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Saturday, 16-Mar-2013 02:36 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Mighty Ducks soar into the semifinals

It was supposed to be the Stephon Marbury show.
Instead, it became the Randolph Morris and Ji Zhe Variety Hour.
If the path the Beijing Ducks took was unexpected, Wholesale Sports Snapback Hats the result was anything but.
Despite a somewhat disappointing three games from star guard Marbury, the Ducks swept the Zhejiang Lions, 3-0, capping off the quarterfinal series with a 101-87 victory on Sunday night at Beijing's MasterCard Center.
A series that was supposed to come down to Marbury on one side and the Lions' muscle on the other became something else entirely — a showcase for Morris and the Ducks' young Chinese players Ji.
Things looked ugly for Beijing early, with the Lions jumping out to a 14-2 lead with 8:44 left in the first quarter.
But some timely jumpers from Ji helped the Ducks chip away and pull within 26-24 by the time the second quarter began, and by halftime, they had found their way to a 48-44 advantage.
Particularly disappointing for the Lions was their inability to take advantage of an enormous size advantage in the paint, with 2.22 meter center P.J. Ramos being held to a manageable 21 points and seven rebounds by the likes of Morris, Ji and any number of Ducks that Ramos outweighed by more pounds, kilograms or any other unit of measurement than one could possibly consider fair.
Morris, in particular, was nearly untouchable from the moment he entered the game, Oakland Athletics delivering a huge block under the basket on the Lions' first possession of the second quarter.
In what seems to have become his trademark, he answered every Zhejiang momentum-builder in kind. A Ramos 15-foot-jumper was immediately returned on the next possession. So too a Zhang Yongpeng two-handed dunk in the third quarter that was answered with a two-hander of swift and vicious authority. It all added up to 38 points, 10 rebounds and a trip to the semifinals.
Ji had 12 points — eight of which came during an explosive first quarter — and six rebounds.
Marbury wasn't entirely absent, of course, contributing 18 points, 10 assists and five rebounds — much of which came in the fourth quarter, after Beijing had the game comfortably in hand. The fact the Ducks' best player averaged 13.3 points per game in the series, and they still swept, could portend good things for the remainder of the playoffs, provided Marbury finds his way back near the form that earned him the CBA Finals MVP award during the Ducks' championship run last season.
It was the second consecutive season the Lions were swept in the quarterfinals by the Ducks, who will face the No 2 Shandong Golden Lions in what figures to be a hard-fought Los Angeles Clippers semifinal series beginning next Sunday in Beijing.

