Kyrie Irving goes to work amid the craziest lady drama in the NBA

CLEVELAND — Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving started Thursday’s 107-87 rout of the Nets despite being listed as sick. It’d be hard to blame the West Orange, NJ, native for being ill after the past few days, with his private life dragged through the news and his ex-girlfriend reportedly hospitalized following an intimated suicide attempt.

Cleveland had gotten stunned 104-95 seven days earlier in Brooklyn. But on Thursday, the Cavs thrashed a Nets team that sat Brook Lopez and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and relied on 18 points from Thaddeus Young.

Still, all the attention was on Irving.

On Monday, a rapper named PartyNextDoor — another ex-boyfriend of R&B singer Kehlani — posted a since-deleted picture on Instagram of the two holding hands, presumably implying she’d cheated on Irving.

Then Kehlani posted a picture of an IV attached to her right arm that night and included a caption that read in part “today I wanted to leave this earth,” suggesting that she’d attempted suicide.

But a focused Irving had 10 points and three assists Thursday, insisting it hasn’t been hard to ignore the drama and focus on basketball.

“It hasn’t been difficult. I’ve been through a ton of adversity in my life. It’s nothing anyone can say that I can’t get through,’’ said Irving, adding, “[With] everything surrounding our team, it’s crazy to think we’re still in first place and we’re still the team to beat, honestly, regardless of what anybody else says.’’

Irving first addressed the situation Wednesday night with since-deleted tweets captured on a screen grab by Cleveland Sports Talk.

“It’s been hard to see what’s been going on and not address the truth. I do not justify the picture or what (that) dude did to try and spark all of this non sense [sic] that could have been avoided, but Me and Kehlani were not dating when the picture came out. It’s unfortunate that it’s received so much attention but its [sic] become bigger because of a post that was misunderstood. Nothing but love and compassion over this way for her and her family. My only focus the Game I love to play every night.”

“He’s got my support, and he knows it,’’ said LeBron James, who had 24 points and 11 assists, passing Dominique Wilkins for 12th on the NBA’s all-time scoring list.

“I just think as a team we’re all there for him. It’s our job to make sure he’s OK, he’s in good hands. And just being around his teammates and being around the guys he competes with every night makes him at ease,’’ said Cavs coach Tyronn Lue.

When asked by The Post whether he took it upon himself to talk to Irving, 24, Lue answered: “I’d rather not speak about that. Yes, I talked with Kyrie. But that’s between us. And like I said, our team, we all have his back and we’re with him 100 percent.’’

Why Lamar Odom’s new look is raising eyebrows

Lamar Odom either needs to do laundry or has implemented a uniform.

The former NBA star attended Wednesday night’s basketball game between the Miami Heat and the Los Angeles Lakers.

Although Odom, 36, was talkative as he sat courtside, it’s hard to ignore the gray sweatshirt he’s worn during the last three public sightings.

Late Saturday night, Odom was spotted at a Los Angeles bar wearing the short-sleeved number as he ordered drinks.

Hours later, Odom was photographed in the same outfit as he attended Easter church services withKhloé Kardashian and her family.

It seems Odom has reclaimed his independence and has resumed normal life nearlysix months after his drug bender at a Nevada brothel that left him on the brink of death.


Source: Pagesix

J.R. Smith Sued For $2.5 Million After Allegedly Choking a Fan

Cavaliers’ J.R. Smith has been sued for $2.5 million by a fan he got into an encounter with outside a New York City nightclub last November.

According to ESPN, Justin Brown, who was 19 at the time, approached Smith at a pizza shop at about 4 a.m. after Smith had left 1Oak, a well-known club in the Chelsea section of Manhattan. In a lawsuit filed Thursday, Brown claims Smith turned down a request for a photo and then choked and struck him in his head and neck area. Brown is suing for physical injuries and emotional distress.

Smith was asked about the lawsuit following the Cavaliers’ 107-93 win over the New York Knicks on Saturday night.

“No, I ain’t got no comment on that,” Smith said. “It is what it is. So, we’ll just see what happens.”

Smith said he appreciated how the Cavs have supported him through the ordeal.

“I mean, the organization has been great since I got here,” he said. “Whether it was that or anything else, they’ve been unbelievable, so I’m grateful for that.”

Smith was not arrested for the incident, and the Manhattan District Attorney declined to file charges in January after a two-month investigation. There is a video of the incident captured on a security camera, sources said.

“If they have the audacity to file a frivolous claim against J.R., we will counterclaim for defamation and defend the suit aggressively,” said Alex Spiro, Smith’s attorney. “This was a cash grab from the start.”

According to the police report, Smith reacted after Brown shouted “that’s why you got kicked out of New York,” after the photo request was declined. Smith, who was traded to the Cavs from the New York Knicks in 2015, was in town to play the Knicks that night.

The Cavs have been in New York City for the past three days to play games against the Brooklyn Nets and Knicks.

1Oak is the nightclub where Atlanta Hawks players Thabo Sefolosha and Pero Antic were involved in an altercation with police the same night former Indiana Pacers player Chris Copeland was stabbed in a separate incident. Charges against Antic were dropped, Sefolosha was acquitted and he sued the New York Police Department.


Source: Dre1Alliance

Legia gets 3-0 win as fan trouble stops Europa League game

UEFA says it awarded Legia Warsaw a 3-0 win after a Europa League qualifying match in Albania was abandoned due to crowd trouble.

Legia player Ondrej Duda was struck by an object thrown from the crowd when the Polish side led Kukesi 2-1 early in the second half last Thursday.

The third qualifying round, first-leg match was abandoned in the 52nd minute.

UEFA says its disciplinary panel ordered Kukesi to default the match.

Kukesi will play its next home match in UEFA competitions in an empty stadium. A second match sanction was deferred for a two-year probationary period.

UEFA found the Albania club guilty of a range of charges, including fans displaying an illicit banner, and imposed a 70,000 euros ($77,000) fine.

The return match is on Thursday in Warsaw.

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Beijing selected to host 2022 Winter Olympics

Beijing was selected Friday to host the 2022 Winter Olympics, defeating the bid from Almaty in a surprisingly close vote to become the first city awarded both the winter and summer games.

Beijing won the secret vote of the International Olympic Committee by 44-40, with one abstention. The vote was conducted by paper ballot, after the first electronic vote experienced technical faults with the voting tablets.

The Chinese capital, which hosted the 2008 Summer Olympics, came in to the vote against the city from Kazakhstan as the strong favorite, despite its lack of natural snow.

Beijing was seen by IOC members as a safe, reliable choice that also offered vast commercial opportunities in a new winter sports market of more than 300 million people in northern China.

“They chose certainty in Beijing,” IOC vice president Craig Reedie of Britain said. “But I don’t think anybody would have believed that the result would have been that close.”

Almaty had hoped to bring the games to Central Asia for the first time, but was a lesser-known quantity and viewed as a riskier choice by IOC members. Kazakh Prime Minister Karim Massimov made a last-minute impassioned plea for the IOC to be “brave” and give the games to his country, but it wasn’t quite enough.

“Gee, you wouldn’t have picked that close result a few months ago,” IOC vice president John Coates of Australia said. “That address by the prime minister today was brilliantly crafted. I think that’s why it got close. But the size of China, the number of people that are going to be introduced to winter sport now, those were all factors.”

The contest was a study in contrasts between the world’s most populous nation and a former Soviet republic seeking to establish itself on the world stage. China’s political and economic might was a big advantage against its northwestern neighbor, which became independent in 1991.

“Just as with the Beijing 2008 Summer Games, the Olympic Family has put its faith in Beijing again,” the bid committee said. “This will be a memorable event at the foot of the Great Wall … that will further enhance the tremendous potential to grow winter sports in our country, in Asia and around the world.”

Almaty bid vice chairman Andrey Kryukov said the city would consider bidding again.

“One thing I can say is Almaty was ready to host the 2022 Winter Games,” he said.

In Beijing, the news was greeted with lion dancers and confetti canons at a staged government pep rally at the Bird’s Nest stadium attended by about 500 preselected participants.

In Almaty, about 1,000 people gathered on a square to hear the result, including many students and government employees who said they had been ordered to attend by officials. When it was announced that Beijing had won, the crowd scattered almost immediately and the event came to a close with no speeches from officials.

Beijing and Almaty had both been considered longshots when the 2022 bid race opened two years ago. But they were the only two candidates left after four European cities — including Oslo and Stockholm — pulled out for political or financial reasons.

Beijing plans to use several venues from the 2008 Olympics, including the Bird’s Nest and Water Cube arenas. But the snow and sliding events would be at venues in Yangqing and Zhangjiakou, 60 and 140 kilometers (40 and 90 miles) outside Beijing. A planned high-speed rail line to Zhangjiakou is supposed to cut travel time to 50 minutes.

China’s mountain venues also rely heavily on man-made snow, which was considered one of the bid’s main weaknesses and one that was the target of Almaty’s “Keeping it Real” slogan. Almaty is surrounded by towering mountains and plenty of natural snow, but Beijing bid leaders insisted they have sufficient water supplies and snow-making equipment for ideal skiing conditions.

The vote came after final 45-minute presentations by each bid city.

Almaty was bidding for a second time, but this was the first time it made it to the vote after being cut in the preliminary stage for the 2014 Games.

“Almaty is not a risky choice for 2022,” Massimov told the IOC delegates. “In fact, we are quite the opposite. … We are a golden opportunity to prove that smaller, advancing nations can successfully host the Winter Games.”

Beijing’s presentation played much less on emotion and sought mainly to reinforce the pitch that China can be counted on to deliver, as it did for the IOC in 2008.

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Real Madrid sign young Spanish player Vallejo

La Liga giants Real Madrid have completed the signing of Real Zaragoza defender Jesus Vallejo on a six-year deal.

Vallejo was a regular for Zaragoza last term in the Segunda Division before captaining Spain to victory at the Under-19 European Championship.

The 18-year-old centre back will not yet compete with the likes of Sergio Ramos and Pepe for a defensive berth under Rafael Benitez at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Instead, he will spend the coming season on loan at Zaragoza in the second tier.

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Bayern Munich sign Chile midfielder Arturo Vidal

Bayern Munich completed the long-anticipated transfer of Chile midfielder Arturo Vidal from Italian champion Juventus on Tuesday.

The Bundesliga champion said Vidal signed a four-year deal.

“I wanted to take another big step in my career,” Vidal said in a brief interview on Bayern’s website. “I want to develop further as a player, and I want to win important titles, such as the Champions League. And I see Bayern as the best opportunity for that.”

Bayern did not disclose financial details of the contract. But Italian media reports suggested Bayern paid 36 million euros ($39.5 million), rising to 40 million euros ($44 million) with bonuses, to bring the 28-year-old Vidal back to the Bundesliga. If correct, the figures would make Vidal one of the most expensive Bundesliga transfers.

Vidal scored 15 goals and set up 21 more in 117 league games over four seasons for Bayer Leverkusen before leaving for Juventus in 2011.

The rugged midfielder is expected to fill the gap left by the departure of Bastian Schweinsteiger for Manchester United, and to give Pep Guardiola’s team more toughness.

Vidal was brought to Germany at age 20 from Chilean club Colo-Colo by then Leverkusen squad director Michael Reschke. Reschke ended his 35-year association with Leverkusen when Bayern appointed him as a director in June.

Vidal helped Juventus to four consecutive Serie A titles and, last season, the Coppa Italia. Barcelona denied the club a treble by winning the Champions League final between them in Berlin.

Vidal, capped 69 times by Chile, helped the team to its first Copa America win on July 5 by scoring in the penalty shootout win over Argentina in the final.

He reached a deal with prosecutors to avoid trial after crashing his Ferrari while driving under the influence of alcohol early in the tournament on June 16. He apologized for insulting a police officer and agreed to pay compensation to a driver involved in the crash.

Vidal is on a 10-man shortlist for the best player in Europe. Of Juventus’ five players nominated for the UEFA award, only goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon and midfielder Paul Pogba remain. Andrea Pirlo and Carlos Tevez have left the club.

This month, Bayern signed Brazil midfielder Douglas Costa from Ukrainian side Shakhtar Donetsk for a reported 30 million euros ($33 million).

Costa will help ease Bayern’s concerns over injury-prone wingers Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben, 32 and 31, respectively.

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Mexico spoils Reggae party

Jamaica’s historic rise to the final of the CONCACAF Gold Cup was spoilt by a Mexican wave on Sunday evening.

