NBA rolls out plan to mend rift between players, game officials

According to the NBA’s statement:

1. Johnson, McCutchen and their staffs will conduct meetings with all 30 teams to discuss rules interpretations, on-court conduct and the expectations of NBA referees. These meetings will begin before the NBA All-Star break (Feb. 17-19 in Los Angeles).

2. The league will re-emphasize its “Respect for the Game” rules with referees, coaches and players to ensure consistent enforcement of those violations.

3. The NBA Referee Operations department will expand its overall rules education initiative for coaches, players and team personnel to ensure clarity of the game’s rules and their proper interpretations.

4. Johnson and McCutchen will conduct enhanced training for the referees on conflict resolution. In addition, they will more closely monitor the on-court interactions of coaches, players and referees to ensure referee decorum meets league standards.

5. Through the NBA’s Officiating Advisory Council, the league will create opportunities for engagement with all key stakeholders to find common ground between all parties.

“I want to take this time to express my sincerest apologies to my teammates, coaches, and most of all the amazing Boston Celtics fans,” Smart wrote on Twitter. “I’m embarrassed and disappointed in my actions. I swiped at and hit a picture frame on the wall. I feel like I let all y’all down.”

If your league consists of 12 or more teams, you may want to consider going to three divisions with the three division winners earning the top seeds in the playoffs and the one or three other teams (depending on whether your playoffs call for four teams or six) with the next-best records claiming a playoff berth as a wild card.

If that isn’t your thing, you can also create leagues that don’t use divisions, which many believe is the fairest way of rewarding the teams with the best record during the regular season. Without any divisions, the teams that make the playoffs (whether it be two, four or six) are simply the ones who finished with the best records.lions_034

Mariners bring back Ichiro Suzuki on 1-year deal

The Seattle Mariners are bringing back Ichiro Suzuki.

Seattle finalized a one-year, $750,000 deal with the 44-year-old Japanese star Wednesday that could increase to $2 million with incentives, a source told ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick.

“The addition of Ichiro gives our team another versatile and athletic outfielder,” Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto said in a statement. “His incredible work ethic, preparation and focus will enhance our environment in many ways.

“He’s truly one of the great players in the history of the game and his unquestionable presence is a valuable addition, both on the field and in the clubhouse. We’re very glad to bring him back home.”

Ichiro ranks 22nd with 3,080 career hits but started only 22 games last year and had 196 at-bats, the lowest total of his 17-year career. He set a big league mark with 109 plate appearances as a pinch hitter, and had a franchise record 27 pinch-hits.

Ichiro was batting .202 on July 4 but hit .315 the rest of the way. He became just the sixth player 43 or older to record at least 50 hits.

Ichiro, who has said he wants to play until he’s 50, was 27 when he began his major league career. He had 1,278 hits while playing nine years in Japan.

The Philadelphia Inquirer’s Keith Pompey indicated that the Sixers, Celtics, Cavs, Heat, Pelicans, Rockets and Thunder have all inquired about Evans. The Nuggets have also thrown their hat into the ring. The price? Memphis would like to acquire a first-round pick in return for the nine-year veteran.

To hear what his battle is now with Parkinson’s, it’s really sad.SALT LAKE CITY – Safety and linebacker Sunia Tauteoli weren’t on the Utah depth chart that was released Monday.Between radio appearances and tweeting, Schilling doesn’t appear to be getting much sleep lately, and now free of ‘s muzzle, he’s unleashing all of his opinions.It’s going to be fun, just knowing that those guys, all they had to do was wait a little bit longer, he said.

I ‘t like any of it, but I do it.He also receive a trophy that represents the important role that sportsmanship plays the game and how NFL players that demonstrate integrity and honor on the field serve as role models for players at all levels.Okafor is on a rookie contract, and league executives continue to say that they think he can be a good player.The six-foot-two Chabot finished the game with a goal and assist.Zarb admitted he met informally with during that period, but claimed there were no negotiations and no intense reviews.lions_090

Branden Albert arrested in Atlanta on felony charge

Free-agent offensive tackle Branden Albert was arrested Wednesday in Atlanta and is currently in the Fulton County Jail, according to online records.

