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the firing of head coach Alain Vigneault
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ldh2013

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OKLAHOMA CITY - Kevin Durant stood before his adoring home crowd, proudly holding his MVP trophy above his head during a pregame ceremony. He spent the next few hours showing how he earned it. Durant had 32 points, 12 rebounds and nine assists, and the Oklahoma City Thunder beat the Los Angeles Clippers 112-101 on Wednesday night to tie their Western Conference semifinal series at one game apiece. "We wanted to come back and respond," Durant said. "So, I think thats what fueled the team tonight. We just went out there and played extremely well and left it all out there, and came out with a good W." During his emotional MVP acceptance speech on Tuesday, Durant called teammate Russell Westbrook an MVP-calibre player. Westbrook backed up Durants words with 31 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists for his third triple-double in his past five playoff games. "I think Russ played harder than all of us combined," Clippers guard Chris Paul said. "He was all over the place." Thunder coach Scott Brooks took Durant out of the game with 1:21 remaining, costing him a shot at the triple-double. According to information provided to the Thunder by the Elias Sports Bureau, no pair of teammates has had triple-doubles in the same playoff game. Serge Ibaka and Thabo Sefolosha each scored 14 points for the Thunder, who shot 51 per cent from the field and outrebounded the Clippers 52-36. "It was the perfect storm," Clippers guard Jamal Crawford said. "They did everything they could to win, and they got everything they wanted tonight. That wasnt the Clippers team weve been and Im sure well get back on track." J.J. Redick scored 18 points, Paul had 17 points and 11 assists, and Blake Griffin added 15 points for the Clippers. Los Angeles made 15 of 29 3-pointers in Game 1, but just 9 of 27 in Game 2. The Clippers will host Game 3 Friday in Los Angeles. Durant scored 17 points on 7-for-11 shooting in the first quarter to help the Thunder take a 37-28 lead. Paul, who scored 17 points in the opening quarter of Game 1, went scoreless in the first quarter of Game 2 and watched most of the period from the bench with two fouls as the Thunder took control early. Oklahoma City got an offensive boost from an unlikely source in the third quarter Sefolosha, a defensive stopper. He hit a mid-range jumper, then dunked after a steal by Westbrook to give the Thunder a 78-66 lead. Sefolosha dunked again, then got a steal that led to a 3-pointer by Westbrook and gave Oklahoma City a 90-73 advantage. Sefolosha, who had averaged just 3.7 points in the playoffs, scored 12 points in the quarter to help the Thunder take a 94-77 lead into the fourth. Clippers coach Doc Rivers said he expected Durant and Westbrook to score, but not Sefolosha. "We can win if they (Durant and Westbrook) both have good offensive games," Rivers said. "What we cant do is then give them that plus everything else. And I thought thats what happened tonight." Westbrook clinched his triple-double with 1:21 remaining when he was credited with an assist after a pass to Sefolosha, who took two dribbles on his drive to the basket. Rivers said the Thunder were the aggressors. "Every single possession, you have to have great focus and you have to be locked in, and today we were not," he said. "I thought it was because of all the clutter today. Were upset at the officials, were upset at everything instead of turning our anger on the opponent and focus. Tonight we just didnt have it." Notes: A power surge took out much of the arenas lighting with 27.2 seconds left in the first half. The coaches agreed to finish out the half with the limited lighting. The power returned, but halftime was extended briefly to give the lights the necessary 15 minutes to return to full brightness. ... Rapper Jay-Z attended the game. ... 2K Sports has announced that Durant will be the lone player on the cover of NBA 2K15. He shared the cover of 2K13 with Griffin and Chicagos Derrick Rose. Miamis LeBron James was on the cover of 2K14. ... Commissioner Adam Silver presented Durant with the MVP trophy before the game. ... Thunder C Steven Adams was called for a technical foul with 9:17 remaining for falling on Paul after biting on a pump fake and knocking him into the Thunder bench. Crawford was issued a technical with 7:28 to play, and Paul was given one with 2:24 remaining. ... Severe weather affected the area, and fans were told to stay in the arena after the game to allow the weather to pass.
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. There is also the Genoa derby on Sunday, while second-place Roma hosts Parma looking to take advantage of any more slip-ups from Juventus. Here are five things to know about the Italian league ahead of this weekends matches: LLORENTE ON SONGThe last time Juventus hosted Inter Milan the visitors ended the Bianconeris impressive streak of 49 games unbeaten with a 3-1 victory.
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. Maria Silvia Bastos Marques, president of the EOM (Municipal Olympic Company), will be leaving her post but will remain as an advisor, a city hall statement said Tuesday.
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. Maxime Presseaults goal at 13:59 of the second period broke a 2-2 deadlock for the Foreurs, who trailed the series 3-2 before winning back-to-back games, and Guillaume Gelinas and Pierre-Maxime Poudrier also scored.
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. -- Canadian Kevin Pangos had 18 points, Drew Barham matched his career high with 17 points off the bench, and Gonzaga beat Pacific 70-53 on Thursday night to clinch the outright West Coast Conference regular season title.
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. A CFL source told TSNs Matthew Scianitti that Smith will re-sign with the Toronto Argonauts.Mike Gillis is out as the president and general manager of the Vancouver Canucks. After helping the Canucks to five straight Northwest Division titles, Gillis saw the team miss the playoffs this season for the first time in six years. TSNs Farhan Lalji has been told that Trevor Linden will be named the Canucks president on Wednesday. Lalji also added via Twitter that, "Im also told there is a buyout provision in Gillis contract whereby the Canucks only need to pay half of the $8 million remaining on his deal." He added that there is a similar provision in head coach John Tortorellas deal if he also gets let go at some point. Canucks chairman and governor Francesco Aquilini will discuss the move further in a news conference that can be seen live on TSN2, TSN.ca and TSN GO on Wednesday at 1:30pm et/10:30am pt. "On behalf of my entire family, I would like to sincerely thank Mike Gillis for his hard work and the many contributions he made on and off the ice during his tenure," said Aquilini in a statement on Tuesday. "The Vancouver Canucks had success under Mikes leadership, and we nearly reached our ultimate goal; but I believe we have reached a point where a change in leadership and new voice is needed. "I also want to thank our fans for their support for the Vancouver Canucks through a difficult and frustrating season. We havent met their expectations or ours. We are committed to bringing the Stanley Cup to Vanncouver for our fans and we will continue to do everything possible to reach that goal.dddddddddddd." After losing Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final in 2011, the Canucks have won only one playoff game in the two following postseasons. The Canucks 2013 playoff exit led to the firing of head coach Alain Vigneault and the signing of former New York Rangers head coach John Tortorella to a five-year contract. Gillis has very publicly been dealing with his goaltending situation in recent years. Cory Schneider was named the starting goalie going into the 2012-13 season after the team was unable to trade Roberto Luongo and his long-term contract. Schneider, however, was traded to the New Jersey Devils at the 2013 NHL Draft, putting Luongo back in the starters role for the 2013-14 season. But the struggling Canucks would finally deal Luongo prior to this seasons Mar. 5 trade deadline, sending the 35-year-old back to the Florida Panthers and leaving unproven Eddie Lack as the starting goaltender down the stretch. Gillis received the General Manager of the Year Award in 2011 after the team set a franchise record with 117 points in the regular season and won the Clarence Campbell Bowl as the Western Conference Champions. After a 2011-12 season that saw the Presidents Trophy-winning Canucks upset by the eighth-seeded Los Angeles Kings in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, Gillis was signed to a contract extension. ' ' '
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the firing of head coach Alain Vigneault
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