Rockets’ James Harden sits out win vs. Mavericks with left knee soreness

Houston Rockets superstar guard James Harden sat out of his team’s 105-82 win over the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday due to left knee soreness.

Coach Mike D’Antoni said that Harden, who is leading the NBA in scoring with 31.1 points per game and ranks third in assists (8.8 per game), will play in Monday’s home game against the San Antonio Spurs.

We don’t have the luxury of just taking nights off, he said. We’re not where we want to be. We’re not that good yet. So we have to go out there and approach every single game, no matter who we’re playing, like it’s a playoff game. We’re 15 games away, so it’s time to take it serious.

Harden scored 16 of his 28 points in the third quarter to allow the Rockets to build a huge lead and sail to a 109-93 victory Monday night.

The NBA’s leading scorer took a little while to get going a night after sitting out against Dallas with a sore left knee and had just 12 points at halftime.

Despite his slow start, the Rockets had a comfortable lead in the third and were still up by 13 after a basket by San Antonio’s Dejounte Murray with about eight minutes left in the quarter. It was then that Harden took over, scoring the next eight points to start a 16-4 run that extended the lead to 82-57 with about 3 1/2 minutes left in the third and had coach Gregg Popovich calling for a timeout.

The Phoenix Suns, Los Angeles Lakers and Rockets teams with D’Antoni on the sideline had a combined 6-20 record in playoff games against the Spurs. Then again, with all due respect to the Steve Nash-run Suns, none of those teams were nearly as dominant as these Rockets, who have won 19 of the past 20 games and are a ridiculous 35-2 when James Harden, Chris Paul and Clint Capela all play.

And these Spurs — even with LaMarcus Aldridge (sore knee) and Manu Ginobili (rest), who both sat out against the Rockets — look nothing like the perennial contenders who have made the playoffs each of the previous 20 seasons, the third-longest postseason streak in NBA history. In fact, the Spurs find themselves on the outside looking in at the playoff picture this late in the season for the first time since Tim Duncan was drafted in 1997, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

It was a very solid game. He looked big to me tonight, Arizona coach Rick Tocchet said. A very solid play. It looked like when they shot nothing was going to go in.

Kuemper had 24 saves in the Coyotes’ 2-1 win at Vancouver on Wednesday in his Arizona debut.

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When LeBron James’ name was called when the Cleveland Cavaliers’ starting lineup was introduced, Los Angeles Lakers fans greeted the superstar with a warm applause.

While this wasn’t anything close to erecting billboards around the Los Angeles area trying to lure James as one longtime Lakers season-ticket holder did last week, the Staples Center crowd clearly wanted James to know that they’d love to see him here again next season and preferably in a purple and gold No. 23 jersey.

Patrik Laine, 19, has never played in the NHL postseason. Sure, they’ve both appeared in the same number of championship games, which is none. But the Jets are clearly a team building toward a title with a young core, while the Capitals are using an industrial-strength tire jack to keep their Stanley Cup window open.

Taylor Hall and Brad Marchand are among the guys who have significantly stepped up their game this season, from establishing themselves as impact players to morphing from stars into supernovas. Plus, the NHL has a China problem — and more Jersey Fouls.

An autopsy report released Tuesday by the El Paso County Coroner said that 53-year-old Jim Johannson’s death was natural and caused by heart disease.

According to USA Hockey, Johannson died in his sleep on Jan. 21 at his home in Colorado Springs.

Johannson worked for USA Hockey for decades; at the time of his death, he was general manager of the U.S. Olympic men’s hockey team. USA Hockey officials have said Johannson relished the chance to put together the men’s team that competed in South Korea.

Goran Dragic scored 23 points for the Heat, who were without two key players in starting center Hassan Whiteside and sixth man Dwyane Wade.

The Blazers closed the first quarter on a 14-4 run to take a 34-25 lead, capped by a buzzer-beating 3-pointer from rookie Zach Collins that was accompanied with some guard-like dribbling.

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Lakers’ Josh Hart out 4-6 weeks after undergoing hand surgery

Los Angeles Lakers rookie Josh Hart is expected to miss four to six weeks after undergoing surgery to repair a fractured fourth metacarpal in his left hand on Friday, according to the team.

Hart, who suffered the injury on Wednesday in practice, had the surgery performed by Dr. Steven S. Shin. According to the team’s timetable, Hart could potentially return as early as March 30 against Milwaukee.

At that point the Lakers would have eight games remaining in the season. Head coach Luke Walton said on Thursday that if Hart returns with “a couple of weeks left [in the season] then yeah we’ll get him back on the court.”

Wiggins added 21 points for the Timberwolves. Towns has had a double-double in a league-high 55 games this season.

