Paula Badosa made it two wins from two at the WTA Finals as she saw off a battling Maria Sakkari in straight sets.

In-form Badosa triumphed 7-6 (7-4) 6-4 in two hours and four minutes to win her eighth straight match, having come into the tournament on the back of her triumph at Indian Wells.

Permutations for the last round of group-stage matches in Guadalajara will become clearer after Aryna Sabalenka has taken on Iga Swiatek later on Saturday.

But after beating Sabalenka and Sakkari without dropping a set, Badosa looks all but certain to reach the semi-finals on her debut appearance at the event.

In the first meeting between the two players, Badosa led 5-2 only to be forced into an opening-set tie-break by Sakkari, who then undid her hard work by losing the first four points of the breaker, with the Spaniard ultimately sealing the first set courtesy of a fine forehand.

Badosa struck first again with a break early in the second set and although Sakkari was able to level matters at 4-4, her opponent broke decisively immediately after before serving it out, converting her third match point with a backhand winner.

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS 

Sakkari – 25/49
Badosa – 23/22

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS 

Sakkari – 1/4
Badosa – 10/6

BREAK POINTS WON 

Sakkari – 2/5
Badosa – 3/12

Carlos Alcaraz rounded off a superb 2021 by claiming the ATP Next Gen Finals title with a straight-sets victory over Sebastian Korda.

Alcaraz produced a performance in keeping with a breakthrough year for the Spaniard, prevailing 4-3 (7-5) 4-2 4-2 in Milan.

It marked Alcaraz's 32nd tour-level win of a year that also saw him reach the quarter-finals of the US Open.

The 18-year-old is the youngest player to claim 32 wins in a year since 1992, when Andrei Medvedev achieved the feat at 18.

Alcaraz faced five break points in his first two service games but had to stave off just one more the rest of the way.

He did fall 0-30 behind when serving for the match, yet Korda could not deny Alcaraz his second Tour title of the year.

"It is amazing," Alcaraz said in his on-court interview. "To be able to win this tournament means a lot to me.

"I am so excited right now and emotional. I was very, very nervous at the start.

"I had to be calm to save the break points. I know Korda is serving very well, so I had to play my best in those moments.

"It went 0-30 on my serve. So I had to be focused in that moment and I had to stay calm. It was really, really tough."

The Tennessee Titans have placed wide receiver Julio Jones on injured reserve.

Jones has battled a hamstring injury this season, limiting his impact for the Titans, who acquired him in a trade with the Atlanta Falcons in June. 

The seven-time Pro Bowler, who was limited to nine games with the Falcons last year because of injury, has made 21 catches for 336 yards in six games for the Titans.

He will now have to miss at least three games before being allowed to return.

The Titans sit atop the AFC having compiled a 7-2 record through the first nine games.

Jones will miss this Sunday's clash with the New Orleans Saints as well as meetings with the Houston Texans and New England Patriots.

His absence places further pressure on quarterback Ryan Tannehill and leading receiver A.J. Brown to carry the offense, which had already lost star running back Derrick Henry to a fractured foot.

Aaron Rodgers is off the reserve/COVID-19 list and should feature for the Green Bay Packers in Sunday's clash with the Seattle Seahawks.

Rodgers was absent against the Kansas City Chiefs after testing positive for COVID-19. The quarterback is unvaccinated.

The Packers missed their talisman, with a 13-7 loss ending their seven-game winning streak. Green Bay have now scored seven or fewer points twice this season, tied for second most in the NFL.

They have, however, scored 24 or more in seven games, also tied for second most in the NFL, and Rodgers' return will provide a timely boost for the Week 10 meeting with Seattle, who have lost nine straight games against Green Bay in a run stretching back to 2003 (including playoffs).

Rodgers played in all eight of Green Bay's opening games and threw for 17 touchdowns and just three interceptions.

The 37-year-old does have a toe problem and has been added to the injury report, though does not have a game-status designation for this weekend, suggesting he should be fit to feature.

Earlier this week, the Packers and Rodgers were fined by the NFL after the league opened an investigation following the positive coronavirus cases, with wide receiver Allen Lazard having also contracted the virus. 

