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Grizzlies outlast Spurs 117-116 in 3 overtimes

Wed, 12/17/2014 - 8:58pm

SAN ANTONIO (AP) Marc Gasol scored 26 points, including a banked-in 3-pointer as regulation expired, and the Memphis Grizzlies overcame blowing a 23-point lead for a 117-116 triple-overtime victory over the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday night.

Zach Randolph had 21 points and 21 rebounds in the Grizzlies' sixth straight victory. Vince Carter added a season-high 18 points for Memphis (21-4).

Danny Green scored 25 points, and Tim Duncan had 23 points and 16 rebounds for San Antonio. His jumper rattled in to force the third OT, but he finished just 5 for 15 on free throws.

Manu Ginobili added 21 points, but shot an airball on a 3-pointer in the final seconds for the Spurs. San Antonio made a season-high 17 3-pointers but was 13 for 27 on free throws, including 5 for 15 by Duncan.

Duncan hit a fallaway, high-arcing jumper that bounded on the rim three times before dropping in to tie the game at 111 at the close of the second overtime.

The shot was part of an eventful final minute in regulation and the first two overtimes.

After Green's fifth 3-pointer gave San Antonio a 92-89 lead with 2.5 seconds remaining in regulation, Gasol banked in a 30-footer against Ginobili as time expired.

Green tumbled to the floor and injured his knee while colliding in midair with Mike Conley on an outlet pass, giving Memphis a 5-on-4 situation that resulted in Gasol's layup that tied the game at 102 with 9.3 seconds left. Ginobili missed a 7-foot running jumper to end the first OT.

Conley's 3-pointer gave Memphis a 111-109 lead with 2.6 seconds left in the second overtime before Duncan's shot that finally fell in.

The Grizzlies were fresh off snapping Golden State's 16-game winning streak Tuesday night, but they were fresher early than the rested Spurs, who played without injured starters Tony Parker and Kawhi Leonard.

San Antonio gave up a season-high 34 points in the first quarter as Memphis shot 14 for 20 (70 percent), almost exclusively on jumpers.

The Spurs were 5 for 10 on 3-pointers in the third quarter in trimming what had been a 23-point, first-half deficit to 71-68.

Grizzlies: Grizzlies G Tony Allen (right corneal abrasion) was a late scratch. Allen, who missed two games earlier this season, had two points, seven rebounds and two assists in Memphis' 105-98 victory over Golden State on Tuesday. . Memphis is an NBA-best 13-2 against the Western Conference this season.

Spurs: San Antonio has used 15 different starting lineups in 26 games this season. The team started Duncan, Green, Matt Bonner, Cory Joseph and Kyle Anderson for the first time collectively this season. . The Spurs celebrated International Night, commemorating the team's diverse roster. San Antonio has a league-high nine players born outside the U.S. and also has several former players and draft picks and players, including Memphis' Beno Udrih, Indiana's Luis Scola and Golden State's Leandro Barbosa. . Green and Houston's James Harden are the only guards in the league averaging at least one steal and one blocked shot while playing five or more games. Green blocked the 6-foot-9 Randolph twice from behind.

Grizzlies: Host Chicago on Friday.

Spurs: Host Portland on Friday.

Mack leads surging Hawks to blowout in Cleveland

Wed, 12/17/2014 - 6:36pm

CLEVELAND (AP) The Cavaliers' largest loss of the season didn't sit well with coach David Blatt.

"That was embarrassing, how we played," he said after the Atlanta Hawks routed Cleveland 127-98 on Wednesday night. "I apologize to all the good fans who came out here. Really, just a poor, poor performance."

Shelvin Mack scored a career-high 24 points and the Hawks won for the 11th time in 12 games.

Mack, a reserve guard who came in averaging 3.8 points, made all six of his 3-pointers as the Hawks went 16 for 28 from behind the arc.

Trailing 50-38 midway through the second quarter, Atlanta outscored Cleveland 89-48 the rest of the way. The Hawks, playing without leading scorer Jeff Teague, avenged a 127-94 defeat in Cleveland on Nov. 15.

"We got blown out the first game, like blown all the way out," Mack said. "That wasn't a great feeling. We wanted to come back and see what we're made of."

LeBron James scored 21 points but didn't play in the fourth quarter, which began with Atlanta leading 95-75.

While Blatt said he didn't see any fight in his team, James didn't find the loss embarrassing, but said the team had a setback defensively. The four-time MVP took an analytical approach to the defeat, Cleveland's third in four games since winning eight straight.

"We allowed them to get too many open looks," he said. "This is a well-coached team that we played. It reminds you of playing San Antonio, that system. They move the ball and get you in uncomfortable positions."

Atlanta coach Mike Budenholzer, a longtime Spurs assistant before taking over the Hawks last season, was understandably pleased with the performance.

"It's a great team win," he said. "You go up and down the roster, different guys contributing at different times. That's what we're trying to build, is a team."

Al Horford scored 20 points and Mike Scott added 15 for Atlanta, which had seven players in double figures and shot 64.5 percent from the field.

The Hawks went 24 for 35 in the first half and continued to slice up Cleveland's defense in the third quarter. Paul Millsap's jumper put them ahead 79-68 at the 6:51 mark, and the lead never got under double digits.

Atlanta went 9 of 11 on 3s in the second quarter to erase a 12-point deficit and led 65-60 at halftime.

Mack made all five of his 3-point attempts and scored 17 in the quarter. Scott's 3-pointer from two steps behind the arc at the buzzer capped the sequence.

Kevin Love, who missed the morning shootaround because of flu-like symptoms, scored 13 points and had 10 rebounds for Cleveland.

The game began much like the matchup in November, when Cleveland hit all nine of its 3-pointers in the first quarter and began the game 11 for 11 from behind the arc.

The Cavaliers again put on an impressive offensive display in the first quarter Wednesday when they hit 12 of 19 shots with 10 assists. As they did in Monday's win over Charlotte, Love and James hooked up on two highlight-reel plays. Love hit James with two length-of-the-court passes that resulted in layups.

The Hawks defeated Chicago on Monday and followed that with another strong performance, which was even more impressive considering Teague was sidelined. "It's what I'm referencing when I talk about a good team," Budenholzer said. "Somebody's down, we have a lot of confidence in everybody that they can step up and do what we need to win."

