Basketball Club face United Generation Basketball (UGB) with both sides seeking to extend their lead from 17 points.

The national basketball league, like the rest of local sports activities, had been frozen for a week as the country was mourning and remembering the 1994 victims of Genocide against Tutsi from April 7 to 13.

Out of ten games, Patriots have won seven and lost three against reigning champions Espoir, IPRC-Kigali and UGB.

After Friday’s game, both sides will be back in action on Sunday with Patriots entertaining struggling UR- College of Education at Amahoro indoor stadium while UGB will be up against last year’s first runners-up Cercle Sportif de Kigali (CSK) at 1pm at the same venue.

April 15, 2015 By : Category : English featured Tournament Tags:
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NBA: Bucks bounce back with playoff berth

NBA: Bucks bounce back with playoff berth

Ersan Ilyasova

The Milwaukee Bucks completed a remarkable turnaround on Sunday, clinching an NBA playoff berth a year season after posting the league’s worst record.

The Bucks beat the Brooklyn Nets 96-73 to punch their post-season ticket, becoming the first team since the 2008-09 Miami Heat to make the playoffs a season after finishing with the worst record.

ErsanIlyasova scored 21 points; O.J. Mayo added 17 and Khris Middleton chipped in 16 for the Bucks, who secured the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference.

“I think it was a team effort,” said Bucks head coach Jason Kidd – who ditched the Nets in July after his first season as a head coach to take the helm in Milwaukee.

“The third quarter we came out like we have in the last couple games and put the ball in the basket and got stops.”

Brook Lopez delivered 12 points and 10 rebounds, while Mason Plumlee and Jarrett Jack each netted 11 for the Nets, who fell back into a tie with the Indiana Pacers for the eighth and final playoff spot in the East with two games remaining.

The Boston Celtics strengthened their hold on the seventh spot in the East with a 117-78 win over short-handed Cleveland.

Isaiah Thomas scored 17 points to lead seven Boston players in double figures against a Cavs team that rested starters LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love and J.R. Smith.

The Celtics can clinch a playoff berth by winning either of their last two games.

“We’re not in the playoffs yet,” Boston coach Brad Stevens cautioned. “Progress has been made, but we’re not where we’d like to be.”

The Pacers stayed in the hunt with a 116-104 victory over Oklahoma City, withstanding a career night from Thunder star Russell Westbrook.

Westbrook poured in 54 points on 21-of-43 shooting and also grabbed nine rebounds and passed out eight assists for the Thunder, who remained tied with the New Orleans Pelicans for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

Making the defeat more painful for Oklahoma City, Westbrook received his 16th technical foul of the season in the fourth quarter. Unless it is rescinded upon review by the league, he will be suspended for Monday’s game against Portland.

But the Pelicans failed to gain any ground on the Thunder, as they were beaten 121-114 by playoff-bound Houston.

James Harden scored 30 points for the Rockets, who are tied with Memphis one half-game behind reigning NBA champions San Antonio for the Southwest Division lead and the second seed in the West.

The Spurs won their 11th straight game on Sunday, Tim Duncan scoring 22 points and pulling down 10 rebounds in a 107-91 victory over Phoenix.

April 14, 2015 By : Category : English featured Tournament Tags:
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Cavaliers down Bucks, clinch division title

4

Cleveland superstar LeBron James drained a three-pointer with 14.9 seconds left to help the Cavaliers beat Milwaukee 104-99 on Wednesday and clinch the NBA Central Division title.

Even before completing their fourth straight victory, the Cavaliers were assured of the division title thanks to Chicago’s loss to Orlando.

They also secured the second seed behind Atlanta in the Eastern Conference playoffs.

James finished with 21 points, nine rebounds and eight assists, while Kyrie Irving led the Cavaliers with 27 points.

Kevin Love added 16 points and 11 rebounds for the Cavs, who earned their first Central Division title since 2009-2010 — before James departed his home state team for four seasons in Miami.

FREE AGENT

“It means a lot,” said James, who returned to Cleveland this season as a free agent.

“Just from the simple fact that I understand how hard it is to win in professional sports and to be able to clinch a division and put a banner in our building it means something to me and it should mean something to all of us.

“We understand we have bigger goals than this, but along with bigger goals you have accomplishments you can’t take for granted.”

Although the Hawks are already assured of the top seed in the East, they’re making a strong run into the playoffs.

Al Horford scored 24 points, including a dunk with 19 seconds left that lifted Atlanta to a 114-111 victory at the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday.