He is facing a felony charge of willful obstruction of law enforcement officers by use of threats or violence and second degree criminal damage to property. No bond is listed.

Broncos OLB Von Miller. The Super Bowl 50 MVP completed the three-cone in 6.70 seconds in 2011, tied for the third-best mark among linebackers over the past seven years. And that confirmed what teams saw on tape: a freak athlete who wreaked havoc off the edge.

LSU OLB Arden Key. The 6-foot-6, 265-pound defender’s tape is up and down, but Key is arguably the most gifted athlete among edge rushers in this class. A three-cone time in the sub-7-second range would help boost that argument.

Chris Peters, NHL prospects analyst: I don’t know that a package exists that would fully satisfy a Senators fan when it comes to potentially losing their team’s generational defensemen. Few players can change a game the way Karlsson does. The Senators are going to have to get more than picks and prospects for him, that much is certain. I also think that this is the kind of deal the team is going to need more time to put together.

The former Buffalo Bills quarterback announced Thursday that recent tests had revealed evidence of oral cancer. Kelly told WGRZ he credits his daughter, Erin Kelly-Bean, and his doctor for talking him into having a biopsy last month.

Kelly first announced in June 2013 that he had squamous cell carcinoma of the upper jawbone. He had surgery to remove tumors but was found again to have cancer in March 2014. Kelly underwent weeks of chemotherapy and radiation in 2014 before being declared cancer-free that September.

Kelly, 58, played for the Bills from 1986 to 1996 and appeared in four consecutive Super Bowls. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2002.patriots_019

Kessel, Malkin lead Pens past Canes 6-1 for 6th straight win

They played without physical center Jordan Staal, who missed the game because of a family concern — and his absence certainly was felt against Crosby, Malkin, Kessel and the rest of the Penguins’ lineup.

Kucherov had two assists to reach 80 points this season and Tampa Bay defeated the Ottawa Senators 4-3 on Thursday night.

Tyler Johnson, Victor Hedman, Vladislav Namestnikov and Brayden Point scored for the Lightning (41-17-3), who leapfrogged expansion Vegas to regain the top spot in the overall standings with 85 points. Louis Domingue earned his third win by stopping 33 shots.

Kucherov, the NHL’s leading scorer, has 32 goals and 48 assists in 61 games.

Ryan Dzingel, Mark Borowiecki and Derick Brassard scored for the Senators (21-29-10), who are 0-2-1 in their last three games. Craig Anderson made 20 saves.

The loss snapped the Senators’ five-game winning streak on home ice. And with Monday afternoon’s trade deadline quickly approaching, Ottawa players are finding it difficult to stay focused.

“There’s definitely a little bit of anxiety in here,” Borowiecki said.

Green said that Simmons was an inspiration to the next generation of Australian kids coming up through the ranks.

“We do speak,” he said. “He helps me out and gives me some advice so that’s cool. He just tells me to play the game and enjoy it; have fun with everything.

“I think he’s really motivated everybody in Australia. It shows that there’s always chances no matter where you are in the world and you just need to make the most every opportunity you have.”

Before Green can entertain seriously the idea of joining Simmons at the next level, he must finish this season at IMG Academy in Florida and enter the college system. He has attracted the interest of many top schools, including Arizona, Arizona State, UCLA and Kansas, but he is yet to make a decision on which one he’ll attend next year.

“There’s been a lot of colleges, but most colleges have offered me [scholarships] and stayed in daily contact with me, so there’s nothing I can really pick out like that,” he said.jays_519_2a5127ba7e459cf9-180x180

Knicks start Emmanuel Mudiay at PG Thursday night in victory over Magic

Emmanuel Mudiay started at point guard for the New York Knicks on Thursday night as the club pivots to giving younger players more playing time in the final weeks of the season.

