Star-studded USA prepare Olympic title defence

Stephen Curry

Stephen Curry

The USA team is back in action on Tuesday to begin their defense of the Olympic Games title, and Indiana Pacers guard Paul George has re-joined the team after suffering a gruesome leg injury last summer.

A year ago, George was practicing with the USA team, who were gearing up for the 2014 Fiba Basketball World Cup in Spain, when he broke his right leg, which forced him to sit out most of the 2014-14 NBA season.

While George watched the World Cup from the small screen, as the Americans went on to beat Serbia in the final in the Spanish capital, Madrid, last September.

George is among the 34-player preliminary squad, selected by head coach Mike Krzyzewski, which will attend a three-day training camp in Las Vegas from Tuesday.

“I feel great,” George said.

“I still notice some things that are not Paul George characteristic yet, but I feel good and the good thing is we’re still in mid-summer. By training camp, I’ll be ready to go.”

The preparation will culminate with a USA Blue versus USA White exhibition game at the Thomas & Mack Centre in Vegas on Thursday.

However, coach Krzyzewski will only announce his final 12-player roster next July shortly before the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

The USA will travel to Brazil as the two-time Olympic defending champions as well as holding a 63-game winning streak.

The Americans last lost a game at the 2006 World Cup in Japan. At the time they fell 101-95 to Greece in the semifinals.

Among the 34 players, coach Krzyzewski has invited 2012 London gold medalists LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Chris Paul, James Harden, Russell Westbrook, Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Love and Anthony Davis.

Jerry Collangelo, the team’s General Manager, said: “We set out to create a new culture and create a situation where players once again were proud to represent their country.

“We also had to win back the respect of the world basketball community.

“When you’re climbing the mountain to recapture something, that’s one thing,” Colangelo said. “Defending the next time around is another, and now it’s maintaining. We recognise, we appreciate, we respect the other teams and we take nothing for granted.”

USA’s preliminary squad for the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics: Chris Paul, Russell Westbrook, Stephen Curry, Kyrie Irving, John Wall, Mike Conley, Michael Carter-Williams, James Harden, Klay Thompson, DeMar DeRozan, Jimmy Butler, Bradley Beal, Victor Oladipo, LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony, Paul George, Kawhi Leonard, Rudy Gay, Gordon Hayward, Chandler Parsons, Harrison Barnes, Tobias Harris, Kevin Love, Blake Griffin, LaMarcus Aldridge, Kenneth Faried, Draymond Green, Anthony Davis, Dwight Howard, DeMarcus Cousins, DeAndre Jordan, Andre Drummond and Mason Plumlee.


August 14, 2015 By : Category : English featured Teams 0 Comment

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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IPRC-South, UR-CASS win opening matches in local basketball

IPRC-South, UR-CASS win opening matches in local basketball



IPRC- South 82-64 UR- CASS


IPRC- South 48-51 UR- CASS

IPRC-SOUTH and UR-CASS registered opening win in the local basketball league in both men and women categories held over the weekend.

IPRC-South booked a home 82-64 win over neighbours University of Rwanda’s College of Arts and Social Sciences (UR- CASS) on Saturday.

Integrated Polytechnic Regional Center- Southern Province (IPRC-South) came from 36-25 half-time deficit to beat UR- CASS 82-64. UR-CASS won first quarter 17-14 and the second 19-11 but the debutants recovered to take the third and fourth quarters 21-17 and 36-10 respectively.

IPRC-South’s Bienvenue Niyonsaba scored the game high 28 points while teammates Yesman Bushiri and Herves Ikishatse added 22 and 18 points respectively to help their team off to a winning debut.

In women’s league opening match, IPRC-South lost 51-48 to UR- CASS. In the meantime, Rwanda Allied Peace for Progress (RAPP), who finished second last season have pulled out of the league due to financial constraints.