Timberwolves: The Timberwolves waived forward Shabazz Muhammad before the game. “He wasn’t playing as much as he would have liked and we told him we’d try to do the right thing for him,” coach Tom Thibodeau said. Muhammad averaged 3.8 points and 1.4 rebounds in 32 games this season. … The Timberwolves arrived in Portland early and Thibodeau was able to attend Portland’s 116-99 victory over Sacramento on Tuesday.

Portis had 15 in the second half and Chicago used a 16-4 run in the final five minutes to end a five-game losing streak.

The game featured two of the worst teams in the league, both entering with 10-game losing streaks and looking more at their draft position than any long-lost hope of the postseason. The Suns victory gave them 19 wins, one more than Memphis, but Phoenix has two more losses in the race to the bottom. Some statistics were reflective of both teams’ troubles. Memphis committed 20 turnovers Cheap Jerseys Wholesale China and shot 38 percent for the game, while the Suns had 16 miscues and connected on 46 percent.

The Grizzlies are not only losing, but really not getting Cheap Kids Football Jerseys close. They have lost their last four by an average of 17 points.

“We haven’t really been on track all season,” Harrison said. “We’ve got to continue to play better.”

Portis leads late rally, Bulls beat Mavs 108-100

Bobby Portis and the Chicago Bulls finally broke through with a late burst that made the difference.

There obviously aren’t a lot of fade options on a four-game slate, but I’m not willing to pay top dollar for a rookie who figures to see plenty of LeBron James. Sure, Simmons is impressive and I love his long-term outlook, but “The King” will be looking to send a message to a city that is shamelessly recruiting him. I fear that could mean a long night for Simmons.

In two games against Cleveland, Simmons has totaled just 24 points, 12 assists (11 turnovers), and 14 rebounds — numbers that simply aren’t appealing at his current price point. Furthermore, the Cavaliers are in the midst of a five-game homestand and have off-days on both sides of this game, making this a good spot for a rested James to impose his will. If you’re “trusting the process” tonight, Joel Embiid is far-and-away the best member of the 76ers to roster in this spot.

Simmons has played very well of late. He’s seemingly gotten through his rookie wall, and his good play is reflected with near-max level pricing in DFS. However, he is coming off three straight solid, but by no means monster outings. He also has had two performances of relative insignifigance in his meetings against the Cavaliers this season. I simply do not expect him to live up to his price tag on Thursday.

So … what gives with the shortfall? Where is the ding in Antetokounmpo’s numerical portfolio? What’s keeping him from fulfilling his top-two ADP?

Becoming a top-three player requires a special brand of statistical domination. A player might be able to crack 18-19 Player Rater points with one mediocre-to-bad category. LeBron is a substandard free throw shooter (73.8 FT% on 6.0 attempts per game). James Harden hits a boatload of 3s but pays a small price in his field goal percentage (44.9 FG% on 20.6 attempts).

“I feel like I will get out of it, man,” Ball said at the time. “It is still early in the season. We have a long season to go, just keep working.”

Since the start of December, Ball has shot 43 percent from the field and 38 percent from the 3 line, despite not playing for a six-game stint and then a 15-game stretch due to injuries to his shoulder and knee, respectively. He also sat out one game — against the Sacramento Baseball Jerseys For Sale Kings on Saturday — as the team held him out of his first back-to-back since returning Cheap NFL Jerseys Nike from his sprained MCL injury.

Cunningham scores 22, No. 11 Missouri women beat Arkansas

Sophie Cunningham scored 22 points to lead five Missouri players in double figures and the No. 11 Tigers beat Arkansas 88-54 on Sunday.

Kayla Michael and Lauren Aldridge had 13 points apiece, while Jordan Chavis and Jordan Frericks each scored 12, for Missouri (17-2, 5-1 SEC).

Mazzant found that Elliott did not receive a fair hearing before league-appointed arbitrator Harold Henderson, in large part because Henderson did not force NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and Elliott’s accuser in a domestic violence case to testify at Elliott’s appeal hearing. Henderson, a former labor executive for the NFL, upheld the six-game suspension imposed by Goodell.

The league’s request for a stay of the injunction technically is made first to Mazzant. Assuming that the judge does not reverse his own decision, the request then is made to the appeals court. NFL spokesman Joe Lockhart said the league will seek expedited action on its request for an emergency stay on the injunction.

After UMBC’s Daniel Akin made a layup to make it 8-4 with 15:24 to go before halftime, the Retrievers didn’t score again until the 6:52 mark of the first half, missing nine shots during that stretch.

Albany led 36-12 at the break, and continued the one-sided affair after intermission with a 13-0 run as Nichols made a pair of 3s. UMBC (13-8, 4-2) didn’t score until 16:37 left with Joe Sherburne’s layup to make it 49-14.