Love said he didn't consider not playing despite battling the flu. "I always felt like I was going to play. If I'm feeling up to it, I'm going out there and give it a go." Love played 32 minutes before being pulled early in the fourth.

Hawks: Dennis Schroder started at point guard in place of Teague, who leads the team in points (16.8) and assists (7.0). Schroder had 10 points and 10 assists. ... The game began a tough road stretch for Atlanta. After playing at Houston on Saturday, the Hawks face Dallas on Monday. The three opponents went into Wednesday with a combined record of 50-22.

Cavaliers: G Kyrie Irving, who was 4 for 9 from the field, returned to the court from the locker room after the game to work on his jumper. ... G Mike Miller, who sustained a concussion on Dec. 4, missed his seventh straight game. Blatt said Miller still has some stiffness in his neck area, and decided to hold him out one more game as a precaution.

Hawks: At Houston on Saturday.

Cavaliers: Host Brooklyn on Friday.

Panthers outlast Capitals in longest NHL shootout

Tue, 12/16/2014 - 8:07pm

SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) Nick Bjugstad scored the game-winning goal in the longest shootout in NHL history to lift the Florida Panthers over the Washington Capitals 2-1 on Tuesday night.

Bjugstad's goal came in the 20th round - on the 40th shot of the shootout - and beat Braden Holtby on the right side. The previous NHL record was 15 rounds, when the New York Rangers beat Washington on Nov. 26, 2005.

The Panthers outscored the Capitals 6-5 in the tiebreaker; the six goals were the most ever in a shootout. Jussi Jokinen, Dave Bolland, Derek MacKenzie, Sean Bergenheim and Dylan Olsen were also successful for Florida.

The Panthers were down to their last shot five times and answered each time with a goal.

Alex Ovechkin, Brooks Laich, Joel Ward, John Carlson and Brooks Orpik had shootout goals for the Capitals.

Derek MacKenzie scored in regulation for Florida, and Roberto Luongo made 23 saves.

Troy Brouwer scored in regulation for Washington. Holtby stopped 28 shots.

The Panthers are 4-0-1 in their last five home games. The win was only their second in their past 12 games against the Capitals.

With the score tied 1-all at 3:08 of the third, it appeared the Capitals took the lead when the puck slid by Luongo and into the net. The goal was overruled after a video review because it was determined that Laich kicked in the puck with his left skate.

The Panthers took a 1-0 lead when MacKenzie one-timed a rebound at 9:36 of the first. The Capitals tried to clear the puck from behind the net and the puck went off the skate of Florida's Scottie Upshall and out in front, where MacKenzie beat Holtby on the glove side.

The Capitals tied it on Brouwer's power-play goal in the second. Alex Ovechkin passed from the left circle across to Brouwer in the slot. His wrist shot beat Luongo on the glove side at 14:35 for his ninth goal of the season.

NOTES: Holtby made his 13th consecutive start for the Capitals. ... Panthers defenseman Dylan Olsen played his 100th NHL game. ... Upshall and Aleksander Barkov returned to the Florida lineup after missing nine and six games, respectively.

Memphis stops Golden State's 16-game win streak

Tue, 12/16/2014 - 7:47pm

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) Marc Gasol scored 24 points, and the Memphis Grizzlies snapped the Golden State Warriors' NBA-best 16-game winning streak with a 105-98 victory on Tuesday night.

Mike Conley and Zach Randolph each scored 17 points, and Randolph grabbed 10 rebounds as Memphis earned its fifth straight win. Vince Carter added a season-high 16 points, and Jon Leuer had 11.

The Warriors came in with the NBA's best record at 21-2. They lost for the first time since Nov. 11 against the Spurs, also the last team to beat Memphis. This was the first time in NBA history in which both teams had 19 or more wins in the first 24 games.

Golden State star Stephen Curry missed back-to-back 3-pointers in the final 10 seconds. He finished with 19 points, but was 9 of 25 from the field.

Chargers to play at Qualcomm again next season

Tue, 12/16/2014 - 7:33pm

SAN DIEGO (AP) The San Diego Chargers will be staying at Qualcomm Stadium for at least another year.

Mark Fabiani, special counsel to Chargers President Dean Spanos, said in a statement Tuesday night that the team will not exercise its lease termination clause before next season and will continue to work to get a new facility built in San Diego. He noted that 2015 will be the team's 14th year working to get a new stadium in San Diego.

The Chargers have announced their return each year since 2007. The team says they need a new stadium to stay financially competitive with other franchises.

The announcement is a blow to the NFL hopes of Los Angeles, which is looking to lure a team back to the city.

Isles delay hospital visits due to mumps outbreak

Tue, 12/16/2014 - 5:55pm

UNIONDALE, N.Y. (AP) The New York Islanders postponed their annual holiday hospital visits due to the ongoing mumps outbreak in the NHL.

Team members were scheduled to go see children at various hospitals on Wednesday, but the Islanders said Tuesday those visits will be rescheduled.

"We're extremely disappointed that the event has been postponed, but understand the circumstances," forward Kyle Okposo said in a statement. "This has always been one of our favorite events to take part in because seeing a child smile when we give them a gift or take a picture with them is what the holiday season is all about.

"We're happy the children will still receive the gifts and look forward to visiting the local hospitals soon."

The toys that were purchased through donations from Package All Corp. and the New York Islanders Children's Foundation have already been given to the hospitals to distribute to children.

No makeup date for the visits was announced.

The postponement came in light of the Pittsburgh Penguins saying forward Beau Bennett is the latest NHL player diagnosed with the mumps. He had attended a function at Pittsburgh's Children's Hospital last week with the team.

The hospital said in a statement Monday that children who haven't received an age appropriate vaccine will be put in isolation and monitored for symptoms.

Islanders players and coaches have received the mumps vaccine, and the team says no player or staff member has shown any signs or symptoms of infection.

However, in order to assure the health and wellness of hospitalized children, the team said it has decided to be extremely cautious and postpone the event.

Sprint to end NASCAR sponsorship after 2016 season

Tue, 12/16/2014 - 3:15pm

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) Sprint informed NASCAR it won't extend title sponsorship of the top Sprint Cup Series beyond its current contract, which expires after the 2016 season.

"Sprint has long benefited from the unprecedented level of brand integration available in NASCAR, and the passionate fan base that is the most loyal in sports," Steve Gaffney, vice president of marketing for Sprint, said in a Tuesday statement. "Without question, the NASCAR sponsorship property has been a valuable investment for us and will be for our successor.

