Curry’s wonder shot draws praise from James

With the score tied at 118-118 between Golden State Warriors and Oklahoma City Thunder on Saturday, anyone harbouring doubts about Steph Curry’s talent were about to be given a rude awakening.

With just six seconds of overtime remaining, Curry took a pass from Andre Iguodala and slowly ambled up the court.

Thunder may have been expecting Warriors to call a timeout, but Curry had other ideas as launched the ball towards the basket from over 32 feet out.

The shot went in sparking wild celebrations as Curry equalled the record of 12 three-pointers in a game, shared by Kobe Bryant (2003) and Donyell Marshall (2005). He also broke his own record of 286 three-pointers (2015) in a season, ending at 288 3s after the win against Thunder.

With 24 games left it’s anyone’s guess as to where he takes the record to, but judging by fellow NBA star LeBron James’ reaction on Twitter it’s clear that Curry is held in high regard.

The victory moved Warriors to 53-5 for the season as they close in on the record for most regular-season wins set by the Chicago Bulls with 72-10 in 1995/96.

Curry’s 46-point performance may have had James waxing lyrical but not everyone has been praising him, with former player Oscar Robertson seemingly less-than-impressed with the Warriors’ star man.

During a recent interview with ESPN Robertson claimed the 2006/07 team would beat the current team, saying the modern game is less physical than the past.

Curry said he found the comments strange: “When you hear, honestly, legends, kind of come at you, it’s kind of just weird,” he said.

“It’s starting to get a little annoying just because it’s kind of unwarranted from across the board. We have a very competent group, and we have fun when we’re out there on the floor, and it shows, obviously.”

Elsewhere, the Cleveland Cavaliers’ recent troubles continued on Sunday as they slipped to a third defeat in four games with a 113-99 loss against Washington Wizards.

Coach Tyronn Lue rested James with Cavaliers in the middle of a run in three games in four days, but the move backfired as the Wizards controlled the game from the start.

Otto Porter Jr and John Wall topped Wizards’ scoring with 21 points apiece to help the team move to 27-30 record for the season.

Manchester United destroy Arsenal’s league title hopes in 90 minutes

‘Weak’, ‘insipid’ and ‘unacceptable’ – three words that Arsene Wenger would find it difficult to argue against after his Arsenal team were beaten 3-2 at Manchester United on Sunday.

Sky Sports pundit Graeme Souness was scathing in his criticism of Arsenal’s performance, saying their display ‘bordered on a joke’ and questioning their title credentials.

Having lost 2-0 at home to Barcelona in the Champions League earlier in the week, Souness claimed their season could be over with by the middle of March.

Wenger’s side now trail Leicester City by five points in the Premier League, and with Saturday’s trip to Tottenham Hotspur looming large Souness says the Gunners need to turn things around quickly.

“Man Utd deserved to win the game,” Souness said. “They were better at the front and the back – the areas that matter.”

“It was tippy-tappy football from Arsenal – they had 60 per cent of possession but were going nowhere. Arsenal today bordered on being a joke for me.

“You turn up here, you’re playing a Manchester United side struggling with injuries, introducing young players, low on confidence and you’re thinking it’s tailored-made for a proper team to come here and do a number on an under-strength Man Utd and they didn’t.”

“This is an Arsenal team you were saying a month ago was a real team. They’ve got to play Tottenham, Barcelona – by March 16 they could be out of all competitions. Arsene Wenger must be tearing his hair out.”

Marcus Rashford followed up his two-goal display against Midtjylland in the Europa League with another couple on his Premier League debut for United, leaving Souness baffled at Arsenal’s lack of leadership.

“This Arsenal team just doesn’t have ‘it’ – and I’ll stand on my head if they prove me wrong and go and win this league – that today was totally unacceptable,” Souness added.

“Is it a case of big players going off the boil? Big players make other players play when things are going badly. Who did that today for Arsenal? Where’s a Tony Adams? Where’s a Thierry (Henry)? It worries me that Arsene continually talks about his team being mentally tough – it’s almost as if he’s trying to persuade them. They’re vulnerable. They don’t look like a confident group.”

“They had a chance to put down a real marker today and they’ve been so weak, so insipid. If I were an Arsenal supporter I’d be so angry right now. There’s so much about Arsenal to like but – in equal measure – so much to dislike.”

Leonardo Ulloa’s 89th-minute goal against Norwich City had kept Leicester top of the league on Saturday, while Tottenham dug deep on Sunday at home to Swansea City to come from behind for a 2-1 victory.

Barcelona equalled a Spanish record of 34 games unbeaten in all competitions with a 2-1 La Liga win over Sevilla, leaving Arsenal facing a big couple of weeks as they bid to keep their season alive.

