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Leonard leaves bloodied, but Clippers beat Nuggets 121-108 – The Globe and Mail

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Los Angeles Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard lies on the court after suffering an injury during the second half of the team’s NBA basketball game against the Denver Nuggets on Friday, Dec. 25, 2020, in Denver.

David Zalubowski/The Associated Press

Kawhi Leonard was hurt and the Denver Nuggets were mounting a rally like they did three months ago.

This time, the Los Angeles Clippers didn’t allow Denver to complete the comeback.

Leonard had 21 points before taking an elbow to the face in the fourth quarter, Paul George scored 23 points and had nine assists, and Los Angeles beat the Nuggets 121-108 on Friday night.

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It was the second straight big win for LA, which beat the Lakers on Tuesday night.

“We’re a different team than last year,” George said.

The Clippers led by 11 with 6:11 left Friday night when Serge Ibaka went up for a rebound and caught the side of his teammate’s face with his right elbow. Leonard lay bleeding on the court before walking to the locker room.

“He got up and walked off the floor, so he’s going to be good,” LA coach Tyronn Lue said.

Leonard was ruled out shortly thereafter and was being evaluated postgame, but it did put a scare into George.

“Really worried. I was thinking the worst,” George said. “I didn’t know if he was concussed or what actually happened, I just saw him laying on the ground. That was first and foremost, making sure he was OK.”

The Clippers didn’t need Leonard to close out a Nuggets team that upset them in the second round of the Western Conference semifinals last season.

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Nikola Jokic finished with 24 points, 10 assists and nine rebounds for Denver, which has dropped its first two games of the season. Jamal Murray added 23 points, 13 coming in the fourth.

The Nuggets rallied from double-digit second-half deficits in Games 5, 6 and 7 of the second-round series in September, winning all three and wiping out LA’s 3-1 lead to advance to the Western Conference finals. It was a surprising end for a team many thought could beat the Lakers and advance to the NBA Finals.

George said he has put that disappointment in the past.

“I buried last year, left last year in the bubble,” he said. “This is a new season, new team, new goals, new everything. I was ready and poised and confident coming into this year, and I was prepared coming into this season.”

Denver wasn’t able to do it again but made a run after trailing by 24 late in the third quarter. The Nuggets used an 11-0 run into early in the fourth, and two 3-pointers by Murray sliced a 98-74 deficit to 106-95 with 7:35 left.

“When you’re down 25, it’s about pride and about effort,” Murray said. “We wanted to play hard and let the lead take care of itself. We saw the lead chip away like we did in the playoffs, we just couldn’t get over the hump.”

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Leonard went out soon after but Denver never got the deficit under 10.

“They made a run, we lost Kawhi so we could have lost our composure, lost our game, but we took a good timeout,” Nicolas Batum said. “We kept moving the ball and made big shots.”

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Mixed Martial Arts-Door is open for YouTube’s Paul brothers in MMA

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Logan and Jake Paul would make great Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighters, Bellator president Scott Coker has said as he targets exhibition matches featuring the YouTube personalities such as the former’s boxing bout against Floyd Mayweather.

Logan Paul went the distance, surviving eight rounds against unbeaten (50-0) five-division world boxing champion Mayweather in an exhibition on Sunday at Miami’s Hard Rock stadium.

USA Today reported the fight brought in one million pay per view buys with $50 million generated from sales in the United States.

It was only the second fight of Paul’s career, while his brother Jake has fought in three professional boxing matches, beating former MMA fighter Ben Askren in April.

Critics have labelled the bouts a sideshow due to the lack of sporting credibility of the duo, who made their names as social media personalities and have millions of subscribers on YouTube.

However, Coker told Reuters the brothers have impressive physiques and the door is open for them to move into MMA.

“I met with Logan Paul about two years ago and I’ve spoken to Jake Paul’s manager and Jake on a zoom call recently… The one thing I said was hey, if you want to do MMA we would love to promote you guys,” the 58-year-old said in a Zoom interview.

“These guys are young, athletic, strong and you saw the fight on Sunday night these guys they came and did their work.

“Mayweather couldn’t finish him and I know he tried, I heard he wanted to knock this kid out so bad,” he added.

“When I heard both had high school wrestling backgrounds in Ohio, which is a prominent wrestling state in the U.S., it really made me interested in pursuing them in some super fights in Mixed Martial Arts – and that door is continually open.”

HEADLINE FIGHT

Bellator, owned by Viacom, is gearing up for a busy month of events, starting with Bellator 260 on Friday with the headline fight between reigning welterweight world champion Douglas Lima and the undefeated Yaroslav Amosov.

However, super fights and exhibitions are where Coker is targeting a younger audience.

“My 14-year-old niece, I told her I was going to the Logan Paul fight and she thought that was the greatest thing,” he said.

“She asked me who he was fighting and I said Floyd Mayweather and she said ‘who’s that?’ – I thought wow, she doesn’t know boxing, she doesn’t know MMA, she’s just a 14-year-old girl on the internet doing what they do.”

As the sporting world gears up for the delayed Tokyo Olympics starting in July, Coker believes MMA will feature in future Games.

“When you think about mixed martial arts, what you’re talking about is boxing, wrestling, judo, taekwondo, karate – those are all Olympic sports,” he said.

“Why wouldn’t mixed martial arts eventually get into the Olympics because six out of the seven disciplines MMA is known to use really is already there.

“There’d be a lot of details to work out but to me I think it will happen, it’s just a matter of time.”

 

(Reporting by Christian Radnedge,; Editing by Ed Osmond)

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Montreal will host the 2024 world figure skating championships

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Montreal will host the 2024 world figure skating championships, the International Skating Union (ISU) said on Wednesday, after the 2020 event Canada was to host was cancelled due to COVID-19.

The championships will return to Montreal from March 18-24, marking the 11th time Canada has staged the event.

“Skate Canada has a proven track record of holding successful ISU events and we are looking forward to bringing the world’s best skaters to the fantastic Canadian city of Montreal,” said Debra Armstrong, CEO of Skate Canada, in a statement.

 

(Reporting by Steve Keating in Toronto; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne)

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Andreescu splits with coach Bruneau after French Open exit

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World number seven Bianca Andreescu on Tuesday announced she has split with longtime coach Sylvain Bruneau, a week after falling in the first round of the French Open.

The pair had worked together for four years as Andreescu made her breakthrough with three titles in 2019, including the U.S. Open.

“It is with a heavy heart that I would like to inform my fans that my long time coach, mentor and friend, Sylvain and I, have mutually decided to end our incredible coaching relationship,” Canadian Andreescu wrote on Twitter

“Our friendship will live forever … I am very grateful for everything we accomplished together and all of our great memories.

“Sylvain was more than a coach… he is family.”

Andreescu, 20, returned to action at this year’s Australian Open, having missed 15 months due to a knee injury.

A positive COVID-19 test subsequently ruled Andreescu out of both Madrid and Rome before an abdominal injury forced her to pull out of Strasbourg at the quarter-final stage.

Her most recent appearance at Roland Garros ended with a 6-7(1) 7-6(2) 9-7 defeat by Slovenia’s Tamara Zidansek.

 

(Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne)

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