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Former England coach Graham Taylor dies at 72

ROB HARRIS, AP Global Soccer Writer   LONDON (AP) — Graham Taylor, the England coach derided for failing to qualify for the 1994 World Cup after flourishing as a club manager working for pop star Elton John, has died. He was 72. Taylor, who won admiration by leading Aston Villa and Watford into the top-flight in the 1980s, died early Thursday of a suspected heart attack, his family said. 'The family are devastated by this sudden and totally unexpected loss,' a family statement said. Taylor is one of only four managers to have taken the same team from the fourth to the top division in English soccer, and he achieved it within five years at Watford. Elton John, who owned Watford during Taylor's two stints in charge, said it was a 'sad and dark day' for the club. 'He was like a brother to me,' John wrote on an Instagram post . 'We shared an unbreakable bond since we first met. We went on an incredible journey together and it will stay with me forever. 'He took my beloved Watford from the depths of the lower leagues to uncharted territory and into Europe. We have become a leading English club because of his managerial wisdom and genius.' Taylor reached the pinnacle of English management when he was hired by the national team in 1990, inheriting a side that reached the World Cup semifinals. 'His enthusiasm for life and football was incredible,' former England player Paul Gascoigne said. Taylor guided England to the 1992 European Championship, but the team was eliminated at the first stage, setting the tone for the rest of his time with the national team. After England lost 2-1 to Sweden in its final game at Euro 92, The Sun tabloid trashed Taylor with the headline: 'Swedes 2 Turnips 1.' Taylor's head was superimposed on a turnip, a caricature that led to the manager becoming known harshly as 'Turnip Taylor.' 'It hurts and that's what really, really annoys me,' Taylor recalled in a 2012 BBC documentary. 'They have no recognition about how much it hurts you. They think you don't care. 'And those people that know it hurts you, they put the knife into you so it hurts you even more.' Taylor's decision to grant behind-the-scenes access to a television crew for the qualifying campaign for the 1994 World Cup backfired when the extent of the strain of the job was exposed. In 'The Impossible Job,' Taylor was filmed complaining about a refereeing decision during a qualifier against the Netherlands, telling the linesman: 'Tell your mate he's just cost me my job.' Reflecting later on his shortcomings in the England job, Taylor said: 'I am not bitter. I am just disappointed in myself.' The failure to reach the 1994 World Cup in the United States was a blot on Taylor's accomplishments in management after a modest playing career ended at age 28 due to a hip injury. Having already become the youngest person to attain a full Football Association coaching badge, Taylor was able to move straight into management with Lincoln after playing for the team. After winning the fourth tier, Taylor moved south to Watford. With the boardroom backing of John, Taylor guided Watford from the fourth division to the first division (then the top tier), an FA Cup final and European competition in five years from 1978. John then allowed Taylor to move to Aston Villa, where he secured promotion to the top-flight and a second-place finish in 1990. He returned as club management after his England management, taking Watford back into the Premier League and enjoying one final spell at Villa before leaving the dugout for good in 2003. He was a regular commentator on matches in recent years for BBC radio. He is survived by wife Rita and daughters Joanne and Karen. .....»»

Category: sportsSource: abscbn abscbnJan 13th, 2017

Lions retain GM Bob Quinn and coach Matt Patricia for 2020

By Larry Lage, Associated Press DETROIT (AP) — The Detroit Lions are sticking with their leaders in the front office and on the field, hoping continuity helps the franchise have success that has been elusive for several decades. The Lions announced general manager Bob Quinn and coach Matt Patricia will be retained for the 2020 season and suddenly ended speculation about their plans with them. “I’m always appreciative when things like this come out," Patricia acknowledged Tuesday. The decisions to keep Quinn and Patricia was made on a day off for players, but it didn't take them long to hear the news. “It’s good for them that they’ll have another year to prove what they're all about," Lions offensive guard Graham Glasgow said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press. “The amount of people who got hurt this year didn't help our cause." Most significantly, the Lions have been without injured quarterback Matthew Stafford for six games and they won't have him back until next season. Detroit put Stafford on injured reserve with back and hip injuries, ending his and the team's hopes for a comeback this season. “I have the utmost respect for Matthew and his efforts to try to do everything he could to get back and play," Patricia said. “Certainly, we had a schedule that we were trying to follow from the advice of our doctors and the medical people that look at everything. Just at this point it looks like it’d really be in the best interest for him, and us obviously as an organization right now, to give him that opportunity to rest and to heal." Stafford will be back next season as Quinn and Patricia get another shot to lead. Detroit hired both away from New England in hopes of replicating the Patriots' formula for success. It simply has not worked out yet for the Lions, who have one postseason victory since winning the 1957 NFL title with a series of general managers and coaches who could not get the job done. Quinn was hired in 2016 and Detroit was 9-7 in the regular season for two straight years under Jim Caldwell. Quinn fired Caldwell and hired Patricia after the 2017 season because he wanted a coach who could take the team to another level. Patricia has done that, but the direction has been down. The first-time head coach is 9-20-1 over nearly two seasons. “I think we’ve seen some strides that we’ve made with the team this year," Patricia insisted. “But we obviously need to build and improve upon that going forward." The Lions (3-10-1) have lost seven in a row — for the first time in seven years — and 10 of 11 games after a 2-0-1 start. Stafford's injury stunted the team's chance to compete for a spot in the playoffs and ended what was one of the best seasons of his 11-year career. He had a career-high 106 passer rating and threw for 312.4 yards per game to to trail his average from only the 2011 season. Stafford completed 64.3% of his passes with 19 touchdowns and just five interceptions over eight games. With third-string quarterback David Blough, Detroit closes the season at Denver (5-9) and against NFC North-leading Green Bay at home. The Lions will wrap up the season playing only for pride and desperately want to have more at stake at this time next year. “We want to be in contention," Patricia said. “We want to be in those big games. We want to be in that situation where you go out and compete and give ourselves a chance to play extra games.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 18th, 2019

Jokic scores career-high 30, Nuggets beat Magic

em>By Pat Graham, Associated Press /em> DENVER (AP) — Nikola Jokic scored a career-high 30 points, Emmanuel Mudiay dished out a career-best 13 assists and the Denver Nuggets followed up their 'home' win in London with another at the Pepsi Center, beating the Orlando Magic 125-112 on Monday (Tuesday, PHL time). Jokic also grabbed 11 rebounds and Kenneth Faried scored 20 points for the Nuggets, who certainly packed their surging offense with them when they returned home from London. They routed Indiana 140-112 last Thursday (Friday, PHL time) in England and remained on that sort of shooting streak, hitting a season-high 58.4 percent from the floor. They also had 33 assists. Elfrid Payton scored 20 points and had 12 assists as the Magic fell to 1-4 on their current six-game trip. Denver arrived home from London late on Friday (Saturday, PHL time), took Saturday off (Sunday, PHL time) and then went through an intense practice Sunday (Monday, PHL time) designed to shake any sort of lingering jet lag. 'Now, it's mental,' Nuggets coach Michael Malone said before the game. 'Can you push all that tiredness and fatigue and jet lag out of you mind?' They certain did. Up 69-63 early in the third quarter, the Nuggets pulled away with a 16-2 run. The Magic cut into a 22-point deficit, but Faried put the game way with an emphatic dunk with 1:28 remaining. The officials operated with a two-person crew after Nick Buchert was a late scratch for personal reasons. It really didn't seem to be an issue for Tom Washington and Justin VanDuyne, who were never really out of position. strong>TIP-INS /strong> em> strong>Magic: /strong> /em> G/F Evan Fournier was out with a bruised right heel. C Nikola Vucevic scored 17 points, and the Magic had seven players in double figures. em> strong>Nuggets: /strong> /em> G Gary Harris suffered a sprained right ankle early in the first quarter and didn't return. X-rays were negative. Jokic had five assists. He entered the game averaging 3.9, which is fourth-best among centers. strong>ALL-STAR ATTENTION? /strong> Although Jokic is averaging 13.3 points, 7.9 rebounds and 3.9 assists, Malone doesn't expect his big man to be in All-Star consideration just yet. That has to do with Denver's sub-.500 record and not his play. 'Unless you're winning, I don't think you're going to be in the conversation,' Malone said. 'With that being said, everybody in the NBA knows Nikola and what he brings to the table. He's probably one of the most fun players to watch.' strong>UP NEXT /strong> em> strong>Magic: /strong> /em> At New Orleans on Wednesday night (Thursday, PHL time) for the sixth and final game of this trip. em> strong>Nuggets: /strong> /em> At Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday night (Wednesday, PHL time). The Nuggets are 1-6 in the second game of a back-to-back this season. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 17th, 2017

