Antetokounmpo scores 26, Bucks beat Raptors 122-119 in OT

Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks felt extra good about getting a rare win against the Toronto Raptors.

Antetokounmpo had 26 points and 12 rebounds, and Milwaukee snapped Toronto’s seven-game win streak with a 122-119 overtime victory Friday night.

“We haven’t beaten them in a while so the win feels a lot better, to be honest with you,” Antetokounmpo said. “They’re a great team, too.”

Jonas Valanciunas’ buzzer-beating dunk for Toronto sent the game to overtime. He finished with 10 points.

Toronto suffered its first home loss since Jan. 26 against Utah. The Raptors are an NBA-best 24-5 at home.

“It’s good to have a tough loss like this,” Lowry said. “It kind of re-focuses us. We can get beat on any given night and we’ve got to come out there and play hard every night.”

Frank Kaminsky added 23 points as the Hornets (26-33) improved to 3-0 against the Wizards this season. Charlotte jumped out to a 20-point lead in the first half and matched its season high with 17 3-pointers in its third consecutive win. Marvin Williams had 15 points and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist finished with 14.

Washington returned from the All-Star break with a rousing 110-103 win at Cleveland on Thursday, but could not keep the momentum going despite All-Star Bradley Beal scoring 33 points.

The first two head-to-head meetings took place in Charlotte, including a 133-109 rout on Jan. 17 as the Hornets set a franchise record with 77 first-half points.

Only by comparison did their first half on Friday appear unimpressive. The Hornets made nine 3-pointers on their way to a 67-55 halftime lead even though Walker was scoreless until sinking a free throw following a Beal technical with 57.8 seconds remaining in the second quarter.

Washington closed to 75-69 in the third quarter when one of Beal’s three 3-pointers capped a 9-0 run, but the rally fizzled from there. Charlotte entered the fourth quarter up 12 and held its largest lead at 122-100.bears_097-223x223

Bell received the franchise tag last year and is threatening to retire if he gets it again this time around.

Alex Shibutani and Maia Shibutani of the United States are in the third group, as are Evan Bates and Madison Chock, also of the U.S. First up for the third group is Marco Fabbri and Charlene Guignard of Italy, who have a season best of 71.78. They scored a 68.16 to move into second place, thanks to a 34.19 technical score.

Up next is Paul Poirier and Piper Gilles of Canada, who have a season best of 69.67. They finished just short of that best, with a score of 69.60, placing them in first with Andrew Poje and Kaitlyn Weaver, also from Canada, up next. They have a season best of 77.47, and scored a 74.33, to take over first place and setting up a 1-2 for Canada. The Shib sibs are up next.

Maybe it’ll come to that, but if he chooses to return, Bell will be due to receive $14.5 million — a gigantic salary for a running back. He’s more than just a runner for the Steelers, though, finishing the 2017 season with 85 receptions as well as 1,291 rushing yards. Pittsburgh can’t let him go, and Bell wants a ton of money. The tag may end up being the only option to bridge that gap once again, no matter how messy it makes things.

There are a few free agents the Titans will want to bring back, but the only real candidate to receive the franchise tag is kicker Ryan Succop. He’s spent four seasons as Tennessee’s kicker and has been relatively reliable the whole time. It’d be easier to just extend Succop, but the franchise tag isn’t expensive for kickers so it could make sense if no deal is in place by the time March rolls around.

Team president Bruce Allen has reportedly floated the idea of using the tag on Kirk Cousins to facilitate a trade. That’s a wild idea but also a risky one that could — and probably would — blow up in Washington’s face. If the team is able to recognize that, it’ll steer clear.

Still, manager Dave Roberts couldn’t ignore it in his address to the Dodgers before they went to work on a windy day in the Arizona desert.

I told them to be aware of what happened and to be resilient, Roberts said. I also told them to be focused on each day and to work at putting ourselves in the same position this season that we were in last season.

It’s pretty clear that the mood is good among the guys — 26 guys from last year’s club and 26 guys who weren’t here last year.

Roberts expressed confidence the Dodgers could get back to the World Series and perhaps win one more game for the championship that eluded them last fall. The key pieces — pitcher Clayton Kershaw, closer Kenley Jansen, shortstop Corey Seager, infielder and 2017 NL Rookie of the Year Cody Bellinger, outfielder Yasiel Puig and Turner — are back.bears_143

Kiermaier, 27, is one of Tampa Bay’s most popular players and is entering the second year of a six-year, $53.5 million contract.

He said last week that he wants to be a more vocal leader in the Rays’ clubhouse, and acknowledged Monday that he has a responsibility to get over the weekend moves.

It’s over with. It’s done. Got to move on from it, Kiermaier told the Times. We cannot sit here and dwell on it. We can sit here and feel sorry for ourselves — chatter amongst each other. But it’s over with, it happened. We still have a really good team in here, got a lot of good guys. I believe in these guys.

We lost two great players. It’s terrible. At the same time, life goes on. We still have to do what we have to do to go out there and get as many wins as possible.

A regular-season championship would be nice, but both teams (especially Belmont) know what it’s like to claim that title and get nothing from it other than an NIT bid. The big prize will be up for grabs two weeks from now in Evansville.

I think back a couple of years ago to spring training and everything was kind of overwhelming. You’re meeting so many people, trying to remember so many names, trying to fit in with the organization and [teammates]. I’d go home at the end of the day and be exhausted. Now, I feel like I belong. I feel confident, on and off the field.

Pirates manager Clint Hurdle says Taillon has already emerged as a leader.

It’s not so much his words, but his actions, Hurdle said. The way he goes about things. The way he handles himself. The work he puts in. The adversity he has overcome. Those kinds of things make the other guys take notice.

Last year, Busch won a crash-marred Daytona 500 with a car that appeared destined for the scrapheap; the Talladega playoff race featured 11 cautions where only 14 of 40 starters finished.

And yet, while luck is unquestionably intertwined into the fabric of plate races, that six guys have won the 80 percent of the plate races since 2013 is a strong counterargument why skill matters at Daytona and Talladega.bears_084

Each week, national NFL writer Mark Maske will provide his ranking of the league’s 32 teams.

This week, the Kansas City Chiefs solidify their spot at the top of the list as the NFL’s lone unbeaten team after a dramatic Monday Night Football win over the Redskins. Meanwhile, Green Bay, Pittsburgh and Denver, all 3-1 after Week 4 victories, jostle for position below.

New York started hot this season, but its lack of depth and high-end talent across the roster limited its ability to stay successful. Quarterback could be an option, but finding offensive skill players and defensive impact players makes sense for the Jets. Chubb is likely to be the first defender drafted.

The Bucs really want to find some offensive line support this offseason, and after spending big last year and having more contracts to work on offense, using the draft may be their best move. Williams wasn’t great in 2017, but he has great left tackle upside.

Fitzpatrick is not a lock to be a top-10 pick, but Chicago would be a great landing spot for him. With veterans across the Bears’ defense, Fitzpatrick can give them a young playmaker to utilize multiple ways. Historically, teams that hire offensive head coaches generally go for defense early in their first drafts.

The “Jets are in midseason form” jokes are already tired but, well, the Jets, who look to be the NFL’s worst team on paper, really to look to be in midseason form based on the first few series of Saturday’s Week 3 preseason matchup with the Giants.

Not-so-fun fact: The Giants’ offensive line gave up nine sacks in the first two preseason games.

Meanwhile, Christian Hackenberg got the start for the Jets, and while the embattled second-year quarterback appears destined for backup duty in a few weeks, it’s hard to blame him for this safety. Running back Matt Forte never had a chance, which is typically what happens to ball carriers when Jason Pierre-Paul goes unblocked.jaguars_243

It remains to be seen what other teams and players will do at this weekend’s games.

Jones wrote Thursday to Goodell seeking to have a special owners’ meeting scheduled for Nov. 28 in New York. Jones cited “a significant decline in television ratings, increased advertiser discontent, high-profile litigation concerning player suspensions, and decreasing ticket sales,” and wrote: “This is not the time for the League to undertake massive contractual obligations which are inconsistent with the League’s performance.” His request was rejected by owners on the compensation committee, according to a person close to the situation.

Young: Fiction. Both Durant and Curry have missed a chunk of games because of injuries, but unlike my current front-runner James Harden, who has missed a handful of time himself, the Warriors mostly didn’t miss a beat. It can be a strong MVP bullet point to note how your team performed with you out, and the Rockets are clearly not the same kind of team with Harden sitting, while the Warriors, obviously dominant in large part because of the excellence of Durant and Curry, can weather a superstar’s absence better than any other team.

