Radu Albot, Trained on Wooden Courts of Moldova, Earns His Country’s First Title

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Radu Albot, Trained on Wooden Courts of Moldova, Earns His Country’s First TitleImageRadu Albot after one of his match victories this year. He became the first player from Moldova to win an ATP title on Sunday.CreditCreditPascal Guyot/Agence France-Presse — Getty ImagesBy Cindy Shmerler
Feb. 25, 2019DELRAY BEACH, Fla. — As Radu Albot became the first player from Moldova to win an ATP title on Sunday, his small home country in Eastern Europe was holding parliamentary elections.
Unlike four years ago, when he was in France for a tennis tournament and spent about $200 on a taxi to the Moldovan Embassy so he could cast a ballot, Albot said he could not make his way to a voting booth on Sunday.
This time, he was busy in the Delray Beach Open final, where he held off Dan Evans to capture the title, 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7), and earn $97,490, the biggest payday of his career.
Albot, 29, has been on tour for more than a decade but is only now hitting his stride. Entering the Delray Beach..

Nets 101, Spurs 85: Nets Stifle the Spurs, Holding Them to a Season Low in Points

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Nets 101, Spurs 85
Nets Stifle the Spurs, Holding Them to a Season Low in PointsImageThe Nets’ D’Angelo Russell driving against the Spurs’ Davis Bertans.CreditCreditKathy Willens/Associated PressBy The Associated Press
Feb. 25, 2019Worst scoring performance of the season. Worst rodeo road trip of any season.
The San Antonio Spurs have rarely looked this shaky so close to the playoffs.
D’Angelo Russell had 23 points, eight assists and seven rebounds, and the Nets beat the slumping Spurs, 101-85, on Monday night.
A night after their defense was absent in a loss to the Knicks at Madison Square Garden, the Spurs went across town and could not get their offense going. San Antonio was held to its lowest point total of the season and shot only 16.7 percent behind the 3-point arc, a season low for the N.B.A.’s leading 3-point shooting team.
Unable to get a win, the Spurs had to settle for a positive.
“I was very angry after the game last night. I’m very pleased about this game bec..

Raptors 120, Spurs 117: Spurs’ DeMar DeRozan Gets Cheers in Return to Toronto, but Raptors Get Win

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Raptors 120, Spurs 117
Spurs’ DeMar DeRozan Gets Cheers in Return to Toronto, but Raptors Get WinImageDeMar DeRozan of the Spurs received a standing ovation in his return to Toronto to face his former team, the Raptors, on Friday night. He scored 23 points in a loss.CreditCreditFrank Gunn/The Canadian Press, via Associated PressBy The Associated Press
Feb. 22, 2019TORONTO — Kawhi Leonard had the go-ahead dunk with 15 seconds left as the Toronto Raptors beat his former San Antonio Spurs teammates, 120-117, on Friday night, spoiling DeMar DeRozan’s return.
“Tonight was like a playoff game,” Leonard said. “We had to grind it out all the way to the end.”
Leonard scored 19 of his 25 points in the second half, and he combined with Kyle Lowry to strip DeRozan at midcourt before racing in alone for a one-handed slam.
“I knew they were going to be aggressive, trying to make a play on the ball and then foul,” DeRozan said. “I’ve just got to be more aware.”
Traded to San Antonio in t..

Timberwolves 115, Knicks 104: Timberwolves, Without Towns for First Time in 304 Games, Top Knicks

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Timberwolves 115, Knicks 104
Timberwolves, Without Towns for First Time in 304 Games, Top KnicksImageDerrick Rose of the Timberwolves, putting up a shot over the Knicks’ Mitchell Robinson, had 20 points against his former team on Friday night.CreditCreditFrank Franklin Ii/Associated PressBy The Associated Press
Feb. 22, 2019Derrick Rose scored 20 points against his former team, Taj Gibson added a season-high 19, and the Minnesota Timberwolves overcame the first missed game of Karl-Anthony Towns’s career to beat the host Knicks, 115-104, on Friday night.
Towns’s streak of 303 starts was snapped when he was placed in the concussion protocol after a car accident. Towns, the top overall draft pick in 2015, was able to fly to New York after the accident Thursday in Minnesota, but was ruled out after further medical examination Friday.
His streak of starts was the longest to begin a career since the N.B.A. began keeping track of starts in 1970-71. He just appeared in his second ..

Dustin Johnson Steadily Takes Control at Mexico Championship

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Dustin Johnson Steadily Takes Control at Mexico ChampionshipImageDustin Johnson had a putt for birdie on every hole during the second round of the Mexico Championship on Friday.CreditCreditMarco Ugarte/Associated PressBy Field Level Media
Feb. 22, 2019Dustin Johnson shot his second consecutive bogey-free round to build a two-shot lead at 11-under-par 131 after two rounds of the Mexico Championship in Mexico City.
Trailing Rory McIlroy by one shot entering the second round, Johnson found himself four shots back after McIlroy birdied three of his first four holes. But Johnson, who had a putt for birdie on every hole, continued his steady play at Chapultepec Golf Club while McIlroy ran into midround trouble, finishing Friday in a tie for second at 9 under with Matt Kuchar (67).
Because McIlroy got into the clubhouse first with his 1-under 70 on Friday, he will be paired with Johnson in the final group on Saturday. Kuchar will be paired with Sergio García (66), who is tied for..

