49ers beat Cowboys as time expires on Dallas’ comeback attempt

Down 6 with 14 seconds remaining, the Cowboys couldn’t stop the clock after a Prescott run to the middle of the field. An official bumped Prescott trying to get the ball set, which threw Prescott off as he rushed to spike it. Time ran out and the Cowboys’ season was over.

Video Transcript

 You need someone, San Francisco, to get to the quarterback here.

 Prescott takes off, running the football. Whoa, I don’t think this is going to work out!

 It will. They’ll be able to clock this. They were planned for it. It’s [? downtown. ?] Oh my gosh.

 The official gets in the way. The game’s over! The game is over.

 Oh, he did!

 Oh, they’re going to look at this.

It’s, it’s going to be over because the umpire has to touch the ball. Of course, that’s ridiculous for a game to end like that, Jim. Wow. I am livid, if I’m a Cowboy fan. And if I’m a Niner fan.

 That’s the end of the game.

 The game is over! The game is over. And San Francisco survives and advances.

 You called it. It was risky. They had time. Dak’s supposed to go. But you’re not supposed to go past 10 or 12 yards.

 Remember we saw this, on the play after the fake punt? The same scenario, where the umpire got in the way?

 He has to touch it, though.

 Yep.

 Dak doesn’t realize this. These guys don’t realize, he has to touch the ball.

 Gene Steratore, your take.

 You guys were all over it, Jim. You and Tony are all over it. The umpire, an official, has to touch the football after it’s set down to start the next play.

Morant scores 29, Grizzlies beat Warriors for 10th straight

Ja Morant scored 29 points, including five in the final minute, and the Memphis Grizzlies beat the Golden State Warriors 116-108 Tuesday night for their 10th straight win.

“I just like having that pressure,” Morant said of his scoring down the stretch. “I feel like that’s when I shine the most. I like to be the one taking that shot, hit or miss.”

Ziaire Williams and Tyus Jones had 17 points each, Williams recording a season-high in points. Jones keyed a fourth-quarter rally that put the Grizzlies ahead for good. He finished 6 for 8 from the field, including connecting on all five of his 3-point attempts.

Stephen Curry led the Warriors with 27 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists for his second triple-double of the season. Klay Thompson finished with 14 points. Andrew Wiggins and Gary Payton II scored 13 each.

The teams had a closely played game in the second half until consecutive 3-pointers by Jones gave Memphis a 109-100 lead with 3:33 left to play. That was enough of a buffer for the Grizzlies to keep their franchise-record win streak going, Memphis holding Golden State to 18 points in the fourth quarter.

“I thought Tyus Jones shooting 3s broke the game open. That was the key,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said.

The Grizzlies were the ones connecting from 3-point range in the first half hitting 8 of their first 13 from outside the arc. That allowed Memphis to build an 18-point lead in the second quarter, putting the Warriors in catch up mode from that point on.

“It was just turnovers early in the game, and that gave them a lot of confidence,” said Curry, who was 8 of 21 shooting, including 2 of 9 from 3-point range.

Grizzlies interim coach Darko Rajakovic noted it wasn’t just Williams’ offensive output, but the rookie from Stanford also had the job of guarding Curry from the opening tip. Rajakovic noted that Curry averages 14 3-pointers a game, but only took nine in the game.

“He did a really good …

Egypt vs. Nigeria result: Super Eagles win 1-0 Against Egypt

The second true heavyweight match of the 2022 Africa Cup of Nations saw Nigeria take firm control of Group D with a 1-0 victory over Mohamed Salah and Egypt.

After Monday’s game between Morocco and Ghana saw the Atlas Lions come away with a 1-0 victory, we were treated to another matchup of expected title contenders, and the result showed one side is far more prepared to push for the crown than the other.