"As we look to the future, Sprint is focused on investing in maintaining a competitive edge and providing consumers with the best value in wireless,"

The wireless carrier assumed a 10-year sponsorship agreement with NASCAR when it acquired Nextel in 2005. The Nextel Cup Series became the Sprint Cup Series in 2008, and Sprint later agreed to a three-year extension that took the contract through 2016.

Now, the company is citing "a need to focus more directly on its core business priorities," in ending its relationship with NASCAR. SoftBank bought out Sprint in 2013 and the change in leadership has led to a new CEO and changing marketing strategies.

The announcement Tuesday gives NASCAR two seasons to find a replacement, and NASCAR chief communications officer Brett Jewkes said the series understands that significant changes within Sprint led to the decision.

"The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series is a very unique, premium sports marketing platform with strong momentum, so we are very confident of moving forward in 2017 with an outstanding new partner," Jewkes said in a statement. "In the meantime, we look forward to Sprint's partnership on the best racing series in the world for the next two seasons."

Sprint's exit means NASCAR will enter a new entitlement agreement for just the fourth time since 1971, when RJ Reynolds began its 33-year sponsorship of the top series through its Winston brand. RJR pulled out after the 2003 season and Nextel stepped in until Sprint's corporate merger.

Since Sprint stepped in, the wireless carrier has implemented fan-friendly innovations ranging from a new generation scanner in 2005, a mobile app in 2008 and the Miss Sprint Cup ambassador program in 2007. The Miss Sprint Cup program has more than 1.5 million social media followers.

Sprint is also responsible for funding the season-ending point fund, which was approximately $22 million this past season and awarded $4.8 million to first-time champion Kevin Harvick.

Sprint also promotes the series through various marketing campaigns.

"Much like 2004, this is an enormous opportunity for a prospective sponsor to join one of the country's most popular sports on its highest level," Texas Motor Speedway President Eddie Gossage said. "NASCAR has reached out in advance to industry people like myself to assist them in identifying a replacement title sponsor. We encourage NASCAR to find an active, supportive and long-term sponsor with broad consumer reach and minimal category conflict that proves beneficial to the entire industry in the future."

NASCAR signed a deal with Xfinity this year to replace Nationwide as entitlement sponsor of the second-tier series, and NASCAR extended its current deal with Camping World through 2022 for title sponsor of its Truck Series.

Yankees GM Cashman: A-Rod now a full-time DH

Tue, 12/16/2014 - 3:07pm

NEW YORK (AP) Alex Rodriguez faces a diminished role in his return to the New York Yankees, who have stripped A-Rod of his third-base job and plan to limit his role to full-time designated hitter - at most.

General manager Brian Cashman said Tuesday that A-Rod's days as an everyday fielder are over in the Bronx and Chase Headley will start at third after agreeing this week to a $52 million, four-year contract.

Coming off a season-long suspension for violations of baseball's drug agreement and labor contract, Rodriguez will have to compete with Martin Prado for time as Headley's backup at third.

"I can't expect Alex to be anything," Cashman said during a telephone interview with The Associated Press. "I've got to think the worst and hope for the best. Even before the suspension, he wasn't the same player at third base on the defensive or offensive side. And that was before the suspension.

"And now he's been out of the game for a year. He's approaching 40 years of age. And just to automatically assume given his circumstances that he'll be able to plug right in, play third as an everyday guy and hold up and be productive, I think that would be dangerous thinking from my perspective, in the seat I'm sitting in."

Rodriguez turns 40 in July and has not played a full season since 2007 because of leg injuries, operations on both hips and the suspension. Cashman said A-Rod will have to prove to manager Joe Girardi he can play the field.

"So given all that circumstance, we look forward to him hopefully solidifying himself as a tremendous DH for us, and if he shows he has retained athleticism, then he can play third as a choice when Joe decides to give Headley a rest," Cashman said. "He can compete for Joe's thought process, whether it's Prado swinging over or Alex playing third."

Cashman said he has not spoken with Rodriguez about his new role.

"I don't need to. I've been very consistent with my conversations publicly from October on," he said. "I have not heard from Alex on any of that, and I know he reads all this stuff."

Rodriguez is owed $61 million by the Yankees in the final three seasons of his contract, and New York could use improvement at DH - its players there combined to hit .230 this year (12th in the AL) with 18 homers (11th), 63 RBIs (13th), a .290 on-base percentage (14th) and a .372 slugging percentage (12th), according to STATS.

Acquired from San Diego in July, Headley convinced the Yankees to keep him. He will get $13 million each year and the chance to earn an additional $1 million annually in performance bonuses based on plate appearances. He would receive a one-time $1 million assignment bonus if traded.

"We measure a lot of different things on the hitting analytics as well as our scouting assessments of him," Cashman said. "He's got plate discipline. He's got power. ... We like his leadership. We like his abilities. We think he's an exceptional defender."

Headley hit .229 with seven homers and 32 RBIs last season for the Padres and .262 with six homers and 17 RBIs in 191 at-bats for New York. His offense improved after a herniated disk in his back was treated with an epidural injection June 20.

"If the back rears its ugly head, we know the process necessary to deal with that. So it was a risk that we felt worth taking," Cashman said.

New York anticipates Headley, a 2012 Gold Glove winner, will be joined in the infield most days by Didi Gregorius at shortstop, Prado at second and Mark Teixeira at first.

"We believe we now have a very strong defensive infield," Cashman said, "that will serve our pitching staff and our run prevention well."

Bucks rookie Parker injures knee against Suns

Mon, 12/15/2014 - 8:07pm

PHOENIX (AP) Milwaukee Bucks forward Jabari Parker left the Milwaukee Bucks' game against the Phoenix Suns early in the third quarter because of a left knee sprain.

The Bucks said Monday night Parker would not return.

Parker's knee appeared to buckle on a drive to the basket before he collided with the Suns' P.J. Tucker, and Parker was unable to get to his feet immediately afterward.

Parker, the Bucks' first-round draft pick this year and the second player chosen overall, had to be carried off the court by teammates to the locker room.

Parker had eight points in 15 minutes. He's averaging 12.5 points and 5.6 rebounds per game.

