Sixers tie NBA record with 26th straight loss

76ers Handed twenty sixth Straight Loss

 HOUSTON – After the Philadelphia 76ers tied an NBA report with their twenty sixth consecutive loss, one of their youngest voices spoke loudest.

Michael Carter-Williams, one of six rookies on the NBA's youngest team, delivered a pep speak after James Harden's triple-double led the Houston Rockets to a one hundred twenty-98 victory on Thursday night time.

"Throughout the recreation a couple of guys had long faces.. and I discovered myself a little bit down," said Carter-Williams, who had 10 assists. "I just don't desire anybody in this locker room feeling bad for themselves.. I think that is actually important that we don't get down on ourselves and we simply quit just because we now have a certain amount of losses.

"I simply felt like I needed to talk my piece and guantee that guys are upbeat each single day."

Philadelphia coach Brett Brown was impressed by the leadership the 22-yr-outdated Carter-Williams confirmed.

"He by no means would have performed that two months ago," Brown said. "He would not have done it two weeks in the past. All these things, all these small wins we discover along the way, that's our road map this year. And life strikes on. The group will stay together and we'll finish this thing out together."

Harden had 26 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists in three quarters for his second profession triple-double as Houston picked up its fifth straight victory.

"We did an excellent job of coming out tonight and caring for enterprise," Harden said. "It doesn't matter what their document was, we knew they were going to come right here and play arduous."

The 76ers (15-fifty seven) stuck round early earlier than an enormous second-quarter run allowed the Rockets to drag away and roll to the win. Philadelphia moved inside a recreation of Milwaukee for the league's worst record.

Philadelphia matched the 2010-11 Cleveland Cavaliers for the NBA's worst skid and may set the document at residence against Detroit on Saturday.

"We transfer on," Brown said. "We are on a special path. We see this whole factor via a far totally different lens."

James Anderson led the Sixers with 30 points and made six three-pointers.

The Sixers have not won since Jan. 29 and are two games away from going winless in two straight months. There was very little visible emotion as the ultimate seconds ticked away and the players slowly made their approach off the court.

Dwight Howard added 17 points with 13 rebounds for Houston. Terrence Jones had 20 factors.

There have been a variety of lowlights because the 76ers took their spot in historical past. One got here when Howard blocked a shot by Thaddeus Young and he fell backward to the ground. By the point he received up, the Rockets were already on the other end of the courtroom working their offense.

Another was when the Sixers got a steal, however gave it back seconds later when Younger's pass intended for Anderson sailed excessive over his head and into the group.

Carter-Williams received in on the unhealthy play motion when, below heavy strain from Harden, he simply threw the ball into the Philadelphia bench in the second quarter.

However the game wasn't with out some nice performs by the Sixers, who've continued to play exhausting during this horrible stretch. A highlight got here when Casper Ware grabbed a steal and made a forty six-foot heave as time expired within the first quarter.

That shot was part of a 12-zero run which got the Sixers inside 35-33 early in the second quarter.

A pleasant reverse layup by Anderson tied it at forty three-all midway by the second quarter before Houston used a 20-6 run to take a 63-49 lead at halftime.

The Sixers missed nine shots, including three layups, and had 4 turnovers because the Rockets built the lead.

Houston was up by 17 late in the third quarter when the staff went on an 8-zero run to pad the lead to ninety six-seventy one.

Brown addressed the dreadful stretch before the sport and he is not enthusiastic about anyone's pity.

"I hope they be ok with themselves," he mentioned. "I do not want anyone feeling sorry for us or hanging our head.. we are going through something and we'll get by it collectively."

He additionally discussed their plan for rebuilding at length, saying he knew what he was stepping into when he took the job and insisted this skid hasn't been troublesome for him.

"I can tell you very, very sincerely that that is something that in a twisted manner is enjoyable in regards to watching the young guys get higher," he mentioned. "Obviously at instances it's arduous going by it.. (however) I feel like we're not off course."

None of that may erase the fact that this streak now has its place in historical past as one of the worst in the entire four major skilled sports activities.

In line with STATS LLC, the longest streaks in the other major sports activities are held by:

• Within the NFL, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 26 losses in row, from Sept. 12, 1976-Dec. four 1977.

• In MLB, the Philadelphia Phillies, 23 losses in a row, from Jan. 29, 1961-Aug. 20, 1961.

• Within the NHL, the Pittsburgh Penguins, 18 losses in a row, from Jan. thirteen, 2004-Feb. 22, 2004.

Recreation notes

Former Rockets and Hall of Famers

Hakeem Olajuwon


Moses Malone

attended the game. Malone additionally performed for the 76ers… Houston point guard Pat Beverley sprained his proper knee within the first half and didn't return.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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Florida, Zona, Wichita, UVa get No. 1 seeds

The man accountable for the NCAA selection committee insists a win in November is worth the same as a win in March.

Don't imagine him? Check out the seeds slapped beside these conference champions:

• A 4 for Louisville of the American Athletic.

• A 4 for Michigan State of the Massive Ten.

• Yet one more four for UCLA of the Pac-12.

• A 7 for New Mexico of the Mountain West.

Oh, and don't forget that eight for Kentucky, which had the ball and a chance to beat Florida, the NCAA match's high general seed, in the waning seconds of the SEC title sport.

Only Virginia, which wrapped up the ACC event Sunday to again up its regular-season title, appeared to get a significant bump from the conference tournaments that polish off groups' résumés earlier than the beginning of America's favourite workplace pool – March Madness.

Ron Wellman, chair of the NCAA choice committee, said the Cavaliers, considered a 2 or 3 on most mock-ups, "continued to impress us all year long."

Asked to explain the mediocre seed for a workforce equivalent to Louisville – the defending nationwide champion, which has won 12 of thirteen and rolled via the AAC event, Wellstone mentioned the committee looks at the entire résumé, not just March.

"We take a look at the full physique of work, every thing they did from November to March," he mentioned. "Each time we scrubbed that seed, Louisville ended on the same place every time when compared to the individuals above them."

The people above the Cardinals within the Midwest region, which shapes up because the hardest, embrace high-seeded and undefeated Wichita State, No. 2 Michigan and No. 3 Duke. Sure, that is three of final 12 months's Last Four groups. The national semifinals are April 5 in Arlington, Texas.

On the 1 line in the West is Arizona, which stayed there despite falling within the Pac-12 title recreation to UCLA. The Bruins are a 4, identical as Michigan State and Louisville – their fellow power-conference champions.

