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Serena Williams of the US hits a return to Anna Lena Friedsam of Germany in their second-round match at the Italian Open in Rome on Tuesday. The gourmet food Serena Williams ordered off the hotel room-service menu for dogs looked good enough for her to eat.
Williams posted a video Wednesday on Snapchat showing the salmon and rice dish she ordered for her Yorkshire Terrier at their hotel during the Italian Open.
Williams says the bite tasted weird, "a little bit like a house-cleaner thing," but she ate it anyway. Coming from one of the most famous and successful women athletes in the world, the video raised eyebrows but Williams replied to queries on Thursday by saying: "I'm not the most serious person off the court. Admitting she was feeling no serious ill effects of the incident, she added: "No, thank God! Roger Federer said "time was ticking" in his battle to recover form and fitness for the French Open after he lost to rising Austrian Dominic Thiem 7-6 (2) 6-4 in the third round of the Italian Open on Thursday. Former world No 1 Federer still looks way short of his best after knee and back injuries and struggled to get to grips with the 22-year-old Thiem at the Foro Italico, a week after withdrawing from the Madrid Open. Thiem, ranked 15th, recovered from an early break and streaked into a 6-2 lead in the tiebreak before taking the opening set with a backhand winner.
He broke the 34-year-old Federer's serve again midway through the second set as he claimed the 32nd victory of a breakthrough season that saw him rise to a career-high 13th. Federer, the winner of 17 majors, has missed 10 weeks of the season following knee surgery.
Federer, a four-time finalist in Rome, missed last week's Madrid Open with a back problem but said there had been some encouraging signs this week. World No 1 Novak Djokovic was on the wrong end of a love set for only the ninth time in his career, picking up just eight points. From there, though, he moved to a smooth victory over the 37th-ranked Belluci and a quarterfinal meeting with Rafael Nadal, who defeated Australian Nick Kyrgios 6-7 (3), 6-2, 6-4. Bernard Tomic ruled himself out of representing Australia at the Rio Olympics in August due to his "extremely busy" playing schedule.
Tomic, who was warned by Australia's Olympic chef de mission Kitty Chiller he was among a group of athletes whose behavior was being monitored to judge their suitability for the Rio team, will instead play an ATP tournament in Mexico. Tomic drew heavy criticism last week following his exit from the Madrid Open when, on match point against Fabio Fognini, he held the racquet by the strings and did not offer a shot to the Italian's serve. The 23-year-old responded to the criticism by telling News Corp, "I don't care about that match point. The response was described as "appalling" by Chiller and the criticism intensified when he pulled out of his opening match in Rome after just eight minutes, citing illness. Joe Pavelski of the San Jose Sharks scores a goal past Shea Weber (6) and goalie Pekka Rinne of the Nashville Predators in the first period of Game 7 of the Western Conference semifinals of the NHL Stanley Cup playoffs at SAP Center on Thursday in San Jose, California. Captain Joe Pavelski and the rest of San Jose's big guns took little time to answer the questions about how this version of the Sharks would respond after a lackluster loss in a potential series clincher. Pavelski got San Jose off to a fast start in Game 7 with his franchise record-tying ninth goal of the playoffs to send the Sharks to their first Western Conference final in five years with a 5-0 victory over the Nashville Predators on Thursday night.
Joel Ward, Logan Couture, Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau also scored as San Jose shook off an overtime loss in Game 6 to reach the conference final for the fourth time in franchise history. After blowing a 3-0 series lead to Los Angeles in 2014 in their most noteworthy in a long list of playoff collapses and missing the postseason entirely last year, the Sharks are now one round away from advancing to the Stanley Cup final for the first time in franchise history. The Predators' most successful season ended in bitter disappointment as they were unable to repeat their Game 7 road win in the first round against Anaheim to make the conference final for the first time.
Defensive miscues by Nashville's two top defensemen, captain Shea Weber and Roman Josi, led to early San Jose goals as Pekka Rinne got little help from his teammates. The Predators had just eight shots on goal in the first two periods and Rinne left after allowing goals to Thornton and Marleau early in the third period.
Nashville remains one of three franchises, along with Columbus and the current Winnipeg franchise, to never make it to a conference final.
The Sharks got there in 2004, 2010 and 2011 - only to lose each time as a long run of regular-season success behind stars such as Thornton and Marleau has not yet led to the ultimate postseason goal. The 2014 collapse set the franchise back and led to Thornton losing his captaincy amid several other changes the past two years. The Sharks came out fast from the drop and completely dominated the opening period, outshooting Nashville 17-3 to take a 2-0 lead. Tim Duncan of the San Antonio Spurs forces Russell Westbrook of the Oklahoma City Thunder to pass the ball during the second half of Game 6 of the NBA's Western Conference semifinals at the Chesapeake Energy Arena on Thursday in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
Tim Duncan doesn't know yet where he's headed as the San Antonio Spurs face an uncertain future. Kevin Durant scored 37 points, Russell Westbrook added 28, and Oklahoma City beat San Antonio 113-99 on Thursday night to win the Western Conference semifinal series 4-2.
Oklahoma City lost 124-92 in Game 1, but first-year coach Billy Donovan led the Thunder to victory in four of the next five.
Steven Adams had 15 points and 11 rebounds, and Andre Roberson added 14 points for the Thunder.
The Spurs were trying to extend the winningest season in franchise history after going 67-15. In Game 6, Oklahoma City opened up a 47-29 lead late in the second quarter after a 3-pointer by Westbrook that brought a roar from the crowd. The Thunder looked like the Spurs often do in the first half, running an efficient offense while committing just three turnovers. The veteran Spurs had one last surge left and got as close as 11, but a 3-pointer and a driving layup by Westbrook killed San Antonio's momentum for good.
The Thunder dominated the boards in the series, winning the rebounding battle in five of the six games.
Since Gregg Popovich became coach of the Spurs on Dec 10, 1996, there have been 233 coaching changes throughout the rest of the league. There's only five coaches who were in their current NBA jobs before 2013: Popovich, Spoelstra, Carlisle, Toronto's Dwane Casey and Portland's Terry Stotts. Below is a breakdown of total coaching changes by team since Popovich took over as coach in San Antonio.
This doesn't include when coaches missed games for illness or personal reasons, or in situations where the head coach remained officially in place but was not at games (such as when assistant Ron Rothstein filled in for Pat Riley at times during 2006-07 and 2007-08 in Miami, or earlier this season when assistant Luke Walton guided Golden State while Steve Kerr recovered from back surgeries). The NBA superstar, who is making another run toward a title with the Cleveland Cavaliers, said Thursday that he will extend his playing career only as long as his three children will let him. James and his wife, Savannah, have two sons and a daughter: 11-year-old LeBron Jr, 8-year-old Bryce and 19-month-old Zhuri. The Cavs have been in limbo since completing a four-game sweep of the Atlanta Hawks, Cleveland's second sweep of these playoffs. James has never given a firm timetable on how long he intends to play, but the four-time MVP isn't showing any signs of slowing down. He has added reason for that optimism: Many of the Blazers said Thursday they'd be sticking around this summer to work out together.
The Trail Blazers' theme this season emerged over time as the team kept surpassing expectations. From a preseason bonding trip to San Diego, where the team hammed for photos on the beach, to Lillard's team dinners and trips to a roller skating rink, the young Blazers became a cohesive group. Lillard was the lone starter to return from the 2014-15 Blazers, after LaMarcus Aldridge, Nicolas Batum, Robin Lopez and Wesley Matthews departed in the offseason. The group that was assembled was the third-youngest in the NBA and included players who, for whatever reason, hadn't really caught on elsewhere.
Portland had a daunting task in the defending NBA champion Warriors and MVP Stephen Curry in the second round but put up a fight. Lillard averaged a career-high 25.1 points in the regular season, becoming just the third Portland player to average more than 25.
CJ McCollum averaged 20.8 points in his first year as a starter, giving the Blazers their first backcourt duo with an average of 20 or more points apiece in a single season. McCollum was named the league's Most Improved Player for more than tripling his scoring average from the 2014-15 season. Those two will almost certainly be back next season, as will fellow starters Al-Farouq Aminu and Mason Plumlee. The Blazers have a team option on coach Terry Stotts for the coming season, but the team is looking to quickly firm up a long-term deal. Robby Fabbri, their 20-year-old rookie center, became the youngest player in NHL history to score three points in a Game 7, with a goal and two assists, while captain David Backes added a goal and an assist. The Blues, in the playoffs for the 40th time and still in search of their first Stanley Cup, will have home-ice advantage in the Western Conference final against Nashville or San Jose - and for the Stanley Cup Final as well, if they advance. Patrik Berglund and Vladimir Tarasenko also had goals to help the Blues win for the third time on the road in the matchup. It was the fourth straight game in the series, and fifth overall, won by the visiting team, and a lopsided finish to a second-round series matching the Western Conference's top two teams in the regular season.
Coach Ken Hitchcock's Blues were only two points behind Dallas in the regular-season standings for the top seed. In this Game 7, the Blues were in firm control after the first period, even after having a goal disallowed because of a replay challenge by Dallas. The Blues were ahead to stay when Fabbri scored on a powerplay 5:23 into the game, whipping a backhander past after Kari Lehtonen after the Dallas goaltender was unable to control a loose puck. Tarasenko took a shot from in front of the left circle that somehow got behind Lehtonen and into the net with about two minutes left in the first period that appeared to make it 2-0, but replays showed Tarasenko was offside before the puck got in the zone, and officials wiped off the goal.
Dallas coach Lindy Ruff used two goalies all season, and Lehtonen was replaced after allowing three goals on eight shots. And while Ovechkin has been in this position before, having never reached a conference finals in his 11-year NHL career despite eight trips to the postseason, the Washington captain is no more comfortable with the process.
After years of playoff heartbreak, this season looked like it might hold a new ending for Ovechkin as the most dangerous scorer of his era helped the Caps lock up home-ice advantage throughout the playoffs with a month to spare. He kept up his solid play during the postseason, recording five points in the quarter-final win over the Philadelphia Flyers that lasted six games.
Ovechkin then added seven points against Pittsburgh in the Eastern Conference semifinal that saw Washington storm back from a 3-0 second-period deficit only to lose 4-3 in overtime of Game 6. The heartbreaking end to the season has prompted some to suggest the Capitals need to make sweeping changes if they want to take the next step, while others feel a few complementary pieces are all that is needed. As captain, Ovechkin often shoulders the blame when his team underperforms, and while he could have cashed in on more of his chances, few would argue he is to blame for Washington's early exit. Allardyce hailed the club's "miraculous" effort to secure its top-flight future with a game to spare after a 3-0 victory over Everton on Wednesday condemned neighbor Newcastle United and Norwich City to join Aston Villa in the Championship next season. Allardyce's future would have been uncertain had Sunderland failed to upset the odds by clambering out of the bottom three for a fourth straight season.
But after guaranteeing a 10th consecutive Premier League campaign, the 61-year-old said he was relishing the challenge of helping to ensure "great escapes" become a thing of the past. The January additions of midfielders Wahbi Khazri and Jan Kirchhoff and Cote d'Ivoire defender Lamine Kone - who scored twice as Roberto Martinez's side was soundly beaten - have proved crucial in Sunderland's latest successful survival bid. Meanwhile, the beleaguered Martinez brushed off questions over his future after Everton again succumbed to defeat, sparked by Patrick van Aanholt's 38th-minute free kick. The Goodison Park side is in free-fall after one win in its past 10 games and now cannot secure a top-half finish. The Spaniard said his club has found it difficult to come to terms with its FA Cup semifinal exit to Manchester United last month.