Packers confident facing Cowboys without injured Nelson

The Associated Press br /> The Green Bay Packers were better prepared to play without Jordy Nelson after the star receiver was ruled out of the NFL divisional playoff against the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday. br /> Nelson had an NFL-high 14 touchdown catches in the regular season as quarterback Aaron Rodgers' top target in the Packers' prolific passing attack. But he suffered broken ribs in a tackle as the Packers beat the New York Giants 38-13 in the wild-card round last weekend, and still wasn't right on Friday. br /> The offense struggled to hit big plays in 2015 while Nelson was sidelined for the entire season with a knee injury, but Green Bay proved last week that it can win without him, scoring all their points after he left. br /> With Rodgers, the league's best quarterback over the past two months, connecting regularly even on desperation passes, the Packers have won seven straight games. br /> And in Nelson's absence, Rodgers still has Randall Cobb, who caught three touchdown passes against the Giants, Davante Adams emerging as a playmaker, and Jared Cook as an athletic target at tight end. The Packers should do their share of scoring against a Dallas defense that ranked 26th against the pass. br /> Then again, sensational Cowboys rookies Zeke Elliott and Dak Prescott, operating behind the best offensive line in the NFL and complemented by Jason Witten and Dez Bryant, also should supply points. br /> Elliott and Precott are the third rookie running back-quarterback starting tandem in the playoffs in the Super Bowl era. Of note, the other two pairs lost their playoff debuts. br /> The Cowboys and Packers share an NFL postseason history that dates back five decades. Dallas holds a 4-3 edge, but since they beat the Packers three years in a row in the 1990s, they haven't been back to the NFC Championship game in 21 years. br /> All four home teams this weekend are tipped to win, especially the New England Patriots, who are 15 1/2-point favorites over the visiting Houston Texans, just the sixth time in 50 years that a team has been favored by at least 15 points in a playoff game. br /> New England has won its past four meetings with Houston at Gillette Stadium by a combined 150-49, but the Patriots say they aren't taking anything for granted against the NFL's top-ranked defense. But how does Houston, which lost 27-0 in September to a Patriots team without Tom Brady, go about beating a team that the odds-makers say is one of the most unbeatable in playoff history? br /> Running back LeGarrette Blount has taken a lot of pressure off Brady's arm this season, rushing for a New England single-season record 18 touchdowns and career-high 1,161 yards. And the defense has been creating turnovers at a high rate during their ongoing seven-game win streak. br /> That walking boot being worn by quarterback Ben Roethlisberger after Pittsburgh's win against Miami last weekend is very worrisome to the Steelers. But Roethlisberger tends to always show up in the playoffs, and he's expected to perform against the Chiefs in Kansas City on Sunday. br /> The Steelers eased past the Chiefs 43-14 on Oct. 2, but that was in Pittsburgh. Kansas City is better now than it was back then, although so are the Steelers. br /> If the Chiefs can get pressure on Big Ben and somewhat control Antonio Brown, the league's most dangerous receiver (and non-quarterback), and running back Le'Veon Bell, it can use its relatively conservative offense to its advantage. But will coach Andy Reid turn the reins loose a bit when the Chiefs have the ball? br /> The Chiefs haven't won a playoff game in 23 years. br /> Then again, the Atlanta Falcons are the only team among the eight left who have not won a Super Bowl. br /> Facing the Seattle Seahawks at home on Saturday is one of those prove-it games for Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan and wideout Julio Jones. Which opponent to better prove that your offense, and an improving defense, are capable of a long postseason run than against the big kid on the NFC block? br /> The Seahawks bring superior experience, coaching, and swagger. br /> Seattle is as accomplished as any NFC playoff team, and many of the key contributors to its recent success remain on the scene: Russell Wilson, Bobby Wagner, Richard Sherman and Doug Baldwin. And now that Thomas Rawls seems healthy, there's a running game to complement Wilson, Baldwin and tight end Jimmy Graham. br />   .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 14th, 2017

Out of the Woods: Tiger emerges for TV match with Lefty, QBs

By DOUG FERGUSON AP Golf Writer The purpose is to raise $10 million or more for COVID-19 relief efforts, and provide entertainment with four of the biggest stars from the PGA Tour and NFL. Another appeal to the Sunday made-for-TV exhibition, “The Match: Champions for Charity,” is a chance to see Tiger Woods swing a golf club for the first time in 98 days. Live golf is on television for the second straight Sunday, this one with the game's biggest headliner. Woods was last seen on television Feb. 16 at the Genesis Invitational, where he moved cautiously in California's chilly late winter weather and posted weekend rounds of 76-77 to finish last among the 68 players who made the cut at Riviera. He skipped a World Golf Championship in Mexico City, and said his surgically repaired back wasn't quite ready in sitting out the opening three weeks of the Florida swing. And then the pandemic took over, and there has been no place to play. This is a reasonable start. Woods and retired NFL quarterback Peyton Manning will face Phil Mickelson and Tom Brady, who won six Super Bowls with the New England Patriots and signed this year with Tampa Bay. The match will be at Medalist Golf Club in Hobe Sound, Florida. It is Woods' home course and about 20 minutes from Seminole, where last week Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson, Rickie Fowler and Matthew Wolff ushered golf's return to live television. What to make of Woods? His only interviews were with GolfTV, the Discovery-owned channel with whom Woods has a financial deal, and a playful Zoom call with the other match participants hosted by Ernie Johnson of Turner Sports, which is televising the match. He described his health in the April 9 interview with GolfTV as “night and day.” “I feel a lot better than I did then,” Woods said. “I've been able to turn a negative into a positive and been able to train a lot and get my body to where I think it should be.” Mickelson has missed the cut in four of his five tournaments this year — the exception was third place at Pebble Beach, where he started the final round one shot behind Nick Taylor and closed with a 75. Just like last week, rust is to be expected for players who haven't competed in two months — three, in the case of Woods. Manning, meanwhile, is retired and is a golf junkie. Brady remains employed, and this week got in some informal work with his new teammates in Tampa Bay. No fans will be allowed, just like last week at Seminole. One difference is the players will be in their own carts, whereas the four PGA Tour players last week carried their bags. But this is as much about entertainment as competition. It's the second edition of a match between Woods and Mickelson, the dominant players of their generation and rivals by name, but not necessarily by record. Woods has 82 career victories to 44 for Mickelson, leads 15-5 in major championships and 11-0 in winning PGA Tour player of the year. Mickelson won their first made-for-TV match over Thanksgiving weekend in 2018, a pay-per-view event that ran into technical problems and was free for all. Lefty won in a playoff under the lights for $9 million in a winner-take-all match. He also has a 5-3-1 advantage over Woods in the nine times they have played in the final round on the PGA Tour, most recently in the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am in 2012 when Mickelson shot 64 to a 75 for Woods. He also stopped two streaks. Woods was going for his seventh straight PGA Tour victory when Mickelson beat him at Torrey Pines in 2000. Later that year, Woods had won 19 consecutive times on the PGA Tour when he had at least a share of the 54-hole lead until Mickelson beat him at the Tour Championship. Woods, however, captured the streak that mattered, holding off Mickelson in the final group at the Masters in 2001 to hold all four professional majors at the same time. The banter was lacking in Las Vegas, and perhaps having Manning and Brady will change the dynamics. The broadcast includes Charles Barkley providing commentary and Justin Thomas, whom Woods has embraced, on the course as a reporter in his television debut. After this exhibition, golf has two weeks before the PGA Tour is set to return at Colonial in Fort Worth, Texas. Mickelson plans to play. Woods has not said when he will return......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 24th, 2020

Eddie Sutton, Hall of Fame basketball coach, dies at 84

Eddie Sutton, Hall of Fame basketball coach, dies at 84.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 24th, 2020

Ex-Utah coach Jerry Sloan dies at 78

Sloan, who led the Jazz to the NBA Finals in 1997 and 1998, reportedly died due to complications from Parkinson's disease and lewy body dementia......»»

Category: sportsSource:  philstarRelated NewsMay 23rd, 2020

Runners still finding release on the road during coronavirus

By JOHN ZENOR AP Sports Writer Henry Ton was looking for a way to help himself and neighbors stay fit and active after his gym closed because of the coronavirus pandemic. The 46-year-old software engineer in suburban Phoenix organized a small running group he jokingly calls his “Social Distance Distance Running Club.” Runners across the country are still hitting the pavement and the trails, singly and in small groups. It’s a way to get in their workouts, reduce the sense of isolation and work off some stress with gyms closed amid the coronavirus. “Everybody's probably like me, just sitting around in my house eating all day,” Ton quipped. “This is a way to get out, get some fresh air, sweat a little.” For some, running also provides a social outlet in a time when officials are encouraging social distancing and limiting the size of gatherings to 10 or fewer. Many have given up that aspect of it too, yielding to the safety of solo runs. Elite distance runner Kaitlin Gregg Goodman is among those urging people to run alone. Goodman posted on Twitter: “QUIT RUNNING IN GROUPS." For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death. Sports cardiologist Benjamin Levine said continuing to run has physical and psychological benefits. But he also suggests those running with others should likely double the recommended six feet of social distancing because of the increase in the amount of air they’re breathing in and out. “I think it’s preserving both your physical and your mental health,” said Levine, who is a professor of medicine at UT Southwestern and Texas Health Presbyterian in Dallas. “I think it’s critical. But that’s not just psychological. That’s biological. I think exercise is one of the few things we can do that has a very, very clear and manifest positive mental health benefit.” But Levine, the director of the Institute for Exercise and Environmental Medicine, said people need to observe guidelines. “It’s not the time to be running hand in hand,” he said. In Montgomery, Alabama, Marsha Trotter and members of her running group still gather four mornings a week for runs. They split up into smaller groups for different workouts, as usual, but are more conscious of keeping their distance. They spread out for post-run photos to post on their Facebook page instead of standing side by side. “It’s a normalcy,” said Trotter, a 45-year-old registered nurse. “Obviously people are not going to come out if they’re running a fever or have a cough or feel sick. That’s normal all year round anyway. But I think runners are crazy enough anyway so that nothing really scares them, so they’re going to come out and run and then go home.” Runners keep lacing up and heading out even while most races are canceled or postponed, including the Boston Marathon. Gail Nestor, a 52-year-old from Johns Creek, Georgia, had qualified for Boston, which has been postponed until Sept. 14. Nestor has kept logging about 75 miles a week, first enjoying the social aspect and “running just for running’s sake.” She said it helps her cope and she has more time these days, too. “We joke about how we’re helping our immune system," Nestor said. “We’re like, We need a support group, Runners Without Races.” The rapidly changing dynamics of this pandemic have changed the running habits of Nestor, who has finished Boston twice among her 19 marathons. Nestor originally was still running with one or two other people, though they tried their best to stay at least 6 feet away from one another at all times. She noted Wednesday that she’s now running on her own to protect herself from the virus as much as possible. Like Nestor, other runners have opted to mostly go solo. Aidan Walsh, founder of Racefaster in New Jersey, advises his runners to run alone these days. The 39-year-old former Fairleigh Dickinson runner said many are logging more miles with their social and perhaps professional lives restricted to varying degrees. “I would venture to say they’re doing more than they ever did simply because they have less going on in their lives and also there’s really nothing else to do," said Walsh, who started the retail stores and serves as a running coach and race director. “They can’t go to work, they can’t go to the gym. They can’t go swimming." But people can run — even in virtual races. For those Harry Potter enthusiasts, there's this: A virtual running group that's "changing the muggle world — one mile at a time." The Potterhead Running Club is the brainchild of Brian Biggs, a big Harry Potter fan who caught the running bug six years ago. He started the club with participants completing a distance that’s chosen along with an individualized theme. They can walk, bike, swim and lift weights to complete their goals. “Everyone is welcome in our community, and every skill level can do a virtual run. Because you don't have to actually run," said Biggs, an reserve officer in the U.S. Air Force. He is currently assigned as an emergency preparedness officer for the state of Vermont and lives in Connecticut. “You can walk, you can bike, you can swim. You can sashay or meander. We like to say, 'It's your race, your pace at your place.'” So far, the Harry Potter group has logged more than 12 million miles and earned more than $2,200,000 for nonprofit charities around the world. Another Georgia runner, Susan Camp, founded the Decatur branch of Moms Run This Town. Camp said her group generally had 12-15 runners for their Saturday morning outings. When the coronavirus threat first hit, they discussed doing group runs with staggered starts. That changed as the virus spread. By Monday, her chapter decided not to organize any group runs during this period of social distancing. “I had some women chime in and thank us for making that call because it was making them nervous, seeing people organizing group runs and asking for people to run with them,” the 40-year-old Camp said. Camp acknowledged that she would miss the connection, friendship and support that often comes from running with others. One member established a Facebook page that gave them a place on social media to discuss the running and wellness goals they otherwise might have shared during their group runs. “We just get so much out of running together,” Camp said. “You can ask anybody, it’s for our mental health.” ___ AP Sports Writers Steve Megargee in Milwaukee, David Brandt in Phoenix and Pat Graham in Denver contributed to this report.  .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 29th, 2020

Former FIBA head Borislav Stankovic dies

BELGRADE, Serbia (AP) — Borislav Stankovic, the former longtime International Basketball Federation secretary general responsible for bringing NBA players to the Olympics, has died, the international body said. He was 94. Stankovic was at the helm of FIBA from 1976 to 2002 and was a member of the International Olympic Committee. During his leadership, he was credited with working toward building bridges between East and West during the Cold War and working closely with the then-NBA Commissioner, David Stern, in the late 1980s and early '90s to bring world basketball into the modern era. That resulted in American professional players participating in the top-level national team competitions, starting at the Barcelona Olympics in 1992. For his contributions to the game, he was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts in 1991. FIBA Secretary General Andreas Zagklis said in a statement “as the leader of the International Basketball Federation for a quarter of a century, Borislav Stankovic will always be one of the most important figures in the history of our sport.” As a player, he helped Red Star Belgrade win two national titles, in 1946 and 1947, and had 36 caps for the Yugoslav national team, including at the inaugural FIBA Basketball World Cup in 1950 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. As a coach, he captured four Yugoslav league titles and one in the Italian league. Stankovic died in Belgrade, the Serbian capital. The cause of his death was not given. He is survived by one daughter and two granddaughters......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 20th, 2020

Luwawu-Cabarrot scores 21 as Nets defeat Hornets 115-86

By STEVE REED AP Sports Writer CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot and the Brooklyn Nets appeared to be on a mission after surrendering a 20-point lead in their last game. And it showed with almost every Nets player that played. Luwawu-Cabarrot led a balanced scoring attack with 21 points and the Nets built a 25-point lead in the third quarter and didn't let up, snapping the Charlotte Hornets' three-game win streak with a 115-86 victory Saturday night. Eight Brooklyn players scored in double figures, including Caris LeVert with 17. Garrett Temple added 15 points and 10 rebounds, Jarrett Allen had 12 points and 11 rebounds and the Nets bounced back from an overtime loss in Philadelphia on Thursday. “We want more than what we have right now. We just want more,” Luwawu-Cabarrot said. “We're hungry." Brooklyn built a 10-point halftime lead and outscored the Hornets 33-13 in the third quarter to take control. This time, the Nets didn't let the lead slip away. “We played with a chip on our shoulder,” said Nets coach Kenny Atkinson. “I think we wanted to prove something. I felt it before the game in the locker room. We feel like we can still do something special.” P.J. Washington had 16 points for the Hornets. “They were just making shots pretty much the whole game, getting offensive rebounds and getting stops and getting out in transition," Washington said. "We couldn’t really stop them from hitting corner 3s.” Atkinson was pleased with the balanced scoring in the aftermath of the team's announcement that point guard Kyrie Irving would not return to play this season. “The ball was hopping tonight," Atkinson said. “It was moving around; guys were touching it. But with all that being said, we miss Kyrie and we need Kyrie. Badly. So, it was a good performance, I’m very pleased. Was very pleased by the maturity we showed.” The Hornets managed to beat the Bulls in Chicago on Thursday night without co-leading scorer Devonte Graham scoring a point. But they couldn't replicate the feat against the Nets with Graham struggling again from the field. One of the league's most improved players this season, Graham was limited to six points on 1-of-10 shooting by the Nets. The Nets are in the midst of a stretch of eight of 10 games on the road. They are 3-2 so far during that run. TIP-INS Nets: Former North Carolina Tar Heel Theo Pinson received a big cheer when he scored his first points late in the fourth quarter. ... Spencer Dinwiddle had 10 points, nine assists and six rebounds. Hornets: Malik Monk has scored 15 or more points in six straight games, the longest streak of such games since he had seven straight in 2018. ... Bench was outscored 50-27. GRAHAM'S SLUMP Hornets coach James Borrego said Graham's slump is in part due to how much attention other teams are paying him. But he said it's up to the second-year guard to continue to fight through the pressure and improve. “He just has to keep grinding and working his way through it,” Borrego said. “You don't hang your head. You just keeping working and grow. I hope the next team throws the full bucket at him again. That's how you grow and adapt to this league and get better.” ZONED UP The Nets used a zone defense at different points in the game and it seemed to rattle the Hornets. “I think the zone really disrupted us, took us out of our little motions so credit to them they were just better than us tonight," Monk said. UP NEXT Nets: Host the Orlando Magic on on Monday night. Hornets: Visit the Indiana Pacers on Tuesday night......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 23rd, 2020

Packers hold off Seahawks 28-23 to reach NFC title game

By Dave Campbell, Associated Press GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Aaron Rodgers connected with Davante Adams eight times for 160 yards and two touchdowns, Green Bay's spruced-up defense fended off a spirited Seattle rally, and the Packers held on for a 28-23 victory Sunday night to reach the NFC championship game for the third time in six years. Aaron Jones rushed for 62 yards and two first-half scores for the Packers (14-3), who will travel next weekend to take on top-seeded San Francisco. Russell Wilson carried the Seahawks (12-6) on yet another comeback, this time from a 21-3 halftime deficit, but the Packers forced a punt just before the two-minute warning on the second sack of the game by Preston Smith. That was Green Bay's fifth of the game. Za'Darius Smith, the other big-money free agent added to the defense last spring, had two sacks himself. The Seahawks never got the ball again. Rodgers sealed the win with two third-down throws: first a 32-yard pass to Adams on third-and-8 with 2:19 left and then 9 yards to Jimmy Graham on third-and-9 right after the two-minute warning to take down a Seahawks team that was 8-1 on the road this season entering the game. Rodgers exacted some payback for five years ago, when the Packers blew a 16-0 halftime lead in the NFC championship game at Seattle and lost 28-22 in overtime. The Seahawks haven’t been back to the conference title game since, let alone the Super Bowl. Rodgers is running out of time faster than Wilson, though, nine years after his only championship. The Seahawks had just a plus-seven scoring margin during the regular season, making quite the habit of second-half rallies. Wilson did some of the finest work of his eight-year career in 2019, helping the Seahawks stay on track despite a steady stream of injuries, including the late setbacks in the backfield that prompted the emergency call for Marshawn Lynch. Racking up 64 yards rushing on seven scrambles and completing 21 of 31 passes for 277 yards, Wilson directed touchdown drives of 69, 84, 79 right out of the gate after halftime. Lynch finished two of them with scores, and Wilson threw to Tyler Lockett for the other one. Lynch’s second touchdown with 9:33 left cut the lead to 28-23, but Jaire Alexander blew up the 2-point conversion attempt with a sack on an unblocked blitz. The Packers gave the ball back to the Seahawks with a second consecutive punts, this time with 4:54 left at the Seattle 22, but Wilson ran out of tricks in his seemingly bottomless bag of them. FORCEFUL FIRST HALF The Seahawks brought their pass rush to life with seven sacks while grinding out a 17-9 win at Philadelphia last week in the wild card round, with Jadeveon Clowney making his presence felt including a hit that knocked Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz out of the game with a concussion. The Packers mostly kept Rodgers much better protected, though. The Packers had three touchdown drives of 75 yards apiece over the first three quarters, plus a 60-yard march preceded by a missed 50-yard field goal try from Jason Myers. Rodgers hasn't had much help beyond Adams and Jones this season, but he and coach Matt LaFleur did a masterful job of getting them the ball with some Tyler Ervin and Jimmy Graham mixed in. On the opening possession, Adams and Geronimo Allison ran angled routes toward each other before faking the pick and zagging away. Seahawks cornerback Tre Flowers was caught in the confusion, allowing Adams to break free for the 20-yard score. OH, NO, LAMBEAU Seahawks fans have plenty of bad memories of their favorite team's performances in Green Bay, with the losing streak at Lambeau Field now at nine straight games. The last such win for Seattle was on Nov. 1, 1999. There was the hot mike that picked up Matt Hasselbeck's ill-fated boast during the overtime coin toss that the Seahawks would win, preceding his pick-six in the 2003 playoffs. There was the blowout in the snow in the 2007 playoffs, which turned out to be Brett Favre's final win for the Packers. There were also the regular season losses with Wilson in 2015, 2016 and 2017. INJURY REPORT Seahawks: LG Mike Iupati was out with a neck injury, and Jamarco Jones left in the second quarter with a concussion. That forced rookie Phil Haynes into action. ... Clowney, who has fought through a core muscle injury this season, was holding his midsection in the second quarter and briefly absent for the first TD run by Jones. ... Backup DEs Ziggy Ansah (neck) and L.J. Collier were inactive, and DE Quinton Jefferson left with a foot injury in the third quarter. Packers: RT Bryan Bulaga, one of six players the team reported this week as being limited by illness, was active for but did not play. Jared Veldheer replaced him. ... FB Danny Vitale (ankle/illness) was inactive. ... WR Allen Lazard hurt his ankle in the second quarter after Jones collided with the back of his right leg. UP NEXT Seahawks: head into the offseason, needing replenish their depth on the offensive line and on defense while Wilson remains in his prime. Packers: advance to their third NFC championship game in six years. They lost 37-8 on Nov. 24 to the 49ers, who beat Minnesota 27-10 on Saturday in their divisional round game......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 13th, 2020

Brady says I still have more to prove in Instagram post

By Kyle Hightower, Associated Press BOSTON (AP) — Whether Tom Brady will return as quarterback of the New England Patriots next season is still an open question. But the 42-year-old on Wednesday gave another indication that he isn't done playing football. In an Instagram post to fans, Brady said “I still have more to prove” following a season that ended with the Patriots failing to reach the Super Bowl for the first time since 2015.         View this post on Instagram                   I just wanted to say to all of our fans, THANK YOU! After a few days of reflection, I am so grateful and humbled by the unconditional support you have shown me the past two decades. Running out of that tunnel every week is a feeling that is hard to explain. I wish every season ended in a win, but that’s not the nature of sports (or life). Nobody plays to lose. But the reward for working hard is just that, the work!! I have been blessed to find a career I love, teammates who go to battle with me, an organization that believes in me, and fans who have been behind us every step of the way. Every one of us that works at Gillette Stadium strived to do their best, spent themselves at a worthy cause, and prepared to fail while daring greatly (h/t Teddy Roosevelt). And for that, we’ve been rewarded with something that the scoreboard won’t show - the satisfaction of knowing we gave everything to each other in pursuit of a common goal. That is what TEAM is all about. In both life and football, failure is inevitable. You dont always win. You can, however, learn from that failure, pick yourself up with great enthusiasm, and place yourself in the arena again. And that’s right where you will find me. Because I know I still have more to prove. A post shared by Tom Brady (@tombrady) on Jan 8, 2020 at 5:50am PST “In both life and football, failure is inevitable," he wrote. “You dont always win. You can, however, learn from that failure, pick yourself up with great enthusiasm, and place yourself in the arena again.” New England's season ended with a 20-13 loss in the wild-card round to the Tennessee Titans on Saturday night. A six-time Super Bowl champion, four-time Most Valuable Player of the NFL title game and three-time winner of the league MVP, Brady could become an unrestricted free agent for the first time in his career when his contract ends in March. That has placed team owner Robert Kraft and coach Bill Belichick on the clock to either bring back Brady for his 21st season or watch the franchise’s greatest player depart from the only team he's called home. Belichick said this week that there isn't an established timeline to resolve Brady's status, but he acknowledged that his case is unusual. “Everybody's situation is different," Belichick said. "Certainly, Tom is an iconic figure in this organization. And nobody respects Tom more than I do.”.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 8th, 2020

AP source: Giants nearing deal with Pats Judge to be coach

By Tom Canavan, Associated Press EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — The New York Giants and New England Patriots assistant Joe Judge are working on a deal for him to become the team's head coach, a surprising move for the four-time Super Bowl-winning franchise that tumbled to the bottom of the NFL in recent years, a person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press. The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity Tuesday because the deal is not done. Mentored by Bill Belichick and Nick Saban in a 15-year career, Judge would become a head coach for the first time. At 38, he would be one of the youngest NFL coaches. Sean McVay of the Los Angeles Rams currently is the youngest at 33. Judge has won three Super Bowls with New England in eight years as an assistant on Belichick's staff. He was the fifth candidate the Giants interviewed since firing Pat Shurmur on Dec. 30. Among those, Mike McCarthy agreed Monday to become the Dallas Cowboys' new coach. Another candidate, Matt Rhule, who was supposed to interview with New York on Tuesday, is instead headed to the Carolina Panthers, according to people familiar with those situations. The third new coach tabbed for the NFC East in a week — Ron Rivera was hired by the Washington Redskins on Wednesday — Judge would take over a team that went 4-12 and 5-11 in Shurmur's two seasons and has been to the playoffs just once since winning the Super Bowl after the 2011 season. He would be the Giants' fourth head coach since Tom Coughlin was let go after the 2015 season. Ben McAdoo, hired in 2016, didn't last two seasons. Steve Spagnuolo, currently Kansas City's defensive coordinator, served as interim coach after McAdoo was fired in '17. Judge, the Patriots' special teams coordinator and wide receivers coach, would inherit a team with a talented young quarterback in Daniel Jones and former rookie of the year running back Saquon Barkley. The Giants have the fourth pick in this year's draft and approximately $85 million in salary-cap money to spend. The Patriots lost to the Tennessee Titans on Saturday night in the wild-card round. Judge joined the Patriots as a special teams assistant in 2012 and helped guide them to Super Bowls titles in the 2014, ’16 and ’18 seasons. Before joining New England, he spent three years in the same role under Saban at Alabama. He won titles with the Crimson Tide in 2009 and '11. He also coached at Mississippi State and Birmingham-Southern. With Judge as special teams coordinator since 2015, New England consistently ranked as one of the NFL's top units. He added receivers to his responsibilities in 2019. He coached kicker Stephen Gostkowski to the All-Pro team in 2015 and special teams captain Matt Slater to the same honors in 2016 and this season. Belichick called Judge "an excellent coach" and said he excelled in his added duties this season. "Joe’s done a great job. He’s done a great job with the kicking game," Belichick said. “He’s expanded the role a little bit and that’s kind of had a little bit of a ripple effect in the way we’ve organized the kicking game, but that’s all worked out pretty efficiently. Joe’s done a good job of organizing that, as well as taking care on some other things with the offense and particularly receivers.” Judge met with Giants co-owner John Mara, general manager Dave Gettleman and vice president of football operations Kevin Abrams at the team's New Jersey headquarters on Monday. The Giants had been expected to interview Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels this week along with Baylor's Rhule. But Rhule did not interview with them, the person said. New York also had been given permission by Dallas to speak with former Cowboys coach Jason Garrett about the head coaching job. An interview was planned later this week, the person said. Garrett's contract with the Cowboys does not expire until next week. There have been reports the Giants are considering Garrett for a job as a coordinator or quarterbacks coach, but the person said the new coach will determine his staff. Others interviewed were Kris Richard, the Dallas defensive assistant coach and former Seattle defensive coordinator; Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy; and Ravens defensive coordinator Don Martindale. ___ AP Sports Writers Schuyler Dixon in Frisco, Texas; Steve Reed in Charlotte, N.C.; and Kyle Hightower in Foxborough, Mass., contributed to this report......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 7th, 2020

Grizzlies take advantage of George s absence to top Clippers

By The Associated Press LOS ANGELES (AP) — Jae Crowder scored 27 points and the Memphis Grizzlies took advantage of Los Angeles star Paul George's absence to rout the Clippers 140-114 on Saturday (Sunday, PHL time). Jaren Jackson Jr. added 24 points, and Ja Morant and Dillon Brooks had 22 points each to help Memphis improve to 7-10 on the road with its highest scoring game of the season. Montrezl Harrell led the Clippers with 28 points, and Kawhi Leonard and Lou Williams added 24 points each. The team appeared out of sorts from the start without George. He sat out with left hamstring tightness and Los Angeles clearly missed his defense. The usually stoic Leonard complained to the referees, who hit him with a technical after the halftime buzzer. Coach Doc Rivers stayed on court discussing it and was unhappy about other calls in the game. The Grizzlies raced to an 18-point lead to open the game, highlighted by a 16-2 run that included four 3-pointers. By the time Williams made the Clippers' first 3-pointer late in the second, cutting their deficit to seven, the Grizzlies had already connected on 10 3s. Los Angeles never got closer. BUCKS 127, SPURS 118 MILWAUKEE (AP) — Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 19 of his 32 points in the third quarter to help NBA-leading Milwaukee beat San Antonio. The Bucks improved to 32-5 with their fifth straight victory since a Christmas Day loss in Philadelphia. Eric Bledsoe added 21 points. Khris Middleton scored 20 points for the Bucks and backup center Robin Lopez had 14 points in 19 minutes. DeMar DeRozan led the Spurs with 26 points and LaMarcus Aldridge added 16 — all the first half. RAPTORS 121, NETS 102 NEW YORK (AP) — Fred VanVleet had 29 points and 11 assists, Kyle Lowry scored 26 points and Toronto bounced back from its worst offensive performance of the season to beat slumping Brooklyn. Serge Ibaka finished with 21 points and 12 rebounds for the Raptors. They were held to season lows for points and shooting in their 84-76 loss in Miami, when they hit just 31.5% overall and went 6 for 42 from 3-point range (14.3%.). Toronto made 13 3s and beat Brooklyn for the 17th time in 18 meetings. Spencer Dinwiddie scored 23 points for the Nets. They have lost five straight games. CELTICS 111, BULLS 104 CHICAGO (AP) — Jayson Tatum scored 28 points, Gordon Hayward added 24 and Boston beat Chicago. The Celtics hung on for their eighth win in nine games after a 16-point lead dwindled to three in the fourth quarter. Tatum hit a 3-pointer with just over a minute left to bump the lead to seven, and the Atlantic Division leaders came out on top after rallying from 18 down to beat Atlanta on Friday night. Zach LaVine scored 35 points for Chicago. HORNETS 123, MAVERICKS 120, OT DALLAS (AP) — Terry Rozier scored 29 points, including the go-ahead 3-pointer in overtime after his tying basket in regulation, and Charlotte outlasted Dallas. Luka Doncic set a Dallas season record with his NBA-leading 10th triple-double, finishing with 39 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists. Devonte Graham had 27 points and 13 assists to help the Hornets win their second straight after a season-worst six-game losing streak. WIZARDS 129, NUGGETS 114 WASHINGTON (AP) — Ish Smith scored a career-high 32 points and Troy Brown added 25 and a career-high 14 rebounds in Washington’s victory over Denver. After Denver took a 101-99 lead with 9:33 left on Mason Plumlee's dunk, the Wizards scored the next 11 with the run eventually reaching 19-2 for a 118-103 lead with 4:48 remaining. Smith scored 11 points in that stretch, capping the surge with a 3-pointer. Jamal Murray scored all 39 of his points after the first quarter for Denver. The Nuggets have lost two of three on their five-game trip. JAZZ 109, MAGIC 96 ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Donovan Mitchell scored 32 points and Georges Niang added 15 off the bench to help Utah beat Orlando for its fifth straight victory. Bojan Bogdanovic had 14 points, Emmanuel Mudiay scored 12 points and Joe Ingles had 11. Terrence Ross led Orlando with 24 points. Nikola Vucevic had 22 points and 11 rebounds. THUNDER 121, CAVALIERS 106 CLEVELAND (AP) — Dennis Schroder scored 22 points, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander had 20 and Oklahoma City beat Cleveland to run its winning streak to five. Danilo Gallinari added 19 points, hitting five 3-pointers, and Steven Adams grabbed 16 rebounds. Collin Sexton scored 30 points for Cleveland. PISTONS 111, WARRIORS 104 SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Andre Drummond had 14 points and 18 rebounds before fouling out late, Derrick Rose scored 22 points off the bench and Detroit beat Golden State to snap a three-game losing streak. Reserve guard Alec Burks contributed 27 points, seven rebounds and five assists in Golden State's fourth straight defeat following a four-game winning streak. Draymond Green was ejected with 4:57 left in the third. HAWKS 116, PACERS 111 ATLANTA (AP) — Trae Young scored 30 of his 41 points in the first half, Kevin Huerter added a season-high 26 points and Atlanta beat Indiana after blowing a 22-point lead. Domantas Sabonis had 25 points and 11 rebounds for Indiana. Justin Holiday added 18 points. PELICANS 117, KINGS 115 SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — JJ Redick’s driving layup with 1.1 seconds remaining lifted New Orleans over Sacramento. Lonzo Ball had 24 points with 10 assists and Redick scored 18 as the Pelicans won for the fifth time in six games. Nemanja Bjelica converted a four-point play for Sacramento with 4.2 seconds left to tie it at 115. Harrison Barnes scored 30 points to lead the Kings, and Buddy Hield added 24......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 5th, 2020

New York Giants interview former Packers coach Mike McCarthy

By Tom Canavan, Associated Press EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — Mike McCarthy, who won a Super Bowl with the Green Bay Packers and led them to nine playoff appearances in 13 seasons, has interviewed for the head coaching job with the New York Giants. The 56-year-old McCarthy met with Giants co-owner John Mara, general manager Dave Gettleman and vice president of football operations Kevin Abrams on Friday. The search committee had met with Kris Richard, the Dallas’ Cowboys’ defensive passing game coordinator and secondary coach, on Thursday. The Giants are expected to meet with Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy and Ravens defensive coordinator Don Martindale on Saturday as they move to find a successor to Pat Shurmur, who was fired on Monday after winning nine games in two seasons. McCarthy has also met with the Cleveland Browns about their coaching vacancy. McCarthy coached the Packers for 12-plus seasons (2006-2018). He posted a 135-85-2 mark, with the win total being the second highest in the franchise's history. The team made the playoffs in eight straight seasons (2009-16), which is tied for the third-longest streak in NFL history. McCarthy is one of just four coaches to lead a single franchise to eight or more consecutive postseason appearances, joining New England's Bill Belichick and Pro Football Hall of Famers Tom Landry and Chuck Noll. Green Bay won the Super Bowl in 2010 as the No. 6 seed in the NFC. The Packers haven't been to the Super Bowl since, and McCarthy was criticized during his Green Bay tenure for not getting more out of a team led by quarterback Aaron Rodgers, and for an offense that grew stale. The Giants handed McCarthy one of his toughest losses, beating the Packers in a divisional-round game after the team went 15-1 in the regular season. McCarthy has a proven record with quarterbacks, having worked with Brett Favre and Rodgers. The Giants need someone to develop Daniel Jones in his second season. The Giants went 4-12 this past season. When McCarthy took over the Packers in 2006, they were coming off a 4-12 season. They improved to 8-8 in his first season and 13-3 the following year, when he won the first of six division titles. McCarthy entered the NFL in 1993 as the Kansas City Chiefs’ offensive assistant/quality control coach and held that same position in New Orleans from 2000-04. Two years later, he started four-season stint as the Chiefs’ quarterbacks coach. McCarthy moved to Green Bay as the quarterbacks coach in 1999. He was the offensive coordinator for the Saints from 2000-04 and the San Francisco 49ers in 2005......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 4th, 2020

San Francisco roars back into playoffs as NFC s top seed

By Arnie Stapleton, Associated Press For the first time since 1997, the San Francisco 49ers are the top seed in the NFC playoffs, a stunning turnaround for a team that owned the second overall pick in the NFL draft just nine months ago. After four straight losing campaigns, including only 10 wins in coach Kyle Shanahan's first two seasons, the 49ers went from 4-12 to 13-3 this season. They emerged as the top team in the NFC thanks a big-play offense and a vastly improved defense sparked by Nick Bosa, whom they chose with that No. 2 draft pick. They earned the top seed with a thrilling finale at Seattle when rookie linebacker Dre Greenlaw made a stop inches from the goal line, earning his team a week off and up to two home games in the 49ers' quest to reach the Super Bowl for the first time in seven years. "It feels good to get where we're at," Shanahan said. "Our goal was to get in the playoffs, it feels much better with being the one seed. By now everyone knows there is only one team that is happy at the end of year." The Green Bay Packers secured the other first-round bye. The Seahawks visit the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday and the Minnesota Vikings visit the New Orleans Saints in the other NFC wild-card game. 1. SAN FRANCISCO 49ers (13-3). AP Pro32 Ranking: No. 3. Last Lombardi: Super Bowl 29, 49-26 over San Diego Chargers on Jan. 29, 1995. Last year: 4-12. First trip to NFC playoffs since 2013. YEA: The 49ers have won different ways with the defense dominating early and the offense playing better late. The returns of edge rusher Dee Ford and S Jaquiski Tartt should help the defense return to its early season form. If QB Jimmy Garoppolo and the offense can maintain its play from the second half when the team ranked second in plays of at least 20 yards, the Niners should be tough to beat. NAY: The Niners will still be missing at least one key defensive piece at the start of the playoffs in LB Kwon Alexander and several depth pass rushers also are out for the year. That could limit the improvement on defense and there is little playoff experience on offense with WR Emmanuel Sanders the only key skill position player who has been in the postseason. Garoppolo has improved the past few weeks but still has a propensity for turnovers, which could prove costly. SAY: "We knew going into the year we had a chance to be pretty good with what we had on paper and watching the guys throughout training camp. We knew that pretty well after the first five games, we could feel it. Then you go through a number of injuries and stuff and you never know how you're going to be able to fully handle that. That's what I have been impressed the most with the guys, no one has wavered." — Shanahan. 2. GREEN BAY PACKERS (13-3). AP Pro32 Ranking: No. 5. Last Lombardi: Super Bowl 45, 31-25 over Pittsburgh Steelers on Feb. 6, 2011. Last year: 6-9-1. First trip to NFC playoffs since 2016. YEA: RB Aaron Jones is the team MVP. The third-year pro is Green Bay's first 1,000-yard rusher since Eddie Lacy in 2014 and his 19 total touchdowns (16 rushing, three receiving) tied Carolina's Christian McCaffrey for the league high. In the Packers' three losses this season, Jones averaged fewer than 42 scrimmage yards. If first-year coach Matt LaFleur gets Jones the ball early and often and QB Aaron Rodgers can add in a splash of his old magic, Green Bay could find itself in Miami in February. NAY: Though Rodgers has had flashes of his old greatness, the 36-year-old two-time MVP has played far below his soaring standards. Rodgers had a passer rating of less than 80.0 in each of his last three starts and had a career-high 16 overthrows against Detroit in the regular-season finale. If the Packers are going to win another Super Bowl, they're going to need the Rodgers of old, not the old Rodgers. SAY: "We haven't always made it easy and we haven't always made it pretty, but for the most part, we've found a way to win every game. You have to say a lot about the resiliency of this team, because we've gotten ourselves into a lot of different scenarios, but we always believe we can go out there and put up a bunch of points in a hurry." -- WR Davante Adams 3. NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (13-3). AP Pro32 Ranking: No. 2. Last Lombardi: Super Bowl 44, beat Indianapolis 31-17 on Feb. 7, 2010. Last year: No. 1 seed, beat Philadelphia Eagles 20-14 at home in divisional round, lost to Los Angeles Rams 26-23 (OT) in NFC championship at home. Third consecutive trip to NFC playoffs. YEA: QB Drew Brees, who'll turn 41 on Jan. 15, has been in vintage form lately with a big assist from the NFL's top WR Michael Thomas. Brees has passed for 1,188 yards and 15 TDs in the past four games, evidence of his strong comeback from a thumb surgery that sidelined him five games. Thomas racked up a single-season record 149 catches for 1,725 yards and nine TDs. The Saints' eight turnovers are an NFL record low for a season. New Orleans had 51 sacks, third most in the NFL and ranked fourth against the run. NAY: While the Saints don't have many weaknesses, they can be their own worst enemy. Their 120 penalties for 1,036 yards ranked sixth worst in the NFL in both categories and their minus-323 net penalty yards ranked second worst. New Orleans' secondary has been beset with late-season injuries. Both starting safeties and a starting cornerback did not play in Week 17. SAY: "Down the stretch here I think we've been an ascending team. We've been playing a little bit better each and every week, despite the fact that we have had some guys go down." — Brees 4. PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (9-7). AP Pro32 Ranking: No. 11. Last Lombardi: Super Bowl 52, 41-33 over New England Patriots, Feb. 4, 2018. Last year: No. 6 seed, beat Chicago Bears 16-15 in wild-card game on road, lost to New Orleans Saints 20-14 in divisional round on road. Third consecutive trip to NFC playoffs. YEA: The Eagles are hungry and Carson Wentz is determined to do what Nick Foles did in his absence two years ago — win a Super Bowl. If Wentz continues playing at the MVP level he displayed in December, the Eagles are dangerous. They have a strong rushing attack that can control the clock and an experienced defense that shuts down the run and forces teams to be one-dimensional. NAY: Seattle beat the Eagles in Philadelphia 17-9 on Nov. 24. Russell Wilson is 4-0 against Philly. The Eagles have been riddled by injuries and finished the regular season without seven starters on offense. Three of those players could return to face the Seahawks but it's likely two will be game-time decisions. SAY: "In the last couple games, (Wentz) has really put this team on his back and said, 'Hey, follow me.' And I think that's a sign of growth, a sign of maturity. I spent eight years in Green Bay with Brett Favre, and that's what Brett did. Brett just put the team on his back when the chips were against us and just said, 'Follow me.' And that's what Carson can do." — Coach Doug Pederson. 5. SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (11-5). AP Pro32 Ranking: No. 6. Last Lombardi: Super Bowl 48, 43-8 over Denver Broncos on Feb. 2, 2014. Last year: No. 5 seed, lost to Dallas Cowboys 24-22 in wild-card game on road. Second consecutive trip to NFC playoffs. YEA: Unlike years past, if the Seahawks are going to make a deep playoff run, it's going to be because of QB Russell Wilson. He's coming off the second-best season in terms of passing yards, completion percentage and a career-low five interceptions. Wilson's never been asked to carry Seattle in the playoffs but if he can rediscover the success from when he was in the MVP conversation with Lamar Jackson, Seattle has enough other parts to make some noise. NAY: Injuries have stacked up for Seattle. The Seahawks lost their top three running backs, a starting edge rusher, tight end and center to season-ending injuries. Jadeveon Clowney is playing through a painful core muscle injury. Bobby Wagner has a bad ankle as does safety Quandre Diggs. Left tackle Duane Brown underwent knee surgery after Week 16. Eventually the lack of some key stars is likely to catch up with Seattle. SAY: "We have everything we want in the locker room. We have everything that we could need. We have everything that it takes. So it's been a tremendous season. It's been a battle so far. It's been a long one, but it's been a great one so far. The good thing is it's a refresh button, you get to hit the refresh button, start over, 0-0, see how far we can go." — Wilson. 6. MINNESOTA VIKINGS (10-6). AP Pro32 Ranking: No. 8. No Lombardis. Last year: 8-7-1. First trip to NFC playoffs since 2017. YEA: The Vikings have an experienced, accomplished defense that can pose problems for elite QBs and clever play-callers on the other side. The Vikings were sixth in the NFL with an average of 18.9 points allowed and fourth with 31 takeaways. Their play-action passing attack with Pro Bowl RB Dalvin Cook poses a dual threat and QB Kirk Cousins throwing deep to WR Stefon Diggs, can be awfully dangerous, too. NAY: The downside on defense is the erosion of the pass coverage. After ranking in the top three in passing yards allowed in the league in each of the past three years, the Vikings dropped to 15th in 2019. They also fell to 19th in the NFL in third down conversions allowed after leading the league in 2017 and 18. The offense carries its own reasons to doubt a playoff run, with Cousins never having won a postseason game in the NFL and a recent dud at home against division rival Green Bay. SAY: "I know it's been done before. Why not us?" — coach Mike Zimmer on the prospect of winning three road games to reach the Super Bowl. ___ AP Pro Football Writers Josh Dubow, Rob Maaddi and Dave Campbell and AP Sports Writers Tim Booth, Brett Martel and Keith Jenkins contributed to this report......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 2nd, 2020

Antetokounmpo scores 32, Bucks hold off Wolves 106-104

By Andrew Wagner, Associated Press MILWAUKEE (AP) — Giannis Antetokounmpo had 32 points and 17 rebounds, and the Milwaukee Bucks held off a strong challenge from short-handed Minnesota in a 106-104 victory over the Timberwolves on Wednesday night (Thursday, PHL time). Antetokounmpo got his 30th double-double in 33 games this season and Khris Middleton added 13 points despite shooting 5 for 18 as Milwaukee hit just 42.6% of its shots overall and only 9 of 36 from 3-point range. Shabazz Napier had 22 points to lead Minnesota, and Gorgui Deng scored 15, Josh Okogie added 12 and Jarrett Culver 10. Napier, starting in place of injured point guard Jeff Teague, scored 15 points on 5-of-7 shooting in the first half, but then had just seven after the break. Milwaukee, which has the league's best record, slumped out of the gate. The Bucks had just four points through the first six minutes and didn't take a lead until Brook Lopez converted a three-point play to make it 31-29 with 8:41 left in the second quarter. They went into halftime with a 52-51 lead despite shooting 34% from the floor. Minnesota connected at a 41.7% clip but made only 3 of 14 3-pointers while the Bucks knocked down 8 of 26 from beyond the arc. A 15-6 run capped off by Antetokounmpo’s 3 out of halftime put the Bucks ahead by 10 and they took a 77-71 lead into the fourth. Culver's driving dunk over Lopez got the Timberwolves within a basket with 9:38 to play but he was called for a technical foul on the play that ultimately set up Kyle Korver’s 3 to put the Bucks back up by six, 87-81 with 8:45 remaining. Minnesota responded with five straight points to pull within one but Antetokounmpo's driving layup and Middleton’s 3 snuffed out the rally. The Timberwolves mounted one last challenge in the closing minute as Dieng hit the first of two free throws to make it 1006-104 with 46.2 seconds left. Robert Covington grabbed Pat Connaughton's missed layup, giving Minnesota the ball with 21 seconds left but after the Timberwolves used their last timeout, Dieng missed a 19-footer with 3 seconds remaining. TIP-INS Timberwolves: Karl-Anthony Towns worked out before the game with a sleeve on his injured left leg but did not play. ... In addition to Teague (sprained right knee), Minnesota was also without Treveon Graham (flu) and Noah Vonleh (bruised left glute). Bucks: SG Wesley Matthews sat out for a second straight game because of a bruised right thigh but Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said he expected Matthews to be fine and available possibly as early as this weekend. UP NEXT Timberwolves: Return home to face Golden State on Thursday night (Friday, PHL time). Bucks: Host San Antonio on Saturday night (Sunday, PHL time) before heading out on a four-game West Coast swing next week......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 2nd, 2020

