Lewis Hamilton said he feared he might not make it home when a last lap puncture almost derailed his charge to a record seventh British Grand Prix victory on Sunday. “I didn’t think I would make it round the last two corners,” the world champion said. The front left tire of his Mercedes had delaminated and deflated on his final lap, leaving the six-time world champion to nurse his vehicle to the finish as second-placed Max Verstappen hunted him down. “I just can’t believe it,” Hamilton said. “It was heart-stopping. I backed off and stayed chilled and was so glad it happened on the straight — not on a high-speed corner like Copse. That would have been a disaster.” Hamilton claimed a record seventh home win — passing Alain Prost’s total of six home wins in France — to increase his career total to 87, four short of Michael Schumacher’s record of 91. He also passed Ayrton Senna’s record of most races led from start to finish with his 20th lights-to-flag victory, but he said that it was a race finish like nothing he had experienced before. “Up until that last lap everything was relatively smooth sailing,” Hamilton said. Teammate “Valtteri [Bottas] was really pushing incredibly hard; I was doing some management of the tires. Then, when I heard his went, I looked at mine and it seemed fine.” “In the last few laps, I started to back off and then on the last lap it deflated. That was a real heart-in-the-mouth moment,” he said. “You could see it falling off the rim. From then, I was just managing it, and I was just praying to get round and not be too slow,” Hamilton said. “I have definitely never experienced anything like that on the last lap and my heart nearly stopped.” “I could hear him [Verstappen] catching me.
Taiwan Steel on Sunday grabbed three points with a narrow 1-0 win against Hang Yuan FC, to move into the No. 2 spot on the Taiwan Football Premier League (TFPL) log, while Taipower FC beat NTUS 2-0 to maintain first place. Taking advantage early in the match of opposition defenders who had not yet settled down, Taiwan Steel’s attacking trio of Wu Chun-ching, Marc Fenelus from the Turks and Caicos Islands, and Benchy Astama from Haiti pushed forward with good passes. After only one minute of play, Fenelus dribbled from the right flank, feeding a short pass inside the penalty area to Astama, who slotted the ball into the net past goalkeeper Huang Chiu-lin. It was Astama’s eighth goal of the season, and he is now third on the TFPL scoring chart. Hang Yuan had supporters egging them on, as they were playing at home at Fu Jen Catholic University in New Taipei City, and still had plenty of time left for an equalizer. However, time and again, after launching an attack the forwards and attacking midfielders failed to link up passes, and took too many touches in the opposition’s final third. Taiwan Steel’s defending line was anchored by centerhalf Su Te-tsai and Taiwan national squad regular Chen Wei-chuan. They received help from Russian midfielder Alim Zumakulov and Astama, who often moved back to snuff out threats. Both teams had been improving performance-wise, and both were going on a three-win streak, but it was Taiwan Steel who took the spoils by maintaining their 1-0 lead until the final whistle. Taipower recorded another win at their home ground in Kaohsiung over NTUS, with in-form striker Lee Hsiang-wei scoring a brace in the first half, to equal Astama’s at eight goals for the season. In other games, Taichung Futuro defeated Red Lions FC 3-2 at home, with Li Mao and Chiang
Russell Westbrook on Sunday scored 31 points and James Harden added 24 to rally the Houston Rockets over NBA overall leaders Milwaukee Bucks 120-116, despite a big night for Giannis Antetokounmpo. The Bucks led 112-104 after Khris Middleton’s three-pointer with three minutes, 14 seconds to play, but Houston closed the game with a 16-4 run. “It’s amazing,” Westbrook said. “We fought through. Adversity showed up and we showed off. All the guys in our locker room showed up to play for 48 minutes.” The Rockets went 21-of-61 from three-point range, matching an NBA record for the most three-point attempts by a club in a non-overtime game, with Danuel House hitting four and Harden among five other players who landed three from outside the arc. “You have to make the right reads and trust your teammates and that’s what I tried to do all night long,” Westbrook said. The Rockets also rallied from seven points down in the final minute to defeat the Dallas Mavericks on Friday. Westbrook, on a career-best run of 36 consecutive games with 20 or more points, hit 10-of-21 from the floor, 1-of-3 from beyond the arc, and 10-of-12 free throws. Harden had six steals, seven rebounds and seven assists. “We’ve got to keep executing at the end of close games,” Antetokounmpo said. “We weren’t able to do that. We’ve got to find the open man and hit more shots.” In other games on Sunday, it was: ‧ Celtics 128, Trail Blazers 124 ‧ Nets 118, Wizards 110 ‧ Magic 132, Kings 116 ‧ Spurs 108, Grizzlies 106 ‧ Suns 117, Mavericks 115
