The Los Angeles Lakers spoke to 11-time NBA champion coach Phil Jackson on Saturday about returning for a third stint on their bench.
The Lakers confirmed on their website that Jackson discussed the job with owner Jim Buss and general manager Mitch Kupchak. They’ll meet again early next week.
Los Angeles fired coach Mike Brown on Friday after a 1-4 start to a season of enormous expectations, AP wrote.
Interim coach Bernie Bickerstaff led the Lakers to a blowout win over Golden State later that night, and the Lakers said Bickerstaff will coach the club in a home game against Sacramento on Sunday night.
Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard have voiced their interest in playing for Jackson, and the legendary coach’s return to the 16-time champion franchise seems probable as long as Jackson decides he’s up to another stint in the prestigious job with a team that won five titles and reached seven NBA finals in his 11 seasons on its bench.
‘’Knowing him the way I do, I think it’s really just a matter of health, if he feels physically up to doing it,’’ Bryant said Friday night. ‘’He’s a perfectionist. We all know he’s a perfectionist. If he feels like he can come in here and give what he demands from himself, then I think he would be interested.’’
After several chants of ‘’We want Phil!’’ broke out in the Staples Center crowd on Friday night, the Lakers had the day off Saturday.
Jackson walked away from the Lakers in 2011, eager to improve his health by avoiding the constant grind of NBA travel. The former Knicks forward spent nine seasons on the Chicago Bulls’ bench, winning six titles with Michael Jordan before moving to the Lakers in 1999.
Jackson left the Lakers in 2004 after the club lost to Detroit in the NBA finals, but he returned for a second stint after Rudy Tomjanovich and Frank Hamblen led Los Angeles to a 34-48 record in his one-year absence. After a rough start to his second stint, the Lakers reached three NBA finals and won two titles after acquiring Pau Gasol.
Karimi Will Not Play In Uzbekistan Match
Ali Karimi will not play against Uzbekistan in the 2014 World Cup qualifier due to a foot injury.
Karimi, who was injured on Tuesday in the 40th minute of Tajikistan friendly match, was diagnosed with a second-degree thigh strain by Persepolis Doctor Vajihollah Cheshmesari, Mehr News Agency wrote.
“Karimi will be out of action for four weeks. He cannot play against Uzbekistan,” he said.
The 34-year midfielder has not played for Persepolis from September due to a quarrel with Portuguese coach Manuel Jose.
Iran will play Uzbekistan on Wednesday in Tehran’s Azadi Stadium.
Carlos Queiroz’s team is second in Group A with seven points. South Korea is first on goal difference. The Uzbeks are third with five points, one point ahead of Qatar and Lebanon.
Draw for Hazfi Cup
The new edition of Iran’s Hazfi Cup was drawn on Sunday in Tehran. According to ISNA, half of the country’s top division, Premier League, and all the teams in the first division was selected for the Cup.
In the first game, popular club Esteqlal will shake hands with Saipa. This is while the capital giant Persepolis will host Malavan. The league title defender Sepahan will also meet Foulad.
Based on the draw, Iran’s two popular teams, Persepolis and Esteqlal, will not play against each other before the final.
The fixtures of the games are as follows:
Teraktor vs Aluminum
Damash Iranian vs Damash Gilan
Saipa Shomal vs Mes Sarcheshmeh
Sepasi vs Sang Ahan Bafq
Zob Ahan vs Haffari Ahvaz
Shahrdari Yasouj vs Mes Kerman
Shahrdari Tabriz vs Naft Tehran
Mes Rafsanjan vs Barq Shiraz
Rah Ahan vs Shahin Bushehr
Nirooye Zamini vs Naft Abadan
Abu Moslem vs Paykan
Saba vs Naft Masjed Soleiman
Esteqlal Ahvaz vs Gahar Doroud
The Hazfi Cup is a knockout cup competition in Iranian football, run by the Iranian Football Federation (IFF). The competition wasn’t regarded important by clubs until the IFF decided to award one of Iran’s AFC Champions League spots to the champion.
The competition was founded in 1975. Esteqlal has won the cup on the most occasions, with 6 wins. The current holders are also Esteqlal.
Klitschko Sees Off Wach Challenge
Wladimir Klitschko retained his IBF, IBO, WBO and WBA heavyweight titles by recording a unanimous points decision over Poland’s Mariusz Wach in Hamburg.
Klitschko landed at will for nearly five rounds but Wach’s huge right at the end of the fifth sent him reeling, BBC wrote.
The Ukrainian managed to survive, though, and showed no lasting effects before stepping up his punishment.
The judges’ scores of 120-107, 120-107 and 119-109 reflected Klitschko’s domination in his 13th title defense.
This was the first time Klitschko had fought without the legendary Emanuel Steward, who died last month aged 68, in his corner.
He paid tribute to the trainer after the fight and said: “I want to remember one man, who can’t be here today unfortunately. We miss you, we love you, you are always here in the ring, thank you Emanuel.”
Aspiring heavyweight contender Johnathon Banks has been appointed as Klitschko’s interim new trainer.
Klitschko landed several one-two combinations in the first, with the pattern continuing in the second.
However, the previously unbeaten Wach attempted to spoil his opponent’s work by tying Klitschko up.
In the fifth, the Pole brought the crowd to its feet with an overhand right that sent Klitschko into the ropes, although the Ukrainian showed his experience by covering up and avoiding any further damage as Wach sloppily went in for the kill.
But Klitschko, who has not been beaten in eight years since being stopped by Lamon Brewster in 2004, did not seem to be affected at the start of the sixth and landed a straight right that temporarily stunned Wach.
The punishment continued in the seventh and Klitschko looked to stop the fight with perhaps only the bell preventing him from doing so, with Wach sent into the ropes after yet another right hand.
