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Here's a look at some of the defining moments, exciting scenes, triumphs and defeats from the world of sports.

Nizhny and Zalgiris seal Euroleague Top 16 berths

By Zoran Milosavljevic BELGRADE (Reuters) - Euroleague debutants Nizhny Novgorod and 1999 champions Zalgiris Kaunas booked the last two berths in the competition’s second group stage on Friday. Nizhny overpowered more fancied fellow Russians Unics Kazan 78-74 thanks to an outstanding performance by forward Tarence Kinsey and Zalgiris progressed after a dramatic 80-79 defeat of Italians Dinamo Sass

Sport-Off-field drama takes focus away from top displays

By Steve Keating (Reuters) - The stadiums and arenas where fans go to escape were invaded like never before in 2014 as the reality of racism, domestic violence and equality turned the Fields of Dreams into gloomy landscapes. LeBron James's homecoming, a Super Bowl blowout, a throwback World Series pitching performance and a Stanley Cup comeback for the ages all provided enough drama, suspense an

'Celtic Tiger' McIlroy emerges dominant in 2014

By Mark Lamport-Stokes LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A year to forget for an injury-plagued Tiger Woods was savored sweetly by Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy after the 'Celtic Tiger' won two majors in 2014 to regain his status as the game's leading player. McIlroy ended a stellar campaign with four victories and five runner-up spots in 23 starts worldwide, embellishing his credentials as a genuine go

Five talking points for sports in 2014

By Gene Cherry Five talking points for sports in 2014: 1. Soccer World Cup It began as a chance for fun-loving Brazilians to take back soccer's biggest honor but ended in humiliation for the hosts in what was widely regarded as one of the best ever World Cups. After years of doubt whether Brazil as a nation would be ready for the quadrennial show, Germany emerged as champions, defeating Argentin

Biggest sporting flops of 2014

(Reuters) - Five of the biggest sporting flops from 2014: Brazil (Soccer) Anything less than a World Cup win on home soil was always going to be seen as a failure but nobody could have predicted Brazil would suffer a 7-1 semi-final drubbing by Germany, one of the greatest shocks in soccer history. To make matters worse, the Brazilians followed that up with a another woeful performance to lose 3-

Five best performances of 2014

By Larry Fine (Reuters) - Five best sporting performances of 2014: 1. MADISON BUMGARNER (BASEBALL) San Francisco pitcher Madison Bumgarner saved the day and the World Series for the Giants with a Game Seven effort that capped a record-breaking performance in the Fall Classic. The 25-year-old country boy from North Carolina put a spell over the Kansas City Royals, pitching five shutout innings of

No mega events but plenty on the sporting menu in 2015

By Nick Mulvenney SYDNEY (Reuters) - The lack of an Olympics or a soccer World Cup deprives 2015 of a single global focus for sports fans but a rich calendar of international events has more than enough world class action to satiate even the most refined palate. Tens of millions of cricket obsessives in South Asia will ensure plenty of eyeballs on the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, while

US-Cuba thaw likely to shake up baseball Major Leagues

A seismic shift in relations with Cuba had many in US baseball salivating Thursday at the prospect of a flood of talent from the Caribbean country where America's "national pastime" is a passion. Major League Baseball made a measured response to the news on Wednesday that the United States and Cuba would end five decades of Cold War hostility and move to revive diplomatic ties and ease a crippli

ADVISORY-Reuters sport yearenders

LONDON, Dec 19 (Reuters) - On Friday Dec. 19 from 1900GMT we will publish the following series of year-end review stories: A review of world sport in 2014 A look ahead to 2015 Year reviews of: Olympics Soccer Rugby Cricket Tennis Motor racing Golf North American sport We will also have stories on: Five major upsets of 2014 Five best performances of 2014 Five biggest flops of 2014 Five talking poin