Going shopping was a top priority for Taylor Jenkins when he was first hired as coach of the Memphis Grizzlies. The man needed suits. NBA sidelines tend to look like fashion runways these days, with coaches in tailored suits, sharp ties and polished dress shoes, so Jenkins went out and bought appropriately for his first chance at being a head coach. However, at the restart of the season at Walt Disney World, the dress code has been relaxed to allow golf shirts, slacks and even sneakers — and coaches are thankful. Jenkins is among them, although he said that spending spree is not helping him much now. “I spent quite a bit of money picking out my wardrobe — first-time head coach — so I’ve invested quite a bit there to quote-unquote look good on the sidelines,” Jenkins said. At least he will be saving on dry cleaning for the foreseeable future. By league rule, male “coaches and assistant coaches must wear a sport coat or suit coat” during games. However, that rule was ditched for the restart, where there are no fans in the stands and games are played at the Walt Disney World resort near Orlando — where midday temperatures exceeding 32°C are not uncommon at this time of year. Coaches are mixing it up: short-sleeved golf shirts, long-sleeved gold shirts, some in team colors, some in bright colors. When Toronto beat the Los Angeles Lakers on Saturday night, Raptors coach Nick Nurse was wearing a thin hoodie with a message printed on the front encouraging people to vote. “I love it,” Denver coach Michael Malone said. “I hope that someday we adopt these dress code rules. Although I look very good in a suit and tie, I will admit, I’m also very, very comfortable wearing a Nuggets polo and a pair of TravisMathew athletic
US Lecce were on Sunday relegated from Serie A after one season in the top flight as a dramatic season on and off the pitch came to a close in Italy. Fabio Liverani’s side lost 4-3 at home to mid-table Parma, but would have dropped down to Serie B even if they had won as relegation rivals Genoa thumped Hellas Verona 3-0 in a match that saw four red cards, including one for Verona coach Ivan Juric. Lecce, who drop down to Serie B after finishing 17th, were a point behind Genoa going into the final round of matches and needed to beat Parma and hope Genoa failed to win against Verona to stay in the top division. However, unfortunate Lecce defender Fabio Lucioni made his team’s task harder after just 10 minutes when he bundled the ball into his own goal after Hernani’s shot thumped out off the post. Gianluca Caprari then doubled the away side’s lead 13 minutes later when he lashed home a superb first-time finish after being fed by Hernani. Seconds later, Antonio Sanabria scored the second of his two goals for Genoa to put the hosts 2-0 up against Verona at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris, effectively ending Lecce’s hopes of a final day miracle. Entertaining Lecce did not give up though and two quick goals put them level, Antonin Barak heading them back into the game in the 40th minute before Biagio Meccariello equalized with another bullet header just before the break. However, by that time Genoa were three goals ahead and as good as safe thanks to Cristian Romero’s own beautifully-placed header. Andreas Cornelius then put Parma back ahead six minutes after the restart when he tapped in Antonino Barilla’s low cross, before Barilla then provided another perfect pass for Roberto Inglese to re-establish Parma’s two-goal lead in the 66th minute. That was
Aaron Judge hit his second homer of the game with two outs in the eighth inning, helping the New York Yankees complete a three-game sweep of the Boston Red Sox with a 9-7 victory on Sunday night at Yankee Stadium. Judge hit a three-run homer in the second off Matt Hall and then hit the decisive homer when he hammered a 2-0 curveball from Matt Barnes (0-1) over the visiting bullpen and into the left-center field bleachers to give the Yankees a 9-7 lead. Judge’s 468-foot (142.6m) drive occurred three pitches after D.J. LeMahieu hit a game-tying single that scored Mike Tauchman, who singled and stole second base. Judge homered for a career-high fifth straight game. He became the first Yankee to homer in five straight games since Alex Rodriguez did so in September 2007. Luke Voit also homered, while Gio Urshela and Gary Sanchez contributed RBI doubles as the Yankees ran their winning streak to six games. The Red Sox took a 7-6 lead with two outs in the seventh on a homer by Rafael Devers off Michael King. Xander Bogaerts enjoyed a big night for the Red Sox with a pair of homers while tying a career high with four hits. He hit a two-run homer four batters into the game off James Paxton and then slugged a solo drive in the fifth off King. Bogaerts finished with his eighth career multihomer game. The shortstop also produced at least four hits for the 16th time in his career. Devers also had an RBI single in Boston’s three-run third off Paxton and scored on a fielding error by left fielder Miguel Andujar, who misplayed a single by Bogaerts. Christian Vazquez added an RBI single for the Red Sox, who scored more than five runs for the second time this season, but fell to 1-10 in their last 11
