Pacers, Spurs continue torrid starts
UNDATED (AP) — The Indiana Pacers and San Antonio Spurs continue to share the NBA's best record. The Pacers improved to 11-1 by erasing an eight-point, halftime lead, and the Spurs picked up their ninth straight win despite blowing a 14-point lead in the second half.
Paul George scored 27 points as the Pacers beat the Celtics 97-82. Indiana took control by outscoring the Celts 25-8 in the third quarter to take a 67-58 lead.
David West and Luis Scola (SKOH'-lah) each added 17 points as the Pacers beat the Celtics for the first time in five tries.
The Spurs extended the best start in team history by closing on a 23-8 run to beat Memphis 102-86. Tony Parker scored 20 points, Tiago (tee-AH'-goh) Splitter added 17 and the Spurs received another 45 from their bench.
It was a costly loss for the Grizzlies, who played the second half without Marc Gasol (gah-SAHL') because of a sprained left knee. Gasol is expected to have an MRI on Saturday.
Just behind the Pacers and Spurs is Portland, which also picked up its ninth straight win by beating Chicago 98-95. Wesley Matthews had a game-high 28 points, including the go-ahead jumper with 1:37 remaining. Damian Lillard finished with 20 points and Robin Lopez had 13 points and 16 rebounds for the 11-2 Trail Blazers.
In other NBA finals:
— Minnesota blew out Brooklyn 111-81 as Kevin Lowe delivered 17 points and 16 rebounds. Kevin Martin also had 17 points in helping the Timberwolves deal the Nets their seventh loss in eight games.
— Monta (MAHN'-tay) Ellis scored 26 points and Dallas led by as many as 28 in the first half of a 103-93 loss agains struggling Utah. The Mavericks are 7-0 at home for the first time in 10 years after dropping the Jazz to a league-worst 1-13.
— Spencer Hawes contributed 11 of his 25 points in the final two minutes of regulation and overtime to lead the Philadelphia 76ers past Milwaukee 115-107. Evan Turner had a team-high 27 points for the 76ers, who trailed 98-88 with 2:10 left in regulation before end a four-game skid.
— Phoenix also halted a four-game losing streak as Channing Frye scored 20 points in a 98-91 triumph at Charlotte. P.J. Tucker shot 6-for-6 in adding 17 points, and Goran Dragic (DRAH'-gihch) added 14 points and eight assists.
— Pau Gasol (pow gah-SAHL') had 24 points and 10 rebounds in the Los Angeles Lakers' 102-95 downing of Golden State. Nick Young contributed 21 points to the Lakers' second straight win.
— Jeff Teague scored 14 of his 18 points in the third quarter of Atlanta's 96-89 decision over Detroit. Former Hawk Josh Smith was left out of the starting lineup for the first time this season and was scoreless in 20 minutes.
— DeMar DeRozan and Rudy Gay each scored 17 points Toronto beat Washington 96-88. The Wizards ended a two-game winning streak despite John Wall's season-high 37 points.
— Anthony Davis and Jrue Holiday each had double doubles and New Orleans clawed back from a 12-point deficit in the final five minutes to beat Cleveland 104-100. David finished with 17 points and 13 rebounds, while Holiday chipped in 15 points and 11 assists for the Pelicans.
NEW YORK (AP) — The NBA has fined Knicks coach Mike Woodson $25,000 for public criticism of officials. Woodson said during a radio interview Thursday that the Knicks' Carmelo Anthony doesn't get the same calls as other superstars. He also complained that referee Dan Crawford "blew" a call during a loss to the Pistons.
NFL suspended official
ASHBURN, Va. (AP) — The NFL has suspended umpire Ron Ellison for one game without pay for making "a profane and derogatory statement" to Washington Redskins left tackle Trent Williams.
Williams said he was called vulgar names by Ellison during a drive in the second quarter of Sunday's loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.
But John Wooten, chairman of the Fritz Pollard Alliance, said his organization spoke to game officials who said that Ellison was responding after Williams directed the N-word at Ellison. Both Williams and Ellison are African-American.
The NFL Referees Association calls the suspension a rush to judgment without hearing Ellison's side of the story. It plans to file a grievance on behalf of Ellison.
GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers will not play against Minnesota on Sunday after hinting earlier in the week there might be a chance. Rodgers needed to be on the field at practice Friday, but he is not yet recovered from a broken collarbone and was ruled out for the game. He has missed the past two games.
Third-year pro Scott Tolzien (tohl-ZEEN') is expected to make his second straight start in Rodgers' place.
Report: Incognito meets with investigator
DAVIE, Fla. (AP) — Multiple media outlets are reporting that suspended Miami Dolphins guard Richie Incognito has met with NFL special investigator Ted Wells for a second consecutive day to discuss the team's bullying scandal.
WTVJ-TV in South Florida videotaped Incognito, the team's security chief and three others arriving at the Dolphins' complex for the meeting on Friday. Incognito agreed Thursday to postpone his grievance hearing challenging the suspension until Wells completes his investigation.
Spartans dump Hokies...Lobos fall to UMass...Michigan escapes
UNDATED (AP) — Top-ranked Michigan State has played itself into the Coaches vs. Cancer title game at Brooklyn's Barclay Center.
Adreian Payne poured in a career-high 29 points and had 10 rebounds as the Spartans downed Virginia Tech 96-77. Keith Appling finished with 13 points and seven assists, while Gary Harris added 19 points despite shooting 2 for 12 from three-point range.
The 5-0 Spartans will play Oklahoma in Saturday's championship game.
In other top-25 action:
— Andrew Wiggins scored 16 points and second-ranked Kansas jumped out to a 49-16 lead en route to an 88-58 rout of Towson in the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament. Andrew White III had 13 points for the 4-0 Jayhawks.
— No. 10 VCU bounced back from Thursday's loss to Florida State by outlasting Long Beach State 73-67 in the Puerto Rico Tip-Off. Rob Brandenberg had 19 points and helped the Rams come back from an eight-point deficit in the second half.
— No. 14 Michigan fell behind by 16 in the second half before pulling out an 82-80 overtime win against Florida State in the Puerto Rico Tip-Off. Nike Stauskas scored seven of his 26 points in the extra session, Derrick Walton Jr. finished with 15 points and Mitch McGary added 14 and 12 rebounds.
— Shabazz Napier scored 11 of his 27 points over the final seven minutes to lift No. 18 Connecticut past Indiana 59-58 in the championship game of the 2K Sports Classic. Napier capped the scoring by hitting a driving basket with 1:34 left.
— Chaz Williams scored 19 points and Raphiael Puntey added 18 as 5-0 Massachusetts ran past 19th-ranked New Mexico 81-65 to reach the Charleston Classic championship. Cady Lalanne had his third double-double of the season for the Minutemen, finishing with 16 points and 14 rebounds.
— No. 22 UCLA was an 81-70 winner over Morehead State behind Jordan Adams' 30 points and seven rebounds. Kyle Anderson had a triple-double of 13 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists.
Crosby's late goal lifts Pens
UNDATED (AP) — The Pittsburgh Penguins have avenged a home loss suffered against the New York Islanders one month ago.
Sidney Crosby scored with just 1:16 remaining to give the Pens a 4-3 win over the Isles. It was his 12th goal of the season and 250th of his career, allowing the Penguins to salvage a victory after blowing a 3-1 lead in the second period.
Chris Kunitz (KOO'-nihts) had two goals and an assist as Pittsburgh win its third straight since dropping four of five.
Also on ice:
— Anaheim beat Tampa Bay 1-0 on Ryan Getzlaf's goal with six seconds left in overtime. Jonas Hiller stopped 31 shots in his 18th career shutout as the Ducks moved one point ahead of Chicago for the Western Conference lead.
— Montreal overcame two goals by Alex Ovechkin (oh-VEHCH'-kihn) in a 3-2 win over the Capitals in Washington. David Desharnais (day-ahr-NAY') and Travis Moen each notched their first goals of the season, Daniel Briere (bree-EHR') also scored and Max Pacioretty (pash-uh-RET'-ee) had two assists.
— Calgary squandered a 3-1 lead before rookie Sean Monahan scored in the sixth shootout round to push the Flames past Florida 4-3. Joe Colborne had a goal and an assist for the winners.
— The Sedin (sheh-DEEN') twins accounted for five points in Vancouver's 6-2 rout of Columbus. Henrik Sedin scored twice, Daniel Sedin had a goal and two assists and Ryan Stanton had three assists.