Liverpool superstar Salah was entirely locked down, with little to show for his 90-minute effort as Nigeria smothered the Egyptian playmaker. Kelechi Iheanacho’s early goal proved the difference as Nigeria fended off a late Pharoahs push to claim all three points. Both teams are expected to progress from Group D despite today’s result, but Nigeria’s victory sets the Super Eagles up nicely for a better Round of 16 matchup and a deep run deep in the tournament, while Egypt will feel added pressure in its other group stage matches against Guinea-Bissau and Sudan.

See Highlights of the Game Below ;

Sofiane Boufal scores late winner as Ghana lose opening clash in AFCON

Morocco’s Sofiane Boufal seized on a loose ball to score seven minutes from time and secure a 1-0 win over Ghana in their opening Group C match at the Africa Cup of Nations on Monday.

Boufal hammered home from close range after a mazy run into the penalty area from Zakaria Aboukhlal that saw him tease the Ghana defence, only to be checked by Thomas Partey, with the ball then running perfectly for Boufal to score.

The goal came from a rare chance in a game where both sides showed defensive prowess but did little to impress in attack.  Both countries are looking to end a long wait for success in the continental championship but showed little early sign of making an impact at the tournament in Cameroon, admittedly after disrupted preparations.

Boufal’s goal did open up a cagey affair and Morocco had two more decent chances as captain Romain Saiss headed wide after an 87th minute free kick and then in stoppage time Ghana’s keeper Joe Wollacott stopped a blistering shot.

Until then, there had only been two opportunities for Ghana.

Joseph Paintsil hit a goal-bound shot towards the top corner in the 70th minute only for Morocco goalkeeper Yassine Bounou to turn the effort around the post.

Ghana also had a good set-piece opportunity in the 31st minute but Partey fired his free kick over the bar.

The victory extended to 10 matches Morocco’s winning streak, including all six World Cup qualifiers played between September and November.…

McTominay goal ousts Villans

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be grinning sardonically after Manchester United’s Fred and Scott McTominay teamed up for the only goal of a 1-0 win over Aston Villa in an FA Cup tie at Old Trafford on Monday.

The much-maligned defensive midfield pair connected for a precision goal early in the match when Fred cut onto his left foot and pinged an arrow into the heart of the box.

Steven Gerrard’s Villans equalized twice but saw both goals taken off the board by VAR.

McTominay doesn’t mind going to the gritty areas to find the ball and earned another big goal in his young career.

The Red Devils put 9 of their 13 shots on target but only found the McTominay goal, and Villa had 57 percent possession in registering 10 shots of their own.

United completes the fourth-round field and will host Middlesbrough between Feb. 4-7.

500 supporters storm Garoua to cheer Super Eagles to victory

No fewer than 500 members of the Nigeria Football Supporters Club (NFSC) have stormed Garoua, Cameroon to cheer the Super Eagles to victory at the ongoing 2021 AFCON in Cameroon.

The National chairman of NFSC, Samuel Ikpea, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) Monday in Garoua, Cameroon ahead of Eagles crunch opener against Egypt Tuesday.

A correspondent of NAN in Garoua who witnessed the flamboyant arrival of some of the members reports that their arrival has brought more zest to the already bubbly Eagles camp.

Ikpea confirmed that despite some of the logistic hitches, the NFSC members were now fully on ground to paint the city green and cheer the Eagles to victory at the competition. He explained that over 250 members had arrived in batches from Nigeria while members on ground in Cameroon have also shifted base to Garoua.

According to him, other chapters of the association from Mali, Ghana, Cote D’Ivoire and South Africa were also in town to give maximum support to the Eagles.

” I can tell you that the NFSC is fully on ground in Garoua now, we have about 250 members from Nigeria while others from our chapters in Cameroon, Mali, Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire and South Africa are also here.

“So all together we have about 500 supporters here ready to propel the Super Eagles to victory on Tuesday against Egypt and all through the tournament,” he said.

Ikpea added that the association which was founded 66 years ago will continue to give the Eagles the desired support wherever they play across the world.

He asserted that the structure of the association was unmatched and arguably the best in the world, noting that FIFA had recognized the NFSC as the best behaved in the world.