The King reigns: LeBron James is AP’s male athlete of decade

By Tim Reynolds, Associated Press He left Cleveland for Miami, finally became a champion, went back to his beloved northeast Ohio, delivered on another title promise, then left for the Los Angeles Lakers and the next challenge. He played in eight straight finals. No NBA player won more games or more MVP awards over the last 10 years than he did. He started a school. He married his high school sweetheart. “That’s all?” LeBron James asked, feigning disbelief. No, that’s not all. Those were just some highlights of the last 10 years. There were many more, as the man called “King” spent the last decade reigning over all others — with no signs of slowing down. James is The Associated Press male athlete of the decade, adding his name to a list that includes Tiger Woods, Wayne Gretzky and Arnold Palmer. He was a runaway winner in a vote of AP member sports editors and AP beat writers, easily outpacing runner-up Tom Brady of the New England Patriots. “You add another 10 years of learning and adversity, pitfalls, good, great, bad, and any smart person who wants to grow will learn from all those experiences,” James, who turns 35 Monday, told the AP. “A decade ago, I just turned 25. I’m about to be 35 and I’m just in a better (place) in my life and have a better understanding of what I want to get out of life.” Usain Bolt of Jamaica was third for dominating the sprints at the 2012 and 2016 Olympics, soccer superstar Lionel Messi was fourth and Michael Phelps — the U.S. swimmer who retired as history’s most decorated Olympian with 28 medals, 23 gold — was fifth. James was revealed as the winner Sunday, one day after Serena Williams was announced as the AP’s female athlete of the decade. In his 17th season, he’s on pace to lead the league in assists for the first time while remaining among the NBA’s scoring leaders. “When LeBron James is involved,” Denver coach Michael Malone said, “I’m never surprised.” Including playoffs, no one in the NBA scored more points than James in the last 10 years. He started the decade 124th on the league’s all-time scoring list. He’s now about to pass Kobe Bryant for No. 3. No. 2 Karl Malone and No. 1 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar are within reach. Is Abdul-Jabbar in his sights? Is catching him the new decade’s goal? “I would be lying if I said I don’t see it,” James said. “Obviously I’m not trying to say, ‘OK, well if I play this amount of time, if I average this’ ... I’m not doing that because I’ve never done that with my career. I’ve always just kind of let it happen. Whatever happens, happens. But I see it. I do see it.” His work ethic, even now, makes even those closest to him marvel. Here’s a typical day this past summer for James, who remains obsessed with working even though fame and fortune found him long ago: He’d wake up at 3 a.m. and be at the Warner Bros. lot by 3:45 — where a weight room and court, built just for him, were waiting. He’d be lifting by 4 a.m., getting shots up by 5:30 and be ready to start another day of shooting the remake of “Space Jam” that he has been planning for years by 7 a.m. “That’s who he is,” said Mike Mancias, one of the longest-tenured and most trusted members of James’ inner circle, tasked for more than 15 years with keeping James fit. “He does whatever it takes when it comes to fulfilling his commitments to everything — especially his game and his craft.” The 2010s for James started with “The Decision,” the widely criticized televised announcement of his choice to leave Cleveland for Miami. (Lost in the hubbub: The show raised more than $2.5 million for charity.) He was with the Heat for four years, went to the NBA Finals all four times with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, finally won the title in 2012 — “it’s about damn time,” he said at the trophy celebration — and led the way in a Game 7 win over San Antonio to go back-to-back the following year. “He grew immensely here as a leader,” Miami coach Erik Spoelstra said. “He impacted winning as much as with his leadership as he did with his talent. I think that was the most important thing he learned with us. And he’s been able to take that to different franchises and continue using that as a template.” Cleveland was devastated when he left. It forgave him. James returned home in 2014, took Cleveland to four consecutive finals, then led the Cavaliers to the 2016 title and came up with one of the biggest plays of his life by pulling off a chase-down block of Golden State’s Andre Iguodala in the final seconds of Game 7 of that series. And in 2018, he was off to LA. Going Hollywood made so much sense — he’s making movies, has a production company, has a program called “The Shop” as part of his ‘Uninterrupted’ platform featuring an array of guests from Drake to California Gov. Gavin Newsom, who signed a bill on the show that will allow college athletes to get paid for the use of their likeness and sign endorsement deals. “There’s a lot of moments from this decade that would be up there, winning the two Miami championships, winning a championship in Cleveland, the chase-down block,” James said. “But the best moment? Definitely marrying Savannah. That would be No. 1.” James and longtime partner Savannah Brinson got married six years ago. They already had two sons — both are very good basketball players already — and added a daughter in 2014. James also spent most of the last decade as a lightning rod for critics. He used his voice often on social matters, speaking out after the killing of unarmed Florida teenager Trayvon Martin and campaigning for Hillary Clinton. He supported Colin Kaepernick’s methods of protesting police brutality and racial injustice. Most recently, he was criticized by many — including top U.S. lawmakers — for his remarks after Houston general manager Daryl Morey sparked a massive rift between the NBA and China by sending out a tweet supporting pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong. “I don’t live in regret,” James said. “There’s no moment in this last decade that I wish I could have back. If a situation was bad or you feel like you could have done better, then I learned from it.” He doesn’t know how much longer he’ll play. He laments missing time with his children. His “I Promise” school that opened in 2018 in his hometown of Akron, Ohio, has been an immediate success story, and he wants to see that enterprise continue growing. Some love him. Some don’t. He doesn’t mind. “When you believe in your calling or you believe in yourself, then it doesn’t matter what other people say or how other people feel,” James said. “And if you allow that to stop you or deter you from your mission, then you don’t get anywhere.” And in the 2010s, nothing deterred James......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 30th, 2019

Runaway leader Liverpool already has soundtrack of champions

By Rob Harris, Associated Press LONDON (AP) — Liverpool fans ended 2019 by chanting “Champions of the world” for the first time at Anfield. “Champions of England" will surely be sung by the Kop in 2020. Sadio Mane ensured Liverpool reached the halfway point with a 13-point lead — with a game in hand — that seems unassailable after clinching a 1-0 victory over Wolverhampton on Sunday. And all Wolverhampton fans could forlornly chant was: “Is this football anymore?" That reflected more frustration with the application of VAR in the technology's first Premier League campaign, of course. Even if the calls were ultimately correct by on-field referee Anthony Taylor. Mane's goal was initially ruled out by Taylor for handball but it was actually helped on by teammate Adam Lallana's shoulder. There was a handball by Liverpool defender Virgil Van Dijk in the buildup but that didn't appear to be factored into the decision. “I just heard there was complaints of handball, I thought it was for Adam," Van Dijk said. "What can we do? They made a decision and the goal stood.” The naked eye would have struggled to see a reason to deny Pedro Neto an equalizer but once the hazy footage had lines inserted over it, offside was the decision from VAR HQ in London. “VAR is killing us," Wolves captain Conor Coady said. “It is constantly against us. I don't know where we are going wrong. It is affecting games. No one likes it.” Liverpool has built a lead more than double the six-point advantage surrendered at this point last season before being overhauled by Manchester City. Pep Guardiola's side is certainly less of a threat this season, still 14 points back after beating Sheffield United 2-0 on Sunday night. Leicester is a point better off to sit as Liverpool's closest but very distant challenger. The cushion looks unassailable for a club that has endured three decades of anguish and near-misses since last winning the English championship in 1990 - three years before the new Premier League trophy was handed out for the first time. Liverpool certainly has the winning habit, bringing the Club World Cup back from Qatar last weekend to join the European titles — the Champions League and Super Cup — collected earlier in 2019. CHELSEA FIGHTS BACK Chelsea was the other English side to lift a European trophy this year, and there was a rematch of the Europa League final at Arsenal on Sunday with a very different complexion. Both teams have brought in former players as managers and neither club is in title contention. In his first home game in charge, Mikel Arteta's Arsenal threw away the lead to lose 2-1 to Frank Lampard's Chelsea. Arsenal goalkeeper Bernd Leno missed an attempt to punch Mason Mount's free kick clear, allowing Jorginho to net in the 83rd minute and cancel out Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's first-half opener. Jorginho had been fortunate to still be on the field after avoiding a second yellow card for pulling down Matteo Guendouzi. The winner came after Chelsea launched a counterattack from the edge of its own penalty area, with Tammy Abraham then allowed to race through unchallenged and playing a one-two with Willian before putting the ball through Leno's legs from close range. It leaves Arteta with a point from his first two games since being hired as Unai Emery's full-time successor. But the problems are more deep-set with Arsenal losing four consecutive games in all competitions at home for the first time in 60 years, a spell that covers Freddie Ljungberg's ill-fated interim reign. “I am really disappointed with the result and the way we conceded the goals and the timing of it as well," Arteta said. "I'm pleased with a lot of things that we've trained, and they actually happened in the game and how they are buying into this. But I am disappointed to lose the game obviously. We had to sustain that level for longer periods against a very, very physical team like Chelsea. And yes, we have to move on.” While Arsenal is 12th in the standings, Chelsea is 11 points ahead in the fourth Champions League place after Lampard's side quickly recovered from a home loss to Southampton. “I don't want to sit here and declare we're full of spirit but it's a great sign for us that we won the game, to see the difference in the second half," Lampard said. "Fight, desire. We kept pushing and controlled that second half. Our problem at home has been control. It took a mistake from them to get the goal and then we had the belief.” Lampard took no risks on Christian Pulisic, resting the American due to a slight hamstring issue that isn't a longer-term injury concern. CITY RECOVERY After a damaging 3-2 loss to Wolverhampton on Friday, City took until the second half against Sheffield United to find a breakthrough. Kevin De Bruyne was the creator, picking out Sergio Aguero for a fine finish seven minutes into the second half. De Bruyne was powerfully on target himself in the 82nd after combining with Riyad Mahrez. Sheffield United dropped to eighth over the weekend......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 30th, 2019

