Left field

The Reuters global sports blog

All I want for Christmas is…NBA – five teams and players to watch

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The new NBA season took a while to come around after a five-month lockout spent negotiating an improved labor agreement. What better day to start than Dec. 25. Merry Christmas!

Read the season preview here courtesy of Larry Fine, and our American sports editor Julian Linden weighs in with five players to watch as well as five teams sure to set pulses racing over the shortened 66-game programme.

All in all, we can’t wait for the games to begin. So whether you’re in an office scrunching up receipts and taking aim at the waste paper basket or on a basketball court shooting hoops, bring on the action. NBA, we’ve missed you.

Picture: Los Angeles Lakers power forward Pau Gasol of Spain slam dunks against the Los Angeles Clippers during their NBA preseason basketball game in Los Angeles, California December 19, 2011. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Soccer Break Thursday – Champions League recap

SOCCER-CHAMPIONS/Where to start after four brilliant Champions League quarter-finals, even if the intrigue for next week's second legs has all but gone from three of the ties with Barcelona leading Shakhtar Donetsk 5-1, Real Madrid 4-0 up against Tottenham Hotspur and Schalke 04 in total charge against holders Inter Milan after the 5-2 triumph at the San Siro.

However, the appetite has most certainly been whet for the very probable 'Clasico' semi-final between Real and Barcelona, a meeting of the world's two best players Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. April 26 or 27 and May 3 or 4. Do not miss these dates. Not that Spain's two leading clubs are thinking that far ahead.

Heat may need a big man to take pressure off Big Three

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NBA/Now that all of the hype surrounding the Miami Heat’s season opener against the Boston Celtics is over, the question remains: how good is this team?

Clearly the Big Three, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, underperformed, especially the latter two, who combined for just seven of 27 shooting from the floor.

King James may find a new castle

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LeBron James is sounding like his days with the Cleveland Cavaliers are numbered.

The heavily-favoured Cavaliers were moved to the brink of elimination by the Boston Celtics on Tuesday night and the NBA’s best player sounded, if not disinterested, distracted.

The Brooklyn Nets and the battle for Big Apple affections

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CHINA/The Brooklyn Nets …. LeBron James …. Battle for Big Apple affections …. Hot topics for sure among New York-area hoops fans with news that Russia’s richest man is riding to the $200 million rescue of the Nets, and Brooklyn may once again rise to alter the sports landscape of The City.

The long-ago announced plan to relocate the Nets — struggling to establish an identity and profitability in the swamplands of northern New Jersey — to Brooklyn has been an on-again, off-again mess with team owner, real estate mogul Bruce Ratner, fighting zoning boards, politicians, preservationists, environmentalists and the general economic morass for a mega development deal that included a new arena for the NBA club.

Lebron Plus Shaq Equals Championship?

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On the eve of the 2009 NBA Draft, the Cleveland Cavaliers are looking toward a storied veteran to propel them to a potential championship. It appears the Phoenix Suns and the Cavaliers have agreed to a long-speculated deal that will place future Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal alongside reigning MVP Lebron James. But is it enough? 

Since losing to the Orlando Magic in the conference championships, the Cavs have been looking for upgrades to their lineup and O’Neal was frequently mentioned as a potential target. Dwight Howard of the Orlando Magic punished the weak front court of the Cavs and it was evident that a stronger presence was needed. 

King Kobe leads Lakers to 15th NBA title

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Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant celebrates their NBA Championship win after defeating the Orlando Magic in Game 5 in Orlando

Kobe Bryant had 30 points to lead the LA Lakers to a 99-86 Game Five win over the Orlando Magic on Sunday and a 15th NBA title.

Kobe relinquished the league’s Most Valuable Player award to Lebron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers this year. Does his fourth championship ring prove he has in fact been a more valuable player this season or just that he has better players around him?

Ah nuts! Under Armour recalls athletic cups

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groin1Prepare to flinch.

Under Armour got the kind of attention any sports-loving company would rather avoid after it recalled more than 200,000 athletic cups on fears they could break if hit and result in serious injury.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission said the company received five reports of cups breaking, including an injury involving “cuts and bruising.”

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