Review Category : National Sports

2015 NBA Finals: Warriors Defeat Cavaliers 108-100 in Game 1

FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images(OAKLAND, Calif.) — The Golden State Warriors won game 1 of the NBA finals 108-100 in overtime Thursday night.

Though Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James led the game’s scorers with 44 points, it wasn’t enough to claim victory over the Warriors. The Cavs scored only 2 points in overtime.

Warriors guard Stephen Curry had 26 points and 8 assists in the win.

Game 2 will take place Sunday at 8 p.m. ET in Oakland, California.

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2015 NBA Finals: Two of Akron’s Finest Set to Face Off

ABC News(OAKLAND, Calif.) — The two biggest names in the 2015 NBA finals share more than just a desire to win for their championship-starved cities.

LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers and Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors were born in Akron, Ohio, and even at the same hospital.

“No disrespect to LeBron [but] I want to be the first Akron guy to get, to bring a championship to that area — so that should be fun,” Curry told ABC News recently.

Curry, 27, and James, 30, both also married their high school sweethearts. James wed Savannah Brinson in 2013; Curry wed Ayesha Alexander in 2011.

The Currys’ daughter, Riley, 2, has turned a few postgame news conferences into must-see TV. The family also appear in a cooking show called Kitchen Warriors on ESPN.

James, a two-time NBA champion with the Miami Heat, and league MVP Curry will face off in Game One of the series tonight in Oakland, California, at 9 p.m. ET.

Golden State has had a dry spell since 1975 when the team beat the Washington Bullets to win the title. And Cleveland hasn’t experienced a major professional sports victory since the 1964 Browns won the championship.

James is hoping for redemption after his infamous departure from his hometown in 2010 when he headed to Miami. The move left Cleveland shocked and some fans were so angered that they burned his jersey.

Curry said that faith and his family kept him grounded.

“No matter if I score 50 or I score 10, they’re going to treat me the same way,” he told ABC News. “So I can rely on that.”

James is making his fifth consecutive NBA finals appearance, while none of the Warriors players have made it this far. If the Warriors win, they’ll be the youngest team to win the title in more than 30 years.

“The storylines are incredible,” ESPN’s Chris Broussard told ABC News. “You couldn’t ask for more. … It’s great basketball.”

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President Obama Cites ‘Even Year Magic’ in San Francisco Giants’ World Series Success

The White House(WASHINGTON) — President Obama welcomed the 2014 World Series Champion San Francisco Giants to the White House for the third time in five years after they beat the Kansas City Royals in seven games.

“They’ve got that ‘even year’ magic,” Obama said on Thursday. “They’ve got that championship experience. I seem to be good luck for them.”

Giants president Larry Baer later joked with the president that he hoped to end the trend of winning the World Series every other year so the team could return before Obama’s presidency is over.

At that point, a member of the audience shouted out loud, “Four more years!” drawing laughter in the East Room.

“No,” Obama deadpanned. “Michelle will not allow that. The Constitution’s a problem, too.”

Obama praised Madison Bumgarner, the Most Valuable Player of the World Series, whose gutsy performance propelled the Giants to the franchise’s eighth championship.

“Last October, Madison put together a string of performances that I think is pretty hard to believe — and I’m not talking about his locker room celebrations,” Obama said. “[He is] 25 years old and is already one of the best pitchers in postseason history.”

Afterwards, Bumgarner told reporters that he recognizes how special a privilege it is to have made three trips to the White House to celebrate the championships.

“It feels even more special every time we come,” he said. “This time was more special that the last. It’s surreal to get to be here and to see everything and to be a part of our nation’s capital.”

The team presented the president with a baseball, a No. 44 Giants jersey and a base autographed by the championship team.

Major League Baseball Hall of Famers Willie Mays and Monte Irvin both joined the celebration, as well as House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., an ardent fan the Giants.

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UNC-Chapel Hill Releases NCAA Notice of Allegations

Photo by Phil Ellsworth / ESPN Images(CHAPEL HILL, N.C.) — The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill released the details of a “notice of allegations” from the NCAA on Thursday, where the collegiate sports governing body found a lack of institutional control that constitutes a “severe breach of conduct” at the school.

The 59-page notice from the NCAA details five alleged violations from 2002 to 2011, including impermissible benefits to student-athletes and interference by school officials in the investigation.

“The institution provided impermissible benefits to student-athletes that were not generally available to the student body,” reads the notice.

The notice from the NCAA was posted on a school website Thursday dedicated to the investigation.

In a statement released with the documents, Chancellor Carol L. Folt and Director of Athletics Bubba Cunningham said:

“We take the allegations the NCAA made about past conduct very seriously. This is the next step in a defined process, and we are a long way from reaching a conclusion. We will respond to the notice using facts and evidence to present a full picture of our case. Although we may identify some instances in the NCAA’s notice where we agree and others where we do not, we are committed to continue pursuing a fair and just outcome for Carolina.”

The university has 90 days to respond to the NCAA deadline. Once the response is submitted, the UNC enforcement staff has 60 days to craft its own response to the Committee on Infractions, which will determine the outcome of the investigation at the school.

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UNC-Chapel Hill Releases NCAA Notice of Allegations

Photo by Phil Ellsworth / ESPN Images(CHAPEL HILL, N.C.) — The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill released the details of a “notice of allegations” from the NCAA on Thursday, where the collegiate sports governing body found a lack of institutional control that constitutes a “severe breach of conduct” at the school.

The 59-page notice from the NCAA details five alleged violations from 2002 to 2011, including impermissible benefits to student-athletes and interference by school officials in the investigation.

“The institution provided impermissible benefits to student-athletes that were not generally available to the student body,” reads the notice.

The notice from the NCAA was posted on a school website Thursday dedicated to the investigation.

In a statement released with the documents, Chancellor Carol L. Folt and Director of Athletics Bubba Cunningham said:

“We take the allegations the NCAA made about past conduct very seriously. This is the next step in a defined process, and we are a long way from reaching a conclusion. We will respond to the notice using facts and evidence to present a full picture of our case. Although we may identify some instances in the NCAA’s notice where we agree and others where we do not, we are committed to continue pursuing a fair and just outcome for Carolina.”

The university has 90 days to respond to the NCAA deadline. Once the response is submitted, the UNC enforcement staff has 60 days to craft its own response to the Committee on Infractions, which will determine the outcome of the investigation at the school.

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FIFA Ticket Scalper Blew the Whistle on Alleged Corruption

iStock Editorial/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Federal prosecutors took down top officials of international soccer with the help of a ticket scalper whose previously secret plea deal has now been made public. The scalper, as it happens, is the son of Jack Warner, who was a FIFA vice president and one of nine soccer executives accused of corruption.

Daryan Warner took his place in a closed courtroom in Brooklyn Oct. 18, 2013, and admitted he obtained tickets for the 2006 and 2010 World Cups under false pretenses and resold them at a substantial markup, illegally earning at least $1.2 million.

Basic details of the ticket scheme were included in last week’s announcement of criminal charges. ABC News has obtained transcripts of Warner’s plea hearing that had been sealed.

Despite the sealed documents and the locked courtroom, the matter was so sensitive, the transcripts show, that Judge William Kuntz insisted on referring to Warner as “John Doe.”

The transcripts also show Warner began cooperating with the FIFA corruption probe in November 2012 and subsequently met with investigators 11 times. The nature of Warner’s cooperation has not been disclosed but the transcripts make clear Warner was well aware of the breadth of the investigation that was already underway.

“It’s anticipated that sentencing in this case may be delayed for a significant period,” Warner’s defense attorney Benjamin Brafman told the court. “I think if Probation [Department] were to begin now it would be very premature and almost impossible, given the nature of the investigation.”

Warner was required to describe his crimes during the plea hearing but his Trinidadian accent and nerves appeared to befuddle the judge who told Warner, “Take your time. Take a drink of water. Slowly and loudly. Channel your inner Lord Vader, not your inner Woody Allen, OK?”

Warner then admitted he misled FIFA about the nature of his ticket reselling. He pleaded guilty and is awaiting sentencing.

