Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : April 12th 2015 Contents A46
Sunday Guardian www.guardian.co.tt April 12, 2015
HOUSTON---San Antonio s win-
ning streak reached double fig-
ures and the Spurs moved above
Houston in the intense fight for
the NBA Southwest Division title
by beating the Rockets 104-103
on Friday night, with Tim Dun-
can preserving the victory by
blocking a layup attempt with
2.9 seconds left.
The Spurs remained half a game
behind Southwest leader Mem-
phis, which maintained its edge
by beating Utah thanks to a missed
free throw which ended the game.
In other key results, Atlanta
comfortably beat Charlotte to
reach 60 wins for the first time
in franchise history, and Boston
boosted its playoff hopes with a
road win at Cleveland.
San Antonio s Duncan had 29
points and blocked James Harden s
last-gasp layup attempt to pre-
serve a victory which moved the
Spurs up to third in the Western
Conference standings, while
Houston slipped to sixth.
Harden had just 16 points as
San Antonio coach Gregg
Popovich kept the ball out of
Harden s hands by intentionally
fouling Josh Smith 12 times in the
second half. Smith went 12 of 26
from the free-throw line and led
the Rockets with 20 points.
Memphis stayed just ahead of
San Antonio by winning 89-88 at
The Grizzlies closed the game
on a 16-6 run, but had to wait
out a few anxious moments at the
end. Marc Gasol was called for a
foul on a 3-point attempt by Gor-
don Hayward with .01 seconds
remaining. Hayward buried the
first two free throws, but missed
the third that would have forced
Marc Gasol had 22 points, seven
rebounds and six assists while
Beno Udrih started for the injured
Mike Conley and had 20 point.
Hayward scored 27 points for
Atlanta replacement Mike Mus-
cala scored 17 points to be the
unlikely top scorer as the Hawks
beat Charlotte 104-80.
Muscala was 8 for 9 from the
field in 25 1/2 minutes while filling
in for injured forward Paul Millsap,
while Kyle Korver had 16 points
for the Hawks, who have already
secured the Southeast Division
title, and unveiled the banner
before the game.
Troy Daniels 15 points led the
Hornets, who were eliminated
from the playoff race with their
third straight loss.
Boston maintained its share of
seventh place in the East standings
with a 99-93 win at Cleveland.
Marcus Smart scored 19 points
for the Celtics, who had five play-
ers in double figures.
The Cavaliers, having already
clinched the No. 2 seed for the
East playoffs, used their reserves
extensively. Kyrie Irving sat out
to nurse a hip injury and LeBron
James played only 26 minutes,
scoring 14 points.
Brooklyn stayed level with
Boston by routing Washington 117-
80.Brook Lopez scored 26 points
and Bojan Bogdanovic added 22
for the Nets, who recorded their
biggest-ever winning margin at
their new home of Barclays Center.
Bogdanovic was 6 for 6 from 3-
Bradley Beal scored 24 points
for the Wizards, who had won
their previous four games.
New Orleans kept pace in the
fight for eighth in the West by
defeating Phoenix 90-75.
Anthony Davis had 19 points
and nine rebounds while Eric Gor-
don scored 15 points for the Pel-
icans, who are tied with Oklahoma
City for the last playoff spot with
three games to play.
Eric Bledsoe led Phoenix with
Dallas Raymond Felton hit a
layup with 1.5 seconds remaining
in double overtime, then blocked
a last-second shot to give the
Mavericks a 144-143 win at Den-
ver.Toronto s Lou Williams made
a 3-pointer with 9.9 seconds left,
lifting the Raptors to a 101-99 win
at Orlando and their 11th straight
victory over the Magic.
Oklahoma City stayed in equal
eighth in the West by downing
Sacramento 116-103, with Russell
Westbrook contributing 27 points
Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) has his shot blocked by San Antonio
Spurs forward Tim Duncan (21) as he drives past forward Kawhi Leonard (2) at
the buzzer during the second half of an NBA basketball game Friday night in
Houston. San Antonio won 104-103. AP PHOTO
reaches 10 with
win over Rockets
and 10 assists.
Indiana kept up its playoff push ---
a game behind Brooklyn and Boston
in the East --- by winning 107-103 at
Detroit, as Rodney Stuckey hit three
straight jump-shots late on his way to
Milwaukee moved to the brink of a
playoff spot by winning 99-91 at New
York, as Giannis Antetokounmpo
returned to the lineup with 23 points.
