Sports

Thompson: LeBron James vs. Stephen Curry is still the NBA’s best theater
Sports

Thompson: LeBron James vs. Stephen Curry is still the NBA’s best theater

SAN FRANCISCO — The frustration seethed in Stephen Curry. Until it boiled to the surface. Until he let out a roar. Until he ripped his jersey from the collar to the 30.He’d scored 46 points on 35 shots, getting the benefit of just three free throws in his 43 minutes. He hit the game-tying layup at the end of regulation. Inside the final minute of the first overtime, he forced a turnover and then hit a massive corner 3, setting up the game-tying 3 from Klay Thompson that kept the Warriors alive. Then in the second overtime, Curry’s final points of the night came on a 26-footer from the top with 4.7 seconds remaining, putting the Warriors up a point.He left his follow-through in the air as he backpedaled. Too spent for a more elaborate celebration. The NBA’s leader in clutch points delivered...
Mike Macdonald lets the Ravens defense do his talking
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Mike Macdonald lets the Ravens defense do his talking

The Athletic has live coverage of Ravens vs. Chiefs in the AFC Championship game. If Mike Macdonald’s ascent to one of the NFL’s hottest coordinators and a legitimate head-coaching candidate feels meteoric, that’s probably because he has never embraced the art of self-promotion.The 36-year-old second-year Baltimore Ravens defensive boss has consented to side media interviews in recent weeks largely because he wants to tout the chemistry and cohesion of his staff, not because he wants any more attention. He likes to call himself a “steward” of head coach John Harbaugh’s vision and will point you in the direction of two dozen others who deserve praise for the Ravens’ success.But it’s impossible to ignore Macdonald’s impact on the AFC’s top seed, which faces the Kansas City Chiefs in Sunday’s...
Why Kevin Durant’s game-winning shot sparked memories of Jordan for members of the ’89 Bulls
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Why Kevin Durant’s game-winning shot sparked memories of Jordan for members of the ’89 Bulls

PHOENIX — The comparison surfaced not long after Kevin Durant finished off the Chicago Bulls on Monday. In the final seconds, the Phoenix Suns forward buried a double-pump, did-he-just-do-that jumper to give the Suns a 115-113 win. WATCHING ON REPLAY ALL NIGHT LONG! pic.twitter.com/EEw60HC8Uf — Phoenix Suns (@Suns) January 23, 2024If you thought Durant’s incredible shot resembled Michael Jordan’s iconic double-pump jumper to eliminate the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 5 of the first round of the 1989 playoffs, you’re not alone. A couple of the Bulls from that very team agree.An analyst for NBC Sports Chicago, Will Perdue watched Monday night’s game from a studio in Chicago. As soon as he saw Durant’s shot drop, he immediately recognized the significance.“That was a double-pump!” said Perdue,...
Where are all the January transfers in the Premier League?
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Where are all the January transfers in the Premier League?

The rumour mill is still. The gossip columns are sparse. The Sky Sports News totaliser sits dormant. Fabrizio Romano seems to be tweeting more about deals that aren’t happening than ones that are. The Athletic has given David Ornstein the month off (just kidding: we would never let him have any time off).This has been a quiet January transfer window.There are nine days to go until the February 1 deadline and between the 20 clubs of the Premier League, there have been only six permanent purchases for actual money, for a total of around £44million ($56m).Five of those won’t be doing much for their new employers in the short term, either.Two are Brighton & Hove Albion’s latest additions to their cache of promising youngsters — 19-year-old Argentine defender Valentin Barco and 18-year-old ...
Why white home uniforms — once an NBA mainstay — have disappeared
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Why white home uniforms — once an NBA mainstay — have disappeared

Every August, after the NBA releases its schedule for the upcoming season, Michael McCullough, the Miami Heat’s chief marketing officer, thinks about the next 82 games. He not only considers ticket sales and promotions but also sets a meeting with the team’s equipment manager and focuses on an essential part of his job: uniforms.Laying out the right jerseys used to be an easy exercise across the NBA. There were just two choices. When Rob Pimental, the Heat’s equipment manager and travel coordinator, began his career with the Sacramento Kings in the 1980s, it was just white and blue: white jerseys at home, dark ones on the road. What to wear didn’t demand a conversation.Today, it needs lots of meetings. It has become one of the benchmark choices a franchise can make each season. Over the la...
Gary Sheffield, one of baseball’s great offensive forces, is still defending himself
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Gary Sheffield, one of baseball’s great offensive forces, is still defending himself