Avs goalie charged
DENVER (AP) — Prosecutors have filed a misdemeanor assault charge against Colorado Avalanche goalie Semyon Varlamov (var-LAH'-mawf) after his girlfriend said he attacked her last month.
Varlamov's girlfriend told investigators he attacked her on Oct. 30 in her apartment.
Busy day of transactions
UNDATED (AP) — Former World Series MVP David Freese (freez) has been traded to the Los Angeles Angels from St. Louis in a four-player deal. The Cardinals also sent reliever Fernando Salas to the Angels in exchange for outfielder Peter Bourjos and prospect Randal Grichuk.
The 30-year-old Freese set a major-league record with 21 postseason RBIs in 2011. He injured his back chasing a foul ball into the stands during spring training and was hampered by it this past season.
In other baseball news;
— Relief pitcher LaTroy Hawkins and the Colorado Rockies have finalized their $2.5 million, one-year deal. The soon-to-be 41-year-old Hawkins will compete with Rex Brothers for the closer's role at spring training. The right-handed Hawkins pitched for the New York Mets this year, going 3-2 with a 2.93 ERA and 13 saves.
— The World Champion Boston Red Sox have bolstered their pitching corps by acquiring right-hander Burke Badenhop (BAY'-dehn-hahp) from the Milwaukee Brewers for minor leaguer Luis Ortega. Badenhop was 2-3 with a 3.47 ERA in 63 relief appearances for Milwaukee this past season.
— A person familiar with the negotiations says the Mets and outfielder Chris Young have agreed to a $7.25 million, one-year contract, pending a physical. The 30-year-old Young hit .200 with 12 homers and 40 RBIs last season for Oakland. His best year was 2010, when he batted .257 for the Diamondbacks with 27 homers and 91 RBIs.
Expect delays going to games
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (AP) — Baseball fans should expect to go through a metal detector to see their favorite team play in 2014. Major League Baseball security director John Skinner says that all 30 teams are expected to screen all fans entering their ballparks next season.
Some aspects of the screening will be left to individual teams, but the commissioner's office is planning to recommend walk-through metal detectors, he said.
Serena Williams honored
PALM BEACH GARDENS, Florida (AP) — Serena Williams has been chosen WTA player of the year for the second year running and the fifth time overall. Williams enjoyed one of the greatest seasons in WTA history, winning 78 of 82 matches, the U.S. Open and French Open among 11 titles, and a record $12,385,572 in prize money.
Brown takes Pebble Beach lead
PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. (AP) — Scott Brown is the leader at the midway point of the Pebble Beach Invitational.
Brown has a one-stroke advantage over Jason Kokrak after firing a 4-under-par 68 in the second round. First-round leader Morgan Hoffman shot a 71 that included five birdies and four bogeys.
Hall of Famer Annika Sorenstam had a 71 at Del Monte en route to a 141 total.
LPGA-CME GROUP TITLEHOLDERS
Gal keeps lead
NAPLES, Fla. (AP) — Germany's Sandra Gal shot a 3-under 69 to hold onto the lead halfway through the LPGA's CME Group Titleholders tournament. Gal's 11-under total gives her a 3-shot lead over Sun Young Kim of South Korea.
IOC president wants to weed out drug cheats
ROME (AP) — New International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach is urging national Olympic committees to weed out drug cheats before their teams travel to the Winter Games in Russia next year. Speaking at the European Olympic Committees general assembly, Bach asked the national Olympic committees to speak with their national sports federations and tell them that one doping case taints the image of the Olympics. Bach says overall tests for Sochi have been increased by 40 percent over the 2010 Games in Vancouver.
Vonn won't ski next week
DENVER (AP) — Lindsey Vonn will skip the World Cup races next week in Colorado as she recovers from a downhill training crash in which she partially tore one of the reconstructed ligaments in her right knee this week. Her publicist issued a statement saying the reigning Olympic downhill champion will continue to go through therapy on her knee and is not ruling out a possible return to racing the following week. It's unclear whether Vonn's crash earlier this week will affect her Olympic aspirations.
Vern Mikkelsen dies
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Hall of Famer Vern Mikkelsen who won four NBA titles with the Minneapolis Lakers, has died. He was 85.
The Lakers say Mikkelsen died Thursday.
Mikkelsen was a six-time All-Star forward during 10 seasons with the Lakers. He was inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 1995.