Russia has been banned from international sporting events for four years by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).

LeBron James and Los Angeles Lakers head coach Frank Vogel poured praise upon Anthony Davis after his 50-point display against the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Davis reached 50 points in a game for the first time since joining the Lakers, leading the team to a 142-125 victory on Sunday.

With his star team-mate in such form, James suggested his role was fairly straightforward, with the four-time MVP contributing 13 assists to go with his 32 points.

"Just keep feeding him," James said of Davis. "He was efficient all night, getting the ball exactly where he wanted it - either near post, low post, perimeter.

"He can do it all, so it's our job to continue to give him the ball."

James is happy with how he and Davis are performing together, inspiring a 21-3 start to the season, but he was always confident the former New Orleans Pelicans star would be able to lead the Lakers.

"For me and AD, it starts with us," he said. "If we're on the same page, it makes it much easier for the rest of the ball club. That's both on and off the floor.

"We're just trying to lead by example, lead by our voices, lead by our play, and see where it takes us. It's been pretty good for us so far.

"[Davis] had to carry a franchise before, so I don't think it's anything that's foreign to him. The best thing about what it is today is that he has an opportunity to be great every night.

"No matter if he's making shots or not, it's just his presence alone. And us, as his team-mates, continue to make him comfortable. He's great. There's nothing more that you can say."

Davis was 20-for-29 from the field but did not need a single three-point shot to get to a half-century.

The 26-year-old also weighed in with seven rebounds, six assists, four steals and a block, leaving coach Vogel to marvel at his player.

"The first thing that sticks out to me was that he had four steals, a block and great defense all 39 minutes he was out there," Vogel said.

"To be able to perform on that end of the floor and anchor us and still go for 50 - with what I feel is an old-school smash-mouth way of getting 50: no threes, 20-for-29 and living at the free-throw line, post-ups, offensive rebounds, crashes, all those type of things - it's just an old-school performance.

"It's one for the ages."

Anthony Davis said it was "humbling" to join Kobe Bryant and LeBron James in producing a 50-point game for the Los Angeles Lakers.

Davis and the Lakers have been in outstanding form so far in the 2019-20 NBA season, and that continued on Sunday as the former New Orleans Pelicans star put up exactly 50 points in a 142-125 defeat of the Minnesota Timberwolves.

The names of Bryant and James - the only other Lakers to achieve this feat in the past decade - were put to the 26-year-old in the locker room after.

Davis replied: "It means a lot. There are some greats who came through here, so to be in a class with guys like that - especially so early in my career, my first year here - is humbling.

"I'm definitely excited to be in that class."

Davis had 27 points by halftime and revealed he was then encouraged to go for 50 by his team-mates.

"I've had nights where I started off like that and ended up with like 30, didn't score in the second half," he said. "But the shot was feeling good tonight. We were very well rested.

"Going against another great big man in Karl-Anthony Towns, obviously you get up for some of those games. They're a team who are hungry, trying to get wins, and when you start off pretty hot from the floor, you just want the ball.

"It kept going in most of the times and my team-mates kept giving me the ball. They were saying I could get 50 so, at that point, you try to get 50.

"[They said it at] half-time. At that point, I'm not saying it was on my mind, because I'm still trying to play the right way, but I was definitely ultra-aggressive."

The Lakers improved to 21-3, four games clear of rivals the Los Angeles Clippers at the top of the West, and Davis says they are "in a rhythm".

"I feel like I'm in a rhythm," he said. "You've got to find your rhythm, and I feel, as a team, we've found our rhythm - that's how we're able to put up so many points.

"Obviously our defence has been really good and leads to a lot of open shots for us. Guys are able to see the ball go in the basket early, which helps us later in the game.

"I think the way that we approach the game now, knowing we've found our rhythm offensively, the whole team is playing at a high level."

Anthony Joshua believes he will always have to prove himself in the heavyweight division, stating it is tough to live life as a champion.

Joshua regained the IBF, WBA and WBO heavyweight titles on Saturday, as he recorded a comprehensive points victory over Andy Ruiz Jr in a rematch in Saudi Arabia.

Ruiz stunned Joshua in his initial victory in New York in June, as the Briton fell to the only defeat of his professional career, and the 30-year-old acknowledged he had been drained by the pressure of retaining his title.

"The belts can be your best friend or your worst enemy," Joshua, who is now expected to face one of his mandatory challengers Kubrat Pulev or Oleksandr Usyk, told reporters.

"It just depends on you as a person. Even at the weigh-in when I gave him the belts [before the first fight], I was just tired of them. It’s hard being champion. Trust me, it's not all fun.