Clark added 12 points for Albany which shot 33 of 57 (58 percent) compared to 17 of 54 (31.5) for the Retrievers. Jairus Lyles led UMBC with 14 points.

Part of those kick-ass plans will involve Eli Manning’s future with the team. Gettleman, for his part, wasn’t quite ready on his first day back in New York to make clear predictions regarding the two-time Super Bowl winner’s future.

I haven’t had access to tape and I’m not avoiding the question, but, obviously, you got to look at the film, see what’s cooking, Gettleman said about Manning. Eli’s won a lot of games, he’s a great competitor, he’s very intelligent and he and I are going to talk, and if what I saw in Philadelphia was not a mirage — which I don’t believe it was — then we’ll just keep moving.

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No. 9 Cincinnati looking to keep streak alive vs. Temple

When a reporter asked Mick Cronin on Monday to comment on his team being ranked in the top 10 of this week’s Associated Press poll for the first time in three seasons, the Cincinnati Bearcats head coach was having none of it.

Somebody texted it to me, Cronin said. I was going to describe that person with an adjective. I’m trying to get over vomiting all day Sunday over our performance Saturday night.

Unlike the first matchup against the Bearcats, Temple finished strong with a 12-0 run to close out a 60-51 win over Penn on Saturday. This was in contrast to several other games this season, including Cincinnati, where the Owls squandered leads late.

We’re equal opportunity on bad plays, said Temple coach Fran Dunphy of his team’s struggles down the stretch. We take bad shots, we throw it away … we cover the gamut. But, to survive and move on to the next challenge, we’re grateful for it.

Cincinnati leads the all-time series with Temple 20-9, including three straight wins. The Bearcats own an 8-2 advantage over the Owls at home.

Kent State led 38-31 at halftime, but Ball State (12-8, 3-4) grabbed the lead, 42-41, on a Trey Moses free throw with 3:20 gone in the second half. The Golden Flashes trailed 49-45, but Walker nailed 3-pointers to begin and end a 10-0 run and forge a 55-49 lead. From there, Ball State got seven points from Sean Sellers and five from Tayler Persons, including a 3-pointer with 24 seconds left in regulation, to send the game to overtime tied at 71.

Ishmael El-Amin’s layup gave the Cardinals a 75-74 lead with 3:18 remaining, but Pippen hit a jumper to ignite a 10-0 run to seal the win for Kent State.

Persons tallied 19 points and seven assists to pace Ball State. Sellers added 15 points and nine rebounds.

So we’re going to enjoy and embrace every single second of it, you know? We get obsessed with completion. That’s what successful people do, they get obsessed with completion. And we need to complete this season. And no better way to go out than with a win.

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Cam Newton’s accuracy high on Norv Turner’s list of fixes for Panthers

When the Panthers hired Norv Turner as their new offensive coordinator, they did so with the idea that he could inject some life into Cam Newton’s career and Carolina’s offense.

While there are plenty of improvements to make to a unit that has lacked consistency over recent seasons, Turner, in an interview for the team’s official website, said there’s a lot that can be built upon.

Turner also mentioned receivers Devin Funchess and Curtis Samuel as players who already have a solid base of talent to improve upon, and they will have opportunities to fill vital roles in the offense. The key for them will be utilizing their speed and getting the ball into their hands.

Although the broad offensive philosophy won’t be drastically changing, the new ideas coming in with Turner could be just what Carolina’s offense needs to push it over the top and provide some much-needed consistency.

Mayfield entered the NFL Draft with an impressive body of work that included winning the 2017 Heisman Trophy and guiding the Sooners into the College Football Playoff. It’s unlikely Mayfield could improve his draft stock by playing in the Senior Bowl, especially when weighed against injury risk.

There are a lot of skeptical people out there who think I have character issues, Mayfield told Brandt and me at the Walter Camp Awards in New Haven, Conn. That’s why I’m doing (the Senior Bowl) to sit down and have a conversation with people, let them know I love the game of football and I’ll do anything to win.

The Broncos, whose coaches are in charge of the Senior Bowl’s North squad and have the No. 5 overall pick in April’s draft, requested to have Mayfield on their player roster. That will give Denver an entire week to work with him during practices and in the classroom before Saturday’s kickoff.

That may have to be enough.

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Greg Jennings encourages Dez Bryant to take a pay cut

Four days after the Cowboys’ season ended, wide receiver Dez Bryant was asked about his contract situation and if he would be willing to take a little less money to play for the Cowboys.

Hell, no, man, Bryant told reporters. I believe in me.

