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Kansas' Embiid likely out for start of NCAAs
LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) Kansas center Joel Embiid is expected to miss the first weekend of the NCAA tournament.
Embiid got a second opinion on his ailing lower back from a specialist in Los Angeles on Monday, and the school says the physician confirmed the original diagnosis of a stress fracture.
The school says Embiid's treatment for the injury makes him "unlikely to play in the first weekend of the NCAA tournament."
A potential top choice in the NBA draft should he choose to declare, Embiid sat out Kansas' final two regular-season games, a home victory against Texas Tech and a road loss against West Virginia. The Jayhawks had already clinched the outright Big 12 title.
Tue, 11 Mar 2014 02:21:00 +0000
Jets release WR Santonio Holmes after 4 seasons
NEW YORK (AP) Tone Time is over for the New York Jets.
The Jets parted ways with wide receiver Santonio Holmes on Monday, cutting the talented but injury-plagued playmaker after four seasons.
The move, which had been expected, saves the Jets $8.25 million, which Holmes was due to make as his base salary this season. He was also scheduled to have a $10.75 million cap number, a lofty total for a one-time Super Bowl MVP who has struggled with injuries and inconsistency the last two seasons.
The Jets also released cornerback Antonio Cromartie on Sunday, clearing $17.75 million of salary cap space before the NFL's free agency period starts Tuesday. New York could also save another $8.3 million if they cut quarterback Mark Sanchez, who missed last season with a shoulder injury.
Holmes, who turned 30 last Monday, had 23 catches - the second-lowest total of his career - for 456 yards and a touchdown in 11 games last season. He missed five games midway through the season with a hamstring injury. Holmes played in just four games in 2012 and was sidelined for several months after suffering a career-threatening foot injury.
In December, Holmes said he would be willing to restructure his contract to remain a member of the Jets, adding that how much of a pay cut he'd be asked to take probably wouldn't play into his decision to want to stay.
"I appreciate Tone's contributions over the last four seasons," coach Rex Ryan said in a statement. "I've always admired his knack for making the clutch play. He's a tremendous competitor who wants the ball in his hands when the game is on the line. I wish him nothing but the best."
Holmes signed a five-year, $45 million deal before the 2011 season after a solid first year with the Jets, who acquired him from Pittsburgh for a fifth-round draft pick. He agreed to restructure his contract in March 2012, when he took a $3.5 million cut to his scheduled base salary of $11 million for last season.
Holmes was a controversial figure at times during his tenure with the Jets, butting heads with Sanchez and the team's offensive linemen during the 2011 season. In the season finale at Miami, he got into an argument with offensive tackle Wayne Hunter in the huddle and was benched for the rest of the game.
The mercurial wide receiver also had a contentious relationship with the media, keeping his answers short during most group interviews. He inadvertently made headlines last season when he called Carolina's secondary the Panthers defense's "weakest link" while trying to credit the unit - but providing bulletin board for an opponent that went out and beat the Jets 30-20.
Holmes was a first-round draft pick by the Steelers out of Ohio State in 2006 and was selected the Super Bowl MVP in his third season after he caught a 6-yard touchdown pass from Ben Roethlisberger with 35 seconds left to lead Pittsburgh past Arizona.
He had his best statistical performance the following season with 79 catches for 1,248 yards and five touchdowns. But Holmes was traded to the Jets the following offseason after the Steelers tired of his numerous legal troubles.
Holmes was suspended for his first four games with the Jets for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy, but quickly became one of the team's primary playmakers when he returned. He played a key role in three straight wins with big catches late in games, prompting Ryan to label those types of clutch moments as "Tone Time."
He also helped lead the Jets to their second straight AFC title game appearance, in which they lost to Holmes' former team.
Holmes has 381 career catches for 5,963 yards and 36 touchdowns in eight NFL seasons.
NOTES: The Jets offered a one-year tender to restricted free agent LB Nick Bellore, who is one of the team's core special teams' players. He has until May 2 to accept the offer or negotiate with other teams.
Tue, 11 Mar 2014 04:43:00 +0000
Wade buries Wizards late as Heat clinch playoffs
MIAMI (AP) LeBron James set the tone pregame. Dwyane Wade took over in the fourth quarter.
Tue, 11 Mar 2014 03:51:27 +0000
And the Miami Heat got a win they desperately wanted.
Wade scored 13 of his 22 points in the final period and led a critical 12-0 run down the stretch, James led all scorers with 23 points and the Heat clinched a playoff spot by beating the Washington Wizards 99-90 on Monday night to snap a three-game losing streak.
''We needed a win,'' Wade said. ''We needed this win.''