Mudiay started in place of veteran Jarrett Jack on Thursday, scoring eight points and handing out four assists in the Knicks’ 120-113 win over the Orlando Magic.

The Hurricanes (27-24-10), who fell 6-1 to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday, aren’t expected to be active at the trade deadline.

“With our group, the way it currently is, we can get in,” Carolina coach Bill Peters told the Charlotte News & Observer. “If there’s some additions to it, then that’ll help.”

A 6-2-1 spurt moved the Hurricanes into a wild-card playoff position in the Eastern Conference, but that was followed by an 0-3-1 skid in their last four games that has dropped them a point out of the final wild-card spot.

“We practice downstairs, we’ll kill each other. We jump in front. We do everything. When the lights come on, I don’t know if it’s nerves, fear, experience, we just back up, back up, back up, and give in … we ‘ole’ and let them go right past us to the rim.”

The Blazers have won the first three games of the season series, two in the first six games of the season.

Lillard is averaging 27.7 points, 5.7 rebounds and 7.0 assists against the Suns this season and McCollum is averaging 25 points, four rebounds and four assists.

Booker is averaging 29.7 points in the series. He had 43 points, six rebounds and eight assists in the last meeting, a 118-111 Portland homer victory on Jan. 16. He made 5-of-12 3-pointers and all 10 free-throw attempts in that game.

Pateryn’s drive whistled by, nicking Seguin and going high into the net.

The play has been the subject of ongoing confusion, largely due to the vague nature of the rule.

Seven players must be on the line of scrimmage, but it is left to the officials’ judgment to determine if a player is on the line.

The Super Bowl officiating crew ruled Jeffery was close enough to the line, but Pereira obviously believes they got the call wrong.bears_094-223x223

The Netherlands will have to outclass Japanese favorite Nao Kodaira to earn a gold in the women’s 500m race.

In the letter, Carruth wrote that he has long accepted my lot as a social pariah. He said in an introduction to the letter, which he began with To whom it may concern, that the purpose of the letter was to challenge allegations made by Saundra Adams on the truthfulness of the statements she’s made about me.

Carruth referred to several lies he claimed Adams made, beginning with saying he never apologized for what happened. He noted that he apologized on several occasions in correspondence from prison.

A few runs in, and Ligety was pushed off of the podium spots bu Erik Read of Canada, Manfred Moelegg of Italy and Florian Eisath of Italy, with Cochran-Siegle still in first. He was pushed out of first not too long after that, which means no American will make it to the podium in the men’s giant slalom.

Henrik Kristoffersen of Norway put together a time of 2:19.31, and was in first place for some time in the finals. Marcel Hirscher of Austria, who was ahead in the the first round, put together a brilliant second run, taking first place with a total time of 2:18.04. His first run was a blistering 1:08.27. Alex Pinturault of France had a 1:08.90 in his first run, but a slower 1:10.45 put him in third by the time Hirscher set his time.

Two United States entrants were within the first few competitors, and they were both first-time Olympians in McRae Williams and Alex Hall. Williams went first, and he put down a score of 81.60. Hall struggled on his run, posting a 69.80.

Tebow said there were plenty of up and down moments last year. He hit .226 with 24 doubles, eight homers and 52 RBIs while playing for the Columbia (South Carolina) Fireflies and the Port St. Lucie Mets. He had raised his average above .300 in July but went 3-for-44 in August and also finished his season with 10 errors.

He says he now knows what to expect on a daily basis, and that has allowed him to have a clearer mind heading into spring training.

The case against the Hokies is that their state rival has also never won a football title and has been in the doldrums for the better part of two decades. How much angst can a fan base have when it has dominated its state since 2003?

