Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : December 28th 2013 Contents A51
Saturday, December 28, 2013 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
a game clear atop the NBA West-
ern Conference with a 116-112
overtime win over the Los Ange-
les Clippers in Thursday s clash
of divisional leaders.
The West s other divisional
leader, San Antonio, beat state
rival Dallas, while the other Texan
team Houston also won, downing
Portland s LaMarcus Aldridge
had 32 points and ten rebounds
as the Trail Blazers extended their
superb home-court form, having
only lost two games there all sea-
But the Clippers mounted a
challenge after trailing by as many
as 11 points early in the second
half. Blake Griffin had 35 points
and 11 rebounds, while Chris Paul
finished with 34 points and 16
Portland clung to a 114-112 lead
with 13.4 seconds left and padded
it with Wesley Matthews foul
shots. Paul missed a 3-point
attempt as time ran out.
San Antonio took advantage of
Dallas weakened front court and
beat the Mavericks 116-109.
Tim Duncan had 21 points and
13 rebounds in his tenth double-
double of the season, benefiting
from playing most of the game
on an opponent who was four
inches shorter. Mavericks centres
Samuel Dalembert played only
24 minutes while Brandan Wright
was out with an undisclosed ill-
Tony Parker led San Antonio
with 23 points, and reserve Danny
Green had 22 on perfect shoot-
Dirk Nowitzki had 25 points
scored 23 for the Mavericks. Blair
had 14 points and 11 rebounds
against his former team.
Houston rallied for a 110-92
win over Memphis, with James
Harden scoring 11 of his 27 points
in the fourth quarter.
Harden struggled from the
field, going 2 for 9, but was 22 of
25 from the free throw line. He
made 9 of 11 foul shots in the
Jeremy Lin had 14 of his 18
points for the Rockets in the
Zach Randolph led Memphis
with 23 points and 17 rebounds.
Atlanta s Jeff Teague scored a
career-high 34 points, including
a tiebreaking 20-foot jumper at
the buzzer in the second overtime,
leading the Hawks a 127-125 win
Teague s fallaway jumper
bounced off the rim five times
before falling through the net. His
3-pointer with 4.9 seconds left
in the first overtime tied the game.
Kyrie Irving led Cleveland with
40 points, including 12 in the sec-
ABU DHABI---Novak Djokovic overcame Jo-
Wilfried Tsonga to enter the final of the
Mubadala Championship for the third time in
three years yesterday, but he won t be facing
top-ranked Rafael Nadal.
Djokovic beat Tsonga 7-6 (5), 6-3 in 74 minutes
to set up a repeat of last year s final against David
Ferrer, who knocked out Spanish compatriot
Nadal 6-4, 6-4 with breaks in the last game of
each set, in 90 minutes of quality tennis.
Djokovic was watched by his new part-time
coach Boris Becker at the exhibition event. Earlier,
Wimbledon champion Andy Murray won his first
match following a three-month layoff for a back
injury when he beat Stanislas Wawrinka 6-3, 6-
4 in the playoff for fifth.
SAO PAULO---Fluminense will remain in
the Brazilian league despite being relegated
on the field, Brazil s sports tribunal ruled
The tribunal unanimously rejected an
appeal by Portuguesa, which lost four points
for using a suspended player in the last round.
Without the points, Portuguesa dropped
below Fluminense in the 20-team standings
and has to replace the traditional Rio de
Janeiro club in the second division next year.
A four-time national champion, Flumi-
nense became the first defending champ to
be relegated in the Brazilian league. But it
was saved by a technicality.
The ordeal, however, further embarrassed
football in Brazil, which has recently made
headlines for fan violence and the deaths of
workers at World Cup stadiums.
Portuguesa s suspended player, reserve
midfielder Heverton, was on the field for
about 15 minutes.
Portuguesa finished with 48 points and
advanced to play in next year s Copa
Sudamericana, but with Friday s ruling if fell
to 44 points, two behind Fluminense.
The club said it was still considering
whether to take the case outside the sports
The tribunal session was broadcast by
nearly all sports channels in Brazil and dozens
of fans were cheering outside the courtroom
in Rio de Janeiro.
Portuguesa said it was mistakenly advised
by one of its lawyers that Heverton was sus-
pended for one match instead of two matches.
It also said the suspension shouldn t have
taken effect immediately because the player s
trial was too close to the final round.
The club also claimed the document
announcing the punishment was officially
published only on Monday, a day after the
match. The tribunal said Portuguesa knew
of the decision right away because it was
represented at the player s hearing.
It is not the first time Fluminense has ben-
efited from an off-the-field ruling to avoid
relegation. The club was demoted for the
first time in 1996 but remained in the top
flight because of supposed refereeing irreg-
ularities at the time. Fluminense was relegated
again in 1997 and then dropped to the third
flight the following year, but a change in the
competition s format allowed the club to
move straight back into the first division in
Portuguesa, whose biggest achievement
was a runner-up finish in the 1996 Brazilian
league, last played in the second division in
Nadal loses to Ferrer in Abu Dhabi
Blazers beat Clippers
116-112 in overtime
Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin, centre, battles for a rebound with the Portland Trail Blazers'
Robin Lopez, left, and LaMarcus Aldridge during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Portland,
Oregon, on Thursday, December 26, 2013. Portland won in overtime 116-112. AP PHOTO
David Ferrer of
Spain returns the
ball to his fellow
Nadal during the
second day of the
Abu Dhabi, United
yesterday. AP PHOTO
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