Larry King continues to battle COVID-19, but he’s out of the ICU. That’s the update a source close to the family shared with NBC News about the renowned broadcaster.
Larry King continues to battle COVID-19, but he’s out of the ICU. That’s the update a source close to the family shared with NBC News about the renowned broadcaster.
The Raptors exacted their revenge with a gritty blowout win over the Miami Heat in the second of a double-header.
John Tavares scored the winner on a PP in the third frame as the Maple Leafs beat the Oilers 4-2 on Friday.
Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes was cleared Friday from the league's concussion protocol after his third consecutive day of practice.
The Nets have allowed 272 points in 2 games against the Cavs, one of the worst offenses in the NBA.
"We'll get him ready for the next one."
MLB players and other celebrities react to Hank Aaron's death at age 86.
The Texans know their latest head-coaching candidate pretty well. He was on the team's roster down the stretch in 2020.
Considered one of the best closers in the big leagues just two seasons ago, Kirby Yates is looking for a bounceback showing after an elbow injury limited his 2020 campaign to just six appearances.
Matt Patricia had a lot of success as the Patriots' defensive coordinator from 2012 to 2017.
Shaq's awkward interview with Donovan Mitchell has been criticized by many.
The 22-year-old's relationship with the Blue Jackets might be coming to an end after John Tortorella enthusiastically endorsed his benching.
There were a number of significant developments this week, both good and bad for fantasy hockey managers.
A racist country carved a piece of his heart away, but Henry 'Hank' Aaron always had plenty to spare.
WOLVERHAMPTON, England — Wolverhampton has signed Brazilian striker Willian José on loan from Spanish club Real Sociedad until the end of the season, the Premier League club said Saturday. The loan signing adds depth to the Wolves squad after forward Raúl Jiménez suffered a fractured skull against Arsenal on Nov. 29. Wolves said the deal remains subject to Willian José being granted a work permit and international clearance, and that it includes an option to buy at the end of the season. Wolves said he is unlikely to be available for the team's next game against Chelsea in the Premier League on Wednesday. Willian José has scored 62 goals in 170 games for Real Sociedad but scored only three times in 13 games in La Liga this season. He scored twice in his last game for the Spanish club in a 2-0 win over Cordoba in the Copa del Rey on Wednesday. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports The Associated Press
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Two years ago, the Kansas City Chiefs were coming off an AFC championship heartbreak against the New England Patriots that rested largely on the shoulders of their defence, which couldn't stop Tom Brady and Co. in overtime. Not enough talent? Maybe. Not enough playmakers? Absolutely. Chiefs general manager Brett Veach and coach Andy Reid knew they needed to rectify the problem or risk squandering the best years of quarterback Patrick Mahomes. So they hired Steve Spagnuolo to co-ordinate the defence, traded for elite pass rusher Frank Clark, drafted wisely and — perhaps most importantly — outbid the Texans for safety Tyrann Mathieu. The Honey Badger has made that $42 million, three-year deal look like a bargain. After helping the Chiefs win their first Super Bowl in five decades last season, Mathieu has followed up with what can only be described as the best season of his career. He has seven interceptions, including one in last week's divisional-round win over Cleveland, and has become the biggest playmaker on a defence that suddenly seems underappreciated. “He's a great player,” said Bills coach Sean McDermott, whose team offence gets the next crack at the Honey Badger in the AFC championship game Sunday. “Watched his career unfold at LSU and the different places he's been — he brings a lot of energy and juice to their team, and their defence in this case.” The numbers alone are impressive. Mathieu has picked off five passes in the past seven games, and he returned one for a touchdown against New England earlier this season. Quarterback ratings plummet when they throw in his direction, and his versatility is evident in the fact that he has tackles-for-loss in three of his past five games. No wonder he was voted an All-Pro for the second straight year and the third time in his career. “Just the energy he brings, what he's saying to guys on the sideline or in the huddle — they trust him,” Spagnuolo said. “They believe in him. The guy is a winner. He's made plays for us, and when you get enough guys like that you have a unit.” It's hard to find another guy like Mathieu, though, with his unique ability to wreak havoc from his “robber” position. He bounces around the field like a pinball, both before the snap and after, putting constant pressure on opposing quarterbacks to make sure they know where he is on any given play. On a quarter of snaps this season, he's lined up in the deep safety spot. In about a third, he's lined up in the box to provide run support. On almost 40% of snaps, he has lined up in the slot, essentially becoming an extra