The review found that the pair had violated protocols by not wearing masks inside the Packers' facility and also by attending a Halloween party. 

Isaac Yiadom has also been taken off the reserve/COVID-19 list, while La'Darius Hamilton has been released by the Packers, general manager Brian Gutekunst confirmed.

Max Verstappen extended his championship lead but was pipped to pole for the Brazilian Grand Prix by Valtteri Bottas, who won Saturday's sprint qualifying race. 

Red Bull driver Verstappen started in first after Lewis Hamilton had his result from Friday's qualifying session – in which he went fastest – ruled out due to a DRS infringement but was denied the maximum three points by Bottas. 

The Dutchman now holds a 21-point advantage over reigning champion Hamilton, who recovered to fifth after being forced to start from the back of the grid. 

However, a five-place grid penalty for taking a new engine means Hamilton will get away from 10th on Sunday. 

Bottas took the lead into turn one as Verstappen complained of a gear sync issue and the championship leader was down to third after going wide at turn four. 

Verstappen regained second from Carlos Sainz on lap four and he gradually ate into Bottas' lead before letting his tyres cool ahead of a late push.

However, Bottas was able to keep Verstappen out of DRS range to cling on for pole, with Sainz holding off Sergio Perez to take third place.

Bottas' performance provides a slight reprieve for Hamilton, who showed he will still be a factor on Sunday by getting from 20th to fifth in the space of 24 laps. 

PROVISIONAL CLASSIFICATION

1. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) 
2. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) +1.170s
3. Carlos Sainz (Ferrari) +18.723s
4. Sergio Perez (Red Bull) +19.787s
5. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) +20.872s*
6. Lando Norris (McLaren) +22.558s
7. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) +25.056s
8. Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri) +34.158s
9. Esteban Ocon (Alpine) +34.632s
10. Sebastian Vettel (Aston Martin) +34.867s

*Hamilton has a five-place grid penalty

CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS 

Drivers 

1. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) 314.5 
2. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) 293.5 
3. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) 188 
4. Sergio Perez (Red Bull) 165 
5. Lando Norris (McLaren) 150 

Constructors 

1. Mercedes 481.5 
2. Red Bull 479.5 
3. Ferrari 269.5 
4. McLaren 255 
5. Alpine 106 

Freddie Steward and Jamie Blamire touched down as England secured a 32-15 victory over Australia in the Autumn Nations Series at Twickenham on Saturday.  

Leicester Tigers full-back Steward crossed for his first Test try in the opening stages, but poor discipline from both teams meant the match was largely a kicking contest.  

The returning Owen Farrell had 17 points to James O'Connor's 15 with the boot as Australia failed to bounce back from their 15-13 loss to Scotland last weekend.  

After Farrell and Michael Hooper hobbled off with injuries in the second half, Blamire raced away with the clock in the red to add a touch of gloss to the scoreline. 

Steward stepped around Kurtley Beale for the opening try in the eighth minute, but England were unable to take full advantage of Australia being reduced to 14 men after Tom Wright was sent to the bin for catching Jamie George in the head with his shoulder.  

Only a sublime last-ditch tackle from Nic White stopped George touching in the corner in the 35th minute and O'Connor's fourth successful penalty before Wright returned meant there were just four points in it at the break.  

O'Connor closed the gap further after the restart, but Angus Bell was sin-binned for a dangerous tackle on Courtney Lawes and Farrell slotted through the resulting penalty, though he missed another effort from the tee before Bell returned.  

An ankle injury forced Hooper off before the hour mark and Farrell put a converted try between the teams with a successful penalty after Bell's scrum infringement. 

The game was already put to bed before Noah Lolesio gave the ball away to Sam Simmonds, who teed up Blamire for a try that Marcus Smith converted to make the result look more comfortable.

Eight straight for England  

Since Eddie Jones took over, England have been victorious in all of their eight meetings with their coach's home nation. They have never enjoyed a better winning run against the Wallabies, who last got the better of England at the 2015 Rugby World Cup.  