“Our structure is unmatched and the best in the world and the NFSC have been recognized by FIFA as the best behaved supporters club in the world”, he added.

He called on Nigerians to continue to support the Super Eagles as they begin their conquest for a fourth …

Cameroon fight back to win opener after Andre Onana’s blunder

AJAX goalkeeper Andre Onana was left red-faced after conceding the first goal of of the Africa Cup of Nations.

The Cameroon shot-stopper was directly at fault for Burkina Faso’s opener on 24 minutes after a moment of madness between the sticks.

In the end two Vincent Aboubakar penalties late in the first half saw the hosts come from behind to win 2-1, with the Cameroon skipper also having another strike ruled out by VAR for offside.

This year’s tournament marks the first time VAR will be in use for every game of the competition, having only been in force from the quarter-finals onwards in 2019.

And the technology had to work overtime for today’s incident packed clash.

Bertrand Traore conceded the first penalty for a clumsy challenge on Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa, which was only given after a lengthy VAR review.

Aboubaka coolly sent Herve Koffi the wrong way on 40 minutes, as he did again in the third minute of first half stoppage time after Issoufou Dayo carelessly slid in on Nouhou Tolo.

It means the five-time Afcon winners and tournament hosts go top of Group A thanks to three points from their opening game of the competition.

Cameroon goalkeeper Onana, 25, was playing in just his third game back after serving a NINE month ban from football for a doping violation.

He actually finished the suspension in November, but has been out of favour at Ajax, playing just twice since.

The keeper is still No1 between the sticks for Cameroon, but might not be for much longer after his absolute howler in the Afcon opener.

After being rescued by a goal-line clearance following a header by Aston Villa man Traore, Onana then made a right mess of a resulting cross.

His blushes were spared momentarily as the ball rebounded off the crossbar, but it was quickly whipped back into the box.

And as he tried to punch clear, Onana missed the ball completely, leaving Gustavo Sangare free to volley home at the back post and give Burkina Faso a …

The Spurs always had an answer in wire-to-wire victory over the Nuggets

With the San Antonio Spurs in the middle of a FIGASENI, this was one of the few times this week that they would not be at a rest disadvantage, as they took on a Denver Nuggets team that is not only missing two starters in Michael Porter, Jr. and Jamal Murray (among others), but they are also on the sixth game of a seven-game road trip AND coming off an overtime victory in New Orleans from the night before.

As a result, the Spurs had a chance to take advantage and start a new winning streak, and they did just that. While it wasn’t easy — Denver still has reigning MVP Nikola Jokic, and Aaron Gordon had himself a game — the Spurs led wire-to-wire and had a response every time the Nuggets threatened to take the lead.

It all started with the Spurs continuing their trend of starting strong by hitting 8 of their first 12 shots to get out to a 22-12 lead that they would never relinquish. The Nuggets were able to take advantage in the fast break with some long outlet passes to keep things close, but the Spurs kept attacking. They got nine extra points off seven offensive rebounds in the first quarter alone and led 37-29 to start the second.

The Spurs kept piling it with a 17-5 run that spanned across the first and second quarters. Devin Vassell returned from injury and exploded onto the scene on both ends of the court (literally), and the Spurs soon found themselves up 60-42 midway through the quarter. However, the Nuggets finally started getting some threes to fall while the Spurs had one of their cold spells, cutting the lead to four on a 16-4 run. Mike Malone then broke out the Hack-a-Poeltl on Jakob Poeltl, and he missed both free throws before quickly being pulled due picking up his 3rd foul. Jokic able to take advantage of his absence for a few easy points, but again, the Spurs responded at the end of the half …

Mitchell, Gobert lead Jazz over 76ers for 6th straight win

Donovan Mitchell scored 22 points, Rudy Gobert had 17 points and 21 rebounds and the Utah Jazz extended their winning streak to six games with a 118-96 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers on Thursday night. Hassan Whiteside added 14 points and 10 rebounds for Utah.

