Cavs handle Knicks behind Irving's 37 points, 11 assists
CLEVELAND (AP) Kyrie Irving had 37 points and 11 assists and Jarrett Jack added 17 points, leading the Cleveland Cavaliers to a 109-94 victory over the sinking New York Knicks on Tuesday night.
Irving, an All-Star point guard, had 12 points in the third quarter, when the Cavs outscored the defenseless Knicks 33-20 and pulled away. Tristan Thompson added 12 points and nine rebounds as Cleveland won its fourth straight at home.
New York, coming off an embarrassing 41-point loss at home to Boston, dropped to 5-15 and made coach Mike Woodson's future even more uncertain.
Carmelo Anthony scored 29 points and Amare Stoudemire had 15 for the Knicks, who erased an early 18-point deficit, gave it all back, fell behind by 19 and lost for the 11th time in 13 games.
After being outscored 22-4 during one stretch of the second quarter, the hard-to-figure Knicks got it together - briefly. New York only trailed by three at halftime and were showing some signs of life, one game after enduring the most lopsided loss in the NBA this season.
Anthony's 3-pointer pulled New York within 53-52, but Thompson scored on a sensational, one-handed put-back dunk, triggering an 8-0 run that made it 61-52.
Irving hit a 3-pointer, and moments later, Cleveland's Alonzo Gee tipped the ball away from New York guard Pablo Prigioni near midcourt. Gee picked up the loose ball and led a three-on-none Cavs break past a helpless Woodson, who stood on the sideline with his arms folded as Cleveland scored another easy basket.
The Cavs pushed their lead to 88-69 in the fourth quarter before the Knicks made one last run, getting within 90-77 on a jumper by Andrea Bargnani. But Jack hit a 3-pointer, Irving made one from long range and Cleveland finished off its largest win this season.
Looking for a spark and some inside muscle at both ends to offset the loss of Tyson Chandler and Kenyon Martin, Woodson started Metta World Peace, who came off the bench in New York's first 19 games.
"Metta has earned the right to be out there," Woodson said. "He's patiently waited for his opportunity."
Woodson's opportunity, on the other hand, could be ending.
On Monday, New York's third-year coach said he's "up to the task" of fixing the Knicks. He may not have much more time to get them repaired.
When the final horn sounded, Knicks assistant coach Herb Williams helped Woodson get out of his courtside chair by pushing him from behind.
He may soon be pushed aside.
With the Knicks misfiring and picking up early fouls, the Cavs built an 18-point lead in the first quarter behind Irving, who went scoreless for ths first time in his career on Friday in Atlanta. However, he came out in attack mode and had as many points as New York when Cleveland opened a 27-9 lead.
But the Cavs got sloppy with the ball in the second quarter, committing eight turnovers - four on consecutive possessions - as the Knicks pulled even at 40-all on Anthony's jumper and were within 48-45 at halftime.
NOTES: Chandler, out since Nov. 5 with a broken right leg, began practicing earlier this week and is encouraged by his progress. Chandler doesn't know exactly when he'll be back in the lineup. "I'm close. I'm not that close," he said. "I know I'm not game ready. I want to be able to get back on the court and give my team something as well as protect myself. When you're coming back from an injury, you just can't jump out there and not be afraid." ... Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon sat courtside and received a loud ovation when shown on the giant scoreboard during a timeout. ... Longtime NBA referee Dick Bavetta celebrated his 74th birthday.
Wed, 11 Dec 2013 02:20:00 +0000
Durant scores 30 as Thunder win 11th in last 12
ATLANTA (AP) Kevin Durant scored 30 points and the Oklahoma City Thunder won for the 11th time in 12 games, holding off the Atlanta Hawks 101-92 Tuesday night.
Shelvin Mack scored 17 points off the bench to lead an Atlanta comeback but finally cooled off at the end.
Coming off an impressive 118-94 home victory over Indiana, the Thunder had more trouble on the road against the Hawks. But the result was the same: another Oklahoma City victory, despite a tough night for Russell Westbrook. He was held to 14 points on 6-of-21 shooting, though he did sink an impressive reverse layup with 1:41 remaining to help finish off Atlanta.
Durant made 9 of 21 from the field and 11 of 15 free throws.
Paul Millsap led the Hawks with 23 points.
Wed, 11 Dec 2013 03:15:00 +0000
Tight end suspended after Oregon snowball fight
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) Oregon tight end Pharaoh Brown has been suspended for the Ducks' upcoming bowl game because of his role in an on-campus snowball fight that got out of hand.
A YouTube video of Friday's fight shows players and other students pelting a car with dozens of snowballs in front of the Erb Memorial Union in Eugene. At one point, the overmatched driver opens his car door and is hit with a bucket of snow. The video had attracted more than 2.5 million views as of Monday afternoon.
"I was one of the many UO students involved in the snowball fight on Friday, and my actions escalated to an inappropriate level and, for that, I sincerely apologize," Brown said in a statement released by the university. "We never should have engaged innocent people, and I deeply regret my actions and will accept the consequences."
The suspension was announced Monday by Head Coach Mark Helfrich, who has apologized to the targeted drivers. Helfrich had promised discipline during the weekend, saying the behavior shown in the video was "completely unacceptable and dangerous."
Other players involved in the fight received unspecified punishments but will be allowed to play in the bowl game. All students involved in the fight, including non-players, are subject to further discipline from the dean of students, the university said.
Brown, a 6-foot-6, 241-pound sophomore, caught 10 passes during the regular season and scored two touchdowns. He started five of the nine games in which he appeared, getting more playing time after starting tight end Colt Lyerla left the team in October to prepare for an NFL career following a one-game suspension for violating team rules. He was later arrested for cocaine possession and is awaiting trial after pleading not guilty.
The Ducks (10-2) play Texas (8-4) in the Alamo Bowl on Dec. 30 in San Antonio.
Tue, 10 Dec 2013 15:07:00 +0000
NFL moves Bears-Eagles to Week 16 night game
NEW YORK (AP) The NFL will move the matchup between Chicago and Philadelphia to the prime-time slot on Sunday, Dec. 22.
The Bears (7-6) will travel to face the Eagles (8-5) at 8:30 p.m. on NBC.
The New England Patriots game against the Baltimore Ravens will move to 4:25 p.m. on CBS.
Tue, 10 Dec 2013 18:53:00 +0000
Mark Trumbo to Diamondbacks in 3-team trade
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (AP) Arizona general manager Kevin Towers had been talking trade with Chicago White Sox GM Rick Hahn for a month when he arrived at the winter meetings last weekend and sent a text to Angels counterpart Jerry Dipoto.
"Can I get your attention in that Trumbo deal for Skaggs and Eaton?" he remembered writing.
"Sure, why don't you come down and talk?" Dipoto quickly replied, according to Towers.
Two days later, a three-team trade fell into place.
Chicago acquired outfielder Adam Eaton from Arizona for left-hander Hector Santiago, and the Diamondbacks then sent Santiago and left-hander Tyler Skaggs to the Angels for slugger Mark Trumbo. Arizona also will receive a player to be named or cash from each of the other clubs.
"It's nice when you're able to have three clubs up here all feeling good about things," Hahn said Tuesday during a news conference. "Obviously, as Jerry pointed out, it does hurt a little bit, but it costs something to get something."
Trumbo, 27, hit .234 with 34 home runs and 100 RBIs this year, playing first base in 123 games because Albert Pujols was hurt. Despite hitting 95 homers during the last three seasons, the sometimes outfielder was deemed superfluous by Los Angeles, which craved starting pitching behind Jered Weaver, C.J. Wilson and Garrett Richards.
"Right now we'd line up with both guys as starters," Dipoto said.
Trumbo was used to hearing his name in trade talk.
"I think it's been rumored for years now," he said. "I knew that this one was a serious thing."
He'll join a batting order that includes Paul Goldschmidt, who led the NL with 125 RBIs and tied for the league lead in home runs with 36.
"We all addressed some of our biggest needs," Towers said. "We'll give him some protection."
After finishing last in the AL Central with their worst record since 1970 at 63-99, the White Sox were looking to make changes, and Hahn is counting on Eaton to provide a spark.
"We lacked a little bit of energy and a little edge," Hahn said. "This is a dirt-bag baseball player. This is a guy who has been described to me by someone at this table with words I can't use."
Santiago, 25, was 4-9 with a 3.56 ERA in 23 starts and 11 relief appearances. His fastball velocity has dipped from 93.8 mph in 2011 to 92.8 in 2012 to 91.8 last season, according to fangraphs.com.
