Topic: n the title match at the WTA tournam

PORTLAND, Ore. -- After Portland had withstood a late barrage from the Indiana Pacers and Paul George, the Trail Blazers gathered at midcourt and raised their hands together. It might be early in the season, but this was a statement win for the Blazers. LaMarcus Aldridge had 28 points and 10 rebounds and Portland downed Indiana 106-102 Monday night, snapping the Pacers seven-game winning streak. Damian Lillard added 26. "It was a tough one, and we knew it was going to be a tough one going in," Lillard said. "Theyre a good team, they only had one loss. But were a good team too, and we wanted to prove that." Paul George had a career-high 43 points for Pacers (16-2), who own the NBAs best record. The Blazers pulled in front early in the fourth quarter, but the Pacers kept it close and George hit consecutive 3-pointers that narrowed it to 98-96 with 1:37 left. Lillard answered with a 3-pointer and Nicolas Batum made a pair of free throws for the Blazers before George hit another 3-pointer that got Indiana within 103-99 with 21 seconds to go. Lillard hit free throws and George made yet another 3 with 10 seconds left to make it 105-102, but the Pacers couldnt get closer. Portland (15-3) is off to its best start since the 1998-99 season. "I really wanted to get this win," said George, one of just four Indiana players to score 43 or more points in a game since 2000. "I was trying to will us into the game." Both teams were playing the second of a back-to-back. The Blazers beat the short-handed Los Angeles Lakers 114-108, snapping a seven-game losing streak to the Lakers at the Staples Center. The Pacers (16-2) were coming off a 105-100 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday to open a five-game road trip. "Theyre a great offensive team and they made big shots all game long," Indiana coach Frank Vogel said of Portland. "Hopefully thats what its going to take to beat this team -- making impossible shot after impossible shot." Earlier Monday, the NBA named Vogel the Eastern Conference coach of the month for November. Portlands Terry Stotts was named coach of the month for the Western Conference. The Pacers went 15-1 in November and opened the season with a nine-game winning streak for the best start in franchise history. The Blazers went 13-3 under Stotts to start the season, including an 11-game winning streak. While Stotts acknowledged it was a big win, he stopped short of the whole "statement" thing. "We played the most complete game from beginning to end: Execution, effort, mental focus. All of those things," he said. "But I dont believe you play statement games in December. George had a 14-foot jumper that gave the Pacers an early 20-11 lead, but the Blazers hung close through the first half. Mo Williams, who helped Portland keep up with seven points, had three fouls and was sent to the bench. The Blazers finished out the first half with a 9-3 run to get within 46-45 at the break. Aldridges dunk pulled Portland within 59-54 midway through the third quarter, but George answered with an 18-foot jumper on the other end for Indiana. Orlando Johnsons 3-pointer extended the lead to 64-56 and it looked as if the Pacers were pulling away. But Aldridge hit a flat 20-foot jumper and made a free throw and Joel Freeland dunked to even it at 70. Lillard hit a 3-pointer and the Blazers took a 75-72 lead, their first of the game. Portland went up 86-78 on Wesley Matthews 3-pointer to make it 86-78. Matthews was asked afterward what the win meant: "That were a pretty damn good team," he replied. It was Aldridges 14th game this season with 20 or more points. The two-time All-Star has eight double-doubles this season. "Theyre good," Aldridge said. "I just had one of those nights." NOTES: It was Portland guard Lillards 100th career game. He is third NBA player ever to start his first 100 games. ... Among those at the game was Portland native Galen Rupp, who won the silver in the 10,000 metres at the London Olympics. ... Former Blazers coach Nate McMillan is an assistant to Vogel in Indiana. ... It was just the second time Indiana had given up 100 points this season. ... The Blazers are 8-0 this season against Eastern Conference teams. ... Indianas David West reached his 11,000th career point in the second quarter. West, a 10-year veteran, finished with 12 points, eight rebounds and five assists. ... George Hill matched his career high with 11 assists. ... Pacers