Thunder's Durant exits early with sprained ankle

Kevin Durant's hot start was cold comfort when the Oklahoma City star limped out at halftime Thursday of the Thunder's 114-109 NBA loss to Golden State. Stephen Curry posted a game-high 34 points with nine assists, seven rebounds and four steals for Golden State. Six Warriors players scored in double figures as the team bounced back from a loss in Memphis on Tuesday that snapped their 16-game wi

Padres finalize deal for Kemp

The Padres signed off on the blockbuster deal to bring Dodgers slugger Matt Kemp to San Diego after medical issues reportedly threatened to scupper the trade. In addition to Kemp, the Padres acquired catcher Tim Federowicz from the Dodgers in exchange for catcher Yasmani Grandal and pitchers Joe Wieland and Zach Eflin.

Long Todman run helps Jaguars take down Titans

(Reuters) - Jordan Todman produced a 62-yard touchdown run to help the Jacksonville Jaguars beat the Tennessee Titans 21-13 on Thursday in a clash between struggling teams already looking ahead to next season. The Jaguars trailed 10-0 but rallied with 21 unanswered points, with their final TD coming on Todman's long run in the fourth quarter. "I heard the call (for me to carry the ball), and it

Highlights of Thursday's NBA games

(The Sports Xchange) - Highlights of Thursday's National Basketball Association games: Bulls 103, Knicks 97 Jimmy Butler scored a career-high 35 points and added seven assists to lead the Chicago Bulls to a win against the New York Knicks. Chicago (16-9) played without guard Derrick Rose, who was sick, while the Knicks (5-23) were without forward Carmelo Anthony because of a sore left knee. Pau

Rondo headed from Celtics to Mavs

The Boston Celtics have traded versatile point guard Rajon Rondo to the Dallas Mavericks for three key players and an NBA first- and second-round draft pick, the Mavericks said. The Mavericks will give up Brandan Wright, Jameer Nelson and Jae Crowder -- three key members of their playing rotation -- along with their 2015 first-round draft selection and a 2016 second-round draft pick in a deal th

Rondo traded to Mavericks

(Reuters) - The Dallas Mavericks landed point guard Rajon Rondo in a trade with the Boston Celtics on Thursday. Dallas sent Brandan Wright, Jae Crowder, Jameer Nelson, two draft picks and a trade exception to the Celtics in exchange for Rondo and center Dwight Powell. The 28-year-old Rondo had long been in trade rumors as Boston is rebuilding and he was the sole remaining standout from the team'

Canadian teenager Henderson turns professional

(Reuters) - Brooke Henderson, a 17-year-old Canadian who was golf's top-ranked female amateur, on Thursday announced her decision to turn professional and sign up with sports management company IMG (International Management Group). "I am really excited to begin my professional career in 2015 and proud to represent Canada along the way," Henderson, a native of Smiths Falls, Ontario, said in a sta

U.S. FCC declines to punish radio station for use of NFL Redskins team name

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Federal Communications Commission on Thursday rejected a petition that asked regulators to punish a radio station for using on air the name of the National Football League's Washington team, Redskins, a word some consider a slur to Native Americans. Legal activist John Banzhaf III had petitioned the agency to strip the WWXX-FM radio station, which belongs to the team's o

Medical issue could scupper Kemp trade - report

The San Diego Padres reportedly may opt not to finalize their trade for Dodgers slugger Matt Kemp because a medical exam revealed the outfielder has arthritis in both hips. USA Today reported that the Padres are still trying to determine whether the condition will affect the remainder of the 30-year-old Kemp's playing career. The two teams had set a Thursday deadline to complete the deal, in whi

Jordan's game-worn shoes fetch $33,000

A pair of sneakers worn by Michael Jordan when he played basketball at the University of North Carolina sold for $33,387 on Thursday, US media reported. Grey Flannel Auctions, which sold the shoes, told ESPN they were consigned by a high school team-mate of Jordan and that the winning bidder preferred to remain anonymous. Jordan, who later became closely associated with Nike through the creation

