Mar 08 2014
Arsenal progressed to the last four of the FA Cup at the first time of asking but not without a fight against an Everton team who gave as good as they got at the Emirates.
Mesut Ozil scored his first goal of 2014 - and his first since the last time Arsenal played Everton in December - after seven minutes, but Everton deservedly equalised on 32 minutes when Romelu Lukaku tapped in from close range after a swift counter-attack.
However, the match was decided midway through the second half as Gareth Barry was wrong-footed in the box by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and tripped the Arsenal man. Mikel Arteta stepped up against his former club to score the penalty, only to be forced to retake it due to encroachment by Olivier Giroud.
Arteta changed the location of his penalty on the retake, going high and right instead of low and left, but it produced the same outcome.
Giroud then sealed the match with eight minutes remaining by turning in a low cross from close range, before doubling his tally shortly after.
It means Arsenal reach the FA Cup semi-finals for the first time in five seasons and just the second time since winning the competition in 2005.
Everton made a bright start in the early Spring sunshine, but Arsenal took the lead. Santi Cazorla broke from midfield and to the edge of the visitors' penalty area, where he fed Ozil. The German playmaker took his shot first time on his left foot and dispatched a low strike into the bottom right corner.
It was a much-needed confidence boost for the £42.5million midfielder, who had been given a rest by Wenger, was jeered by some German supporters when in action over the international break and had ..... (article cut to save bandwidth)
David Moyes has hit back at West Brom manager Pepe Mel's complaints that Robin van Persie should have been sent off during the 3-0 victory for Manchester United.
Van Persie escaped a second booking following a foul on Steven Reid, and Mel claims the failure to dismiss the Dutchman proved to be a turning point in the tie, with the score at 1-0 to United.
However, Moyes believes Van Persie did not deserve to collect another yellow card, saying: "I think the tackle [by Robin van Persie on Steven Reid] is a foul but not a second booking. If it is we are all going soft".
After the match, Mel, who is still without a victory since taking charge eight games ago, said on the turning point: "The fact that Robin van Persie did not get a second yellow card for his foul was also a big moment in the match".
West Brom are currently 17th and one point above the relegation zone having played two games more, and Mel felt his side were unfortunate during the game.
"I think we had a lot of bad luck today. We had to make three changes, all because of injury," he said.
Mar 08 2014
Wayne Rooney and Danny Welbeck added to Phil Jones' first-half goal as Manchester United turned back the years to cruise to a deserved 3-0 victory at West Bromwich Albion in the Premier League.
Under-fire manager David Moyes wrote to United supporters earlier this week thanking them for their patience during what he admitted was a far worse debut season than he ever expected.
The 2-0 defeat at Olympiakos had deflated the confidence of the most optimistic United fans, but on Saturday morale was raised at The Hawthorns following this encouraging display.
Phil Jones headed United ahead before Wayne Rooney scored his 13th of season after the break.
United rarely looked in trouble and substitute Danny Welbeck rounded off the win which moved Moyes' team up to sixth in the Premier League, with Moyes former team Everton in FA Cup action at Arsenal.
With Pepe Mel not having managed to win a match since his appointment, this was never going to be the hardest of United's fixtures this term. But United desperately needed a win following the Greek tragedy that unfolded before a shell-shocked Moyes nearly a fortnight ago.
The only downside for United was that Robin van Persie was lucky to remain on the pitch for a sliding tackle on Steven Reid just three minutes after his first booking. The Dutchman looked dismayed when he was wisely replaced soon after.
Despite their recent problems, West Brom started well. Victor Anichebe caused panic by charging down Jones' early attempted clearance, but Patrice Evra came to the rescue. The Nigerian charged at the United defence again, but Chris Smalling did just enough to push the striker wide.
United started to take a hold of the game around the quarter-hour mark, with Juan Mata and ..... (article cut to save bandwidth)
Mar 08 2014
Inter Milan are lining up a summer move for Chelsea misfit Fernando Torres, according to reports.
The Spain striker has more than two years on his £150,000-a-week contract at Stamford Bridge, having signed for a British record transfer fee of £50 million in 2011.
Mourinho has made no secret of the fact he is not happy with his current strike force and will prioritise this area when it comes to strengthening his squad in the summer.
Atletico Madrid's Diego Costa and Monaco's Radamel Falcao are the Portuguese manager's main targets - but will need to recoup much of their spending so they do not break UEFA's Financial Fair Play rules.
