Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : January 31st 2016 Contents DOHA, Qatar---Branden
Grace successfully defended
his Qatar Masters title yes-
terday, becoming the first
player to do so since the
tournament began in 1998.
The South African shot a
3-under 69 on another wind-
swept day at Doha Golf Club
to win the second leg of the
European Tour s so-called
"Desert Swing" by two shots
over Spain s Rafael Cabrera-
Bello (70) and Denmark s
Thorbjorn Olesen (71).
Grace shot an overall 14-
under 274 for his seventh Euro-
pean Tour title.
Scotland s Paul Lawrie, the
overnight leader by two shots,
faded away with a 78 and finished tied for
13th at 281, while Spain s Sergio Garcia (70)
shared seventh alongside South Africa s
Louis Oosthuizen (71) at 8-under 280.
Grace made the turn at 1 under with a
lone bogey on the fifth after starting with
a birdie and adding another on the sixth
hole. The turning point came on the par-
5 ninth, where Lawrie pulled his tee shot
way left and finished with a double bogey
to hand over the sole lead to Grace.
Grace is a traditionally strong finisher
on the tough back nine here and the high-
light Saturday was smashing his tee shot
327 yards on the par-5 18th, followed by
an iron to 30 feet away and two-putting
for a birdie.
"To win is tough, but to defend is even
tougher," Grace said. "It s brutal conditions
Cabrera-Bello had one birdie and one
double bogey in his first 15 holes, but finished
in better weather with three straight birdies.
"It s just a tough day, it was common to
make mistakes," he said.
January 31, 2016 www.guardian.co.tt Sunday Guardian
NEW YORK---The WNBA is switching
up its playoffs.
The league announced Thursday it is
taking the top eight teams based on
record as opposed to conference alle-
giances, and increasing the post-season
to four rounds.
In the past, the top four teams from
the Eastern and Western Conferences
would make the postseason since the
WNBA expanded its playoffs to eight
teams in 2000.
The top two seeds receive a bye to the
semifinals, which will now be a best-of-
five series. The opening two rounds are
both single-elimination games.
It s not the first time the league has
had one-game playoffs. The inaugural
season in 1997 both the semis and finals
were one game each. In 1999, the con-
ference semifinals were single games.
"First and foremost, the new postsea-
son format provides an enhanced oppor-
tunity to showcase the best teams in the
WNBA Finals," said Mark Tatum, NBA
Deputy Commissioner and Chief Oper-
"Coupled with the new regular-season
structure that creates more competitive
balance and additional excitement during
the stretch run toward the playoffs, the
new postseason format will provide a
heightened sense of urgency to the start
of the postseason.
The teams will be re-seeded after each
The WNBA had a tight postseason this
past year with five of the seven series
going the distance. Now with the open-
ing-round games being elimination con-
tests, it should create more excitement.
"There s a sense of urgency that the
players and fans and TV will have," Wash-
ington Mystics coach Mike Thibault said.
"It adds a little more spice to it."
Even with the change in the postsea-
son, the WNBA is keeping its conference
designations. The league is also altering
its schedule to make it more balanced.
Teams will play each other three times
with one matchup occurring four times.
"We have more competitive balance
in the schedule, instead of having such
a large concentration of games within
your conference," Indiana Fever president
Kelly Krauskopf said. "What I like is it
gives fans a chance to see more teams
and more marquee players in your mar-
Each team s opponent breakdown was
randomly selected and will be rotated
annually to ensure a fair balance of the
The WNBA will tip off its 20th season
on May 14 with five games, including a
rematch of the Western Conference finals
between Phoenix and Minnesota.
Other schedule highlights include
Tamika Catchings final regular-season
game on September 18 as Indiana hosts
The potential first meeting between
Brittney Griner and Glory Johnson will
be on June 18 when the Wings visit the
Mercury. The two teams also play three
days later in Dallas. Johnson still has to
serve her seven-game suspension for her
domestic violence arrest last year.