"I just remember hearing Mike Tyson telling people 'you couldn't walk in my shoes.' It’s not all what it seems, it's a life of discipline, dedication and f*****g headaches.

"I'm always going to have to prove myself, aren't I? That’s the name of the game. Over the next three to six months, I'm going to have to do it again.

"It's no good winning this time and losing next time, saying, 'Look, I won six months ago, let’s look at that.' Even though I've proved it to myself, I'm going to have to prove it to you guys once again. I can't get too comfortable.

"But I knew the belts were coming home. They spent some time with me and they spent some time in Andy's house, and they were crying to come back to daddy."

Joshua has reportedly earned over £50million from taking the rematch with Ruiz to Saudi Arabia, though he is hoping to return to Britain for his next fight.

"I don't know, man. London's calling," Joshua said. "We've been away for the whole year, in New York and now here. But it's nice to have a breather. It’s nice to have a bit of controversy, a bit of doubt.

"I've been out here for two weeks. I was out for five weeks before [in New York], got too comfortable. Now it's back home to Finchley, back home to Sheffield, back to the grind. Being back on home soil will make a big difference."

United States captain Tiger Woods revealed he had warned Patrick Reed of a potentially hostile reception in Australia as his team try to keep their focus on the Presidents Cup.

Woods is leading - and playing for – the USA against Ernie Els' International team this week, but Reed, a captain's pick, has been at the centre of controversy coming into the tournament.

The former Masters champion was dealt a two-stroke penalty at the Hero World Challenge - hosted by Woods in the Bahamas - for hacking away at the sand around his ball in the third round.

Reed was punished for "removing or pressing down sand or loose soil" and agonisingly finished two shots behind victor Henrik Stenson.

Woods is wary of potential backlash from rival supporters in the coming days, but he hopes the incident can be quickly forgotten.

"The fans we have down here are awesome and they are into their sport," the 15-time major champion said. "Yes, I have talked to Pat about it.

"But that is behind us and we are focused on this week, on trying to go up against this great International team here.

"As we all know, Pat was penalised. That was it. The end of story. Unfortunately, he missed the play-off by two shots, but we are all in it this week getting ready for the Internationals."

It is unclear yet how much involvement Woods will have as a playing captain at the Cup, but opposite number Els expects him to have an impact.

"[Having a playing captain] hasn't been done in quite a few years," Els said. "There will be a lot of help for him.

"We'll see how it goes. I don't know how many sessions he's going to play. Obviously he's a big asset to their team.

"We can only do what we do, control what we can control, play the way we want to play, and hopefully that's good enough."

Manchester United have the firepower to push for a top-four finish in the Premier League, says Harry Maguire, but the defender stated Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side must not get ahead of themselves.

United claimed their second successive victory as they secured a 2-1 derby victory over Manchester City on Saturday, three days after defeating Tottenham - managed by former boss Jose Mourinho - by the same scoreline.

The wins have taken United up to fifth, five points shy of fourth-place Chelsea, who on Saturday lost 3-1 to managerless Everton - United's next opponents in the league.

With Marcus Rashford having already matched his total tally of league goals from last season and Anthony Martial having netted what proved to be the winner against City, Maguire believes United's frontline has the quality to push them towards Champions League qualification.

However, the England centre-back is adamant United's squad will stay grounded, with the league outside of the top four still heavily congested.

"I think you need to look after your own results, don't look elsewhere, keep winning games," Maguire told Sky Sports. "We've won back-to-back games against Spurs and City. We've got another big game next week now.

"The top four is in sight but we just keep looking after our own results, keep trying to get the three points and keep improving.

"Over the last month or so, I feel like as a defender I look at the forwards and think they're going to score goals.

"At the start of the season, we didn't really score more than one goal in a game but now I think it's a few games on the spin where we're back to scoring goals.

"They're a big threat, they're top players, great talent and I think it's all coming together now."

Before hosting Everton on Sunday, United face AZ in their final Europa League group match, with an EFL Cup quarter-final against Colchester United coming up prior to the festive period.

Erling Haaland is sought after across Europe and it seems Juventus have made the first move.

Haaland, 19, has already scored 28 goals in 21 games for Salzburg this season, including eight in the Champions League.

The Norway forward is attracting interest from the world's biggest clubs and Juventus are not prepared to wait around.

 

TOP STORY – JUVENTUS OFFER HAALAND €3M PER SEASON

Juventus have offered Haaland €3million per season, according to Corriere dello Sport.

Haaland has been linked to the likes of Manchester United, Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund among others.