The Reggae Boyz represented themselves well but the Central American football powerhouse proved too much and, in the end, the Jamaican team fell short.

But it was not all gloom and doom.

Jamaica had every reason to pat themselves on the back after exceeding all expectations and reaching to the finals after a draw with former nemesis Costa Rica and victories over El Salvador, Canada and the United States.

The mood inside Usain Bolt’s Tracks and Records was festive even before the first whistle and most Jamaican supporters were hoping for an unlikely win over their Mexican counterparts. But it was not to be as the Central American raced into a 3-0 lead before Darren Mattocks found the back of the net to restore some respectability to the score line.

All in all, the Jamaicans must feel some measure of pride after a respectable showing in the Copa America and the Gold Cup.

Defensively the team looks solid and with a little work on offense the Reggae Boyz should be ready to compete with any footballing nation in the near future.

Kudos to coach Winfred Schafer and his coaching staff for a job well done.

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Brazil-Argentina friendly cancelled as FIFA probe fallout

A friendly between Brazil and Argentina planned in the United States in September has been canceled as part of the fallout from the investigation into alleged corruption involving FIFA.

The head of the company handling logistics for the Argentine national team told The Associated Press on Tuesday that the match has been called off as the two Argentine businessmen who own Full Play, a sports marketing company which had rights for the friendly, remain under house arrest in Argentina after being indicted in May by the U.S. Justice Department.

The U.S. has launched a sweeping investigation into alleged bribery, racketeering and money-laundering, and indicted 14 soccer and sports marketing officials, including the Argentine businessmen.

This year’s edition of the Superclassic of the Americas was originally scheduled to be played on Sept. 5 in San Francisco.

“It’s public knowledge all the problems involving Full Play right now,” Guillermo Tofoni, CEO of World Eleven, told the AP in a telephone interview, adding that there is still a chance the South American rivals will play, but not with Full Play’s involvement.

“We are still trying to make sure the game happens between the two teams somewhere in the United States,” he said. “It just wouldn’t be called the Superclassic, because that belongs to Full Play.”

Another sports marketing company involved in the Superclassic of the Americas was Rio de Janeiro-based Klefer, which after the FIFA scandal broke was forced to turn over documents to Brazilian authorities related to its contract with the local football confederation for marketing rights linked to a domestic football championship.

Klefer, which has denied any wrongdoing, also wouldn’t be involved in the new friendly, Tofoni said.

Last year, the Superclassic was played in Beijing. The game did not happen in 2013 as the teams prepared for the World Cup, and previously it was played a in two-match series, with one game in each country.

“We are waiting for an answer from the Brazilian football confederation,” Tofoni said. “Argentina wants to play, but it depends on Brazil. Hopefully we will hear from them by the end of the week.”

The Brazilian confederation said the friendly was never officially announced, so it could not comment on its cancellation. It said it was still uncertain whether Brazil would play another national team on the FIFA date originally scheduled for the Superclassic against Argentina. It said the team could end up using the time just to practice.

The Argentine football federation recently said it also could not officially confirm the cancellation of the Superclassic against Brazil, although a source who asked not to be named because an announcement has not been made, said the game was “virtually canceled.”

Both nations already have friendlies scheduled in the United States on Sept. 8. Argentina will play Mexico in Dallas and Brazil is set to face the United States in Boston, Tofoni said.

“There is no reason the teams shouldn’t play, they will be in the United States already,” he added.

Argentina is coming off a runner-up finish against host Chile in the Copa America, while Brazil was eliminated by Paraguay in the tournament’s quarterfinals.

South American qualifying for the 2018 World Cup begins in October.

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Serena Williams out of World Team Tennis

With the Grand Slam in sight, Serena Williams is not going to risk playing World TeamTennis.

Williams originally was slated to play for the Washington Kastles on Monday and Tuesday.

But in a news release Monday, the Kastles announced that Williams would miss those matches.

The No. 1-ranked Williams withdrew from the Swedish Open last week, citing an injured right elbow.

The 33-year-old American won Wimbledon this month for her fourth consecutive major title, including all three in 2015. If she wins the U.S. Open, which begins Aug. 31, she will be the first tennis player with a calendar-year Grand Slam since Steffi Graf in 1988.

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