cornerback. In other words, Spagnuolo is using Mathieu in ways he's never used another player in 40 years in coaching. “I hadn’t thought about it until you just said that,” Spagnuolo said, "but I’d probably say yes, that we have gone a little more beyond, because there are some things that we do with him now that I don’t recall us doing in prior places. “First and foremost, him from the chin to the hairline, you’re talking about an intelligent football player that loves it. You know that if you feed something to Tyrann, he’s going to get it and he’s going to know why,” Spagnuolo said. “We lay out all of these plans and you go from Monday to Saturday and into Sunday, but things change so quick on game day. The one thing about Tyrann is you can go over to him and say, ‘Let’s tweak this or do that.’ He knows exactly why and he does it.” He gets everybody else to do it, too. The middle linebacker may call the defensive plays — for the Chiefs, that's Anthony Hitchens — but Mathieu is often the one making sure everybody everybody knows what is going on. Then he takes care of his own business. “I think any position on the field allows you the chance to make plays,” Mathieu said. “It's all about staying committed. “Early in the season I wasn't making those plays,” he continued, "and as a high competitor you can get out of it thinking none of those plays is ever going to come to you. For me, it's just about staying involved, staying committed to what my coaches want me doing.” ___ More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL Dave Skretta, The Associated Press
Like many baseball writers, C. Trent Rosecrans viewed the Hall of Fame vote as a labour of love. The ballot would arrive around the end of November, and it would keep him occupied for much of December. He’d write down his research on players in a notebook and feel butterflies when putting his ballot in the mail. Then it was time for his most recent vote, and the whole process felt quite different. “That ballot sat out unopened until after Christmas, because I knew what was in it,” Rosecrans said. “And it wasn’t something I enjoyed.” The results of the 2021 vote will be announced Tuesday, and Rosecrans wasn’t alone in finding the task particularly agonizing this time around. With Curt Schilling's candidacy now front and centre — and Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens still on the ballot as well — voters have had to consider how much a player’s off-field behaviour should affect his Hall of Fame chances. For years, suspicions of performance-enhancing drug use have played a significant role in the voting. Now, some writers are reassessing other concerns about some of the game’s biggest stars — from Schilling’s incendiary social media presence to domestic violence allegations against Bonds and others. Ken Rosenthal, Rosecrans’ colleague with The Athletic, began a recent column this way: “I hate my Hall of Fame ballot. It might be my last." The top returning vote-getter on this year’s ballot is Schilling, who a year ago came within 20 votes of being elected by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. His support now seems to have stalled. As of early Saturday, Schilling had received 75.3% approval on ballots tallied at Ryan Thibodaux’s tracker, but that pace probably isn’t good enough. A player needs 75% for induction — and in the past, Schilling has fared far worse on private, unreleased ballots that aren’t part of Thibodaux’s tracker. Schilling has turned off voters with his post-career behaviour. ESPN suspended him from the Little League World Series a few years ago over a tweet in which he compared Muslim extremists to Nazi-era Germans. He was later fired by the network for Facebook comments about transgender people. On Jan. 6, the day of the attack on the U.S. Capitol, he said the following in a message on his Twitter account: “You cowards sat on your hands, did nothing while liberal trash looted rioted and burned for air Jordan’s and big screens, sit back .... and watch folks start a confrontation for (expletive) that matters like rights, democracy and the end of govt corruption.” That tweet was a few days after Hall of Fame ballots were due, but Rosecrans had already decided not to support Schilling — even though he’d voted for him in the past. “It would have been much easier for me to stick where I was and to check that box, like I have every other time I’ve voted, but I just don’t know if I would have been true to myself,” said Rosecrans, the BBWAA's president. "Had I done that, I may have felt better where I put it on that day. I don’t know if I would have felt better on January 6th.” Bonds and Clemens are polling just behind Schilling on Thibodaux’s tracker, but their candidacies now face scrutiny that goes beyond longstanding suspicion of PED use. Multiple players on this year's ballot have been accused of domestic violence, and Bonds is one of them. In 1995, his ex-wife testified during divorce proceedings that he beat and kicked her. Bonds said he never physically abused her but once kicked her after she kicked him. In 2008, the New York Daily News reported that Clemens had a decade-long relationship with country singer Mindy McCready that began when she was 15 and he was a star for the Boston Red Sox. Clemens apologized for unspecified