"They pass everyone's 'eye check,'" Wellman said. "They're playing as properly proper now as anybody in the country. Should you look at the final three or four weeks, they in all probability would've been seeded differently. Whenever you look at the entire season, then it is a little bit bit different."

In fact, the numbers are just that – numbers. In an era of one-and-accomplished, superstar coaches and unending parity, the actual drama begins after the brackets are out. That is why Warren Buffett had no drawback paying the insurance coverage premium in opposition to a $1 billion payoff for anyone who fills out an ideal bracket.

"There's extra good teams and fewer nice teams," coach Invoice Self stated of second-seeded Kansas. "The difference between a 2-seed and a 7- or eight-seed is as slim because it's ever been."

The final 4 bubble groups in this 12 months's draw have been 12th-seeded NC State and Xavier, which play in the First 4 on Tuesday, and 11th-seeded Iowa and Tennessee, which play Wednesday.

Omitted of the event was SMU of the AAC – a team nearly all the specialists had securely within the bracket.

However not the parents within the convention room, who could not overcome the Mustangs' energy of schedule: 129.

"When I saw Louisville, I form of figured that they did not have lots of respect for our convention," SMU coach Larry Brown stated. "But we solely can blame ourselves, that is the way I look at it."

The committee handed out solely seven at-massive bids to mid-majors after it took eleven in each of the previous two seasons.

Scottie Wilbekin

Scottie Wilbekin and the SEC champion Gators acquired to chop down the nets Sunday in Atlanta, and hope to do the identical in Arlington, Texas.

The Huge 12 led all conferences with seven teams, although winning the convention didn't transfer Iowa State previous the three line.

Other conference titles that did not change much:

• Saint Joe's was the champion of the six-bid Atlantic 10 and acquired a ten-seed while the staff the Hawks beat, VCU, was seeded fifth.

• Windfall went from the bubble to Big East champion and was seeded 11th.

Meanwhile, Kansas misplaced in the semifinals of the Big 12 however remained a 2-seed because of its rating within the RPI – No. three. The Jayhawks need to get by way of the primary weekend with out heart Joel Embiid, out with a back harm, however could face a 3rd-spherical sport in opposition to Mountain West champ New Mexico.

"Off the top of my head, I can not remember exactly what the conversation was about New Mexico," Wellman mentioned. "I can let you know the conversations about New Mexico were very positive."

In the West, Arizona's second sport might come towards eighth-seeded Gonzaga, which lost its second recreation as a No. 1 seed final year, or No. 9 Oklahoma State, which has one of the nation's best players in Marcus Sensible. The nation's prime scorer, Doug McDermott (26.9 factors per sport), is on the opposite facet of that bracket with No. 3 Creighton.

On Virginia's side of the East bracket is one group no person wants to play come event time – No. 4 Michigan State, which hadn't received back-to-again video games since late January but strung collectively three to win the nation's second-hardest conference.

"You do not get many groups which might be talented, have inside and outside, show toughness, are collectively, have nice chemistry," Spartans coach Tom Izzo said. "I've said thrice in my profession that I thought we have been adequate to get to a Final Four. I believed this staff was next in line."


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Cubs not sure when ailing Castro will return

MESA, Ariz. – Chicago Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro's return to the lineup has been indefinitely delayed as he deals with fluid in his leg from a hamstring injury suffered on March 2.

[+] EnlargeStarlin Castro

AP Picture/Ross D. FranklinShortstop Starlin Castro is taking his recovery from a hamstring harm in stride. "I don't wish to rush myself," Castro said. "If I can play in 10-12 games in spring coaching I feel I'll be good for the season."

Initially, the Cubs stated Castro can be out of the lineup for seven to 10 days, but on Friday morning, supervisor Rick Renteria gave no exact timetable on when Castro may play once more.

"I don't have a set date in my head proper now," Renteria mentioned. "That is all primarily based on how he is progressing. He's progressing well."

Earlier in the week, Castro indicated he might be back by this weekend, however Renteria mentioned he wouldn't play earlier than Monday. Now, Castro says it might be another week, as he is running at solely "forty %."

"I do not want to rush myself," Castro mentioned. "If I can play in 10-12 games in spring coaching I think I'll be good for the season."

The Cubs have 16 days of video games left on their spring schedule earlier than their season opener in Pittsburgh.

"He knows his body greater than I do," Renteria said. "He could possibly be seventy five-80 percent in three-four days. We simply don't know."

Castro injured his proper hamstring sliding into second base during the Cubs' second Cactus League sport. He hurt his left hamstring final spring and went on to have the worst season of his career, though the harm did not plague him in the course of the season. He started taking batting observe Thursday.

He wants to be one hundred pc come April and needs to get back to stealing bases once more. He had simply nine final season after swiping 25 in 2012.

"That is one in all my goals," Castro stated. "Steal lots of bases. I can do it as a result of I have a green gentle now. After I need to run, I run."

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Griffin pours in 37 as Clips take 8th in row

Griffin, Clippers Win Eighth Straight


L. A. – Blake Griffin is nothing short of a lightning rod – for teammates, opposing players and referees. He can also play any sort of game required to keep the Los Angeles Clippers close to the top of the Western Conference standings.

Griffin scored 22 of his 37 factors in the first quarter and made 14 of 16 photographs earlier than fouling out, and the Clippers beat the Phoenix Suns 112-a hundred and five on Monday evening for his or her eighth straight victory.

"I didn't even understand he had 22 within the first quarter till halftime," level guard Chris Paul stated. "I felt like the largest dummy, because he in all probability should have gotten the ball even more than he did. I know he will get off to good starts and stuff, but tonight it was crazy."

Things got testy with 5:28 remaining, as Griffin and P.J. Tucker started wrestling on the ground after they jockeyed for position in the paint on a missed three-level shot by Matt Barnes and Griffin fell on high of Tucker.

Blake Griffin and P.J. Tucker

Richard Mackson/USA AT THE MOMENT Sports activities

Blake Griffin and P.J. Tucker briefly scuffled on the ground within the fourth quarter, an change for which Tucker was ejected, while Griffin stayed within the sport – until he fouled out with three:23 remaining.

The 2 had to be separated, and the game was delayed while referees Bennie Adams, Jason Phillips and Matt Boland examined the video monitor to type it all out. Tucker was charged with a unfastened ball foul and then ejected, while Griffin stayed in the game – till he fouled out with three:23 remaining.