Sunderland's Jermain Defoe celebrates with manager Sam Allardyce after beating Everton 3-0 at The Stadium of Light on Wednesday.
The Canaries beat Watford 4-2 on Wednesday thanks to two goals from Dieumerci Mbokani, one from Nathan Redmond and an own goal by Hornets defender Craig Cathcart.
But the result ended up counting for nothing as Sunderland beat Everton 3-0 to confirm neither Norwich nor Newcastle United can now climb out of the bottom three on Sunday's final day. That Sunderland was winning comfortably was known long before the final whistle at Carrow Road on a night when Troy Deeney and Odion Ighalo scored for the visitors.
Whether he will still be in charge at the start of next season in the Championship remains to be seen, but the Scot was certainly moved by the acclaim he received. Remarkably, Watford manager Quique Sanchez Flores appears more likely to find himself in need of new employment.
Watford came up with Norwich last season and never allowed itself to become embroiled in a relegation battle. Norwich City fans look dejected after Wednesday's match against Watford that relegated their club from the Premier League despite a 4-2 victory.
The IOC said on Wednesday it remains in contact with French prosecutors following allegations of a secret $1.5 million payment made during Tokyo's winning bid for the 2020 Olympics.
It said the account is linked to Papa Massata Diack, the son of disgraced former IAAF president Lamine Diack.
French prosecutors confirmed in March they had widened their investigation into corruption at the IAAF to include Olympic bidding for the 2016 and 2020 Games. The International Olympic Committee said it has been in touch with French magistrates from the start and is now a civil party to the investigation. The IOC said its chief ethics and compliance officer "will continue to be in contact with all interested parties to clarify any alleged improper conduct".
French prosecutors have been investigating bribery and money-laundering involving doping cover-ups at the International Association of Athletics Federations. Papa Massata Diack, who worked as an IAAF marketing consultant, was banned for life by the IAAF ethics commission in January for corruption and cover-up allegations linked to Russian doping. The elder Diack, who stepped down in August after 16 years as IAAF president, is accused by French prosecutors of pocketing more than 1 million euros ($1.1 million) from bribes in exchange for covering up doping cases. The Guardian reported in January it saw leaked e-mails linking Diack's son to alleged "parcels" to be delivered to six IOC members during the bidding for the 2016 Games, which were awarded to Rio de Janeiro.
Possible wrongdoing involving Lamine Diack and the 2020 Olympic bid race was cited in a World Anti-Doping Agency commission report into IAAF corruption. The report suggested Diack dropped his support for Istanbul's bid because Turkey refused to pay, and backed Tokyo after the Japanese paid.
Brazil will deploy only half the 9,000 elite police originally planned for the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro this August, a state official said on Wednesday. He said the federal government had informed him several days ago that he would receive only 4,500 officers from the elite police force.
The Olympic security plan announced several months ago provided for a total of about 80,000 police and soldiers for the violence-plagued city, double the number deployed for the 2012 London Games.
Brazil also published a presidential decree on Wednesday authorizing the military to shoot down any "hostile" aircraft threatening the Games. The measure, similar to ones enacted for the 2014 World Cup and 2013 Confederations Cup, will apply nationwide. Arrieta is one of several players potentially affected by Strasburg's seven-year, $175 million deal with the Nationals, which prevents the right-hander from testing free agency after this season. Arrieta avoided arbitration with a one-year, $10.7 million, deal with Chicago in February and is not eligible for free agency until 2018.
Arrieta is coming off a breakout season, helping the Cubs get to the NL Championship Series. Strasburg, the No 1 overall pick in the 2009 draft, was 11-7 with a 3.46 ERA in 23 starts for the Nationals in 2015. His new contract, announced on Tuesday, includes opt-outs after the 2019 or 2020 seasons, and $70 million in deferred money.
Strasburg was an All-Star in 2012, but his season was cut short by the team out of concern for his surgically repaired elbow.
Asked about Strasburg's deal as it relates to the Cubs, president of baseball operations Theo Epstein said it does not impact them too much. Arrieta and Strasburg are represented by Scott Boras, who has a reputation for taking his players to free agency. A fifth-round pick in the 2007 draft, Arrieta has flourished since he was acquired by Chicago in a July 2013 trade with Baltimore.
Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Jake Arrieta unwinds against the Washington Nationals at Wrigley Field in Chicago last week. Thompson scored 33 points with six 3-pointers, Curry added 29 and sealed it with a 3 with 24.9 seconds left and Golden State advanced to the West final for the second straight season with a 125-121 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers in Game 5 on Wednesday night. Draymond Green, who had his left ankle retaped in the fourth quarter, had 13 points, 11 rebounds and six assists after guaranteeing Golden State would advance from this game. The Warriors got past Portland playing without Curry for the first three games as he recovered from a sprained right knee. Now, Golden State will wait for the conclusion of the Oklahoma City-San Antonio series, led 3-2 by the Thunder.


Thompson shot 13 for 17 and became the first player to have at least five 3s in seven straight games, also recording his fourth 30-point game this postseason.
Curry's 3-pointer to beat the third-quarter buzzer gave Golden State a 93-91 lead heading into the final 12 minutes, then the Warriors made sure their raucous crowd at Oracle Arena got to celebrate another series-clincher after they eliminated Houston at home - also winning that best-of-seven series 4-1.