And the Daily Mail reports that Inter Milan, who have already snapped up Manchester United defender Nemanja Vidic, will come in with a £20 million bid to end Torres' miserable time at Chelsea - in which he has scored just 19 league goals in 102 games.
The newspaper reports that representatives from the Italian club were in contact with Chelsea during the January transfer window in an attempt to sign Juan Mata, with highly-rated Fredy Guarin being offered in return.
HOUSTON -- James Harden and the Rockets were determined to make up for their most lopsided loss of the season when they got a second shot at Indiana on Friday night.
Not only did Houston do that, but it handed the Eastern Conference-leading Pacers their biggest defeat in the process.
Harden had 28 points and the Rockets used a huge third quarter to turn a close game into a blowout in a 112-86 win over the Pacers.
Harden scored 16 in Houston's 38-point third quarter, which turned a three-point lead into a 29-point advantage. He also got into a dustup with Evan Turner that resulted in both players receiving technical fouls.
Dwight Howard and Harden went to the bench for the fourth period and watched their teammates wrap up Houston's fourth consecutive win.
Indiana won by 33 the first time the teams met, on Dec. 20 in Indianapolis.
"That's all we talked about," Howard said. "Every timeout and every possession. We wanted to get payback. It was good for us to come out (Friday) and stay on them for four quarters."
Mar 08 2014
CHICAGO -- From the tough defense to the rugged rebounding and passing big men, the Memphis Grizzlies and Chicago Bulls are practically mirror images.
Give this one to Marc Gasol and the Grizzlies, who clamped down on Joakim Noah and the Bulls in the final minutes.
Gasol had 18 points and 10 rebounds, and Memphis used its stout defense to beat Chicago 85-77 Friday night.
"Our defense was pretty steady," Grizzlies coach Dave Joerger said. "Thirty-nine in the first half, 38 in the second half. That was just solid for us. We kept them off the glass and they're a good offensive rebounding team. We contested shots and we pressured guys."
Mike Miller made four 3-pointers and finished with 14 points as the Grizzlies closed out a three-game road trip with their third victory in four games. Zach Randolph added 10 points and 11 rebounds after missing Wednesday's 103-94 loss at Brooklyn with the flu.
Taj Gibson's rebound basket with 3:15 to go was Chicago's only score in the final 5:53 of the game. Mike Conley made two free throws to make it 83-77 with 2:14 remaining and Gasol closed out the scoring with a putback with 21.9 seconds left.
"At times it was tough to score on both ends of the court, but they got second-chance shots and hustle plays and that won the game for them, I think," Gibson said.
Gasol missed the Grizzlies' 95-91 loss to the Bulls in Memphis on Dec. 30 due to a sprained left knee. But the league's reigning Defensive Player of the Year made a difference in this one, blocking three shots and helping hold Noah and Carlos Boozer in check.
"I think especially in the second half we did a much better job ..... (article cut to save bandwidth)
DALLAS -- Dirk Nowitzki says he wasn't thinking about the last time the Dallas Mavericks blew a 30-point lead and lost.
The biggest collapse in franchise history was a long time ago, and he was too busy trying to make sure it didn't happen again.
Nowitzki scored 22 points, Devin Harris hit the go-ahead shot in the final minute and the Mavericks rallied in the fourth quarter after blowing their huge first-half lead, beating the Portland Trail Blazers 103-98 Friday night.
"You're just out there battling," Nowitzki said. "They're a very, very good team. They came back a lot quicker than we wanted it to be, but we kept fighting and got the win."
LaMarcus Aldridge finished with 30 for Portland, including 18 in the third quarter when the Blazers went in front for the first time at 69-67 after trailing 44-14 early in the second quarter.
But Nowitzki didn't pause to remember Dec. 6, 2002, when the Mavericks lost at the Los Angeles Lakers 105-103 after leading 66-36 early in the third quarter.
Rick Carlisle wasn't dwelling on the blown lead either.
"How many whatever-point leads have we blown this year?" the Dallas coach said. "There's been tons of them. We've got to work to prevent it. There's no harder way to do it than what happened tonight."
The score was tied 98-all when Aldridge missed a shot from the lane and Harris won the scramble for the rebound. He dribbled the length of the floor and hit a leaning shot on the baseline and was fouled by Damian Lillard with 24 seconds left.