"You just sort of assess the play because it occurs," Griffin mentioned. "In the moment, I do not wish to put my crew or myself in a nasty scenario. So you simply have to weigh the professionals and cons at that time. Just to do one thing silly and get kicked out or suspended would not help. We already have injuries and guys who are banged up, so we don't need that."

The 4-time All-Star entered Monday having drawn a league-excessive 469 fouls, forty greater than Houston's Dwight Howard.

"Blake comes in and he does his job. They usually do not like it," coach Doc Rivers mentioned. "Blake will get hit as a lot as anybody. I think we now have all seen it, and it will get outdated. I do know it's very tough for him, however I believe he's doing the fitting thing. He puts his arms up – as a result of if he reacts, like some folks say he ought to, then he gets thrown out, he gets suspended, and it hurts the crew."

Darren Collison scored 20 factors and Paul added 17 factors and 11 assists for the Pacific Division leaders, who were 55.1 % from the field and improved to 23-1 when shooting a minimum of 50 p.c.

Goran Dragic had 23 factors and five assists throughout a foul-plagued 33 minutes for the Suns, who slipped a half-game behind idle Memphis for the final playoff spot in the West and are 1 half behind Dallas. Phoenix hasn't made the postseason since 2010 underneath coach Alvin Gentry, now a Clippers affiliate head coach.

"Give Phoenix credit. They're playing for his or her lives proper now and they want every win, so you knew they weren't going away," Rivers stated. "At least that is the way in which I felt on the bench."

Gerald Green, who had a career-excessive forty one factors for the Suns in final Thursday's 128-122 win over Oklahoma City, completed with sixteen factors after averaging 23.four over his previous thirteen games. Miles Plumlee, enjoying his second game after lacking the previous two because of a sprained proper knee, had 12 factors and nine rebounds as all five Suns starters scored in double figures.

Dragic came in averaging 20.5 points, third within the league amongst level guards behind Stephen Curry (23.5) and Kyrie Irving (21.5). But he picked up his third foul 2 minutes into the second quarter and wasn't a factor till the fourth, when the Suns rallied from a 19-level deficit with eight:11 remaining and received it all the way down to 109-105 on Dragic's layup with 32.5 seconds to play.

But that was as shut as they bought, as Barnes made three of 4 free throws to shut it out.

Los Angeles was leading one zero five-95 when Griffin picked up his sixth foul on a charge under the basket. Dragic made a pair of driving layups 28 seconds apart to slice the margin to one zero five-99 with 2:21 to go. But Paul responded with a sixteen-foot bank shot and two free throws for an eight-point cushion with 1:21 left.

"They got up early on us. We fell again and continued to play. It was just a type of conditions where it was too little, too late," Tucker mentioned. "It occurs to us quite a bit. In opposition to the top teams in the league, you'll be able to't get down by a lot early. Even coming again and making it shut on the end isn't enough.

"We ran out of gas."


Sport notes

Clippers G Jamal Crawford was on the inactive record for the fourth time in five video games due to a left calf strain. He tried to play via it during Saturday's win over Atlanta, but spent only 9 1-2 minutes on the courtroom and attempted two shots – each of which missed. "I don't know when he's coming again. I just do not know," Rivers said. "I did not assume he seemed good the opposite night time, just working. I do not become involved very often with that stuff, however he wasn't operating pure, so we'll just wait till he is back to playing 100%.".. The Clippers have scored at a hundred or extra factors in 16 straight home games since their loss to the Suns. It is their longest such streak for the reason that 1983-84 season, their last one in San Diego.


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Tiger tweaks back, fades with birdie-less 78

DORAL, Fla. – The back issues that induced Tiger Woods to withdraw from a match every week ago flared once more Sunday, resulting in an extended day on the golf course and the primary birdie-less closing spherical in his profession.

Woods shot a 6-over-par 78 at Doral's Blue Monster course to tumble out of contention at the WGC-Cadillac Championship and drop right into a tie for 25th, 9 strokes behind winner Patrick Reed.

It was a disappointing day on many levels for the top-ranked participant in the world, who began the round just three strokes out of the lead.

Woods said an ungainly stance from a fairway bunker at the par-four sixth hole sent his back into spasms that had been much like what induced him to withdraw from the Honda Basic a week ago after 13 holes.

"Nicely, it's powerful. I imply, it was only one thing that set it off,'' stated Woods, referring to a shot on the sixth gap. "As I say, I had a fast turnaround from final week. Usually issues like this, you shut it down for a while after which get again up and get the power and all the pieces developed round it.

"So will probably be nice to take this week off and get all the things ready for Bay Hill.''

Unlike Honda, Woods performed on Sunday, however he proceeded to bogey the sixth. It was apparent he was playing in ache, and particularly troublesome appeared to be his putting stroke. He missed quick birdie putts on each the eighth and 10th holes as it appeared he had trouble staying in his stance.

"Deeper the flexion, the worst it felt,'' he stated. "(Hitting) the driving force felt positive.''

Woods underwent remedy in the early a part of the week in an effort to play at Doral. He didn't have a full follow spherical, hitting only pitch pictures and putts on Wednesday. He opened the tournament with his worst rating ever at Doral, the place he has received 4 instances. The 76 left him well back, however he fought for a 73 in Friday's troublesome windy conditions after which shot 66 on Saturday, the low spherical of the week.

That put him in the second-to-final group, in a tie for fourth place coming into the final round. But Woods missed birdie chances at the first and second holes Sunday, had the bogeys at the third and fourth and then noticed his day unravel with the awkward stance on the sixth.

"My foot was out of the bunker,'' he mentioned. "That is what set it off after which it was accomplished after that. Simply see if I could truly handle via to maintain the spasms at bay. However anything in flexion was finished, so the deeper the flexion, the worse it felt.''

Tiger Woods

Tiger Woods' again flared up again Sunday, leaving him particularly uncomfortable on the greens at Doral.

Woods knew the lie might potentially offer up some problems, however he stated he never considered just pitching the ball out of the sand – versus taking an awkward stance and a full swing.

"It was only a easy 8 iron,'' he said. "The only factor you do on a downhill lie like that's simply go ahead. Ought to be no drawback but it was an issue.''

Woods was asked several questions about the severity of the harm afterward but didn't disclose details.

"It is the same factor (as the Honda)," Woods mentioned. "If it flares up, it flares up. It's just a matter of holding it calm, and we had a fast turnaround right here from last week. It could be good to have every week off the place I can shut it down and get some treatment.''