February 10, 2015 By : Category : English featured Teams Tags:
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US breeze past Lithuania into World Cup final

m_ndicap international closes its operations11

US centre De Marcus Cousins (left) vies with Lithuania’s centre Jonas Valanciunas during the 2014 FIBA World Basketball championships semi-final match between Lithunia and USA

The United States moved a step closer to retaining basketball’s World Cup on Thursday as they beat Lithuania 96-68 in Barcelona to reach the final.

Kyrie Irving had 18 points while Klay Thompson and James Harden both had 16 points and Stephen Curry added 13 for the Americans, who also beat Lithuania in the semi-finals of the 2010 Worlds en route to their title in Turkey.

The US will be playing in their eighth final on Sunday and shooting for their fifth title overall.

They will take on the winner of the second semi-final on Friday between Serbia and France – the latter who shocked the hosts Spain in the quarter-finals.

Yugoslavia were the last nation to defend the world title when they were crowned champions in 1998 and 2002 — the second being their fifth and final crown.


Lithuania were led by MindaugasKuzminskas with 15 points — three more than he had scored in total coming into the game — while Jonas Valanciunas had 15 points and AdasJuskevicius added 12.

The Baltic team, who committed 21 turnovers, will take on the loser of the second semi-final for third place on Saturday.

“It is always a great honour to play against Lithuania. What a great basketball country! We had so many good games with them,” said United States coach Mike Krzyzewski, while his Lithuanian counterpart Jonas Kazlauskas admitted that class told in the end.

“When you are playing against Team USA, you cannot lose control for one minute. That can change everything,” he acknowledged.

Lithuania hung close in the early going and even led 13-10, but the Americans went on their first spurt with an 8-0 run to go up 18-13. The lead was 21-16 after 10 minutes.

The defending champions pushed the advantage to 10 points at 32-22, but Kuzminskas was one of the few Lithuanians who was effective in the second quarter in keeping the game close and the first half ended with the US up 43-35.

The Americans wasted no time putting away Lithuania in the second half, however, scoring the first 10 points of the third quarter.

In total, they used an 18-4 run for a 61-39 lead. The advantage continued to grow throughout the third quarter and the lead was 76-49 with 10 minutes to play.

The champions were never threatened after that.


September 15, 2014 By : Category : English featured Teams Tags:,
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Ubumwe’s Bahigye wants more trophies

Ubumwe’s Bahigye wants more trophies

Ubumwe basketball club won the league and playoffs titles in second season since their establishment

 After lifting their first league and playoffs trophies, Ubumwe women basketball club are now looking to dominating the local scene in the coming seasons.

Only two years since making their league debut, Ubumwe have now dethroned APR, who had dominated the women’s league since 2007. Ubumwe beat Rwandans Allied for Peace Progress (RAAP) in three games to win the playoffs title over the weekend.

Ubumwe head coach Jacques Bahigye told the media on Sunda, said: “We are very happy to win this trophy after only two years since the team was formed.”

“I feel very grateful to my players and management for making sure we achieve our targets faster than we anticipated. Nonetheless, we need to focus on building a strong team, which is capable of winning more trophies at home and beyond,” he said.

Ubumwe ran away with the best of five playoffs series finals after winning 64-37 in Game 1, Game 2, 64-58 and 63-39 in Game 3 at Amahoro indoor stadium court.

Ghana-born Priscilla Doudou, a US citizen, was Ubumwe’s key players scoring a combined 55 scores in three games, which also earned her call-up to Rwanda women’s national team.

August 22, 2014 By : Category : English featured inthespotlight Teams 0 Comment

Espoir shifts aim to league title

Espoir shifts aim to league title

Espoir bbc.

REIGNING BASKETBALL champions Espoir have now shifted their focus to their battle of retaining the league title after winning back-to-back trophies of the Gisembe Genocide Memorial tournaments.

The Nyamirambo-based club won both the local edition of the Gisembe Memorial tournament on June 6 after beating archrivals of CSK 81-79. A week after, they edged out Burundi’s Muzinga to lift the international edition after a 85-48 win.