Juve may be looking to add some youth to their attack, with Cristiano Ronaldo (34) and Gonzalo Higuain (31) in their 30s and Mario Mandzukic (33) out of favour.

ROUND-UP

- Arsenal are still looking for a replacement for Unai Emery. Former Bayern Munich coach Niko Kovac wants the job, according to Goal, while the Daily Express reports there is a tug of war between the Premier League club and Manchester City over Mikel Arteta, who is an assistant at the Etihad Stadium.

- A 1-1 draw at Udinese on Saturday left Napoli winless in nine matches, further increasing the pressure on coach Carlo Ancelotti. CalcioMercato reports a lack of good options to replace Ancelotti have bought the Italian more time, but Napoli must beat Genk in the Champions League on Tuesday.

- At Everton, Shanghai SIPG coach Vitor Pereira is the favourite to be named Marco Silva's successor, according to the Daily Mail. David Moyes and Eddie Howe are reportedly the other leading candidates.

- Chris Smalling has impressed while on loan at Roma. Now, Inter and Juventus have joined Roma in wanting to sign the defender permanently from Manchester United, according to Sport Witness.

- Seemingly no longer in Chelsea's plans, Pedro could be set to leave Stamford Bridge. The Daily Mail reports Aston Villa are ready to offer the Spanish forward a way out of the club.

- Inter are interested in Parma midfielder Dejan Kulusevski, who is on loan from Atalanta, according to CalcioMercato.

Anthony Davis dominated in the Los Angeles Lakers' win over the Minnesota Timberwolves, while Luka Doncic passed a streak of Michael Jordan's in the NBA.

Davis' 50-point haul saw the Lakers power past the Timberwolves 142-125 on Sunday.

He went an incredible 20-of-29 from the field, while LeBron James had a double-double of 32 points and 13 assists.

The Lakers are 21-3 and on a four-match winning streak.

Doncic went past a streak of Jordan's in the Dallas Mavericks' 110-106 loss to the Sacramento Kings.

The guard had 27 points, eight assists and seven rebounds for his 19th straight game of 20-5-5, while Jordan turned in 18 consecutive in March 1989.

Clippers stars step up

Kawhi Leonard (34 points and 11 rebounds) and Paul George (27 points) saw the Los Angeles Clippers past the Washington Wizards 135-119.

Trae Young delivered again for the Atlanta Hawks, his 30 points, nine assists and six rebounds enough in a 122-107 win over the Charlotte Hornets.

Tyler Herro had 27 points off the bench as the Miami Heat beat the Chicago Bulls 110-105 after overtime.

 

Raptors struggle

The Toronto Raptors struggled in a 110-104 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers. Marc Gasol (0-of-six) finished without a point in 30 minutes, while Pascal Siakam went seven-of-18 for his 16 points.

 

Dynamic Davis

Davis was dominant in the Lakers' victory.

Sunday's results

Brooklyn Nets 105-102 Denver Nuggets
Atlanta Hawks 122-107 Charlotte Hornets
Miami Heat 110-105 Chicago Bulls
Philadelphia 76ers 110-104 Toronto Raptors
Los Angeles Clippers 135-119 Washington Wizards
Sacramento Kings 110-106 Dallas Mavericks
Oklahoma City Thunder 108-96 Portland Trail Blazers
Los Angeles Lakers 142-125 Minnesota Timberwolves

 

Clippers at Pacers

The Clippers (17-7) back up with a trip to Indiana, where the Pacers (15-8) are 9-2 at home this season.

The Kansas City Chiefs clinched another division title by overcoming the New England Patriots, while the Seattle Seahawks' winning streak was ended.

The Chiefs handed the Patriots a second straight loss and secured the AFC West crown for the fourth consecutive NFL season.

Seattle's winning streak came to an end at five after losing to NFC West rivals the Los Angeles Rams.

Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Chargers and Tennessee Titans posted big wins and the Pittsburgh Steelers edged the Arizona Cardinals.

 

CHIEFS CLINCH

Patrick Mahomes helped the Chiefs past the Patriots 23-16 at Gillette Stadium.

Mahomes was 26 of 40 for 283 yards, a touchdown and an interception as the Chiefs improved to 9-4.

The Patriots dropped to 10-3 and had two TDs taken away by controversial officiating calls.

Tom Brady's right elbow was heavily wrapped after the loss, the quarterback finishing 19 of 36 for 169 yards, a TD and an interception.

 

SEAHAWKS' RUN SNAPPED BY RAMS

The Rams stopped the Seahawks' run with a 28-12 victory.

