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Sports in brief

basketball

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warriors' curry ap athlete of year

OAKLAND, Calif. — Stephen Curry's greatness as a basketball player can be measured by his record-setting shooting numbers that are changing the game. His immense popularity derives from something less tangible.

Though many NBA greats rely on uncommon height and athletic ability, Curry's game relies on traits that every casual player can work on: shoot, dribble and pass. Perhaps nobody has put those skills together the way Curry has the past year.

Curry was named the NBA's MVP, led Golden State to its first title in 40 years and helped the Warriors get off to a record-setting start this season. That earned him the Associated Press Male Athlete of the Year award. Curry finished first in a vote by U.S. editors and news directors, with the results released Saturday. Curry beat golfer Jordan Spieth, who won two majors, and American Pharoah, who became the first horse since 1978 to win the Triple Crown.

Though American Pharoah got three more first-place votes than Curry's 24, Curry appeared on 86 percent of the 82 ballots that ranked the top-five candidates. More than one-third of the voters left American Pharoah off their list.

"That's a real honor," Curry said of his win. "I'm appreciative of that acknowledgement because it's across all different sports. … It's pretty cool."

soccer

Turmoil grows at Manchester United

Arsenal and Manchester United were embarrassed on another erratic day in the English Premier League. And despite losing at Liverpool, Leicester's lead was maintained.

Losing 2-0 at Stoke condemned United — owned by the Glazer family, which owns the Bucs — to a fourth consecutive defeat in all competitions for the first time since 1961 and pushed it down to sixth place. Manager Louis van Gaal lamented his players' inability to handle the pressure and partly blamed the windy conditions at Stoke. Then van Gaal conceded he might be at fault and suggested he could resign.

Asked about receiving assurances about his job security, Van Gaal said: "I can also quit by myself. It is not always … the club has to fire or sack me."

There was a bigger humbling for Arsenal, which missed the chance to go into first by being thrashed 4-0 by Southampton. Leicester lost its first EPL game since September, a 1-0 defeat at Liverpool. It would have fallen into second with an Arsenal win.

ET CETERA

hockey: Louis Belpedio, a defenseman at Miami of Ohio, and Auston Matthews scored in 41 seconds late in the third period to give the United States a 4-2 win over defending champ Canada in the teams' first round-robin game at the world junior championship in Helsinki, Finland. In other games, Sweden beat Switzerland 8-3, Russia edged the Czech Republic 2-1 in a shootout, and Finland beat Belarus 6-0.

Times wires

Sports in brief 12/26/15 [Last modified: Saturday, December 26, 2015 10:19pm]
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