Joel Embiid had 19 points and nine rebounds for the 76ers. Seth Curry scored 18 points and Tobias Harris 17 for Philadelphia, which had won four of five.

Both teams were playing the second night of a back-to-back, and it was the 76ers who looked tired after halftime.

“I think you go through the ebb and flow of the season, sometimes you just decide not to be tired,” Jazz coach Quin Snyder said. “When you’re playing the right way, it makes it easier.”

The Jazz were coming off a 136-104 win over Minnesota on Wednesday night in which they made 25 3-pointers, two shy of their season high. “They’re playing free,” Philadelphia coach Doc Rivers said. “They get a lot of 3’s up, they stretch the floor. They’re a tough basketball team, especially offensively.”

But against the Sixers, the Jazz, who finished with 15 3-pointers, used their inside game to take control in the third quarter. Whiteside’s three-point play pushed their advantage to double-digits, and Rudy Gay’s finish from close range and a foul shot for another three-point play gave Utah its biggest lead to that point, 71-58 with 2:27 left in the third.

The Jazz kept it up in the fourth, taking firm command on Jordan Clarkson’s 3-pointer that put them up 99-81 with 7:21 left. Utah’s lead reached as many as 23 points in a dominating fourth quarter.

“I didn’t feel like we had a lot tonight,” Rivers said.Embiid was back on the court for the seventh straight contest after missing nine in a row due to COVID-19 protocols. He has looked more like himself of late, scoring 32 points and being active in Philadelphia’s 110-106 win at Charlotte on Wednesday, when the 76ers completed a two-game sweep of the host Hornets over …

Toothless Barca crash out of Champions League with 3-0 loss at Bayern

Barcelona crash out of the Champions League following defeat at Bayern Munich, failing to make it past the group stage for the first time since the 2000-01 season.

For the first time in 20 years, FC Barcelona have failed to make it out of the Champions League group stage, being bounced from the competition by mighty Bayern Munich on Wednesday in a 3-0 defeat on Wednesday in Matchday 6. With Benfica beating Dynamo Kiev, Barcelona needed to go to Munich at get a win against a team that has thoroughly demolished them over the last few seasons, and they didn’t even come close to competing. Bayern led 2-0 at the break, and the 3-0 score was generous all things considered as Bayern dominated both the ball and the chances.

Thomas Muller scored the winning strike in the 34th minute on a goal-line-technology-confirmed goal before Leroy Sane produced a wonder strike from 30 yards out just prior to the break. Jamal Musiala made it 3-0 after the hour mark, slamming the door shut on any unlikely comeback the Spanish team had in mind.

The victory meant nothing to Bayern as they had already locked up first place in Group E, while Benfica qualified for the knockout stage as the runners-up. Barca will continue their European journey in the Europa League, a competition they haven’t participated in since 2004 when it was called the UEFA Cup.

1. This is a Barca in transition and Xavi isn’t to blame

This was Xavi’s second UCL game in charge as the boss of Barca, and he isn’t to blame. The months of atrocious planning and play with Ronald Koeman at the helm has led to this. While Barca have the name, they obviously don’t have the game. This is a club in full rebuild mode looking to reach some level of competence since Lionel Messi’s departure. This was not the desired result, obviously, but it does present them another route to quality for the UCL. That, of course, would require them to win the Europa …

Demarai Gray’s late strike ends Rafael Benitez’s side’s winless run

It looked like another night to forget for Everton’ when Richarlison was twice denied goals after being ruled offside by VAR, the first coming moments before Martin Odegaard gave the visitors the lead in stoppage time at the end of the first half. However, the Brazilian wasn’t to be denied a third time as he headed home the rebound to bring the scores level after Gray’s strike had hit the crossbar. Arsenal, who will feel aggrieved Ben Godfrey didn’t see red after his studs caught Takehiro Tomiyasu in the face in the first half, had a glorious chance of their own to retake the lead in the final 10 minutes when Eddie Nketiah headed against the post from inside the six-yard box, but it the points were Everton’s as Gray’s powerful effort hit the inside of the post and went in to start the home celebrations.

The victory sees Everton, who saw a small section of their supporters walk out in protest at the running of the club in the 27th minute, move up to 12th, relieving the pressure that was building on Benitez after an eight-game winless run. Meanwhile, Arsenal, who stay seventh, lose ground in the race for fourth after wins for West Ham, Tottenham and Manchester United at the weekend.

Everton have won three consecutive league matches against Arsenal for the first time since April 1986.

Everton have won 10 points from losing positions in the Premier League this season, more than any other side in 2021-22.

Arsenal have lost consecutive Premier League matches when scoring the first goal in each match, the first time they’ve done that since December 2016, with one of those defeats also a 2-1 loss against Everton at Goodison Park (the other was a 2-1 defeat to Man City).

Demarai Gray’s winner for Everton was scored after 91 minutes and 21 seconds, their latest winning goal in a Premier League match since December 2015 v Newcastle (92:46), and latest at Goodison Park in the competition since March 2014 v Cardiff (92:33).

Gray …

Phoenix Suns set franchise record with 18th straight win

Even with history looming as it approached a franchise record win streak, Phoenix Suns coach Monty Williams said he tried not to bring it up to his team.

But after a 114-103 victory Thursday night over the visiting Detroit Pistons set a franchise mark with 18 consecutive wins, Williams allowed himself time to reflect.

“But it is really cool to be a part of something like that,” Williams said. “To win like this, the way we’ve won, guys out of the rotation, losing [Devin Booker to injury], the relentless attitude of our team, the way we stick together, it makes it really cool.

“Obviously it’s hard to win in this league. But we’re not satisfied. We talk about stretching it out but it takes the right things to do that. So we’ve taken it one game at a time.”

The 18th win topped the previous franchise mark of 17 set by the 2006-07 Suns, who went on to finish 61-21. The streak also ties the 2019 Bucks for the longest of any NBA team in the last five seasons. The longest streak in NBA history belongs to the 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers, who won 33 straight games.

Suns players tried to downplay how much they thought about the streak on a day-to-day basis.

“It feels good but at the same time, I don’t know, I guess it feels good but we got another tomorrow,” Cameron Payne said. “We have to keep going. It’s 1-0 today. That’s how I feel.”

Suns point guard Chris Paul, who finished with 12 points and 12 assists, said it was a nice piece of history for the team, but the focus remains on the bigger picture.

“But for us I think it’s always about the feeling of making sure we’re playing the game the right way,” Paul said. “We always talk about we have a standard. We say this every night and a win is a win but we feel like we could have played better.”

Phoenix was without their leading scorer in Booker, who …

‘You cannot turn down Manchester United’: Ralf Rangnick unveiled as manager to begin club’s new era

Manchester United stepped into a new era on Friday morning as the German innovator Ralf Rangnick was unveiled as new interim manager in the club’s boldest move since Sir Alex Ferguson’s departure eight years ago.

Less than 12 hours after caretaker Michael Carrick walked away from the club – marking the last of Ferguson’s 2008 Champions League winners to leave Old Trafford, having played and then coached at United ever since – the 63-year-old Rangnick gave a measured press conference in which he hailed Cristiano Ronaldo, warned of the “big” gap to the Premier League’s three, and hinted he could stay on permanently.

Rangnick has walked away from a brief stint as sporting director at Lokomotiv Moscow where he was charged with overhauling the club as he had done so successively at Hoffenheim and RB Leipzig before. He revealed he turned down an interim position at Chelsea in February because it was only short-term, whereas United offered him a two-year consultancy role after this season to use his considerable experience guiding the hierarchy. “If a club like Manchester United contacts you for such a role, you cannot possibly turn it down.”

His first recommendation at the end of the season could be to hire Ralf Rangnick. “The people with whom I’ve spoken so far, they’ve been very clear we’re talking about a six-and-a-half month role. Maybe if it goes well and they ask me, I might make the same recommendation as I did twice at Leipzig – to continue with me.”