Requested if the harm was extra critical than back spasms, Woods mentioned, "Properly, it's back spasms, so we've completed all of the protocols and it's just a matter of keeping every little thing aligned so I don't go into that.''

Asked if he has had an MRI on his back, he replied: "As I stated, we have achieved all of the protocols.''

Woods is off to the worst begin of his profession, with a tie for 80th at the Farmers Insurance Open, a tie for forty first on the Dubai Desert Classic, the withdrawal from last week's Honda and now a tie for 25that Doral.

Woods at present has only one extra tournament scheduled previous to the Masters, the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill beginning March 20. In each of his 4 Masters victories, Woods had won no less than once prior to the year's first major.

For simply the eighth time in his career, Woods didn't make a birdie throughout a spherical on the PGA Tour. The last time that occurred was the primary round of the Tour Championship in September, when he was also suffered with again issues. Sunday was Woods' 1,096th spherical as a pro.

There seem like greater issues for Woods in the mean time, though.

"It is over,'' he stated when asked to measurement up the day. "It is finally over. Which is good.''

As for the plan going ahead, he added: "I do not know, simply let me get by means of this day, get some treatment and we'll assess it as time goes on.''


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Astros’ Singleton talks about addiciton to marijuana


Jonathan Singleton has admitted that he has a drug problem.
Jonathan Singleton has admitted that he has a drug drawback. (USATSI)


Astros first base prospect Jonathan Singelton has been suspended twice in the minor leagues for failing drug tests for marijuana. At the time of his second suspension, his official assertion noted a "lapse in judgement," but that truly wasn't true, based on Singleton himself.

In an interview with the Associated Press, Singleton revealed that he was hooked on pot and needed to enter a treatment program.

From the AP article:

"At this level it's fairly evident to me that I am a drug addict," he instructed The Related Press over breakfast on a recent day close to the Astros' camp. "I do not openly inform everybody that, but it surely's fairly apparent to myself."

Vividly so.

"I know that I enjoy smoking weed, I get pleasure from being excessive and I can't block that out of my mind that I get pleasure from that," he mentioned. "So I have to work towards that."


"I knew I had a problem," he said. "Even after I failed the second drug test I could not quit smoking weed. It was actually unhealthy. Me going there was positively the perfect move."

He didn't feel that approach when he first entered. Fearing the unknown, he says he did not sleep for three days straight.

"They might turn off the lights at eleven:30 and I might simply sit there and stare at the ceiling as a result of I couldn't fall asleep," he said. "My coronary heart was beating too fast. I might get evening sweats. It was unhealthy. I legitimately went through withdrawal."

Singleton desperately needed to leave and wasn't open to the recovery course of.

"However after I was there for therefore lengthy it just grew on me," he said. "I was like, 'I will be right here for 30 days, so I'd as nicely get the best out of it that I can.' I used it as a learning experience."

Singleton said he has now prevented marijuana for over a 12 months, however he also ran into habit once more within the type of alcohol.

"I went by means of some slight nervousness, some despair because I wasn't being profitable," he mentioned. "That was definitely difficult and that drove me to drink."

He admits to abusing alcohol as a substitute for marijuana, getting drunk virtually day-after-day and "waking up hung over every morning."

The story up to now has a cheerful ending, as Singleton confirmed up for camp clean and in reportedly in fine condition. The AP story additionally pointed out that Singleton is confident he won't relapse and is in a superb place proper now with himself.

As far as on-field efficiency, it is easy to see how he could have been affected last season by the alcohol. He hit220/.340/.347 with six homers in seventy three games in Triple-A. In 2012, he hit284/.396/.497 with 27 doubles and 21 homers in 131 video games for Double-A Corpus Christi. His energy upside – he's 6-foot-2, 235 kilos – is why he is been ranked as a consensus high-30 prospect in all of baseball. He has a shot to open the 2014 season with the Astros, but another stint in Triple-A seems more possible at this juncture.

Staying clean will go a good distance toward him reaching his immense ceiling. Good luck to Singleton on that entrance.

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Rockets cool off LeBron, survive late Heat comeback

HOUSTON – LeBron James was wiped out – and it confirmed.

Dwight Howard had 22 factors and 16 rebounds, James Harden added 21 factors and the Houston Rockets held James in examine Tuesday night time during a 106-103 victory towards the Miami Warmth.

James had a chance to tie the game with a desperation 3-pointer at the buzzer, but it surely was off – identical to most of his second-half photographs.

The four-time MVP completed with 22 factors, one evening after setting a club report with a career-excessive 61 against Charlotte. He acknowledged earlier than Tuesday's sport that he was "extremely tired" and that he spent most of the day sleeping.

James had 19 points by halftime, but appeared to pull at times in the second half and spent the first half of the fourth quarter on the bench. He was 1 for 7 after the break.

"I fought by way of it in the first half. Second half it just wasn't there for me," James stated. "Obtained out of rhythm."

Still, the Warmth minimize their deficit to a few when Michael Beasley hit a 3-pointer with 21.2 seconds left. Harden threw the ball away after that, and Howard by chance hit James in the face after they both went up to attempt to grab an extended move.

James lay on the court holding his damaged nostril for just a few seconds earlier than getting up and slowly strolling to the bench. He has been sporting a protective mask to guard his nostril.

James remained in the game after a timeout, then missed the desperation 3 with Howard in his face.

"I knew I had to put up a heave over top of him," James mentioned. "I felt like I received a very good look – just a little lengthy."

The Rockets used the phrase composed repeatedly after the game to describe their play.

"There's no need for us to get fearful," Howard mentioned of the workforce's mindset after Beasley's three. "Situations like that, the best thing we are able to do is stay composed. If we level our finger or put our heads down, it offers the other crew confidence. That is one thing we've been attempting to work on all yr."

Dwyane Wade had 24 points for the Warmth after sitting out Monday night. Beasley also scored 24, a season excessive.

Miami by no means led, but tied it twice within the fourth quarter. Houston used an 11-2 spurt to take a 104-95 lead with less than three minutes remaining.

"We were able to push again in the fourth quarter and tie the sport up," Wade stated. "But we needed to exhaust a lot energy attempting to come back back."

Houston led by thirteen early within the fourth before two separate runs by the Warmth tied it at ninety one with 7 minutes remaining. The additionally tied it at 93 before Houston used its late run to close it out.

"We did some great things," Rockets coach Kevin McHale mentioned. "We made some plays… I assumed during stretches on this recreation we performed rather well."

The Heat had made consecutive three-pointers to cut the lead to seven early within the fourth quarter when Chris Andersen blocked a shot by Donatas Motiejunas. Andersen stood underneath the basket after the block and taunted Motiejunas, drawing a technical foul.

Miami then used an eight-zero run, which included a three by Beasley, to cut it to 88-87 with 8½ minutes left.

Houston opened the second half with a 9-2 run capped by Chandler Parsons' dunk over James. Shane Battier had a basket for Miami after that, but Houston reeled off six straight points to increase the result in sixty eight-56.

An airball on a three-point attempt by Wade was considered one of three missed pictures by the Heat in that span.

The Rockets were up by 9 quickly after that when Harden launched a protracted alley-oop to Howard, who barely grabbed it in time to sail over Chris Bosh for the dunk.

Howard picked up a foul with about 5 minutes left in the first half when he bumped into James as he was driving to the basket, inflicting him to lose control of the ball, which bounced off James' masks.

A reverse layup by James and a free throw by Wade within the last 20 seconds of the first half minimize Houston's lead to fifty three-fifty two at halftime.

The Rockets jumped out to a 7-0 lead and had been up 39-32 on the end of the first quarter.


Corridor of Fame center Hakeem Olajuwon, and Houston Texans stars Andre Johnson and Arian Foster attended the game, as did Minnesota Vikings operating back Adrian Peterson and former Astros pitcher and 7-time Cy Younger Award winner Roger Clemens… James stated the very best compliments he received following his large game towards Charlotte came from the 2 most important ladies in his life. "My mom and my spouse saying how proud they had been of me and that I by no means cease to amaze them," he stated. "So it is always nice when your loved ones gives you that kind of gratitude and response."

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Dolphins’ Philbin: ‘I am responsible’ … to a point


Joe Philbin said he accepted players' vote to have Richie Incognito on leadership council. (USATSI)
Joe Philbin stated he accepted players' vote to have Richie Incognito on leadership council. (USATSI)



INDIANAPOLIS – Joe Philbin kicked off the 2014 NFL Combine by speaking with the media very first thing on Thursday morning and the coach, whereas ducking a number of questions about the future of players and of himself, took accountability for the nightmare state of affairs in Miami.

The report launched by Ted Wells on the incidents surrounding Richie Incognito and Jonathan Martin cast a dark light on the Dolphins locker room and while Philbin got no blame within the report, he took duty at the mix.

"I would like everyone to know I am the one who is responsible for the workplace atmosphere at the Miami Dolphins facility," Philbin said. "I am the one that sets the schedule. I determine when the practices are. I determine what time gamers eat, how they meet, when they depart, every part they do on the facility."

Claiming accountability and taking accountability are two different things, although. Philbin did the primary but wasn't prepared to fall on the sword for the actual issues.

Asked about making Incognito a pacesetter (Incognito was on the Dolphins leadership council), Philbin denied any knowledge.

“I did not necessarily make him a leader," Philbin mentioned. "The management council we've got in place – the process is the players elect the players they need to be on the leadership council. I respect the process and that is how the votes came in."

See, that is a problem. Philbin's ducking the culpability behind Incognito's place as a leader by mainly saying the players made the choice. That's a large red flag, right? It is one factor to "respect the process" or no matter. It's an entire completely different ballgame to not have the, ahem, fortitude to take a look at an obvious nightmare scenario and make changes.

Philbin, in case you consider what he stated on the mix, by no means knew in regards to the things happening between Incognito and Martin either. So what would he do otherwise? Well he "would hope" he'd notice what was occurring the subsequent time.

"I do not take pleasure in looking again. I would hope that I might've noticed some of these things," Philbin mentioned. "If I had heard this sort of language or these kind of acts being completed I would intervened instantly. There is a common decency that folks have to have toward each other. And when that gets violated that is a problem.

"I certainly want I'd seen a few of it."

Coulda, shoulda, etc. For now Philbin retains his job and, when asked about whether or not he was involved about his future employment, he simply referred inquiries to owner Stephen Ross.

Philbin did promise, nonetheless, to create "a better office."

"We will have a look at each avenue," Philbin mentioned. "We will uncover every stone and we will have a better office. I promise you that. I'll make sure that occurs."

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UNC: Athlete literacy study findings flawed

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – North Carolina's top academic officer stated Friday that studying specialist Mary Willingham's findings on athlete literacy ranges are flawed, although she stands firm that her research is "one hundred pc right."

In a gathering of the college's faculty council, provost James W. Dean Jr. mentioned there's "completely no basis whatsoever in the information set to make any declare in regards to the literacy of our pupil-athletes."

She's spent forty- and 50-hour weeks for seven years teaching athletes how you can read and write… The suggestion that somehow she is choosing on athletes, diminishing athletes, denigrating athletes is simply absurd.

- UNC historical past professor Jay Smith

In a CNN story last week, Willingham stated her analysis of 183 football or basketball players at UNC from 2004 to 2012 discovered 60 % reading at fourth- to eighth-grade levels and roughly 10 % under a 3rd-grade level. Dean mentioned the findings had been based largely on standardized scores in a ten-minute timed vocabulary test that is not an appropriate technique to measure literacy levels.

Dean referred to as it "flawed evaluation" and said it was unfair to use the information to say college students cannot learn. Dean mentioned the school will have outside consultants evaluate their evaluation of Willingham's data.

"I'm not playing some form of trick with this information," Dean mentioned. "This is not marginal. That is actually fairly central to the claims which were made. And I take no joy on this. I believe it's extremely sad, actually."

The varsity has stopped Willingham's research until she receives approval from the varsity's Institutional Evaluation Board (IRB), saying she will't continue to use knowledge with information that might identify the subjects.

In an electronic mail to The Related Press, Willingham stated she is scheduled to go before the review board next week to go through the approval course of.

"My information is 100 percent right," Willingham stated. "As well as, I worked with the overwhelming majority of the students within the data set on reading and writing expertise between 2004 and 2010.

"It's interesting that my IRB was pulled and I used to be instructed that I couldn't talk about it until it was resolved, in the meantime the provost is allowed to discuss the findings. That is what is actually faulty about all of this – and at a analysis college – wow. At UNC we shield our model at all prices."