Australia still struggle in Europe  

Having succumbed to back-to-back defeats against Scotland and England, Australia have now won just two of their past 10 away Tests versus European teams. They will hope to end the skid against Wales at the Principality Stadium next weekend. 

MotoGP great Valentino Rossi received a timely boost from one of the championship's emerging stars in qualifying for the Valencia Grand Prix.

Rossi, a nine-time world champion, is retiring after Sunday's race, which brings the curtain down on the 2021 season.

Fabio Quartararo already has the title sewn up, and the newly crowned champion will start from eighth on the grid, two ahead of 42-year-old Rossi.

Rossi was given a helping hand by Francesco Bagnaia, who is looking to cap a superb individual season that has seen him claim wins at Aragon, San Marino and Portimao.

Bagnaia finished second in qualifying, just 0.064 seconds behind Jorge Martin, who claimed the fourth pole of his rookie season with a superb ride.

The Ducati rider crashed at Turn Two, though still found the power to provide Rossi with a tow that secured his place in Q2.

"Pecco helped me, I'm very happy," Rossi explained.  "We didn't have a clear plan, I just started behind him and he saw me but he continued to push. So thanks a lot to Pecco, who helped me improve my lap time.

"This is a great feeling for me and for the team in my last race. I think that apart from the emotional moment for me it's very important to try to make a good weekend, a good result and I will start in the top 10. So it was a good Saturday."

Bagnaia added: "No, no [it wasn't planned]. But, I did see him enter on the track before me, so it's the minimum that I can do for him. He gave so much over the years to us so it's the minimum I could do."

Bagnaia gave Martin full credit for clinching pole and the Pramac Racing driver said he took a risky approach to give himself the best chance of a second win of the season.

"In qualifying as always, we risk a lot," Martin said. "It's not an easy track because the layout is strange, it's not normal and also the grip is not perfect here. So, I was risking every lap, in every corner, but finally I could finish this lap.

"I'm really happy. My performance is good. You can see all the Ducatis are strong, so tomorrow will be a great battle but I think I have the pace to fight for the podiums."

Jack Miller, Bagnaia's Ducati team-mate, will round out the front row on Sunday.

The Los Angeles Rams suffered a huge blow when Robert Woods tore his anterior cruciate ligament on Friday.

ESPN's Adam Schefter and Dianna Russini reported that Woods sustained the serious injury in practice on the day Odell Beckham Jr. joined the 7-2 Rams.

Woods was reportedly able to finish the session, but the extent of the damage done was revealed when he underwent tests.

Team captain Woods will play no part in the rest of the season as the Rams bid for Super Bowl glory.

Woods made 45 receptions for 556 yards and scored four touchdowns this season.

Beckham's arrival means he, Cooper Kupp and Van Jefferson will likely see the bulk of the targets from quarterback Matthew Stafford in Woods' absence.

Woods had told the media on Friday: "We're all working for the same goal. His thing is, I feel like, why he [Beckham] left -- he wanted to be a part of it and contribute, and I think just coming into this offense, he wants to work and contribute.

"We're all working toward the same goal: winning, grinding. I don't think it should be anything disruptive.''

The Rams' next game is against the San Francisco 49ers on Monday.

The Los Angeles Rams suffered a huge blow when Robert Woods tore his anterior cruciate ligament on Friday.

ESPN's Adam Schefter and Dianna Russini reported that Woods sustained the serious injury in practice on the day Odell Beckham Jr. joined the 7-2 Rams.

Woods was reportedly able to finish the session, but the extent of the damage done was revealed when he underwent tests.

Team captain Woods will play no part in the rest of the season as the Rams bid for Super Bowl glory.

Woods made 45 receptions for 556 yards and scored four touchdowns this season.

Beckham's arrival means he, Cooper Kupp and Van Jefferson will likely see the bulk of the targets from quarterback Matthew Stafford in Woods' absence.

Woods had told the media on Friday: "We're all working for the same goal. His thing is, I feel like, why he [Beckham] left -- he wanted to be a part of it and contribute, and I think just coming into this offense, he wants to work and contribute.

