Manchester United manager David Moyes believes the drubbing of Bayer Leverkusen in the Champions League was the club's best performance of the season.
United progressed to the knock-out stages of the competition after recording a 5-0 away victory over the Bundesliga club.
The win all but secured top spot in Group A with only Shakhtar Donetsk, their opponents in the final group match, a mathematical chance of toppling United.
And after the match, Moyes pointed to the performance in Germany as the type of showing he had hoped to garner from his squad on a regular basis.
"I'd probably have to say it is," Moyes answered when asked if this had been the best performance by United.
"I hope I can continue the standards of before [under Sir Alex Ferguson]. Tonight showed that. Qualification is expected, as is to do well in the league and cups.
"[The performance] is what I've been hoping to get more often - I've not had it as often as I'd like."
Meanwhile, Ryan Giggs, who turns 40 on Friday, said United's speed had been too much for Leverkusen to handle.
"I think our speed [was the difference],'' Giggs said. "The first goal was a good example; quick play. It was a pleasure to play behind our front four.
"We could have scored more. But we can't be too greedy. To score five anywhere in Europe is a great result.
"Going into a game knowing a win puts us through is a carrot and the five goals and a clean sheet is a bonus.
"It was a pleasure."
On Giggs, Moyes added: "People will question his age but you can't question him as a player. He was fantastic with everything. He did his ..... (article cut to save bandwidth)
Nov 28 2013
Andre Villas-Boas has played down a meeting with the Tottenham board, and said he is "indifferent" to the speculation surrounding his future.
Villas-Boas's job is reported to be under threat following a run of three Premier League games without a goal which culminated in Sunday's 6-0 thrashing at Manchester City.
Speculation is mounting, with the Daily Mail reporting that Spurs' director of football Franco Baldini is lining up former Barcelona star Luis Enrique, who is currently in charge of La Liga strugglers Celta Vigo. Baldini and Enrique worked together at Roma in 2011-12, where they led the Serie A side to sixth place.
Despite recruiting an array of attacking players in a bid to replace Gareth Bale - sold to Real Madrid for a world-record £86 million last summer - Spurs have scored just nine times in the Premier League so far this season. Their previously impressive defensive record was decimated by the defeat at Eastlands, and they sit ninth in the table ahead of the Manchester United's visit to White Hart Lane on Sunday.
Villas-Boas denied there was a rift growing between him and his players ahead of Thursday's Europa League trip to Norwegian side Tromso, and that he still retains the full backing of the club's hierarchy.
"A 6-0 defeat is a massive defeat," he said. "I have the confidence of the board. I have the confidence of my players and I have to move on to do a proper job.
"It was a conversation. They are of the same opinion that everything went wrong and we hope to get some response in the future. Results like this normally happen to big teams once every 10 or 20 years."
Villas-Boas endured a short but torrid time in his last job at ..... (article cut to save bandwidth)
Nov 26 2013
Kobe Bryant signed a two-year contract extension with the Los Angeles Lakers on Monday.
The Lakers did not announce financial terms, but a source told ESPNLosAngeles.com's Ramona Shelburne that the deal is worth $48.5 million.
Bryant, 35, will maintain his status as the NBA's highest-paid player over the course of the extension, the source told Shelburne. The 2007-08 league MVP will receive $23.5 million in the first year and $25 million in the second year of the extension, according to the source.
The Lakers and Bryant arrived at the salaries so that the team will have the financial flexibility to pursue one top free agent on the market next summer, the source told Shelburne.
The 2014 free-agent class could include four-time MVP LeBron James and reigning league scoring champion Carmelo Anthony, who both can opt out of their contracts after this season.
Bryant and 39-year-old point guard Steve Nash are the only players signed to significant contracts for next season with the Lakers, who have been anticipating a major roster restructuring in 2014 since Dwight Howard fled town in July.
Even if the Lakers waived the oft-injured Nash under a special provision limiting his salary cap hit, Bryant would eat up roughly a third of the team's room under the projected cap before anybody else joins him next season.
Bryant, who has not played since suffering a torn Achilles tendon in April, will make more than $30.4 million this season, the final year of his current contract.
The source also said the Buss family was unified in wanting to see Bryant continue to be the league's highest-paid player, and that the owners wanted the extension finalized before Bryant's return to the court as a way of demonstrating his importance to the franchise.
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SAN ANTONIO -- A big effort from the bench sent San Antonio to its 11th straight victory.
Manu Ginobili had 16 points to lead seven players in double figures, and the Spurs beat the New Orleans Pelicans 112-93 on Monday night to remain undefeated at home.
"The second team did a good job coming in and playing smart, aggressive basketball," coach Gregg Popovich said. "They didn't take anything for granted."
San Antonio, which led by as many as 32 points, never trailed after Al-Farouq Aminu's layup put New Orleans up 4-2 with 10:54 left in the first quarter.
