US suffer second loss in as many days at World Cup

Serbia’s Bogdan Bogdanovic up against the US double team of Kemba Walker and Myles Turner. (Reuters)
Updated 13 September 2019

US suffer second loss in as many days at World Cup

DONGGUAN: Deposed champions the US lost 94-89 to Serbia in a dead-rubber at the Basketball World Cup on Thursday, a day after surrendering their 13-year unbeaten run.

A young Team USA made up of second-tier NBA stars were defeated 89-79 in the quarterfinals by France on Wednesday, bringing a premature close to their World Cup defense.

More significantly, it was the reigning world and Olympic champions’ first defeat in a major competition since the semifinals of the 2006 World Cup.

Thursday’s “classification” game in Dongguan was the final that never was: The holders against the favorites.

The US were headed for a humiliating second loss in as many days, down a scarcely believable 32-7 after the first quarter.

The Americans, who have already qualified for next summer’s Tokyo Olympics, failed to score a point during one barren five-minute period.

A rout was on the cards for Serbia, whose tournament also came to a surprise quarterfinal end, at the hands of Argentina.

The Americans’ 70-year-old coach Gregg Popovich chewed his lip and brooded.

But the US fought back in the second quarter and reduced the deficit to just four points at half-time.

Going into the fourth quarter, Serbia —  led once more by the Sacramento Kings’ Bogdan Bogdanovic — were only three points ahead.

But with nothing but pride to play for, the US comeback fell narrowly short. They have another classification match on Saturday.

Bogdanovic, who has been one of the players of the tournament, led all scoring with 28 points.

For the Americans, Harrison Barnes had 22 points. In Friday’s semifinals, Spain play Australia and France take on Argentina.


Davis master class as Lakers sink Jazz to clinch top spot

Updated 05 August 2020

Davis master class as Lakers sink Jazz to clinch top spot

  • It was the 20th time Davis has scored 20 points or more in the first half as a Laker, the first player from the franchise to achieve that feat since Kobe Bryant

ORLANDO, Florida: Anthony Davis scored 42 points as the Los Angeles Lakers clinched top seeding in the Western Conference on Monday with a 116-108 victory over the Utah Jazz.

Stung by the defeat to the Toronto Raptors on Saturday, the Lakers roared back in impressive fashion to overpower a talented Utah lineup.

The win sealed top spot in the West for the Lakers for the first time since 2010, when the late Kobe Bryant would go on to lead the team to the NBA Finals crown.

On Monday, Davis stamped his class on the contest with a hefty points tally as well as coming up with 12 rebounds, four assists and three steals.

LeBron James finished with 22 points and nine assists as the Lakers finally pulled away from a stubborn Utah side.

“All the stuff we’ve been through this season, to clinch No.1 in the West means a lot but we’re not finished,” Davis said.

“It’s just one of the milestones of many to get to where we want to be.”

Davis’s points haul included 23 in the first half alone.

It was the 20th time Davis has scored 20 points or more in the first half as a Laker, the first player from the franchise to achieve that feat since Bryant, who died in a helicopter crash in January.

“To be in a category with him means a lot,” Davis said. “I know he’s looking down on us, cheering us on.”

Elsewhere on Monday, Fred VanVleet scored a career-high 36 points as the Toronto Raptors dug deep to defeat the Miami Heat 107-103 in their Eastern Conference clash.

VanVleet led the scoring for the Raptors with a haul that included seven three-pointers from 12 attempts as Toronto improved to 48-18 to remain in second place in the East.

VanVleet also made a big contribution defensively for the Raptors, forcing a deflection of a Jimmy Butler pass later on that denied Miami an opportunity for a game-tying score. VanVleet finished with four turnovers.

It was an all-round display that left Raptors coach Nick Nurse purring with pleasure after the victory.

“What makes his defense unique is that he doesn’t look very fast out there, but his lateral side-to-side speed and the way he can move his feet is incredible, it’s deceiving,” Nurse said of VanVleet.

Also on Monday, Nikola Jokic had a triple-double as the Denver Nuggets overpowered the Oklahoma City Thunder in a 121-113 overtime victory.

Jokic finished with 30 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists in a stellar performance for Denver, who improved to 44-23 with the win.

The Nuggets remain third in the Western Conference standings behind the Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers.