Yao Ming gave Jeff Van Gundy the production he wanted, although the Houston Rockets' first-year coach probably wants his center to stay on the floor longer. \nYao scored 19 points in a foul-plagued 20 minutes as the Rockets cruised to a 102-85 victory over the poor-shooting Denver Nuggets in Van Gundy's debut with the team. \nIt was a special night for the Rockets as Van Gundy became the 10th coach in team history in the first game at the US$202 million Toyota Center. \nThe former New York Knicks coach has made it a mandate for the offense to focus on Yao over Steve Francis, and the Chinese center responded with 15 points in the first half before foul trouble slowed him over the final 24 minutes. \n"I thought I played pretty good, but I got into foul trouble and I know I can play better," Yao said. "I just had way too many fouls and I would have liked to play more." \n"When you look at the fouls, some are going to be 50-50 type calls and there are others that we can help him avoid," Van Gundy said. "We need to get guys in front of him keeping the ball out of the lane so he is not in a vulnerable position." \nCuttino Mobley led Houston with 21 points and Francis added 17 and six assists. The Rockets took control with a 13-5 spurt to start the second half, capped by Mobley's dunk off a feed from Francis for a 61-47 bulge with 7:28 remaining in the third quarter. \nFrancis also finished with six assists, adjusting to his role as more of a distributor than a scorer as Houston moves away from its free-wheeling style. Francis and Van Gundy were rumored to have clashed during training camp about the team's new offense. \n"There wasn't a whole lot of guys trying to do a lot of things on their own," Francis said. "We got into sets, moved the ball around well and everybody got their shots. This year we know it's not about anyone getting a certain amount of points -- it's about wins and losses." \nThe Nuggets missed their first seven shots of the second half and also endured a drought of more than six minutes in the fourth quarter. Denver shot just over 31 percent (11-of-35) after halftime. \nYao, who had three blocks, and Kelvin Cato helped anchor a strong defensive effort by Houston. Yao provided the signature moment of the game when he rejected Anthony twice in one sequence in the first quarter.
Chen Jifang hits the gym for at least two hours every day and has the physique to prove it. At nearly 70, she is being held up as a shining example as China orders its vast population to get fit and lose the bulge. The grandmother from Shanghai has become a minor celebrity in in the past few months after her newfound and unlikely love for working out made national headlines. After becoming a gym regular in December 2018, Chen lost 14kg in three months, and now sports the kind of flat stomach and toned muscles that people decades younger aspire to. She
‘GREAT EVENING‘: In the women’s singles in Rome, Simona Halep and Karolina Pliskova advanced, while Rafael Nadal swept into the quarters in the men’s singles Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic on Friday had to dig deep to advance to the semi-finals of the women’s doubles at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome. The top seeds, who did not drop a game in their opening match on the clay courts at the Foro Italico, battled to a 7-6 (7/5), 6-4 victory over sixth seeds Veronika Kudermetova and Katerina Siniakova in 1 hour, 39 minutes. The reigning Wimbledon champions saved nine of 11 break points and converted three of eight, winning 56 percent of points on their second serve and sending down two aces
’SO CONSISTENT’: The victory gave the world No. 1 and world No. 2 a 21-1 win-loss record and their fourth title of the season after successes in Brisbane, Dubai and Doha Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic on Sunday cruised to their fourth women’s doubles title of the season at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome in their first tournament back since the suspension of the WTA Tour due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The top seeds took just 63 minutes to complete a comprehensive 6-2, 6-2 victory over unseeded German-Romanian duo Anna-Lena Friedsam and Raluca Olaru at the Foro Italico. It was the Taiwanese-Czech pairing’s first outing since they won the Qatar Open in February. “After five months, you don’t know what to expect,” Strycova told the WTA Web site.
ANOTHER SCANDAL: Searches focused on several riders, including Dayer Quintana, a source said, while the two being held were reportedly a doctor and physiotherapist French police on Monday detained two people as part of an investigation into suspected doping in the Arkea-Samsic team at this year’s Tour de France, prosecutors announced. The probe is the first significant one in several years for the repeatedly scandal-hit tour, which on Sunday wrapped up in Paris with a victory for 21-year-old Tadej Pogacar, who became the youngest winner in more than a century. Prosecutor Dominique Laurens in Marseille said in a statement that an investigation was being carried out into a “small part” of France-based Arkea-Samsic, without specifying who had been placed in custody. Laurens added that the two