Bryant leads Lakers to 15th NBA title

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP)—Kobe Bryant jumped and punched the air. He did it again, seven years of pent up frustration freed in a fit of joy.

This was the one he wanted more than all the others.The one to top them all.

One year after failing miserably in the finals against Boston, Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers found redemption. They finished a season they felt was theirs with a 99-86 win over the Orlando Magic on Sunday night in Game 5 to win the 15th NBA title in franchise history.

For Bryant, this was the missing piece from his resume, his fourth championship and first without former teammate Shaquille O’Neal.

“I don’t have to hear that criticism, that idiotic criticism anymore,” said Bryant, the finals MVP. “It was annoying.”
For Lakers coach Phil Jackson, this was title No. 10, moving him past legendary Celtics coach Red Auerbach for the most by a coach in league history.

“I’ll smoke a cigar in honor of Red,” Jackson said. “He was a great guy.”

For Pau Gasol(notes). For Derek Fisher(notes). For Lamar Odom(notes). For Trevor Ariza(notes) and for Andrew Bynum(notes) and the rest of the Lakers, this was a title to savor.

“It’s a dream come true,” Gasol said. “The completion of a goal.”

Odom scored 17 points, Ariza had 15, Gasol 14 and 15 rebounds, and Fisher, whose two big 3s in Game 4 saved L.A., had 13 points.

It took longer than Bryant expected, but he has stepped from O’Neal’s enormous shadow—at last.

Bryant averaged 32.4 points, 7.4 assists, 5.6 rebounds and more than a dozen cold-blooded glares per game. He wasn’t out to make friends in these finals, he was out for redemption. Throughout the playoffs, he didn’t smile. He just snarled and bared his teeth.

Howard, the Magic’s superhero center, was hardly a factor in Game 5. He scored 11 points and took just nine shots. Rashard Lewis(notes) scored 18 points, but was only 3 of 12 on 3s for Orlando, which after living on the 3, finally died by it.

The Magic went just 8 of 27 from long range.

When the game ended, Howard didn’t move. As his teammates headed to the locker room, Howard stayed on Orlando’s bench and watched as the Lakers celebrated on the Magic’s floor. Jameer Nelson(notes), Orlando’s point guard who came back for the finals after missing four months with a shoulder injury, finally joined him
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Murray beats Blake to win Queen's Club final

LONDON – Andy Murray defeated James Blake 7-5, 6-4 Sunday to win the Aegon Championships at Queen's Club for his first grass-court title.

The top-seeded Murray became the first British player to win the tournament since Bunny Austin in 1938, who then went on to become the last Briton to reach the Wimbledon final.

"I was quite nervous," Murray said. "People were telling me that no (Briton) had won here for 70-odd years so that got the nerves going, especially when I was serving for the match."

Murray took an early lead with a break in the third game, but Blake immediately evened it with a forehand winner down the line. Both players then easily held serve until 5-5, when Blake missed a forehand on break point.

The second set was equally competitive until Murray broke for a decisive 4-3 lead when a fierce return forced Blake to net a backhand volley.

"I didn't quite know what to expect, but this is some of the best tennis I've played in my life," said Murray, who did not drop a set all week. "I'm a long way from winning Wimbledon, but I feel confident. I'll try and not get too far ahead of myself and focus on my first match there, but if I play my best like I did this week, I've got a chance."

Blake said he was beaten by a better player, but that he was pleased with preparation for Wimbledon, which starts June 22.

"I had a good week," Blake said. "Playing on the grass, I always have a lot of fun playing here. I feel great. I've been working with my coach and trainer, and I know I'm doing the best preparation possible for Wimbledon. I'll be ready to play and feel great about my chances."

It was Murray's fourth title of the year, following victories in Doha, Rotterdam and Miami.

The sixth-seeded Blake was playing his third grass-court final, after finishing runner-up here in 2006 to Lleyton Hewitt and losing the Newport final in 2002 to Taylor Dent. He was seeking his first title since August 2007.

Defending champion Rafael Nadal pulled out of the tournament to rest his knees ahead of Wimbledon.

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Rossi pips Lorenzo to win Catalunya MotoGP

You don’t take your 99th career victory if your name isn’t Valentino Rossi, and you almost never see what happened in the final lap in today’s Catalunya race on the Montmel√≤ circuit, if the one of the rider’s involved last name isn’t Rossi.

Valentino Rossi took one of his greatest wins ever. Battling with his team-mate Jorge Lorenzo in the 25 lap race and on the final lap dived up on the inside of Lorenzo on the last corner, where no one ever passes, and won the race by a mere 0,095s and it was also the first race to be decided on the the last lap since Estoril, 2006.

World champion Valentino Rossi pipped Fiat Yamaha team-mate Jorge Lorenzo on the finish line in a thrilling finale to the Catalunya MotoGP.

Casey Stoner, who was suffering from severe stomach pains, was able to stay with the Yamaha pair matching lap for lap for the first 9 laps, but starting dropping off and was completely drained and exhausted when he got to the parc ferme, after holding off Andrea Dovizioso by 0,052s for third place.

With Lorenzo starting on pole, the two riders dominated the race throughout before exchanging the lead several times on the final lap.

But Italian Rossi eventually sealed victory by just 0.095 seconds in front of 90,000 fans in Barcelona -- the 99th win of his remarkable career.

Casey Stoner finished third, meaning that he, Rossi and Lorenzo are now all level at the top of the championship standings on 106 points.

Stoner's Ducati managed to hold off the challenge from Repsol Honda's Andrea Dovizioso, who finished fourth, while Loris Capirossi came fifth.

Daniel Pedrosa, Colin Edwards, Randy De Puniet, Mika Kallio and Nicky Hayden completed the top 10 on Sunday.

"It was a great battle, the two Yamahas were flying on this track," Rossi told BBC Sport. "After some laps I knew I had to fight and it was a great fight to the end, I wasn't sure of the result until the end."

Stoner revealed afterwards that he had not been fully fit. "I've been slowly getting a little more sore and sick each day, and I was cramping after the warm-up," he said.

"I was really afraid about finishing the the race -- halfway through I just gave up, I had nothing left, and I decided to just run for the points."
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