Sixteenth in attendance, 17th in revenue, and no national titles. In fact, South Carolina can claim only one conference title: a 1969 ACC crown that came in a year in which the Gamecocks lost four games, all by double digits.bears_141

With a ground ball rate routinely north of 50 percent, Godley is the specific arm some feel won’t enjoy the same benefits of the humidor.

After trading third baseman Chase Headley and second baseman Starlin Castro this offseason and not re-signing free-agent third baseman Todd Frazier, the Yankees were looking to add a veteran infielder in case either touted prospect Gleyber Torres or Miguel Andujar isn’t ready to crack the starting lineup as a rookie.

Torres, who is recovering from Tommy John surgery to repair a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his left (non-throwing) elbow, and Andujar are both being looked at as potential starters at either second base or third.

The problem is, Ray is already a fantasy darling, so the potential profit is limited since his market price was already to the point there was little, if any, potential return on investment.

He will, availing a buying opportunity. Godley is due some regression from last season, but the humidor will soften the blow. He should gain about 20 spots among starting pitchers.

Many benefited from Corbin’s stellar second half last season. Some are anticipating a carryover, while others are more skeptical. When the market is divided like that, supply and demand economics dictate a more favorable price. With the humidor, the demand, hence the cost, elevates.

They haven’t set a date for the wedding but want to have plenty of time to plan the ceremony. They are aiming for some time in December 2019.

But before then, Correa has plenty of work to do, namely, helping the Astros repeat as champions this year.

On paper we’re better than last year, it’s all about us putting in the work and showing it on the field, he said. What inspires me and drives me right now is … that nobody’s settling, nobody is laying back, everybody is working to try to be better this year. If everybody’s trying to do that, the team’s only going to get better.

Winning presents its own set of challenges. Even if you manage to keep your head coach — always a challenge in the Sun Belt — he might end up losing key assistants. Add that to the inevitable loss of key stars, and you’ve got plenty of opportunity to fall off of your pace a bit.

Satterfield remains in Boone, a victory in and of itself. But he has to replace four-year starting quarterback Taylor Lamb, and perhaps more importantly, he has to replace ace defensive coordinator Nate Woody, who’s now at Georgia Tech. He promoted longtime cornerbacks coach Bryan Brown to the DC job, and everything might continue apace.bears_086

Mark Brunell and the boys delivered an upset of gargantuan proportions at the home of the AFC’s top seed in the 1996 playoffs.

Miami brought in one of the best all-time offenses to Super Bowl XIX, with second-year quarterback Dan Marino setting league records in passing yards (5,608) and touchdowns (48). But the Dolphins struggled mightily against the 15-1 49ers, falling by a score of 38-16.

The 2001 version of the “Greatest Show on Turf” featured NFL MVPs Kurt Warner and Marshall Faulk and an offense that had scored more than 500 points for the third consecutive season. But three turnovers and a timely field goal from Patriots kicker Adam Vinatieri allowed New England to upset the Rams 20-17 in Super Bowl XXXVI.

“This is about equality,” Rodgers said Tuesday about the message the players want to send. “This is about unity and love and growing together as a society and starting a conversation around something that may be a little bit uncomfortable for people. But we’ve got to come together and talk about these things and grow as a community, as a connected group of individuals in our society, and we’re going to continue to show love and unity, and this week we’re going to ask the fans to join in as well and come together and show people that we can be connected and we can grow together.”

Trump tweeted that he had called Jones after the game and “Fox & Friends” aired an interview with the president Thursday morning in which he accused NFL owners of being scared of their players. Trump added that he had talked to several owners and said they are “in a box” on the anthem issue.

“I think they’re afraid of their players, if you want to know the truth, and I think it’s disgraceful,” Trump said in an interview recorded Wednesday. “They’ve got to be tough, and they’ve got to be smart.”