One of the most interesting aspects of the coming weeks will be to witness how Rangnick’s relationship with Ronaldo unfolds. Rangnick has been dubbed the ‘godfather of gegenpressing’ and his philosophy on determinedly winning the ball high up the pitch has been adopted and adapted by Jurgen Klopp, Thomas Tuchel and Julian Nagelsmann, now at Liverpool, Chelsea and Bayern Munich respectively, and it is not a strategy naturally suited to the 36-year-old Ronaldo.

But after watching from the stands as Ronaldo scored twice to sink Arsenal on Thursday night, …

Khloe Kardashian’s estranged partner Tristan Thompson expecting 3rd child with personal trainer

American basketballer Tristan Thompson is expecting a third child with a personal trainer.

According to DailyMail, the NBA star is expecting a baby boy with a Texas-based personal trainer.

The trainer, Marilyn Nicole has already filed for child support from the rich NBA star before giving birth to the child.

 

Nicole said she conceived the child on the night of Tristan’s 30th birthday. At that time, the NBA star was still in a relationship with Khloe Kardashian whom they share a daughter.

However, Tristan admitted in the lawsuit that he had sex with the 31-year-old trainer but claimed that it only happened once.

In a twist, Nicole said the affair started five months before his birthday and the affair continued after she got pregnant.

Earlier in the year, an Instagram model, Sydney Chase had revealed that she had an affair with the basketballer.

The won’t be the first time Thompson will be cheating on his baby mama.

Suns win 17th in a row to tie franchise record

On Tuesday night, the Phoenix Suns tied the franchise record for most consecutive wins with 17 of them, this most recent one being extra special as it came against the second hottest team in the league in the Golden State Warriors. The last time they won 17 straight was in the 2006-2007 season, and we’ll find out as soon as Thursday if they can officially break the record. We’ll start with the bad first, as Devin Booker exited in the middle of the second quarter with a hamstring injury, finishing with 10 points, two rebounds and one dime in 15 minutes, but he was seen on the Phoenix bench relentlessly cheering on his team despite suffering an injury mid-game. He’s had some hammy issues in the past but he’s bounced back rather nicely, and basically everyone gets a small boost if he misses time, with Chris Paul being the next man up and go-to guy. CP3 tallied a 4×5 line to the tune of 15 points (7-of-13 FGs), six rebounds, 11 assists, five steals, one 3-pointer and two turnovers in 39 minutes, and he just has not seemed to age and will remain in the first-round status that he held before this gem. Deandre Ayton feasted and was hustling up and down the court like nobody’s business, going for a team-high 24 points (11-of-19 FGs) with 11 rebounds (six offensive), two assists, one steal and two blocks with just one turnover to his name in 34 minutes. He’s still just top-60 on the season because he isn’t blocking shots, with the two tonight tying his season high, only accumulating that many on two occasions. Cam Johnson had a 14/4/2/1/1 evening with three triples and is probably the biggest direct beneficiary whenever D-Book is hurt, so feel free to stream him if Booker sits on Thursday against the Pistons (I see no reason why he wouldn’t get some extra rest even if he’s fine, given the opponent). Mikal Bridges had just two points but brought the defense with four steals and …

Nets escape with wild win over rival Knicks

Kevin Durant and the Nets survive a thriller against the Knicks

James Johnson hit the tiebreaking free throws with 2.2 seconds remaining as the host Brooklyn Nets blew a 16-point lead, survived a wild fourth quarter, and outlasted the New York Knicks for a 112-110 victory in front of a raucous crowd Tuesday night, November 30 (Wednesday, December 1, Manila time).

The game was tied at 110-110 after New York’s Evan Fournier hit a three-pointer over Bruce Brown with 17 seconds left. Brooklyn used its last timeout to advance the ball, and James Harden inbounded to Kevin Durant.

Durant held the ball for a few seconds, took about five dribbles and moved to his left near midcourt. After encountering a double-team, he passed to Johnson, who was fouled by Mitchell Robinson and then calmly sank the foul shots.