On Pro Football: What Will the N.F.L. Do About Robert Kraft This Time?

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On Pro Football
What Will the N.F.L. Do About Robert Kraft This Time?ImageRoger Goodell, left, and Robert K. Kraft have long had a tenuous relationship.CreditCreditMike Ehrmann/Getty ImagesBy Ken Belson
Feb. 22, 2019Roger Goodell began his tenure as commissioner of the N.F.L. in 2006 declaring that disciplining the league’s 2,000 players for their transgressions would be a priority. True to his word, the number of suspensions and fines rose, and it remains high relative to what it was.
Disciplining owners, though, has been more complicated. As with players, the N.F.L. constitution gives the league commissioner broad authority to penalize owners for “conduct detrimental to the welfare of the League or professional football.”
But while the players essentially work for Goodell, and have little leverage to influence his decisions, Goodell works for the owners, and those owners include Robert K. Kraft of the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots.
Kraft, 77, was charged on Fr..

Robinson Cano is Getting a Fresh Start, as the Mets’ Oldest Player

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Robinson Cano is Getting a Fresh Start, as the Mets’ Oldest PlayerImageMets second baseman Robinson Cano at spring training camp. “I feel like I’m 25,” said Cano, who is 36 and older than any of his new teammates.CreditCreditSteve Mitchell/USA Today Sports, via ReutersBy Kevin Armstrong
Feb. 22, 2019PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — Robinson Cano adjusted his neon orange batting gloves, strapped blue protective guards around his right shin and elbow, then took a step toward home plate to face live pitching on Wednesday. Before Cano could take a full swing, Mets Manager Mickey Callaway made a request of his new second baseman.
“Hey, man,” Callaway said. “Try not to kill the pitchers today.”
Cano smiled. Already in rhythm less than a week into spring training, he had rocketed balls back up the middle in a previous session. Pitcher Jason Vargas, a left-hander, proceeded to throw inside to Cano, who stepped back to avoid being hit. Vargas expressed frustration about his control and apolo..

On College Basketball: Zion Williamson Will Be Fine, but His Teammates Might Not Be

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On College Basketball
Zion Williamson Will Be Fine, but His Teammates Might Not BeImageZion Williamson of Duke with his teammates on Wednesday at Cameron Indoor Stadium.CreditCreditStreeter Lecka/Getty ImagesBy Marc Tracy
Feb. 22, 2019When Zion Williamson of Duke went down with a severed shoe and a sprained knee 30 seconds into Wednesday night’s showdown with North Carolina, it was bad news for plenty involved. Williamson now has to deal with an injury. Duke had to play its archrival without its best player and duly lost, 88-72. Nike faced questions about its product’s apparent failure.
But ESPN, broadcasting the contest as part of its multibillion-dollar deal with the Atlantic Coast Conference, did just fine. The game’s biggest star was injured for nearly 99 percent of the game, yet on Thursday, the network reported that the rivalry had produced its highest-ever ratings for a weeknight college basketball game.
The episode crystallized the economic limitations that N.C.A.A..

Patriots Owner Robert Kraft Charged in Florida Prostitution Investigation

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Patriots Owner Robert Kraft Charged in Florida Prostitution InvestigationVideoRobert Kraft, the owner of the New England Patriots, was charged with two counts of soliciting sex from a prostitute. The charges were part of a broad investigation into prostitution and human trafficking in day spas and massage parlors in Florida.CreditCreditDoug Mills/The New York TimesBy Kevin Draper, Patricia Mazzei and Mark Leibovich
Feb. 22, 2019Robert K. Kraft, the billionaire owner of the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots, was charged on Friday with two counts of soliciting sex as part of a wide-ranging investigation into prostitution and suspected human trafficking in South Florida.
The charges against Mr. Kraft, 77, in Jupiter, Fla., came after the police used video surveillance to observe activity inside several day spas and massage parlors. The police said that the parlors were used for prostitution, and that many of the women involved were considered to be victims.
The investi..

In 1969, or 2019, Sailing Round the World Alone Is Vexing

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In 1969, or 2019, Sailing Round the World Alone Is VexingImageJean-Luc Van Den Heede, 73, is one of only two sailors to have finished the solo, round-the-world Golden Globe Race this year.CreditCreditSebastien Salom Gomis/Agence France-Presse — Getty ImagesBy Chris Museler
Feb. 22, 2019In 1968, nine sailors set out to compete in the Sunday Times Golden Globe Race, the first organized, solo, nonstop, round-the-world race. They were heading into the unknown, with no idea how their sailboats or their minds would cope with almost a year in isolation.
Some boats broke down, forcing them out of the race. Sailors crumbled under the emotional strain. One competitor, Donald Crowhurst, attempted to fake his circumnavigation, and then simply disappeared, abandoning his boat in the Atlantic.
Robin Knox-Johnston was the only finisher, returning on April 22, 1969, after 312 days at sea.
To mark the race’s 50th anniversary, another Golden Globe Race was planned. Organizers thought this o..