Argentina routs Dominicans 84-58; semifinal matchups set
Brazil and Argentina won their final games in the second round of the Olympic basketball qualifying tournament for the Americas on Thursday, setting the matchups for the deciding semifinals.
Brazil defeated Puerto Rico 94-72, while host Argentina beat Coach John Calipari's Dominican Republic team 84-58.
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That set up Saturday's semifinals where the winners secure berths for the London Olympics.
Brazil (6-1) faces the Dominican Republic (4-3) in one semifinal and Argentina (6-1) meets Puerto Rico (5-2). The winners move to Sunday's finals.
NBA owners, players talking again
Negotiators for NBA owners and players are meeting again, the first time they have done so on consecutive days during the lockout. The sides met for about 5½ hours Wednesday, then returned Thursday morning for further discussions. They said they could even continue talking Friday if Thursday's session was productive. Neither side is saying if progress is being made to end the work stoppage. Commissioner David Stern said after Wednesday's meeting they have three weeks to reach a deal, with training camps set to open the first week of October.
Nets' Williams joins Turkish club
New Jersey Nets point guard Deron Williams has arrived in Istanbul to start his stint with Turkish basketball team Besiktas. The Istanbul-based club said the All-Star guard arrived Thursday together with his family. Williams has joined Besiktas until the end of the NBA lockout. Williams averaged 20.1 points and 10.3 assists for the Nets and the Utah Jazz last season. Other NBA players that have signed to play in the Turkish league include Nets guard Sasha Vujacic, Darius Songaila of the Philadelphia 76ers and Nets draft pick Bojan Bogdanovic.
Sacramento mayor has plan for arena
A task force established by Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson recommended a rough plan Thursday to raise $400 million to build a downtown arena, a key step in the city's efforts to keep the NBA's Kings. The plan announced by the Think Big Sacramento committee proposes a three-way plan combining sponsorships with public money and private investment to generate $400 million without broad tax increases. The NBA has given Sacramento until March to come up with an arena financing plan or it will consider allowing the Kings to relocate, perhaps to Anaheim.
European event marred by rain, vandals
England's Simon Dyson shot an opening-round 5-under 65 Thursday to tie for the lead with Marcel Siem on a day marred by vandals and torrential rainfall. Play was delayed for 45 minutes after vandals dug up parts of four greens at the Hilversum Club in Hilversum, Netherlands. Heavy rain later soaked the course, forcing players off for more than three hours. Despite the delays, Dyson and Germany's Siem eagled the 484-yard, par-5 12th.
Defending champion Martin Kaymer shot a 74. U.S. Open champion Rory McIlroy was 1 over after eight holes before play was called off because of darkness with 78 players not completing their first round.
Russian league will help rebuild team
The Russian ice hockey team whose players were killed in a plane crash will be rebuilt in time to take part in this year's Kontinental Hockey League season, according to the league leader. All but one of the 28 Lokomotiv Yaroslavl players traveling to Belarus for their first game of the season was killed when their Yak-42 jet crashed on Wednesday. KHL chief Alexander Medvedev said Thursday that each team in the league should volunteer up to three players each toward building a new Lokomotiv squad. He says it will free up between 40 and 45 players for the Lokomotiv to pick. "The 18 KHL clubs whose representatives I have managed to speak with have supported this proposal," Medvedev said.
Japan's women clinch Olympic berth
Women's World Cup champion Japan secured a place in next year's London Olympics after Australia beat China 1-0 in the final Asian qualifying tournament. Japan was held to a 1-1 draw with North Korea on Thursday, but Australia's win over host China guaranteed that Japan will finish in the top two in the tournament. The tournament concludes on Sunday. The top two teams qualify for the Olympics.
TRACK AND FIELD
Jamaican Blake runs personal-best 100
Buoyed by his gold medal at the world championships, Yohan Blake ran a personal-best 9.82 seconds Thursday to win the 100 meters at the Weltklasse meet in Zurich. The 21-year-old Jamaican stumbled slightly out of the blocks and had no wind assistance on a still night. He beat his best time by 0.07 seconds. Asafa Powell of Jamaica finished second in 9.95, and world silver medalist Walter Dix of the United States placed third in 10.04.
Trainer: Klitschko has 2 or 3 fights left
Vitali Klitschko's trainer said the WBC heavyweight champion will fight only two or three more bouts before retirement. Fritz Sdunek told Die Welt newspaper Thursday that the 40-year-old Klitschko "is not getting any younger and his political activity in Ukraine requires a lot of time and energy." Sdunek, however, stressed that Klitschko (42-2) has "never been so fit" leading to his title defense against Poland's Tomasz Adamek (44-1) in Wroclaw on Saturday.
The last word
Baltimore Orioles Manager Buck Showalter, after his team played the New York Yankees in a game that ended at 2:15 a.m. Tuesday night, then turned around and played again at 1:05 p.m. Wednesday:
"I think everybody's going to sleep well on the train."