Herring: Fact. They have enough, but that doesn’t mean they’ll fully realize that potential, or that Golden State won’t find a way to hold them down. The Rockets are damn good, but they need to be healthy to get back to what they were on defense for the first month and a half, and for everything else to go right to dethrone the champs.

There is no way of knowing where all this goes from here. But it seems clear that the goal of separating football and politics probably is not within immediate reach.

“Do we want to get back to focusing primarily on football?” Lockhart said. “You bet we do.”

Elliott case. … About those good feelings between NFL players and owners: They could end soon, with the Ezekiel Elliott case back in court Monday. A federal appeals court is to hear oral arguments on the NFL’s request for an emergency stay of the injunction that is keeping Elliott’s six-game suspension on hold. Elliott is ensured of playing Sunday for the Cowboys against the Los Angeles Rams.jaguars_084

Eason is the only starting quarterback in Super Bowl history who failed to complete a pass in the big game.

He had a miserable outing against the daunting бо85 Bears, who sacked him three times for a loss of 28 yards and caused him to fumble. He was only on the field for six offensive possessions (15 plays total), which resulted in four three-and-outs and two turnovers.

The Pats benched him midway through the second quarter for Steve Grogan, who finished the game completing 17 of 30 passes for 177 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions.

Elway had a disastrous performance in his third attempt at a Super Bowl victory. The then-future Hall of Famer’s three turnovers all led to 49ers touchdowns, and he was sacked four times for a loss of 30 yards.

Matt Forte, RB, Jets: Forte was limited in practice Thursday. He returned from a knee injury in Week 12, but failed to produce much as the New York backfield has been a frustrating committee.

DeVonta Freeman, RB, Falcons: Freeman has been fully participating in practice this week, having recovered from a concussion. Tevin Coleman has played well in his absence, plus it’s not a great matchup against a stout Minnesota defense. That said, while Freeman owners have had to fill the void the past couple weeks, they’ll be hard-pressed to do it again, given Freeman’s ability to produce.

By the time the Philadelphia Eagles next take the field, they will be three weeks removed from the last time their entire team played a competitive game. More than a month will have passed since Carson Wentz was hurt and six full weeks since the team’s offense and defense both played well in the same game. All of that inaction and mediocre play is a recipe for a slow start in the Divisional Round, a grumbling home crowd and a situation that no one in Philadelphia relishes: Nick Foles needing to come from behind to win in the playoffs.

Sunday’s shutout loss to Dallas only confirmed the worst fears of Eagles fans. Foles looked skittish again, throwing for only 39 yards (with an interception) on 11 attempts in the frigid cold. Philadelphia might be the rare No. 1 seed that is an underdog in its first playoff game, no matter which team it plays.jaguars_034

The Warriors went scoreless in the final three minutes of the game and were held to 17 points in the final quarter.

“We were trying to hit home runs all night, and we can’t do that against these guys,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “On the bright side, we know we can play a lot better and we will.”

With the defending champs down three with 2:25 left, Klay Thompson took a tough, contested and ill-advised 14-foot jumper that missed the rim altogether. Green was livid, and his frustration spilled into the timeout huddle seconds later.

While sitting on the bench, an animated Green continued voicing his displeasure with the shot selections, and Shaun Livingston stood in front of him, attempting to calm down the power forward.

Then how do I describe you? I can’t really say you’re done. Trial separation?

Young stepped up his attack to lead the Sooners’ comeback in the second half, finishing with 26 points on 7-of-9 shooting from the field, including 2-of-3 on 3-pointers, and playing all 40 minutes. He also made 10 of his 12 free throw attempts and had 9 assists, 4 rebounds and 5 turnovers.

Warner believes he became a better quarterback as he aged, much for the same reason Brady has maintained elite performance. Both men relied not on physical dominance, but intellect and accuracy. Brady keeps a famously strict and intense physical maintenance regimen, but his mind has always been his primary weapon. Warner said as long as he kept a baseline of fitness, age never bothered him physically: He believes he would have the physical capability to make throws in an NFL game today, at 46.

“But if you suffer an injury, now that’s a whole different deal,” Warner said. “Especially if it’s a nagging injury where you got to fight through. That wears on anybody mentally, especially as you get older.”jaguars_019

NFL playoff schedule 2018: Bracket, TV channels & how to live stream online

For the NFL, the transition from 2017 to 2018 marked the end of the regular season and the beginning of the postseason. With the wild-card round, divisional round and conference championships complete, the NFL playoff schedule ends Feb. 4 in Minnesota, where Super Bowl 52 will take place.

New England entered the playoffs as No. 1 seed in the AFC for the seventh time since 2003. With their win over the Jaguars in the AFC title game, the Patriots became the 29th No. 1 seed since the league adopted the 12-team playoff format to advance to the Super Bowl. In those 27 seasons, a No. 1 seed has gone on to win the Super Bowl 13 times (48.1 percent). New England will face Philadelphia, which beat Minnesota in the NFC title game.

Some travel agents in Minnesota are warning Vikes fans to be careful around Eagles fans, saying they should even consider removing their Minnesota jerseys and apparel. One admits the warnings sound like we’re almost talking about gangs.

Drew Baydala of Minneapolis’ Ticket King told CBS Philadelphia he’s warning Vikings fans to remove their colors if Minnesota wins.

If the Vikings win, yes, I would take off any sort of, like, colors, Baydala said. I know it sounds ridiculous, like we’re almost talking about gangs here, but it’s no joke down in Philly. It really isn’t.

Philadelphia sports fans are among the most enthusiastic in American sports, so supposedly heartless they once infamously booed Santa Claus at an Eagles game. Some outsiders would say that enthusiasm sometimes goes too far. Before last Saturday’s Eagles-Falcons game, a drunken Eagles fan allegedly punched a police officer’s horse, also striking the officer. jaguars_005-223x223

Eagles fans clash with police ahead of NFC championship game

Eagles fans are already living up to their reputation.

Ahead of Philadelphia’s NFC title game against the Vikings, Eagles fans began brawling, bringing a heavy police response.

It’s unclear why the fight began, but Vikings fans were not involved, according to At least six officers on horses were called to the scene.

Parker responded with 12 points, five assists and one turnover, but LaMarcus Aldridge struggled without the veteran point guard.

The Pacers stymied Aldridge offensively even without the injured Myles Turner, limiting the Spurs forward to a season-low 10 points. Aldridge finished 5 for 14 from the field.

Thaddeus (Young) did a really nice job of making LaMarcus work, McMillan said. You don’t stop those guys, but he was physical and made it tough for him to score. The rest of our guys did a good job defending and just keeping them in front.

WCVB, the ABC affiliate in Beantown, chose a 2011 photo of a Patriots-Jaguars preseason game that showed the late Aaron Hernandez diving for a loose ball.

Hernandez was convicted in April 2015 of murdering Odin Lloyd in 2013 and sentenced to life in prison without parole. He was acquitted last April of murder in the 2012 deaths of Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado in Massachusetts.

They were going to try and get me on a jet and fly me down to Louisville, which is about an hour flight (from Buffalo) if you go private, Wood told co-host David Diehl and me Wednesday on SiriusXM NFL Radio. There was a good shot that if (Garrett) would have come during the week before (the game) that I would have been able to make it in time.sabres_1105

Teddy Bridgewater contemplating not playing for the Vikings next season

Teddy Bridgewater called this season a test of my character after he was demoted from starting in the playoffs for Case Keenum, and now it appears he could be on his way out of Minnesota.

The Vikings quarterback said he’s now healthy enough to be a starter, but with Keenum and Sam Bradford still in the picture, he knows his future in Minnesota isn’t guaranteed.

That was the last time Eric Musselman’s team lost. Since then, seven straight wins to sit atop the Mountain West as its only undefeated team.

Included in the Wolfpack’s streak was a 92-83 home win against the Cowboys.

While being ranked again gives Nevada a sense of accomplishment, Musselman is trying to keep his troops focused on the Cowboys.

The only think we should be worried about is winning in Laramie, he said. Obviously it’s a great accomplishment for any mid-major to crack the Top 25, but having said that, ‘How do we figure out a way to beat the Cowboys?’ is the biggest concern.

Johnson was the Chargers’ defensive line coach from 2009-15. Wilks was on that same Chargers staff as defensive backs coach from 2009-11.

Johnson also was defensive line coach for the Raiders (2007-08) and Bears (2005-06). He spent the past two seasons out of football.

Few, if any, of the defensive coaches who previously worked under Arians are expected to remain with the Cardinals under Wilks, who was hired Monday after six years of climbing the ranks on the Panthers’ defensive staff.

Seahawks coach Pete Carroll believes Richard could benefit from a fresh start with another franchise, Rapoport was told. Richard recently interviewed for the head-coaching vacancy in Indianapolis.patriots_119_1fd6406ebb787361-180x180