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K.D. and friends won the weekend.
It was a big weekend for the United States in terms of international competition, with the start of the FIBA World Basketball Championships on Saturday and the final of the Little League World Series Sunday. Like everyone who’s ever played a sport, the Teams USA found out … you win some and you lose some.
Kevin Durant and his USA Basketball friends won some this weekend, going 2-0 with wins over Croatia (US 106, Croatia 78 on Saturday) and Slovenia (US 99, Slovenia 77 on Sunday). As expected, Durant was the star. But Kevin Love added a big burst, tallying 10 points and 11 rebounds in 13 minutes off the bench. Rumors that, after the game, Durant went online and purchased this shirt are still unconfirmed.
In the Little League Worlds Series, a different Team USA – this time the Little Leaguers from Hawaii, who beat Texas, 10-0, in five innings Saturday to make it to the final – lost some. Hawaii faced Japan in the title game but lost, 4-1, ending the United States' five-year reign as World Series champions. Japan won its eighth LLWS title and its first since 2003. Another winner? Instant replay, which officials said worked out very well – only delaying the games a collective 52 seconds! – and will likely be kept in its current form next year. Another bonus? No players burst into flames, like they do in the video game version.
From the little guys to the Bigs, the White Sox retired Frank Thomas’ No. 35 on Sunday afternoon as part of “Frank Thomas Day” (we couldn’t find a Frank Thomas Day card at Hallmark, but maybe this gem from 1992 will suffice). Who were the big winners on Frank Thomas Day? Well, not the White Sox – the Yankees beat them, 2-1. But Thomas himself had quite the day, giving a tearful speech after seeing his number unveiled. The other lucky winners? The first 10,000 fans at U.S. Cellular Field who received a Frank Thomas bobble-head Sunday afternoon. Do you live in Chicago and weren’t one of the first 10,000 fans there? No worries! Due to the popularity of Big Hurt Bobble-head Night, the White Sox said they’ll schedule two additional Thomas bobblehead giveaways in 2011. Mark your calendars now.
Speaking of old guys (kidding!) Randy Couture defeated former heavyweight boxer James Toney at UFC 118 Saturday, making Couture the oldest fighter to win a UFC bout (47 years and 67 days). The fight lasted all of 3 minutes, 19 seconds as Randy took James down with a first-round arm-triangle choke. And, perhaps inspired, Shaq tried to find himself an MMA opponent as well.
In other news, The Barclays didn’t turn out to be Tiger’s comeback event, but it did hold good fortune for Matt Kuchar, who beat Martin Laird in a playoff to take the win; it looks like Manny’s taking his act to Chicago’s South Side – said a league source Sunday with knowledge of the situation on condition of anonymity, at least; the Rays dealt the Red Sox a damaging blow to their playoff hopes by winning their series in Tampa Bay; and preseason football came to an end with uncertainly about Donovan McNabb’s status as the starter for the season opener, the Bengals releasing receiver Antonio Bryant, and the Broncos beating the Steelers, 34-17, complete with the home debut of one Mr. Tim Tebow. Whose ready for NFL Week 1?!?