Federal prosecutors are still declining to release other documents related to the FIFA case.

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2015 NBA Finals: Five Storylines to Follow with the Warriors and Cavaliers

Phil Ellsworth / ESPN Images(NEW YORK) — The 2015 NBA Finals kicks off Thursday night between the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers with teams and players hoping to make history.

When the Warriors host Game One in Oakland, California, at 9 p.m. ET, neither side can necessarily claim to be underdogs. Two-time NBA champion LeBron James, 30, leads his hometown Cavs and this year’s league MVP Stephen Curry, 27, is the Warriors’ star shooter with basketball running through his blood.

Here are five storylines driving the drama of this year’s NBA Finals:

1. Steve Kerr wants another title after the Bulls.

Warriors coach Steve Kerr, 49, may be the team’s rookie coach, but he’s also a five-time NBA champion who was a major player alongside Michael Jordan for the Chicago Bulls.

Chosen by the Phoenix Suns in the second round of the 1988 NBA draft, Kerr played for the Cleveland Cavaliers for the next three years. He then joined the Orlando Magic before joining the Bulls in 1993.

Since the glory years of the Bulls, the 2014-2015 basketball season has been quite a year for Kerr, who holds the record for most NBA regular season wins as a rookie coach.

2. Can LeBron be a champion in Cleveland?

King James is back home with the Cavaliers after a four-year hiatus in Miami and he is eager to help bring Cleveland’s first NBA title. The only other year besides this year that the Cavaliers have been Eastern Conference champions was back in 2007.

The city of Cleveland seems to have forgiven the bitterness that resulted from “The Decision” back in the 2010 off-season and is eagerly hoping to forget it entirely with a championship victory.

3. Curry’s daughter steals the show.

Two-year old Riley Curry made a splash when she showed up for her dad’s news conference after game one of the Western Conference Finals, demanding her dad be quiet and peeking under the table skirt. She made a second appearance during the news conference after the Warriors beat the Houston Rockets in Game Five to advance to the NBA finals. Fans wanted more. She had fun handing a staffer her gum and singing Drake’s chorus in “Big Sean – Blessings.”

Between making appearances on the cable show of Curry’s wife, Ayesha, Cookin’ With the Currys, online fans can’t get enough of Riley’s cuteness.

4. Golden State vies for first title in 40 years.

After injury scares for Steph Curry and Klay Thompson during the Western Conference Finals, Golden State fans are ready for their first NBA championship victory in 40 years, when Golden State beat the Washington Bullets to win the title in 1975.

In a major upset that year, the Warriors swept the Bullets in four games with the help of Jamaal Wilkes and Rick Barry.

Thompson is the son of former NBA player and two-time NBA champion Mychal Thompson. Curry is the son of Dell Curry, a 16-year veteran of the NBA through the Utah Jazz, Cleveland Cavaliers, Charlotte Hornets, Milwaukee Bucks and Toronto Raptors.

5. Star players you may not know.

Besides the star players with recognizable names during this year’s NBA Finals, there are foreigners with flair. There’s Australian Warriors player Andrew Bogut, who joined the Warriors in a multiplayer trade in 2012. The 30-year old is a 7-foot-1 center who is a key member of the team’s defense. Draymond Green is another player who has been noted as one of the team’s keys to success.

Alongside LeBron James are three former Knicks players: J.R. Smith, Iman Shumpert and Russian Timofey Mozgov, also a 28-year old center. Formerly a player for the Russian National Team under Cleveland’s coach David Blatt, Mozgov will block or rebound to his heart’s content at more than 7 feet tall.

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Trevor Bayne Fined for Leaving Car Too Early After Wreck

Allen Kee / ESPN(DOVER, Del.) — Sprint Cup Series driver Trevor Bayne was penalized Wednesday for exiting his care without the supervision of safety officials last Sunday during the race at Dover International Speedway, reports NASCAR.com.

Bayne was hit with a $20,000 fine and placed on probation through Dec. 31.