Wenger’s team host Swansea on Wednesday ahead of Saturday’s derby against Tottenham, before travelling to in-form Hull City on March 8 for their FA Cup fifth round replay.

West Bromwich Albion are the visitors to the Emirates in the Premier League on March 12, with the Gunners facing the daunting Champions League trip to Barca four days later.

Curry hits 51, hits 3 in record 128th straight game as Warriors go 52-5

Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors continued their march to NBA greatness and set new records in a 130 – 114 victory against Orlando Magic on Thursday.

Warriors extended their record to 52-5 for the season to remain on course to beat the 1995/96 Chicago Bulls’ record 72 regular season wins.

Curry’s three-pointer with 5:45 remaining in the opening quarter was the 128th consecutive game he’d scored from long distance, edging him past Atlanta Hawks sharpshooter Kyle Korver’s previous record set between November 2012 and March 2014.

His last game without a three-pointer was on November 11, 2014, and he has made at least one in 202 of his past 203 games.

Curry now has 276 three-pointers this season and remains on course to smash his own record of 286 set in 2014/15. He owns the three highest single-season totals for 3-pointers – the current season, last season and his haul of 272 in 2012-13. The next best on the list is Ray Allen (269, 2005-06).

“Steph is a lot better,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “Which is scary, because he was the MVP last season.”

However, Kerr played down the significance of the record, saying that Curry had made 3-pointers too easy to be considered special.

“Why is that significant? I don’t know if the record is that significant because it’s so simple for him,” Kerr said. “A 3-point shot is like a layup. A half-court shot is like a 3-point shot. Steph just, that’s what he does, so it’s to the point where we expect everything to go in.”

Curry topped 50 points for the third time this season, the first player to do it that many times since LeBron James and Dwyane Wade in 2008-09. This comes a day after a 42-point performance in a six-point win over Miami on Wednesday night.

The record-breaking moment wasn’t the best highlight of the game – that came at the end of the third quarter, when the reigning MVP received a pass following a free throw, took a couple of dribbles before launching a 44-foot shot that banked in at the buzzer. Curry struck a pose, then chuckled as he made his way back to the bench.

“I was laughing, sure. That really isn’t supposed to happen,” Curry said. “I made a bunch of 3s in the third quarter and then finished with that one,” he added. “It was really funny to me, it just banked off the glass.”

“Are you guys surprised?” Magic guard Evan Fournier asked reporters. “I’m not. It’s just what he does.”

The win pushed the Warriors to the best 57-game start in NBA history. The Bulls were 51-6 through 57 games in 1995-96.

With eight of their next ten games at home and just eight of their remaining 25 games on the road, Warriors look well placed to challenge the Bulls’ mark.

Interim coach Luke Walton may have been playing down Warriors chances of breaking the record, but Curry confirmed if the team has an opportunity to go for it they will.

He said: “How many chances are you going to get to be a team that passes that record?

“Obviously everybody’s still talking about the 95-96 Bulls – one, because of their record, and two, because they finished it off with a championship.

“We want to be able to do both, too.”

Warriors are back in action on Sunday when they travel to face Oklahoma City Thunder. The two teams met at the start of February, with the Warriors running out 116-108 winners.

Thunder have lost their last two games at home to Indiana Pacers and Cleveland Cavaliers.

Ovechkin moves up NHL all-time scorers list with hat-trick

Alex Ovechkin hit the 14th hat-trick of his NHL career against Minnesota Wild on Thursday to move ahead of Montreal Canadiens’ legend Jean Beliveau on the league’s all-time goals chart.

Ovechkin’s second period trio for the Washington Capitals came in under 13 minutes to give him 509 NHL goals and 39th place on the list.

“My parents actually called me, probably a couple weeks ago, and said, ‘It’s time for you to get a hat-trick,” Ovechkin said. “It’s a good feeling. Obviously, when you get the second one it’s pretty cool, but when you have three goals in one game, it’s kind of special.”

Capitals went on to claim a 4-3 victory to move to 40-9-4 for the season, while Ovechkin now tops this season’s goals chart with 34 – one ahead of Chicago Blackhawks’ forward Patrick Kane.

The Russian opened the scoring two minutes into the middle period. Wild netminder Devan Dubnyk almost kept out Ovechkin’s shot, but the puck crept through his five-hole and trickled across the line.

“The first one was kind of a lucky goal – it hit my shaft and goes right between his legs,” Ovechkin said. “I was kind of surprised, but a goal’s a goal so I’ll take it.”

