inthespotlight

Cleveland tops Atlanta to open Eastern Conference finals

LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers defeated the top-seeded Atlanta Hawks 97-89 on Wednesday to open the NBA Eastern Conference finals.

LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers defeated the top-seeded Atlanta Hawks 97-89 on Wednesday to open the NBA Eastern Conference finals.

With a berth in the NBA championship finals on the line in the best-of-seven series, J.R. Smith set a Cavaliers club record for three-pointers, draining eight from beyond the arc.

His 28 points accounted for all of the scoring by Cleveland reserves.

“I was just trying, if anything, to take good shots,” Smith said. “I got in a rhythm early and just stayed aggressive.”

Smith’s long-range bombs came in bunches, including three in the first two minutes of the fourth quarter as he helped Cleveland build an 18-point lead.

He broke James’s prior Cavaliers record for three-pointers in a playoff game by one. James made three against Washington in game four of the 2006 Eastern conference quarter-finals.

“Those who know J.R. know when he gets hot, he gets smoking hot,” said Cavaliers coach David Blatt.

“He was terrific. Probably overlooked is how well he defended and that he got eight rebounds.”

Four-time NBA Most Valuable Player James scored 31 points, pulled down eight rebounds and handed out six assists for the Cavaliers.

He said defence was the key to the victory.

“We’re the number one defensive team in the playoffs. In order for us to win, ultimately we have to defend,” said James, who is playing in his fifth straight Eastern Conference finals after four appearances with Miami.

“Tonight we shot 44 percent from the field, but we defended. We gave ourselves a chance. When you defend at a high level you’re going to give yourself a chance to win every night.”

James has won two titles with the Heat and returned to his home state and first NBA team the Cavaliers, vowing to bring Cleveland a championship.

He sealed Wednesday’s victory with a thundering dunk in the final minute.

Tristan Thompson added 14 points and 10 rebounds in the win and Kyrie Irving had 10 points and six assists in 27 minutes.

BROTHERHOOD

Jeff Teague scored 27 points to lead Atlanta, but the Hawks lost starting forward DeMarre Carroll to a left leg injury in the fourth quarter.

Carroll, who appeared to hyperextend his left knee when he planted his foot to take a shot, crumpled to the floor in pain.

Rival James gave him some encouraging pats as Hawks personnel helped him from the court.

“At the end of the day, we’re all a brotherhood,” James said. “You never want anyone to get injured, even in combat.”

Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer said Carroll would have an MRI exam on Thursday to assess the severity of the injury.

“At this point, I think the doctors are saying it’s a knee sprain,” Budenholzer said. “We’ll know tomorrow.”

The Cavaliers will try to strengthen their grip on the series in game two on Friday.

The winners of the series will take on the Western Conference champions in the NBA Finals.

Golden State, the best team in the regular season, leads Houston 1-0 in the Western Conference championships.

May 22, 2015 By : Category : English featured inthespotlight Players 0 Comment

Cavs one win away from East Finals, Rockets win

Lebron James

Lebron James

LeBron James scored a game-high to help the Cleveland Cavaliers win Game 5 of their Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Chicago Bulls on Wednesday morning, but his defense made the biggest difference.

As former MVP Derrick Rose drove to the basket for a potential game-tying layup with 48 seconds remaining, James sprinted down the court and caught up with Rose to swat his shot out of bounds.

It was James’ third block of the game, to go with his 38 points, 11 rebounds, six assists, three steals, and zero turnovers.

Eventually the Cavaliers prevailed to a 106-101 win, taking a commanding 3-2 lead in their best-of-seven series.

The Cavaliers are one win away from reaching their first Conference Finals since 2009 season when they lost to the Orlando Magic.

Game 5 was a remarkable one for James’ playoff career. It was the first time he had more than 30 points, over 10 rebounds, three blocks, three steals and not single turnover in the same game.

Jimmy Butler finished with 29 points and Mike Dunleavy added 19 for the Bulls, who were missing big man Pau Gasol, who sat out his second straight game with a strained left hamstring.

Chicago also played the final ten minutes without Taj Gibson, ejected for kicking Cavaliers guard Matthew Dellavedova.

Cleveland could wrap up the best-of-seven series with a win in Game 6 on Friday morning at United Centre in Chicago.

In Houston, the Rockets gave themselves a chance to play at least one more postseason game, beating the Los Angeles Clippers 124-103 in Game 5 of their Western Conference Semifinals on Wednesday morning.