In the 174th lap of the FedEx 400 on Sunday, Bayne, who is in his first full Sprint Cup seaons for Rousch Fenway Racing’s No. 6 Ford team, was involved in a three-car crash with HScott Motorsports teammates Michael Annett and Justin Allgaier. After his car came to a stop, Bayne walked down the banked track to a waiting ambulance during the caution period. But under the rule formalized last August after driver Kevin Ward Jr. was struck and killed by a car driven by Tony Stewart, drivers can only leave their vehicles before the arrival of safety personnel in the event of extenuating circumstances, such as fire.

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Scoreboard Roundup — 6/3/15

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — NHL STANLEY CUP FINALS
Chicago 2, Tampa Bay 1


MLB INTERLEAGUE

Toronto 8, Washington 0

MLB AMERICAN LEAGUE

Oakland 6, Detroit 1
Boston 6, Minnesota 3 (game 1)
Minnesota 2, Boston 0 (game 2)
Chi. White Sox 9, Texas 2
Kansas City 4, Cleveland 2
Houston 3, Baltimore 1
N.Y. Yankees 3, Seattle 1
Tampa Bay 6, Anaheim 5

MLB NATIONAL LEAGUE

Philadelphia 5, Cinncinati 4
Miami 7, Chi. Cubs 3
Colorado 7, Los Angeles 6
St. Louis 7, Brewers 4
Arizona 9, Atlanta 8
Pittsburgh 5, San Francisco 2
San Diego 7, N.Y. Mets 3

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Former FIFA Exec Admits To Taking Bribes for World Cup Hosting Spots

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Charles Blazer, a former FIFA committee member and later secret FBI mole, admitted to taking numerous bribes and deals while serving on soccer’s governing body, according to newly-released court documents.

The admission became public Wednesday, after he made a plea agreement deal with the U.S. government. He admitted to taking bribes in both the France 1998 World Cup and for South Africa to host the games in 2010.

Blazer, ex-FIFA executive committee member-turned-government informant, pleaded guilty back in November 2013 to charges of tax evasion and fraud. On Wednesday, the Justice Department released documents relating to Blazer’s plea that spell out how he got his hands on dirty money long before he helped the FBI clean up the game.

“Among other things, I agreed with other persons in or around 1992 to facilitate the acceptance of a bribe in conjunction with the selection of the host nation for the 1998 World Cup,” Blazer said at the November 2013 hearing, according to a court transcript. The bribe was paid by Morocco in their bid for the cup, even though France eventually won out and hosted the games, another court document says.

Blazer also admitted to “accept[ing] bribes and kickbacks in conjunction with broadcast” for several other tournaments and he said he “and others on the FIFA executive committee agreed to accept bribes in conjunction with the selection of South Africa as the host nation for the 2010 World Cup.”

The South Africa deal – in which the African nation allegedly promised $10 million to three FIFA executives for their votes – was revealed when the larger FIFA scandal broke last week. But Wednesday’s documents show it was Blazer who eventually received $750,000 for his part in the scheme. Last week the South African government denied wrongdoing, saying its audit report after the games was “clean.”

Blazer’s cooperation with authorities appears to have been key in the arrest of several high-level FIFA officials in late May. Indictments filed against 14 people, nine of them FIFA or ex-FIFA officials, repeatedly mention activities involving “Co-Conspirator #1.” While Blazer is not named in those indictments, Blazer’s own criminal information document describes him in the same meetings and taking the same actions as the indictment’s “Co-Conspirator #1.”

U.S. officials previously told ABC News that after he flipped, Blazer went as far as to record conversations with other soccer officials.

Overall, U.S. Justice Department officials say the corruption they’ve uncovered amounted to some $150 million in bribes and kickbacks.

The unsealing of Blazer’s deal comes a day after embattled FIFA President Sepp Blatter, who was not charged with any crimes, announced he would be stepping aside. After more than a decade of allegations of corruption and controversy for FIFA under his watch, Blatter won a fifth presidential election just last week.

Sources familiar with the case told ABC News Tuesday that Blatter is being investigated by the FBI and U.S. prosecutors as part of the probe that led to last week’s stunning indictments.

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