The two-time reigning champions Espoir who are still unbeaten for almost three seasons will face Kigali basketball club (KBC) on Saturday and United Generation Basketball (UGB) on Sunday respectively

“As far as defending the league title unbeaten is concerned, we can’t rest until the work is done. After winning Gisembe memorial tournaments, our mind and focus is back on the league title defense,” said head coach Jean Bahufite.

Bahufite’s Espoir return leg clash against CSK set for July 6 is one of the matches anxiously awaited by most of local basketball fans.

 Espoir currently tops the league standings with 28 points and two games in hand. APR are second with 27 points.

June 18, 2014 By : Category : English featured inthespotlight Teams 0 Comment

Espoir, RAPP win Gisembe memorial titles

Espoir, RAPP win Gisembe memorial titles



Espoir 81-79 CSK

Third place play-off

KBC 62-61 UR-Huye


Ubumwe 43-48 RAPP (Saturday)

RAPP 53-50 Ubumwe (Sunday)

REIGNING CHAMPIONS Espoir and RAPP clinched men and women honours in this year’s Gisembe basketball memorial tournament which climaxed on Sunday.

Espoir won the title after snatching a narrow 81-79 victory over archrivals of Cercle Sportif de Kigali (CSK) in the final while Rwanda Allied Peace for Progress (RAPP) claimed the tournament after beating defending champions Ubumwe in two matches 48-43, 53-50 on Saturday and Sunday respectively.

Espoir’s Lionel Hakizimana and Pascal Karekezi were on high scoring 15 points each while Olivier Shyaka and Bienvenu Ngandu added 14 points apiece. Team captain Aristide Mugabe scored 10 points.

“We are not done yet until we win the international edition too. Thanks to my team for the title,” Espoir head coach Jean Bahufite said yesterday.

Kigali basketball club (KBC) who beat CSK 78-70 in the group stages on Saturday finished third in the tournament after narrowly beating UR- Huye campus 62-61 in the third place play-off.

The international basketball memorial tournament edition set for the upcoming in Kigali where Espoir, CSK and KBC will face regional participants from Kenya, Uganda, Burundi and DR Congo for the title while Ubumwe and RAPP will tussle it out in the women category.

Regional teams expected to grace the tournament include; 2013 Men’s title winners Urunani and Muzinga (Men) and Belco stars of Burundi, Uganda’s Warriors, City Oil (men) and Magic stormers (Women), DR Congo’s PGB (men and women), Ulinzi (men) and Equity Bank (Women) from Kenya.

June 11, 2014 By : Category : English featured inthespotlight Teams 0 Comment

Spurs oust Thunder, ready for rematch with Heat

Spurs oust Thunder, ready for rematch with Heat

San Antonio spurs celebrate.

Tim Duncan scored seven of his 19 points in overtime as San Antonio beat Oklahoma City 112-107 in game six Saturday to set up an NBA finals rematch with the Miami Heat. 

Duncan also added 15 assists and power forward Boris Diaw came off the bench to score 26 points for the Spurs, who won the Western Conference final series four games to two.

“This victory is really sweet because we know we played one helluva team,” said Spurs coach Gregg Popovich.

San Antonio will host the first game of the National Basketball Association finals on Thursday against the two-time defending champion Heat, who beat them in seven games last season.

Miami defeated the Indiana Pacers 117-92 Friday to win the other league semi-final in six games and punch their ticket to their fourth straight finals. The Heat will be well rested for game one having had five days off.

(READ: Heat hammer Pacers to reach 4th straight NBA finals)

This is the first NBA finals rematch since the Chicago Bulls battled the Utah Jazz in 1997 and 1998.

The Spurs won Saturday despite playing the second half without star guard Tony Parker, who played just 19 minutes before leaving the game with a foot injury.

Kawhi Leonard finished with 17 points and 11 rebounds and reserve Manu Ginobili scored 15 points for the Spurs, who hope to take advantage of home court during the series with Miami.

The Heat won last year, but San Antonio is looking forward to redemption. They have won four titles since Duncan joined forces with Popovich in Texas.