The Spurs had 30 assists on their 44 field goals, continually making at least two passes on each possession compared to isolation plays and one-pass-and-shoot attempts by the Pelicans. New Orleans had 15 turnovers and finished with 21 assists, which was almost matched by San Antonio's reserves (16).
"We've just got to play harder," Pelicans big man Anthony Davis said. "They just came out and put it on us. It's tough. We didn't play with (any) effort. No energy. We didn't care. We played like we didn't care, and it kind of showed."
Tony Parker had 14 points and seven assists, Tiago Splitter added 11, and Tim Duncan 10 for San Antonio (13-1). Reserves Marco Belinelli had 14 points, Boris Diaw 13 and Patty Mills 12.
Ryan Anderson had 17 points, Tyreke Evans and Jrue Holiday each added 12 points, and Davis had 10 for New Orleans (6-7). The Pelicans, who have lost six straight in San Antonio, had a three-game winning streak snapped.
San Antonio matched its best start after 14 games and was again able to give its starters significant rest after rolling past Cleveland 126-96 on Saturday.
"We didn't do ..... (article cut to save bandwidth)
Nov 26 2013
Chicago Bulls point guard Derrick Rose will miss the rest of the season after undergoing knee surgery Monday, the team announced.
The 2010-11 league MVP had the medial meniscus repaired in his right knee at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. The surgery was to be performed by Dr. Brian Cole, who performed the ACL surgery on Rose's left knee in May 2012.
The disappointment from within the Bulls' locker room has been palpable since Rose injured his right knee in the third quarter of a game against the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday night, but Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau and his players were trying to focus on positives, not negatives Monday.
"I texted him," Thibodeau said of his communication with Rose. "The surgery was a success. So he obviously has to focus in on the rehab. And our team, we have to lock into our improvement and getting wins. The big thing for him is he just has to focus in on his rehab. The fact that he's already done it once, he has great mental toughness, he'll be fine. This will be another bump in the road, he'll get past it. We expect him to make a full recovery."
Having dealt with Rose's various injuries over the last three years, Thibodeau is confident his team will be able to bounce back.
"It's the nature of the NBA," Thibodeau said. "It's constant change, there's always things being thrown at you and it's how quickly you can adapt to those changes. So that's the challenge that we're faced with right now. The games are coming, we have to be ready, we have to come out with the right mindset and we have to go after people."
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PORTLAND, Ore. -- LaMarcus Aldridge believes the key to the Trail Blazers' early success this season is chemistry.
"I think this team is jelling together better than any other team I've been on," said Aldridge, who had 18 points and 14 rebounds for Portland in the team's 11th straight victory, a 102-91 win over the slumping New York Knicks on Monday night.
Nicolas Batum had 23 points, seven rebounds and six assists for the Blazers, who are riding their longest winning streak since they won 13 straight in December 2007.
The Knicks are headed in the opposite direction with six straight losses. Carmelo Anthony had 34 points and 15 rebounds.
New York trailed by as many as 22 points but pulled to 81-74 on Andrea Bargnani's 3-pointer early in the final quarter. Batum responded with a dunk, and Wesley Matthews added a 3-pointer to extend the lead again.
Again the Knicks narrowed it, closing to 98-91 after Anthony's jumper and a free throw with 1:47 to go. But Damian Lillard had consecutive jumpers for Portland, and that was as close as New York would come. Lillard finished with 23 points.
"We're winning ugly and pretty games, like tonight," Aldridge said. "We didn't shoot it great but I thought we made plays down the stretch offensively and defensively. We're just winning different ways right now."
Anthony said the Knicks' problem is sharing the ball.
"When the ball doesn't move, you can't get into a rhythm," he said. "(When the) ball's not moving around, that makes it tough for the rest of the team to have fun out there. Right now, we're not having fun."
The Blazers (13-2) were without guard Mo Williams, who was serving a one-game suspension without pay for his ..... (article cut to save bandwidth)
Nov 26 2013
INDIANAPOLIS -- The Pacers aren't letting anybody keep up with the Georges.
Certainly not Monday night.
George Hill took care of the early work, scoring a season-high 26 points, and Paul George closed it out by scoring 11 of his 26 points during a decisive second-half stretch that finally allowed Indiana to pull away from Minnesota 98-84 for yet another win.
"We just don't rely on one person to do all the work," Hill said. "We have multiple people who can make plays, who can play defense and things like that. We just continue to work together. We don't know who's night it's going to be. All we know is we have one common goal and that's to win the game."
The Pacers (13-1) are doing that at a record-setting pace this season.
After opening with nine straight wins, they've followed their only loss with four more wins. They're now a perfect 8-0 at home for the first time in franchise history, off to the best start in franchise history and 3-0 against the Western Conference.
Monday's win followed a familiar script. Indiana used a suffocating defense, a balanced offense and a strong bench and to put away scrappy Minnesota (8-8).