Saints beat Bears 31-15, grab South lead

Mon, 12/15/2014 - 7:55pm

CHICAGO (AP) Turns out all Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints needed to solve their problems was to show up in Chicago.

Nothing like playing the Bears to break a slump. Even better, the Saints jumped into first place.

Brees threw for 375 yards and three touchdowns, and New Orleans beat Chicago 31-15 on Monday night to grab the NFC South lead.

The Saints (6-8) moved into first place ahead of Carolina (5-8-1) and Atlanta (5-9) after losing four of their previous five games. They also rebounded from a 41-10 loss to the Panthers.

"I think we've shown a couple times we can handle adversity," Brees said. "Let's make sure we can handle success, too."

The Saints host the Falcons before finishing the season at Tampa Bay.

"The tendency after success is to relax, and it's not time to relax," Brees said.

Brees completed 29 of 36 passes and reached the 4,000-yard mark for the ninth straight year. He threw two touchdown passes to Josh Hill and another to Marques Colston.

Pierre Thomas had five catches for 83 yards. David Hawthorne had three of New Orleans' seven sacks and the Saints intercepted Jay Cutler three times to bring his NFL-leading turnover total to 24.

"We were not in unison tonight collectively on the offensive side of the ball and that starts with me," Chicago coach Marc Trestman said.

For the Bears (5-9), the loss comes after a week in which they were again engulfed in controversy. Offensive coordinator Aaron Kromer acknowledged he was a source behind a critical report by the NFL Network about Cutler, owning up to it in public Friday after earlier asking players and coaches for forgiveness.

Cutler completed 17 of 31 passes for 194 yards, and the Bears couldn't get anything going. They managed only 278 yards against one of the league's worst defenses on a soggy night in which thousands of seats went unused.

There were 10,749 no-shows, and that might not have been a bad thing for the Bears, the way they played.

The Saints went ahead in the second quarter after wasting several opportunities in the opening period. Bears cornerback Kyle Fuller was called for a 17-yard pass-interference penalty trying to defend Jimmy Graham, setting up New Orleans with a first down at the 8.

Brees then rolled to his right on the first play of the second quarter and found an open Hill, who lunged across the goal line.

The first half was so bad for Chicago that its best play might have been Patrick O'Donnell's 56-yard punt that went out of bounds at the New Orleans 5 with about four minutes left in the second. But the Saints responded with a 10-play, 95-yard drive.

Brees threw a 9-yard touchdown pass to Colston with 38 seconds left, giving the Saints a 14-0 lead. Cutler's pass was then picked off by Pierre Warren on the final play in the half.

Brees and Hill connected for a 7-yard TD on their first possession in the third on a similar play as their first score, making it 21-0. It was 24-0 early in the fourth when Cutler hit Marquess Wilson with a 1-yard touchdown pass, denying New Orleans its first shutout since 2012.

The Saints wasted a big scoring opportunity in the early going.

New Orleans took over at the Chicago 24 after Patrick Robinson intercepted a pass that went off Martellus Bennett's hands on the game's third play from scrimmage. Rather than grab the lead, the Saints quickly gave the ball back.

Nick Toon got stripped by Brock Vereen after a 10-yard reception and Jared Allen made the recovery at the 3.

The Saints came away empty-handed on their next possession when Shayne Graham's 51-yard field-goal attempt fell short. But the Saints eventually found their stride.

"I think there's a sense of urgency that we need to create each week, and we need to be mindful of how important that edge is to play well," coach Sean Payton said. "It's something we made a point of emphasis with everyone."

NOTES: Bears kicker Robbie Gould was inactive with a right quadriceps injury, leaving the kicking duties to Jay Feely for the second straight week. Safety Chris Conte and offensive lineman Michael Ola missed the game because of back injuries. ... Saints LT Terron Armstead (neck) started and LB Junior Galette (knee) played after they were listed as questionable. ... Singer Patrick Stump of Fall Out Boy performed the National Anthem.

Penguins use rookies, Fleury to top Lightning 4-2

Mon, 12/15/2014 - 6:55pm

PITTSBURGH (AP) Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 28 shots, and Bryan Rust and Brian Dumoulin scored their first NHL goals as the Pittsburgh Penguins beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-2 on Monday.

Brandon Sutter added a short-handed goal and Steve Downie had a goal and an assist as the Penguins beat the Lightning for the 10th straight time.

Pittsburgh captain Sidney Crosby missed his third straight game due to the mumps, though he is expected to return later in the week.

Jonathan Drouin and Nikita Kucherov scored for Tampa Bay.

At Uniondale, New York, Josh Bailey scored the winning goal in the fifth round of the shootout as the Islanders rallied in the third period for the second straight game to beat the New Jersey Devils 3-2.

Bailey fired a shot between the pads of Long Island native Keith Kincaid, who was trying for his first NHL victory in front of nearly two dozen family members. He was in line for the win until Matt Martin scored the tying goal with 4:15 left.

Bailey also scored in the second period, and Kyle Okposo added a shootout goal for the Islanders. Jaroslav Halak made 26 saves to top the Devils.

Marek Zidlicky and Scott Gomez scored first-period goals, and Jaromir Jagr assisted on both but New Jersey dropped its fourth straight game.

Buffalo's Matt Moulson scored the only goal of the shootout to lift the Sabres to its sixth straight home win, 5-4 over the Ottawa Senators.

Moulson and Rasmus Ristolainen also scored in regulation for the Sabres, while Brian Flynn and Marcus Foligno each had a goal and an assist as Buffalo has won a season-high four straight overall.

Alex Chiasson had a goal and an assist for the Senators, and Bobby Ryan, Curtis Lazar and Mark Stone also scored.

James, Love lead Cavaliers over Hornets 97-88

Mon, 12/15/2014 - 6:28pm

CLEVELAND (AP) LeBron James and Kevin Love were at the top of their game Monday night.

That's bad news for any opponent, which the Charlotte Hornets discovered in Cleveland's 97-88 win.

James scored 27 points with 13 assists while Love added 22 points and 18 rebounds in a game highlighted by big runs from both teams.

The Cavaliers jumped to a 21-0 lead, but the Hornets regrouped and got within two points early in the third quarter before Cleveland pulled away.

In information provided by the Cavaliers from Elias Sports Bureau, the 21-0 lead to start a game is the largest to start a game since Portland scored the first 22 points against Boston in 2004.