New York had one more chance, but Fournier’s 44-foot three-point try as time expired clanked off the front of the rim.

Johnson’s free throws gave Brooklyn its fifth win in six games and capped a final quarter that featured 10 lead changes.

Harden scored 28 of his 34 points in the first half to lead all scorers and Durant scored 11 of his 27 in the fourth quarter. Durant hit two free throws to give Brooklyn a 109-107 lead 27.5 seconds before Fournier’s three-pointer.

Alec Burks led the Knicks with 25 points and Julius Randle added 24 for New York, which shot 48.4%. Derrick Rose contributed 16 points and Fournier contributed 13.

Harden scored 15 points as the Nets overcame an eight-point deficit and ended the first quarter with a 33-28 lead. Harden surpassed 20 points with two free throws to give Brooklyn a 43-36 lead with 8:48 left in the half and Brooklyn held a 45-36 lead on a layup by Johnson on its next possession.

The Knicks held a 61-60 lead at intermission after Harden canned a triple with 3.5 seconds left. Brooklyn scored the first 14 points of the third quarter and held an 84-68 lead on a jumper

Lionel Messi adds 7th Ballon d’Or to his record haul

Paris Saint-Germain and Argentina forward Lionel Messi beat out Bayern Munich’s runner-up Robert Lewandowski and 28 other nominees for the 2021 men’s Ballon d’Or, which he received at a ceremony on Monday in Paris.

The honor is awarded by France Football magazine to the male soccer player considered to be the best in the world over the previous year. It’s voted on by a panel of 180 international journalists and is the most prestigious individual honor in the sport.

Spain and Barcelona forward Alexia Putellas won the women’s Ballon d’Or, which was awarded for the third time this year. She was named the UEFA women’s player of the year in August.

Monday marked the seventh time that Messi has won the Ballon d’Or, extending a record he set with his sixth time being honored in 2019. Rival Cristiano Ronaldo is second all-time with five Ballon d’Ors. The Manchester United and Portugal forward finished sixth in voting this year.

The award is also Messi’s second straight. The Ballon d’Or wasn’t awarded in 2020 due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the international soccer schedule. He won this year for a professional season split between PSG and Barcelona. Messi left a Barcelona team he’d play for since 2004 in August to join PSG. He led his national team Argentina to a Copa America championship in July.…

Chicago Bulls cruise past Hornets as Lonzo Ball pips his brother

Lonzo Ball has faced his brother LaMelo three times in the NBA, winning twice. That’s the only thing that matters to him.

”I play to win. I’m still the big brother at the end of the day,” Lonzo Ball said, ”and I got to stack my wins.”

The Chicago Bulls took the latest battle of the Ball brothers, riding a stellar performance by Nikola Vucevic to a 133-119 victory over the Charlotte Hornets on Monday night.

Chicago shot a season-high 59.6% from the field and had five players score in double figures. Vucevic had a season-best 30 points and grabbed 14 rebounds. DeMar DeRozan scored 28 points, and Zach LaVine, a game-time decision because of an illness, finished with 25.

With patriarch LaVar Ball watching and wearing a black hat that read ”I Told You So,” Lonzo Ball helped the Bulls get back on track after dropping three of four. He had 16 points and eight assists, and LaMelo Ball had 18 points and 13 assists.

”I mean we’ve been talking about the NBA since we were little boys,” LaMelo said. ”Just going out there and playing against him, always a dream come true, for real.”

The United Center crowd of 21,366 roared every time the Ball brothers matched up early on. But there was little sign from Lonzo or LaMelo that they were guarding someone they’d guarded since they were kids.

”Obviously we are brothers and it’s all love off the court,” Lonzo Ball said. ”But on the court, like I said, he got a job he got to do, I got a job I got to do.”

Terry Rozier scored 31 points and Gordon Hayward had 22 for the Hornets, who dropped to 0-2 on their four-game trip.