IS IT ENOUGH? After the captain dropped the cup, head coach Mikel Arteta promised him ‘more experience with trophies,’ saying that he hopes he will not be lured away
Arsenal head coach Mikel Arteta hopes that captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will stay to lead the Gunners to more success after scoring twice to beat Chelsea 2-1 in the FA Cup final on Saturday. Aubameyang dropped the trophy before lifting his first piece of silverware since moving to English football from Borussia Dortmund two and a half years ago. Victory secured Arsenal’s place in the UEFA Europa League next season, as they risked missing out on European football for the first time in 25 years after finishing eighth in the Premier League. However, with Aubameyang facing another season without UEFA Champions League soccer and just one year left on his contract with Arsenal, the Gabon international has been linked with a move away this summer. “He needs more experience with trophies. We can get him used to that,” said Arteta, joking after Aubameyang’s mishap with the trophy lift. “He knows what I think about him; I want to build a squad around him,” Arteta said. “I think he wants to stay. It is about getting the deal done. I think moments like that will help to realize and give him belief that we are in the right path and he is a big part of it.” Arteta also played his part to win a trophy in his first season in a senior managerial role after Chelsea made a blistering start in the eerie surroundings of an empty Wembley Stadium. The Blues had already achieved their primary goal from head coach Frank Lampard’s first season in charge by securing a place in next season’s Champions League last weekend, and started confidently as Christian Pulisic’s composed finish opened the scoring just five minutes in. “We started well for 10 to 15 minutes, and we can only blame ourselves form that point,” Lampard said. “We got complacent, we took time on the
Lewis Hamilton smashed the track record twice on Saturday to grab a record seventh British Grand Prix pole position with a stunning performance in a tense qualifying session. Hamilton, who was looking to secure a record-increasing seventh Silverstone victory yesterday, finished ahead of his Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas by more than three-tenths of a second after the Finn had been fastest in final practice, and then again in both Q2 and Q3 when he also set lap records. The defending six-time champion and current series leader bounced back from a ragged performance, including a spin, in the first parts of qualifying to claim his 65th pole with Mercedes and the record-increasing 91st of his career. It was also a record eighth successive Mercedes pole success in Britain on a day when they were clear of their nearest rivals, Red Bull, by a full second, Max Verstappen taking third place on the grid ahead of Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc. Rising British star Lando Norris, 20, was fifth for McLaren ahead of Lance Stroll in Racing Point’s ‘pink Mercedes,’ Carlos Sainz in the second McLaren, Daniel Ricciardo and his Renault teammate Esteban Oconm and Sebastian Vettel, who was 10th for Ferrari. “This track is awesome, but it is tough out there — with the winds, it is like juggling balls on a moving plate,” Hamilton said. “I had a spin, and as you know qualifying is all about confidence, and I was struggling in the first sectors of every lap, but I took some deep breaths, composed myself and in Q3 I had a clear lap, and the second one was even better.” “It still isn’t perfect, but it never gets old,” he added. He said that it was strange to drive without any fans in the circuit. “Usually, it’s all sirens, flags and smoke and the atmosphere
The Chicago Blackhawks and the Montreal Canadiens, with the fewest wins of any NHL playoff teams, ignited the rink returning from a COVID-19 hiatus with upset triumphs in Saturday openers. NHL Rookie of the Year candidate Dominik Kubalik inspired the Blackhawks to a 6-4 victory over the Edmonton Oilers in game one of their best-of-five qualifying series at Edmonton, Alberta, scoring two goals and assisting on three others. “We were ready to go, and I think the game was pretty good,” Kubalik said. “I felt pretty good and everything went my way, so it’s nice, but it’s just the first game, so we’ve got to keep going.” Montreal’s Jeff Petry scored with six minutes, three seconds remaining in overtime to give the Canadiens a 3-2 win over Pittsburgh in their opener at Toronto after each team had missed a late penalty shot. Other playoff games on the first day of the NHL’s return from a March 12 COVID-19 shutdown saw the Carolina Hurricanes edge the New York Rangers 3-2, the New York Islanders beat the Florida Panthers 2-1 and the Calgary Flames defeat the Winnipeg Jets 4-1. Edmonton is the Western Conference hub city and Toronto the Eastern Conference hub city for quarantine bubbles being used to help safeguard NHL players from the novel coronavirus, which halted the campaign with three weeks remaining in the season. A dozen teams from each conference are in the playoffs, the top four season finishers in each city playing one another to determine seeding order for the first round of the playoffs. The other eight clubs in each conference meet in qualifying best-of-five matchups to decide the other four teams that will reach the first round of the best-of-seven playoffs. At Toronto, Montreal’s Carey Price made 39 saves for the 12th-seeded Canadiens to stun the fifth-seeded Penguins. Pittsburgh’s Conor Sheary missed wide
