There was a knee to the head, Anthony Peeler's knee, Derek Fisher's head. There was a bloody brow, Slava Medvedenko's. There were hard fouls, hard stares, hard feelings. \nYes, it was Lakers-Kings again, and the Staples Center crowd was in a howling frenzy from the moment LA's big-game national-anthem singer Jeffrey Osborne warbled his last note. \nBut you know what the Lakers-Kings rivalry really means in the grand scheme of things, when you sit down to measure the meaning of the home team's 115-91 victory behind 36 points from time-zone-hopping Kobe Bryant Wednesday night? \nZero. Zippo. Zilch. Nada. Slightly less than Mike Bibby's shooting percentage (4 for 16). \nIf this stem-to-stern rout of the leaders of the NBA's Western Conference was significant, it wasn't because this was a test of how the Lakers and the Kings stack up going into the playoffs. This one was all about the Lakers and how they stack up going into the playoffs. This one was all about where the Lakers are in the standings, where the Lakers' game is, where the Lakers' heads are. \n"It's a key game in a season," Phil Jackson said before tipoff. \nThe California rivals seem to always play a much-hyped game at this time of the season, and until now it always was the Kings' fragile psyches that were on trial. \nTwo years ago, March 24, a Sunday afternoon in Sacramento, the Lakers won 97-96 when Chris Webber missed a 10-footer from the right baseline at the buzzer. Webber sank to his knees and pounded the floor in frustration. Then he told reporters the game wasn't particularly meaningful. Of course it was meaningful, bruising the Kings' home-court confidence. In the playoffs, the Lakers won conference-final Game 7 at Arco Arena on the way to the title. \nLast year, March 20, a Thursday night in Sacramento, the Kings won 107-99 when the Lakers gave up 41 points in the fourth quarter. Jackson ripped the winners, which he spelled differently: "They whined the whole game long ... They obviously are carrying something inside that says they have to have the referees to win the game or something." \nSee? These games were always about the Kings' heads, whether the cow-towners could shake their inferiority complex. \nThe Lakers were playing the rival Kings on Wednesday but they could have been playing Minnesota, San Antonio, Dallas or Memphis and the blowout win would have meant just as much. \nThird in the Western Conference when the night began, 3 games behind Sacramento and 2 behind Minnesota, the Lakers needed a sharp start to a 12-game stretch run that will fill in the "who" and "where" of their opening playoff round.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Friday said that he had called in the “third umpire” as he announced that recreational cricket would be allowed to resume next weekend. In a radio interview earlier on Friday, Johnson angered thousands of club cricketers by saying that the amateur game was still not safe to play amid the COVID-19 pandemic because of issues surrounding communal teas and dressing rooms. “It’s the teas, it’s the changing rooms and so on and so forth. There are other factors involved that generate proximity which you might not get in a game of tennis,” he said. Johnson had already
Indian police are investigating an alleged betting scandal in which a sham cricket tournament was held in an Indian village and passed off as a Twenty20 contest played in Sri Lanka. Players portrayed as Sri Lankan cricketers played two matches on Monday last week that were broadcast with live commentary on YouTube, media reports said, along with ball-by-ball coverage on top Indian sports Web sites. The organizers hung Sri Lankan advertisements at the ground for added authenticity and put up tents to block the view from outside the remote rural venue, set in farmland next to a busy highway. Police said that they
Taipower on Sunday charged to their third straight win and took over first place in the Taiwan Football Premier League as previous leaders Taichung Futuro suffered their first defeat of the season, while Hang Yuan rallied from two goals down to complete a thrilling 3-2 victory over National Taiwan University of Sport (NTUS). Heading into the 10th round of matches, unbeaten Taichung Futuro led the league with 21 points, but they fell to their first defeat of the season, a 1-0 loss to Tatung at the National Stadium in Kaohsiung. In a match in which both defenses were on top and there
HOTSHOT: Luis Suarez scored his 194th goal for Barca, tying him with Ladislao Kubala as the club’s third-highest scorer, behind Cesar Rodriguez and Lionel Messi With another decisive penalty from Sergio Ramos, Real Madrid on Sunday extended their perfect run after the COVID-19 suspension and moved closer to their first Spanish title in three years. Ramos scored his fifth goal since the season resumed as Madrid defeated Athletic Bilbao 1-0 to maintain a four-point lead over Barcelona, who beat fifth-placed Villarreal 4-1. Luis Suarez and Antoine Griezmann were among the scorers for Barcelona after assists from Lionel Messi. Ramos converted a 73rd-minute penalty to give Madrid their seventh straight victory and they remain the only team with a perfect record since La Liga resumed. “These three points are very