The Trail Blazers were 16 of 36 on 3-pointers and, unlike their Game 2 loss at Oracle Arena, they stayed in this one for the entire 48 minutes. Allen Crabbe, who played at the University of California in nearby Berkeley, scored 20 points. Curry's first points came at the 5:29 mark of the first quarter and then he got Golden State right back in it on one wild sequence. He missed a long 3 off the front rim, Leandro Barbosa got the rebound and tried a backward pass to Curry that the point guard had to save. Green, who blocked a career-high seven shots on Monday, made good on his declaration to eliminate Portland. Curry, donning a yellow "Strength in Numbers" T-shirts over his No 30 jersey, received his MVP award from commissioner Adam Silver before the game as fans chanted "M-V-P!" and video highlights of Curry's year were shown on giant monitors.
Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors runs down court during the final seconds of their win over the Portland Trail Blazers in Game 5 of the Western Conference semifinal on Wednesday at Oracle Arena in Oakland, California.
DeRozan matched a playoff high with 34 points and Lowry had 25 as the Raptors beat the Miami Heat 99-91 to take a 3-2 lead in their Eastern Conference semifinal.
Lowry and DeRozan made six of 28 shot attempts and scored 19 total points as Toronto lost 94-87 in overtime in Game 4. It was DeRozan's franchise-best 13th 20-point game in the playoffs and his sixth this postseason.
Toronto led by 20 in the first half and by 13 to start the fourth quarter before its lead shrunk to 88-87 when Wade made a pair of free throws with 1:54 left. DeRozan made a pair of free throws and, after a Miami turnover, Lowry drained a long 3-pointer to put Toronto up 93-87 with 52 seconds left.
DeRozan jammed his sore right thumb while fouling Miami's Tyler Johnson with 8:19 remaining in the fourth.
England's Danny Willett readies for The Players Championship during Tuesday's practice round in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. Masters champion Danny Willett has been away from golf for a month and has been working harder than ever. The last box of about 200 yellow Masters flags for Willett to sign for players and charities arrived on Tuesday, bringing the total to what manager Chubby Chandler estimated at just short of 1,000 since the 28-year-old from England slipped on a green jacket.
Even before he rallied from a five-shot deficit to beat Jordan Spieth on the back nine at Augusta National, Willett had planned a quiet month away from golf with his wife and newborn son to relax and do what he described as "normal things". He was not planning on chaos back home in a country celebrating its first Masters champion in 20 years. There were media appearances with his green jacket, a trip to the European Cup semifinal between Liverpool and Villareal and an appearance at the World Snooker Championship in his hometown of Sheffield, where Willett took a lap of honor around two snooker tables. Willett probably would not have spent the Tuesday night after the Masters watching a replay of his 5-under 67 that in time will get as much attention as the 41 that Spieth shot on the back nine.
Willett plans to bring his green jacket with him wherever he plays, and with it comes expectations he has not felt since he was the world's No 1 amateur in 2008.
Willett only has a two-week break scheduled twice through to October, and he could play as many as 15 times over the next 23 weeks. That does not include the FedEx Cup playoffs, even though he is eligible by taking PGA Tour membership. That is a tall order, because Willett has only four events left - The Players and three majors - to earn points and he currently is No 34. It starts at Sawgrass with a lot of rust and plenty of expectations - at least more than he had before he owned a green jacket. World No 1 Jason Day hopes that advice from Tiger Woods will come in handy at The Players Championship this week as he attempts to break his slump in the tournament regarded as golf's unofficial fifth major.
The 28-year-old Australian has forged a close relationship with Woods in recent months with the former world No 1 regularly offering advice via text messages. Woods, a two-time winner at TPC Sawgrass, will not be competing in Ponte Vedra Beach as he battles his way back from an extended layoff after back surgery. But Woods' influence could well be significant if Day mounts a successful challenge for the $1.89 million winner's check.
Day said he often turns to Woods for motivational advice, revealing that he is hoping to emulate the sort of mental toughness that became synonymous with Woods during the 14-time major winner's peak. Day, the 2015 PGA Championship winner, says a victory at The Players Championship could ultimately end up shaping his legacy.
Players who want to see what they've been missing for the last century can swing by the USGA Museum for the next month.
Egan won the silver medal at Glen Echo Country Club, finishing behind George Lyon of Canada.
They will then be loaned to the World Golf Hall of Fame as part of a special Olympic exhibit.
Colin Montgomerie would like nothing more to return to the British Open this year at Royal Troon, where his father was the longtime club secretary. The 52-year-old Scot said he will try to qualify at Hillsdale Golf Club in Southport, which is adjacent to Royal Birkdale. The last time the Open was at Troon, Montgomerie was three shots out of the lead going into the weekend and closed with 72-76 to finish 12 shots behind. James Hahn does not mind talking about his blunders, though caddie Mark Urbanek gave him a different attitude last week.
Hahn made a 10 on the par-4 16th hole at Quail Hollow last year, calling it the "best 10 I have ever made". Going into the Wells Fargo Championship this year, he had no trouble sharing his tale with whoever was in his group. It was enough for Hahn to get into a playoff and beat Roberto Castro for his second PGA Tour victory. Former British Open champion Mark Calcavecchia is the latest to have a monthly show on SiriusXM PGA Tour Radio. Last week: James Hahn won the Wells Fargo Championship over Roberto Castro on the first hole of a sudden-death playoff. Last week: Wang Jeung-hun won the Hassan Trophy in a playoff over Nacho Elvira on the European Tour. Notes: Li Haotong, the 20-year-old from China who won his first European Tour event two weeks ago, is in the field. Stephen Curry poses with his back-to-back NBA Most Valuable Player awards at a media conference at Oracle Arena in Oakland on Tuesday.
From the jaw-dropping half-court heaves that somehow sink through the net to the dazzling drives and zippy passes from every direction, Stephen Curry's desire to keep getting better while always trying to entertain has the Golden State superstar being mentioned in the same breath as the NBA's the best ever, including Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson. There might still be so much more for the 6-foot-3, baby-faced point guard whose ability to make it on the big stage was initially questioned by some.
On Tuesday, Curry accomplished something nobody else has ever done by becoming the first unanimous NBA MVP, earning the award for the second straight season after leading the defending champion Warriors to a record-setting season.