Chris Bosh scored 22 for the Heat (44-17), who moved within one game of Indiana (46-17) in the race for the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference and 1 1/2 games behind San Antonio (46-16) for the league's best record. Ray Allen added 13 for Miami, which was coming off a trip where it lost at Houston, San Antonio and Chicago, the last of those coming in a late collapse on Sunday.
Wade hasn't typically played back-to-backs this season. He did this time, and the Heat simply rolled with him in the final minutes on the way to avoiding what would have been their first four-game slide since 2011.
''He made the right plays,'' James said.
Bradley Beal scored 18 points, Martell Webster added 17 and Drew Gooden scored 15 for the Wizards. Marcin Gortat finished with 14 points and a career-high-tying 18 rebounds - 10 of them in the first quarter alone.
John Wall finished with eight assists for Washington.
''I'm proud of our guys,'' Wizards coach Randy Wittman said. ''They kept battling, working. We didn't shoot it the way we're capable of. We got some good looks. We shared the ball. We attacked the whole game.''
Washington led 84-83 midway through the fourth, when Wade took over.
A three-point play put Miami ahead to stay and he then had assists on Miami's next three baskets - a short jumper and then a 3-pointer from Bosh, then a layup by James.
Wade capped the run with a score of his own, on the way to his first 13-point, three-assist fourth quarter since Feb. 18, 2009. His 13 in the fourth marked his highest-scoring quarter this season, and came with him playing consecutive days for the first time since Jan. 4 and 5. It was only the third time all season he's appeared in both nights of a back-to-back.
Both teams shot only nine free throws; despite being in attack mode, James didn't shoot one for the second straight game, just the second time that's happened in his career, the first coming in December 2003, early in his rookie season.
''Very surprised,'' James said.
James went scoreless for a stretch of nearly 15 minutes in the first half, and still easily led everyone with 19 points by intermission. The entirety of his first-half scoring came in two impressive spurts - three 3-pointers in as many tries over a span of 2:43 early in the game, then 10 straight Heat points in a stretch of 3:23 late in the half.
''I felt good about this game the minute, the second I saw LeBron come into the gym today,'' Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. ''We had an early walkthrough and he ran in the gym. Came up to every single person, player and coach and shook everybody's hand and said, "Let's go. Let's get ready for this game.' That's what leaders do.''
Miami's lead was 12 early in the third before Washington went on a 10-0 run, with Gortat scoring the first eight and Trevor Booker's jumper getting the Wizards within 59-57. And after Miami rebuilt the lead to seven, Washington took off on another quick burst, this one enough to give the Wizards their first lead since 1-0.
In less than 2 minutes, Washington outscored Miami 11-0, Webster scoring six in 25 seconds. He head-faked James in the air to start what became a four-point play, then had an alley-oop dunk off a Wall pass on the next possession as Washington took a 65-64 lead.
''I think we match up with those guys perfect,'' Wall said. ''We battle those guys.''
Allen had two 3's for the Heat late in the third, and it was 73-all entering the fourth. The Wizards scored only 17 points in the final 12 minutes.
''We saw a few things,'' Wade said, ''and we were able to take advantage.''
NOTES: Gortat had never grabbed more than nine rebounds in a quarter. He's the 12th player with 10 boards in a quarter this season. ... Washington missed its first six shots, as Miami took a 10-1 lead. ... March 10 matches the second-earliest date for Miami clinching a playoff spot. The Heat did it on March 8 last season. ... Heat F Udonis Haslem made his 700th regular-season appearance. ... Washington outrebounded Miami 50-33.
Bonds back in Giants uniform as camp coach
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) Barry Bonds certainly thinks he's worthy of election to the Hall of Fame.
"Without a doubt," baseball's home run king said Monday at the San Francisco Giants' spring training camp, where he will serve as a hitting instructor for a week.
The 49-year-old Bonds spent his last 15 big league seasons with San Francisco, finishing in 2007 with 762 homers.
But his final years were clouded by suspicions of performance-enhancing drug use, and the seven-time NL MVP was convicted of one obstruction count in April 2011 by a jury that found an answer he gave was criminally evasive during 2003 testimony before a grand jury investigating the distribution of PEDs. And he didn't even come close to election to the Hall in his first two turns on the ballot.
Advice for the writers who have not voted for him: "You guys are all adults. I have no advice for you."
One topic he wouldn't discuss: Alex Rodriguez, who is serving a season-long drug suspension.
Bonds said he respects Rodriguez and will talk to him individually, "not in a press conference."
Meeting with about three dozen media for about 30 minutes on a patio overlooking the left field area at Scottsdale Stadium, Bonds wanted to put the controversial past behind him.
"It feels really good to be back," Bonds said. "It feels good to give back to the game that I love. Hopefully, I'll be a part of this longer. ... I'm enjoying it.
"I am more nervous at this than I was playing, because it was only my mind and me. Hopefully I can bring good value to the ballclub. We'll see how it works out," he added. "I don't even know if I'm good at it."
