It’s showtime again in LA as the world’s highest-priced sports team are closing in on their first appearance in the World Series for 25 years

Jordan's wizards break Lakers winning streak

NBA round up

Sporting Digest: Basketball

Vladimir Kondrashin, the coach who led the Soviet Union to their first Olympic title in 1972, died of cancer on Thursday at the age of 70.

Basketball: Amaechi revels in role of Magic's free throw spirit

ORLANDO'S GANG of journeymen and their inspirational Englishman, John Amaechi, defied the experts again by claiming their third scalp on the trot in the National Basketball Association. The Magic, who ranked near the bottom of the NBA in most pre-season forecasts, came from behind to beat the Philadelphia 76ers 110-105 on Wednesday for their fourth win of the season.

Basketball: Johnson plays in Sweden

MAGIC JOHNSON is to return to Sweden to play more games for MagicM7, a basketball team from the Swedish town of Boras which he bought earlier this year.

Basketball: Oakley ponders pounds 4m cut in pay

THE LOS ANGELES Lakers are hoping to convince Charles Oakley to play for them for $2m (pounds 1.2m) per year, even though he is demanding $8.5m (pounds 5.3m) per year from Toronto for each year of a three-year contract.

Basketball: Bucknall returns from exile

STEVE BUCKNALL has ended his continental exile from the English basketball by joining London Towers for the Budweiser League season, which begins on 18 September.

Basketball: Knicks overcome the odds to reach finals

THE New York Knicks have surprised everybody - probably including themselves - by fighting their way to the NBA title series.

The Joys of Modern Life 48. The Baseball Cap

THERE CAN be few sartorial signifiers that carry a more embarrassing message than the baseball cap. It's strange to remember that this unflattering headgear was once only recognisable to readers of Peanuts cartoons.

Letter from America: Glory belongs to Gretzky

There is a game that you can play in bars across America now, after a few beers, and it takes a few beers for it to make much sense. The game goes like this: who was the best, John Elway, Michael Jordan or Wayne Gretzky?

Basketball: Jordan the famed poacher may turn gamekeeper

Gerard Wright in Denver reports on attempts to lure a giant into ownership

Basketball: Bullets face a Simms setback

BIRMINGHAM BULLETS coach Mike Finger hopes hand injuries to Tony Simms and Fabulous Flournoy will not stop them facing Budweiser League runners-up Manchester Giants in tonight's decisive third game of their play-off quarter-final series at the MEN arena.

Basketball: Sheffield seen home by Myers

Sheffield Sharks 75 Greater London Leopards 68 (Sheffield win series 2-1)

Basketball: Sharks have title in sight

MANCHESTER GIANTS lost control of the Budweiser League race at the weekend and now two wins for the Sharks will take the title to Sheffield for the first time since 1995, when their coach Chris Finch was a player.

Shopping: Time to put a spring in your step

I Want To Own ... The Latest Trainers

Basketball: Letter From Los Angeles - Rodman one-man volcano

Basketball eccentric Dennis Rodman has moved to the Los Angeles Lakers. The question is, while he is ready for LA, is the city of LA ready for him?
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Day In a Page

Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform