Woeful Sixers fire coach
The Philadelphia 76ers on Thursday fired coach Eddie Jordan after one season. Team president and general manager Ed Stefanski announced the move, saying the Sixers took an “unacceptable” step backwards after two straight seasons in the NBA playoffs. Jordan was finished after a woefully underachieving season that had the Sixers near the bottom of the Eastern Conference. He was hired last summer on a three-year deal. The players were unhappy with his system almost from the start and the Sixers struggled to put together any kind of winning streaks. The Sixers finished with a 27-55 win-loss record and missed the playoffs for the first time in three years. The Sixers will look for their fourth coach in three seasons. Jordan, who was fired last season by the Washington Wizards, is owed US$6 million for the two years left on his contract.
Lakers’ coach fined again
Los Angeles Lakers coach Phil Jackson has been slapped with his second US$35,000 fine in two weeks after suggesting Oklahoma Thunder forward Kevin Durant had been receiving preferential treatment from referees. Jackson, who was fined last week for publicly criticizing game officials after the Lakers’ 100-81 defeat to the San Antonio Spurs, received another for comments made to the media on Tuesday, the NBA said in a release. The 10-time NBA championship coach, who is preparing the Lakers to face Oklahoma tomorrow for the opener of their first-round playoff series, was quoted by local media as saying: “I think a lot of the referees are treating [Durant] like a superstar. He gets to the line easily and often. He’s got the ability to create fouls. That’s a big part of scoring, to get to the foul line.” Jackson drew his first fine this month after criticizing referees for their treatment of Lakers forward Ron Artest, who was whistled for critical fouls during his battle against the San Antonio Spurs.
Clippers fire interim coach
The Los Angeles Clippers have fired interim head coach Kim Hughes. The team said on Thursday on its Web site that Hughes has been dismissed and the search for a new coach is already under way. Hughes took over as interim coach for Mike Dunleavy on Feb. 4 and went 8-25 the rest of the way. The Clippers ended another losing season on Wednesday with a 107-91 victory over the playoff-bound LA Lakers. The Clippers finished with a 29-53 record, missing the playoffs for the 15th time in 17 years. The team said the rest of the coaching staff would stay on. Clippers president Andy Roeser said the season was an overall disappointment and fell short of both the team’s expectations and those of its fans.
Michalek out of playoffs
Ottawa Senators forward Milan Michalek has been ruled out for the rest of the playoffs because of a torn knee ligament that requires surgery, the NHL team said on Thursday. Czech Michalek, the franchise’s third-leading goal scorer in the regular season, initially injured his left knee in a March 18 game against the Atlanta Thrashers. Although he returned for Ottawa’s last two games of the regular season, Michalek limped off the ice in the second period of Wednesday’s 5-4 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins in the opening game of their first round Eastern Conference series. “We knew he had issues and a problem,” Senators general manager Bryan Murray was quoted as saying on the team’s official Web site.
Velez, Libertad win to qualify
Velez Sarsfield of Argentina and Paraguay’s Libertad claimed places in the last 16 of the Copa Libertadores on Thursday after winning their final group games. Cruzeiro of Brazil also qualified, while Universitario of Peru face a wait to see whether they will progress. Rodolfo Gamarra scored the winning goal as Libertad rallied to beat Blooming of Bolivia 2-1, while Rodrigo Lopez scored twice as Velez beat Venezuela’s Deportivo Italia 4-0. Cruzeiro drew 1-1 with Colo Colo of Chile to finish on 11 points, two behind Velez in Group 7. That result guaranteed Cruzeiro one of the best six runners-up positions in the round of 16. Peruvian club Universitario held Lanus of Argentina to a scoreless draw to secure second place in Group 4 with 10 points, two behind Libertad. Universitario will have to wait for the other groups to finish before finding out whether it will be good enough to qualify. The eight group winners and six best placed runners-up progress to the knockout round of 16, starting next month. Libertad, Velez and Cruzeiro join Alianza Lima, Corinthians and Universidad de Chile on the list of teams definitely progressing.
Advocaat quits Belgium job
Dick Advocaat unexpectedly quit as Belgium coach on Thursday, almost five months before the start of the Euro 2012 qualifying campaign for which the Dutchman was hired. His resignation opens the way for the successful coach to join Russia, another nation that failed to reach the World Cup finals. The Belgian federation said in a statement on Thursday it was taken aback by the decision and has to start its rebuilding campaign from scratch. The federation said it would not comment further until it had decided on what action to take. There was no clear candidate to take over as Belgian head coach. Advocaat is now widely expected to sign a contract with the Russian federation after Guus Hiddink failed to get the team to the World Cup finals in South Africa. “The Russian Football Union can’t say anything about this yet,” spokesman Andrei Malosolov told the state news agency RIA Novosti.
Hsueh knocks out Hidayat
Top-seeded Indonesian Taufik Hidayat lost in the third round of the Asian badminton championships to Taiwan’s Hsueh Hsuan-yi 22-20, 21-16 on Thursday. World and Olympic champion Lin Dan of China took a quarter-final spot with a 21-8, 21-17 win over Taiwan’s Tien Chen Chou. World No. 4 Lin is a strong favorite for the title in the absence of Malaysian world No. 1 and All England champion Lee Chong Wei. Women’s top-seed Saina Nehwal of India moved to the quarter-finals with a 21-14, 21-16 victory over Malaysia’s Julia Pei Xian Wong. More than 300 players from 20 Asian countries are taking part in the competition.
Bos grabs second stage win
Theo Bos of the Netherlands timed his final sprint perfectly for a second day running to win the Vuelta a Castilla and Leon second stage and remain overall leader on Thursday. The 210km trek from Burgos to Carrion de los Condes in Palencia, Spain, took Bos 4 hours, 45 minutes, 55 seconds. The Cervelo sprinter again pipped Rabobank’s Australian rider Graeme Brown, who finished second, and third-placed Oscar Grau of Spain, who all had the same time. Alberto Contador of Spain finished sixth, with Denis Menchov of Russia eighth, also on the same time. “We had a bit of everything this stage, we’ve ridden with lots of rain, fog and wind,” Contador said.
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
’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.
‘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
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