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.
Two women yesterday morning attempted to hang a banner from the Acropolis in Athens in protest at the upcoming Beijing Winter Olympics, but were detained by Greek police. The women, 18-year-old Tibetan student Tsela Zoksang and 22-year-old exiled Hong Konger Joey Siu (邵嵐), both US citizens, are members of the “No Beijing 2022” campaign, a statement from the New York-based organization Students for a Free Tibet said. They, and a third person, entered the archeological site as paying customers, and then Zoksang and Siu climbed some scaffolding, from which they attempted to unfurl the banner. A security officer rushed to them and took
TREBLE CHANCE: Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei is eyeing a third title in the California desert after winning in 2014 with Peng Shuai and in 2018 with Barbora Strycova Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Belgian partner Elise Mertens on Thursday cruised into the women’s doubles final at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, California. It took second seeds Hsieh and Mertens just 54 minutes to defeat Japanese third seeds Shuko Aoyama and Ena Shibahara 6-2, 6-0 in the semi-finals to advance to their second final as a duo. Hsieh and Mertens denied the Japanese duo, winners of a WTA Tour-best five titles this year, a spot in their sixth final of the season as they broke serve five times and won the final nine games. “We’re very happy about the performance. Just
It is the world’s longest certified foot race: a 4,989km run that takes participants around the same New York block 5,649 times. Thousands of people have climbed Everest — but just 49 have completed the Sri Chinmoy Self-Transcendence 3,100 Mile Race, organizers say. Runners finish more than two marathons a day for almost two months, on less than five hours of sleep a night. They cannot rely on changing scenery to keep them motivated as the route is a 883m loop on a concrete sidewalk around a high school in Jamaica, Queens. To mix things up a bit, they alternate between running clockwise
Sean Wainui, a rising star of Super Rugby with the Hamilton, New Zealand-based Chiefs, died yesterday in an automobile accident. He was 25 and the father of two children. His death was confirmed by family members and by New Zealand Rugby, which said “one of New Zealand Rugby’s tallest Totara trees has fallen.” Wainui played 44 matches for the Chiefs from 2018. He also played nine times for the Christchurch-based Crusaders and was a New Zealand Maori representative from 2015. Wainui scored five tries for the Chiefs against the New South Wales Waratahs in June, a Super Rugby record. Police said they were notified