Kobe scores 30,000th point...Knicks nip Bobcats
UNDATED (AP) — Kobe Bryant has become the fifth player in NBA history to score 30,000 points. He's also the youngest.
The 34-year-old Bryant needed 13 points to reach the plateau before he scored 29 in the Los Angeles Lakers' 103-87 win at New Orleans. Wilt Chamberlain was 35 when he hit the mark, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Karl Malone were each 36 and Michael Jordan was 38.
Dwight Howard added 18 points for the Lakers, who trailed by a point at halftime before a 13-0 run helped them end a two-game skid.
In other NBA action, the New York Knicks lead the NBA's Eastern Conference at 15-4 after J.R. Smith stole a pass before hitting a fall-away jumper at the buzzer to give them a 100-98 win at Charlotte. Tyson Chandler had 18 points and 17 rebounds to help the Knicks win their fourth in a row. Carmelo Anthony scored 20 of his 23 points in the first half and sat out the final 2:10 after injuring his left hand while diving for a loose ball.
San Antonio grabbed a season-high 53 rebounds and improved to 15-4 by beating Milwaukee 110-99. Tony Parker and Gary Neal each scored 22 points, and Tim Duncan provided 17 points and 10 boards.
Blake Griffin's 19 points and 13 rebounds highlighted the Los Angeles Clippers 112-90 pounding of Dallas. Jamal Crawford paced the Clippers with 20 points and Chris Paul added 14 and 13 assists as L.A. won its fourth in a row.
Josh Smith had 16 points, grabbed 13 rebounds and converted a three-point play off a steal with 31 seconds left to carry Atlanta past Denver 108-104. Al Horford led the Hawks with 25 points and 12 rebounds.
Boston beat Minnesota 104-94 behind Kevin Garnett's 18 points and 10 rebounds. Rajon Rondo (RAH'-zhahn RAHN'-doh) added 17 points and 11 assists in his first game since completing a two-game suspension for his role in a scuffle with Brooklyn last Wednesday.
Marco Belinelli scored a season-high 23 points and Luol Deng (LOO'-ul dehng) added 22 as Chicago knocked off Cleveland 99-85. The Cavaliers have lost 13 of 15 and are 2-7 since point guard Kyrie Irving broke his left index finger last month.
Utah was an 87-81 winner over Orlando behind Al Jefferson's season-high 31 points and 15 rebounds. Jefferson developed back spasms with 1:29 remaining and had to be helped off the court.
Paul George contributed 22 points and George Hill added 18 as Indiana downed Portland 99-92. David West added 16 points and 10 rebounds for the 10-9 Pacers, who took control by outscoring the Trail Blazers 31-14 in the third quarter.
Detroit's five-game home winning streak is over after Klay Thompson scored 19 of his 27 points in the third period of Golden State's 104-97 triumph over the Pistons. Stephen Curry had a double-double with 22 points and 10 assists, while David Lee added 20 points and 11 rebounds for the Warriors.
Sacramento was a 107-100 winner over Toronto as DeMarcus Cousins accounted for 25 points and 13 rebounds. Tyreke (ty-REEK') Evans scored 10 of his 23 points in the fourth quarter after missing the last two games with a bruised left knee.
Gators crush 'Noles
UNDATED (AP) — The sixth-ranked Florida Gators are 7-0 after holding an opponent under 50 points for the fifth time already this season.
Kenny Boynton and Mike Rosario each scored 14 points as the Gators clobbered Florida State 72-47. Florida led 50-19 after Boynton hit a layup with 13:56 remaining. He added another layup to give the Gators their largest lead at 62-25 with 8:57 to play.
Also in top-25 college basketball, No. 10 Gonzaga got 23 points and six rebounds from Elias Harris in a 71-69 win at Washington State, the Bulldogs' first road game. Kelly Olynyk added 22 points on 10-of-14 shooting for the 8-0 Zags.
Hugh Greenwood hit five 3-pointers and finished with 17 points as 18th-ranked New Mexico topped Southern Cal 75-67. Alex Kirk added 13 points and 13 rebounds for the Lobos, who trailed by 10 in the first half before a 15-2 run put them ahead to stay.