Saturday, 16-Mar-2013 02:36 Email | Share | | Bookmark
An easy decision to make

Some decisions are difficult.
Last week, for instance, I spent an endless evening awaiting death on a bathroom floor in Thailand.
It was food poisoning, of course, the horrifying strain reserved Trukfit Snapback Hats for tourists stupid enough to eat eggs that have been sitting out all morning in the hotel buffet.
I'll spare you the details, but trust me when I say it was a bleak night.
When dawn broke, I was faced with a choice: Catch the Cambodia-bound bus I'd already paid for and risk 13 hours of staining myself and that bus with my sickness. Or, lose out on my considerable travel costs, and spend the day in bed recuperating while missing out on a trip I'd been planning for months.
That, I think, qualifies as a difficult decision.
Some decisions, on the other hand, are easy. Here's one.
The Chinese national basketball team is in desperate need of a good coach. More to the point, the side is in tatters, and requires a coach with a set of skills and experience so unique as to be theoretically nonexistent.
As it happens, he exists, and he's been minding his own business in Dongguan for the past four years.
So enough with the interminable search, Powers That Be —Mishka Snapbacks just hire Brian Goorjian and let him get on with the hard work of rebuilding the team.
If you're not familiar with Goorjian, he's coach of the CBA's Dongguan Leopards. Basketball-crazed owner Liang Zhibin granted him the rare opportunity to build the Leopards slowly, from the ground up, into what all involved hope will be a dynasty. Such patience is rarely granted in the CBA, but neither pedigrees nor personalities such as those possessed by Goorjian come to Chinese basketball very often.
The US native spent 20 years coaching in Australia, including seven as coach of the national team. He won six domestic league championships and led the Aussies to a ninth-place finish at the Athens Games and seventh in Beijing.
If you don't mind a bit of hyperbole, he's the Phil Jackson of the Asia-Pacific.
Goorjian isn't the kind of guy who's going to lobby for the job. He doesn't need to — the NBA has come knocking more than once — and he's been around long enough to know it's a hard gig.
But that's kind of what he likes about it.
&quot;It's a great job,&quot; Goorjian told me last week. &quot;I mean, I think it's a real tough time for Team China right now. It needs a total rebuild ... it's a high, high, high profile job, and you're starting from the ground floor.
&quot;I understand this side of the globe, and I've been in the league for four years, so if they came knocking at my door, I'd be in.&quot;
China is coming off an awful London Games. It went 0-5, and an ugly 0-5 at that. Which means whomever is hired will be tasked with scouring the country for a new crop of players, vetting them and whipping them into Olympic shape in 3 ½ years. And there are exactly zero foreign coaches — who aren't named Brian Goorjian —Milwaukee Bucks with successful international experience and comprehensive knowledge of the Chinese system, style, players and idiosyncrasies.

Saturday, 9-Mar-2013 05:59 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Six athletes fail drug tests taken at 2005 world championships

Six athletes, including the gold and silver medallists in the women's hammer, have failed retrospective drug tests of samples taken at the 2005 World Championships in Helsinki.
They include the Belarusian former Olympic and Wholesale Snapback Hats three-times world hammer champion Ivan Tsikhan and his compatriot Vadim Devyatovskiy, the 2005 silver medallist. The other athletes named were Andrei Mikhnevich and Nadzeya Ostapchuk from Belarus and Tatyana Kotova and Olga Kuzenkova of Russia. The adverse findings showed up as a result of the International Association of Athletics Federations' policy of retesting samples from previous championships in an effort to find substances that were impossible to test for at the time. Tsikhan won the gold medal in Helsinki, while Devyatovskiy took silver. They finished in the same order at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, lost their medals after doping tests but won appeals against the decision to the court of arbitration for sport.
Tsikhan did not compete at last year's London Games following a request by the IAAF. The shot putter Mikhnevich, the 2003 world champion, won an Olympic bronze medal in Beijing in 2008.
The long jumper Kotova was a bronze medallist at both the 2000 and 2004 Olympics and won three successive silver medals in the world championships, while Kuzenkova won hammer gold at the 2004 Olympics and the world championships in Helsinki. Ostapchuk was stripped of her London shot put gold medal last year after testing positive for a banned anabolic steroid.
Under the World Anti-Doping Agency's global anti-doping code, Angry Bird Snapbacks there is an eight-year statute of limitations within which samples can be re-tested. Under proposals due to be discussed later this year, from 2015 that period could be extended to 12 years in an attempt to provide even more of a deterrent.
&quot;The IAAF's message to cheaters is increasingly clear that, with constant advancements being made in doping detection, there is no place to hide,&quot; said the IAAF's president, Lamine Diack. &quot;This retesting is just the latest example of the IAAF's firm resolve to expose cheating in our sport. The IAAF will continue to do everything in its power to ensure the credibility of competition and, where the rules have been broken, will systematically uncover the cheats.&quot;
The results come against a backdrop of wide ranging concern about the scale of doping among Russian athletes. At present 33 current athletes are banned for doping offences and earlier this month the UK Athletics head coach, Peter Eriksson, said it was a worry in the year that Moscow will host the World Championships.
&quot;That's a bad number. They need to do work within the Russian system to find out what's going on,&quot; he told BBC Radio 5 Live before the European Indoor Championships. Yums Snapbacks &quot;You can only push Wada and all of the agencies who are dealing with doping to do more.&quot;