The Auckland Blues maintained their outside chance of claiming New Zealand’s Super Rugby Aotearoa title with a 32-21 victory over a hard-finishing Otago Highlanders in Dunedin yesterday. They led 32-16 after 55 minutes and then produced a gritty defence to hold off the desperate Highlanders who controlled the final quarter and threw everything at the visitors. Blues captain Paddy Tuipulotu summed up the game as “a real nail-biter,” and rated it as one of his side’s best performances in their late charge for the championship. “I think it was. Coming down to the last five minutes it was really close points-wise,” he said. “We had to dig in deep with our D [defense] and it was good for us to hang our hat on the D and get the win.” However, after disposing of the Highlanders, the Blues now need the Otago club to do them a favor and beat the table-topping Canterbury Crusaders next weekend. A Crusaders win would give them the title with a week to spare, but an upset Highlanders victory would set up a final-round decider between the Blues and the Crusaders at Eden Park in Auckland. Following the bonus-point victory against the Highlanders the Blues trail the Crusaders by two points, although they have a bye next weekend. Against the Highlanders they scored four tries in the first half, but were left frustrated when they were denied a fifth after Dalton Papalii galloped 70m to the try line from an intercept. The try was disallowed after the referee ruled that a prone Karl Tu’inukuafe impeded play when Highlanders scrumhalf Aaron Smith tripped over him as the Highlanders scrambled to retain possession before the intercept. The Blues produced a rollicking start with tries to standout backrower Akira Ioane and Finlay Christie in the opening 10 minutes. Once the Highlanders settled, they gained momentum
SNOOKER Bingham plays blame game Stuart Bingham blamed sanitized snooker balls for his struggle to get over the line against qualifier Ashley Carty in an empty arena at the World Snooker Championship on Saturday. The former world champion, who had fashioned a 5-4 lead in the opening session in front of a handful of fans at Sheffield’s Crucible Theatre on Friday, went on to win 10-7. He then became the first player to wrap up victory since fans were belatedly barred after a change of government policy on test events for spectators. The World Snooker Tour said there are no additional protocols in place with regard to cleaning the balls. “I felt lost with the table and the balls. I don’t know whether they had been sanitized,” Bingham said. “I played a red near the green pocket, and screwed back past the blue pocket — I’ve never done that in my life, but it is what it is, and if it’s sanitized, you’ve just got to get on with it.” CRICKET Bairstow speeds up win A “revved up” Jonny Bairstow put the disappointment of his Test axe behind him as he equaled the England record for the fastest one-day international 50 during the world champions’ four-wicket, series-clinching win over Ireland in Saturday’s second one-day international in Southampton, England. Bairstow’s 21-ball half-century equaled skipper Eoin Morgan’s mark against Australia in Nottingham two years ago, and he went on to make a dashing 82. Player of the match Bairstow told Sky Sports: “Sometimes I just need a bit of a rev up every now and again, whether that be picking a fight with something on the field or external motivators.” England won with more than 17 overs remaining after earlier holding Ireland to 212-9. SOCCER Howe quits Bournemouth Eddie Howe on Saturday left his job as AFC Bournemouth manager by
LEAVING IT LATE: Rakuten added late runs last night to add to wins on Wednesday against the Brothers and the Lions on Friday that went down to the last batter
The Rakuten Monkeys rallied to post three late runs for another close win, prevailing 5-3 over the Uni-President Lions yesterday as Taiwan’s second-half CPBL season got started with lower scoring output, but exciting finishes. It was Rakuten’s third win in a row. In two games this week, they seized victory in dramatic fashion with their last at-bat and have drawn level with the CTBC Brothers on top of the table after yesterday’s results, 0.5 games in front of the Fubon Guardians and 1.5 games ahead of the Lions. It was tied at 1-1 early, with Rakuten hosting the Lions at the Taoyuan Intenational Stadium yesterday. The visitors piled on two runs in the top of fourth to go ahead 3-1, but in the bottom of the inning, Rakuten first baseman Chen “My Show” Chun-hsiu blasted a solo homer to close the gap to run. Shut down by