"We're all working toward the same goal: winning, grinding. I don't think it should be anything disruptive.''

The Rams' next game is against the San Francisco 49ers on Monday.

Ireland produced an outstanding performance to beat New Zealand 29-20 at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday.

Andy Farrell's men, spurred on by a raucous home crowd in Dublin which relished an intense display from the hosts, overwhelmed the All Blacks.

New Zealand kept themselves within touching distance throughout despite being second best in most metrics but were unable to overcome a spirited Ireland side.

The visitors came within yards of the opening try on 10 minutes but Ronan Kelleher crucially intercepted, before Codie Taylor was shown a yellow card in the 13th minute for a high tackle on Johnny Sexton.

Ireland took full advantage as James Lowe scored the first try of the game in the corner just over a minute later.

Despite being largely on top, Ireland went in 10-5 behind at the break after a Jordie Barrett penalty and a converted try from the returning Taylor.

Ireland started the second half brightly with Kelleher forcing the ball over for their second try, though Sexton missed his conversion for a second time.

The home crowd did not have to wait long to see their team ahead though as Caelan Doris raced away to score Ireland's third try, and it was third time lucky for Sexton with the extra two points, before adding another penalty before the hour mark to stretch the lead to 10 after a 15-point swing.

A rare lapse in concentration allowed the All Blacks to add another converted try through Will Jordan's 15th score of 2021 - no other player from a Tier 1 nation has reached double figures - but Joey Carbery added an Irish penalty straight after replacing Sexton, who came off with a head injury.

A disallowed New Zealand try was followed by a penalty that briefly reduced the gap to three, but a Carbery kick from the halfway line soon restored the six-point advantage, and another three from the same man just before the end saw Ireland home for a famous win.

Ireland close to perfect in Dublin

This was as good a performance as Farrell could have hoped for, and it is testament to his team that they probably should have won by more.

Ireland had 66 per cent of possession, 72 per cent of territory, almost three times as many carries (68-23) and more than three times as many passes (175-57).

All Blacks a shadow of usual selves

Ian Foster will have been less pleased with what he saw from the world's number one team, though will surely concede that the quality of his opponents on the day was a bigger factor than his own team’s performance.

This was just New Zealand's third defeat from 41 Tests in Europe (W38), with those other losses coming at the hands of Ireland (16-9 in November 2018) and England (38-21 in December 2012).

Novak Djokovic is aiming to match Roger Federer's record haul of six ATP Finals titles, though defending champion Daniil Medvedev will be out to deny the Serbian.

Djokovic has secured a record seventh year-ending world number one ranking, and gained vengeance on Medvedev for his US Open heartbreak by defeating the Russian at the Paris Masters earlier this month.

That win brought up a record 37th ATP 1000 title for Djokovic, who surpassed Rafael Nadal in that regard. The Spaniard, along with fellow great Federer, is not competing at these Finals.

While Nadal and Federer will be missed as the tournament makes its debut in Turin after 12 editions at London's O2 Arena, it provides Djokovic – who lost to eventual runner-up Dominic Thiem in the semi-finals last year – with a good chance of matching the latter's tally of Finals wins. 

Medvedev, the second seed, seems the most likely candidate to go up against Djokovic, though his first challenge is to negotiate the Red Group, which also includes 2018 champion Alexander Zverev, debutant Hubert Hurkacz, who defeated Federer at Wimbledon, and Matteo Berrettini, who will have the backing of the Italian crowd. 

Djokovic, meanwhile, has to get past Andrey Rublev, Casper Ruud and 2019 champion Stefanos Tsitsipas. It is certainly no foregone conclusion, as the next generation of stars catch up with one of the game's greats.

Medvedev unfazed by Djokovic familiarity

It is Medvedev who gets the tournament started, taking on Hurkacz on Monday. The world number two has gone from strength to strength since winning last year's season-ending showdown by beating Dominic Thiem 4-6 7-6 (7-2) 6-4.

Medvedev has won four titles, including that crucial maiden grand slam, in 2021, with the 25-year-old reaching a further two finals, losing to Djokovic at the Australian Open and Paris Masters.

