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Today’s sports news: What you need to know

Latest – The Wellington Saints and Hawke’s Bay Hawks will square-off in the National Basketball League grand final in Porriua tonight.

The Saints, who posted the best record during the regular season, produced a dominant second-half showing to beat the Auckland Huskies 99-73 in the first semifinal.

Kerwin Roach
Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Wellington outscored the Huskies 55-23 over the final two quarters after trailing 50-44 at halftime.

Tohi Smith-Milner top scored for the Saints with 30 points, while import Kerwin Roach Jnr chipped in with 24 points.

The Hawks also overturned a halftime deficit in their semifinal, coming back from 53-49 down to beat the Southland Sharks 98-91.

Devondrick Walker led Hawke’s Bay with 33 points, while four of his teammates also scored double figures.

LeBron the billionaire

NBA superstar LeBron James has joined the billionaires’ club.

Los Angeles Lakers Forward LeBron James.

Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The Los Angeles Lakers player is the first active NBA player ever to reach that stratosphere.

James, 36, has earned $US 330 million in player salaries and another $US 700 million off the court from endorsements, merchandising, licensing and his media business, according to the Sportico report.

His current endorsement partners include Nike, PepsiCo, AT&T, Walmart, GMC, Epic Games, Beats, Blaze Pizza and Rimowa.

The only other athletes to earn $1 billion while still active are golfer Tiger Woods, boxer Floyd Mayweather, tennis star Roger Federer and soccer greats Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.

On the NBA’s all-time lists, James ranks third in points (35,367) and eighth in assists (9,696) through 18 seasons.

-Reuters

Raiders stay in play-off picture

The Canberra Raiders are back in the play-off picture in the NRL after beating Parrammata 12-10 on the Gold Coast.

The Raiders lost enforcer Josh Papalii to concussion and fellow forward Ryan Sutton to a sternum injury but held on for their third win in a row.

Coach Ricky Stuart says Canberra have “turned the corner” and are NRL finals bound.

The Raiders stay eighth on the table, while Parramatta are fourth.

The Warriors play Souths on the Sunshine Coast tomorrow .

Van Gaal to lead Netherlands again

Louis van Gaal is set to return as coach of the Netherlands with his appointment for a third spell in charge expected to be confirmed in the coming days.

It's time to say goodbye to Manchester United for Louis van Gaal.

It’s time to say goodbye to Manchester United for Louis van Gaal.
Photo: Photosport

The 69-year-old will replace Frank de Boer who stepped down after the Dutch were beaten by the Czech Republic in the last 16 of the European Championship last month.

Van Gaal will name former Netherlands coach Danny Blind and Henk Fraser from Sparta Rotterdam as his assistants and appoint Frans Hoek as his goalkeeper coach, multiple media reported.

Van Gaal was first appointed Dutch coach in September 2000 but resigned just over a year later when they failed to qualify for the 2002 World Cup.

He returned in August 2012 and led the Dutch national team to third place at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

In the seven years since, the Dutch have had seven permanent and caretaker coaches — Guus Hiddink, Blind, Fred Grim (acting), Dick Advocaat, Ronald Koeman, Dwight Lodeweges (acting) and De Boer.

The Dutch start World Cup qualifying in September.

-Reuters

Five Blitz Boks isolating

Five South Africa rugby sevens players who were close contacts of coach Neil Powell will not stay in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Village, meaning more disruption to the preparations of one of the gold medal contenders.

Player of the final Angelo Davids cuts through the Fiji defence.

Player of the final Angelo Davids cuts through the Fiji defence.
Photo: Mike Lee – KLC fotos for World Rugby

Powell is self-isolating after testing positive for COVID-19 on arrival in Japan last week and will miss the men’s sevens competition that runs from Monday to Wednesday next week, offering support via video link only.

The five unnamed players, who traveled with Powell from Tokyo to the training base in Kagoshima last week, have been barred from the Olympic Village over fears they may be incubating the virus.

They will stay at a separate hotel on the team’s return to Tokyo today, though they can train with the squad at the weekend.

South Africa open their campaign against Ireland on Monday, and will also face Kenya and United States in Pool C.

-Reuters

Another win for Bangladesh

Mohammad Naim and Soumya Sarkar scored half centuries as Bangladesh beat Zimbabwe by eight wickets to win the first match of their Twenty20 series at the Harare Sports Club.

The pair featured in a 102-run opening wicket partnership to set Bangladesh on their way to a comfortable victory as they chased down a target of 153 for victory with seven balls to spare.

Naim finished on 63 not out while Sarkar got to 50 before being run out.

The sides meet again in the three-game series on Friday and Sunday.

Bangladesh beat Zimbabwe in their one-off test this month and wrapped up a 3-0 win in the one-day international series this week.

-Reuters

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