Eaton, a 25-year-old speedy leadoff hitter, was sidelined from spring training until July 9 by a sprained left elbow. He hit .252 with three homers, 22 RBIs and 44 strikeouts in 250 at-bats for the Diamondbacks this year.
Skaggs, 22, went to Santa Monica High School, was taken by the Angels with the 40th overall selection of the 2009 amateur draft and was dealt to the Diamondbacks in August 2010 to complete the trade that brought Dan Haren to Los Angeles.
Skaggs made his big league debut in 2012, when he had six starts, but spent much of this year in the minors. He was 2-3 with a 5.12 ERA in seven starts this year for Arizona, leaving him with a 3-6 career mark.
Trumbo is eligible for salary arbitration for the first time this winter. Santiago is on track to be eligible after next season, Eaton following 2015 season and Skaggs after the 2016 season.
For Towers, the deal meant mission accomplished.
"We've got a guy that we can control now for three years. Two of the probably better right-handed power bats in the National League," he said, "Excited for spring training."
Wed, 11 Dec 2013 01:11:00 +0000
Leafs' Phaneuf suspended 2 games for boarding
NEW YORK (AP) Toronto Maple Leafs captain Dion Phaneuf has been suspended two games for his hit from behind on Kevan Miller of the Boston Bruins.
Phaneuf will not play against Los Angeles on Wednesday and at St. Louis on Thursday. He loses more than $66,000 in salary.
During Toronto's loss to Boston on Sunday night at Air Canada Centre, Miller's back was turned at the time. No boarding penalty was called. Miller left the game but coach Claude Julien said he wasn't worried about the defenseman's condition.
Phaneuf had a phone hearing Tuesday with NHL vice president of player safety Brendan Shanahan.
The suspension is the Leafs' fourth this season. The others were to David Clarkson, Nazem Kadri and Carter Ashton.
Tue, 10 Dec 2013 17:40:00 +0000
Former Rutgers player sues over Rice behavior
TRENTON, N.J. (AP) A former Rutgers basketball player claims in a lawsuit that he was subjected to physical and emotional abuse at the hands of fired coach Mike Rice.
Derrick Randall played for Rutgers from 2011 until last spring. He was seen in practice videos where players were shoved, kicked and berated by Rice. After the videos went public last spring, Rice was fired and athletic director Tim Pernetti and other school officials resigned.
Randall's lawsuit, filed Friday and made public Monday, claims he suffers from learning disabilities and experienced emotional trauma from Rice's behavior. Randall left Rutgers this year.
"Defendants, directly and/or through their agents, willfully, recklessly, negligently and with deliberate indifference, placed Derrick in a hostile environment in which he was regularly and continuously subjected to physical, mental, verbal and emotional abuse of the most outrageous nature," the suit claims.
Named in the lawsuit are Rice, Pernetti, former assistant coach James Martelli, Rutgers president Robert Barchi and two other school officials. It seeks unspecified punitive and compensatory damages.
Martelli resigned after the video surfaced. The two officials, Rutgers board of governors member Mark Hershhorn and Janine Purcaro, CFO for intercollegiate athletics, are still employed by the university.
The suit alleges negligence and breach of fiduciary duty on the part of all defendants and accuses Rice of assault and battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress. It also accuses the school of violating the federal Americans with Disabilities Act.
A Rutgers spokesman said Tuesday the university had not yet been served the lawsuit.
Wed, 11 Dec 2013 00:14:00 +0000
McCown tosses 4 TDs as Bears bury Cowboys
CHICAGO (AP) Neither the brutal cold nor one of the league's worst defenses could stop Josh McCown and the Chicago Bears.
McCown threw for a career-high four touchdowns, and the Bears scored on their first eight possessions to grab a share of the NFC North lead with a 45-28 victory over the Dallas Cowboys on a frigid Monday night.
The Bears (7-6) retired Hall of Famer Mike Ditka's number at halftime and pulled even with Detroit in the division race on a night when the wind chill factor was below zero. Dallas (7-6) fell a game behind Philadelphia in the NFC East.
The conditions didn't stop McCown from throwing for 348 yards or keep the Bears from running away with a lopsided victory after consecutive losses.
Alshon Jeffery's leaping catch between two defenders in the corner of the end zone in the closing seconds of the second quarter gave the Bears a 24-14 lead, and they continued to pour it on in the second half after a gut-wrenching overtime loss at Minnesota last week.
McCown, making his fourth straight start with Jay Cutler sidelined by a high left ankle sprain, completed 27 of 36 passes.