"Being 21 down against an elite team on their floor is tough to overcome," Hornets coach Steve Clifford said. "We played a good enough offensive game to win against a terrific team, but our first-quarter defense was obviously poor."

Charlotte got the lead into single digits in the second quarter and trailed 59-57 early in the third, but Cleveland ended the third on a 21-9 run.

"We had a lull in the second quarter and in the third quarter, which really allowed them to get back in the game, but we sustained the effort for close to 48 minutes," James said.

While James displayed his noted passing ability, he was the recipient of two length-of-the-court passes from Love for dunks that brought the crowd to its feet.

The plays brought back memories of James' high school days when he played football.

"It's a unique gift that he has that not too many guys in our league have," James said. "He can go over the head, two-handed. Me, being a wide receiver in my day, I can go `em also."

Kyrie Irving scored 16 points for the Cavaliers, who were coming off consecutive road losses to Oklahoma City and New Orleans after winning eight in a row.

Kemba Walker led Charlotte with 24 points. Al Jefferson added 14 for the Hornets, who are 1-10 away from home - the worst road record in the NBA. Charlotte has lost three straight and 13 of 15.

Charlotte center Cody Zeller left the game late in the fourth quarter after hitting his head on the floor while scrambling for a loose ball with Anderson Varejao.

The Hornets called the injury a nasal contusion and Zeller had a large bump at the top of his nose. He will be examined Tuesday.

"Varejao went in on me and I fell," he said. "My face and my nose hit the floor. Then he landed on top of me."

Cleveland, which began a five-game homestand, has won six straight at Quicken Loans Arena.

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist replaced Gerald Henderson in the starting lineup for Charlotte, but scored one point in 21 minutes. Kidd-Gilchrist came off the bench in the last three games after returning from a stress reaction in his right foot.

James also got a postgame visit in the locker room from billionaire Warren Buffett, who attended the game with Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert. Buffett, wearing a Cavaliers jersey with James' No. 23, chatted with the four-time MVP for a few minutes.

Coach David Blatt hopes F Mike Miller (concussion) will play Wednesday. Miller, who has missed six straight games, participated in 3-on-3 drills Sunday and could go through a full practice Tuesday.

Hornets small forward Jeffery Taylor served the final game of his 24-game NBA suspension for a domestic-violence incident in Michigan. Clifford doesn't plan on making him active for a game in the near future. "He'll have to beat out one of our other guys for a spot, and he's missed a lot of time," Clifford said.

Hornets: Clifford is a longtime friend of Michael Malone, who was fired as Sacramento's coach Sunday. "I was shocked," he said. "It shows this league gets crazy." ... It was Kidd-Gilchrist's first start since Nov. 11. "I felt like I was telling him, `Welcome back, young man. Now, here's LeBron to guard,' " Clifford said, smiling.

Cavaliers: James is sticking behind Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel, despite the rookie's poor performance in his first NFL start Sunday. "I'm not disappointed," said James, who attended the game. "I'm a friend that supports, and it's only one game." ... Dion Waiters and Matthew Dellavedova, who both spent Friday night in a New Orleans hospital because of a stomach illness, returned Monday.

Hornets: Host Phoenix on Wednesday.

Cavaliers: Host Atlanta on Wednesday.

Rushing leader DeMarco Murray has broken hand

Mon, 12/15/2014 - 3:46pm

IRVING, Texas (AP) NFL rushing leader DeMarco Murray has a broken left hand in what could be a damaging blow to the playoff hopes of the Dallas Cowboys.

Murray was set for surgery Monday and might be sidelined Sunday at home against Indianapolis, already a playoff qualifier. Even though the Cowboys just beat Philadelphia to take the NFC East lead, they might have to win both of their remaining games to end a four-year postseason drought.

If the Eagles beat division also-rans Washington and the New York Giants in their final two games, Dallas (10-4) could be knocked out by a loss to the Colts even with a win against the Redskins in the regular-season finale.

Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones said on his radio show Monday that it was "probably a tough expectation" that Murray would play against Indianapolis (10-4), though he wouldn't rule it out. Neither would coach Jason Garrett.

"The biggest question we have to ask ourselves is, is he functional to do his job," Garrett said. "Can he hold the football, can he carry it under duress, can he block, can he do the things necessary to play the position. He's as strong-willed and determined an individual as I've ever been around. If anybody has a chance to come back, he does."

Murray has 1,687 yards rushing and needs 87 yards to break all-time NFL rushing leader Emmitt Smith's franchise record of 1,773 yards. The fourth-year back is 409 yards ahead of Pittsburgh's Le'Veon Bell in the race for the rushing title.

Lance Dunbar and Joseph Randle split carries as Murray's backup in Sunday's 38-27 win over Philadelphia. Murray was injured near the end of the game. Television footage showed him leaving the field while wincing in pain.

The Cowboys have had Ryan Williams on their practice squad all season. He was taken 33 picks ahead of Murray by Arizona in the 2011 draft. The Cardinals released him after three mostly injury-plagued seasons. Randle, a fifth-round pick last year, has 34 carries for 237 yards and two touchdowns, including a 17-yarder on his only carry against Chicago two weeks ago.

Dunbar has 26 carries for 91 yards but has done most of his damage as a receiver with 16 catches for 207 yards. He doesn't have any touchdowns. An undrafted free agent in his third season, Dunbar had a breakout game on Thanksgiving last year with a team-high 82 yards before sustaining a knee injury in that game against Oakland, knocking him out for the rest of the season.

"Lance has done a number of different things for us on third down as a receiver, split out," Garrett said. "Joseph has been a guy that we've brought into games just to give him the ball and he's done a real nice job with that. I have a lot of confidence in both of those guys."

Murray has a league-high 351 carries, so the question of a No. 2 back has never really been an issue for the Cowboys. Murray has yet to make it through a full season without missing at least two games because of injuries that included a broken ankle, a sprained foot and a sprained knee.

Emmitt Smith sustained a similar injury for Dallas in 1999, had surgery and missed one game. He had 127 yards rushing in his first game back.

"We'll take the surgery first," Garrett said. "We'll see how he feels coming out of the surgery and make our next best decisions."

NOTES: RT Doug Free had an MRI for what Garrett said was a left foot and ankle injury. He came out of the Eagles game in the third quarter and didn't return. Free missed three games earlier this season after breaking his right foot against Seattle. ... RG Zack Martin played through a sprained right ankle against the Eagles. Garrett said neither Free nor Martin had high ankle sprains.