As well as meeting Djokovic three times so far this year (the record stands at 6-4 in the world number one's favour from 10 matches in total), Medvedev has also been practising with the world number one.

"You have to practise with other players," said Medvedev. "I think if you think, 'Oh my, he's going to see my weak side', your life in tennis will be too tough. You'd only be able to play with your sparring partner.

"You also need to play with the best players in the world to improve. The level of our matches will always be high, but you will try to adapt your style.

"I tried to re-watch the Australian Open final for the US Open final, and Novak watched the US Open match to change things [in Paris].

"We both did the right things [in Paris], but he played better on the day. You know nothing will ever come easily and you need to fight throughout the match."

Hurkacz will present a stern test. The Pole is 36-20 on the season having won three titles, while world number three Zverev edged out Djokovic in the 2018 finale. Berrettini, meanwhile, is making his second appearance at the Finals and will be eager to make home advantage count.

Tsitsipas happy with 2021 progress

Tsitsipas remains the only player to win both the NextGen and ATP Finals titles, but he has had to settle for something of a frustrating season. The Greek, ranked fourth in the world, has claimed two Tour victories, including his first Masters triumph, in Monte Carlo.

However, the Greek threw away a two-set lead in his first appearance in a grand slam final, as Djokovic fought back to clinch the French Open (his 19th major title, a tally he has now extended to 20).

The pair will meet again in the Green Group, though first up for Tsitsipas is Rublev, who he beat in Monte Carlo, though the Russian has won 48 matches in 2021.

"Overall, I am happy where I stand and I want to take an extra step and aim even higher next year. That will require new fresh goals. Working to find where the one per cent lies, or the five per cent, where I can benefit from it," Tsitsipas explained.

Ruud, the remaining member of the Green Group, should not be underestimated. The 22-year-old has won five titles this season and is the first Norweigian to appear at the event.

Lewis Hamilton has been disqualified from qualifying in Sao Paulo due to a rear wing infringement and Max Verstappen has been fined €50,000 for touching and examining his title rival's car in a restricted area.

The 36-year-old's Mercedes "failed the test designed to check the requirements of the last paragraph of Art. 3.6.3 of the 2021 FIA Formula 1 Technical Regulations."

Hamilton must now start from the back of Saturday's sprint qualifying race in a major blow to his chances of winning the championship, with Verstappen taking pole.

Verstappen is 19 points clear of Hamilton in the standings as he bids to end Mercedes' seven-year drivers' championship monopoly and deny the Briton an eighth world title.

Hamilton was also forced to take a five-place grid penalty ahead of Sunday's Grand Prix as his car was fitted with a fifth engine due to issues with Mercedes' power units.

Verstappen received a sanction of his own, being hit with a hefty fine after a "breach of Article 2.5.1 of the FIA International Sporting Code."

A fan video captured the 24-year-old touching the rear wing of Hamilton's car in the Parc Ferme after qualifying on Friday.

The Washington Football Team have placed defensive end Montez Sweat on injured reserve with a fractured jaw.

Sweat, a first-round pick in the 2019 draft, played a starring role for Washington's defense last season as they made a return to the playoffs.

He registered nine sacks, helping Washington to an NFC East title and a first postseason berth since the 2015 season.

However, Ron Rivera's team have endured a steep decline on defense and appear destined to miss the playoffs this year, going 2-6 through eight games.

Washington have allowed 5.91 yards per play in 2021, the eighth-most in the NFL, though with four sacks to his name, Sweat has continued to find ways to get to the quarterback.

However, his pressure rate of 16.6 per cent is below the league average of 17.3 per cent for edge rushers, according to Stats Perform data.

Sweat will not have the opportunity to improve on those pressure numbers in the immediate future, with the injury expected to keep him out for four to six weeks.

Week 10 sees Washington welcome the defending Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers to FedEx Field on Sunday in a rematch of last year's Wild Card matchup.

 

Less than five months have passed since the Milwaukee Bucks faced the Atlanta Hawks in the Eastern Conference Finals.

The Bucks advanced in six games and went on to win the NBA title, but the Hawks' surprise run meant the 2020-21 season was one both teams could reflect fondly on.