Brandon Marshall caught six passes for 100 yards, and Jeffery added 84 yards receiving after breaking his own team record the previous week with 249.
Matt Forte chipped in with 102 yards rushing and 73 receiving, and the Bears racked up 490 yards in all.
Tony Romo threw for three touchdowns but completed just 11 of 20 passes for 104 yards. DeMarco Murray ran for 146 yards, but the Cowboys were overmatched after winning two straight.
They also lost linebacker Sean Lee to another injury - this time a neck issue after making a tackle in the third quarter. He missed the previous two games with a hamstring problem.
The game-time temperature was 8 degrees with the wind chill at minus 9, but the freezing conditions did nothing to slow either team in the early going.
Murray burned Chicago for 52 yards on six carries on the game's opening possession to set up a 2-yard scoring pass from Romo to Dez Bryant, but the Bears scored just about every time they got the ball.
After Bryant's TD, McCown tied it with a 4-yard pass to Earl Bennett and put Chicago ahead 14-7 early in the second quarter with a 7-yard scramble, leaping at the goal line and getting spun in mid-air.
Jason Witten tied it at 14 when he dragged Major Wright across the goal line on a 10-yard touchdown catch, but the Bears grabbed a three-point lead on Robbie Gould's 27-yard field goal with 1:33 remaining in the half.
Tue, 10 Dec 2013 04:57:00 +0000
Heisman: Winston, Manziel, Lynch among 6 finalists
NEW YORK (AP) Jameis Winston will have plenty of company at the Heisman Trophy ceremony - though he's not expected to have much competition.
The Florida State quarterback was among a record-tying six Heisman finalists revealed Monday, along with Northern Illinois' Jordan Lynch, Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel, Alabama's AJ McCarron, Auburn's Tre Mason and Boston College's Andre Williams.
Six finalists invited to New York for the presentation are the most since 1994. The winner will be announced Saturday night.
Winston is the overwhelming favorite to win the award now that a sexual assault complaint against him in Tallahassee, Fla., has been closed without charges being filed.
He could also become the second freshman to win the award. Manziel was the first just last year. Famous Jameis, like Johnny Football last season, is a redshirt freshman.
While Winston was a lock to be invited, the rest of the field was muddled. Some contenders had late stumbles (Manziel and Lynch), others (Mason and Williams) made late runs.
Manziel will try to join another exclusive Heisman club by becoming the second player to win the award twice. Ohio State's Archie Griffin won the award in 1974 and `75. The Aggies' quarterback is third in the nation in total offense with 368 yards per game.
Lynch led No. 24 Northern Illinois (12-1) to within a victory of a BCS bid and has set the major college record for yards rushing for a quarterback this season with 1,815. He also tweeted that he was a finalist about five minutes before the official announcement was made on ESPN by 1996 winner Danny Wuerffel.
"NYC here I come!! Thanks to the coaches teammates and media relation couldn't of did it wt out them!" the record-setting senior posted.
McCarron completed 67 percent of his passes for 2,676 yards and 26 touchdowns for the fourth-ranked Crimson Tide (11-1).
"This will be my first trip to New York City, and I can't put into words how much it means to me," McCarron said in a statement released by the school. "I am truly privileged to have the opportunity to represent our team at the Heisman ceremony. None of this would be possible without my coaches and teammates."
Mason helped No. 2 Auburn reach the BCS title game, running for 304 yards and four TDs in the SEC championship game. He is ninth in the country in rushing (124 ypg).
"When I heard the news, I was in disbelief," Mason said in a statement. "For me to be invited to the Heisman ceremony, I am honored and blessed. I couldn't have done it without my teammates; this is an honor for all of them also."
Williams is the nation's leading rusher at 175 yards per game and the 16th player in FBS to run for 2,000 yards in a season.
Winston's arrival as Florida State's starting quarterback was being touted as a major event in the spring and he has surpassed the hype. The Alabama native is on pace to break the NCAA record for passer efficiency rating (190.1) and has already set records for yards passing (3,820) and TD passes (38) for a freshman.
Winston's only issues have come off the field. About a month ago, a year-old sexual assault complaint against him made by a female Florida State student was given by police to the state attorney's office for a full investigation.
