(REUTERS) – Marcus Stoinis scored his maiden one-day century but it was not enough to give an undermanned Australia an astonishing victory in the opening match of their one-day series against New Zealand at Eden Park yesterday.Stoinis, who also took three wickets in New Zealand’s 286 for nine from 50 overs, guided Australia from 54-5 in the 13th over to within sight of victory as he grabbed the game by the scruff of the neck.The 27-year-old, playing his second one-day international, shared in an 81-run seventh-wicket partnership with James Faulkner (25) and 48 with Pat Cummins (36) for the eighth before Stoinis exploded for 31 runs in 11 balls to put his side into a position where they needed 19 runs from the final 24 balls.Such was his dominance he and last man Josh Hazlewood shared a 54-run partnership, without the tall fast bowler facing a single delivery.Hazlewood, however, was run-out while backing up too far by New Zealand captain Kane Williamson on the final ball of the 47th over to dismiss the visitors for 280, giving New Zealand a six-run victory.Stoinis was left stranded on 146 not out, having hit nine boundaries and 11 sixes.Australia were already missing David Warner (rested), Usman Khawaja (in Dubai preparing for the tour of India) and Steve Smith (injured) but then lost stand-in captain Matthew Wade before play began with a back injury.New Zealand had been well in control of the match as make-shift wicketkeeper Tom Latham repaid the faith of the selectors with three catches and two stumpings.Latham, who was a wicketkeeper earlier in his career, took the gloves ahead of the uncapped Tom Blundell as the selectors looked to build more flexibility in their squad ahead of the Champions Trophy in England later this year.The hosts had been humbled in a 3-0 series loss in Australia before Christmas but showed a marked improvement in their fielding and bowling as they put the visitors under pressure from the start of their run chase.New Zealand’s innings was anchored by Neil Broom’s 73, while Martin Guptill added 61 at the top of the order.The three-match series continues with further matches in Napier on February 2 and Hamilton on February 5. NEW ZEALAND inningsM. Guptill b Stoinis 61T. Latham c Handscomb b Starc 7K. Williamson c Maxwell b Stoinis 24R. Taylor b Head 16N. Broom c Starc b Faulkner 73C. Munro c Finch b Stoinis 2J. Neesham c Head b Hazlewood 48M. Santner c Maxwell b Cummins 7T. Southee c Faulkner b Cummins 0L. Ferguson not out 3T. Boult not out 16Extras: (b-8, lb-5, w-16) 29Total: (for 9 wickets, 50 overs) 286Fall of wickets: 1-13 2-87, 3-128, 4-130, 5-134, 6 -210, 7-246, 8-251, 9-269.Bowling: M. Starc 10-0-59-1 (w-2), J. Hazlewood 10-0-48-1 (w-1), P. Cummins 9-0-67-2 (w-10), J. Faulkner 6-0-29-1, M. Stoinis 10-0-49-3 (w-2), T. Head 5-0-21-1(w-2).AUSTRALIA inningsA. Finch c Neesham b Boult 4T. Head c Munro b Boult 5S. Marsh stp. Latham b Santner 16P. Handscomb c Latham b Southee 7G. Maxwell c Latham b Ferguson 20S. Heazlett c Latham b Ferguson 4M. Stoinis not out 146J. Faulkner b Munro 25P. Cummins stp. Latham b Santner 36M. Starc c Neesham b Santner 3J. Hazlewood run-out (Williamson) 0Extras: (lb-2, w-12) 14Total: (all out, 47 overs) 280Fall of wickets: 1-9, 2-10, 3-18, 4-48, 5-54, 6-67, 7-148, 8-196, 9-226.Bowling: T. Southee 10-0-63-1, T. Boult 9-0-58-2 (w-1), L. Ferguson 10-0-44-2, M. Santner 10-1-44-3 (w-1), J. Neesham 5-0-49-0 (w-4), C. Munro 3-0-20-1 (w-2).