Rambo steps in to help Bills beat Packers 21-13

Mon, 12/15/2014 - 12:44am

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) Buffalo Bills third-string safety Bacarri Rambo won't soon forget his first two NFL career interceptions.

Not every defensive back gets an opportunity to pick off Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers once - never mind twice - in a game.

Cast off by Washington three months ago, Rambo came off the bench to intercept Rodgers on consecutive drives in the second half to help secure a 21-13 win over the Packers on Sunday.

"It's just a huge, huge confidence boost," said Rambo, Washington's 2013 sixth-round draft pick out of Georgia. "It's just going to allow me to play even faster and build confidence in myself that, hey, I can do this. I belong in this league."

Rambo, who signed with Buffalo last month, got his opportunity midway through the third quarter after backup safety Duke Williams left the game after experiencing concussion-like symptoms. Rambo's first interception came after the Bills went ahead 16-10. And his second, on a pass that went off receiver Jarrett Boykin's fingers, set up Dan Carpenter's 48-yard field goal.

The interceptions keyed a dominating performance that ended with defensive end Mario Williams forcing a fumble by Rodgers that resulted in a safety with 1:51 left.

Buffalo (8-6) stayed in a jumbled AFC playoff picture. Meanwhile, the Packers (10-4) had a five-game winning streak snapped and prevented them from closing in on clinching their sixth straight playoff berth.

It was an uncharacteristically sloppy performance by Rodgers, who had thrown only three interceptions all season - and none in his past five starts. He finished 17 of 42 for 185 yards. His 34.3 quarterback rating was the worst of his career.

"It wasn't my best day by any stretch of the imagination," Rodgers said. "I've got to play better for us to win. I expect more of myself."

Eddie Lacy scored on a 1-yard run, and Mason Crosby kicked two field goals for Green Bay.

Marcus Thigpen, another Bills newcomer, scored on a 75-yard punt return, and Carpenter hit all four field-goal attempts.

Here are some other things that stood out as the Packers fell to 0-6 at Orchard Park:

BAD HANDS: Rodgers got very little help from his receivers, who dropped several passes. The most notable drop was committed by the usually reliable Jordy Nelson.

Trailing 16-10 and facing second-and-6 at his own 6 late in the third quarter, Rodgers hit a wide-open Nelson in stride up the right sideline only to have the pass glance off his fingers.

"We had all sorts of chances and just didn't make them for whatever reason," Nelson said. "My drop could've won the game for us, so I've got to make those, no matter how easy or hard they are."

NO OFFENSE: The Bills' defense bailed out another sputtering performance by the team's Kyle Orton-led offense.

Orton finished 14 of 27 for 158 yards with an interception. Buffalo produced 13 first downs, 253 yards offense and settled for two field goals on two drives inside Green Bay's 20.

"We'll just keep on getting better," Orton said. "We'll feel good that we got the win, but realize there are a lot more things we can do to get better."

FINALLY .500: The Bills' record hasn't dropped below .500 all season. And now Buffalo's guaranteed its best finish in 10 years. The eight wins are the most for Buffalo since a 9-7 record in 2004.

The team still has an uphill climb to end a 14-season playoff drought - the NFL's longest active streak. Due to tiebreakers, the Bills rank ninth out of nine AFC teams with eight or more wins.

Buffalo plays at Oakland this weekend, before closing at New England.

PACKERS REGROUP: Green Bay is tied atop the NFC North standings with Detroit, and failed to keep pace with conference-leading Arizona (11-3).

Rodgers maintains confidence the Packers can bounce back after losing for just the second time in 11 games.

"Everything's right in front of us. If we win out, we still win the North," Rodgers said. "This is an important time for us to see what kind of chemistry we have on this team."

Green Bay travels to play Tampa Bay next weekend, and closes at home against Detroit.

MILESTONES: Bills receiver Sammy Watkins had one catch for 28 yards, enough to up his total 850 to set the team's rookie record. The former mark was set by Lee Evans, who had 843 yards in 2004.

Nelson had 55 yards receiving to set a single-season career best with 1,320 yards - 6 more than he had last year.

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AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and http://twitter.com/AP-NFL

Bryant has 3 TD catches, Cowboys beat Eagles 38-27

Mon, 12/15/2014 - 12:37am

PHILADELPHIA (AP) Dez Bryant backed up his bravado in a big way.

Bryant had a career-best three touchdown receptions, and the Dallas Cowboys rallied to beat the Philadelphia Eagles 38-27 after wasting a 21-0 lead.

DeMarco Murray had a pair of TD runs to help the Cowboys (10-4) move ahead of the Eagles (9-5) into first place in the NFC East. The Eagles dominated the Cowboys in a 33-10 road win on Thanksgiving, but Dallas seized control of the division with two weeks left.

"We believed in one another, and I think that's the key to victory," Bryant said. "Believing in one another and just trying to come out and execute the plays the best way that we possibly can, and we did that."

The NFC-leading Arizona Cardinals (11-3) clinched a playoff berth because the game didn't end in a tie.

The Cowboys took a 21-0 lead early in the second quarter before Philadelphia rallied behind Mark Sanchez.

Chris Polk had TD runs of 1 and 5 yards, and Darren Sproles ran in from the 1 to give the Eagles a 24-21 lead late in third quarter. But Tony Romo and the Cowboys answered quickly with two touchdowns in a 2:51 span.

Murray scored on a 2-yard run to cap a 78-yard drive. After J.J. Wilcox intercepted Sanchez's pass, the Cowboys started the fourth quarter at the Eagles 42. Romo then hit Bryant in stride for a 25-yard scoring pass.

"Having a guy like Dez makes it easy to throw to spots that he can go get it," Romo said. "Just lucky to have him."

Bryant couldn't wait for this game after being held to 73 yards on four catches in the first meeting. After that game, he called Philadelphia's secondary "cheap," and he had a heated exchange with Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins before Sunday night's game. Bryant came back twice after Jenkins walked away and it wasn't known why they argued.

"Just great competitors going at it, that's all," Bryant said.

Bryant finished with six receptions for 114 yards. He beat cornerback Bradley Fletcher on each of the TDs.

"I just had a terrible game," Fletcher said.

Romo threw for 265 yards and Murray ran for 81 yards on 31 carries.