School had an opportunity to ask questions of Dean, chancellor Carol Folt and admissions director Stephen Farmer throughout the council meeting after Dean's presentation.

Jay Smith, a history professor vital of how big-time sports activities affects UNC and other universities, defended Willingham's efforts during the session.

"She's spent 40- and 50-hour weeks for seven years instructing athletes the right way to read and write. Now that is a easy truth," Smith stated. "That's her expertise… However I've heard her tales. I understand how deeply it impacted her. The suggestion that someway she is choosing on athletes, diminishing athletes, denigrating athletes is simply absurd. I simply need to get that on the file."

Hassan Melehy, a French professor, called Dean's rebuttal to Willingham's research "a very convincing presentation" throughout the Q&A session. But he warned against being tempted to dismiss "all of the allegations of problems with the athletic program," mentioning years of fraud in a tutorial division that featured lessons with vital athlete enrollments.

"There was a pattern of denial right here," Melehy mentioned. "To me, at the moment, I do not see denial but it surely may very well be simply perceived as a sample of denial. All effort needs to be made to resist that – the temptation to make use of this as a pretext to insist that there's nothing fallacious."

Willingham provided her analysis information to the university earlier this week. By Thursday, the school had launched an analysis from its admissions office saying that greater than ninety seven p.c of 1,377 first-year pupil-athletes admitted via special-expertise policies between 2004-12 met testing thresholds used in the CNN report – a four hundred on the SAT essential studying or writing test, or a 16 on the ACT – about reading levels for first-12 months students nationally.

"We're working really, really onerous to be sure that every pupil who we settle for right here – whether they're an athlete or not – can be profitable," Dean mentioned after Friday's council meeting. "I do not assume we're there but. This was not really about there is not any downside. This was just about is this information, does it mean what folks have mentioned that it means? Unfortunately the reply is not any."


Sources: Irish, Under Armour deal worth $90M

Notre Dame and Underneath Armour announced Tuesday that they have agreed to essentially the most priceless shoe and attire contract in college sports historical past.

The non-public school didn't reveal the value of the 10-yr deal, which is able to start when its contract with adidas expires on the finish of June, but sources told that the worth of the deal, in money and merchandise mixed, is worth about $90 million.

That might make the deal price greater than the $eighty two million adidas is paying in money and product to Michigan over 10 years.

Notre Dame
Notre Dame and Underneath Armour have agreed to a ten-year deal price $90 million in cash and merchandise mixed, according to sources, that makes it the richest shoe and attire deal in faculty sports.

The deal may ultimately be worth even more to the Fighting Irish, as Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick famous that it allows the college to take a number of the cash in company inventory.

As of 12:30 p.m. ET Tuesday, shares of Under Armour have been up more than 3 p.c on the day and up greater than 80 % over final year.

Below Armour CEO Kevin Plank mentioned he first set foot on the Notre Dame campus in 1997, coincidentally the 12 months that adidas' first deal with the school started. That 12 months, Plank mentioned Underneath Armour's revenues had been $110,000. In 2013, Under Armour initiatives sales of $2.25 billion.

"We love the company we're partnering with, and we will not wait to develop with them," Swarbrick mentioned. "We do not believe we're partnering with a $2 billion firm. We're partnering with a $20 billion firm."

Swarbrick mentioned that whereas followers' focus could be on the uniforms, this deal is as a lot about working with Below Armour to share info that can improve know-how.

"We're in a really competitive business the place the margins between a 12-win season and an eight-win season are so small," he stated. "Mining the info is among the next frontiers, and provided that this deal is 10 years, we better be focused on those issues."

Underneath Armour presently has schoolwide offers with 12 other schools: Auburn, Hawaii, Maryland, Texas Tech, Boston Faculty, Utah, Northwestern, St. John's, Navy, Colorado State, South Florida and South Carolina.

Regardless of a history of pushing the envelope, Plank said he understands what Notre Dame means and says his company will deal with the varsity as a singular entity.

"Texas Tech is completely different from Maryland is different from Notre Dame," Plank mentioned. "We do not have to invent any new history. We do not have to tell any new tales. Notre Dame is sort of merely Notre Dame."

In an announcement that famous its 17-year partnership would come to an finish after this school yr, adidas said, "As with each business choice, we weigh our funding against the value to our model."

One point within the talks that was not negotiable was Under Armour getting any signage in Notre Dame Stadium.

"It is simply a type of issues that's just so central to our identity," Swarbrick mentioned. "We need to be Augusta-like in that method, and that is why after we discussed it one time it was by no means brought up in dialog once more.

"As an alternative, I agreed to let them put their emblem on the athletic director."

Florida St. rallies to defeat Auburn, win title

Florida State Wins BCS Nationwide Championship


PASADENA, Calif. – For all Jameis Winston had finished as a redshirt freshman for Florida State, he never had to pull the Seminoles from the brink of defeat.

Within the largest sport of the year, down by four with 79 seconds left, the Heisman Trophy winner put together the drive of his life, and the Seminoles proved they might take a punch to win a championship.

Winston threw a 2-yard landing go to Kelvin Benjamin with 13 seconds left and No. 1 Florida State beat No. 2 Auburn 34-31 to win the BCS national title recreation on Monday night.

"There's a lot of coronary heart and guts down in Tallahassee, too," coach Jimbo Fisher said.

The Bowl Championship Sequence went out with a bang, with top-of-the-line title games in its sixteen-yr history. It will be replaced by a 4-group playoff subsequent season. And the Southeastern Convention's seven-year winning streak in faculty football's greatest recreation was snapped by the Atlantic Coast Convention college that played in the first three BCS title video games but hadn't been back since.

Florida State was voted a unanimous No. 1 within the last AP High 25. Auburn completed second.

Winston struggled much of the night time but was close to perfect when the Seminoles (14-zero) needed it most, going 6 for 7 for 77 yards on the game-profitable 80-yard drive.

"It was the most effective football sport he's performed all yr," Fisher mentioned, "and I will tell you why, because for 3 quarters he was up and down and he fought.

"And to drag it out within the ambiance and environment and with what was on the road tonight, to me if that is not an ideal participant, I don't know who's."

Winston was 20 for 35 for 237 yards and two fourth-quarter touchdown passes. He zipped the Seminoles down the field on the final drive, with a 49-yard catch and run from Rashad Green.

Florida State also bought assist from Auburn, too. A pass interference penalty on Chris Davis on third-and-eight from the 10 gave Florida State a first down on the 2.