His second came three minutes later when he followed up a rebound off the boards from a John Carlson shot to coolly finish, while his third in the 14th minute of the period hit the post and Dubnyk before finding its way in.

“Somehow he knows how to get the puck to the net – it’s not always a highlight goal,” said Capitals’ forward Nicklas Backstrom.

“It’s incredible. The puck just comes to him, but he has that ability when it comes to put it in the net. It’s hard to do.”

“It’s how fast he gets it off and he can place it,” added Capitals’ boss Barry Trotz. “A lot of times in those close areas you’ve got to elevate the puck, and he’s got the ability to elevate it in real tight areas. It’s hard for goaltenders to read it off the stick. He’s really good.”

Ovechkin will now look to overtake Gilbert Perreault in the all-time list. The Canadian forwards scored 512 goals for Buffalo Sabres between 1970-87.

Wayne Gretzky is the NHL all-time leading scorer with 894 goals.

Peyton Manning takes on Magic Johnson

Take one Super Bowl champion and an NBA legend, throw in a dozen eggs – eight hard-boiled and four raw – and what do you get?

Wednesday night’s ‘The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon’ on NBC provided the answer as Denver Broncos’ quarterback Peyton Manning took on Los Angeles Lakers’ Hall-of-Famer Magic Johnson in a game of ‘egg Russian roulette’.

The first contestant to smash two raw eggs on his own head was the loser. It’s unlikely we’ll ever see the game become a professional sport, but it’s certainly entertaining.

Manning also had fun with his younger brother Eli’s ‘sad face’ after Denver’s late touchdown had secured their 24-10 Super Bowl 50 victory against the Carolina Panthers.

While the rest of the family celebrated wildly, Eli looked less than pleased.

Peyton told Fallon Eli had his game face on: “Eli and I have always supported each other,” he said. “I think Eli was analyzing the game and kind of into the game like I would be as if he were playing it. And so he was just as happy.”

Fallon brought out a life-sized cut-out of the New York Giants quarterback, and Peyton proceeded to have a great deal of fun at his brother’s expense.

“It’s funny, when I saw that clip, Jimmy, I’ve seen that look before. I’ve recognized it. At other big moments in my life he kind of had that similar expression,” Peyton said.

Check out the video for two minutes of very funny television.

Arsenal, City, Spurs or Leicester – who will win the English Premier League title?

The Premier League’s current top four, Leicester City, Arsenal, Manchester City and Tottenham, all play each other this Sunday on a weekend that could go a long way to deciding the destination of the title.

Leicester City’s extraordinary 3-1 win over Manchester City at the Etihad last weekend saw them open up a five point lead at the top of the English Premier League. The latest and greatest achievement from Claudio Ranieri’s side; theirs is arguably the greatest surprise story in the history of the English top flight – and now only thirteen games remain between The Foxes and the title, with Arsenal at the Emirates up next.

The club have no other cup commitments and can focus fully on their league campaign, much like the Liverpool side of 2013/14 which came so close to securing the title. Claudio Ranieri’s side are playing without fear, clearly enjoying their rise to prominence. The likes of Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez have excelled this season beyond all expectations, and it is poignant that their once leaky defence is starting to solidify, with five clean sheets in their last seven.

Arsenal can close the gap to just two points on the weekend with a win over The Foxes, but with one win in their last five, Arsene Wenger has a problem. The form of star midfielder Mesut Ozil has dropped, leaving his side struggling for goals. The Gunners failed to convincingly see off Bournemouth in their last game, winning 2-0 but owing plenty to keeper Petr Cech for keeping the newly promoted side at bay. The club are also still in the cup and Champions League and need to find their rhythm once again or the league title could slip away.

Tottenham, who travel to Manchester City on Sunday, have quietly gone about their business, with Leicester stealing all the headlines, and find themselves in second place with the best defensive record in the league with only 19 goals conceded in 25 games. They’ve lost only three games all season and have won their last four to overtake both City and Arsenal. However, manager Mauricio Pochettino will be wary of the potential fatigue on his young squad brought on by committing to other competitions, with Spurs still in both the FA Cup and Europa League.

In Sergio Aguero, Manchester City have the most lethal striker in the league, with the Argentine scoring seven in his last five. But it is their defence that has cost them so far. The absence of Vincent Kompany has been telling, with the club already on six losses for the season.

The announcement that Pep Guardiola will be taking over in the summer may take a toll on the squad, who will feel the pressure of still being in four competitions both at home and abroad. They remain Leicester’s main challengers at the top, purely because they are the only club in the top four to have won the Premier League in recent years, with their last title coming two seasons ago. That know-how will be so crucial, but will it be enough?