Here are some things learned in Dallas' win over the Eagles:

SANCHEZ OR FOLES: Sanchez may not get another chance to steer one more Philadelphia rally. Sanchez was 17 of 28 for 252 yards and two interceptions. The sub-turned-starter could return to his backup role if Nick Foles is cleared to return from his broken collarbone. Eagles coach Chip Kelly refused to discuss hypotheticals, and Sanchez said he didn't know if he would start next week at Washington.

"I didn't play well enough to win and that's why we lost," Sanchez said.

MCCOY'S STRUGGLE: LeSean McCoy was held in check against Dallas and only rushed for 64 yards. McCoy, a two-time All-Pro, ran for 159 yards and a touchdown in the Thanksgiving victory.

"When we got going, we really got going," McCoy said. "We just slowed down at the wrong time."

ROAD STARS: The Cowboys are 7-0 on the road for the third time in franchise history. Their road finale is Dec. 28 against the lowly Washington Redskins.

"Hard to explain," coach Jason Garrett said. "I believe we have a mentally tough football team."

SACK EXCHANGE: The Cowboys sacked Sanchez four times. Jeremy Mincey and Tyrone Crawford each had two sacks. The Eagles allowed the most sacks since their season opener.

"When it was a two-score game and we felt like (Sanchez) was going to be in the pocket, those guys did a good job just rushing and they stayed after him and stayed after him," Garrett said.

Mincey said it was great to beat a tackle like Jason Peters for his sacks.

"I left some out there during the first game, and I knew I was going to have an opportunity to get on the edge," Mincey said.

NFC EAST: The Cowboys clinch their first division title since 2009 with wins over Indianapolis and Washington or one win and one loss by Philadelphia, which plays at the Redskins and Giants the final two weeks. If the Eagles win out and the Cowboys lose one, Philadelphia repeats.

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AP Sports Writer Dan Gelston contributed to this report.

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Online: http://pro32.ap.org/poll and http://twitter.com/AP-NFL

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Follow Rob Maaddi on Twitter: https://twitter.com/AP-RobMaaddi

Report: Kings fire coach Michael Malone

Mon, 12/15/2014 - 12:28am

The Sacramento Kings fired coach Michael Malone late Sunday night just 24 games into his second season with the team.

A person with knowledge of the move confirmed the firing Sunday night on condition of anonymity because the team has not announced it yet. The firing was first reported by Yahoo Sports. A formal announcement was expected Monday.

Malone went 39-67 after being hired in June 2013 by new owner Vivek Ranadive. Malone was hired before general manager Pete D'Alessandro in what was considered an unusual order of events. Now D'Alessandro will get the opportunity to hire his own coach.

Lead assistant Tyrone Corbin will take over as interim coach, the person with knowledge of the moves said. Corbin went 112-146 in three-plus seasons as coach of the Utah Jazz and was not offered a contract after last season.

The Kings went 28-54 in Malone's first season and missed the playoffs for an eighth straight year. This season got off to a better start with the team winning nine of its first 14 games.

But the Kings lost their next game and have fallen into a tailspin after star center DeMarcus Cousins was sidelined viral meningitis. Sacramento has lost seven of nine games without Cousins and is tied for 10th in the Western Conference with an 11-13 record.

The firing is the first major setback in Ranadive's tenure. He was welcomed as a savior when he bought the team from the Maloof family in 2013 and prevented the team from moving to Seattle.

The Kings have already broken ground on a $477 million arena that is expected to open downtown for the 2016-17 season. But he has been unable so far to reverse the losing trend that followed a stretch of eight straight playoff berths.

Kobe surpasses Jordan, Lakers beat Timberwolves

Sun, 12/14/2014 - 6:59pm

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) Kobe Bryant passed Michael Jordan for third place on the NBA scoring list and had 10 points in the final five minutes to lead the Los Angeles Lakers to a 100-94 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Sunday night.

Bryant needed nine points to move past Jordan and, after missing four of his first five shots, he knocked down a pair of free throws with 5:24 to play in the first half to join Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Karl Malone on the NBA's career scoring podium. Bryant finished with 26 points on 7-for-20 shooting and hit a 3-pointer with just over a minute to play that helped seal the victory.

Shabazz Muhammad had 28 points and nine rebounds for the Timberwolves.

Only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (38,387) and Karl Malone (36,928) have scored more points than Bryant.

The Timberwolves stopped the game and owner Glen Taylor presented Bryant with the game ball, but what made the night even sweeter was Bryant's dagger with the shot clock winding down and Andrew Wiggins - Minnesota's 19-year-old rookie and the No. 1 overall draft pick - right in his face. It gave the Lakers a 97-94 lead with 1:02 to play, and the Lakers closed it out at the line.

Bryant has spent the past 18 years measuring himself against, and being compared to, the man widely considered the best to ever play the game. Jordan shot a higher field goal percentage, won six titles to the five that Bryant has now and climbed past Wilt Chamberlain into third on the list in 1,039 games to Bryant's 1,269.

But in terms of competitiveness, tenacity and sheer will, Bryant is about as close as it gets to Jordan.

He reached the milestone in Minneapolis, the place the Lakers called home for their first 12 seasons until moving to LA in 1960. As usual, there were purple-and-gold clad fans all over the Target Center, and they gave Bryant a rousing standing ovation when he knocked down the two free throws just past the midpoint of the second quarter to give him 32,293 career points.

He exchanged hugs with teammates and several Timberwolves, a few of whom were just 1 year old when Bryant entered the league straight out of high school in 1996.

"I congratulate Kobe on reaching this milestone," Jordan, the owner of the Charlotte Hornets, said in a statement given to The Associated Press. "He's obviously a great player, with a strong work ethic and has an equally strong passion for the game of basketball. I've enjoyed watching his game evolve over the years, and I look forward to seeing what he accomplishes next."

Missing Ricky Rubio (ankle), Nikola Pekovic (foot) and Kevin Martin (wrist), the young Wolves had designs on spoiling Bryant's historic night when they trimmed a 10-point deficit to 84-81 with four minutes to play.

TIP-INS

Lakers: Carlos Boozer had 22 points and 13 rebounds and Wes Johnson had 12 points and six assists. ... Bryant's first career game came against the Timberwolves as an 18-year-old in 1996, when he went scoreless in six minutes.