mistakes in his personal life and denied having an affair with a 15-year-old. McCready later told “Inside Edition” she met Clemens when she was 16 and that the relationship didn’t turn sexual until several years later. Rosenthal acknowledged the domestic abuse allegations that have been made against Bonds, Andruw Jones and Omar Vizquel, as well as the questions about Clemens and McCready. He ended up voting for those four players along with Schilling, and his 10-man ballot also included Todd Helton, who in recent years pleaded guilty to driving under the influence and served 48 hours in jail. Rosenthal called it his “sick-to-my-stomach ballot” and said he’s reevaluating whether he wants to vote at all in the future. Last January, ESPN’s Christina Kahrl said she’d looked at the questions surrounding Clemens and McCready. “Should he ultimately get elected, it will have to be without my support,” she wrote then. Rosecrans acknowledges he could be accused of inconsistency after voting against Schilling but in favour of people like Bonds and Jones. His main concern is the platform a Hall inductee receives — the ceremony and the speech, for example. “We have seen what Curt Schilling does with a platform, and it has been chilling,” Rosecrans said. At a time when social justice movements are pushing for a broader reckoning on sexual misconduct and racial inequality, the BBWAA recently voted overwhelmingly to remove the name and imprint of former Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis from MVP plaques. Landis became commissioner in 1920, and there were no Black players in the majors during his more than two decades in charge. The Hall of Fame, meanwhile, has sought to clarify the role of its plaque gallery and its museum. The plaques recognize members’ baseball accomplishments, while the rest of the museum might address other aspects of their careers. For example, Cap Anson’s plaque describes him as the greatest hitter and greatest National League player-manager of the 19th century, but language exploring his role in baseball’s segregation has been installed in the museum’s “Ideals and Injustices” exhibit. “Given the importance of racial issues in the summer of 2020, our board decided we needed to tell a fuller story and explore issues surrounding race that involved several of our members,” Hall spokesman Jon Shestakofsky said. “With our baseball-focused mission, we are cautious about getting into other issues, given the fact that once you go down that path, reasonable people will disagree about what is and is not relevant and worthy of display in a baseball museum." So it remains up to the voters to decide how they’ll weigh off-field issues when evaluating Hall of Fame candidates. The Hall instructs voters to take into account “the player’s record, playing ability, integrity, sportsmanship, character, and contributions to the team(s) on which the player played.” Clearly, there’s room to consider a player’s off-field conduct. But the Hall is still primarily a baseball honour. Right now, the sport’s career leaders in home runs (Bonds) and hits (Pete Rose) are not enshrined. Neither is Clemens, with his seven Cy Young Awards, or Schilling, with his dazzling post-season resume. If too many of the top players are left out — particularly if it’s for non-baseball reasons — could the Hall lose credibility as a baseball shrine? Lynn Henning, a former columnist for the Detroit News, understands what makes some of these candidates objectionable — but he doesn’t think the Hall of Fame vote is the right forum for holding them accountable. “I believe there is a separate realm in which we can and must discuss all of those points, but I don’t think it should be adjudicated on a Hall of Fame ballot,” Henning said. ___ Follow Noah Trister at www.Twitter.com/noahtrister ___ More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports Noah Trister, The Associated Press
ANAHEIM, Calif. — Gabriel Landeskog scored 1:38 into overtime, Mikko Rantanen extended his goal-scoring streak to four games, and the Colorado Avalanche topped the Anaheim Ducks 3-2 on Friday night. Landeskog was initially stopped by Anaheim goalie John Gibson on a breakaway, but he got his own rebound and converted a wraparound for his third goal of the season. “I wasn’t happy with the first shot. I have to raise the puck more knowing Gibson is going to take away the low shots,” Landeskog said. “But I was able to stay with it, come around the net and stuff it as fast as I could.” Joonas Donskoi also scored for Colorado and Phillip Grubauer stopped 36 shots. Avalanche coach Jared Bednar wasn't pleased with the way his team played the first two periods. “I didn’t think we deserved to win but the goaltending was outstanding and we got a couple timely goals,” Bednar said. "We were trying to skill our way through things and they were outworking us the first two periods. But our top guys were outstanding the final 20 minutes." Hampus Lindholm and Adam Henrique got their first goals of the season for Anaheim. Gibson made 30 saves. The game went to overtime after the teams traded goals during an 82-second span in the third period. Rantanen gave Colorado a 2-1 lead at 6:20 with a one-timer in front of the goal after a great pass from rookie defenceman Bowen Byram. Rantanen has four goals and