Sports Digest: Basketball Hall of Famer Paul Westphal dies

Paul Westphal speaks at the Basketball Hall of Fame enshrinement ceremony in Springfield, Mass. in 2019. Elise Amendola/Associated Press

BASKETBALL

Paul Westphal, a Hall of Fame player who won a championship with the Boston Celtics in 1974 and later coached in the league and in college, has died. He was 70.

The Phoenix Suns confirmed Westphal’s death in a statement Saturday. No cause was given, although he had been diagnosed with brain cancer last August.

A five-time All-Star guard, Westphal played in the NBA from 1972-84. After winning a championship with the Celtics, he made the finals in 1976 with Phoenix. He also played for Seattle and the New York Knicks.

After his playing career ended, Westphal moved into coaching. He led the Suns to the NBA finals in 1993, and also was head coach of Seattle and Sacramento. At the college level, he coached at Southwestern Baptist Bible College (now Arizona Christian University), Grand Canyon and Pepperdine.

He was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2019.

He is survived by his wife, Cindy, and two children.

SOCCER

ENGLAND: Just as the Premier League grapples with a spike in coronavirus cases wiping out matches, an illegal gathering involving four players from Tottenham and West Ham for a Christmas party has been exposed.

It wasn’t just a breach of lockdown regulations and embarrassing for their clubs and league officials who have persuaded the government to allow games to continue as coronavirus infections surge to daily records in Britain.

There was a risk of contracting COVID-19 when Tottenham trio Erik Lamela, Sergio Reguilon and Giovani Lo Celso, and West Ham’s Manuel Lanzini mingled indoors with family and friends. That potentially exposed teams and opponents to the coronavirus.

The image of the party – showing the group posing without any social distancing – was discovered on Instagram and published Saturday just as Tottenham was preparing to play Leeds.

• Son Heung-min scored his 100th Tottenham goal in a 3-0 victory over Leeds that ended a four-game winless run and sent Jose Mourinho’s side up to third place, four points behind Liverpool and Manchester United.

Son also set up the third with a corner headed in by Toby Alderweireld five minutes into the second half.

• Struggling Brighton fought back from two goals down to snatch a point in a thrilling 3-3 draw with Wolverhampton.

Captain Lewis Dunk nodded in the home side’s 70th-minute equalizer at the Amex Stadium after Neal Maupay’s penalty early in the second half sparked a seemingly unlikely comeback.

• A wonder goal from Ebere Eze helped Crystal Palace return to winning ways and inflict more misery on Sheffield United with a 2-0 victory.

Roy Hodgson’s side had not tasted success since thrashing West Brom at the start of December but two first-half goals – from Eze and Jeffrey Schlupp – saw the Eagles triumph in their first match of the year.

SPAIN: Lionel Messi is back in Barcelona’s squad for its league game at Huesca on Sunday.

Messi watched last round’s 1-1 draw with Eibar from the stands at Camp Nou because of an unspecified problem related to his right ankle.

Barcelona Coach Ronald Koeman said Saturday that Messi is “ready, happy and eager” to play.

Messi has not played since a 3-0 win over Valladolid on Dec. 22, when he scored his 644th career goal for Barcelona to overtake Pelé’s all-time scoring milestone for their clubs.

LUGE

MEN’S WORLD CUP: Felix Loch extended his lead in the men’s singles standings, winning the first major race where U.S. sliders took part since before the pandemic began, in Konigssee, Germany.

Loch won for the sixth time in seven races this season, and is now 5-for-5 in full two-run competitions. He extended his lead to 235 points over fellow German Johannes Ludwig in the overall standings with five races remaining. Luge awards 100 standings points for wins, 85 for second place, 70 for third and numbers continue decreasing from there.

Russia’s Roman Repilov was second, and Ludwig took third.

Chris Mazdzer was 15th and Jonny Gustafson took 20th for the U.S., which rejoined the World Cup circuit this week after sitting out the first half of the season because of the coronavirus pandemic and concerns about travel.


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