A woman claimed Winston raped her. Winston's lawyer said the sex was consensual. Winston continued to play, and play well, during the investigation. Last week, the state attorney announced there would be no charges filed in the case, and two days later Winston threw for three touchdown passes and ran for a score as No. 1 Florida State won the Atlantic Coast Conference championship game 45-7 against Duke and wrapped up a spot in the BCS title game.
In the latest straw poll released Monday by HeismanPundit.com, which has correctly predicted the last seven winners, Winston received seven of the 10 first-place votes and 26 points to easily outdistance Lynch (eight points and two first-place votes).
All six finalists are expected to attend the ceremony, which would match `94 for the most in Heisman history. That season Colorado tailback Rashaan Salaam won the Heisman, and Penn State's Ki-Jana Carter and Kerry Collins, along with Alcorn State's Steve McNair, Alabama's Jay Barker and Miami's Warren Sapp were finalists.
In 1989, eight players were invited to the ceremony, but only four attended. Among the missing was Houston's Andre Ware, who won the award but was preparing for a game.
Follow Ralph D. Russo at www.Twitter.com/ralphDrussoAP
Tue, 10 Dec 2013 00:19:00 +0000
Patriots put TE Gronkowski on IR with knee injury
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) The New England Patriots must get used to playing without Rob Gronkowski again.
The star tight end who missed the first six games while recovering from surgeries is done for the season after being placed on injured reserve Monday with a damaged right knee.
That experience could help the Patriots handle his absence.
"I'd like to think there's going to be some carry-over there, not only (from) the first six weeks of the season, but the entire training camp as well," coach Bill Belichick said Monday. "That's the way we practiced and played most of the year."
Gronkowski was hurt midway through the third quarter of the Patriots' 27-26 win over the Cleveland Browns on Sunday when he was hit on the knee by safety T.J. Ward after a 21-yard reception.
The Patriots were 5-1 while Gronkowski recovered from offseason operations on his left forearm and back. In the next six games, he led all NFL tight ends with 37 catches and 560 yards receiving and they were 4-2. But the offense was much more productive.
Gronkowski caught touchdown passes in four consecutive games before making just two receptions for 32 yards against the Browns.
He suffered a torn ACL and damaged MCL, a person familiar with the injury said Monday. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the team did not release those details.
Cleveland coach Rob Chudzinski said Monday he didn't know whether Ward's hit on Gronkowski resulted from a reluctance to hit a player high and possibly incur a fine for helmet-first contact.
"From my vantage point, I think he was trying to get Gronkowski down on the ground," Chudzinski said. "A big guy coming at you that way is tough to get on the ground, so I don't know that it has to do with the rules other than trying to get the guy on the ground. Certainly, we feel terrible about that (injury). He's a great player, and (we) hope that he has a speedy recovery."
The Patriots visit Miami on Sunday.
"The thing about New England is they have an excellent offensive staff, they utilize their personnel very, very well, and they adjust," Dolphins coach Joe Philbin said. "You have to have a big enough system offensively that you can incorporate different players throughout the course of the season."
The injury is just the latest to a key Patriots player. Defensive tackles Vince Wilfork and Tommy Kelly, linebacker Jerod Mayo and right tackle Sebastian Vollmer are on season-ending injured reserve. Gronkowski's injury should make it tougher for the Patriots (10-3) to hold on to the No. 2 spot in the AFC and a first-round bye. Cincinnati (9-4) is third and has beaten New England this season.
"We can't sit here and try to pretend like it's something that's easy and that we just can roll through. It's tough," special teams captain Matthew Slater said. "When you lose guys, and guys of this caliber, it makes it hard on your football team."
The Patriots signed tight end D.J. Williams to the 53-man roster. They had released him last Wednesday after signing him as a free agent on Nov. 27. Williams played sparingly in a 34-31 win over Houston.
He and Matthew Mulligan are the Patriots' only healthy tight ends. Michael Hoomanawanui missed the past three games with a knee injury.
"As far as (getting) more reps here or there, you just don't know," Mulligan said. "It's all game plan and we'll see what happens."
Mulligan has just 16 receptions in five seasons. Gronkowski set an NFL record for tight ends with 18 touchdowns in 2011.
"Unfortunately, we've had to take the field without him in the past and we've had to figure out ways to still be productive," Slater said. "We're going to have to do that again."
AP Sports Writers Steven Wine in Miami and Tom Withers in Cleveland contributed to this report.
AP NFL website: http://www.pro32.ap.org
Mon, 09 Dec 2013 23:41:00 +0000