In this, the Warriors Era, brief as it has been at four seasons and counting, they have been everything the NBA could hope for in a marquee team.They’ve been entertaining, changing the game with their up-tempo style and 3-point shooting firepower.They’ve been lovable, led by Steph Curry, the first NBA superstar you could describe as “cuddly.”They’ve been great, posting win totals of 67-73-67 en route to three consecutive NBA Finals, of which they won two … and they would have won all of them if they hadn’t blown a 3-1 lead in 2016 after Draymond Green got himself suspended for Game 5. They’ve been big box office with the three highest Finals TV ratings in the last 13 years for an Oakland-Cleveland ugly-duckling matchup against LeBron James and his supporting cast.The Warriors are building San Francisco glamor into their future with their self-funded $1 billion arena in the city, which will open in 2019.They made themselves financial giants with Forbes valuing the franchise at $3.1 billion, just behind the Lakers’ $3.3 billion, and ticket prices in the new arena set to jump 33 percent – along with a $35,000 “membership fee” for the honor of paying for the premium seats, which is refundable and serves as a mammoth interest-free loan.They’ve also been insufferable despite the presence of all-world good guys Curry, Kevin Durant and Coach Steve Kerr with owner Joe Lacob periodically trumpeting their greatness – or, actually, his greatness – as if reminding everyone who’s Numero Uno.Happily for the NBA, the Warriors now have a real test of their greatness, tied 1-1 with Houston going into Game 3 of the Western Conference finals on Sunday, after having finished seven games behind the Rockets during the regular season. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error Unhappily, the matchup being in the conference finals leaves the real Finals looking like an anti-climax, raising the question of whether the league shouldn’t finally seed the playoffs regardless of conference.Departure from tradition that it would be, it would solve the age-old problem of anti-climactic East-West imbalance … which once tilted Eastward but not lately … while ensuring that any team deserving of a Finals berth has the chance to prove it.The over/under for this year’s Finals looks like five games, even if they’re weeks away and we won’t know which of the remaining four teams will be there. Whether it’s the young Celtics without Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward or the Cavaliers with little more than LeBron, winning more than one game against the Warriors or Rockets looks like an upset.If the trick for the Warriors is reaching the Finals, not winning them, it comes after a long season with Kerr braced for trouble after three long postseasons.After beating second-place San Antonio by margins of 11-6-6 in the West, the Warriors saw Houston blow past them – and pulled up in the stretch, going 44-14 before the All-Star break, 14-10 after it. Kerr had to use 27 starting lineups, compared to 24 combined the previous three seasons, even with personnel changes like KD’s 2016 arrival. Curry left with a knee injury in early March and wasn’t back until the second round of the playoffs.Even with Kerr intent on biding his time, the San Francisco Chronicle’s Ron Kroichick cites a dispirited one-sided loss to Indiana in April when the boyish coach bristled at their “pathetic” performance, noting it’s hard to win “if you don’t put forth any effort at all.”And now, the Rockets.The Warriors won Game 1 in Houston as Durant scored 37 points and the press ganged up on the Rockets for playing so much isolation.The Rockets won Game 2 by 22 as the press ganged up on Curry, who suddenly wasn’t getting good looks, going 2 for 13 from 3-point range in the first two games.Kerr, asked what percentage of Steph’s problem is his knee, joked, “13.7 percent” – perhaps just to show that things weren’t so dire he’d lost his sense of humor.Unfortunately for the Warriors, their wondrous pre-KD ball movement, which saw Draymond average 9.5 assists during the 2015-16 season, has devolved to throwing Durant the ball and making the occasional cut.Durant isn’t really a 7-footer as Houston Coach Mike D’Antoni keeps calling him. He was 6-9 in stocking feet at the 2007 pre-draft camp but with his length, high release and huge advantage over P.J. Tucker or whoever from D’Antoni’s small-ball lineup is assigned to defend him, KD looks like a 3-point shooting Wilt Chamberlain.It remains to be seen if the Warriors are as great with KD as they were before him. On one hand, he’s a No. 1 option who can always get a shot and get to the line in the clutch. On the other, their ball movement, which surpassed that of the Spurs as the best the game has ever seen, isn’t the same.For better or worse, they’re now dependent on KD. Green all but made it official, trademarking a new name for their starters – “the Hampton 5” – who met on Long Island recruiting Durant in 2016 (Curry, Green, KD, Andre Iguodala, Klay Thompson).That’s not quite the Basketball of Tomorrow the Warriors have been emblematic of … as proclaimed by Lacob in a 2016 New York Times profile (“We’re light-years ahead of probably every other team in structure, in planning, in how we’re going to go about things”) … after six seasons as owner.Typically, Lacob again soared, metaphorically, ahead of his team this season, allowing himself to look past their fortunate present with KD, Steph, et al., to an uncertain future.“We’ll build around the core until we decide maybe we shouldn’t,” Lacob told Bay Area New Group’s Mark Medina, “but right now it feels pretty good.”Full-of-themselves Chicago officials talked that way in the Bulls’ 1990s heyday, signaling their players were replaceable – hastening the departure of key pieces like Phil Jackson, Scottie Pippen and perhaps even Michael Jordan. Never underestimate the tendency of people hearing their futures discussed over their heads to take it poorly.Great as both West finalists are, only one can sit atop the pyramid. If it’s not the Warriors, the press will really start in on them. Then we’ll see who Lacob is ahead of and by how many light-years.
AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREChargers go winless in AFC West with season-ending loss in Kansas CityMembers of the 2nd Brigade, 10th Mountain Division, the unit to which Torrance soldier Pfc. Joseph Anzack Jr. belonged, are searching up to the last minute to find the two soldiers who were captured along with Anzack in May. “This is still our brigade’s No. 1 priority,” its commander, Col. Michael Kershaw, said Friday. “We’ve been doing everything possible to bring them back before we leave,” he told Pentagon reporters via videoconference from Iraq. Anzack, 20; Spec. Alex R. Jimenez, 25, of Lawrence, Mass.; and Pvt. Byron W. Fouty, 19, of Waterford, Mich., were seized May 12 when hostile forces attacked and overran a checkpoint during an operation to watch for insurgents placing roadside bombs on a dangerous road south of Baghdad. Anzack’s body was found in the Euphrates River nearly two weeks later, one of more than 300 casualties suffered in Iraq by the brigade from Ft. Drum in northern New York state. IRAQ: Torrance soldier was one of three captured near Baghdad. By Pauline Jelinek THE ASSOCIATED PRESS WASHINGTON – The Army brigade that has served the most time on the battlefield since 2001 is coming home. But as they return, troops may have to leave two of their own behind in Iraq. Casualties taken by the 3,600-member brigade have totaled 52 killed and more than 270 wounded in action, Kershaw said. The brigade is in its 14th month of an extended 15-month tour – “the most-deployed brigade in the U.S. Army,” he said. On its return home, expected to be completed over the next several weeks, it will have served overseas 40 months since December 2001. The brigade has served two tours in Iraq and elements of it have served twice in Afghanistan, according to Army records. Four U.S. soldiers and an Iraqi translator were killed in the May ambush some 20 miles south of Baghdad in which Jimenez and Fouty were taken. Their identification cards were later found in an al-Qaida safe house north of Baghdad, along with video production equipment, computers and weapons. The house was more than 100miles from the area where they disappeared. The Islamic State of Iraq, an al-Qaida front group, said in a video posted on the Internet that the soldiers were killed and buried. Asked Friday if he believe they were still alive, Kershaw said captured suspects and “numerous other intelligence sources … have given us really all different kinds of stories.” “Just last week we received one significant intelligence thread that indicated that they at least were potentially alive recently, but another that said that that they had been killed shortly after the attack,” Kershaw said. The attack triggered a massive search in an area that is part of the “triangle of death,” named for the rampant insurgent activity there. U.S. aircraft dropped leaflets seeking information; U.S. and Iraqi forces searched muddy canal areas, farmlands and fields. “We flooded the area for about six weeks in a detailed search,” Kershaw recalled Friday, “and continued a more surgical search since then.” A dozen insurgents involved in the planning and execution have been captured, and other suspects may have been hit in a strike Thursday night, he said. He didn’t identify any of those involved except to say the attackers were 15 to 18 people affiliated with al-Qaida. Jimenez’s wife Yaderlin Hiraldo Jimenez – an illegal immigrant – was threatened with deportation but later given a green card out of respect for her husband’s sacrifice, U.S. government officials said. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!