Timberwolves: C Ronny Turiaf will have surgery on Tuesday to address a hip injury that has kept him out for most of the season. Saunders said a timeline for recovery would be determined after the surgery, but there remains a real possibility Turiaf will not return this season. ... Wiggins had 16 points and received his Western Conference rookie of the month award for November.

UP NEXT:

Lakers: Visit Indiana on Monday night.

Timberwolves: Visit Washington on Tuesday night.

(A previous version of story had incorrect spelling of passed in first paragraph.)

Curry lifts Warriors past Pelicans 128-122 in OT

Sun, 12/14/2014 - 6:01pm

NEW ORLEANS (AP) Stephen Curry scored eight of his 34 points in overtime, and the Golden State Warriors won their 16th straight, 128-122 over the New Orleans Pelicans on Sunday night.

Klay Thompson added 29 points for the Warriors, whose franchise-long winning streak includes a club-record 10 straight road victories.

Tyreke Evans scored 34 points for the Pelicans, but fouled out with three minutes left in overtime.

Jrue Holiday had 30 points, nine assists and five steals for New Orleans, which was playing without Anthony Davis but still led 107-99 with 4:16 left in regulation.

Andre Iguodala had a season-high 20 points and Shaun Livingston scored 12 for Golden State. Marreese Speights added 10 points, including a free throw that tied the game at 111, a scored that held until regulation ended.

Oregon QB Marcus Mariota wins Heisman Trophy

Sat, 12/13/2014 - 11:17pm

NEW YORK (AP) Marcus Mariota wrote it all down, every word of his Heisman Trophy acceptance speech. It was a good thing, too, because getting through it might have been tougher than sprinting away from a linebacker or tossing a touchdown pass for Oregon's understated star.

The junior quarterback became the Ducks' first Heisman winner going away Saturday night, capping a three-year climb to college football's most prestigious individual award.

"I'm humbled to be standing here today," Mariota said moments after he was announced as the winner.

Mariota isn't a bigger talker, but he steadily worked through his speech, thanking his teammates, teachers, friends and his home state of Hawaii. He finally hit a snag when it came time to thank his mother and father. He needed to take two deep breaths and still he got choked up.

"I had to give thanks to so many people because where I am today, it's all do to all those people," Mariota said later. "It's hard not to get emotional. It's been a long journey. My emotions got the best of me."

A pinpoint passer with wide-receiver speed, Mariota came into this season as the favorite to win the 80th Heisman and delivered a performance that turned the presentation ceremony at a theater in Times Square into a foregone conclusion.

Mariota had twice as many points (2,534) as second-place finisher Melvin Gordon (1,250), the record-breaking running back from Wisconsin. The other finalist, Alabama receiver Amari Cooper, was third.

Mariota received the second-highest percentage of possible points (90.92) in Heisman history, behind only Ohio State quarterback Troy Smith, who had 91.63 in 2006. Southern California tailback Reggie Bush received 91.77 percent of possible points in 2005, but his victory was later vacated for violating NCAA rules.

Mariota, the first Hawaii native to win the Heisman, has accounted for a Pac-12-record 53 touchdowns (38 passing, 14 rushing and one receiving) while directing the Ducks' warp-speed spread offense.

"In Hawaii, if one person is successful, the entire state is successful," he said, draped in leis at his news conference.

It will be a matchup of Heisman-winning quarterbacks in the College Football Playoff's Rose Bowl semifinal Jan. 1 with Mariota and the Ducks facing Florida State and Jameis Winston.

"I'm just looking forward to getting back on the field and playing again,' Mariota said. "We do have a team goal."

In an era when so many Heisman winners seemingly come from out of nowhere - the last two were the first freshmen winners - Mariota's rise was slow and steady.

Three of the last four Heisman winners were in their first seasons as starters, including Cam Newton, who won the award in his only season at Auburn after transferring from a junior college. Before Newton, three straight sophomores won the award (Tim Tebow of Florida, Sam Bradford of Oklahoma and Mark Ingram of Alabama). Tebow was the first sophomore winner.

Like Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel and Winston, the previous two winners, Mariota started as a redshirt freshman. It quickly established himself as a star, but unlike Johnny Football and Famous Jameis, Mariota wasn't the face of college football in his first season.

In his second season he put up numbers that rivaled those of Heisman finalist quarterbacks Winston, Manziel, AJ McCarron and Jordan Lynch, but when it came time to vote for the Heisman, Mariota was forgotten. He didn't even finish in the top 10 in 2013.

This season Mariota would not be ignored.

He leads the nation in passer rating (186.2), is fifth in total offense (342.5 yards per game) and has led the Ducks to a Pac-12 title with a chance to play for their first national championship.

Of course, patience and poise have defined Mariota's career. He didn't start for his high school team until he was a senior - then led Saint Louis in Honolulu to a state title.

A quiet leader with a nice-guy reputation, Mariota brought no off-field baggage to this Heisman ceremony. After a season beset by off-field troubles, including a school hearing into sexual assault allegations, Winston wasn't a finalist this time around. He finished sixth.

Oregon's only Heisman finalists before Mariota were quarterback Joey Harrington in 2001 and running back LaMichael James in 2010.

"If you have your punch list of things as a program, the most iconic individual award would be the Heisman Trophy. But like Marcus said, I know he'd trade all that to win as a team," Oregon coach Mark Helfrich said.

For Harrington, Oregon, with Nike's help, put up a billboard in Times Square to promote their Heisman candidate.

Oregon didn't need a billboard to get the word out about Mariota. His play provided all the publicity he needed

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Follow Ralph D. Russo at www.Twitter.com/ralphDrusoAP

Warriors win team-record 15th in row, beat Mavs

Sat, 12/13/2014 - 1:53pm

DALLAS (AP) The Golden State Warriors won their franchise-record 15th straight game, with Stephen Curry scoring 29 points and Klay Thompson adding 25 Saturday in a 105-98 victory over the Dallas Mavericks.

The Warriors became the 12th NBA team to open a season 20-2. Steve Kerr, in his first season, is the first coach to start that fast.

Curry and Thompson each scored 17 in the first half as Golden State ran out to a 28-point lead. The Mavericks got as close as seven in the final minute of the game.

Monta Ellis scored 24 points to lead the Mavericks, who played without Chandler Parsons because of a sore back. Dallas dropped to 0-5 against the top seven teams in the Western Conference.

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