starter Lance Stephenson fouled out with just under 5 minutes left. BRISBANE, Australia - Serena Williams extended her winning streak against Maria Sharapova to 14 matches with a 6-2, 7-6 (7) semifinal victory Friday to earn a shot at back-to-back Brisbane International titles. The defending champion will play second-seeded Victoria Azarenka in Saturdays final, and will be favoured to retain the title that kicked off her stunning 2013 season that included 78 wins from 82 matches and 11 titles. After blowing two match points in the tiebreaker, Williams sealed the win with her seventh ace against the third-seeded Sharapova. In their first meeting since the French Open final, the uneasy rivals barely exchanged glances before the match and only briefly shook hands after. Both players were returning aggressively — leading to 15 double-faults between them and six breaks of serve in the second set — and hitting their grounds strokes hard and deep. Williams hit consecutive double-faults to give Sharapova a mini-break at 5-4 in the tiebreaker, something she said she couldnt remember ever doing before on tour. Sharapova responded with a double-fault to make it 5-5, and said shed missed her opportunities. "I had a few missed chances ... but overall Im happy I can compete at this level in my third match back," Sharapova said. "Its a good sign for me." Any friendship that existed between the pair soured when they traded personal barbs relating to their romantic relationships ahead of last years Wimbledon, where Sharapova made an early exit. Sharapova only played one match after that in 2013 as she recovered from a right shoulder problem. Williams said shed need to vastly improve her first-serve percentage — which sunk to 40 in the semifinals — to beat Australian Open champion Azarenka, who overcame a shaky serve and another case of the nerves to beat former No. 1-ranked Jelena Jankovic 1-6, 6-3, 6-4. Facing two of her biggest rivals back-to-back in her first tournament of the year, and less than two weeks before the Australian Open, is a big step up in preparations for Williams. "Yeah, I feel like Im being pushed into the deep end straightaway," she saiid.dddddddddddd. "I also think its a good thing." Azarenka had her problems on serve, too. She dropped her first three service games and was facing three break points in the opening game of the second set when she shifted the momentum with a winner she picked up on a half-volley when Jankovic was in control of the point. After needing 10 match points to beat Stefanie Voegele in the quarterfinals the previous night, Azarenka missed one chance to serve it out at 5-2 in the deciding set, conceding a break with a double-fault. She then missed a match point at 5-4 but held her nerve and finally finished it off on her second match point. The prospect of a match against another top four player so close to the Australian Open doesnt daunt Azarenka. "I dont think its ever too early. If you want to win big titles you got to play against the best players," she said. On the mens side, top-seeded Roger Federer coasted to a 6-1, 6-1 win over Marinko Matosevic of Australia and moved into a semifinal against No. 8 Jeremy Chardy of France. Second-seeded Kei Nishikori of Japan reached the semifinals with a 6-4, 5-7, 6-2 win over Marin Cilic of Croatia and will next play former No. 1-ranked Lleyton Hewitt, who cruised past Romanian qualifier Marius Copil 6-4, 6-2. Both Williams sisters will be playing finals Saturday, with Venus Williams to face Ana Ivanovic in the title match at the WTA tournament in Auckland, New Zealand. Venus Williams got a walkover into her first final since October 2012 when Jamie Hampton withdrew from their semifinal with a right hip injury. Ivanovic beat third-seeded Kirsten Flipkens of Belgium 6-2, 7-6 (3). At the Hopman Cup, France clinched a place in the final against Poland with a victory over winless Spain. Alize Cornet beat Anabel Medina Garrigues 6-2, 6-2 before Jo-Wilfried Tsonga sealed the victory by defeating 194th-ranked Daniel Munoz-De La Nava 6-4, 6-7 (7), 6-2. The Czech Republic took a 3-0 win over the United States after John Isner withdrew ahead of his singles match and Sloane Stephens retired with a left wrist problem after losing the first set 6-3 to Petra Kvitova. cheap nfl jerseys authentic jerseys nfl wholesale wholesale jerseys cheap jerseys wholesale jerseys ' ' '

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