“It is unbelievable to have regained our focus after that devastating loss last year,” said Duncan. “We’ve got that bad taste in our mouth from last time.”

Kevin Durant finished with 31 points and 14 rebounds for the Thunder, who had their nine-game home win streak against San Antonio snapped.

Russell Westbrook scored 34 points and had eight assists while Reggie Jackson finished with 21 points for Oklahoma City, who staved off elimination two times previously in these playoffs.

“We settled for too many jump shots and we turned the ball over,” said Thunder coach Scott Brooks. “Defensively they had us scrambling around. And they made some big plays.”

San Antonio trailed 49-42 at the half, but managed to chip away and take the lead. They then went on a 9-0 burst to end the third quarter, stretching their lead to 10 points, 79-69, heading into the fourth. And they accomplished the feat without their star guard Parker.

“It was hard when we heard Parker wasn’t going to play,” said Ginobili. “We knew that if we got our game together and got aggressive we will have a shot. We got over the hump in the third quarter.”

With 32 seconds left in the third, Diaw finished off some nice ball movement by the Spurs to make it 75-69.

San Antonio’s Danny Green then made a four-point play on the Spurs’ final possession. Green drained a three-pointer from the right side but was fouled by Durant. He went to the line and calmly sank the free throw to cap the scoring in the quarter.

Both teams made superb defensive plays in the overtime. Serge Ibaka blocked Ginobili’s layup with 48 seconds left and on the next possession Leonard stole the ball from Thunder guard Westbrook before taking it down the court where Duncan hit a field goal to cut the San Antonio lead to 110-107 with 19 seconds left in overtime.

Diaw made two free throws to cap the scoring for the Spurs with just five seconds on the clock.

Ginobili said they are ready for LeBron James and the Heat.

“We worked eight months really hard. We had a very successful season and all it did was to get us to this point again for another shot,” Ginobili said. “We are going to give everything we got to try and get the trophy again.

“We know we are facing a very talented and tough team and it is going to be rough.”

June 4, 2014 By : Category : English featured inthespotlight Teams 0 Comment

Heat hammer Pacers to reach 4th straight NBA finals

Heat hammer Pacers to reach 4th straight NBA finals

Lebron James #6, Chris Bosh #1 and Tony Douglas #0 of the Miami Heat celebrate after defeating the Indiana Pacers in Game six

LeBron James and Chris Bosh scored 25 points each as the two-time defending champion Miami Heat clobbered the Indiana Pacers 117-92 Friday to reach their fourth consecutive NBA finals.

Miami used a game six blowout Friday to join an elite NBA group by becoming the first team to reach the championship four straight times since the Boston Celtics did it from 1984-87.

James also had six assists and shot eight-of-12 from the field in 32 minutes of playing time for Miami who used an emphatic victory to claim the best-of-seven Eastern Conference final series 4-2.

“We are going to four straight finals and we will never take this for granted,” James said. “We will celebrate this for sure and when we start getting ready for the finals we will lock in.”

James regrouped in a huge way Friday after coming off one of the worst offensive performances of his brilliant career in game five, where he battled foul trouble and finished with a career playoff low seven points on just two-of-10 shooting.

 “We are competing against the (Michael) Jordan of our era, the (Chicago) Bulls of our era and you have to tip your hats to them,” said Pacers coach Frank Vogel.

Dwyane Wade and Rashard Lewis each tallied 13 points while Chris Andersen grabbed 10 rebounds for the Heat, who lost the finals in 2011 then won back-to-back titles in 2012 and last season.

Miami will start the NBA finals on the road against the winner of the other NBA semi-final playoff series between San Antonio and Oklahoma City. The Spurs, who lost to the Heat in seven games in last year’s finals, can close out that series with a win Saturday in game six.

 The Heat are the third team in NBA history to make the finals four straight years. The Celtics made a staggering 10 in a row from 1957-66, then the Los Angeles Lakers did it from 1982-85. Boston was also the last team to do it, beginning in 1984.