Curry is the 11th player in league history to be voted MVP in consecutive seasons and the first guard since Steve Nash in 2004-05 and 2005-06. Curry was followed in the vote by Kawhi Leonard of San Antonio, LeBron James of Cleveland and Oklahoma City teammates Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant. Curry is the first two-time MVP in franchise history, and Wilt Chamberlain (1959-60) is the only other Warriors winner. After guiding Golden State to its first championship in 40 years, Curry and Co took that success even further to finish with 73 regular-season wins to top the mark set by the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls team that went 72-10. In a stunning overtime performance on Monday night, Curry showed exactly how he can take over a game in a matter of seconds.
Curry, now one of the most recognizable and popular athletes in the world, was presented with his MVP trophy at Oracle Arena before trying to close out the series against the Trail Blazers at home on Wednesday night.
Curry understands, and even embraces, the constant scrutiny that comes with being an MVP and playing on a championship team. His pregame ballhandling routine draws huge crowds in every city, but it has been his long-range touch that has forced defenses to extend - and has children and adults alike throwing the ball up from anywhere.
Nick Bonino of the Pittsburgh Penguins moves in to beat Washington Capitals goalie Braden Holtby with the 4-3 overtime winner in Tuesday's Game 6 of their Eastern Conference semifinal in Pittsburgh. After watching a three-goal lead evaporate - along with his team's momentum - Pittsburgh Penguins coach Mike Sullivan provided a check list heading to overtime of Game 6 of a relentlessly entertaining Eastern Conference semifinal against the Washington Capitals on Tuesday night. In the span of a dozen frantic seconds early in the extra period, Carl Hagelin, Phil Kessel and Nick Bonino did all three, sending their resilient club to the conference final against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Bonino tapped the rebound of Hagelin's shot past Braden Holtby at 6:32 of OT to give Pittsburgh a 4-3 win to wrap up the series in six games. Kessel dug the puck out of the corner and passed it to Hagelin, whose shot caromed off Holtby directly to Bonino, who had little trouble pushing it into the net for his 10th career playoff goal. The Capitals overcame a three-goal deficit in the final 22 minutes of regulation and earned a break when Jay Beagle went to his belly on the goal line to steer a shot by Patric Hornqvist out of harm's way early in the extra period. But there was no stopping Bonino's tap-in, which sent the regular season champion Capitals to their dressing room with an all-too-familiar feeling. That was thanks in large part to the Caps' inability to keep Bonino, Hagelin and Kessel in check. While Washington kept Pittsburgh stars Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin under wraps - they combined for just four points in the six games - the Capitals struggled to keep up with one of the fastest lines in the league. Chris Kunitz, Ian Cole and Bonino all flipped the puck over the glass from the defensive zone in a span of 2:02, a sequence that led to Carlson's fifth playoff goal, a shot that bounced and skipped past Matt Murray to provide another compelling twist in a series that more than lived up to its billing.
Pittsburgh ended the regular season as the hottest team in the league and has now cruised through two rounds by relying on the supporting cast general manager Jim Rutherford has cultivated behind his stars. All but two of Pittsburgh's 16 goals during the series were scored by players who were not on the roster when Rutherford replaced Ray Shero two summers ago. Russell Westbrook of the Oklahoma City Thunder drives past San Antonio Spurs' Kawhi Leonard in Game 5 of their Western Conference semifinal in San Antonio on Tuesday.
Russell Westbrook could not be stopped down the stretch, not even when the San Antonio Spurs were trying to foul him. Westbrook had 35 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists as the Oklahoma City Thunder rallied in the fourth quarter to beat the Spurs 95-91 on Tuesday night and take a 3-2 lead in their Western Conference semifinal. Durant added 23 points as the Thunder won for the second time in San Antonio in the series. But the Spurs have rallied from a 3-2 deficit only once in their prolific playoff history, winning the final two games in 2008 to defeat the then New Orleans Hornets.
After losing only once at home during the regular season, the Spurs have now dropped two straight in San Antonio. After Oklahoma City won Game 2, the NBA acknowledged five incorrect non-calls in the final stretch. There were a couple calls the Spurs felt did not go their way in the final minutes on Tuesday, but it was Westbrook who left no question about the outcome.
He sealed the victory with a three-point play with 6.3 seconds remaining, scoring after Kawhi Leonard was not able to foul intentionally, enabling him to drive for a layup while being fouled by LaMarcus Aldridge. Leonard said he "definitely fouled him" on the initial attempt, but Westbrook continued turning the corner and attacking the rim. West Ham's Winston Reid leaps in delight after scoring the Hammers' winning goal against Manchester United at Upton Park on Tuesday.
Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal put on a brave face and refused to blame an attack on his team's bus for the serious setback to his side's Champions League hopes at West Ham United. My letter to Djivan was an attempt to express something of my feelings on visiting his country, to thank him for his overwhelming generosity and to try to explain why my reaction at the time must have seemed inadequate.
During our stay in Armenia he invited us to eat with him almost every night, either at an expensive restaurant or at his house.
Although he is wealthy by Armenian standards, with a comfortable house and a black BMW, Gasparian has a reputation for generosity and humility which I often saw demonstrated. Despite my general disorientation I did manage to interview Djivan Gasparian on our last night together. DC So maybe you could tell us something about the history of the duduk and the history of Armenia. DG (after some discussion with his wife and granddaughter) Ninety percent of the duduk players in Armenia are my students in one way or another. Later on, with the minidisk machine still recording, I was sitting with Patrice on the porch.