Looking about 30 pounds lighter than his playing weight of 230 and considerably more affable, Bonds wore an orange-and-black Giants cap, a black windbreaker and baseball pants, ready for the first day of work in a seven-day stay in camp.
He appeared relaxed, laughing and joking more in a few minutes than he did during the years when he ruled the team's clubhouse from his corner reclining chair.
"I'm just a different character. I was a different character playing," he said. "Now I've had time to slow down, do other things. I needed that guy to play, it's who I was at the time. I'm the same person, just a different character. ... Teammates used to say, you don't play when you're nice. It worked. Whatever it was, it worked."
After meeting with the media, Bonds watched Posey and others intently in the batting cage.
"The timing was right. That's why it's happening now," manager Bruce Bochy said. "It's good for Barry to see how it's going to work for him. To me, he is one of the greatest minds in baseball."
Would he perhaps like to manage some day?
"I want to try and get through these seven days first," he said with a laugh.
Tue, 11 Mar 2014 02:50:00 +0000
Minnesota GOP lawmaker apologizes for NBA tweet
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) A Minnesota lawmaker apologized Monday for his tweet about NBA players that some saw as racist, saying he was rightly held accountable for inaccurate stereotyping.
State Rep. Pat Garofalo, a fifth-term Republican from the St. Paul suburb of Farmington, tweeted Sunday night: "Let's be honest, 70% of teams in NBA could fold tomorrow + nobody would notice a difference w/ possible exception of increase in streetcrime."
Garofalo initially stuck by his words even after they drew hundreds of negative comments and more than 1,000 retweets, insisting they were misinterpreted.
But in his statement Monday, he said he'd reconsidered.
"I sincerely apologize to those who I unfairly categorized," said Garofalo, who's seeking a sixth term in the fall. "The NBA has many examples of players and owners who are role models for our communities and for our country. Those individuals did not deserve that criticism and I apologize."
About three-fourths of the NBA's players are black, according to a 2013 report card from The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport.
Garofalo also apologized for remarks about the NBA's policy on drug enforcement, saying it was stronger than he believed. The NBA is the only pro league in the U.S. that randomly tests players for marijuana four times per year.
Later, he told reporters that he didn't have a racial motivation for the tweet.
"I don't have a racist bone in my body. I pride myself on the fact I've tutored in inner-city Minneapolis," Garofalo said, adding there are "no excuses. I apologize. I'm responsible for my actions."
Sunday's blunt Twitter commentary was nothing new for Garofalo, who regularly makes sharp-tongued speeches on the Minnesota House floor and even edgier remarks online.
His Twitter feed is a mix of sarcastic takes on politics, pop culture and sports. During football and NASCAR seasons, he offers his predictions via his pet, "Buddy The Sports Gambling Dog."
"If the bird watching, hippy, tofu-eating vegan liberals in Minneapolis had their way, the Iron Range never would have mined taconite either," he tweeted last month, referring to a statewide debate over a proposed mine in northern Minnesota.
Despite his tendency for partisan rhetoric, Garofalo departed from conservative orthodoxy on at least one major issue. Last year, he was one of four House Republicans who voted in favor of legalizing gay marriage. The vote complicated re-election campaigns of other Republicans who also voted in favor, but Garofalo won his local GOP endorsement last month and has plenty of money banked for his race.
He also voted for bills to give the Minnesota Vikings and Minnesota Twins new stadiums. The Vikings bill also gave Minneapolis clearance to upgrade the arena where the state's NBA team - the Minnesota Timberwolves - play.
The Timberwolves were reluctant to comment on the situation when approached by reporters after practice.
"That has nothing to do with us," coach Rick Adelman said. "I don't see any reason anybody has to say anything about it. I've never even heard of the guy. I don't know who he is."
"The public's reaction speaks for itself," shooting guard Kevin Martin said.
"We expect more from our elected officials," NBA Players Association acting executive director Ron Klempner said. "Otherwise we don't think we should dignify it with a response."
The last time a Timberwolves player ran into legal trouble was in 2010, when Michael Beasley, who's now with the Miami Heat, was ticketed for speeding and possessing marijuana in a Twin Cities suburb.
Garofalo is the second Minnesota legislator in the last year whose tweets attracted national attention and accusations of racism. In June, Democratic Rep. Ryan Winkler of Golden Valley apologized and deleted a tweet that referred to Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas as "Uncle Thomas" following a ruling on the nation's landmark voting rights law.
Rep. Dan Schoen, a Democrat, said he doesn't think Garofalo is racist based on past public and private statements.
"Sometimes people forget when they are in certain positions what they say can have a lasting effect on people's impression upon them and the rest of legislators they serve with," Schoen said.
Tue, 11 Mar 2014 02:43:00 +0000