The Rockets controlled most of the contest, trailing only by three early in the game.

Rockets guard James Harden had his first career playoff triple-double.

He finished with with 26 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists, giving Houston hope to reaching the Conference Finals for the first since 1997.

Blake Griffin had 30 points and 16 rebounds, and Chris Paul added 22 points and 10 assists for the Clippers.

The Clippers lead 3-2 the best-of-seven series as Game 6 shifts to Los Angeles on Friday morning.

May 14, 2015 By : Category : English featured inthespotlight Tournament 0 Comment

Paul, Blake and Irving rise to the occasion

Chris Paul

Chris Paul

Dominant performances from a number of team leaders in Sunday’ playoffs action showed how competitive the series are set to become.

Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, Kyrie Irving stood out when their teams needed them most, and the playoff seasons is officially open.

Paul poured in a game-high 32 points, Griffin added 26 points and 12 rebounds, and the Los Angeles Clippers edged out the defending champions San Antonio Spurs 107-92 to take control of the first-round series.

Griffin dominated the paint area with successive dunks, leaving San Antonio unable to respond.

It was the Spurs consecutive defeat, after enjoying an eleven-game winning streak later in the regular-season.

The Clippers lead the series 1-0.

Game 2 between Spurs and Clippers come up on Wednesday at Staples Centre in Los Angeles.

In Cleveland, Irving made his playoffs debut with a remarkable performance.

The former Rookie of the Year made 15 of his game-high 30 points from beyond the three-point line, powering the Cavaliers to a 113-100 home victory over the Boston Celtics.

Kevin Love, another playoffs debutant, added 19 points and a game-best 12 rebounds, while MVP candidate LeBron James finished with 20 points and seven assists in 41 minutes.

Although the Cavaliers led by as many as 20 points in the third quarter, the Celtics, propelled by Isaiah Thomas, cut the deficit to just five points early in the fourth.

Thomas finished with a team-high 22 points off the bench.

The Cavaliers lead the series 1-0. Game will take place on Tuesday at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland.

In Memphis, five Grizzlies players scored in double figures as they trounced the Portland Trail Blazers 100-86.

BenoUdrih scored 20 points off the bench and the Grizzlies never trailed to control their Western Conference first-round series.

In Atlanta, Kyle Korver live up to this three-pointer specialist reputation, making 15 of his game-high 21 points to help the Hawks get past the Brooklyn Nets 99-92.

The Hawks lead the series 1-0.

April 21, 2015 By : Category : English featured inthespotlight Players 0 Comment

Patriots, Espoir lead Basketball standings

Patriots, Espoir lead Basketball standings 

Sunday

IPRC- South 42-57 Espoir

UR- CASS 67-46 30-Plus

APR 62-57 Rusizi

UR- CoE 39-57 Patriots

Saturday

IPRC-Kigali 74-47 30-Plus

CSK 88-41 UR-CoE

Espoir 90-47 Rusizi

UR-CASS 49-62 IPRC- South

Rivals Patriots and reigning champions Espoir maintained their winning spree over the weekend to lead the national basketball league standings with 21 points each.

Over the weekend, three-time champions, Espoir defeated IPRC- South 57-42 in Huye district to extend their winning run to 10 in eleven games.

The win was after the Nyamirambo-based side defeated Rusizi 90-47 on Saturday.

Patriots also registered a 57-39 win over University of Rwanda- College of Education.

In other matches, University of Rwanda- College of Arts and Social Sciences (UR- CASS) who lost 62-49 to IPRC- South on Saturday bounced to sink 67-46 struggling 30-Plus at UR- Huye campus gymnasium to register their third victory of the season.

Patriots basketball club lead the standing with 21 points and a better point average in 12 matches played, one game better than Espoir.

IPRC-South and APR basketball clubs occupy second and third positions with 19 and 18 points respectively.

UR-CE is placed bottom of the standings with 11 points each in 12 matches played this season.

In the five-team women basketball league, defending champions Ubumwe leads the standings with 9 points, one ahead of The Hoops after playing five matches.

APR lie third with seven points in four matches played while IPRC-South and UR-Huye jointly have six points each.