Pacers' unity a welcome plus for coach Vogel

By Mark Lamport-Stokes LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - For Indiana Pacers coach Frank Vogel, the one shining light in an injury-hit campaign where the Eastern Conference finalists of the past two seasons have resembled a sinking ship has been the team's strong unity. Very few teams, if any, in the league could withstand the loss of a standout forward for an entire season and lengthy absences of two othe

Woeful Knicks on slow learning curve under Jackson regime

By Larry Fine NEW YORK (Reuters) - In a season full of hope in the first full campaign under club president Phil Jackson, the New York Knicks are struggling with a new offense, a rookie coach and a frustrated star in Carmelo Anthony. Coach Derek Fisher, who won five NBA titles as a guard for the Lakers under then-coach Jackson, has been cool and calm in his new role but showed growing impatience

Black-market chemist pleads guilty in U.S. baseball doping scandal

MIAMI (Reuters) - A black-market chemist pleaded guilty on Thursday to concocting testosterone in the garage lab of his Florida home that was used to supply performance-enhancing drugs linked to the U.S. baseball doping scandal. Paulo Berejuk, 51, faces up to 10 years in prison at his February sentencing in Miami federal court for conspiring to distribute a controlled substance. Berejuk is the lat

Factbox: World number one Rory McIlroy

LONDON (Reuters) - Factbox on world number one Rory McIlroy who enjoyed a stellar year in 2014, winning two major championships. EARLY LIFE Born: May 4, 1989 in Hollywood, County Down, Northern Ireland Strikes a 40-yard drive at the age of two and becomes youngest member of Hollywood golf club aged seven. TEENAGER 2004 - Member of Europe's Junior Ryder Cup-winning team 2005 - Becomes youngest winn

It took a year to get used to new golf clubs: McIlroy

By Tony Jimenez LONDON (Reuters) - Rory McIlroy received plenty of criticism when he switched club manufacturers almost two years ago and he has now conceded that it took nearly 12 months to feel totally at ease with his new equipment. The Northern Irishman was flying high at the top of the world rankings when he signed a 10-year contract with Nike in January 2013 that, according to media reports,

McIlroy and Wust take top Reuters awards

By Mitch Phillips LONDON (Reuters) - Double major golf winner Rory McIlroy and prolific Olympic Dutch speed skater Irene Wust have been named Reuters sportsman and sportswoman of the year after a poll of the news agency's sports journalists from around the world. Soccer World Cup winners Germany were voted team of the year, Atletico Madrid's Diego Simeone coach of the year, the comeback of the y

Golf-World number one Rory McIlroy

LONDON, Dec 18 (Reuters) - Factbox on world number one Rory McIlroy who enjoyed a stellar year in 2014, winning two major championships. EARLY LIFE Born: May 4, 1989 in Hollywood, County Down, Northern Ireland Strikes a 40-yard drive at the age of two and becomes youngest member of Hollywood golf club aged seven. TEENAGER 2004 - Member of Europe's Junior Ryder Cup-winning team 2005 - Becomes young

Sport-It took a year to get used to new golf clubs - McIlroy

By Tony Jimenez LONDON, Dec 18 (Reuters) - Rory McIlroy received plenty of criticism when he switched club manufacturers almost two years ago and he has now conceded that it took nearly 12 months to feel totally at ease with his new equipment. The Northern Irishman was flying high at the top of the world rankings when he signed a 10-year contract with Nike in January 2013 that, according to media

Japan has six months to merge basketball domestic leagues: FIBA

Japan has six months to hammer out a plan for merging its two national basketball leagues, or risk not qualifying for the 2016 Rio De Janeiro Olympics, a senior International Basketball Federation (FIBA) official said Thursday. During a visit to Tokyo, FIBA secretary general Patrick Baumann repeated calls for the Japan Basketball Association (JBA) to usher in reforms by June, after the body susp

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