Jared Goff went 22 of 31 for 293 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions, while Seahawks QB Russell Wilson (22 of 36 for 245 yards and an interception) struggled.

The Seahawks are now 10-3 and second in the NFC West, while the Rams (8-5) are chasing a wildcard.

 

CHARGERS, TITANS CRUISE

The Chargers ended a three-game losing run by thrashing the Jacksonville Jaguars 45-10.

Philip Rivers led the Chargers, completing 16 of 22 passes for 314 yards and three touchdowns.

However, the Chargers were eliminated from playoff contention.

The Titans extended their winning streak to four by crushing the Oakland Raiders 42-21.

Titans QB Ryan Tannehill threw three touchdown passes, completing 21 of 27 for 391 yards for Tennessee (8-5), who are in the wildcard chase.

GAROPPOLO EARNS PRAISE, RAVENS ROLL ON

Jimmy Garoppolo threw four TDs in the San Francisco 49ers' thrilling 48-46 win over the New Orleans Saints, earning praise from head coach Kyle Shanahan.

"He's unbelievable. No matter what happens," Shanahan said. "He's had a lot of good games this year.

"He has had some times where he's made some mistakes. But he's the same guy every day. Just to be able to deal with that crowd noise and to deal with adversity that went in and out throughout the game, to be able to deal with me, he's the same and a lot of fun to coach."

The Baltimore Ravens booked their spot in the playoffs thanks to a 24-17 win over the Buffalo Bills.

However, tight end Mark Andrews (knee), linebacker Chris Board (concussion) and safety Anthony Levine Sr. (ankle) suffered injuries.

"Mark is not serious, maybe a thigh bruise type of thing," Ravens head coach John Harbaugh said.

"Anthony is not serious, ankle. Both those guys told me they'd be back Thursday. We'll see how that goes as the week goes on."

 

WEEK 14 SCORES:

Atlanta Falcons 40-20 Carolina Panthers
Baltimore Ravens 24-17 Buffalo Bills
Cleveland Browns 27-19 Cincinnati Bengals
Green Bay Packers 20-15 Washington Redskins
Denver Broncos 38-24 Houston Texans
Minnesota Vikings 20-7 Detroit Lions
San Francisco 49ers 48-46 New Orleans Saints
New York Jets 22-21 Miami Dolphins
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 38-35 Indianapolis Colts
Los Angeles Chargers 45-10 Jacksonville Jaguars
Pittsburgh Steelers 23-17 Arizona Cardinals
Kansas City Chiefs 23-16 New England Patriots
Tennessee Titans 42-21 Oakland Raiders
Los Angeles Rams 28-12 Seattle Seahawks

Tom Brady downplayed his elbow injury after the New England Patriots' loss to the Kansas City Chiefs in the NFL on Sunday.

The Patriots slipped to a second straight defeat, edged 23-16 by the Chiefs at Gillette Stadium to fall to 10-3 this season.

Brady's right elbow was heavily wrapped as he arrived to face the media, but the quarterback insisted he was OK.

"I just got hit right on my elbow, it's fine," the 42-year-old told reporters.

"Probably be on the injury report, but I'll be there next Sunday [against the Cincinnati Bengals]."

Brady went 19 of 36 for 169 yards, a touchdown and an interception in the loss to the Chiefs.

The six-time Super Bowl champion, who was unwilling to criticise officials despite some controversy, said the Patriots' offense was simply unable to deliver at key times.

"We got the ball, we moved it, we had some plays there where we could've scored and just couldn't quite," Brady said.

"We had a fourth down, we had some other ones in a red area, couple of fourth downs, just didn't make the plays when we needed to make 'em."

He added: "We've just got to go out and try to play better and try to win next week's game so, disappointing but not going to feel sorry for ourselves, try to go back to work and do a better job."

Baltimore Ravens star Lamar Jackson said it was "pretty cool" to clinch an NFL playoff berth, but the quarterback is already looking ahead.

The Ravens claimed a 24-17 win over the Buffalo Bills on Sunday to improve to 11-2 and secure their place in the playoffs.

But Jackson wants more from the Ravens, who are among the favourites to win the Super Bowl.

"It's pretty cool, but we're trying to finish out," he said.

"We've got the [New York] Jets on Thursday, quick turnaround, we've got to focus on them now."

Jackson went 16 of 25 for 145 yards, three touchdowns and an interception against the Bills, while also rushing for 40 yards.

The 22-year-old said the clash against the Bills (9-4) at New Era Field felt like a playoff game.

"Very tough. We came into New Era Field, great environment, the Bills fans came, they were basically on the field, it was so loud here, defense came out to play," Jackson said.