National Basketball League Standings

1- PATRIOTS BC: 21 Pts (PG: 12, W/L: 9/3, Avg: 1,43)

2- ESPOIR BBC: 21 Pts (PG: 11, W/L: 10/1, Avg: 1,32)

3- IPRC-South BBC: 19 Pts (PG: 12, W/L: 7/5, Avg: 1,04)

4- APR BBC: 18 Pts (PG: 10, W/L: 8/2, Avg: 1,28)

5- IPRC-Kigali BBC: 18 Pts (PG: 11, W/L: 7/4, Avg: 1,19)

6- CSK BBC: 17 Pts (PG: 11, W/L: 6/5, Avg: 1,09)

7- UGB: 17 Pts (PG: 11, W/L: 7/3, F: 1, Avg: 1,08)

8- UR-HuyeBBC: 15 Pts (PG: 12, W/L: 3/9, Avg: 0,80)

9- 30 Plus BBC: 14 Pts (PG: 12, W/L: 2/10, Avg: 0,75)

10- RUSIZI BC: 13 Pts (PG: 10, W/L: 3/7, Avg: 0,87)

11- UR-CE BBC: 11 Pts (PG: 12, W/L: 0/11, Avg: 0,51)

#Ranking Women

1- UBUMWE BBC: 9 Pts (PG: 5, W/L: 4/1, Avg: 1,11)

2- The HOOPS RwaGirls: 8 Pts (PG: 5, W/L: 3/2, Avg: 1,01)

3- APR BBC (W): 7 Pts (PG: 4, W/L: 3/1, Avg: 1,55)

4- IPRC-South BBC (W) : 6 Pts (PG: 5, W/L: 1/4, Avg: 0,81)

5- UR-Huye BBC (W) : 6 Pts (PG: 5, W/L: 1/4, Avg: 0,75)

April 21, 2015 By : Category : Basketball Zone V English featured inthespotlight 0 Comment

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

Warriors shoot down Hawks

Harrison Barnes

Harrison Barnes

The Golden State Warriors won the battle of the NBA’s two best teams on Wednesday, routing the high-flying Atlanta Hawks 114-95.

With a season-high 25 points from Harrison Barnes and 21 from Andre Iguodala, the Warriors shook off the injury absence of Klay Thompson and a so-so shooting night for Stephen Curry.

With their 10th straight home win, the Western Conference-leading Warriors maintained the best record in the NBA at 54-13 – narrowly ahead of Eastern Conference leaders Atlanta who fell to 53-15.

Despite connecting on just four of 11 shots from the floor, Curry still finished with 16 points and handed out 12 assists for Golden State.

In addition to his season-high 21 points, Iguodala handed out six assists.

Draymond Green added 18 points – draining five of his seven attempts from three-point range – and pulled down seven rebounds, while Golden State’s Australian big man Andrew Bogut grabbed 14 rebounds.

“I think the defensive end is what got it done for us,” Green said. “We were able to lock those guys down for the most part of the game.

“Once we got good on the defensive end, we were able to get out and run and we started knocking shots down and got it going.”

The victory came a day after Warriors head coach Steve Kerr announced that Thompson will miss seven to 10 days with an ankle injury suffered on Monday against the Lakers.

DeMarre Carroll scored 16 points with 12 rebounds for the Hawks, but Atlanta centre Al Horford was held to eight points on four-of-18 shooting.

Atlanta, missing injured All-Star guard Kyle Korver, saw a three-game winning streak snapped, and missed a chance to clinch their first Southeast division title since 1993-94 season.

The Warriors closed out the third quarter on a 14-3 scoring run to blow the contest open.

Iguodala’s layup in the waning moments of the period gave the hosts an 83-64 lead going into the fourth quarter.

The Warriors led by as many as 29 in the final frame.

“We didn’t do what we needed to do on defense,” Carroll said. “You can live with making and missing shots, but defensively we have to get down and get more gritty and more dirty.”

March 20, 2015 By : Category : English featured inthespotlight Tournament 0 Comment

KBC denies league withdrawal

KBC denies league withdrawal 

A day after Rwanda Basketball Federation (Ferwaba) confirmed their withdrawal from the national basketball league, the Kigali Basketball Club (KBC) has refuted claims that the club has withdrawn from the ongoing national basketball championship.

Speaking to local media, KBC chairman Calixte Rutajogerwa said that the club is yet to take a decision but will meet soon to decide on the next course of action.

“We have not withdrawn from the league; everything being said is a total lie. We have not decided on what to do next yet, the club’s general assembly will meet soon to take a decision,” he said.

Meanwhile the Rwanda Basketball Federation (Ferwaba) has told the club to take as much time as they want to make decision on what they will do next.

Only two players-Junior Hamis Mutebi and Meshach Ryamungu are still under intensive care. The rest have been discharged.