"He busted my mouth open, so I knew I wasn't all the way in front of him," Lillard said. "But I figured since that was the ..... (article cut to save bandwidth)
NEW YORK -- There's little margin for error, and the New York Knicks know it.
They need a big finish to the regular season, and after the way they've started the last two games, maybe they have one in them.
Carmelo Anthony scored 18 of his 29 points in the first quarter, sending the Knicks to a rare easy night in a 108-81 victory over the Utah Jazz on Friday.
With a long way to go to get back into playoff position, the Knicks won their second straight following a seven-game losing streak. They began a favorable portion of their schedule by opening an early double-digit lead and remaining comfortably ahead the rest of the way.
They scored 39 points in the first quarter, their best in any period this season, after scoring 38 in the opening 12 minutes at Minnesota on Wednesday.
"Last two games is, we had no choice," coach Mike Woodson said. "Time is somewhat running out and every game is important."
Anthony added a season-high eight assists while playing just three quarters of a game that wasn't competitive for long after the opening tip. J.R. Smith had 17 points and Tyson Chandler finished with 16 points and 11 rebounds for the Knicks, who led by as many as 32.
"We can either cave in and let teams beat the hell out of us, or we can come out there fighting," Smith said. "Thankfully we are coming out here fighting and it starts on the defensive end."
Amare Stoudemire, who has moved into the starting lineup along with Smith, scored 10 for the Knicks. They visit Cleveland on Saturday to play one of the teams in between them and Atlanta, which currently holds the eighth and final playoff spot ..... (article cut to save bandwidth)
DENVER -- Reflecting on his game during a monthlong recovery from a broken left rib has helped Ty Lawson come back strong.
Kenneth Faried scored a career-high 32 points, Lawson had 30 in his third game back from the injury and the Denver Nuggets beat the skidding Los Angeles Lakers 134-126 on Friday night.
"When you sit out, you watch a lot of tape from a lot of games and I could see things opening up or things I wasn't taking," said Lawson, averaging 27 points and 11.6 assists since his return. "It's been helping me shooting the 3s, and making them, and it's opened up the rest of my game, the mid-range shots, getting to the basket and getting more assists."
Lawson shot 5 of 7 on 3-pointers and had 17 assists, matching his career high. Faried grabbed 13 rebounds and Wilson Chandler scored 19 points. Timofey Mozgov and Evan Fournier added 13 points apiece for the Nuggets, who swept the three-game season series.
Fournier said it's evident by Lawson's recent play that he put his time away from the game to good use.
"When you're injured, you have the time to relax and think of what you can do better," Fournier said. "He's so fast. He's so good. I'm just glad he's back on the team because he brings so much for us."
Certainly more than the Lakers could deal with on this night.
"He is fast, he can shoot, he can do everything," Lakers swingman Xavier Henry said. "He had a good game and you take your hat off to him."
Los Angeles got 27 points from Pau Gasol but could not avoid its third straight defeat and sixth in eight games. This one ensured the club's first losing ..... (article cut to save bandwidth)
OAKLAND, Calif. -- Golden State Warriors coach Mark Jackson asked his players a simple question during Friday's morning shootaround: How many of them had ever been on a team 14 games over .500?
Only veterans Jermaine O'Neal, Steve Blake and Andre Iguodala raised their hands.
With so many home games remaining, the opportunity in front of the Warriors is rare. Golden State took another step forward Friday night by easing past the Atlanta Hawks 111-97 for its third straight win.
"We're chasing greatness," Jackson said. "We're not going to be satisfied. We're going to continue to try to chalk up Ws, continue to battle and continue to celebrate where we are as a basketball team. It's a great time. And if nobody else knows it, we know it."
David Lee had 18 points and six rebounds, and O'Neal came off the bench to add 17 points and eight rebounds to lift the Warriors (39-24) a season-high 15 games over .500 with a relatively smooth win.
Iguodala and Stephen Curry each scored 13 points to help Golden State build a 66-52 halftime lead and go ahead by 20 in the fourth quarter. The Warriors, fresh off a 4-2 road trip, are 8-2 since the All-Star break and beginning to look like the team that roared to the second-round of the playoffs last year.
"I've been 15 under in New York a bunch of times and when I first got here," Lee said. "It says a lot about the direction this organization's headed that we're breaking through and reaching goals like that."
Paul Millsap had 16 points and seven rebounds after missing the last five games because of a bruised right knee for the Hawks, who have lost five straight. Mike Scott added 14 points ..... (article cut to save bandwidth)