"It was just a playoff game."

Frank Lampard said there would be "home truths" at Chelsea after two losses in a week.

Chelsea suffered losses to West Ham (1-0) and Everton (3-1) either side of their victory at home to Aston Villa.

They remain in the top four in the Premier League, sitting five points clear of Manchester United and Wolves, while Tottenham are a point further adrift.

But head coach Lampard is eager for Chelsea to learn from their defeats to teams sitting in the bottom half.

"There are home truths all the time, whatever game you play. The players need to consistently hear that," he told reporters, via Football.London.

"We have got a good bunch and good group in there. In the Premier League, the competitive nature of it there are going to be times where you have difficult patches or you lose games.

"It is certainly not the end of the world, but it is important that we take on board the lessons of games like [Everton] and West Ham. We have had a week where we were poor, fantastic and poor again. That lack of consistency is not going to get us where we want to be.

"They have to get used to it quickly. You can give them a tiny bit of room maybe for the fact of the youth of some of the team, but at the same time they might be young but they are not silly."

Chelsea host Lille in the Champions League on Tuesday looking to reach the knockout stage.

Jurgen Klopp revealed he had consistently reassured Naby Keita before the midfielder starred when given his chance for Liverpool against Bournemouth.

Keita scored and provided an assist on his first start of the Premier League season in Saturday's 3-0 win at the Vitality Stadium.

A £53million signing from RB Leipzig in 2018, Keita has had his difficulties since arriving at Anfield and Klopp said he frequently spoke to the Guinea international regarding his standing at Liverpool.

"Naby is sitting outside and thinks 'why don't I play?’ I get all that," the Liverpool manager told UK newspapers.

"So we stayed in contact, we talked and we spoke a lot about it, but in the end of course the player needs to have this evidence that the coach or the manager still believes in you.

"Naby had injuries and the team was and is in really good shape, so then do you change and, if you want to change, we are not flying – it's not like we won all our games 4-0 or 5-0 – so we [have] had to bring on a player who helps defending set-pieces."

After Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain opened the scoring at Bournemouth, Keita struck before setting up Mohamed Salah for the Premier League leaders.

As Liverpool's rotation continued for the encounter, Klopp said his squad understood the situation.

"It's not difficult for me to leave players out," he said.

"I didn't speak to Sadio [Mane] about it. I didn't speak to Divock Origi. I didn't speak to Bobby [Firmino] or Mo last week. I didn't speak to Hendo [Jordan Henderson].

"I didn't ask. I just have to make decisions and then next time everyone knows someone else will play.

"The boys are a really smart group who look at the schedule. They know how it is."

Liverpool visit Salzburg on Tuesday needing to avoid defeat to reach the Champions League last 16.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has challenged his Manchester United players to raise their game against the Premier League's "lesser teams".

United picked up back-to-back wins over Tottenham and bitter rivals Manchester City in the space of four days to revive their domestic campaign.

The Red Devils also beat Chelsea 4-0 on the opening day of the season and are the only side to have taken a point off leaders Liverpool this term.

However, they have lost to two teams in the bottom six and drawn against two more struggling sides in Southampton and Aston Villa.

With games against bottom-half teams Everton, Watford and Burnley to come in three of their next four league outings, Solskjaer admitted a change of mentality may be required.

"If it's a mental thing, then we can sort it out," he said, according to several British newspapers. "We'll work with the mentality of the boys.

"For me, it's been very much about margins in those games. Some freak results that we can't control.

"But if you look behind the results, I'm not as negative as you are. I'm not so worried, so concerned. If the boys are then telling me they can't get up for these games then we've got a problem.

"Then I've really got to work with them because, when I played, that's how we won the league.

"We never gave points away against the lesser teams, the not-so-good teams. The Premier League is difficult – if you don't have that mentality you won't get results.

"You've got to earn the right to win. Sometimes you've got to earn it by passing quicker, winning the ball back – there are different ways of winning games of football."

A key part of United's success against Tottenham and City has been the improved form of Jesse Lingard, who was reprimanded earlier this year for a video posted on social media.

Lingard started both matches and Solskjaer is delighted with the way the United youth product has bounced back of late.

"He's Man United through and through," Solskjaer said. "He's a red, he's got a great attitude and a great work rate.

"Every one of us have things to deal with on the pitch and off the pitch and what he has had to deal with, that will be between us. It's great to see him back.

"You can criticise anyone about anything but for me as a manager, I have to look after these boys in the good and the bad times.

"It's great to work with him. I had him in the reserves, gave him his debut against Burnley. It's good to see him back to his old self."

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