As a measure of compassion, Police Football Club contributed Rwf 100,000 towards medical bills of KBC players.

KBC coach player Jean-Guy Rutayisire died early this month in a fatal car accident as the team was travelling to Huye for a league game. (Net photo)

There were several reports last week that the 2011 league champions had pulled out of the Hoops league after losing their star player and assistant coach Jean-Guy Rutayisire in a fatal car accident on March 1 while the team was enroute to Huye for a league game.

The accident also left many players with severe injuries, but most of them are recovering steadily.

March 20, 2015 By : Category : English featured inthespotlight Tournament 0 Comment

Mbah a Moute highlights African-born player of the week

Luc Mbah a Moute

Luc Mbah a Moute

This was probably one of the most productive weeks of Philadelphia 76ers forward Luc Mbah a Moute this season, and SuperSport.com breaks down his performances and explain how and why the Cameroonian highlights the African-born Player of the week for games played from 2 to 8 March.

Even though, Congolese BismackBiyombo returned to action after sitting out four weeks through injury, and helped the Charlotte Hornets build on a 5-0 record last week, and Nigerian Festus Ezeli helped the Golden State Warriors win three of their four games, Mbah a Moute reached another level of his game this week.

He is playing as we’d never seen before.

It is a fact that Philadelphia (14-49) will hardly make to the playoffs, but the Cameroonian, who hit double figures in four straight games, and is currently averaging a career-high 13 points per game, seems to have reinvented his game.

In Sunday’s 92-84 victory over the league No 1 team the Atlanta Hawks, Mbah a Moute hit three three-pointers en route to a game-high 19 points.

In Thursday’s 123-118 overtime loss against Russell Westbrook-led Oklahoma City Thunder, the 28-year-old finished with 18 points and 14 rebounds, despite conceding a 123-118 defeat.

Understandably, he expressed his joy on his Facebook and Twitter accounts.

He wrote: “Great team effort with my @Sixers troopers tonight! Carried by the best NBA fans in @WellsFargoCtr #proud #blessed #sixerstrong #WeDidIt.

There are still 19 regular-season games left, but if he continues to play at this level, he will set a career-high not only in scoring, but also in rebounding and assists.

On Thursday morning Philadelphia hosts Chicago.

March 10, 2015 By : Category : English featured inthespotlight Players 0 Comment

Dominant Espoir suffer shocking defeat in basketball league

Yesman Bushiri (left) of IPRC- South goes round Patrick Kalibushi of Rusizi BC in a league game in Rusizi on Sunday

Yesman Bushiri (left) of IPRC- South goes round Patrick Kalibushi of Rusizi BC in a league game in Rusizi on Sunday

Sunday

Espoir 65-73 IPRC- Kigali

UGB 79-46 UR- CoE

Rusizi     64-68     IPRC-South

APR         78-59     CSK

Patriots    80-55     KBC

Saturday   

Patriots 62-67 UGB

30-Plus 56-50 UR-CASS

Women

The Hoops Rwanda 55-46 IPRC-South

APR     55-36     UR-CASS

Friday (Men)

APR                        83-54     UR-CASS

REIGNING CHAMPIONS Espoir basketball club tasted their first defeat in three years as they lost 65-73 in a tight league encounter against IPRC-Kigali on Sundat at University of Rwanda’s College of Technology basketball courts.

Stars players Steve Havugintwari and DieudonneNdizeye combined to score 52 points for IPRC- Kigali with 27 from Havugintwa and 25 from Ndizeye respectively.

IPRC – Kigali head coach Albert Buhake praised his team’s strong mentality and hard work after the win.

Speaking to the press, a happy Buhake hailed his players for staging an impressive win over the champions.

He said, “I am proud of my players, not only because of the win but because we have made history by beating Espoir after such a long time. This gives the team confidence that they will perform well this season,”

Elsewhere, Huye-based IPRC- South point guard, YesmanBushiri scored 25 points to help his team defeat Rusizi 68-64 in Rusizi.

The league newcomers, IPRC-South recovered from last weekend’s 79-65 defeat to reigning champions Espoir.

Rusizi, who won their first two games against University of Rwanda College of Education (UR-CoE) and CSK last weekend, were booed by their fans following yesterday’s loss.

Seven-time champions APR won their two weekend games, beating University of Rwanda’s College of Arts and Social Sciences (UR- CASS) 83-54 on Friday and CercleSportif de Kigali (CSK) 78-59 on Sunday respectively.