Armenia: A dry, mountainous landscape with occasional small fields of crops in strange organic shapes amid expanses of grey-brown rock. Ottawa Senators defenseman Cody Ceci (5) checks Minnesota Wild left wing Zach Parise (11) during NHL hockey action at the Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa on Tuesday March 15, 2016. It’s only appropriate the Senators kept their slim wild-card hopes alive on Tuesday night with a victory against the Minnesota Wild. Thanks to some last-minute heroics from Mika Zibanejad to tie it up along with the winner from captain Erik Karlsson, the Senators are still breathing this morning after they scored a 3-2 overtime victory over the Wild in front of a sellout crowd of 18,966 at the Canadian Tire Centre. Karlsson fired a blast from the slot with 30.4 seconds left in OT to give the Senators a much-needed two points. Ottawa Senators goalie Craig Anderson (41) runs interference on Minnesota Wild right wing Nino Niederreiter (22) during NHL hockey action at the Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa on Tuesday March 15, 2016. Like they have so many nights this season, the Senators got up off the mat when they needed it the most. Trying to close the gap for the final playoff spot in the East, the Senators are now five points back of the Detroit Red Wings, however, the Philadelphia Flyers are only one point back with games in hand. Ottawa Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson (65) battles with Minnesota Wild center Jordan Schroeder (10) in front of Ottawa Senators goalie Craig Anderson during NHL hockey action at the Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa on Tuesday March 15, 2016.
Ottawa Senators center Mika Zibanejad (93) gets upended by Minnesota Wild right wing Justin Fontaine (14) during NHL hockey action at the Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa on Tuesday March 15, 2016. Hoffman’s 26th of the season through a screen from the point beat Dubnyk with at 13:38 of the second to tie it up.
With the two assists, captain Karlsson eclipsed a career-high he set in 2011-12 for helpers and now has 60 on the season.
Just for good measure, the Senators gave up the opening goal in a disturbing trend that’s been happening all season.
Ottawa Senators right wing Mark Stone (61) eludes the check of Minnesota Wild center Mikko Koivu (9) during NHL hockey action at the Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa on Tuesday March 15, 2016.
She recovered in time to beat fellow American Christina McHale 7-6 (7), 6-1 in the third round Thursday.
He shrugged off the defeat, saying his immediate priority was the French Open that begins on May 22. The frustration boiled over as he slammed his stick against the post and tossed it aside after Marleau's goal made it 5-0. But with only 10 players remaining from that disappointment and a new coach in Peter DeBoer, the Sharks believed this team was different and are showing that through two rounds of the playoffs. Oklahoma City now will face defending NBA champion Golden State, starting Monday in Oakland, California.
The 40-year-old Duncan struggled for much of the series before scoring 19 points as San Antonio tried to fight back in the fourth quarter. San Antonio lost just once at home during the regular season, but the Thunder beat the Spurs twice in San Antonio during the series. Durant's 3-pointer with 2.3 seconds left in the half pushed the lead to 55-31 at the break. San Antonio shot 31.1 percent from the field before the break and missed all nine of its 3-pointers. The team has spent the past two days practicing while waiting to see if it will play the Toronto Raptors or Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference finals. Many never thought the Blazers would win more than 30 games, let alone make the playoffs, but Portland went on to finish 44-38 with the fifth seed in the Western Conference. After dropping the first two in Oakland, Portland claimed the third at home but lost the fourth in overtime - with Curry coming back from a knee injury and scoring 40 points, including 17 in the OT. Forward Maurice Harkless, who started all 11 postseason games, backup guard Allen Crabbe and reserve forward Meyers Leonard are all restricted free agents. Louis also went seven games to win its quarterfinal series, beating the defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks 3-2 on Brouwer's winning goal in the Game 7 clincher at home.
He was pulled late in the first period of Game 6 after giving up three goals on seven shots and Dallas held on to win 3-2 and set up its first Game 7 at home since 2000.
Louis Blues goalie Brian Elliott makes a save against the Dallas Stars during the third period of Wednesday's Game 7 of the NHL's Western Conference semifinal at American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas.


We have the best goalie in the league, we have a solid group of guys on the defensive side, and all four lines can play well.
Our signings in that window have proved crucial and now the next set of recruitment over the summer is just as important," said former Newcastle manager Allardyce. Neil, at 34, is one of the youngest in the profession and elevated the club from the second tier in his first season in charge.
But despite a satisfying season, he is expected to be replaced by the Pozzo family, which owns the club.
He is wanted for questioning by prosecutors in France, and Interpol has issued a wanted notice for him. The e-mails were reportedly sent by Papa Massata Diack to a Qatari business executive in May 2008. A footnote to the report indicated Diack was prepared to sell his vote in exchange for a $5 million sponsorship of IAAF events. It will be a challenge, but we're ready for it," Rio state security secretary Mario Beltrame told newspaper O Globo. He added 11 assists after returning to the starting lineup for the first time all series because of a knee injury. Marreese Speights provided key minutes off the bench and made a 3-pointer with 8:19 to play after a layup the previous possession. The ball went to Bogut, who turned toward the baseline and handed off to Curry from close range and buried a 3 over his tall teammate with 4:34 to go. Toronto can clinch its first appearance in the conference final with a win in Game 6 in Miami on Friday.
They shot 20 for 47 overall and scored 59 points, their highest total this postseason, even with DeRozan battling a bad thumb that took another hard hit in the second half. He played nine holes on Monday when he showed up at the TPC Sawgrass for The Players Championship. We're going to beat this hole.' And I thought about it for a second and I was like, 'You're right. I know it inspires a lot of the next generation, a lot of people who love the game of basketball to value the skill of it, value the fact that you can work every single day to get better.
He returned from a sprained right knee to score 40 points - 17 in overtime - in a 132-125 win at Portland to put his team up 3-1 in their Western Conference semifinal. Eight times the post-series handshake line has ended with Pittsburgh celebrating while Washington trudges toward the offseason. Hagelin added a goal and two assists for Pittsburgh, including the shot that allowed Bonino to send Consol Energy Center into a frenzy.