No. 19 Michigan State did not allow a point over the first 9:48 before completing a 76-44 rout of Arkansas-Pine Bluff. Garry Harris scored 13 points, Travis Trice had 12 and Branden Dawson added 10 for the 7-2 Spartans.
Marcus Smart scored 15 points and Markel Brown added 13 as No. 23 Oklahoma State beat South Florida 61-49
COLLEGE BASKETBALL-UTAH STATE
Utah State player remains critical
UNDATED (AP) — A Utah State basketball player who collapsed at practice and had to be revived after he stopped breathing remains in critical condition. However, the older brother of Danny Berger said in a statement that the junior forward is waking up and responding the way "doctors want him to."
A hospital spokesman said doctors still don't know what caused Berger to collapse on the court during a practice Tuesday. The spokesman and the Berger family credited Utah State's training staff with saving Berger's life. They performed CPR on Berger and used a defibrillator on him.
Hot Stove League continues
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Major League players continue to find new teams or new contracts as the winter meetings continue in Nashville.
The Los Angeles Angels have worked out contracts with a pair of pitchers. Left-hander Sean Burnett has agreed to a two-year contract with the Halos, pending a physical. The 30-year-old Burnett was 1-2 with a 2.38 ERA in 70 games this year for the Washington Nationals.
The Angels also worked out a two-year, $15 million contract with right-hander Joe Blanton, who was 10-13 with a 4.71 ERA in 191 innings for the Phillies and Dodgers last season.
A person familiar with the deal says the Chicago White Sox have reached agreement on a three-year, $12 million deal with infielder Jeff Keppinger. He hit .325 with nine homers and 40 RBIs for Tampa Bay last season
A person with knowledge of the negotiations says the Arizona Diamondbacks and infielder Eric Chavez have agreed to terms on a $3 million, one-year contract. The 34-year-old Chavez hit .281 with 16 homers in 278 at-bats for the New York Yankees, playing first and third base and at designated hitter.
The Seattle Mariners are hoping Jason Bay has anything left after he hit .165 with eight homers and 20 RBIs for the Mets last season. A person familiar with the deal tells the AP that Bay has reached a one-year contract with the M's.
Lefty Randy Choate and the Cardinals have agreed to a three-year pact worth $7.5 million, according to a person familiar with the deal.
A person with knowledge of the negotiations says Jeff Francis has accepted a one-year deal that keeps him with Colorado.
And Mets third baseman David Wright has signed his eight-year, $139 million contract extension.
Cashner injured in hunting accident
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — San Diego Padres pitcher Andrew Cashner cut a tendon in his right thumb during a hunting accident and probably will start the season on the disabled list.
Padres general manager Josh Byrnes said Cashner was injured by a hunting partner while they were trimming a carcass and that the 26-year-old right-hander sustained a small cut and had surgery on the punctured tendon.
Larkin says keep the cheaters out of Cooperstown
NEW YORK (AP) — Hall of Famer Barry Larkin says there's no room for steroid users in Cooperstown.
The former Cincinnati Reds shortstop told The Associated Press in a phone interview Wednesday that players who cheat shouldn't receive baseball's highest individual honor.
Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Sammy Sosa are all up for selection for the first time, and all three have been linked to performance-enhancing drugs.
NFL-CHIEFS PLAYER SHOOTING/MEMORIAL
Chiefs players attend service for teammate
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Several players for the Kansas City Chiefs have attended a memorial service for teammate Jovan Belcher, who killed his girlfriend and then fatally shot himself in the head this past weekend. Retired Chiefs Hall of Famer Bobby Bell said after the private hour-long service that general manager Scott Pioli (pee-OHL'-ee), who witnessed Belcher's suicide, spoke during the service. He says an uncle of Belcher also spoke. The service was held at a church that Belcher and his girlfriend attended. Several other Chiefs players declined comment after the service.
Roethlisberger on the mend...Suggs optimistic...Lewis returns...Sanchez in, Lindley out
UNDATED (AP) — Pittsburgh's Ben Roethlisberger (RAWTH'-lihs-bur-gur) appears on track to return this weekend against San Diego.
Coach Mike Tomlin was encouraged by Roethlisberger's performance as he worked out on a limited basis on Wednesday. Tomlin called it a "positive" day for his franchise quarterback but isn't quite ready to say Roethlisberger is ready to start against the reeling Chargers.