Making history is what Wade, James and Bosh had in mind when they joined forces in southern Florida at the start of the 2010-11 season.

 “Our promise to each other was we wanted to come together to compete for championships,” Wade said. “The individual things was out the window. We made that promise to each other on day one and we continue to live it out.”

 Bosh said this was as good a game as they have played in a long time.

 “We are almost there. This was one of those games we have always wanted to play from beginning to end,” Bosh said. “We wanted to make a statement on our home court.”

 Heat coach Erik Spoelstra was pleased with his team’s focus ahead of game six.

 “We had a very angry group yesterday when we met for practice. They were a focused group today at shoot around. I knew our guys would bring a very competitive spirit to the game,” Spoelstra said.

 Paul George led the way for Indiana with 29 points, but 28 of those came in the second half with Miami in firm control. It was a far cry from Wednesday’s game five 93-90 Indiana win when George scored 21 of his 37 points in the fourth quarter.

 The Miami defence smothered George on this night as the Heat led 60-34 at halftime in front of a crowd of 20,021 at the American Airlines Arena.

 “It’s disappointing to fall short of our goals,” said Vogel. “It’s bitterly disappointing to lose to this team three years in a row.”


June 3, 2014 By : Category : English featured inthespotlight Teams 0 Comment

Basketball – Thunder rumble past Spurs to level series

Basketball - Thunder rumble past Spurs to level series

Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant (35) and guard Russell Westbrook (0) high-five during the final seconds of the game


The Oklahoma City Thunder, superbly led by inspirational All-Stars Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant on their home court, outplayed the San Antonio Spurs 105-92 in Game Four of the Western Conference Finals.

Dynamic guard Westbrook contributed a game-high 40 points and 10 assists while league MVP Durant weighed in with 31 points on 11-of-22 shooting as the second-seeded Thunder evened up the best-of-seven series at 2-2.

The top-seeded Spurs, aiming for a return to the NBA Finals after losing to the Miami Heat in five games last year, were outshot by 49 percent to 40 from the field.

Point guard Tony Parker and Boris Diaw, off the bench, led the way for San Antonio with 14 points each but veteran All-Star forward Tim Duncan was held to just nine points on three-of-eight shooting.

“I think I did all right,” a smiling Westbrook told Turner Network Television in a courtside interview after a stellar display that also included five steals. “Coming out with a win is most important.

“I just try to come out and give maximum effort. My team mates ask that of me and that’s what I was trying to do at both ends of the floor.”

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich applauded the performances produced by Westbrook and Durant, but felt his team had paid the price for not being aggressive enough.

“I thought they (Westbrook and Durant) did a great job,” he said. “They are great players, and that’s what they do. I was disappointed in our physicality.”

San Antonio made a fast start, Kawhi Leonard pouring in two three-pointers to help his team race ahead 8-0 but Westbrook sparked an Oklahoma City fightback and they ended the first quarter on a 13-2 run to lead 26-20.

Durant then put on a spectacular show for his fans with a dazzling array of shots from all around the court, totalling 15 points in the second quarter as the faster-paced Thunder stretched their advantage to 58-43 at half-time.

San Antonio’s second unit went on a rousing 18-5 run late in the third quarter but Oklahoma City maintained overall control and led 83-67 heading into the fourth.

There was no way back from there for the Spurs, despite continued good play from their reserves, and they ended the night by slipping to their ninth straight loss to the Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena.

“I thought the last two games we played as a group,” Thunder coach Scott Brooks said after his team rebounded from two demoralising road losses to level the series. “Russell’s defensive toughness really set the tone in this game tonight.”

The series shifts back to San Antonio for Game Five on Thursday with the eventual winners advancing to meet either the Heat or Indiana Pacers for the NBA title.

“We’ve got to make it travel,” Westbrook said of the need for Oklahoma City to take their winning form at home on the road. “We’ve got to win one there if we want to win the series.

“We’ve got to go there with the same mindset as tonight and try to come up with a win.”


May 29, 2014 By : Category : English featured inthespotlight Teams 0 Comment