Oshie, Justin Williams and John Carlson scored during Washington's comeback, which was completed after three straight delay of game penalties to the Penguins gave one of the league's best powerplays enough time to tie it up. I just said something that I thought would never happen and a week later it was all set up.
Despite Evaa€™s constant efforts on behalf of our small group, the Armenian officials who were supposed to be facilitating our gig were supremely unhelpful.
Dinner at Djivana€™s table involved mountains of food and frequent ceremonial toasting in vodka prefaced by formal speeches (a Gurdjieffian custom also). The National Duduk House is a shabby building consisting of a couple of dingy rooms and a verandah. Despite the Festival Commissionera€™s assurance that everything was arranged for our departure, we found out, when we arrived at the airport at five am the next morning, that we were not permitted to leave the country because we had not the necessary authorisation.The plane was due to leave at six. That was as far as my presence of mind went, because I think I may have drunk a pint or so of vodka. I tried to enthuse him about the wonderful duduk reeds I had recently acquired from Felix the Reed Master. I dona€™t know whether ita€™s deliberate, or whether it just happens that way, this is the pattern.
The history of this tiny country is one of almost constant struggle to retain a language, an identity and a culture despite being relegated to second-class status in someone elsea€™s empire. Mike Hoffman was the only other Ottawa player to beat Devan Dubnyk, while Ryan Carter and Nino Niederreiter did the scoring for the Wild. That’s the mentality we’ve got to have in here,” said Karlsson, who notched his 13th of the year and added two assists for the win.
With Anderson pulled for the extra attacker, Zibanejad, in front of the net, beat Dubnyk on the stick side to tie it up with 7.1 seconds left on the clock to send it to overtime. They haven’t scored a goal with the man advantage in seven games and are 0-for-17 in that stretch.
At this time of year, we got the two points and we’re feeling good about ourselves,” said Anderson, who made 23 stops. After coming out of the penalty box, Carter made a nifty redirect of a Mikael Granlund pass by Anderson. Neither team had a lot in the way of scoring chances as the Wild outshot the Senators by a 19-12 count. After a turnover by Hoffman to set up a 2-on-1 going the other way, Niederreiter beat Anderson on the glove side only 1:33 into the first. We are committed to maintaining a lively but civil forum for discussion, so we ask you to avoid personal attacks, and please keep your comments relevant and respectful. Take away Popovich's two-decade-and-counting run, and the average time that an NBA coach has been able to keep a head-coaching gig around the league is about two and a half years. So what am I, the second-longest-tenured?" Spoelstra, who rose from the Heat video room to head coach, said earlier this month when asked about the lack of job security in the field.
The Raptors lead the Heat - James' former team - 3-2 in their series, which continues Friday night. He's led the Blazers to the playoffs in each of the last three years, and to the conference semifinals twice. The Blues routed the top-seeded Dallas Stars 6-1 on Wednesday night to advance to their first Western Conference championship round since 2001.
Stastny scored first and then Berglund on a shot from just inside the blue line with only 3.4 seconds left before intermission.
Willett was No 12 in the world when he won the Masters, after winning in Dubai earlier in the year and in Switzerland last year.
He will play the FedEx Cup finale at the Tour Championship only if he can stay in the top 30 without competing in the opening three playoff events. Keegan Bradley has parted with caddie Steve Hale, who had been on his bag since Bradley's rookie season in 2011 that included his victory in the PGA Championship.
Some time in June 2000 I had voiced the thought to my wife that if I had one wish to do something before I died it would be to go to Armenia and learn to make duduk reeds. I had heard his name, listened to his recordings, even met his agent, but never imagined I would ever meet the man himself. It looks like a garden maintenance shed, and is in fact situated in the grounds of the a€?English Gardena€™ in the centre of Yerevan. Nobody would appreciate my principles, certainly not those who would want to kill me quickly. Although the Armenian nation has existed for several millennia, it is only relatively recently that it has actually had internationally recognised boundaries. There was nothing he could do because Carter looked like he reached behind with his stick to make the play, but it was a pivotal moment in the game. It might sound like Anderson was busy, but he really wasn’t — and it was exactly the way Minnesota wanted this road game to go. If you encounter a comment that is abusive, click the "X" in the upper right corner of the comment box to report spam or abuse. The top spot in the world ranking is up for grabs between Jason Day (No 1) and Jordan Spieth (No 2). A week later I received a call from Eva Skalla, a Polish-born lady whom I happened to know.
Most of our time seemed to be spent sitting around not knowing what was going to happen or worrying that what was supposed to happen wouldna€™t happen.
He can communicate with his agent Eva Skalla, who is of Polish stock and can just about get by in Russian.
You give nothing to the bad people, the insincere, the posturing politicians, the duplicitous money-grubbers and the rest. The Reed Master had a Kurdish appearance, with a narrow bony face and an enormous moustache. Djivan, who had consumed a lot more vodka than I had, nevertheless gave profound answers and some to the questions I didna€™t ask. The land occupied by Armenians two thousand years ago, before anyone had thought of drawing boundaries on a map, was about fifteen times larger than it is today.
He is probably the most famous man in Armenia but behaves without the slightest pretension and even with a degree of self-deprecation. The most famous man in the land gathered these kids together and squatted down to their level with his hands on the shoulders of the two nearest. But at least they do have their own country, and are strongly conscious of their good fortune in this respect.
The letter I was sending was to Djivan Gasparian, supreme master of the duduk, Armeniaa€™s national instrument, and a man who had for some reason taken me to his heart during my short visit to his country.
Spieth is playing for the first time since losing a five-shot lead on the back nine at the Masters. She asked me if Ia€™d like to go to Armenia, all expenses paid, to participate in celebrations for the 1700th anniversary of the Armenian adoption of Christianity as state religion.