Not just Brunell, but Jimmy Smith, Keenan McCardell, Tony Boselli, Kevin Hardy and even Clyde Simmons (who rose to prominence with the Buddy Ryan 46 defense) took down perhaps Mike Shanahan’s best Broncos team (if not for the group that romped through the ’98 playoffs).jaguars_116

Last year Rams rookie quarterback Jared Goff was one of the primary whipping boys for angry media members and fans wondering what the Rams were doing.

Hard to blame them: Goff looked terrible when he played. The Rams did him no favors with their scheme and approach to stone-age offensive football.

Seeing Goff, who was limited during the first week of the preseason, play well on Saturday night was a welcome sight.

To no one’s surprise, Marshawn Lynch sat for the national anthem again during the Raiders’ second preseason game. The anthem for this game was notable as well because it featured Derek Carr with his hand on Khalil Mack’s back during the performance.

So much for a run at a 19-0 season. That didn’t provide much drama, did it? The defending champs were pretty dreadful in the loss to the Chiefs. The offense was out of sync and the defense gave up huge plays in the highest-scoring game ever against a Bill Belichick-coached Patriots team. But are you really going to wager against Belichick and QB Tom Brady getting things fixed? The strong suspicion here is that this will still be the team to beat entering the postseason.

Going more two-tight end to run the ball will mean there’s both some strong edge blocking aid from Rob Gronkowski and Dwayne Allen and two targets who can stretch the middle of the field. To be effective running, the Patriots will need to have a mix of both alignments against the Jaguars’ consistent Cover 3.

With the Jaguars being so strong at end in their base with Calais Campbell and Yannick Ngakoue, and given the speed of outside linebacker Telvin Smith, it will be hard for the Patriots to get the perimeter running game going. Lewis will need to use his elusiveness to maximize yardage against a strong tackling opponent.jaguars_086

When a player’s hands move reflexively to his head, it is a textbook sign a brain injury has happened.

That doesn’t mean it has happened, and it is wrong to diagnose a concussion from only watching on television. But it is indicative. In those instances, returning to play in five minutes is simply too short. The NFL needs to do more to make sure teams err on the side of caution, and not in returning key players to the field.

The Browns now have two first-round choices and two second-round selections in this year’s NFL draft and a first-rounder and three second-rounders in next year’s draft. There is the small matter, of course, of using those picks wisely. But there are more than enough draft-choice resources stockpiled for the Browns, if they want, to make an overwhelming offer for quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo that the New England Patriots simply could not refuse, even if they’re saying that they intend to retain Garoppolo.

The 49ers can be patient with the Kirk Cousins situation; if they cannot pry the franchise-tagged quarterback from the Redskins this offseason, they might have a far easier time getting Cousins to San Francisco a year from now. Lynch and Shanahan are in a start-over situation and they have begun restocking the roster by reaching agreements with linebacker Malcolm Smith, kicker Robbie Gould, fullback Kyle Juszczyk, tight end Logan Paulsen and wide receivers Pierre Garcon, Marquise Goodwin and Aldrick Robinson.

The last two times the Patriots reached the Super Bowl, they found themselves deep in holes they weren’t accustomed to, against teams with the credentials, will and momentum to finish the job. The Patriots won both times. In 2015, they overcame the Seahawks, a 10-point fourth-quarter deficit and a hopeless situation against their own goal line. Last year, it was the Falcons and 28-3.

The Vikings, who are the favorites to advance out of the NFC, have the NFL’s best defense, an outstanding coach, energy from the miraculous Saints win, a road win against the NFC’s top seed and the buzz of the first-ever Super Bowl home-field advantage. They’re just not the Patriots. — D.S.

But if he remains in Jacksonville, he will not be an inexpensive quarterback much longer. His four-year, $20.65 million rookie deal, which pays him $3.237 million this season, is expiring, and the Jaguars have exercised his fifth-year option for next season at a cost of $19.053 million. That is guaranteed only for injury, so the Jaguars still could decide to move on.jaguars_039