”Disappointed tonight in our defense,” Charlotte coach James Borrego said. ”We just got to correct it.”

Charlotte trimmed a 23-point deficit down to four on Hayward’s cutting layup with 7:31 left, but Chicago responded with a 9-0 run.

Vucevic sparked the decisive stretch with a layup. The 6-foot-10 center also …

Hornets beat Wizards 97-87 for 4th straight victory

Kelly Oubre Jr. had 14 points for Charlotte, which ended Washington’s five-game winning steak after it stopped Golden State’s run at seven Sunday.

”The goal and the challenge here is to sustain it, and get better along the way, even into tomorrow’s practice,” Hornets coach James Borrego said.

LaMelo Ball added 11 points and a career-high 14 assists, Mason Plumlee had 11 points and 13 rebounds, Jalen McDaniels also scored 11 points.

”After the first quarter, we locked it in on defense and that got us going,” Bridges said. ”As long as we stay focused, do what we need to do on defense, we have a great chance of winning every night.”

Bradley Beal led Washington with 24 points, Daniel Gafford added 20, and Montrezl Harrell had 15.

”We stopped being aggressive, especially on offense,” Beal said after Washington lost a double-digit halftime lead. ”We settled for a lot of jumpers. We got a lot of good looks. We just didn’t make them. We still could have put a lot of pressure on the rim and gotten to the free-throw line a little more.”

After tying it at 63 with 3:52 left in the third period, Charlotte had a 10-2 run to close the quarter. Oubre scored seven points during the run.

”I wasn’t in tune with the pace,” said Gafford, who keyed Washington’s first-half lead but didn’t contribute much in the second. ”I felt like I was holding the team back at the time because I wasn’t doing the things I did in the first half. I can’t explain it, but I’m sure everyone saw it. I didn’t come out with the same intensity that I came out with at the beginning of the game.”

Beal played with a heavy heart Wednesday after the recent death of his grandmother.

‘I use basketball as my getaway, but it reminds me of her a lot,” Beal said. ”I just try to keep it as controlled as possible. It’s not something you can ignore, you have to take the punches and roll …

Giannis Antetokounmpo scores 47 points, Bucks deny Lakers

Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 47 points and Khris Middleton tied Milwaukee’s franchise record for career 3-pointers as the Bucks beat the Los Angeles Lakers 109-102 on Wednesday night at Fiserv Forum.

Middleton returned after missing eight games due to COVID-19, played 30 minutes and made consecutive 3-pointers 30 seconds apart early in the fourth quarter to put the Bucks ahead for good. The second of those 3s was his 1,051st with the Bucks to match Ray Allen for first place on the team’s all-time list.

“That’s a very, very special place to be,” Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said. “I think we all just admire what Khris does every night, his ability to shoot, the different ways he gets 3’s and his kind of consistency and longevity here.”

Allen holds the NBA record with 2,973 3-pointers in a career that also included stints with the Seattle Super Sonics, Boston Celtics and Miami Heat.

LeBron James missed an eighth straight game for the Lakers due to an abdominal strain. The Lakers have gone 3-5 during that stretch.

Los Angeles also is missing Trevor Ariza and Kendrick Nunn, who haven’t appeared in a game this season.

“It’s a part of the game,” said Anthony Davis, who scored 18 points for the Lakers. “Same thing with the team we just played. They’ve been hit with injuries as well. It kind of goes with the league, the business of the game. You go out there and put your body on the line every night, God forbid, something is going to happen in the course of a season. Someone’s going to get hurt. We’ve got to adjust and continue to fight until we get everybody back.

Talen Horton-Tucker scored 25 points for the Lakers two nights after getting a career-high 28 in a 121-103 loss to Chicago. Russell Westbrook had 19 points, Malik Monk 11 and Carmelo Anthony 10.

Antetokounmpo posted his highest point total since scoring 50 in a Game 6 Finals victory over the Phoenix Suns that clinched Milwaukee’s first title since 1971.

“I wanted