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Irving scores 55, leads Cavs to 8th win in row minus LeBron
CLEVELAND (AP) Kyrie Irving scored a career-high 55 points, breaking the arena record while LeBron James watched from the bench and leading the Cleveland Cavaliers to their eighth straight win, 99-94 over the Portland Trail Blazers on Wednesday night. Irving took over with James sidelined with a sprained right wrist. He buried a 3-pointer with 6.4 seconds left to break a 94-94 tie, grabbed a rebound off a missed 3-pointer by Portland's Damian Lillard, and as many in the crowd chanted "M-V-P" and James danced near the bench, Irving dropped two free throws with 2.1 seconds remaining to seal the win. Irving broke the previous scoring record at Quicken Loans Arena held by Allen Iverson. His point total was also the highest in the league this season, bettering the 52 scored by Golden State's Klay Thompson and Minnesota's Mo Williams. Thu, 29 Jan 2015 02:40:00 +0000
Grant sparks No. 8 Notre Dame to 77-73 victory over Duke
SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) Jerian Grant had 23 points and 12 assists and No. 8 Notre Dame made two shots in the final 67 seconds as the shot clock ran out to beat No. 4 Duke 77-73 Wednesday night. Grant lost control of the ball, picked it up at the free throw line and got a shot off just in time to give the Irish a 73-70 lead with 67 seconds left. After Quinn Cook hit a pair of free throws, Grant looked as though he was holding for a shot. But he fired it over to Steve Vasturia in the corner for a 3-pointer, giving the Irish a 76-72 lead. Grant thenblocked a layup attempt to end the threat by Duke. The win keeps Notre Dame (20-2, 8-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) in second-place in the league. l Duke (17-3, 4-3) is off to its worst start in league play since opening the 1995-96 season 3-4. Thu, 29 Jan 2015 02:50:00 +0000
Wade Phillips hired as Broncos defensive coordinator
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) Wade Phillips is returning to Denver as Gary Kubiak's defensive coordinator. Phillips, 67, interviewed for the position this week after the Broncos were rebuffed in their attempts to speak with Bengals secondary coach Vance Joseph about the position. Joseph, who has a year left on his contract in Cincinnati, had interviewed for the Broncos head coaching vacancy following John Fox's ouster earlier this month. Phillips was Kubiak's defensive coordinator in Houston from 2011-13 and replaced him as interim coach when Kubiak was fired by the Texans in December 2013. Phillips has also served as head coach of the Saints, Cowboys, Falcons, Bills and Broncos, where he went 16-16 from 1993-94. He was out of football last season for the first time since 1975. Under Phillips, the Broncos figure to capitalize on their pass-rushing duo of Pro Bowlers Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware by playing more of a 3-4 defense, with three down linemen and four linebackers. Under Fox the last four seasons they were primarily a 4-3 team. Taking on an added urgency under such a switch would be the re-signing of soon-to-be free agent nose tackle Terrance "Pot Roast" Knighton because the fulcrum of a 3-4 alignment is a stout run-stuffer who can command double teams. Knighton has said he wants to finish his career in Denver, but he's also said he wants to keep playing for Jack Del Rio, who was hired as Oakland's head coach after the Broncos bowed out of the playoffs. Del Rio drafted Knighton in Jacksonville and was his defensive coordinator in Denver. Also Wednesday, the Broncos hired tight ends coach Brian Pariani and agreed to terms with Joe Woods to coach their defensive backs. Woods was Oakland's secondary coach in 2014. Pariani brings 24 years of NFL coaching experience, including 19 as a tight ends coach, to Denver, where he also coached the tight ends from 1995-2004. His prize pupils then were Hall of Famer Shannon Sharpe and Pro Bowler Dwayne Cars well. This time, it could be Pro Bowler Julius Thomas and Virgil Green - providing the Broncos re-sign them. They are among Denver's dozen unrestricted free agents come March and general manager John Elway has said he'd like to keep them in Denver. Last season Pariani coached the tight ends in Baltimore, where Kubiak was offensive coordinator. He also coached tight ends during Kubiak's entire eight-year tenure with the Texans. --- AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL Thu, 29 Jan 2015 03:17:00 +0000
Kobe Bryant has surgery, expected to be out for 9 months
EL SEGUNDO, Calif. (AP) Kobe Bryant is officially done for the season after having surgery to repair his torn right rotator cuff Wednesday. The Los Angeles Lakers also made it official that their superstar doesn't believe his career is finished. Bryant is expected to need nine months to recover from his third straight season-ending injury. If Bryant meets that timetable, he could return to basketball shortly before the start of the 2015-16 season - and the Lakers expect to see him in purple and gold again. Neal ElAttrache and Steve Lombardo performed the two-hour surgery at the Kerlan Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic in Los Angeles. "I expect Kobe to make a full recovery, and if all goes as expected, he should be ready for the start of the season," ElAttrache said in a statement provided by the Lakers. The Lakers formally declared Bryant out for the year