The defeat saw the Nets fall into a tie with Boston for seventh place in the Eastern Conference, with the Celtics owning the tiebreaker.

If the Nets can hang on for the eighth and final playoff spot in the East they would face the Hawks in the first round.

The Celtics inched closer to a playoff berth with a 113-103 victory over Detroit, but Miami and Indiana are just one game back in the race for the final post-season spot.

In the Western Conference, reigning NBA champions San Antonio continued their bid to grab the Southwest Division with a 110-98 victory over division leaders Houston.

Tony Parker led the Spurs with 27 points. Kawhi Leonard chipped in 20 points and Boris Diaw added 15 points and nine rebounds off the bench for San Antonio, who have won nine straight and pulled within one half-game of the Rockets and Memphis Grizzlies for the division lead.

Memphis parlayed an impressive shooting performance into a 110-74 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans.

The Grizzlies shot 51.1 percent from the floor overall. Six Memphis players scored in double figures, with Zach Randolph, Marc Gasol and Jeff Green scoring 15 apiece.

The Pelicans lost for the second time in three games and dropped into a tie for eighth in the Western Conference with idle Oklahoma City.

AFP

April 11, 2015 By : Category : English featured NBA 0 Comment

Spurs deal Thunder’s hopes a blow

Kawhi Leonard

Kawhi Leonard

The San Antonio Spurs, hitting their stride as the playoffs arrive, dealt Oklahoma City a crushing 113-88 defeat on Tuesday in another blow to the Thunder’s post-season hopes.

Kawhi Leonard poured in 26 points in just 24 minutes for the defending NBA champion Spurs, who dominated from start to finish.

The Thunder endured their fourth straight defeat and fell out of the eighth and final Western Conference playoff spot.

The Thunder fell one half-game behind New Orleans in the race for the eighth seed after the Pelicans defeated Golden State 103-100 on Tuesday.

Desperate for a victory, the Pelicans rallied from 14 points down to stun the Warriors – who have clinched the top seed in the West.

Anthony Davis scored a game-high 29 points to lead the Pelicans.

In Oklahoma City, the Spurs were led by Leonard, who connected on 10 of his 15 attempts from the floor, the Spurs shot 52.8 percent from the field.

Their eighth successive victory tightened the race for the Southwest Division title. They are now 1 1/2 games behind division leaders Houston and one half-game behind Memphis.

Russell Westbrook finished with 17 points and six steals for Oklahoma City, but no other Thunder player scored more than 11 points.

The Spurs took a 64-41 lead into halftime. Leonard had scored 23 points by then.

He and the rest of the Spurs starters were resting on the bench by the fourth quarter, after San Antonio led by as many as 34 in the third period.

The good news for Oklahoma City as they battle for a playoff berth is that three of their last four games of the regular season are against teams with losing records: Sacramento, Indiana and Minnesota.

The Pelicans, trying to make the post-season for the first time since 2011, have five games remaining, three of them against tough Western Conference playoff teams in Memphis, Houston and San Antonio.

April 9, 2015 By : Category : English featured Tournament Tags:,
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James triple-double lifts Cavs over Bulls

James triple-double lifts Cavs over Bulls

LeBron James and Nikola Mirotic

LeBron James notched his first triple-double of the season on Sunday as the Cleveland Cavaliers all but clinched the NBA Central Division title with a 99-94 win over Chicago.

Four-time NBA Most Valuable Player James finished with 20 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds to help the Cavs post their 18th straight home win.

Cleveland pulled four games ahead of the second-placed Bulls in the Central Division with five games to play.

J.R. Smith made half of Cleveland’s whopping 16 three-pointers and finished with 24 points.

Kyrie Irving added 27 points, including a stunning shot from beyond halfcourt as the shot-clock ran down late in the third quarter.

The shot – from more than 50 feet out – swished through the net, part of a 10-0 Cleveland scoring burst that extended their lead to 75-60.

Mike Dunleavy led Chicago with 24 points, while Aaron Brooks added 17 and Jimmy Butler chipped in 16 in the Bulls’ second defeat in three games.

Among Cleveland’s 10 three-pointers in the first half were impressive buzzer-beaters by Irving and Smith to end the first and second quarters, which helped the hosts take a 54-45 lead into halftime.

The Bulls narrowed the gap to 79-71 going into the fourth quarter, and pulled within five at 92-87 with just over three minutes to play.

Two of their next three possessions ended in turnovers, and Nikola Mirotic missed a three-pointer on the other.

