LeBRON James and Anthony Davis combined for 62 points 21 rebounds, and Los Angeles Lakers needed to hold off fourth-seeded Rockets’ second-half rally to win 117-109 Sunday night, to even their Western Conference semifinals series 1-1 at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports Complex near Orlando.James narrowly missed a triple-double, finishing with 28 points 11 rebounds nine assists.What began as a Lakers’ blowout turned tight in the second half. Lakers led by as many as 21 points early in the second quarter, but needed to survive the Rockets’ surge after intermission.Lakers outscored Rockets 27-17 in the fourth quarter, flipping a 92-90 deficit into an eight-point win. A James turnaround jumper to give Lakers a 117-109 lead with 32.3 seconds to play all but sealed the win.Sunday’s fourth quarter was a turnaround from Friday’s Game 1, when Rockets pulled away in the final period to clinch a double-digit victory.Rockets’ third-quarter surge was, predictably, sparked by the 3-point shot. Houston went 9-of-13 from deep in the third quarter alone. That included a four-point play by Robert Covington to cut Lakers’ lead to 80-79 with 5:07 left in the period, and another 3 by Covington to give Rockets an 82-80 lead.Overall, Houston outscored Lakers 41-23 in the third quarter, and led by as many as five points.But James started the fourth quarter with a driving dunk to tie the score at 92. Less than two minutes later, a Rajon Rondo pull-up gave Lakers a 96-94 advantage, before Alex Caruso found James for a one-handed, alley-oop slam. The run extended to 23-9, with a Davis driving finish giving Lakers a 113-101 lead with less than four minutes to play.James said, following Game 1, that his team had needed live action to adjust to Rockets’ speed. Early Sunday night, Lakers were the team dashing through the open court for 16 fast-break points in the first quarter. Lakers were much more successful Sunday against a Rockets defence that entered Sunday as the NBA’s best in the playoffs. Lakers shot 56.6 per cent from the field and scored 54 points in the paint. They also scored 27 points off 17 Rockets turnovers.Davis took advantage of Rockets’ ‘micro-ball’ style throughout, scoring 34 points in a variety of ways on 15-of-24 shooting. Markieff Morris scored 16 points off the bench. James Harden finished with 27 points seven assists. Eric Gordon scored 24 points, including a 6-of-12 mark from 3-point range, and P.J. Tucker totalled 18 points 11 rebounds. Russell Westbrook struggled, making just four of 15 shots and committing seven turnovers.Lakers built a 16-point first-quarter lead by holding Rockets to a 3-of-15 start from the floor and forcing five turnovers. They also got a massive jolt from their bench in the period. Morris went 4-of-4 from 3-point range to score 12 points in three minutes, and Rondo dished out six assists in six minutes.Lakers’ advantage grew to 21 on a James dunk early in the second quarter. Houston trimmed that gap to 51-42 on a Danuel House layup with less than five minutes to play, but Lakers finished the half on a 16-9 run to take a 67-51 lead into the locker room.Lakers starting centre JaVale McGee went to the locker room with left ankle pain late in the third quarter and did not return. He played eight minutes and did not score. (Field Level Media)
RAY PFEIFFER/Herald photoNobody is safe from harm when it comes to football. Whether you’re on the field or not, whether you’re wearing a jersey or not, anybody can get hurt in such a violent game.The trainers were busy on both sidelines of Wisconsin’s 13-3 victory over Penn State Saturday, in a game that left a player, a coach and a referee injured when the dust had finally settled.Perhaps it was a bad omen when linesman Mike Mahouski was injured on the opening kickoff and did not return, forcing the rest of the officiating crew to work shorthanded for just about an entire game.The Penn State coaching staff could relate, as PSU head coach Joe Paterno was knocked out of the game in the third quarter after failing to get out of the way of a tackle on the sideline. When Badgers linebacker DeAndre Levy tackled Nittany Lions tight end Anthony Quarless on the PSU sideline, Levy’s helmet hit the 79-year-old coaching icon square in his left knee, sending Paterno sprawling to the turf.After being attended to by PSU assistants and trainers for eight or nine minutes, Paterno was helped to a bench, where a brace was applied to his leg. After being fussed over for the entire third period — Paterno reportedly resisted all requests to be taken to the locker room as long as he could — the legendary coach was carted off the field. He then was promptly flown back to University Park, Pa., with Dr. Wayne Sebastianelli, Penn State’s director of athletics medicine.Sunday, it was revealed Paterno fractured ligaments in his left leg. However, the man who has missed the opening kickoff just twice in his 41-year career as a head coach is expected to be on the field this Saturday against Temple.When Paterno was knocked out of action, PSU defensive coordinator Tom Bradley assumed head coaching duties for the remainder of the contest, and spoke after the game on behalf of the injured coach.”I’ve been around Coach a long time, and I know the one thing he didn’t want to hear from me is, ‘Are you okay?’ He just wanted to hear about the football team; he wanted to talk about the plays; he wanted to talk how we were going to communicate. That’s all he wanted to talk about.”Bradley, who is in his 28th year working alongside Paterno, said the “wiry old rascal” of a coach was not at all interested in receiving condolences for his injury.”If I were to ask him, ‘How were you feeling?’ I think he might have punched me,” Bradley said. “I know him, he would not want you to worry one second about him, because he’ll probably be out chasing after officials next Saturday.”Paterno’s son, Jay, is the Nittany Lions’ quarterbacks’ coach and said he hadn’t been fully aware of his father’s condition during the game. The younger Paterno added he was as confident as Bradley that the legendary coach would be back on the sidelines next week against Temple.”Obviously, I’m worried about him, but I also know he’s tough, and he’ll still be around,” Paterno said. “I’m sure he’ll be driving us nuts this week.”On UW’s sideline, John Stocco was knocked out of the game as well, after being sacked by PSU’s Sean Lee with 10 minutes remaining in the game. UW head coach Bret Bielema downplayed the injury, saying he wasn’t “overly concerned” with Stocco’s injury to his right shoulder. Tyler Donovan finished out the game for Stocco and completed one 2-yard pass to Paul Hubbard while also scrambling for a 20-yard gain late.Stocco’s status for next week’s game at Iowa is unclear, and if the fifth-year veteran can’t play, Donovan would be the starting quarterback in Wisconsin’s Big Ten finale. Players offered votes of confidence after the game, in the case that Donovan would start against the Iowa Hawkeyes.”I think Tyler gives us a little bit of a different dimension,” UW offensive tackle Joe Thomas said. “We can throw some different game plan plays in there, and I’d be very confident with Tyler back there.””I don’t think we’re going to have to do anything preparation-wise differently [for Iowa],” Hubbard said. “It’s like an assembly line — once somebody goes down, somebody else is going to step in, and we’re just going to hopefully keep moving the ball and just doing the things that we’ve been doing.”Penn State running back Tony Hunt and defensive end Tim Shaw were also shaken up during the game.
JAN VERTONGHEN is set to leave Tottenham for free this summer, according to reports.The centre-back’s contract expires in North London at the end of the season.2 Tottenham are making plans for the 2020/21 season without Jan Vertonghen as they expect the Belgian to leaveCredit: News Group Newspapers LtdAnd according to Football Insider, the Belgian has been unable to successfully negotiate a new deal.Spurs are understood to have offered a one-year extension on reduced terms.But Vertonghen, who turns 33 in April, wants at least another two years.And so, unlike his international team-mate Toby Alderweireld, the long-serving defender is on course to leave White Hart Lane.As a result, Jose Mourinho and his coaching staff are making plans for the 2020/21 season without Vertonghen.’STILL HUNGRY’Speaking in February, his agent Tom De Mul admitted the door was still open for his client to stay in North London but it looks increasingly unlikely.De Mul told HLM: “We currently have no agreement [with Tottenham], but I do not rule anything out.”We consider everything. There is a lot of interest for Jan, certainly as a free agent, but Tottenham also remains an interesting option for us. The door is still open.”He still wants to get good results with Spurs after a difficult start. He wants to qualify for the Europa League or Champions League.”He is 32, but he is still so ambitious. He is focused. The Euros, for example, are super important to him.”That’s the beauty of him. He wants to play at the highest level in a top competition for as long as possible. He is still very hungry.”Latest transfer newsLive Blogblues newsChelsea news LIVE – Latest updates from Stamford BridgeLive Blogunited newsMan Utd news LIVE – Latest updates from Old TraffordLive BlogGunners newsArsenal news LIVE – Latest updates from the EmiratesGossipGOING DUTCHChelsea ‘to grab Mbuyamba on free deal’ with defender set to leave BarcelonaDEPAY CHARTMan Utd flop Memphis used computer data and analytics to quit Old TraffordLive BlogBLUES NEWSChelsea news LIVE: Latest updates and transfer gossip from Stamford BridgeGossipFIT IN HIS BELEArsenal turn attention to Lyon striker Dembele as Lacazette replacementGossipGUNNER MAKE A MOVEArsenal weighing up transfer move for Barcelona star RafinhaBoth Ajax – from whom Spurs signed Vertonghen in 2012 – and Inter Milan showed interest in the Belgium international in January.But they were put off by Tottenham’s asking price of £12m, especially knowing that he would get released in the summer.Despite falling behind first-choice centre-back pairing Alderweireld and Davinson Sanchez, Vertonghen has made 26 appearances for Spurs this season, often filling in at left-back.2Jan Vertonghen speaks of his shock after armed burglars terrorised his family while he was on Champions League duty