stellar pitching on both sides, the scoreline remained the same through to the seventh frame, when Rakuten designated hitter Lin “Chubby Kid” Hong-yi slapped a single to get on base. Liao Chien-fu in the next at-bat drilled the ball over the right-field fence for a two-run homer, giving his team their first lead at 4-3. In the bottom of eighth, Chen drove another run in with a sacrifice fly to make it 5-3 for the home side. Closer Chen Yu-hsun got the call at the top of ninth. He had control problems, issuing a walk and a single to the Lions, but got a fly-out and struck out two to record his seventh save. In the other game last night, the Brothers left it even later with a run in the 10th inning to edge the Guardians 3-2 at the Taichung Intercontinental Stadium. After trading early runs, it was tied at 2-2 without further scoring through to the regulation ninth inning, with the
Pablo Sarabia scored the winning penalty in a shoot-out as Paris Saint-Germain warmed up for the Champions League by defeating Olympique Lyonnais in Friday’s Coupe de la Ligue final to claim another domestic treble. The Spaniard’s successful kick came after Keylor Navas saved from Bertrand Traore and allowed PSG to win 6-5 on penalties after the game at the Stade de France finished 0-0 at the end of extra time. The victory came a week after PSG beat AS Saint-Etienne 1-0 in the Coupe de France final, the first competitive match on French soil since the COVID-19 shutdown. They had previously been awarded the Ligue 1 title by virtue of being top when the season was ended in April with 10 rounds of matches unplayed because of the pandemic. Before penalties, Thomas Tuchel’s team had the better of a terse final on a sweaty night, but they badly missed the injured Kylian Mbappe. The masked France superstar watched from the stands as Lyon kept PSG at bay for two hours before having Brazilian defender Rafael sent off for chopping down Angel di Maria on the edge of the box late in extra time. Mbappe was injured in last week’s final, sustaining a sprained ankle that looks likely to rule him out of the Champions League quarter-final against Atalanta BC in Lisbon on Aug. 12. PSG are desperate for tangible success in Europe, but on this evidence they still have some rust to shake off before being ready for that test. “We suffered, but it’s beautiful to win at the end. We will celebrate this and then tomorrow we will start to think about another big match,” Marco Verratti told France 2 television. This is the Qatar-owned club’s fourth treble in the past six years, but the Coupe de la Ligue, an unloved competition, will be discontinued next season. COVID-19
The Canterbury Crusaders bounced back from a loss last week with a ruthless 32-19 victory over the Waikato Chiefs in Super Rugby Aotearoa yesterday to be on the verge of sealing the title. Poor discipline by the Crusaders allowed the Chiefs to stay in touch with a string of penalties in the first 60 minutes, but as they so often do, the Crusaders pulled away in the final quarter, although with a question mark over one of their late tries. The Super Rugby champions for the past three seasons until the COVID-19 pandemic brought this year’s competition to a halt, they need only one more win with two games to play to claim the New Zealand domestic title. A week ago, after a loss to the Wellington Hurricanes, there were questions about how the Crusaders would handle defeat. “We had a real honest review, looked in the mirror and said we didn’t front up last week and knew what we were coming up here for,” captain Codie Taylor said. “I’m just really proud we came up here and put on a good show. It was a hell of an arm wrestle and a couple opportunities we took and that’s what it’s about.” While the Crusaders have played six and won five, the Chiefs have played and lost seven. “It hurts,” captain Sam Cane said, listing a yellow card just before halftime and a disputed second-half try as key moments. “We’ll look at those two moments and how we can better, but credit to the Crusaders, it was a tough battle.” The Crusaders outscored the Chiefs five tries to one, but they conceded 13 penalties with Damian McKenzie kicking four to keep the Chiefs in touch. Tom Sanders and Will Jordan scored the first two tries as the Crusaders raced to a 12-0 lead. The Chiefs opened their account by
Renault yesterday broke an overnight curfew to fix Daniel Ricciardo’s car ahead of final practice and qualifying for the British Formula One Grand Prix. The team said that they had detected a hairline fracture on the chassis after Friday’s two practice sessions at Silverstone and the Australian will have a new chassis for the rest of the weekend. No action was taken by stewards because the curfew breach was the first of two allowed under the rules and Ricciardo faces no penalty. The Australian, 11th overall after three races without spectators due to the COVID-19 pandemic, was ninth-fastest in the second practice. Nico Hulkenberg was seventh after being called up by Racing Point to replace Sergio Perez, who tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday.