April 7, 2015 By : Category : English featured Teams Tags:
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Defoe’s goal settles derby Spurs held

Defoe's goal settles derby Spurs held

Jermain Defoe

Jermain Defoe scored a sensational long-range volley as Sunderland leapt three points clear of the Premier League relegation zone by beating derby rivals Newcastle United 1-0 on Sunday.

Defoe struck in first-half stoppage-time, crashing a sublime left-foot volley into the top-right corner from 25 yards after Steven Fletcher headed on Costel Pantilimon’s punt downfield.

The goal sparked jubilant celebrations at the Stadium of Light and Defoe, who returned to English football in January after a disappointing spell at Toronto FC, was seen to wipe away tears as he left the pitch at halftime.

The England international’s goal gave manager Dick Advocaat victory in his first Wear-Tyne derby and enabled Sunderland to extend their run of successive wins over Newcastle to five.

It also continued a theme of spectacular goals in the English top flight over the weekend, following Charlie Adam’s remarkable 65-yard strike against Chelsea for Stoke City and Bobby Zamora’s exquisite lob against West Bromwich Albion for Queens Park Rangers.

Meanwhile, Tottenham Hotspur head coach Mauricio Pochettino admitted that his team faced an uphill battle to secure Champions League qualification following a 0-0 draw at Burnley.

The stalemate left Spurs seven points below the top four in sixth place, having played a game more than fourth-place Manchester City, who visit Crystal Palace on Monday.

Spurs also have a vastly inferior goal difference to the teams in the top four and with only seven games of the season remaining,Pochettino conceded that the odds were against his side.

“It is difficult, but we have seven games – we will try,” said the Argentine, who handed top scorer Harry Kane the captaincy in the absence of injured goalkeeper Hugo Lloris.

“It is true that it is not easy. This game was a very tough game and we need to try to win the most points possible in the next seven games.

“We played better in the second half and we made some chances, but it was not enough to score. Three weeks ago Manchester City lost here. It is not an excuse, but it is a very, very difficult team.”

Burnley squandered the best chance of the game, with Danny Ings shooting straight at Spurs goalkeeper Michel Vorm in the early stages after Ryan Mason had inadvertently played the ball into his path.

But Burnley manager Sean Dyche was pleased with his side’s display, which lifted them above Queens Park Rangers in the relegation zone.

“I think we edged the game, but there was not a lot in it,” he said.

“We kept the tempo high and kept pressing high. Danny has had a great chance and it was unlike him not to put it away. He almost hit it too cleanly.

“Having said that, we are pleased to get another clean sheet against a top side.”

Burnley finished the weekend third-from-bottom, two points below Hull City and Aston Villa, with Sunderland a point further up in 15th place.

April 7, 2015 By : Category : Basketball Zone V English featured Tags:
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PSG reclaim summit, Bordeaux sink Lens

PSG reclaim summit, Bordeaux sink Lens

Paris Saint-Germain must now be considered favourites to win a third consecutive Ligue 1 title after coming from behind to beat fierce enemies Marseille 3-2 in ‘Le Classique’ at the StadeVelodrome on Sunday.

Marseille held a 2-1 lead at the interval thanks to Andre-Pierre Gignac’s brace either side of a BlaiseMatuidi beauty, but two goals in the first six minutes of the second half swung the match decisively in the capital club’s favour.

Marquinhosequalised and then Jeremy Morel’s own goal in the 51st minute allowed PSG to claim a seventh consecutive victory against OM in all competitions as Laurent Blanc’s side moved back to the top of the table, a point above Lyon.

“Unfortunately tonight (Sunday), we lost two players which is worrying for the upcoming matches,” Matuidi told Canal Plus tv in reference to injuries picked up by David Luiz and Thiago Motta.

“Overall, we played a great match but it wasn’t easy against a good Marseille team, but I think the best team won.

“It’s up to us to fight to the end and we’ll do everything to win a maximum of trophies,” added Matuidi with PSG in the hunt for the league title, Champions League, French Cup and League Cup.

PSG coach Laurent Blanc was happy with the win but disappointed with the injuries.

“We’ll savour the victory but we paid an expensive price because we lost two players. That is a problem but we are very happy to have won here at Marseille,” said the former Bordeaux and France coach.

“To have won is a very, very good job done tonight (Sunday). (Blaise) Matuidi was amazing with his physical game and he worked hard this week to try and score a goal because we were winding him up a bit.

“He hasn’t had much success in front of goal,” added the former Marseille defender.

Marseille are now five points off top spot in third, which will surely prove fatal to their title chances.