The Los Angeles Lakers ended a run
of five-straight defeats with a 106-98
win against Minnesota. (AP)
SHANGHAI---If Mercedes was con-
cerned about the progress of chief
rival Ferrari this Formula One season,
its drivers didn t show it during qual-
ifying at the Chinese Grand Prix.
Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg
were far ahead of the rest of the field,
with Hamilton edging his Mercedes
teammate for pole position with a
time of 1 minute, 35.782 seconds yes-
Ferrari s Sebastian Vettel was nearly
a full second behind in third place.
It was Hamilton s third straight
pole to start the new F1 season--- and
his fifth overall at the Shanghai Inter-
"China continues to be a good
place for me. I guess the circuit fits
my style more than others and I enjoy
driving it," Hamilton said. "There s
a long race ahead and the Ferraris
are very quick once again here, so
the job is far from done."
Indeed, Hamilton took the pole in
his last race at the Malaysian Grand
Prix two weeks ago, but it was a
resurgent Vettel who was standing
at the top of the podium at the end
of the weekend.
Hamilton s loss was partly down
to tire degradation in the tropical
heat, but Mercedes boss Toto Wolff
still deemed it a "wake-up call" for
the most dominant team in F1.
Wolff was optimistic his team
could maintain its advantage over
Ferrari on the long straights at the
Shanghai International Raceway on
Sunday, but he acknowledged that
having faster speed was not every-
"We also know that the gaps shrink
in race conditions and we saw in
Malaysia that they could extend their
tire life beyond what we could achieve,
so we need to be careful of that
tomorrow," he said.
Rosberg was clearly dejected by fin-
ishing behind his teammate yet again,
this time by just 0.04 seconds. When
his team informed him over the radio
how close he was to Hamilton, Ros-
berg replied with an exasperated "Oh,
come on guys!"
"It s just four-hundredths and that
makes it even more annoying because
it s just very, very close," he said.
Rosberg challenged Hamilton for
the drivers championship until the
very end of last season, but he s yet
to recapture that same driving form
at the start of 2015.
"I ve focused on race pace with my
setup and I know that tires will be
the decisive factor tomorrow. So I will
be aiming to put a lot of pressure on
Lewis ahead of me," he said.
Vettel, too, believes the Ferraris have
shown enough pace in practice ses-
sions in China to keep the pressure
Vettel s teammate, Kimi Raikkonen,
will start in sixth position on Sunday,
behind the two Williams drivers, Felipe
Massa and Valtteri Bottas, who were
fourth and fifth, respectively.
Rounding out the top 10 were Red
Bull s Daniel Ricciardo, Lotus Romain
Grosjean and the two Sauber drivers,
Felipe Nasr and Marcus Ericsson. (AP)
AIA---Joaquim Rodriguez of
Spain won the Tour of Basque
Country after finishing second in
the decisive time trial yesterday.
Dutch rider Tom Dumoulin of
Giant-Alpecin won the 18.3-
kilometer (11.4-mile) ride in and
around Aia in 28 minutes, 46
Rodriguez entered the sixth
and final stage level on time
with Sergio Henao of Colombia,
but the Katusha rider broke the
deadlock by finishing four
seconds behind Dumoulin.
"I am very, very happy. I
arrived in good shape but I never
thought I would be at this level,"
Rodriguez said. "I never
imagined winning a Tour of
Rodriguez, who is known for
excelling in the mountains and
not for his speed, said that the
course with a long downhill
stretch before a sharp ascent
near the finish fit his strengths.
"It was a very good time trial
for me, with constant ups and
downs," Rodriguez said. "I gave
it my all and knew that with all
the ups and downs I could do
better than my rivals, so I tried
to go extra hard on the climbs."
It was the 35-year-old
Rodriguez's first race win since
the Volta a Catalunya in March
2014. Henao and Rodriguez had
spent the previous three stages
of the six-day race tied at the
top of the time sheets.
As leader, Henao went out
last to face the time trial, just
behind Rodriguez, but the Sky
rider finished 13 seconds behind
his rival in the final standings. In
2013, he finished the race in
northern Spain in third place.
"The strongest rider won,"
Henao said. (AP)
Rodriguez wins Tour
of Basque Country Mercedes' Hamilton holds off Rosberg
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