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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Former Champions Back in Title Hunt

combined ReportS


ATHENS -- Former world champion Yugoslavia beat Lithuania 70-61 in a clash of giants in the European basketball championship Friday and are now the favorite to win the gold medal.


The Yugoslavs, world title-holders in 1990 but banished from international play for three years, relied on the talent and strength of guard Aleksandar Djordjevic and Los Angeles Lakers forward Vlade Divac to win the Pool A duel.


After a nervous start where the Yugoslavs led by as much as 13 points, Lithuania gradually cut the lead to six (35-29) at the half and tied the match 35-35 two minutes into the second half.


Sarunas Marciulonis, who plays for the NBA's Seattle Supersonics, put the Lithuanians ahead for the first time two minutes later.


Giant pivot Arvidas Sabonis of the Portland Trail Blazers used his 2.21 meters under the boards to keep his team ahead 48-46 midway through the second half but the Lithuanian recovery ended there.


Yugoslavia now has two straight wins in the tournament and Lithuania two wins and one defeat. They are both considered favorites to win the tournament along with Russia and Croatia in Pool B who play later on Friday.


In late Thursday games, Spain scored its second straight Pool B victory by beating Finland (0-2) 87-74 and Israel beat Sweden 87-62 to even its Pool A record to 1-1.


(For other results, see Scorecard.)


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Chuck Daly is the apparent front-runner to become coach of the New York Knicks.


A source confirmed Thursday that Daly and Knicks executives met a day earlier to discuss the job. It has been reported the position is Daly's for the taking.


Daly coached the Detroit Pistons to National Basketball Association titles in 1989 and 1990. He would replace Pat Riley, who resigned June 15 after four seasons with the team. While Daly may be the Knicks' first choice, he is the third coach they have contacted. Knicks general manager Ernie Grunfeld, who has remained mostly silent on the matter, met with ex-Warriors and ex-Bucks coach Don Nelson on Tuesday in Milwaukee.


Also, it was reported Wednesday that Grunfeld has contacted the agent of Chris Ford, who was fired last month as coach of the Boston Celtics.


Daly turns 65 next month and would likely agree to coach for a short time. Nelson, 55, and Ford, 46, would be longer-term solutions.


Several coaches -- Indiana's Larry Brown, Chicago's Phil Jackson and Cleveland's Mike Fratello -- are off-limits because of contractual obligations to their current teams.


Daly was an NBA television commentator last season.


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