Gymnastics New Zealand has launched “urgent inquiries” into allegations of systemic psychological and physical abuse of its athletes, media reports said. Stuff Media and the New Zealand Herald yesterday reported that club and elite gymnasts had complained of being verbally abused, body-shamed or forced to train while injured. Stuff Media reported that a number had developed long-standing injuries, eating disorders or dependence on painkillers because of their treatment, with complaints going back as far as the 1990s. Gymnastics NZ chief executive Tony Compier told Stuff that it has launched “urgent inquiries” into the allegations. “Gymnastics NZ is not aware of any of the specific allegations, however we would deeply regret any athlete being treated in a way that made them feel bullied or unsafe,” Compier was quoted as saying. “We do not in any way condone body-shaming, physical, emotional or mental abuse, or pressure put on athletes with regards to food and weight, or performing whilst injured.” Stuff and the Herald said that Gymnastics NZ had set up an anonymous complaints procedure and urged anyone affected to use it to raise any concerns. The reports came a day after Sports NZ, the governing body for sport in the country, said it would launch new measures to safeguard children in sport. The initiatives grew out of their investigation last year into the integrity of all sports in the country, where they looked at bullying and harassment. The mistreatment of gymnasts has been in the spotlight since last month’s release of Netflix documentary Athlete A, based on a newspaper investigation into the abuse of US athletes that led to the jailing of team doctor Larry Nassar. In recent weeks, British and Australian gymnastics authorities have also launched inquiries.
D-BACKS BREAK OUT: A three-run double in the eighth, when they were trailing 3-2, by Christian Walker helped Arizona rally past the LA Dodgers
Houston Astros manager Dusty Baker will take any wins he can get, even if they provide some anxiety. The Astros had a season-high 13 hits in their 9-6 victory over the Los Angeles Angels on Friday, but it was far from a picturesque opening to their 10-game road trip. Six Houston pitchers issued 12 walks, but the defense turned three double plays and responded to Angels’ rallies with response runs. “Right now we are scuffling for victories. That was a tough one all the way down to the end. I’m just glad we were able to come out on top,” said Baker of the 4 hour, 21 minute game, the longest nine-innings contest in Astros and Angels Stadium history. Kyle Tucker had three hits and a career-high four RBIs for the Astros, who snapped a two-game losing streak after starting the season 3-1. Tucker, the fifth overall pick in the 2015 draft, is getting a chance to be a regular in the lineup with Yordan Alvarez out due to an undisclosed injury. Tucker put Houston on the board with a two-run double in the second. With the Astros leading 6-4 in the seventh, he put the game away with a two-run single to right. “I found a couple holes tonight, which was good,” he said. In Phoenix, Arizona, Christian Walker hit a three-run double in the eighth inning as the Arizona Diamondbacks broke out of their offensive funk to rally past the Los Angeles Dodgers 5-3. “I know what this team has been going through and how hard they’ve been playing, so come through and be there for my teammates meant a lot to me,” Walker said. The Diamondbacks labored through the first seven innings, scoring one run on five hits. Trailing 3-2 in the eighth, Arizona loaded the bases against Blake Treinen (0-1) and Walker lined a double
Baseball is one of several sports seeking a slice of the huge Indian market and its similarity with cricket, often called a religion in the country of 1.4 billion, could give it a head start, MLB officials hope. MLB spent about 15 years studying the market before opening a sixth international office in New Delhi last year and was encouraged by the throwing, hitting and catching techniques that link America’s pastime and India’s obsession. “Cricket is such a big sport here. So catching, throwing and swing of the bat come very naturally,” said Ryo Takahashi, who heads MLB’s business and commercial operations in India. “The sheer size of this country, the population — to be able to hook India to baseball, that definitely boosts the sport worldwide.” Takahashi, perhaps wisely, said that the plan was not to try to supplant cricket in India. “We’re not trying to bring baseball