When they start using words like, ‘We’re looking at the full body of work,’ those are tell-tale signs that…you’re going to take the pay cut, Jennings said. We’ve got to look at the full scope of what’s going on around us and so for me, I didn’t take the pay cut initially…I was no longer in that Vikings uniform because they decided to go with Mike Wallace.

Bryant has two years left on his deal worth $25.5 million. The Cowboys could cut him and take less of a cap hit now than they would have after 2016, or even 2017. Cutting him could make sense for the Cowboys if Bryant is not willing to restructure his contract. Jennings urged Bryant not to put himself in that situation.

Dez… Dez… just take the pay cut man.

It wouldn’t be fair to judge Hue based on his record after just two seasons because few NFL teams have put themselves at such a disadvantage in order to save assets and focus on winning three or four years down the road, Thomas wrote for Sports Illustrated.

This season, the Browns became only the second NFL team in history to go winless over a 16-game season. General manager Sashi Brown was fired and John Dorsey took his place. It seemed only a matter of time before Jackson was fired, too, but Thomas said owner Jimmy Haslam had to remember why Jackson was hired in the first place three years ago.

He was the hottest coach on the market for several years, developed QBs like Joe Flacco and Andy Dalton and went as a head coach in his only full season, Thomas said. He’s a great leader, a great manager of coaches and a great X’s and O’s football guy. Firing him based on the record wouldn’t have been the right move.

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Guess how much Super Bowl tickets cost

The New England Patriots and the Philadelphia Eagles are set to face off in Super Bowl 52. Plenty of Eagles and Patriots fans will be scouring the Internet for Super Bowl tickets to the see their squad, hopefully, pull out a victory and hoist the Lombardi trophy.

The question is, how much will Super Bowl tickets cost you?

Unfortunately for fans looking to see the Super Bowl in person, there is no perfect time to buy a ticket. Recent years have shown that the fluctuation in ticket pricing leading up to the Super Bowl has no rhyme or reason. For instance, one season a reserved-ticket allotment was made available to the public and subsequently saw pricing drop. Other times, waiting to buy can result in increased prices.

White jerseys have brought good luck not only to New England, but many teams in the Super Bowl.

Twelve of the last 13 Super Bowl winners have worn their white jerseys, a trend that actually began the last time the Patriots faced the Eagles. The one exception came after the 2010 season, when Aaron Rodgers and the Packers in their green jerseys broke up what was then a six-game winning streak for white jerseys.

In 2016, Broncos general manager and executive vice president John Elway mentioned the team’s previous success in white jerseys when Denver had the first pick of uniforms as the home team for Super Bowl 50.

Wayne Ellington had 26 points on six 3-pointers and Joe Johnson added 22 points for the Heat.

Nic Batum scored a season-high 26 points and Walker had 22 for Charlotte, which had a two-game winning streak snapped. Howard had 14 points and 15 rebounds.

With Miami trailing 105-100, Johnson got free for a dunk. The Hornets inbounded the ball to Batum, but Josh Richardson stripped the ball and passed it to Johnson, who knocked down a 3-pointer from the wing to tie it.

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Tigers senior Donte Grantham tears ACL, ending Clemson career

Clemson senior forward Donte Grantham will miss the remainder of the season after tearing his ACL during Saturday’s game, the team announced.

Grantham suffered the injury in the second half of a 67-58 win over Notre Dame. His right knee buckled after he was fouled from behind.

I’m disappointed that Donte’s career at Clemson had to end this way, coach Brad Brownell said in a statement. He was putting together a terrific season statistically, but he really helps this team in so many ways.

I wasn’t really hitting shots, Knox said. Nothing from the 3-point line, so it was good to see I made a couple.

A brief moment of silence was held before tipoff to honor the victims and first responders of Tuesday’s fatal shooting at Marshall County High School in Benton, Kentucky. Two students died, 12 were wounded and five others injured in the shooting. Calipari, who has attended the Hoop Fest there, said news of the incident made him literally nauseous and he added, There’s nothing I can say, other than I’ll be praying for them tomorrow at Mass. I’ll take Communion for them, light a candle for them.

Coats Fulks called it unexpected and incredibly difficult news” for Robinson and her family, but added that our team will be fighting with her and supporting her and her family every step of the way.”

Robinson started six of the nine games she played this season, averaging 4.6 points and 3.9 rebounds for the Wildcats.

School officials say players and coaches will wear orange — the color of leukemia awareness — during pregame warm-ups to honor her.

Walton said in his experience, players have breakout offensive games when they’re not thinking about scoring.

To me, guys normally have nights like that when they stop thinking about offense, Walton said. You kind of get lost in doing other things when you’re as gifted as he is offensively. That’s when you have nights like that.

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