Saturday, 9-Mar-2013 05:59 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Mike Scott gets RFU life ban over faked copy of Tyson Keats' pas

Mike Scott has been banned from involvement in rugby for life after admitting providing false and misleading information to the Rugby Football Union and acting unlawfully when he was London Welsh's rugby manager earlier this season.
The severe punishment, which will not be reviewed for a minimum of 10 years if Scott waives his right to appeal, was handed out by the RFU's chief disciplinary officer, Jeff Blackett, Dog Ear Caps one day after London Welsh were docked 10 league points, half suspended until the end of next season, and fined £15,000 because of Scott's repeated attempts to pass off the New Zealand-born scrum-half Tyson Keats as England-qualified through forged documents and lies. The club have said they will appeal against their punishment.
Scott became rugby manager at London Welsh after an approach in August, after working with Saracens and Harlequins, and was regarded as an experienced and competent rugby administrator. He had been told to attend a personal hearing to answer a charge of bringing the game into disrepute but asked Blackett to deal with the case through documentary evidence, saying that he accepted the allegation against him in full.
The details of the charge were that he falsely stated in a telephone call to the RFU that Keats had been born in Christchurch, England, and that his family emigrated when he was two; that he submitted a forged UK passport to the Union in the name of Tyson Keats; and that he also misled the London Welsh management, leading to the scrum-half, who knew nothing of the deception, making 10 Premiership appearances when he was not properly or, in the case of the first nine, lawfully registered and was therefore ineligible.
Scott received a simple caution from the police for an offence under the Fraud Act last month after they were asked to investigate by the club. He left London Welsh in December after the deception became impossible to conceal and his health suffered.
Blackett noted in his report: &quot;Mr Scott apologised for his handling of this situation. He said that he had brought the game of rugby into disrepute and placed the players and staff of London Welsh in an invidious position which was entirely and solely of his own making. He asserted that he has let down his family, friends and colleagues throughout the game and struggles to understand how or why he took the actions he did.&quot;
Blackett said the deception was not preconceived, Exclusive Snapbacks with Scott citing the pressure he felt under as rugby manager. He made the application for Keats's ancestry visa before the start of the season but, a stranger to the process, did not submit all the necessary documents and it was rejected, leaving Keats an overseas player without a work permit.
&quot;Mr Scott is embarrassed and ashamed,&quot; said Blackett, who added Scott himself had stated he should never work in rugby union for the rest of his life. &quot;This is a very sad case in which a respected administrator has acted completely out of character thereby bringing discredit to himself and the club he represented.
&quot;I accept he would have been under greater pressure than normal for a team manager because London Welsh's promotion to the Premiership was delayed, but that does not excuse actions that individually and collectively amount to gross misconduct and, in relation to providing false information and forged documents, to criminal behaviour. There is no place in the game for this.&quot;
Scott's ban means he cannot play any role in a rugby club, although he is not barred from paying to watch a match, and he may not apply to the RFU to review the sanction, if he does not appeal against it, until March 2023.
It is the second time Blackett has handed out a life ban. The first occasion was in 2007 when he chaired the disciplinary panel convened after the Toulouse forward Trevor Brennan left the field during a Heineken Cup match against Ulster and attacked a visiting supporter in the stand. The suspension was reduced to five years on appeal.
London Welsh have announced their intention to appeal Atlanta Braves against the points deduction, which drops them to the foot of the Premiership, and it is likely to be heard next Thursday. They run the risk of the punishment being made more severe.

Tuesday, 5-Mar-2013 08:06 Email | Share | | Bookmark
José Mourinho says world will stop to watch Manchester United v

José Mourinho believes the &quot;world will stop&quot; when Real Madrid face Manchester United at Old Trafford in their hugely anticipated Champions League encounter in which he expects Cheap Beanies Hats each side to be bold as they seek to progress.
While Sir Alex Ferguson warned his team not to fear the threat of the returning Cristiano Ronaldo, who is in superb form, with the last-16 tie standing at 1-1 following the opening leg, United have what would be a decisive away goal if the match ends goalless.
In front of a packed press conference at Old Trafford a subdued Mourinho was asked what would tilt the tie for his side. &quot;I have no idea. They are in a fantastic run, better than ever. An FA Cup quarter-final, winning the Premier League already in March and they don't lose a match in months,&quot; he said. &quot;We are also in good form in 2013 – 12 or 13 matches with one defeat is quite a good result.
&quot;That is the one million dollar question: what will make the difference? Nobody knows and the world will stop to watch this tie. It doesn't look a tie. It looks a final. I doubt the expectation can be bigger than this one.&quot;
Mourinho, who has only his captain, Iker Casillas, unavailable due to a hand injury, does not believe United will be as cagey as in the opening leg. In that game Danny Welbeck scored first and Ronaldo equalised before the break. During the second half United were forced to defend for long spells.
The Real Madrid manager said: &quot;They will be very defensive when we have the ball and it will be the same for us when they have the ball. They are a strong attacking side and we will have to defend stoutly. Even though we are effectively behind in the tie, as they have the goal, we will have to attack and be bold.&quot;
Madrid arrive at Old Trafford having beaten Barcelona twice in five days – in the Copa del Rey and La Liga. Yet Mourinho, in what was a carefully worded briefing, played down the significance of those wins. &quot;We come here after two victories but if we come here after two defeats, our feeling would be the same,&quot; he said.
&quot;The first match is for the cup, the second for a championship we know we cannot win, the third one a Champions League tie. Independent competitions, independent feelings. But, of course, BOY Snapbacks it is better to come in a period when the players are happy. Beating a rival twice, the feelings are fine but I don't think it has an influence on the match. The emotion is high and it is a pity the match is not now and we have to wait until tomorrow.&quot;
Nine years ago Mourinho burst into football's consciousness when his Porto side knocked United out of the Champions League at the last-16 stage, Costinha's 90th-minute strike putting them through 3-2 on aggregate. This prompted Mourinho to make a famous dash down the Old Trafford touchline to celebrate.
Despite going on to win that season's Champions League, adding a further triumph with Internazionale, and having won league titles in four different countries, victory on Tuesday evening will be as important as the one in 2004. &quot;It means the same,&quot; said Mourinho. &quot;That match was my first season playing Champions League. Now I have more than 100 matches and I can control my emotions a different way. If I lose I don't cry and if I win I don't run 100 metres.&quot;
When managing Porto, Chelsea and Inter, Mourinho recorded six wins over Ferguson, with the Scot managing two for United. There were six draws. But, yet again, Mourinho was reluctant to show any of his usual confidence. &quot;I won, I lost, I draw,&quot; the Portuguese said. &quot;I don't care about records. I know football and big matches well enough to know we can go through or we can go out.&quot;
Ferguson believes defence will be essential, having watched Barcelona at Camp Nou last Tuesday. &quot;That probably will be the key to the game,&quot; he said. &quot;They were stunning on the counterattack. We have to find a way of coping with that but also having our own threat.&quot;
Ferguson faces a selection dilemma at centre-back where he has to choose two of Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic and Jonny Evans, though he confirmed Phil Jones has been ruled out after failing to recover from an ankle injury. &quot;It is a miss but we can't deem it as something we can't manage,&quot; he said.
Ferguson is aware of the danger Ronaldo poses to his side. &quot;My biggest concern is if he turns up,&quot; the Scot joked. &quot;What do you expect if you play against him? You expect problems during the night and try to prepare for it as best you can. The experience young Rafa [da Silva] had in Madrid will hold him in good stead [when he was given a difficult time in the first half] because he will be doing the same again. I don't think it is NHL Snapbacks one we should fear. If we go out fearing the damage Cristiano can do us then we will forget what we can do.&quot;
Ryan Giggs will make a 1,000th senior appearance if, as Ferguson stated, he features.

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