X Games legend Dave Mirra found dead

Police in the US say legendary X Games biker Dave Mirra has died aged 41 after apparently committing suicide.

Officers in North Carolina found his body in his truck on Thursday with an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound. He is believed to have been visiting friends in the area.

The former BMX champion was one of the most successful athletes in X Games history, winning 14 gold medals between 1995 and 2008.

In 2000, he was the first rider to land a double backflip and in 2009 he sensationally completed a 360 no-handed backflip.

In recent times he competed in Rallycross, before moving into triathlons where he qualified for the Ironman World Championship in Canada in 2014.

“Ironman competitions are an entirely different ballgame,” he told Sports Illustrated at the time.

“The level of competition is much higher, and there are way more athletes. It was extremely satisfying to look around and see what I consider the best athletes in the world as my competition.”

Greenville Mayor Allen Thomas described Mirra as “a great friend and wonderful human being”.

“We mourn the loss today of a great friend and wonderful human being who touched the lives of so many around the world with his gift,” he said.

“He called Greenville, North Carolina, home and was as humble a guy talking with kids on a street corner about bikes as he was in his element on the world stage.

“A young life with so much to offer was taken too soon.”

Professional skateboarder Tony Hawk and motocross star Carey Hart took to Twitter to remember Mirra, who leaves behind his wife, Lauren, and two daughters – Mackenzie and Madison.

Just a few hours before his death, he posted a photo of himself and Lauren on Instagram saying ‘My rock! Thank God’, while his last Tweet was sent in December where he expressed his sadness about the death of Stone Temple Pilots singer Scott Weiland.

Sport continues to show solidarity with refugees

A Football League match in Greece was delayed as players staged a two-minute sit-down protest against the rising death toll of migrants trying to reach the Aegean islands from countries such as Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq.

All 22 players plus coaches and substitutes from AEL Larissa and Acharnaikos sat in silence for two minutes to show their respect to refugees who have lost their lives fleeing from persecution and conflict.

An announcement over the club’s PA system said: “The administration of AEL, the coaches and the players will observe two minutes of silence just after the start of the match in memory of the hundreds of children who continue to lose their lives every day in the Aegean due to the brutal indifference of the EU and Turkey.”

“The players of AEL will protest by sitting down for two minutes in an effort to drive the authorities to mobilise all those who seem to have been desensitised to the heinous crimes that are being perpetrated in the Aegean.”

More than a million migrants and refugees made their way into Europe in 2015, with Greece, Malta, Cyprus, Bulgaria, Spain and Italy the main gateways for the influx of people.

There have been numerous refugee casualties as they attempt dangerous sea crossings in order to reach a safe haven.

Reports of the effect on the European economy have been conflicting, with European Commission figures suggesting some countries are likely to see a positive effect on public finances, while the travel industry claimed the crisis has negatively impacted their financial results.

Thomas de Maiziere, Germany’s Interior Minister, told Afghanistan on Tuesday that his country’s security support would be stopped if the influx of Afghan refugees continued.

“We’re staying here as long as it’s necessary. But we also expect that the Afghan population stays here,” he said.

“We want the influx of refugees to be stopped. There is no welcome money in Germany. There is no guarantee of a job or an apartment.”

While politicians still debate the issue, the sporting world has continued to try and help refugees.

When the crisis first unfolded last year, clubs and players from across the main European football leagues were amongst those to express their support. Ronaldo’s gesture of walking out onto the pitch for Real Madrid’s league game against Granada with the son of the Syrian refugee tripped by a Hungarian journalist was perhaps the most symbolic.

Osama Alabed Al-Mohsen and his 7-year-old son Zied became international symbols of the crisis after they were filmed being knocked over by camera operator Petra Laszlo as they tried to flee from a holding camp.

Other sports have also showed their solidarity, with boxer Amir Khan, who recently agreed to fight Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez, spending time driving trucks to Greece to feed refugees, while tennis star Andy Murray has raised more than $121,000 by donating money for every ace he scored through his Andy’s Aces initiative.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) threw its weight behind the cause, making a $2 million emergency fund available to aid humanitarian efforts in Greece.

IOC President, Thomas Bach, recently visited the Open Reception Centre for refugees in Athens to see how their donation was making a difference.

“Together with the Hellenic Olympic Committee we have helped provide sporting facilities here in this camp,” he said.

“By providing these sports facilities we want to give some hope to these refugees. We want to give them at least a little joy of life in these difficult circumstances.”

“We want to give them the opportunity to mix with each other. Here you saw refugees from Syria, from Mali, from Sierra Leone, from Iran, from Iraq, all playing together with us, and really showing a small Olympic community here in this camp.”