James leads U.S. team to victory over Turkey

LeBron James scored 20 points and was a defensive force Thursday in his exhibition debut in Macau, helping the U.S. Olympic basketball team overcome some early sloppy play to beat Turkey 114-82 in its first game in China.

Carmelo Anthony added 17 points and Dwight Howard had some powerful dunks while finishing with 14 points.

The Americans allowed 10 field goals in the first quarter, then only 10 combined in the next two periods. They improved to 2-0 in Olympic tuneup play and will face Lithuania in Macau today before moving on to Shanghai for their remaining two games.

James was 8-for-9 from the field and finished with six rebounds, five steals and four assists in 23 minutes, sitting out the fourth quarter.

James, the NBA’s leading scorer last season, sprained his right ankle when he stepped on another player’s foot during a scrimmage last week.

Also: Tennis star Maria Sharapova will miss the Beijing Games because of a right shoulder injury.

The three-time Grand Slam singles champion said on her Web site that an MRI exam and other medical tests showed she has two small tears in tendons in her shoulder.

Sharapova pulled out of the WTA tournament in Montreal because of the shoulder Wednesday — after winning a nearly three-hour match.

Tennis player Marcos Baghdatis, the 2006 Australian Open finalist, was ruled out of the Beijing Olympics because of a right wrist injury.

Baghdatis will be out of action for at least four weeks and miss the U.S. Open, the Cyprus Tennis Federation said in a statement on its Web site.

With one week to go before the Beijing Games, Russia suddenly has its own version of a BALCO doping scandal involving some of the track team’s biggest stars.

After a 11/2-year investigation, the IAAF provisionally suspended seven female Russian athletes, accusing them of tampering with their urine samples. The list includes Yelena Soboleva, a world-record holder and world champion middle-distance runner who was favored to win the 800 and 1,500 meters at the Olympics.

The seven athletes, many of them potential Olympic medalists, come from several disciplines.


Goosen takes one-shot lead at Bridgestone

Retief Goosen, a late arrival and an early starter, took advantage of a Firestone South course that played long and short on his way to a 4-under-par 66 that gave him a one-shot lead at the Bridgestone Invitational in Akron, Ohio.

One year after Tiger Woods was the only player to break par, Goosen and 32 other players in the 80-man field met only minor resistance on a balmy afternoon at this World Golf Championship.

Vijay Singh and former Masters champion Zach Johnson were among those at 67, and Steve Stricker was headed for the outright lead until running into trouble off the tee late in his round, losing three shots in two holes and joining a large group at 68.

Also: Juli Inkster had the sort of first round Annika Sorenstam was hoping for at the Women’s British Open, a bogey-free 7-under 65 that left the 48-year-old American one shot ahead of the field in Sunningdale, England.

While Sorenstam struggled to a 72 in what the Swede says is her final major before she quits tournament golf at the end of the season, Inkster went out among the earliest in the field to shoot an eagle and five birdies. Her 65 matched the lowest first round at any Women’s British Open.

Inkster, whose last major title was the 2002 Women’s U.S. Open, is a stroke ahead of seven players — Ji-Yai Shin, Ji Young Oh, Yuri Fudoh, Momoko Ueda, Jo Head, Laura Diaz and Stacy Prammanasudh.

Michelle Wie put herself in contention to make her first cut in eight tries on the PGA Tour, shooting a 1-over 73 in the first round of the Legends Reno-Tahoe Open that left her eight strokes behind leader Jeff Overton in Reno.

Playing on the men’s tour for the first time since January 2007, Wie had three birdies, four bogeys and rallied to save par on several holes at Montreux Golf & Country Club.

Wie, playing on a sponsor’s exemption, has failed to make it to the weekend in her seven previous bids on the PGA Tour.

John Cook, who blew a big lead on the back nine at the British Senior Open on Sunday, carded a 4-under 66 at the U.S. Senior Open in Colorado Springs, Colo.

That was good for the lead for most of the day until Fred Funk birdied the 16th and 17th holes to go 6 under before three-putting the final hole and finishing at 5-under 65.

Four players were tied for third place at 1 under: Morris Hatalsky, Eduardo Romero, Juan Quiros and Tom Kite.

Tommy Armour III, Louis Redden, Jerry Roberts and Eric Dutt will be inducted into the Las Vegas Golf Hall of Fame in October.


Federer’s top ranking in jeopardy after loss

Roger Federer lost another match and, perhaps, his longtime grip on No. 1.

The world’s top-ranked player had another setback, a 7-6 (6), 4-6, 7-6 (5) loss to Ivo Karlovic that opened the way for Rafael Nadal to take over the No. 1 spot by winning the Cincinnati Masters championship in Mason, Ohio.

Nadal stayed on course for the seismic shift by beating Tommy Haas 6-4, 7-6 (0), reaching the quarterfinals with his 31st consecutive win. Three more wins and the top spot in the world rankings belongs to him.

Federer has been ranked No. 1 since Feb. 2, 2004, a record of 235 consecutive weeks. He and Nadal have held the top two spots since July 25, 2005. They will swap if Nadal extends his run of five consecutive tournament titles.

Earlier, 19-year-old Ernests Gulbis took advantage of American’s James Blake’s erratic serve for a 6-4, 1-6, 6-3 victory, leaving the United States shut out of the quarterfinals for the first time in the tournament’s history.

Also: Top-ranked Ana Ivanovic was knocked out of the Rogers Cup by Tamira Paszek, giving second-ranked Jelena Jankovic a chance to take over the top spot in women’s tennis if she can reach the final of the Montreal tournament.

Paszek, a 17-year-old Austrian ranked 94th in the world, won 6-2, 1-6, 6-2 over Ivanovic, who was playing with a sore right thumb she injured two weeks ago.

Hall of Fame coach Scotty Bowman is joining the Chicago Blackhawks as a senior adviser for hockey operations.

A special consultant with the Detroit Red Wings since retiring from coaching after the 2002 season, Bowman, 74, signed a three-year deal with Chicago.

Bowman’s son, Stan, is in his eighth season with the Blackhawks and beginning his second as the team’s assistant general manager.

In 30 seasons, Bowman led teams to the playoffs 29 times and accumulated an NHL-record 1,244 regular-season victories, 223 postseason wins and nine Stanley Cup championships.

The Edmonton Oilers promoted general manager Kevin Lowe to president of hockey operations and named longtime Vancouver Canucks executive Steve Tambellini to replace him.

Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Big Brown drew the No. 4 post and was made the 1-2 favorite for Sunday’s $1 million Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park.

A field of seven 3-year-olds was entered for the Grade 1 Haskell, with Big Brown set for his first start since finishing last in the Belmont Stakes in his bid to become the first Triple Crown winner since 1978.

Junior guard Jamar Smith was dismissed from the Illinois men’s basketball team, two days after a prosecutor asked a judge to revoke his probation for allegedly drinking alcohol.

Coach Bruce Weber said Smith’s decision to violate terms of a personal agreement for his return to the team left him without a choice.

Smith is serving two years’ probation after pleading guilty to felony driving under the influence in 2007.

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