"Thought it was nice protection. That is all I can say," Davis stated, including, the officials "ought to have just let us play."

On the subsequent play Winston flipped excessive to the 6-foot-5 Benjamin for the landing.

"As soon as the ball is within the air on that put up route, I've obtained to go get it, and I did," Benjamin said. "Easy as that."

There was no miracle end this time for the turnaround Tigers, who went from three-9 to SEC champions of their first season under coach Gus Malzahn. They tossed the ball around on one final play, nevertheless it ended with Florida State leaping on a fumble, and the Seminoles sprinting onto the field below a storm of garnet and gold confetti.

Florida State scored 21 points within the fourth quarter, and the groups combined for twenty-four in a breathtaking last four:forty two.

"It felt storybook again," Auburn defensive sort out Gabe Wright mentioned. "It really felt like we were going to bring it out once more. We're simply on the opposite finish of the stick. It's normally us going out on the field and celebrating. It has been a long time since we had an `L' in this locker room."

Auburn won 9 straight to get here after beginning the season unranked.

Tre Mason gave Auburn (12-2) a 31-27 lead with a 37-yard landing run with 1:19 left after Kermit Whitfield had put Florida State within the lead for the first time since the first quarter with a one hundred-yard kickoff return to make it 27-24 with four:31 left.

Mason ran for 195 yards and Nick Marshall threw two landing passes for the Tigers.

"I informed them in the locker room, we put collectively the most important turnaround in the history of school football. We were on the brink of making it one of those magical seasons," Malzahn said.

Florida State hadn't been challenged like this all season, successful by an average of 42 factors.

Florida State and Winston's greatest downside this season got here off the sphere. Winston was investigated for a year-outdated sexual assault grievance in November, but after three weeks the Florida state attorney's office determined it did not have sufficient evidence to charge him.

Winston, who turned 20 Monday, told his teammates before the ultimate drive: "Guys, we did not come here for no reason.' I said `Y'all, that is ours, man."

The Seminoles have been down 21-three within the first half, and wobbling, but by no means fell over.

And now Florida State is nationwide champion for the first time since 1999, the first staff to win the BCS title game after being down at halftime.

Winston was jumpy against a robust Auburn pass rush, led by Dee Ford. Winston was sacked four times.

The Seminoles cut it to 21-10 with a late landing in the second quarter, following a faked punt and a troublesome 21-yard run by Winston, and chipped into Auburn's lead with a forty one-yard discipline goal by Roberto Aguayo with 6:05 left within the third.

Meanwhile, Florida State had discovered some answers to Auburn's spread offense. A holding penalty that wiped out a protracted pass also helped keep the Tigers scoreless in the third quarter, and the Seminoles started the fourth with P.J. Williams intercepting Marshall's cross and organising Florida State at its 38.

When Winston tossed within the flats to Chad Abram, who hurdled over a tackler on the way to an 11-yard touchdown, the lead was 21-19. Florida State was considering going for two to tie, however Devonta Freeman was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct and that pushed the additional point again 15 yards and compelled the Seminoles to kick and make it 21-20.

Auburn responded with Cody Parkey's 22-yard field aim to make it 24-20 with four:forty two left.

During Winston's report-breaking season, full of blowouts and fourth quarters spent watching from the sideline, he by no means confronted a scenario wherein he had to drive his workforce to a winning score.

Now he had an opportunity to add that last line to his remarkable resume – until Whitfield handled it for him.

Whitfield broke by means of a seam around the 30 and hit the sideline at full velocity. Fisher ran down the other sideline yelling "Go! Go!" with Winston chasing behind pumping his arms and slapping his coach on the again. Florida State was on high, however Auburn was not performed and Winston can be known as upon one final time.

He delivered.

"Only thing is we're victorious and glad to say Florida State is the national champion again, and I assure you we're bringing that swag back," Winston stated. "You'd better imagine it."

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Clattenburg insulted Lallana, Southampton claim


Southampton have accused referee Mark Clattenburg of "abusing and insulting" their captain Adam Lallana throughout a 2-1 defeat at Goodison Park last month, the Every day Mail has reported.

Mark Clattenburg return Southampton v Norwich

PA PhotographsThe accusation in opposition to Clattenburg will likely be investigated by Mike Riley.

The south coast membership are reported to have written to Premier League officers to request that Clattenburg doesn't referee any of their matches until an investigation has been carried out.

The alleged incident happened when England worldwide Lallana appealed for a penalty late in the game when his cross appeared to strike Everton defender Antolin Alcaraz's hand inside the area.

Clattenburg rejected that appeal, however referees' chief Mike Riley will now examine the Southampton allegations about what adopted his choice.

The Mail reported that "sources near the incident" had stated Clattenburg spoke to Lallana in a way that's "not what you may count on of one of many sport's prime officials."

That led the Saints to jot down to the Skilled Sport Match Officers Ltd board to register their complaints, with a response to that letter expected inside the subsequent week.

St Mary's boss Mauricio Pochettino was critical of Clattenburg's resolution-making after the game, saying his aspect should have been awarded not one but two spot-kicks.

He mentioned: "I don't mean any disrespect towards any referees, however anybody watching the game can see there have been two clear penalties that weren't given or should have been given."

Pochettino stated he believed his facet's "younger and pleasant" picture was costing them selections in big games.

"We now have been suffering all season lengthy," he mentioned. "Many injustices have gone against us. It is easier to referee a Southampton aspect that are all younger, pleasant players. It is extremely simple to have decisions not go for us. It is a lot easier to have selections to go towards us.

"We just want Southampton to be refereed with the identical rigour as all different clubs are judged. We wish the same treatment as all different golf equipment. Nothing better, nothing worse – just the same.

"We don't want to be judged by the younger, good-looking players that we've. We do not want to be judged in that sense. We need to be judged in the same method, being judged by the identical rigour, in the identical means that every one different clubs are."

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Curry pours in 36 as Warriors pile it on Heat

Warriors Win Seventh Straight


MIAMI – Recreation-high in points. Game-high in assists. Recreation-excessive in steals. Oh, and for good measure, he made as many 3-pointers as all the Miami Warmth roster.

Stephen Curry had another night time to recollect.

And the Golden State Warriors continued their surge.

Curry completed with 36 points, 12 assists, four steals and made eight 3-pointers, David Lee completed with 32 factors and 14 rebounds, and the Warriors ran past the Warmth 123-114 Thursday night to extend the NBA's longest present successful streak to seven games.