It's a middle Eastern country and its ways are those of the middle East; officials are grafters and time-servers, and government has only the most superficial concern for the people it governs. At the same time he is impatient of the failings of others and sensitive about his public image. He has a rounded upper abdomen which I assumed must be vodka gut, until on our last night together he invited me to feel it. After our televised live concert, which apparently was regarded as having been very successful (!), we were summoned to the Festival Commission Office to receive a€?official thanksa€™. Via an interpreter, Felix told me that he had learned his craft, not from an old master, but on his own, by trial and error. Westerners, for whom nationality without territory is hardly imaginable, will find this difficult to appreciate.
In Yerevan the rich successors of the Soviet regime have their expensive houses and apartments, and their privileged restaurants in the cool atmosphere down by the river.
Timuquana Country Club in Jacksonville, Florida, will host the US Women's Amateur Four-Ball in 2019. Just like in the West of course, but without the Westa€™s consitutional checks and balances, and without freedom of the press. The Festival Commissioner kept us waiting for three hours for no apparent reason and then invited us into his office where he spouted diplomatic vacuities for a further half hour.
Wona€™t you be ashamed later on, when you are twenty years old, that you begged when you were children?a€™ They answered him: a€?We have no parents. As a result of his self-taught skills he was now making duduk reeds superior to anything in the past. Tradition in Armenia also means practising the ancient customs of the region, which are shared by Georgians, Russians, Turks, Greeks and others. In Gyumri mile upon mile of temporary tin shacks surround the shattered suburbs, jerry-built victim of the 1990 earthquake, still unreconstructed. Michal Shapiro, a world music aficionado from New York, said the hotel sign made her feel like she was on acid.
As it happened, I did: Didier Malherbe (of Gong notoriety), a saxophonist who had been aquiring jazz skills on the duduk for some years.
While the rest of us smiled politely, Djivan scowled and looked down at the polished table top on which he was conspicuously twirling his mobile phone. These customs include: patriarchy, hospitality, generosity, religiosity, emotional honesty, poetic feeling, male disregard for the needs of women, and female thriftiness struggling to counteract male love of conspicious consumption. The old city centre, with its beautiful ancient cathedral, standing unscathed amid the ruins. And here we were, plonked into the middle of this, expected to come up with an hour-and-a-half concert in three days, and none of us had ever met before, except Didier Malherbe and Patrice Meyer, the Parisian Dynamic Duo. A white-haired 75-year old with more enthusiasm and stamina than most men half his age, he consumes vodka to an extent that would leave me paralysed.
Once upon a time they were western European customs also, but they are now largely absent from our culture; we are today predominantly agnostic, mean-spirited, cynical and supportive of sexual equality.
Ryan Palmer has the longest active streak (24 rounds) of not hitting a ball in the water on the par-3 17th. That night, after I had consumed so much of his vodka at his insistence that I could hardly walk, he drove us back to our hotel in Yerevan from his house in a village twenty miles away.
The cane is cut to about four inches in length and the surface scraped down about half a millimetre. Like the Aisori (Assyrians) who have disappeared off the map, so could the Armenians have disappeared, like other nations who do not have their own country: Kurds, Assyrians, Gypsies. They are, however, still widely to be found in America, due perhaps to immigration from those parts of the world where, at the time, such traditional values had not yet disappeared. I was almost unconscious and couldna€™t witness the hair-raising journey, but I know it must have been fast, for Gasparian ignores all the rules of the road at all times.
It is softened by simmering in water for a day, then soaked in olive oil for a day, then a form applied to press the circular cross-section into an oval. I have brought the duduk into the symphony orchestra, into classical music, into jazz, into rock music.
Ia€™d brought Scottish highland pipes and Irish uilleann pipes with me to see what the locals might think of Gaelic music, but there was going to be no opportunity to play jigs and reels. He goes through red lights, swerves in front of on-coming traffic and takes the shortest way round roundabouts. We spent most of the three days of rehearsals politely acquiescing to an Italian composer (self-styled) of limited intelligence, who had brought some synth loops with him on a lap-top and who would apparently have been quite happy for the whole gig to consist solely of that. He reminded me of accounts I have read of the famous Greek-Armenian philosopher and mystic G.
Then back into the pan to simmer for another day, then back into the oil, then squeezed a little more, and so on.
After two and a half days of this my blood was beginning to boil, not only because of the frustration and annoyance but also because the weather was extremely hot. The temperature and dryness of the air was making my uilleann pipe reeds go out of tune - theya€™re designed to be played in the coolness and damp of the British Isles, not in the baking August heat of Asia Minor. Gurdjieff, whose powerful personality and unorthodox behaviour eclipsed everyone around him. Armenia produces the purest of water, unique mystical religion, fantastic food, glorious cognac, heavenly music, people of the calibre of G. Eventually a bus takes us to Yerevan and an uncomfortable concrete hotel smelling of dust, whose only guests appear to be us. The only ones who seemed cheerfully unaffected were the two seasoned gigsters Didier and Patrice. Like Gurdjieff, Gasparian has no patience with politicians, bureaucrats and other self-serving types. A cane tuning ligature is heat-formed and tied to fit over the reed, and is attached with thread to a wooden cap that protects the lips of the reed. He looks always for the genuine human quality in a person, which is why he told me he prefers to be with musicians. They pulled the rabbit out of the hat for the rest of us, performing superbly in wholly unsuitable conditions with a sound crew who did not know how to operate the equipment, in front of live TV cameras and half the population of Yerevan. I accepted the compliment, and his assessment of the musical fraternity (though my own experience admits of some exceptions). I spend the night lying naked on a nylon sheet, listening to traffic and barking dogs through the wide open window. Felix had devoted his life to a highly esoteric craft, and I realised this was not a path I was capable of following, not with a wife and family to support. It does not occur to me that for the majority of Armenians this would not be discomfort, it would be luxury.



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