as an alternative, or as a replacement, by any means,” he said. “Anything new, whether it’s music or restaurants, it’s exciting. So new sport is something that might resonate. Within that, if there’s some sort of familiarity, it’s easier for people to relate. I think it’s a good mix, it’s a perfect mix.” The NBA, which opened an office in India in 2011, staged two pre-season games in Mumbai in October last year. MLB, which has previously played games in Mexico, Japan and Australia, made a foray into Europe last year when the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox took their rivalry to London. Takahashi said it would be premature to do something similar in India, where MLB has attracted more than 30,000 school students in 320 workshops since opening its office. “We eventually want to get there. I don’t think the demand is here yet, so it wouldn’t make sense to suddenly do that,” he said. The league
Giannis Antetokounmpo converted a tiebreaking three-point play with 1 minute, 28 seconds left on an overturned call that kept him in the game and helped the Milwaukee Bucks beat the Boston Celtics 119-112 on Friday night. Antetokounmpo had 36 points, 15 rebounds and seven assists in the Bucks’ first game in the restart. Milwaukee improved the NBA’s best record to 54-12 and moved within a victory of clinching the top seed in the Eastern Conference for the second straight year. Boston overcame a poor start to tie it at 107. Antetokounmpo was then called for a charging foul, appearing to negate his basket and giving him a sixth foul. The call was changed to a blocking foul on Boston’s Marcus Smart after review, and Antetokounmpo made the free throw to make it 110-107. Khris Middleton then knocked down a three-pointer for a six-point advantage. Middleton added 18 points for the Bucks, who played without Eric Bledsoe and Pat Connaughton while they work on their conditioning after testing positive for COVID-19. Marvin Williams sat out with a strained left groin. Smart scored 23 points for the Celtics and Jaylen Brown had 22, but star forward Jayson Tatum had a nightmarish restart. He had five points on 2-for-18 shooting, although he actually only made one basket. Kemba Walker scored 16 points, but played just 19 minutes as the Celtics look to keep the All-Star guard healthy after he has been battling a sore knee. ROCKETS 153, MAVERICKS 149 James Harden scored 49 points and the Houston Rockets outlasted the Dallas Mavericks in overtime in their first game in the NBA bubble. Harden made one of two free throws before Trey Burke made a three-pointer to get the Mavericks within three with about 15 seconds left in overtime. Harden made one of two free throws after that, Burke missed a three and Harden
The Orlando Magic’s Jonathan Isaac stood alone among the players for the US national anthem ahead of his team’s clash with the Brooklyn Nets on Friday, saying that “the answers to all of the world’s problems, not only racism, is the true gospel of Jesus Christ.” In Thursday’s opening games at the NBA restart in Orlando, all of the players and coaches dropped to one knee in a silent demonstration during the anthem. Magic and Nets players followed suit on Friday as the Star-Spangled Banner was played, but Isaac did not. Instead, Isaac stood alone wearing his Magic jersey amid his teammates, who wore “black lives matter” T-shirts. At a news conference after Orlando won 128-118, a reporter asked Isaac if he believes that black lives matter. “I believe that black lives matter. A lot went in my decision. I just felt that kneeling or wearing a black lives matter T-shirt don’t go hand-in-hand with supporting black lives,” Isaac said. “I believe that my life has been supported through the gospel, Jesus Christ, and that everyone is made in the image of God, and we all fall short of God’s glory. And each and everyone of us do things we shouldn’t do and say things we shouldn’t say, we dislike people that we shouldn’t hate and dislike.” “When you look around, racism isn’t the only thing that plagues our society, plagues our nation, plagues our world. So I felt like coming together on that message, not only racism, but everything that plagues our society, I feel our answer to it is the gospel,” he said. San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich also stood while players and coaches on the Spurs and Sacramento Kings knelt during the anthem. Popovich said that his reason for standing was personal and he did not want to disclose it. “I prefer to keep that