two assists in the last four games. Henrique tied it again at 7:42 after Danton Heinen fed him with a centring pass. Donskoi got the Avalanche on the board with a power-play goal 2:56 into the game. The left winger put it into the short side of the net after Samuel Girard's pass caught Gibson out of position. Lindholm evened it 47 seconds into the second with a one-timer that Grubauer was unable to get his glove on. Anaheim played much better compared to Wednesday's loss against Minnesota when coach Dallas Eakins ripped his team for lack of effort. The Ducks had 18 shots during the first period and ended up with a 38-32 advantage for the game. “It is so disappointing not to get both points when you play well. With a tiny bit of detail that’s a 2-0 game for us,” he said. “It was going our way in overtime and then we fumbled it at the blue line. We don’t want to be a team going into overtime. We want to lock it down in regulation and get both points.” FIRST POINT Byram, who was the fourth-overall pick in the 2019 draft, made his NHL debut Thursday against Los Angeles but appeared tentative. The nerves were gone one night later as he picked up his first NHL point in his second game. “I just got the puck on the top of the blue line there and tried to move my feet to create some space," he said. "It was a big goal in a tight game, and it helped us get a win.” POWERING UP Donskoi's score was Colorado's 10th power-play goal, which leads the league. It is also the most the Avalanche have had through five games in franchise history. The previous record was eight, which happened six times. STOPPED Gibson stopped Nathan MacKinnon on his short side during a penalty shot at 8:31 of the third period. Colorado was awarded the shot after Lindholm was called for covering the puck up in the Ducks crease. “It’s like a whole bunch of air being exhaled at the same time,” Eakins said about seeing Gibson's save. "Gibson handled it like it was nothing. It was a massive save at a key point in the game. UP NEXT The teams meet again Sunday night. ___ More AP NHL coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/NHL and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports Joe Reedy, The Associated Press
TORONTO — The Maple Leafs needed all hands on deck without two-thirds of their top line. Minus both Auston Matthews and Joe Thornton, Toronto didn't miss a beat Friday. John Tavares scored the winner on a third-period power play and Frederik Andersen was stellar in making 30 saves as the Leafs picked up a 4-2 victory over the Edmonton Oilers. Adam Brooks, with his first in the NHL, Jimmy Vesey, and Mitch Marner, into an empty net, had the other goals for Toronto (4-2-0), which went 2 for 2 with the man advantage. William Nylander added a pair of assists, while Marner chipped in with one of his own. "A great effort by the group," said Vesey, whose team lost 3-1 to the Oilers on Wednesday. "No Auston, no (Thornton). Guys came in and stepped up. "It was a gutsy effort. We didn't like our game the other night." Matthews is day-to-day with upper-body soreness, while Thornton will miss at least four weeks after fracturing a rib. "We've got to play a little bit differently," Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe said. "The group's really got to recognize the importance of every shift and how important it is to stay with the structure, stay with the plan. I thought we did that really well." Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl replied for Edmonton (2-4-0), which got 25 stops from Mikko Koskinen. "A good offensive team, you give them a little sniff, they're going to figure it out," McDavid said. "We made one too many mistakes." Down 2-1 through 40 minutes, the Oilers got even 50 seconds into the third when McDavid, who grew up just north of Toronto in Newmarket, Ont., scored his second-ever goal at Scotiabank Arena when he deftly tipped Ethan Bear's point shot past Andersen for his fourth of the campaign. The Leafs got a power play midway through the period when Toronto's new top line of Tavares, Marner and Zach Hyman started buzzing, with the latter forcing Koskinen to stretch for a great save. But the Edmonton goalie could do nothing on the Tavares winner — his fourth overall and second in as many games — at 11:46 on a redirection of Marner's shot after making another terrific stop on Toronto's captain moments earlier. Andersen shut the door from there before Marner iced it with his fourth into an empty net as Toronto held on for its fourth victory in six outings to open the abbreviated 56-game schedule. "To get a good, hard-fought win like that you need the whole group," Tavares said. "We got a good bounce-back." Most of the talk heading into the Leafs-Oilers showdown was about two offensive juggernauts, but despite all the star power, there was very little room at 5 on 5. "You get very familiar with your opponent, tendencies, adjustments that are being made game to game," Tavares said of a season featuring division-only play. "Things might be a little tighter than people expected. "There's a lot of respect on both sides knowing the capabilities." Andersen, who recorded his 139th victory with Toronto to pass Curtis Joseph for fourth in franchise history, said it was a good sign the Leafs managed to limit McDavid and Draisaitl's