But Hill and George proved to be too much.
Hill dominated the first half, scoring 12 points as the Pacers took a 20-6 first-quarter lead. George took care of the rest, spurring the game-changing run that finally gave Indiana some breathing room in the second half.
Together, they went 19 of 29 from the field and 7 of 8 on 3-pointers. Hill finished with seven assists, five steals and three rebounds, while George had eight rebounds, four assists and four steals.
"It's great, we're playing together, we're making smart ..... (article cut to save bandwidth)
Nov 26 2013
MIAMI -- LeBron James was even more efficient than usual, which says plenty. Dwyane Wade attacked early, distributed late and capped his night with a pair of cartwheels.
Yep, it's going pretty good for the Miami Heat these days.
James scored 35 points on only 14 shots, Wade added 21 points and 12 assists and the Heat won their seventh straight game, beating the Phoenix Suns 107-92 on Monday night.
"The 12 assists was all my teammates, catching the ball, finishing," Wade said after his highest assist total since March 22, 2010. "And the cartwheels were all me."
The cartwheels -- a nod to Wade's youngest son Zion, who does his gymnast act all over the family's home these days -- were pre-planned, the latest "video bomb" where the Heat find a way to disrupt someone's postgame on-court interview.
It's about the only way James can be thrown off at this point.
He made 11 of 14 shots from the field, shot 11 for 11 from the foul line for the second time in a week -- after doing that or better only four times in his first 10 NBA seasons -- and capped his night with a trio of fadeaway jumpers that left him wondering why the Suns weren't double-teaming him.
"I'm in a very, very comfortable position right now with my game," said James, who's shooting 61 percent this season and became the first player this season to score more than 30 points while taking less than 15 shots.
Ray Allen scored 17 points and Chris Andersen added an 11-point, seven-rebound night for the Heat, who have won 10 of 11 since their 1-2 start.
Channing Frye led a balanced attack with 16 points for the Suns, who have ..... (article cut to save bandwidth)
SALT LAKE CITY -- Trey Burke finally had an opportunity to show why the Utah Jazz wanted him so badly.
The Jazz traded two first-round picks to get the Associated Press college player of the year from Michigan on draft night in June but have been waiting anxiously to see him on the court.
"Playing in those big moments in high school and college prepared me for this moment. I just wanted to play with confidence at the end," the point guard said after his first appearance at home.
Burke made a key 3-pointer to help the Utah Jazz outlast Chicago 89-83 in overtime Monday night -- the Bulls' first game since learning Derrick Rose would again be lost for the season.
"I watched the young guy when he was in college at Michigan doing some spectacular things. He came to the court tonight and played a huge game in the most minutes he's played as a pro," said Marvin Williams, who led Utah with 17 points.
Burke, who is finally enjoying extensive playing time after spending most of the season recovering from finger surgery, had 14 points and six assists. He also had five turnovers and shot 5-for-17 but was on the court in clutch time, directing the Jazz to their second win of the season.
"I certainly wasn't playing well in the beginning. I missed some shots and missed some guys who were open," Burke said.
The Jazz expect some mistakes from the youngster but their forgettable start to the season leaves them hoping for a newfound dimension to their team.
"The young fella is good, and he's only going to get better. He's in a tough spot right now, as most rookies are just starting to get their ..... (article cut to save bandwidth)
DALLAS -- Ty Lawson and the Denver Nuggets started slowly against Dallas this time. They beat the Mavericks again anyway.
Lawson had 19 points after a quiet first half, Nate Robinson scored 11 straight for Denver in the fourth quarter and the Nuggets pulled away from Dallas 110-96 on Monday night, their second win over the Mavericks in three days.
Robinson finished with 17 points, all but two in the second half, and Lawson had 14 after halftime and finished with a game-high 11 assists as the Nuggets handed Dallas its first home loss in eight games this season.
J.J. Hickson led Denver with 22 points -- including 10 during a first-quarter run that put his team ahead for good -- and Kenneth Faried added 10 points and 10 rebounds as the Nuggets won their second road game.
Monta Ellis led the Mavericks with 22 points, and Dirk Nowitzki passed Brooklyn's Kevin Garnett for 14th on the NBA scoring list and finished with 18.
"It's tough to beat any team back to back," said Hickson, who was 8-of-11 from the field and had eight rebounds. "We knew they were 7-0 (at home), and we wanted to come in and give them their only loss."
In Saturday's meeting in Denver, the Nuggets took a big lead early and had to hold on late for the win after Dallas went in front. This time, they had to dig out of an early hole.
Denver fell behind by 11 less than six minutes in before going on a 21-6 run to take a 29-25 lead late in the first quarter. The Nuggets didn't trail again.
After going up by as many as 12 in the second quarter, the Nuggets started the third with a 16-6 ..... (article cut to save bandwidth)