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Jimmie Johnson pulls away for another Atlanta Sprint Cup win

HAMPTON, Ga. (AP) Jimmie Johnson pulled away after the final restart with 13 laps to go Sunday, winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Johnson, a six-time Cup champion, started near the back after failing to get in a qualifying run because of inspection issues. But the No. 48 Chevrolet was the fastest car on the track at the end of the weekend, cruising across the finish line a comfortable 1.803 seconds ahead of Kevin Harvick.

It was the 71st victory of Johnson's career, and his fourth at the 1.54-mile trioval south of Atlanta.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. was third, followed by Daytona 500 winner Joey Logano.

Sun, 01 Mar 2015 23:24:00 +0000
Chelsea wins League Cup; Real Madrid and PSG held to draws

PARIS (AP) Coach Jose Mourinho added some more silverware to his collection as Chelsea beat Tottenham to win the Capital One Cup.

It ended his longest trophy drought in management, having last won the 2012 Spanish title with Real Madrid before rejoining Chelsea in 2013.

The London side's day was made better by the fact title rival Manchester City lost away to Liverpool to remain five points behind Chelsea - having played one game more.

In Spain, both Madrid sides were in action. League leader Real Madrid was held 1-1 at home by Villarreal, while Atletico drew 0-0 away to Sevilla.

Paris Saint-Germain missed chances in a 0-0 draw at Monaco, while in Italy Napoli slumped to a 1-0 defeat at Torino.

Dutch striker Bas Dost starred again in Wolfsburg's 5-3 win at Werder Bremen.

Here's a look at the action from the top European leagues:

---

ENGLAND

Chelsea won the League Cup for the fifth time and coach Jose Mourinho could hardly contain his joy, hugging his backroom staff and clenching his fist as he turned to celebrate with the London club's delighted fans at Wembley.

Captain John Terry scored the opener in the 45th minute with a deflected strike.

"We handled the game well and the pressure well," said the 34-year-old Terry, whose contract expires at the end of the season. "I don't see it as my last (visit to Wembley)."

Chelsea's first trophy since the 2013 Europa League was secured when another Tottenham defender, Kyle Walker, deflected striker Diego Costa's shot into the net.

In the north, Chelsea's title rival Manchester City dropped vital points after losing 2-1 to Liverpool.

Just like last season, Brazilian playmaker Philippe Coutinho grabbed Liverpool's winner against City, curling in a superb 25-meter goal in the 75th minute after Bosnia forward Edin Dzeko canceled out midfielder Jordan Henderson's blockbusting opener for the home side.

"It is a significant win for us," Rodgers said as resurgent Liverpool climbed up to fifth place, one point behind Manchester United.

Arsenal bounced back from a humiliating 3-1 home defeat to Monaco in the Champions League this week to beat Everton 2-0 and consolidate third place, four points behind City.

Olivier Giroud, so wasteful against Monaco, scored the first and midfielder Tomas Rosicky sealed the win.

---

SPAIN

Cristiano Ronaldo's 30th league goal of the season was not enough as league leader Real Madrid drew 1-1 at home to Villarreal, while defending champion Atletico Madrid was held to a 0-0 draw at Sevilla as it slipped farther behind in the title race.

Ronaldo scored in the 52nd minute with a penalty he earned and converted. But Villarreal striker Gerard Moreno equalized.

Madrid's lead over Barcelona was reduced to two points, while Atletico was left seven points adrift in third spot.

Sevilla hemmed Atletico into its area in the first half but could go no closer than Vicente Iborra's shot off the post in the 27th minute.

Atletico finally threatened Sevilla's goal after Fernando Torres went on after halftime.

Sevilla remained in fifth place and the only undefeated home side in the league. Even so, it fell seven points behind fourth-place Valencia.

Meanwhile, Pablo Piatti scored twice shortly after halftime to help Valencia beat Real Sociedad 2-0 at home.

---

GERMANY

Dutch striker Bas Dost continued his prolific form with two more goals as Wolfsburg ended Werder Bremen's six-match unbeaten Bundesliga run with a 5-3 victory on Sunday.

Daniel Caligiuri also netted twice as second-place Wolfsburg stayed eight points behind Bayern Munich.

Bremen led 3-2 at halftime, but Wolfsburg capitalized on mistakes early in the second half to score three goals within five minutes.

Dost, who now has 12 Bundesliga goals in his past six matches, notched the first two from close range on passes from Kevin de Bruyne.

For good measure, he set up Cailigiuri for Wolfsburg's fifth.

Borussia Moenchengladbach strengthened its grip on third spot with a 2-0 victory over struggling Paderborn.

---

FRANCE

Two-time defending champion missed the chance to overtake Lyon at the top of the French league after being held to a 0-0 draw away to Monaco.

PSG was without star striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who is serving a two-game ban, and it showed as the two-time defending champion missed several chances against a well-drilled Monaco side which has kept nine clean sheets in its past 10 league games.

Winger Javier Pastore, striker Edinson Cavani and winger Ezequiel Lavezzi all missed good chances as PSG remained one point behind Lyon.

Elsewhere, Paraguayan forward Lucas Barrios scored the winning goal as Montpellier beat Nice 2-1 to move up to sixth place and striker Yacine Bammou pounced as Nantes beat Guingamp 1-0 to move up to eigth spot.

---

ITALY

Napoli missed the chance to move level with second-placed Roma as it lost 1-0 at Torino in Serie A on Sunday, while Lazio closed in on third place.

Kamil Glik scored to boost Torino's chances of qualifying for Europe and ensure Napoli remained three points behind Roma, which plays Italian league leader Juventus on Monday.

Lazio moved two points behind Napoli with a comfortable 3-0 win at Sassuolo as the race for the final Champions League spot gathers pace.

Goals from Felipe Anderson, Miroslav Klose and Marco Parolo helped Lazio record its third successive win.

Mohamed Salah was on target as Fiorentina remained a point behind Lazio following a 1-0 victory at Inter Milan, while Sampdoria was three points further back after coming from behind to win 2-1 at Atalanta.

It was Salah's third goal in his four Serie A matches since joining Fiorentina on loan from Chelsea in January.

Parma's match at Genoa was postponed, with the players protesting the situation at the financially-stricken club and the lack of help from the Italian footballing authorities. All matches this weekend started 15 minutes late in a show of solidarity.

Sun, 01 Mar 2015 22:56:00 +0000
Arizona sends Keith Yandle to Rangers for 2 players, picks

GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) The New York Rangers acquired a big piece in their push for another deep playoff run, picking up All-Star defenseman Keith Yandle in a trade with the Arizona Coyotes on Sunday.

The Rangers lost to the Los Angeles Kings in the Stanley Cup Finals last season didn't wait until Monday's trade deadline to make a big move for this year's run.

The 28-year-old Yandle has been one of the NHL's best offensive-minded defensemen, a four-time All-Star who has led the Coyotes in scoring the past three seasons. He has 41 points in 63 games this season and has been the anchor of Arizona's power play unit.

New York also received defenseman Chris Summers and a 2016 fourth-round pick for defenseman John Moore, top prospect Anthony Duclair, a conditional first-round draft pick in 2016 and a second-rounder this year.

The Rangers made two more deals Sunday ahead of the trade deadline, acquiring forward Carl Klingberg from the Winnipeg Jets for forward Lee Stempniak, and picking up forward James Sheppard from the San Joe Sharks for a fourth-round pick in 2016.

Arizona agreed to retain 50 percent of Yandle's salary to complete the deal.

"It's very simple: The only way we could do a deal with the Rangers given their cap situation was to retain salary," Coyotes general manager Don Maloney said. "That's the reality of the world we're living in. We would not be doing this type of deal if we were acquiring a 33-year-old player, but when you talk about a 19-year-old potential first-line winger and a couple of other high-draft pick assets, you realize it's going to cost you some money to make this type of deal."

The Rangers are third in the Eastern Conference, five points behind Montreal, and two behind the neighboring Islanders in the Metropolitan Division.

The 28-year-old Yandle has been a core member of the Coyotes since they drafted him in the fourth round of the 2005 draft. An assistant captain in Arizona, he has been the subject of trade rumors for the last several seasons and was finally moved with a year remaining on a five-year, $26 million contract signed in 2011.

The struggling Coyotes were expected to be sellers at the trade deadline as they rebuild during one of the worst seasons in franchise history. Arizona, 13th in the Western Conference with 47 points, traded center Antoine Vermette to Chicago on Saturday for a 2015 first-round pick and defensive prospect Klas Dahlbeck.

"We're resetting this team," Maloney. "We're gaining assets that in 3, 4, 5 years will put us in position to win the Stanley Cup."

The 24-year-old Moore should give the Coyotes depth on the blue line. He was the 21st overall pick in the 2009 draft and had a career-best season in 2013-14, with four goals and 11 assists. Moore has a goal and five assists in 38 games this season.

The big piece of the deal for the Coyotes was Duclair.

The 19-year-old left wing was a third-round pick in 2013 and already has NHL experience, scoring a goal with six assists in 18 games with the Rangers this season. He also has nine goals and 16 assists in 20 games with Quebec of the QMJHL.

The Coyotes are hoping he can help set a foundation for the future with Max Domi, the 12th overall draft pick in 2013 who is expected to have a big impact next season. He and Duclair played on a line together for the gold-medal Canadian team in the 2015 World Junior Championships.

"Going into this reset, it's hard to get top young skilled players," Maloney said. "You have to give to get."

Mon, 02 Mar 2015 02:04:00 +0000
Thunder's Russell Westbrook has surgery on cheekbone

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) Oklahoma City's Russell Westbrook had surgery to repair a fracture to his right cheek Saturday and the NBA's hottest player will miss at least a game.

The Thunder said the surgery took place in Los Angeles, where they will play the Lakers on Sunday, and that Westbrook would be re-evaluated next week.

Westbrook was hurt in the final seconds of the Thunder's 115-112 loss Friday night in Portland, when he scored 40 points in his third straight triple-double. Teammate Andre Roberson's knee crashed into Westbrook's face, leaving a noticeable imprint on his right cheek.

The MVP of the All-Star Game, Westbrook has had triple-doubles in his past three games. For the month of February, he averaged 31.2 points, 10.2 assists and 9.1 rebounds and led the team to a 9-3 record.

The Thunder already were without reigning league MVP Kevin Durant, who had a screw replaced in his surgically repaired right foot last Sunday. Thunder center Steven Adams also has been out with a hand injury.

Sun, 01 Mar 2015 01:00:00 +0000
Anthony Mason, rugged forward of 1990s Knicks, dies at 48

NEW YORK (AP) Anthony Mason's game was grit over glitz, more force than flash.

That might not fit some stereotypes of New York, but it was the perfect style for the Knicks of the 1990s, and made the rugged forward a beloved bruiser by teammates and fans.

Mason died Saturday morning, the Knicks said. He was 48.

Former teammate Patrick Ewing said his "heart is heavy" after learning Mason died after recent heart problems.

"Mase came to play every night and was always ready to go to battle with me every time we stepped on the court together," Ewing said in a statement. "I will remember him for his strength, determination and perseverance."

Mason was a defensive force who played for six NBA teams from 1989-2003, a popular protector of superstars like Ewing and respected by opponents who knew they were in for punishment when they lined up against his muscular frame.

"As a competitor, there was none fiercer than Anthony Mason. Standing on the opposite end of the playing field, coaching in those great Chicago/New York battles, No. 14 in the orange and blue always stood out," said Knicks President Phil Jackson, who coached the Chicago Bulls during their many matchups against the `90s Knicks.

Added Michael Jordan: "Mase was one of the toughest competitors of his era."

He remained a fighter throughout his health problems, his family said in thanking fans for their prayers.

"Anthony felt each and every one. He fought like a warrior to the very end," the Mason family said in a statement provided by the Knicks.

The Knicks held a moment of silence for Mason on Saturday night before their game against the Toronto Raptors. Many former Knicks posted their thoughts about Mason on Twitter throughout what the Madison Square Garden public address announcer called a sad day for the franchise.

The Knicks have been unable to duplicate their success of the `90s and coach Derek Fisher said Mason's determination could serve as a guide.

"He embodied a lot of what we're continuing to try to do here," Fisher said.

Part power forward, part point forward, the 6-foot-7 Mason won the 1995 Sixth Man Award with the Knicks, later made an All-Star team, and twice led the league in minutes played. But it was the toughness he provided alongside Charles Oakley while surrounding franchise center Ewing that made him a fan favorite in New York.

"MY MAN MY MAN A. MASON R.I.P, WE GONNA MISS U BROTHER," Oakley wrote on Twitter.

Mason's career averages - 10.9 points, 8.3 rebounds - don't tell the full story of his game. A solid, muscular presence down low, Mason was there to play defense, and on coach Pat Riley's bruising teams, he could shine.

Mason played for New York from 1991-1996, and then for the Hornets until 2000. He made his only All-Star team in 2001 as a member of the Miami Heat, after reuniting with Riley.

"Anthony Mason exemplified perseverance for all players fighting for their chance in the NBA," Commissioner Adam Silver said. "NBA fans and players around the league admired his tenacity on defense and playmaking on offense."

He wasn't all grit, though. Despite his plodding look, Mason was a nimble athlete and deft ballhandler who often showed up for games with words or designs styled into his hair.

Mason was drafted in the third round out of Tennessee State in 1988 by Portland, but he never played for the Trail Blazers. After a brief stint overseas, he played sparingly in 21 games for the New Jersey Nets and Denver Nuggets before he finally caught on with Riley's defense-first Knicks in 1991. He was a force for them as they made a run to the 1994 NBA Finals, and clashed with other powerful Eastern Conference teams, including Jordan's Bulls.

He was dealt to Charlotte in a July 1996 trade that brought Larry Johnson to New York. With the Hornets, Mason played three strong seasons in four years, missing 1998-99 due to injury, before Riley brought him to Miami, where he was coaching a Heat team that played with the same style as those Knicks teams with which Mason flourished.

"News like this is not only sad, but it's tragic," Riley said. "Anthony Mason was a very young man with a great family and friends. To lose him so quickly during his journey, especially to those of us that knew him, hurts."

At Tennessee State, Mason was dominant, and was the school's first All-Ohio Valley Conference selection. In the 1987-88 season, he took a school-record 247 free throws.

Anthony Mason was born Dec. 14, 1966, in Miami. He went to high school in the New York City borough of Queens, where son Anthony Jr. would later play for St. John's before going on to a pro career in the minor leagues and overseas. Another son, Antoine, is at Auburn this season after transferring from Niagara, where he graduated after finishing second nationally with 25.6 points per game last season.

Funeral arrangements weren't yet available.

Sat, 28 Feb 2015 14:38:00 +0000

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