While Patriots BC had their confidence dented after a 62-67 loss against United Basketball Generation (UGB) on Saturday at UR-TECH courts but recovered to beat 2011 champions, Kigali Basketball Club (KBC) 80-55 on Sunday.

In the women’s league, The Hoops Rwanda beat IPRC-South 55-46 while former champions APR overcame UR- CASS 55-36 on Saturday.

As it stands on the league standings, UGB and APR basketball club lead the log with seven points in four matches played. Rusizi, Patriots and IPRC-South follow with five points.

Defending champions Espoir BBC lies in eighth spot with three points in two matches.

February 24, 2015 By : Category : English featured inthespotlight Rwanda basketball League 0 Comment

Inter recover to hold Lazio in thriller

Inter recover to hold Lazio in thriller

A first-half brace from Felipe Anderson was enough to secure third place for Lazio in Serie A prior to the festive break on Sunday in a hard-fought 2-2 draw away to Inter.

Inter only claimed their maiden win under Roberto Mancini, their first in six games, last week but had the worst possible start at the San Siro where Anderson hit the first of his goals after just two minutes.

Anderson, who broke his Serie A duck last week, beat Samir Handanovic with a fine angled strike after collecting Stefan Radu’s assist in the box.

The Brazilian almost had his brace moments later when he sprung the offside trap to fire over but made amends minutes before halftime after collecting on the halfway line and carrying the ball all the way before beating Handanovic at the keeper’s near post.

Inter emerged doubly determined after the break and after Mateo Kovacic and Mauro Icardi tested Federico Marchetti in the Lazio goal it was the former who reduced arrears in spectacular fashion.

Kovacic was just outside the box when a headed clearance fell kindly for the Croatian, who struck on the volley to see his shot sting the palms of a flailing Marchetti before hitting the back of the net.

Mancini replaced Colombian Fredy Guarin with Federico Bonazzoli and two minutes later the highly-rated Inter youth player had a hand in Inter’s 80th minute leveller.

Bonazzoli’s free kick found the head of DaniloD’Ambrosio in the box and after the ball rolled into the path of Rodrigo Palacio the Argentinian blasted past Marchetti from close range.

The draw left Inter in 11th place at 18 points adrift of leaders and champions Juventus, four behind city rivals Milan and six behind Lazio in the third and final Champions League qualifying spot.

 

But Mancini warned he will expect improvements when Inter resume after the festive break.

“We can’t become a team like Barcelona or Bayern in the space of a month. We’re having a few difficulties but we need to get over them,” said Mancini.

“Let’s hope we can improve over our coming games.”

Lazio coach Stefano Pioli admitted Kovacic’s goal had changed the prospects for his side.

“Teams like Inter have a certain kind of quality and Kovacic’s goal set them up well for the rest of the game,” said Pioli, who admitted third place was a firm objective.

“It’s early yet but we’re doing very well. Now we have a chance to recharge our batteries for January which will be crucial for us. But the lads have shown they are up to the job.”

The draw was one of six in the final weekend of the year, which left Juventus top of the pile with a three-point lead on Roma, who lead Lazio by nine points.

Earlier, Italy striker Manol Gabbiadini confirmed he could quit Sampdoria in the January transfer window after heading a late equaliser to secure a share of the spoils in a 2-2 home draw with Udinese.

Gabbiadini has been linked with a move to Napoli and the highly-rated 23-year-old told Sky Sport after the game: “I don’t know if this will be my last goal in a Sampdoria shirt, I always honour the shirt that I’m wearing.”

Sampdoria are 12 points behind Juventus, who will face Napoli in the Italian Super Cup final in Doha on Monday with a chance for a double Christmas celebration after Roma were held to a scoreless draw at home to Milan on Saturday.

Alberto Paloschi struck late to secure the points as Chievo beat Verona 1-0 in the city derby to give them some breathing space in the battle for relegation.

Torino had defender KamilGlik to thank for a brace of goals in a precious 2-1 home win over Genoa which secured just their fourth win of the campaign.

Argentinian striker German Denis, meanwhile, struck a brace including a late leveller as Atalanta fought back to claim a point from a 3-3 draw with visitors Palermo.

Fiorentina were sent on their way towards a seventh win of the campaign after Juan Manuel Vargas struck on the stroke of halftime, only for Lorenzo Tonelli to level just before the hour to secure a point for visiting Empoli.

December 23, 2014 By : Category : English featured inthespotlight 0 Comment