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LeBron James and Savannah Brinson kept their wedding as private as possible over the weekend, prohibiting phones and using umbrellas to protect the identity of people arriving, according to the Associated Press. But the two-time NBA champion and four-time NBA MVP hasn't been shying away from sharing pictures from his honeymoon.

James posted a couple of pictures from their visit to Italy onto his Instagram account.

Los Angeles Clippers, Chris Paul Will Miss Chauncey Billups This Upcoming Season

When the Los Angeles Clippers traded for Chris Paul and signed veteran point guard Chauncey Billups, many wondered how two alpha male All-Stars playing the same position could co-exist on a team in dire need of a clear leader. Yet, the Clipper took it one step further and started the season with both Paul and Billups on the floor together, and why not? Billups is a champion and Paul is a prodigy. They’re two unselfish players who take losing personal, and lose sleep over close victories. Paul is a closer in the game. Billups is simply an NBA champion with the tendency to hit big shots when the opposing team could least afford it. Together you have two great defenders, pure shooters and born leaders. A brilliant move by the Clippers’ organization, but one that was cut short when Billups suffered a season-ending injury early. Billups is now a Detroit Piston again, and Paul’s backcourt mate is J.J. Redick. The former Orlando Magic guard has not been in enough edge-on-your-seat moments to have an idea of what to expect when history is in the balance.

Therefore, in terms of clutch, he’s N/A. When Billups and Paul were on the floor, Billups could be looked upon as teams “go-to,” even with a future Hall of Fame point guard like Paul on the floor. Redick will indeed spread the floor and take some pressure off of Paul, but he’s a bit of a liability because Paul is crucial to his productivity. This is not a Redick problem, it’s a personnel problem. Paul needs another playmaker within the first unit. He has sufficient scorers around him, but he’ll never have the luxury of taking a play or two off without taking a seat next to coach Doc Rivers.

Minnesota Timberwolves’ Ricky Rubio Excited About Possibilities in 2013-14

Many were unsure if Minnesota Timberwolves head coach Rick Adelman would return to lead the team during the 2013-14 NBA season. The reason for that was because his wife had health issues at the end of last season that clearly put a strain on the coach. However, his return has excited many in the organization, especially point guard Ricky Rubio. “It’s great news,” Rubio said of Adelman’s return, according to “He’s great for us. He’s doing a great job. He had a tough time last season but I’m just happy because I owe a lot to him. I love the way he wants us to play.” The Timberwolves were definitely a disappointment last season after the team finished with a 31-51 record. However, it is a new year in which Minnesota will be able to turnover a new leaf. The hope is that Rubio will be able to take a huge step in the right direction in his third season in the league.

Obviously, the 22-year-old has been considered a disappointment after being the fifth overall selection in the 2009 NBA Draft. There is no question he will have to step his game up in order for the team to be successful. Being the point guard and one of the faces of the team, Rubio must make leading the team a top priority. The Timberwolves also hope that the addition of free agent Kevin Martin will make a huge difference on offense. Not to mention, the presence of Kevin Love and Nikola Pekovic will continue to do wonders for the team on both sides of the court. Obviously, the possibilities are endless for Minnesota as long as the chemistry is sound. If the team is not successful, they have no one to blame but themselves.

* Kevin Love posts a throwback pic of him and Russell Westbrook *

Yankees honor Mariano Rivera in pregame ceremony

"I think it means a lot," manager Joe Girardi told reporters on what he thought the honoring ceremony would mean to Rivera. "I think that as time goes on, it will mean even more, as he has a chance to digest everything that's gone on this year, what the Yankees have meant to him, what he's meant to the Yankees."

Girardi caught Rivera in the clinching game of the 1996 World Series, and 17 years later, Girardi leaned on his 43-year-old closer to keep his fading team in the pennant race, asking him to pitch repeatedly on back-to-back days, earn multi-inning saves, at 43 years old. Rivera's September ERA? 2.45.

"I think it just tells you who he is," Girardi, now 48 and retired for a decade, said. "He does everything he possibly can to be successful. He prepares himself physically, mentally. To be able to do that at 43 is mind-boggling to me. I really believe that in our lifetime, I don't know that we'll be able to say that about another pitcher."

That sense, of an era ending, permeated the stadium hours before first pitch. The customary call of "Programs!" was rendered unnecessary, with the largest lines, by far for that particular keepsake. No one, with Rivera's retirement, will ever wear it again, and Jackie Robinson's wife, Rachel, and daughter Sharon, stood with Rivera as he was honored.

"I thought it would be a special day to share with him," Tommy Little said, dressed head to toe in Yankees gear and carrying Dylan, 2, in his arms. Little was merely one of many parents carrying tiny Yankee fans around the stadium, wanting their children to have a link to a great among greats. "He's only two, but he knows the Yankees, and he cheers for the Yankees." Dylan, unprompted, illustrated with an enthusiastic "Go Yankees!"

Jurgen Klinsmann: USMNT making progress but have to "be realistic" about 2014 World Cup

The US national team are “raising the bar” and learning how to compete with the world's best, but they won't be raising the World Cup trophy in Brazil next summer, said head coach Jurgen Klinsmann on Saturday night.

Speaking to NBC Sports Network's Russ Thaler and Kyle Martino at halftime of the LA Galaxy vs. Seattle Sounders match at StubHub Center, Klinsmann was his usual upbeat self as he discussed the impressive progress made by the USMNT during his two-plus years in charge – until Thaler put him on the spot with the final question of the brief interview.

“We're just growing in terms of what our demands are. We are raising the bar,” said Klinsmann of the US, who have qualified for Brazil 2014 with two games to spare. “We say we want to compete with the best in the world one day, we want to get into the top 10 in the world.