However you perceive Gary Sheffield — icon or problem child, steroid user or public-opinion victim — one image almost certainly springs to mind. It’s that waggling bat, the pulsating motion that for 22 seasons radiated so much swagger.Through eight teams, nine All-Star nods, steroid allegations and a list of other microcontroversies too long to count, Sheffield’s signature stance served as an active reminder of just who his opponents — and everyone else — were dealing with.Talk with Sheffield now, in the days before Hall of Fame voting is revealed in his final year on the ballot, and there are moments when one can practically feel that bat waving through the phone.“Trying to change your reputation, then you’re splitting hairs,” Sheffield says, responding to a question about why controversy...
Medvedev’s 3.40am finish is latest absurd example of why tennis has to change
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Medvedev’s 3.40am finish is latest absurd example of why tennis has to change

It happened again. Of course it did.Two tennis players, starting near midnight, battling nearly to sunrise in front of a scattering of fans, with a squad of kids in their early teenage years scurrying after balls at nearly four in the morning. Last year it was Andy Murray duelling with Thanasi Kokkinakis until the night sky began to lighten at around 4am. On Thursday, and into Friday, it was Daniil Medvedev of Russia and Emil Ruusuvuori of Finland doing the tennis version of the 2am jazz set. “I would not have stayed,” Medvedev said in an on-court interview after he completed his comeback from two sets down and eliminated Ruusuvuori 3-6, 6-7(1), 6-4, 7-6(1), 6-0. Judging from the scoreline, Ruusuvuori decided not to and it was hard to blame him.The dynamic would seem absurd if it wasn’t so...
As Draymond Green returns, can he and Warriors wind down a dynasty the right way?
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As Draymond Green returns, can he and Warriors wind down a dynasty the right way?

In the backyard of Draymond Green’s $10 million home in the Los Angeles suburb of Brentwood, where white columns and a marble patio overlook the greenest of grass, Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr chatted with the heartbeat of his team.Hours earlier, the Warriors had landed in Los Angeles to a whirlwind of drama. The night before, Dec. 12 in Phoenix, Green had protested an uncalled foul by spinning and flailing his arms. He struck Suns center Jusuf Nurkić in the face, incurring a Flagrant 2 foul and automatic ejection. This was just shy of a month after his previous Flagrant 2, a five-second chokehold of Minnesota’s Rudy Gobert that landed Green a five-game suspension and a promise of harsher future league penalties.So while the basketball world waited for the league’s latest punishm...
Christian Pulisic interview: ‘I want to show the world what the U.S. can do’
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Christian Pulisic interview: ‘I want to show the world what the U.S. can do’

Christian Pulisic is perched on a bar stool in the old clubhouse overlooking the first-team training pitch at Milanello, AC Milan’s training ground.He makes a hand gesture, one he didn’t need the past six months living in Italy to learn. Pulisic is talking about himself as one of the “older guys” on the USMNT and, as he does so, he is sure to put air quotes around it.Nearby is a portrait of Milan legend Paolo Maldini lifting a trophy, a player who retired in his forties. Pulisic isn’t that age yet. He turned 25 shortly after joining Milan from Chelsea in August. But as the United States get ready to host the Copa America as a guest competing nation this summer, the first newly-expanded 32-team Club World Cup the following year and then the biggest men’s World Cup finals yet, with 48 countr...
Naomi Osaka, The Comeback Interview: A tale of pregnancy, fear and a ballerina
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Naomi Osaka, The Comeback Interview: A tale of pregnancy, fear and a ballerina

It was late September when Naomi Osaka, the four-time Grand Slam champion and transcendent star of her sport, finally got on the phone with her former coach to talk about her next comeback. Wim Fissette is a cerebral Belgian who thinks long and hard before taking on a player, even one with a resume like Osaka’s. He had one, very serious question.Is it going to be different this time?There was then another conversation, with Florian Zitzelsberger, a 34-year-old German who is one of the most respected strength and conditioning coaches in the world. Zitzelsberger had worked with Osaka before, too. He asked her the same question, and another important one, too. Why?World-class tennis players worth hundreds of millions of dollars are not used to pushback like this. They get what they ask for, w...