However, the early indications are 2021-22 will not be counted in the same category.

While there is a long way left to go in this campaign, the two teams enter Sunday's first regular-season meeting both below the playoff line. The Bucks are 6-7, while the Hawks have regressed significantly to 4-9.

Milwaukee can at least point to personnel issues. Giannis Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday – their three main men – have so far shared just 21 minutes on the court.

Antetokounmpo is on course for an unprecedented fourth straight season averaging 25.0 points, 10.0 rebounds and 5.0 assists per game but sat out of Friday's defeat to the Boston Celtics after spraining his ankle.

"He's kind of tested it a little bit twice today and he's just not able to go," coach Mike Budenholzer said before that game. "I know he'll get treatment, he'll probably get a lift, he'll do everything he can to get back as soon as possible."

Those words do not indicate an immediate return, even if he was originally listed as "probable" to play. Middleton has been out due to coronavirus but may return against the Hawks.

These mitigating factors are not available to Atlanta. They have named the five-man lineup that started their playoff run – prior to De'Andre Hunter's knee injury – on 11 occasions.

The Hawks should look to make the most of playing the short-handed champions and get their season back on track.

PIVOTAL PERFORMERS

Atlanta Hawks – Trae Young

Young will not be short of motivation for this one. He scored 48 points in Game 1 against the Bucks, almost single-handedly winning the series opener as he attempted 34 field goals – the third-most by any player in a single game in the 2020-21 postseason – as well as contributing 11 assists.

But a combination of form and fitness then deserted the breakout star of the playoffs. He had just 15 points in Game 2, before rebounding with 35 in Game 3, only to suffer a foot injury that kept him out of the next two. Young returned with 23.5 per cent field goal shooting in Game 6 as Milwaukee sealed the series.

Atlanta's reliance on Young to both score and create became a real issue when he was faced with elite defense, forcing nine turnovers in Game 2 alone. He has a point to prove now.

Milwaukee Bucks – Jrue Holiday

The source of that elite defense was Holiday, who had scored 33 points in Game 1 but allowed Young too much space on the other side of the ball. The Bucks point guard quickly addressed that issue.

Holiday teamed up with Brook Lopez to effectively shut down Young, striking the right balance between aggressive defense and keeping a dangerous opponent away from the foul line; he attempted 12 free throws in Game 1 alone but only returned to the line 16 more times in the whole series.

An excellent display in Game 6 saw Holiday contribute 27 points, nine assists, nine rebounds, four steals and two blocks, offset only slightly by six turnovers. It is this sort of performance that will be required on Sunday. With Antetokounmpo and Middleton doubts, Holiday will have to drive Milwaukee on offense while being careful not to give Young free rein at the other end.

KEY BATTLE – Could Capela dominate?

It is not only the big names that have been missing for the Bucks, but also the big men. Lopez has not featured since the opening night of the season due to a back issue, while the absence of Antetokounmpo, who can play the five, deals a further blow to Milwaukee's depth.

Bobby Portis is set to line up against Clint Capela, who will expect to dominate his opponent on the boards, with 11.2 rebounds per game this year – a mark only Antetokounmpo on the Bucks' roster can top.

Capela has already been key for Atlanta in limiting the damage during their poor run. The Hawks's 110.1 defensive rating is the third-worst in the league, but that improves to 108.7 with Capela on the floor, by far the best rating of the team's regular starters.

HEAD TO HEAD

The Hawks might have taken the Bucks to six games in the playoffs, but this has been a series Milwaukee have dominated. Including that 4-2 Eastern Conference Finals victory, they are 16-4 in the teams' past 20 meetings. Atlanta won the opening playoff game by three but then lost four of the following five by double digits.

The Bucks have a 114-112 edge all-time in the regular season.

Makazole Mapimpi scored two tries as South Africa recovered from a half-time deficit to see off Scotland 30-15 in Saturday's entertaining Test at Murrayfield.

Scotland beat Australia 15-13 last week and looked good value to pull off another big win after opening up a 10-8 lead at the midway point against the Springboks.