Roethlisberger hasn't played since spraining his right shoulder and dislocating a rib in a 16-13 overtime win over Kansas City on Nov. 12.
Also in the NFL, Baltimore Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs says he doesn't intend to let a torn biceps keep him out of Sunday's game against Washington. Suggs says he has to see how it holds up throughout the week and it will be a game-time decision.
The injury happened in the fourth quarter of a 23-20 loss to Pittsburgh last Sunday.
Meanwhile, Ray Lewis returned to practice Wednesday as he makes his way back from a torn right triceps. The 37-year-old linebacker was hurt Oct. 14 against Dallas and placed on injured reserve, designated for return.
Rex Ryan is sticking with Mark Sanchez as the New York Jets' starting quarterback. Sanchez was pulled late in the third quarter, and Greg McElroy came in and led the Jets to the only touchdown of the game on his first NFL drive in a 7-6 victory.
Arizona's John Skelton will be back at starting quarterback when the Cardinals play the Seahawks Sunday in Seattle. Coach Ken Whisenhunt says his decision to replace rookie Ryan Lindley was based on several factors, including the environment the Cardinals will face in Seattle.
The Minnesota Vikings have placed ailing wide receiver Percy Harvin on injured reserve. The move was announced Wednesday afternoon, after Harvin missed another practice because of severely sprained left ankle that has kept him out of the last three games.
The NFL says Seattle cornerback Brandon Browner has dropped the appeal of his suspension for using performance-enhancing substances and will miss the final four games of the regular season. Browner will be eligible to rejoin the team on Dec. 31 and will be able to play in the postseason should the Seahawks make the playoffs.
Negotiators back at it
NEW YORK (AP) — NHL labor talks resumed Wednesday and stretched into Thursday morning as the two sides try to end a lockout that's into its 82nd day. Very little information leaked out of the meeting room, but it is believed that each side submitted proposals to the other and spent lots of time apart discussing what was offered. The union and management confirmed negotiations would continue later Thursday.
No Indy 500 for Stewart
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Tony Stewart has passed up a chance to race for Roger Penske in the Indianapolis 500.
The three-time NASCAR champion says he wouldn't attempt to race in both the Indy 500 and NASCAR's Coca-Cola 600 on the same day next year, something he's done twice.
Penske extended the invitation last week in Las Vegas while accepting the Sprint Cup trophy.
Boilermakers name new coach
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) — Purdue's gain is Kent State's loss. The Big Ten school has announced the hiring of Darrell Hazell as its new football coach. He was recently named the coach of the year in the Mid-American Conference after leading Kent State to its first winning season since 2001, first bowl appearance in more than four decades and the brink of a BCS bowl game. This year, Hazell's squad went 11-2 overall and 8-0 to win the MAC East.
Cal picks Dykes
BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) — California has a new head football coach after hiring Louisiana Tech coach Sonny Dykes to replace Jeff Tedford.
Dykes had a 22-15 record with the Bulldogs, averaging 35.9 points and 452.5 yards per game in his tenure. He takes over a Cal team that went 3-9 this past season and missed a bowl for the second time in three years.
Eifert and Clowney honored
UNDATED (AP) — Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o (MAN'-ty TAY'-oh) continues to rack up postseason hardware. The Heisman Trophy finalist has won the Lombardi Award on Wednesday as college football's best lineman or linebacker.
Te'o had 103 tackles and seven interceptions this year to help the undefeated Fighting Irish reach the BCS championship game against Alabama.
Notre Dame's Tyler Eifert (EYE'-furt) has won the John Mackey Award that goes to college football's best tight end.
And South Carolina's Jadeveon Clowney has won the 2012 Ted Hendricks Award, becoming the first sophomore chosen as the nation's top defensive end.
Armstrong keeps Olympic medal, for now
LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) — The International Olympic Committee has stripped medals from four athletes caught doping at the 2004 Athens Olympics, including one gold medalist. It postponed a decision on whether to revoke Lance Armstrong's bronze from the 2000 Sydney Games.
The IOC disqualified the four athletes whose Athens doping samples were retested earlier this year and came back positive.