READ: American Exports: Orozco Fiscal shines, but Beasley picks up injury worry

“We asked the players to step it up, and we threw them in the cold water – and they were swimming in the cold water here and there.”

But when asked whether his team, when playing at its best, can win the world's most popular tournament, Klinsmann showed the limits of his optimism.

“No, you've got to be realistic,” he said. “I mean, I think we have the potential, obviously like in the past, to get out of the group stage – it depends, obviously, who you have in your group – and then it's all down to 50-50 games. Then you give the real battles in the knockout stage.

“But why not going a bit further than you ever did before? Why not giving the big nations, whoever that is, a real battle? And that's why we play those friendlies in Italy or we play in Bosnia or wherever against top teams in the world, and we showed that we can compete there. So why not in the World Cup?”

Clearly not content with the team's status quo, Klinsmann underlined his intentions to go full bore in search of a maximum six points from next month's qualifiers despite the US having already booked their place in Brazil, and hailed the contributions MLS has made to the national team under his watch.

“It's very important that your domestic league gets stronger and stronger, and we all have to help in doing that. So I'm not afraid of bringing MLS players in, giving them a chance and telling them, 'listen, if you make a mistake, so what? It's no problem. We all make mistakes,'” he said.

“The growth of MLS is crucial to the national team – [and] our success is crucial for soccer in the entire country. I call the national team the locomotive of soccer in the country, and therefore you work hand in hand.”

Serena Williams best ever, but I'm closing gap, says Victoria Azarenka

Azarenka, who has held the world's top ranking, called her 7-5, 6-7, 6-1 defeat at the US Open a "learning experience" but pointed to two victories over Williams in 2013 as evidence she had the game to threaten the dominance of the 17-time grand slam singles champion.
Agence-France Presse | Last updated on Sunday, 22 September 2013 16:41 Print font size - +
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Serena Williams may pack a knockout punch and be the greatest player ever to grace women's tennis, according to Victoria Azarenka, but the world number two insists she is steadily closing the gap.

Azarenka suffered another bruising loss to the mighty American in the US Open final earlier this month in a repeat of the 2012 championship match in New York.

But the Belarusian quickly climbed off the canvas, saying she was over it in 24 hours.

"Serena is the best ever to me," Azarenka told AFP on Sunday in an interview before her opening match at the Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo.

"I cannot judge somebody who I never played before but for me overall the game of tennis has elevated and the evolution of the game raised up so much that it's hard to compare.

"It's like comparing Muhammad Ali and Floyd Mayweather," the 24-year-old added.

"How can you compare two eras? They're both the greatest in the world but who was the better boxer?"

Despite defeat at Flushing Meadows and the enduring brilliance of Williams, Azarenka was in buoyant mood.

"Serena is playing the best tennis of her life and so am I," she said.

"It's been really noticeable the gap from last year we have in the matches has minimised. I've beaten her twice this year. No one else has done that.

"It's just exciting to be in the era of somebody and competing with somebody who is considered the best ever and being their toughest opponent."

Azarenka, who has held the world's top ranking, called her 7-5, 6-7, 6-1 defeat at the US Open a "learning experience" but pointed to two victories over Williams in 2013 as evidence she had the game to threaten the dominance of the 17-time grand slam singles champion.

"Serena is always improving," twice Australian Open champion Azarenka said of her nemesis, who turns 32 this week.

"This is the beauty of the competition. It's a healthy competition and you have to rise to the occasion and really step it up (to) the next level if you want to be up there. Serena's still not done."

Azarenka, whose head-to-head record against Williams is still a lopsided 3-13, said of her latest schooling: "I was over it the next day.

"I have a 24-hour rule, win or lose. You have to get up and keep going."

Her latest tussle with Williams was also a noisy affair, the ferocity of their hitting pushing the grunt-o-metre off the scale.

"In tennis it's weird because everybody keeps complaining that people grunt but if you watch any other sport (they do)," she said with a laugh.

"It's the same with the guys' tennis. You watch (Rafa) Nadal and (Novak) Djokovic. I mean how less intense was that (US Open final)? And nobody talks about it. This doesn't make sense in my head.

"You take each other to the limit of battle and give 100 percent in every point and when you play in the final of the US Open against a player like Serena you've got to do that because that's what she does and that's how she pushes you."

Preparing for Tokyo, Azarenka showed her playful side with a parody of American pop diva Miley Cyrus's controversial MTV Video Music Awards performance on her Instagram account.

"I just thought it was a really funny video to do," she said of her effort at 'twerking'.

"I'm never afraid to show my personality. I'm an entertainer myself. I was a little shy before. Now I'm out of that zone I just want to show my world with my fans."

Weighing in on the debate raging over Cyrus, Azarenka smiled: "It's up to everybody. I have different tastes. She's definitely not my role model."

Dusty Rhodes To Wrestle At WWE Battleground?, Plans For Babyface Stars On Next Week's RAW

As noted, Dolph Ziggler has earned a future United States Title shot against Dean Ambrose after defeating him in a non-title match on last night's RAW. Ziggler may not get his title shot at next month's Battleground pay-per-view as Dave Meltzer noted on Wrestling Observer Radio that there is talk of doing a match with The Shield vs. The Rhodes Family at Battleground.

The Rhodes team would be made up of Goldust, Cody Rhodes and Dusty Rhodes. WWE using Dusty in the match is still up in the air. - The idea for next week's RAW is that the top babyface Superstars who came to Daniel Bryan's aid at the end of last night's show will be punished. Some of the stars who made the save were Kofi Kingston, Rob Van Dam, Darren Young, Titus O'Neil and others.

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