Mapimpi had raced over following some good play from Siya Kolisi for the opening try of the contest after Finn Russell and Elton Jantjies shared a penalty apiece.

But the hosts hit back strongly with a brilliantly worked try that started with Russell chipping a cross-kick left and Stuart Hogg eventually collecting a bouncing ball to run in.

Russell successfully added the extras, unlike Jantjies earlier in the game, but he was wayward with a straightforward penalty just before the interval.

That proved costly as Damian de Allende flicked a great pass to Mapimpi three minutes into the second period to double South Africa's try count.

Jantjies this time made no mistake from the conversion and added six more points from the boot to punish ill-disciplined Scotland, who did manage to restore some hope when Hogg was fed by Duhan van der Merwe for a second try of his own.

However, any hopes Scotland had of a first win over the reigning world champions since 2010 were ended when Handre Pollard (two) and Francois Steyn kicked over a trio of late penalties.

Anthony Davis has warned the Los Angeles Lakers they will not be NBA title contenders this season if they do not improve on their "embarrassing" form.

The Lakers lost 107-83 at home to the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday to fall to 7-6 on the year, despite playing 10 of their first 13 games at Staples Center.

Only once previous have the Lakers won the title after making a 7-6 start, improving to 57-25 in 2007-08 to take the top seed in the West.

Even with LeBron James closing on a return from injury, such a turnaround looks unlikely this year as things stand. Three of their seven wins have come only after overtime – a league high.

Davis, who led the team with 22 points against the Timberwolves, is certainly concerned.

"We've got to decide who we want to be," he said. "A championship team? That's not us right now. We're not winning a championship the way we're playing.

"We've got to be better, and we've got to care more for our wins at home, wins in general. That was embarrassing."

LA have been especially poor in the third quarters of games, a theme that continued against Minnesota.

The Lakers scored just 12 points and allowed 40 for a differential of -28, their second-worst in any single quarter since at least 2002-03 (-31 in the second quarter against the Los Angeles Clippers in 2013-14).

The team are a combined -83 in third quarters this season, the worst record of any team in any single quarter in 2021-22.

"We sucked," Davis said. "No defense, can't score. That's not just this third quarter, it's every third quarter we've played this season.

"We come out slow, lackadaisical offensively and defensively. We've got to get it together. Why? I can't tell you. But we've got to do a better job."

Lewis Hamilton could face a second penalty ahead of the Sao Paulo Grand Prix due to a possible technical infringement following qualifying, while Max Verstappen is also at risk of a sanction.

Hamilton has already taken a five-place grid penalty for Sunday's grand prix after receiving a new engine, although he is first set to get the opportunity to add points in the sprint race after qualifying fastest on Friday.

However, FIA technical delegate Jo Bauer discovered an issue with the Mercedes man's DRS that could deal a further blow to Hamilton's title hopes.

"The uppermost rear wing element adjustable positions were checked on car number 44 for compliance with Article 3.6.3 of the 2021 Formula One Technical Regulations," Bauer said in his report. 

"The requirement for the minimum distance was fulfilled, but the requirements for the maximum of 85mm, when the DRS system is deployed and tested in accordance with TD/011-19, were not fulfilled."

The rear wing assembly in question has been removed and impounded, and the issue has been referred to the stewards, who delayed a decision until Saturday after calling in a Mercedes representative late on Friday.

"The stewards have adjourned the hearing relating to Document 18 of the 2021 FIA Formula 1 Sao Paulo Grand Prix as they await further evidence," a spokesperson said.

The stewards have also called in Verstappen and a Red Bull representative over an "alleged breach of Article 2.5.1 of the FIA International Sporting Code", which states: "In the Parc Ferme, only the officials assigned may enter. No operation, checking, tuning or repair is allowed unless authorised by the same officials or by the applicable regulations."

Verstappen was seen approaching Hamilton's car in Parc Ferme and a fan video appeared to indicate he touched the rear wing.

Hamilton and Verstappen must now await the decisions of the stewards, which could prove significant in their pursuit of both victory in Brazil and the title.

