Monthly Archives: June 2016

LeBron James follows Stephen Curry out of USA Olympics team

Published by:

The USA team participating in this year’s Olympic Games in Rio will be short another star as LeBron James confirmed that the will not play for his nation’s basketball team.

It had been a long season as the Cavaliers star led Cleveland into their first major sporting title in 52 years. Initially down 3-1 against Steph Curry’s Warriors, LeBron managed to carry his native team into game 7 and a first spectacular turnaround in the NBA grand finals to win the Championship trophy.

“I could use the rest,” the local youth product said.

LeBron will be joining Curry in a star-studded list of national team draft absentees; the unanimous NBA MVP had already announced his withdrawal earlier, citing injury issues.

Having two Olympics gold medals under his belt could also be a factor influencing the NBA fnals MVP. James had won gold in 2012 and 2008 with the USA team then, as well as bronze in 2004.

Additionally, other athletes who had concerns over the spreading strain of Zika virus and the political turmoil in Brazil had also withdrawn from Rio 2016. However, James’s decision was understood to have been solely for sporting reasons: he has played more minutes than any other player in the NBA over the last six seasons.

Team USA coach Mike Krzyzewski is already adjusting plans after stars such as Russell Westbrook, James Harden, LaMarcus Aldridge and Chris Paul had also withdrawn from the player drafting process.

But even with such talent handicap, Team USA remains heavy favorites to win gold: they are currently 1 to 14 with bookmakers. The next most favored team are Spain at 10 to 1.

USA Basketball will officially announce their 12-man roster for Rio next week. Carmelo Anthony, DeAndre Jordan, Jimmy Butler, Klay Thompson and Kyle Lowry are expected to be included.

Kevin Durant had also confirmed earlier this week that he intends to play in Rio, while sources also revealed that Paul George, Draymond Green and DeMarcus Cousins also have committed to the US.

Argentina trumps Venezuela to meet USA in semi-final

Published by:

Copa America Centenario quarter-finals

Argentina 4 – 1 Venezuela

Argentina will meet USA in the semi-finals as La Albiceleste beats Venezuela by 4 to 1.

Lionel Messi, who scored one goal and created two others in his first start of the tournament, equals the goal record set by Gabriel Batistuta. He also became the leading scorer with his fourth goal for Argentina in this event.

Finding Gonzalo Higuain with a long pass, the Napoli striker was able to make a clinical finish and Argentina is 1-0 up early.

Higuain scored again in the 28th to make it 2-0, exploiting a mistake by Venezuela midfielder Arquimedes Figuera and sidestepping Dani Hernandez before slotting home.

But despite all that, Venezuela did play well. Salomon Rondon slightly misses the mark with a header. Then their true pain in the game came as Argentina keeper Sergio Romero tripped Josef Martinez in the box.

One goal could have put them back in contention, but Luis Manuel Seijas committed the mistake of chipping the ball down the middle. Romero merely has to wait as the ball floated gently into his arms.

Messi then strengthened the Argentinan lead, running into a Nicolas Gaitan pass right outside the 6 yard box for a tap-in. Venezuela got their consolation from a Rondon header before Messi assists Erik Lamela for Argentina’s fourth.

“For us to be back in another semi-final of a big tournament like this one is a great achievement for these players,” Messi said after the match.

“I’m happy for what it means and it’s nice to be next to ‘Batigol’ (Batistuta),” he added about his new goal tally for Argentina. “But for me the most important thing is the result.”

Final Euro group match round up: results and match predictions

Published by:

Group A (Result)

France vs Switzerland (0-0)

Romania vs Albania (0-1)

Final Euro group match round up results and match predictions

Armando Sadiku’s goal for Albania in the first half was enough for them to defeat and overtake Romania in the group standings and possibly progress the Eagles through to the playoff stages of Euro 2016.

Their first win after two consecutive losses came at the best time for the team. In truth, it was unfortunate for such a hardworking and robust team to have played two matches and nothing to show for.

But then came Sadiku, who scored with a header on a well-placed cross – and won the match for a deserved side.

In the other group match, France and Switzerland played to a goalless draw, resulting in France topping group A and the Swiss following them through to the knockout stages.

Group Standings

TeamPWD LGDPts
1.France321037
2.Switzerland312015
3.Albania3102-23
4.Romania3012-21

Group B (Matches and Predictions)

Wales vs Russia (1-0)

England vs Slovakia (2-0)

b

Wales and Gareth Bale will face Russia after their late defeat to England, playing for at least a draw that could carry them out into the knockout stages.

Russia, currently holding just one point, could go out early should they rely on their usual style of football. In any case, one can’t quite picture Wales being out early after their spirited performances.

Meanwhile, England looks to top their group after their late comeback win, but Roy Hodgson is gambling with their prospects against Slovakia.

The manager is prepared to leave captain Wayne Rooney out as part eight changes made to the team as they keenly wait for what could be a decider match in Group B.

Group Standings

TeamPWD LGDPts
1.England211014
2.Wales210103
3.Slovakia210103
4.Russia2011-11

 

LeBron James leads Cavaliers to NBA title victory

Published by:

Cleveland native LeBron James brings home their first NBA Championship title as the Cavaliers won a tense NBA grand final in the Oracle Arena, beating the Golden State Warriors by 93 to 89.

The achievement by LeBron is all the more unimaginable when considers that the last time a Cleveland team ever won anything major was when the Cleveland Browns won the NFL championship in December 27, 1964.

The 4-time NBA MVP dominated the playoff series even as the Cavaliers were pushed to a brink at 3-1. 32 other teams who had fallen to that score in the Finals were never able to make a comeback, but LeBron made sure his team did.

Even if he was in the same court as reigning MVP Steph Curry, when things mattered, LeBron and the Cavs outplayed and outgunned the greatest regular-season team.

There was no question that the Warriors would have solidified their place in NBA history, but this just wasn’t their time; even their entire home-supporting yellow crowd looked dazed and defeated.

James won 27 points, 11 rebounds, 11 assists, and as the game ties 89-89 with one minute left, his teammate Kyrie Irving made one from downtown to pull ahead gradually into the one of the most improbable titles in NBA history.

Irving finished next to LeBron with 26 points, and the Cavaliers formed a raucous mob at the buzzer, mixed with every emotion ranging from ecstasy, disbelief, relief, all at once.

Even as neither team could find any separation until the closing moments, Draymond Green had 32 points, 15 rebounds and 9 assists for the Warriors, and Stephen Curry had 17 points but shot just 6 of 19 from the field. Curry also missed one vital shot in the final minute that could have tied the game.

And with that, the Warriors were unable to top off their record-breaking regular season with a championship, while the Cavaliers revel in, how far they’ve come and what they’ve achieved, which, as underdog victories go, may take some time.