Thu, Apr 24, 2014 - Page 18 News List

SPORTS BRIEFS

Agencies

BASKETBALL

Spurs coach gets top honor

San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich was named NBA coach of the year on Tuesday, making him just the third coach in league history to win the Red Auerbach trophy three times in his career. Popovich has received the league’s top coaching honor in two of the past three seasons, joining Don Nelson and Pat Riley as the only coaches to win the award three times. In a career full of masterful coaching performances, Popovich may have delivered his best in season No. 18. The Spurs entered the season still thinking about the devastating loss to the Miami Heat in last summer’s classic NBA Finals. Once again thought to be too old to challenge LeBron James and the mighty Heat, the Spurs took the defending champions to seven games, but could not quite close it out for the franchise’s fifth NBA title. Popovich led the Spurs to a league-best 62-20 record, which gives them home-court advantage throughout the playoffs. And he did it while deftly navigating a season filled with nagging injuries to several key players. Tim Duncan was the only starter to play in at least 70 games. No Spur averaged 30 minutes per game and Tony Parker led the team with a modest 16.7 points per game.

SOCCER

Leicester win title

Leicester City celebrated winning the English Championship title on Tuesday with a 1-0 victory at Bolton Wanderers that opened an unassailable seven-point lead at the top of the second tier with two matches remaining. Leicester, who secured a return to the Premier League for the first time since 2004 earlier this month, took the lead in the 62nd minute through Lloyd Dyer’s shot into the top corner and held on to celebrate in front of 2,000 traveling fans. They have 96 points from 44 games, ahead of Burnley, who clinched an automatic promotion spot on Monday with a 2-0 victory over Wigan Athletic. Reading moved back into the playoff places with a 2-0 home win over Middlesbrough.

SOCCER

Zagreb set league record

Dinamo Zagreb won a record-extending ninth successive Croatian league title and their 16th overall with four games to spare after a 5-0 home win over bottom team NK Hrvatski Dragovoljac on Tuesday. The result left Dinamo top of the 10-team first division with 77 points from 32 games, 14 ahead of closest rivals Rijeka, who lost 2-0 at eighth-placed Osijek on Saturday. Dinamo celebrated their success after Alen Halilovic, 17, who is to join Barcelona next season, capped a fine performance with the game’s outstanding goal. Domagoj Pavicic, Duje Cop, El Hilal Soudani and Said Husejinovic also netted.

CYCLING

Armstrong coach banned

Lance Armstrong’s longtime coach, Johan Bruyneel, was banned for 10 years on Tuesday for helping to organize massive doping on teams led by the disgraced cyclist. The US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) announced the verdicts of an American Arbitration Association panel against Bruyneel and two medical staff, completing its lengthy investigation which saw Armstrong banished from cycling in 2012. Bruyneel “was at the apex of a conspiracy to commit widespread doping on the [US Postal Service] and Discovery Channel teams spanning many years and many riders,” USADA said in a statement. Team doctor Pedro Celaya and trainer Jose “Pepe” Marti are to serve eight-year bans.”

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