Stephen Curry took Ray Allen's three-point record as he dropped 40 in the Golden State Warriors' win against the Chicago Bulls on Friday.

Warriors point guard Curry came into the game one behind Allen's tally of 3,358 three-pointers made across the regular season and playoffs.

And the two-time MVP eased past that mark as he shot nine of 17 from beyond the arc, moving to 3,366 for his career from 7,871 attempts in 886 games; Allen had 8,388 attempts in 1,471 games.

It is a record Curry is set to hold for a long, long time, with the nearest active player on the list James Harden in fourth, some 539 back on 2,827.

This was Curry's 38th career game making nine or more threes. His closest challenger in that regard is Damian Lillard on a distant 12, while Allen had only three such performances. Curry has two this season alone.

The Warriors as a team have now made 10 threes in 40 straight games, continuing a franchise record run.

Curry's 28.4 points per game have carried Golden State to a league-best 11-1 start, but only now does he feel he is truly coming into form, having also scored 50 against the Atlanta Hawks this week.

The previous two games before Atlanta's visit had seen Curry fail to reach 20 points, yet he was not concerned.

"It follows kind of the usual pattern for how I start seasons," he said on Friday.

The Warriors superstar said he was "not really worrying about the output". "It's just about trying to find win games and create momentum, and usually good things happen," he added.

The Chicago game – a 119-93 win, their ninth in a row against the Bulls – brought to an end an eight-game homestand in which Golden State went 7-1, suffering their only defeat on the year to the Memphis Grizzlies before winning seven straight.

"We took care of business. Defensively, we were really solid for all eight games," Curry said.

"We had different guys step up every night, we found a pretty solid rotation, for the most part, even got some young guys some good minutes.

"We're still trying to find opportunities for everybody, still trying to find our identity for how we're going to win, and everybody being comfortable in their roles and all of that, but we're winning and learning on the fly with some really good momentum.

"I'm proud – for eight games, it's hard to stay locked in, with the routine and monotony of every other day doing the same thing. It was a really impressive homestand."

Now the Warriors go on a four-game road trip, starting at the Charlotte Hornets on Sunday.

But Golden State have won their first three road games this year, meaning another victory would tie their second-best start to a season away from home. They have some way to go before matching the 14 consecutive road wins the 2015-16 Warriors started with.

"Hopefully we can pack that momentum with us," said Curry, part of that team, too. "But it all comes down to how you execute and getting that energy and effort that you bring.

"It's easy to get up for it when you have your home crowd rooting you on and that energy, but on the road it requires another level of focus and intensity to win games. We know how to do it, it's just a matter of showing up."

LeBron James is close to a return from an abdominal injury, with Los Angeles Lakers head coach Frank Vogel confirming he is now "day-to-day".

James was absent for the fifth straight game with injury as the Lakers went down 107-83 to the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday, leaving them with a 7-6 record.

Vogel confirmed pre-game the 36-year-old's injury will not rule him out for an "extended stretch".

"LeBron, his rehab is progressing nicely," Vogel told reporters. "He's back to doing on the court basketball activity.

"This does not seem like it's going to be an extended stretch. He's to be considered truly day-to-day."

The Lakers had won three straight games before going 2-3 without James in the side over the past 10 days, suffering defeats to the Oklahoma City Thunder, the Portland Trail Blazers and the Timberwolves.

Prior to featuring in all three games of that short winning run, James had also missed consecutive games with ankle soreness. LA are 3-4 for the year without him.

James has been averaging 24.8 points, 7.0 assists and 5.5 rebounds per game this season, while shooting 46.7 per cent from the floor and 34.7 per cent from three-point range.

The Lakers were on the wrong end of a 40-12 third quarter against the Timberwolves, having been ahead at halftime.

Anthony Davis top scored with 22 points and eight rebounds, while Russell Westbrook had 20 points but five turnovers and an awful plus/minus of -32. Three of his turnovers came in the third quarter as he scored just three points in eight minutes.

"There's no better motivator than a bad loss," Vogel told reporters after the defeat. "I think a lot of our guys are angry. Our coaching staff are angry. We'll get back to work."

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