She sat out last season because she
was pregnant with twins.
The league will take a month-long
break for the Rio Olympics starting on
July 23. The playoffs are set to begin Sep-
AUBURN HILLS, Michigan---Kevin Love scored
19 of his 29 points in the first half, Kyrie Irving
had 28 points and the Cleveland Cavaliers rolled
to a 114-106 win over the Detroit Pistons on Fri-
LeBron James had 20 points, nine rebounds
and eight assists, shrugging off a rare missed
dunk in the third quarter. He surpassed the
26,000-point mark during that period, becoming
the youngest player to do so at 31 years, 30 days.
Andre Drummond had 20 points and eight
rebounds for Detroit.
Cleveland has the best record in the Eastern
Conference at 33-12, but it s hardly been a
smooth ride of late for the defending conference
champions. Tyronn Lue took over when coach
David Blatt was fired, and Cleveland ended up
with only one player (James) picked for the All-
James was one point shy of 26,000 when he
breezed in on a breakaway in the third. As he
went up for a dunk, the ball came loose from
his right hand, and by the time he reached up
with his left, he d lost control.
James reached the milestone on a free throw
with 4:04 left in the quarter.
The Cavaliers have won three straight since
losing to Chicago in Lue s first game as Cleve-
land s coach.
Dwyane Wade scored 24 points and hit a long
jumper with 44.5 seconds left, and the Miami
Heat won their third straight road game by beat-
ing the Milwaukee Bucks 107-103.
Wade led a balanced scoring effort with all
five Miami starters scoring in double figures.
Chris Bosh added 20.
Wade s step-back jumper from just inside the
arc gave Miami a 103-101 lead. The Heat could
have had a smoother finish if Wade hadn t gone
2 of 4 from the foul line after his jumper.
But Wade finished off the Bucks by hitting
two foul shots with 3.9 seconds left to give the
Heat a four-point edge.
Giannis Antetokounmpo led the Bucks with
Russell Westbrook s sixth triple-double of the
season helped the Thunder defeat the Houston
Westbrook finished with 26 points, 14 assists
and 10 rebounds. It was the 25th triple-double
of his career.
Kevin Durant had 33 points and 12 rebounds
and Enes Kanter scored 20 of his 22 points in
the second half for the Thunder, who have won
10 of 11 overall and six straight at home.
James Harden had 33 points, seven rebounds
and seven assists for the Rockets.
Chris Paul scored 27 points and the Los Ange-
les Clippers beat the Lakers 105-93 for its fran-
chise-record ninth straight victory over its city
Austin Rivers added 17 points off the bench
for the Clippers, who improved to 14-3 without
Blake Griffin. Their star forward is out for at
least a month with a broken right hand after
punching a team staff member on the road last
Kelly Olynyk and Marcus Smart scored 16
points apiece as the Boston Celtics won a sea-
son-high fifth straight game, beating the slump-
ing Orlando Magic 113-94.
Carmelo Anthony had 19 points, 10 rebounds
and eight assists in his return from a two-game
absence, and the New York Knicks ended a four-
game losing streak with a 102-84 victory over
the Phoenix Suns.
Also Friday, the Portland Trail Blazers had a
109-91 victory over the Charlotte Hornets, the
Utah Jazz beat the Minnesota Timberwolves
103-90 and Chandler Parsons had 19 points
and the Dallas Mavericks beat the Brooklyn Nets
WNBA changing up
its playoff format
Grace successfully defends
Qatar Masters title
Love, Irving sharp
as Cavaliers beat
Detroit Pistons forward Ersan Ilyasova (23) reaches in on Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James
(23) during the first half of an NBA basketball game on Friday, , in Auburn Hills, Mich. AP PHOTO
Branden Grace of South Africa tees off at the 11th hole
during the second round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf
Championship in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates on
Friday. AP PHOTO
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