Wach’s lack of defence seemed to prove his undoing and he came in for severe punishment in the eighth before Klitschko settled into a rhythm in the ninth.
By the 10th Wach had marks over his eyes and nose and his lack of head movement was giving Klitschko all the encouragement he needed.
Wach did land another rare right in the 11th that opened up a cut on Klitschko’s left eye but the champion closed strongly to seal victory.
Boateng Rules Out
Germany defender Jerome Boateng has been ruled out of Wednesday’s friendly against the Netherlands after tearing a muscle in Bayern Munich’s 2-0 win over Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday, the German Football Association said.
Appiah Hopes to Shine In Iran
Stephen Appiah said that the Persepolis fans is the main reason for him to select the team. He hopes that one day he can play in the gigantic Tehran’s Azadi Stadium in front of 100, 000 fans.
The Former Ghana captain, who is in Tehran to finalize his contract with Persepolis, told ISNA, “I was not familiar with Iran’s football. So I tried to gain some information about Persepolis. I found that the club is a deep-rooted team in Iran. It’s very good that you play in front of some 100, 000 fans and all of them calling your name.”
Appiah announced his retirement from international football in 2010 in order to concentrate on club football in a career which has seen him playing in Italy for clubs like Udinese, Parma, Brescia, Juventus, Bologna and Cesena and Fenerbahce (Turkey), FK Vojvodina (Serbia).
The 32-year-old midfielder added, “When I was in Turkey, I had some problems with the Fenerbahce fans. They are very good fans but I think Persepolis has more fans than them.”
The player has reached an agreement with the team’s officials but he has not been confirmed so far.
Appiah at first has to go for a medical test within the days.
Some Iranian newspapers reported that Appiah has joined Persepolis while an official said that Portuguese coach Manuel Jose has not yet confirmed the 32-year-old midfielder joining the team.
Asked about his physical condition he said, “I had my trainings with my private coach. Before I joined Persepolis, I had some offers from Serbia and UAE. I think it’s too soon for me to play in the UAE.”
On his talk with the Persepolis coach he said, “We had some talks in the team’s trainings on Saturday. We know a lot about each other. But I did not talk about my contract and about staying with him.
Hernandez Inspires Man Utd Win
Manchester United produced a rousing second-half display to recover from two goals down and snatch a famous win from a breathless encounter at Villa Park.
The Premier League leaders found themselves 2-0 behind after 50 minutes, with Aston Villa’s Andreas Weimann striking either side of half-time.
The introduction of Javier Hernandez at half-time changed everything, however, BBC wrote.
Sandwiched by a Ron Vlaar own goal, the United striker scored twice to complete a remarkable turnaround.
Hernandez, who has now found the net seven times in his last five matches, was enveloped by his team-mates at the final whistle after United’s 14th victory in their last 16 matches, a result that leaves Sir Alex Ferguson’s side four points clear at the top of the table.
Incredibly, the Old Trafford club have won 15 points from losing positions this season. And yet these late United comebacks retain something of a jack-in-the-box quality. Everyone suspects they are on the cards and yet still catch their opponents by surprise. This was no exception.
At 2-0 down, United had created for themselves an utter mess. And yet somehow they rose to find hope, and with it, power and effectiveness to turn around a lost match in seven impossible minutes and finished the job with three minutes of normal time remaining.
It was tough on Villa after a brave performance but history was always on United’s side. The last time United lost here in the league was August 1995. On that day Ferguson threw David Beckham, Paul Scholes, Nicky Butt and the Nevilles into the mix and Alan Hansen had warned him he wouldn’t win anything with kids.
But it is Villa who are fielding the fledglings these days - seven of Lambert’s side were 23 or younger, including 22-year-old Enda Stevens who made his full league debut.
United had all the experience. Scholes, who started in that United team 17 years ago, turned in another vintage midfield performance, sitting deep and spraying his trademark laser-guided passes to all corners of Villa Park. But for all of United’s possession they lacked cohesion, confidence and sustained threat for 50 minutes.
ATP Finals Defeat Frustrates Federer
Roger Federer has vowed to bounce back from his second successive defeat against a man who has gained a recent edge over the 17-time grand slam champion.
Juan Martin del Potro made his name by beating Federer in the 2009 US Open final, and won again at that year’s ATP World Tour Finals, but lost seven in a row before toppling the then world No. 1 in the final of his home event in Basel last month, CNN wrote.
The Argentine, who towers over most opponents at six foot six inches tall, followed that up on Saturday with a 7-6 (7-3) 4-6 6-3 victory to qualify for the semifinals of the season-ending showpiece in London.
“It’s disappointing,” said defending champion Federer, who was already assured of a place in Sunday’s semifinals after beating David Ferrer on Thursday.
“I had a good feeling going into the match, definitely the right game plan. It’s indoor tennis, he has a big serve and all those things. But still I expect myself to get more returns into play.
“But it’s important to move on right now. Mentally, it’s important to look ahead and rest because it’s a quick turnaround.
“I tried everything I could and was a bit frustrated at times, but it shouldn’t affect me tomorrow.”
By losing the first set, Federer ended the hopes of 2007 runner-up Ferrer--who beat Janko Tipsarevic 4-6 6-3 6-1in the final match of the round-robin stage on Saturday.
Ferrer’s victory means that Federer faces world No. 3 Andy Murray on Sunday in a rematch of the Wimbledon and Olympic finals, while Del Potro plays No. 1 Djokovic--who won all three of his Group A games.
World No. 5 Ferrer is one of the ATP Tour’s in-form players this season, with a leading seven titles--including his last two outings in Valencia and Paris, where Federer relinquished his title and the No. 1 ranking when he decided to skip the season’s final Masters event.
The Spaniard now has a tour-leading 74 match wins this year, one more than Djokovic.