chances over the two games. "When you're facing two of the better players in the league it's a great task," he said. "It's been great to see the team respond and really take that role seriously, and not give them anything for free." With the Leafs missing Matthews and Thornton, Keefe went back to 12 forwards and six defenceman after dressing an extra blue-liner the last two games. Brooks, Pierre Engvall and Alexander Barabanov drew in up front, while Mikko Lehtonen was scratched on the back end. The Leafs got a power play early in the second, but the Oilers grabbed a 1-0 lead at 5:12 when Kailer Yamamoto threw the puck in front where Draisaitl fished it out of Nylander's skates and jammed home his second of the season. But Toronto got that one back on the same man advantage 43 seconds later when Jason Spezza fired a puck into the slot that glanced off Brooks and in for the Winnipeg native's first NHL goal in his eighth appearance. "That was the first game I've played in like 330 days or something like that, so it's been a long time," said the 24-year-old, who was part of Toronto's taxi squad before Friday. "It's nice to get that bounce, and nice for it to come from a guy like Jason Spezza. "A great moment I'll remember forever." Andersen then made a good stop outwaiting Jesse Puljujarvi on a break before Toronto pushed in front at 11:16 when Alexander Kerfoot intercepted an Adam Larsson pass behind Edmonton's net and quickly fed Nylander, who in turn patiently found Vesey to bury his second. "Those have been hard to come by," Keefe said of scoring at 5 on 5. "It was good to get one." Friday's opening 20 minutes weren't nearly as tight-checking as Wednesday's chess match, with a couple of chances at either end. Yamamoto, who was credited with the opening goal two nights earlier after the Leafs flubbed the puck into their own net, forced a good stop out of Andersen less than 30 seconds in. Leafs winger Wayne Simmonds then had an opportunity denied by Koskinen from the slot. Edmonton's Zack Kassian took a pass off the rush from McDavid that Andersen just got a piece of with the shaft of his stick. McDavid had another rebound effort denied by Andersen before Simmonds saw his redirection smothered by Koskinen. "Our best guys led us," Keefe said. "Just a real good team win — which we knew going in it was going to have to be." Notes: Toronto placed Thornton on long-term injured reserve, where he joined rookie winger Nick Roberston (knee). ... Edmonton activated winger James Neal, who was previously on the NHL's list of unavailable players due to COVID-19, off injured reserve for his first action of the season. ... The Oilers now head to Winnipeg for two against the Jets beginning Sunday before hosting the Leafs for another two-game set starting Thursday. ... Toronto opens a four-game Alberta road trip Sunday in Calgary against the Flames. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 22, 2021. ___ Follow @JClipperton_CP on Twitter Joshua Clipperton, The Canadian Press
LOS ANGELES — Kawhi Leonard scored 31 points, Paul George added 29 and the Los Angeles Clippers beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 120-106 on Friday night for their sixth straight win. Serge Ibaka had 17 points and 11 rebounds to help the Clippers improve to 12-4, tying the Lakers for the NBA’s best record. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander led the Thunder with 30 points and eight assists against his former team. Luguentz Dort added 19 points. The Thunder were in catch-up mode most of the way before dropping their second straight and fourth in five games. They were just 14 of 42 from 3-point range and only got to the free-throw line 13 times. The Clippers grabbed control in the first half, scoring 36 points in the first quarter and 34 in the second on 63% shooting. They had scoring runs of 21-2 and 11-4 in the first. They opened the second quarter with a 19-10 spurt, including George’s steal and dunk followed by his consecutive 3-pointers, for their largest lead of 27 points. From there, the Thunder put together a 25-15 surge, hitting five 3-pointers, to trail 70-53 at halftime. The Thunder worked to reduce a 23-point deficit to 10 points in the third. They outscored the Clippers 15-2 during one stretch, helped by eight points from Dort and Mike Muscala’s first 3-pointer after he missed four attempts in the first half. But Leonard quickly put the Clippers ahead 91-75, running off six in a row. Muscala hit another 3-pointer that left the Thunder trailing by 13 going into the fourth. George scored 11 points in the fourth against his old team, when Gilgeous-Alexander had 10 for the Thunder. TIP-INS Thunder: It took until the second half, but Dort and Muscala continued their streaks of both hitting at least one 3-pointer in each game they’ve played this season. Dort leads the team with 34 3-pointers and Muscala is second with 26. ... They dropped to 1-6 against the West. Clippers: Lou Williams recorded his 249th career game with at least five assists off the bench, tying J.J. Barea for the most such games in NBA history. UP NEXT The teams meet again Sunday at Staples Center. ___ More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports Beth Harris, The Associated Press
We've heard of crashing the boards but this is ridiculous.