by acknowledging the expected recovery time from his injury, but also effectively confirmed he won't retire and will attempt to play his 20th season in the fall. Bryant, who will be 37 years old this summer, is the NBA's highest-paid player at $23.5 million this season, and he is under contract for $25 million next year. "In my mind right now, he's coming back next year, unless he tells me something different," coach Byron Scott said at practice Wednesday. Scott already had acknowledged Bryant was highly unlikely to play again this season for the flailing Lakers (12-34), who will match their franchise record for futility if they lose their 10th consecutive game when the Chicago Bulls visit Thursday. But if Los Angeles finishes with a top-five draft pick, the club won't have to give its first-round choice to Phoenix until next year to complete its brutal trade for Steve Nash in 2012. Bryant hurt his right shoulder while dunking last week in New Orleans, deciding on surgery shortly afterward. He is the third-leading scorer in league history and a five-time NBA champion. Bryant averaged 22.3 points, 5.7 rebounds and 5.6 assists in 35 games, but made a career-worst 37.3 percent of his shots in a wildly inconsistent 19th season. He also passed Michael Jordan for third place on the NBA's career scoring list, trailing only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Karl Malone. Bryant's popularity hasn't waned during his injury-plagued stretch. He was voted to the All-Star game for the 17th time this month, and he is still the Lakers' public face despite his recent prolonged absences from the court. Bryant missed the 2013 playoffs after tearing his Achilles tendon late in the regular season, and he played in just six games last season before breaking a bone near his left knee. Although he has played through innumerable injuries in the past, the accumulated wear from nearly two decades in the NBA has caught up to him. Bryant sat out eight games to rest in the past month, and he played under a strict minutes limit. It wasn't enough to protect him from another major injury. Bryant joins Nash, first-round pick Julius Randle and swingman Xavier Henry with season-ending injuries already for the Lakers. Thu, 29 Jan 2015 00:16:00 +0000
Millsaps leads Hawks to 17th straight win, 113-102 over Nets
ATLANTA (AP) Paul Millsap had 28 points and 15 rebounds, five other Atlanta players scored in double figures, and the Hawks stretched their franchise-record winning streak to 17 games in a row with a 113-102 victory over the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday night. Atlanta (38-8) has won 31 of 33 and leads the Eastern Conference by a commanding seven games. This was a bit tougher than expected against the struggling Nets, who kept it close most of the way. The Hawks pulled away in the final quarter, leading by as many as 15. Millsap finished off Brooklyn's last run with a 3-pointer from the corner with 2:34 remaining, pushing Atlanta to a 109-98 edge. Joe Johnson led the Nets with 26 points. It wasn't enough to prevent Brooklyn's 11th loss in 13 games, a slide that has knocked the team out of the top eight in the East. Al Horford also had a double-double for the Hawks with 20 points and 12 rebounds. Kyle Korver scored 17, connecting on five 3-pointers, while Jeff Teague and Dennis Schroder had 13 apiece and DeMarre Carroll 12. Atlanta outrebounded the Nets 45-35. Brook Lopez scored 18 for Brooklyn off the bench, and Jarrett Jack chipped in with 14 points and 13 assists. The Hawks got off to a sloppy start, committing six turnovers in the first 7 minutes. But they seized control before the break, closing the second quarter on a 21-9 run that sent them to the locker room with their biggest lead of the half, 64-53. Millsap played a huge role in the turnaround. He scored 16 points, knocked down a pair of 3-pointers, and grabbed 12 rebounds in the opening half. Atlanta has built a double-digit lead in every game during its winning streak, and improved to 33-1 this season when up by at least 10 points. Amazingly, the Hawks have already matched their win total for all of last season, when they slipped into the playoffs as the No. 8 seed with a 38-44 record. And it's not even the All-Star break. TIP-INS Brooklyn: The bus carrying coach Lionel Hollins got caught in traffic trying to get to Philips Arena and didn't arrive until 6:43 p.m. for the 8 p.m. tipoff. A poultry convention at the adjacent Georgia World Congress Center clogged traffic in downtown Atlanta. ... F Mirza Teletovic traveled home after being hospitalized last week in Los Angeles with blood clots in his lungs. The Bosnian will miss the rest of the season, but is expected to make a full recovery. Atlanta: Schroder will represent the Hawks in the Rising Stars Challenge during All-Star weekend in New York. The second-year point guard from Germany is one of the most improved players in the league, playing a key role off the bench as Teague's backup. ... Mike Budenholzer and his staff already earned the right to coach the Eastern Conference team in the All-Star game, and as many as four Hawks players could be selected when the reserves are named Thursday. UP NEXT Brooklyn: Head home Friday night to face the Toronto Raptors. Atlanta: Host the Portland Trailblazers on Friday night, the next-to-last game in a seven-game homestand. --- Follow Paul Newberry on Twitter at www.twitter.com/pnewberry1963 Thu, 29 Jan 2015 03:36:00 +0000