Not only that, but Bielsa’s team — who had Andre Ayew red-carded after the final whistle — are hanging onto the third and final Champions League qualifying berth, with fourth-placed Monaco only three points behind with a game in hand.

There was an intimidating environment for Paris, whose team bus was struck by missiles — including a golf ball that smashed a window — en route to the ground.

Gignac double

It was Marseille who opened the scoring on the half-hour mark, Gignac switching the play to DimitriPayet on the right and then outmuscling Marquinhos to head home his team-mate’s cross at the back post.

When Paris lost David Luiz to a hamstring injury, it looked like it would not be their night, but Matuidi silenced the Velodrome in the 35th minute with a magnificent curling strike into the far top corner of the net on his weaker right foot.

However, Marseille reclaimed the lead two minutes before the interval. AlaixysRomao hounded Pastore out of possession in midfield and suddenly Gignac found himself through on goal with just Salvatore Sirigu to beat.

His finish for his 18th goal of the season was cool, and the home support greeted the half-time whistle as though they had won the game.

But PSG drew level on 49 minutes,Marquinhos firing into the roof of the net after a ZlatanIbrahimovic free-kick struck Rod Fanni inside the box and broke to the Brazilian defender.

And two minutes after that they scored again, Morel turning a Pastore ball from the left into his own net under pressure from Ibrahimovic.

They are in pole position with seven games of the season remaining, although they saw Thiago Motta limp off injured late on and Lyon remain very much in contention after winning 3-1 at Guingamp on Saturday.

Monaco came from behind to draw 1-1 with Saint-Etienne on Friday, and while they have a game in hand to play against Montpellier on Tuesday, their sole focus now is on securing a top-three finish.

Elsewhere on Sunday, an injury-time goal by substitute Nicolas Maurice-Belay gave Bordeaux a 2-1 home victory against relegation-threatened Lens.

Mariano had given Bordeaux the lead only for Pablo Chavarria to equalise for the visitors, who are bottom.

Caen moved six points clear of the relegation zone after coming from behind to win 2-1 at Nantes.

Alejandro Bedoya put the Canaries ahead early on but EmilianoSalalevelled with a penalty 10 minutes from time and a Thomas Lemar free-kick evaded everyone to end up in the net in stoppage time as the Normandy side claimed a first win in four.

April 7, 2015 By : Category : English featured Tournament Tags:
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NBA: Reigning champion Spurs book playoff return

Tim Duncan #21 of the San Antonio Spurs

Tim Duncan #21 of the San Antonio Spurs

Reigning champions San Antonio are headed back to the NBA playoffs for the 18th straight season after a 103-91 victory over Orlando.

Backup big man Aron Baynes scored a career-high 18 points to lead the Spurs, whose reserves out-scored the Magic bench 69-12.

Manu Ginobili added 13 points and Marco Belinelli chipped in 12 for the Spurs. Boris Diaw had 11 points and Kawhi Leonard contributed 10 points and seven rebounds.

With one of his signature bank shots in the third quarter, veteran Spurs star Tim Duncan marked his 10,000th two-point field goal. He is one of just 11 players in NBA history to hit 10,000 two-pointers.

The Spurs trailed 19-16 before scoring the last seven points of the first quarter to take the lead for good.

San Antonio led by as many as 25 points in the second half, cruising to their fifth straight victory.

The Spurs are 15-3 since February 27, once again showing their ability to round into form as the playoffs loom.

“It’s not that we are switching it on now,” Ginobili said. “We tried to get it together early, but we just couldn’t, whether it was from injuries or just poor play.”

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich isn’t surprised to see his veteran team delivering the goods as the post-season approaches — even on the second night of back-to-back games.

“They’re high-character guys and they care about what’s going on,” Popovich said.

SIXTH ON THE LOG

The Spurs are currently sixth in the Western Conference.

Behind them the Dallas Mavericks tightened their grip on the seventh seed with a 135-131 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder, who are currently in the eighth and final playoff spot and four games adrift of the Mavs.

Monta Ellis scored 26 points for Dallas, Chandler Parsons added 22 with six assists and Dirk Nowitzki added 18 for Dallas, who snapped a two-game skid.

Russell Westbrook, EnesKanter and Anthony Morrow did everything they could.

Westbrook posted his 10th triple-double of the season with 31 points, 11 assists and 11 rebounds.

Kanter delivered a career-high 30 points with 16 rebounds and Morrow came off the bench and drained six three-pointers on his way to a season-high 32 points.

April 3, 2015 By : Category : English featured inthespotlight Tournament 0 Comment