Pats to play in wild-card game, Chiefs get AFC s No. 2 seed

By Dennis Waszak Jr., Associated Press NEW YORK (AP) — Tom Brady and the New England Patriots will be playing in the postseason a week earlier than usual this year. The defending Super Bowl champs open the playoffs during wild-card weekend for the first time since 2009 after they lost 27-24 to Miami on Sunday and Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs beat the Los Angeles Chargers 31-21 to earn a first-round bye. “We didn’t play the way we’re capable of playing and it ended up costing us," Brady said. “Just too many bad mistakes." The Patriots (12-4) are the No. 3 overall seed in the AFC and will have to fix things in a hurry as they host Tennessee (9-7) next weekend. “We've got a game next week, we've got to get ready to go," Patriots safety Devin McCourty said. “Nobody should feel sorry for us, we shouldn't feel sorry for ourselves. Our goal is to play in the playoffs. We got a shot next week at all of that." The Titans clinched their spot by beating Houston 35-14, eliminating both Pittsburgh and Oakland in the process. All three teams had a chance at the playoffs, but Tennessee had the easiest path by needing to win — and got it against a Texans squad that rested several starters, including quarterback Deshaun Watson. “I think it’s great when you can determine whether you get to continue to play football," Titans coach Mike Vrabel said. “There was some great effort, but we’re going to have to improve and play better. Everything gets harder from here on out." The last time New England played on wild-card weekend, it lost at home to the Ravens. The Patriots have never made it to the Super Bowl with Brady and coach Bill Belichick while playing in the opening round. “We've got to move forward and get ready to go or the end of our season will be next week if we don't turn the page and play good football, way better than today,” McCourty said. “Nobody feels sorry for the Patriots not getting a first-round bye in the playoffs." Meanwhile, the Chiefs (12-4) are the No. 2 seed and will be able to watch the opening round, along with the top-seeded Baltimore Ravens (14-2). “We'll step back, the guys will come in tomorrow, we'll have a team meeting, I'll give them a schedule for what's going on the next week here during the bye week," Chiefs coach Andy Reid said. “The main thing is we get work done, but we rest up and get ready for whoever we might play.” Kansas City's victory also locked Houston into the No. 4 seed, and the Texans (10-6) will host the Buffalo Bills (10-6) next weekend. Despite resting several starters, including quarterback Lamar Jackson, running back Mark Ingram, guard Marshal Yanda and safety Earl Thomas, Baltimore cruised past Pittsburgh 28-10 to ride into the playoffs on a 12-game winning streak. “It's the best team in football in the regular season this year, but that doesn't count for anything in the next season," coach John Harbaugh said. “In the next season, we have to obviously go to work this week and become a better football team." In the NFC, Green Bay earned at least a first-round bye with a 23-20 victory at Detroit. Now, Aaron Rodgers and the Packers (13-3) will wait on the result on the San Francisco-Seattle matchup Sunday night to see if they'll have the No. 1 overall seed — and home-field advantage —- in the conference. "The NFC is wide open," Rodgers said. “I think home-field advantage can be very important.” If the 49ers win, they get it. Otherwise, it will be the Packers in the top spot. "We’re hot," Rodgers said after helping his team rally to its fifth straight win. "But you've got to start all over in the playoffs and it’s all great football teams now, so the margin of error is even smaller." New Orleans routed Carolina 42-10 to finish 13-3 in the regular season, but Drew Brees and Co. will also have to wait to see what their playoff path will be. The NFC South champions can't get home-field advantage because of Green Bay's win, but can earn a first-round bye if Seattle beats San Francisco. A win by the 49ers would push the Saints to the No. 3 seed and a home game against Minnesota (10-6) in the wild-card round next weekend. Injury-ravaged Philadelphia (9-7) won the NFC East with a 34-17 win over the New York Giants, eliminating Dallas with the victory. The Eagles, with their second division title in three years, will host the loser of the 49ers-Seahawks showdown. “This team, when it’s crunch time this time of year, we get it done,” Eagles defensive tackle Tim Jernigan said after his team finished the schedule with a four-game inni. ___ AP Pro Football Writer Rob Maaddi, and AP Sports Writers Dave Ginsburg, Kyle Hightower, Larry Lage, Kristie Rieken and Dave Skretta contributed......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 30th, 2019

EPL festive spirit in short supply amid anger over VAR calls

By Steve Douglas, Associated Press MANCHESTER, England (AP) — Festive spirit was in short supply from video assistant referees in the Premier League on Saturday as three goals were ruled out for marginal offside calls, exacerbating frustration about the technology being used for the first time in England this season. On a day when Manchester United moved up to fifth place with a 2-0 win at Burnley and West Ham fired manager Manuel Pellegrini after a 2-1 home loss to Leicester, much of the debate in stadiums and on social media centered on disgruntlement at the forensic geometry being used to call on tight offside decisions - even if the correct calls were ultimately made. “If VAR was a manager, he’d have been sacked weeks ago,” former England captain Gary Lineker tweeted to his 7.5 million followers after Norwich striker Teemu Pukki had a goal disallowed for offside that required the VAR in a room outside London to apply lines and dots on the screen to judge. That came hours after Brighton defender Dan Burn was adjudged offside by a matter of millimeters before scoring in a 2-0 win over Bournemouth, and then Wilfried Zaha had the same call against him - or rather his armpit - after he set up Max Meyer's ‘goal’ for Crystal Palace in a 1-1 draw at Southampton. “This is nonsense and it’s damaging the spectacle,” tweeted Arlo White, who calls matches for NBC in the United States. Narrow offside calls, and the microscopic way they are judged, have been the most contentious part of the VAR system brought in this season. "It's small margins but those are the rules they're using. It's the procedure that they go on so it's either it is or it isn't, so there isn't much you can say,” Palace manager Roy Hodgson said. "I was never one to be banging the drum for VAR. But if the mass media want it, and the public want it, once again you have to be mature enough to accept it.” Rotation was rife Saturday as managers juggled their resources to deal with a second game in a 48-hour span for most teams during a hectic festive period that will see another match in the middle of next week. Not for Pellegrini, though, whose 18-month spell in charge of West Ham is over. SECOND-STRING LEICESTER Second-place Leicester made nine changes for the match against West Ham - Jamie Vardy, the league’s top scorer, was one of the stars missing after his wife gave birth - but still had enough to win at the Olympic Stadium in Pellegrini's last match with the Hammers. Kelechi Iheanacho and Demarai Gray scored for Leicester, either side of an equalizer by Pablo Fornals, as the visitors moved 10 points behind Liverpool having played two games more. After the game, West Ham announced Pellegrini had been fired, with co-chairmen David Gold and David Sullivan saying “a change is required to get the club back on track in line with our ambitions this season.” West Ham is just a point and a place above the relegation zone. UNITED ON THE RISE Anthony Martial picked up his third goal in two games to help Man United to a 2-0 win at Burnley as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's team climbed to fifth, a point behind Chelsea. United profited from a defensive error by left-back Charlie Taylor as Andreas Pereira played in Martial to score in the 44th minute. The French forward also grabbed two goals in the win over Newcastle on Thursday and now has 10 goals in all competitions this season. Marcus Rashford added the second goal on the break deep into stoppage time. Chelsea plays its game in hand on United against Arsenal on Sunday. PROBLEMS FOR MOURINHO Known for coaching teams with well-organized defenses, Jose Mourinho hasn’t managed to sort out Tottenham’s error-prone back line. Mistakes led to both of Norwich’s goals at Carrow Road, with goalkeeper Paulo Gazzaniga letting a tame shot by Mario Vrancic in for the first and Serge Aurier scoring an own-goal for the second. Tottenham came from behind twice via a free kick by Christian Eriksen and a penalty by Harry Kane, and is two points behind fourth-place Chelsea having played a game more. ANCELOTTI EFFECT It’s two games and two wins for Carlo Ancelotti since taking charge of Everton. The second victory came at Newcastle, with Dominic Calvert-Lewin scoring twice as Everton won 2-1. Watford had defender Adrian Mariappa sent off in the 57th minute but still beat Aston Villa 3-0 to move within three points of escaping the relegation zone. Villa is in third-to-last place, two points ahead of Watford, with Norwich last, a further three points adrift......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 29th, 2019