"Curry was spectacular," Warriors coach Mark Jackson said. "If he would not make the All-Star team, I would retire."

If the Warmth had a vote, Jackson's job could be protected.

"Probably the greatest shooters this NBA will see," Heat star LeBron James mentioned. "I mean, if you will discover a better shooter than him right now, particularly with the best way he handles the ball – and the light that he has, it is greater than green, it's fluorescent – you simply hope that he misses."

He did miss a few. Just not very many.

Curry was 13 for 22 from the floor, eight of 15 from past the arc. Lee made thirteen of 17 photographs. The Warriors made 15 three-pointers; the Warmth managed solely eight.

"It's a good experience in opposition to a championship-caliber team," Curry mentioned. "They know tips on how to get it achieved so to return in here and play the way we did, it exhibits we're on the fitting path."

Klay Thompson scored 16 points and Harrison Barnes added 15 for the Warriors.

James scored 26 points and Dwyane Wade added 22 for the Warmth, who had all five starters in double figures. Chris Bosh scored 19, Mario Chalmers had 17 and Shane Battier added eleven for Miami.

However the Warmth allowed Golden State to shoot fifty six %, plus finish with a forty-31 rebounding edge.

"They performed a heck of a ball sport," Warmth coach Erik Spoelstra mentioned. "They deserved to win this one."

About the only blip for the Warriors were turnovers. They'd 20, which Miami changed into 32 points. Without those, this may need been rather a lot worse.

"More than anything it retains the ball rolling," Lee stated after matching his season-excessive for scoring. "Anytime you play the champions like this it is a measuring level. Tonight was no exception."

They were sizzling from the get-go. The Warriors opened by making eleven of their first 13 pictures – and somewhat unbelievably, had been trailing at time, down 29-28 for a couple of seconds late within the first quarter.

Golden State scored on 14 of its first 21 possessions and led 38-33 after the opening quarter, placing up the highest point total for any period towards the Heat this season. Issues cooled, albeit slightly, in the second, and the Warriors went into the break with a 65-sixty one advantage.

After which the third quarter was all about Curry.

He was dazzling, wowing Julius Erving at one finish, Johnny Manziel on the opposite and just about frustrating the Heat in any respect factors in between.

"Nothing you can do," Wade mentioned. "You contest it and hope he misses."

Curry went on a private 7-0 run early in the interval, all of them jumpers, one the place he gave a fast look-back to James after a excessive-arcing, excessive-difficulty connection from the appropriate nook. That barrage gave Golden State a 13-point lead, and a 3 from Curry put the Warriors up 91-seventy six with 3:27 left in the quarter.

Curry had 14 in the quarter, matching his output from the whole first half. The lead was all the way down to 9 getting into the fourth, down to 6 when James made a 3-pointer with 5:18 left – however Curry's ultimate three of the night time pushed the margin back to nine with about 3 minutes remaining, and the Heat by no means obtained closer.

"Classic Steph," Lee stated.

Game notes

Golden State's 123 factors were probably the most allowed by the Warmth at home in a non-time beyond regulation game since James, Wade and Bosh became teammates… Attendance was 20,350, tying the largest house common-season crowd for the Heat at AmericanAirlines Arena… The one others with at the least 35 points and 12 assists towards Miami in a sport: Michael Jordan and Allen Iverson


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Top-rated Fournette picks LSU at UA game

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – The highest-rated participant in the country, Leonard Fournette (New Orleans/Saint Augustine), ended months of hypothesis by committing to LSU within the fourth quarter of Thursday's Beneath Armour All-America sport.

Fournette was one in every of seven ESPN 300 prospects who made their decisions throughout the game on ESPN, with one other committing hours later.

The 6-foot-1, 226-pound Fournette chose LSU over Alabama and Texas.

The five-star running back has been tight-lipped about his recruitment throughout the process, but stated his relationship with LSU running backs coach Frank Wilson and head coach Les Miles led to his decision.

"I chose LSU because I felt dwelling there," Fournette stated. "I have an amazing relationship with both coaches, Coach Miles and Coach Frank. The choice was made yesterday when I used to be speaking to my mother and father late at evening about what school I wished to attend. I used to be type of going back and forth, so at the finish of the day I prayed on it and I woke up and I felt that LSU was going to be the place for me."

Fournette's resolution came as welcome information for the Tigers. 5 gamers who announced their decisions on the Below Armour sport had LSU as a finalist, but solely two, including Fournette, chose the Tigers.

With the addition of the top-ranked player, LSU now has 18 commitments, together with 14 ranked within the ESPN 300. Fournette will seemingly have a chance to see the field early in his career. The Tigers did not land a running back in the 2013 class and have just one other working again commit in the 2014 class, three-star Darrel Williams (Marrero, La./John Ehret).

NOIL JOINS PROFICIENT TEXAS A&M CLASS: No. 8 recruit Speedy Noil (New Orleans/Edna Karr) dedicated to Texas A&M.

Noil, a 5-star athlete, said he chose the Aggies over in-state LSU largely because of the environment he experienced in School Station when he went there on his official visit Sept. 13.

"It felt like residence when I went on my official go to," Noil mentioned. "I look ahead to taking my abilities to A&M."

With Noil's dedication, the Aggies now have 21 verbal commitments, including eleven in the ESPN 300. He joins DE Myles Garrett, a fellow Below Armour All-American, because the five-star pledges for Aggies coach Kevin Sumlin.

INJURED DB BROWN ROLLS TO TIDE: Despite lacking Thursday's sport because of a shoulder damage suffered earlier within the week, five-star defensive back Tony Brown (Beaumont, Texas/Ozen) dedicated to Alabama over LSU and Ohio State.

The decision by Brown, the No. 4-ranked cornerback and the No. eleven player overall in the ESPN 300, comes as considerably of a shock considering his older sister, Bealoved, runs monitor for LSU.

Alabama strengthened the nation's No. 1 recruiting class, which now has 25 commitments, together with 18 ranked in the ESPN 300. Brown is the third 5-star player who has dedicated to the Crimson Tide.

NO. 15 OVERALL CHOOSES ARIZONA OVER BAMA: Maybe the largest surprise occurred in the third quarter when Jalen Tabor (Washington, D.C./Friendship Academy), the No. 15 player recruit within the ESPN 300, dedicated to Arizona over Alabama.

Tabor had Alabama, Florida and Maryland close to the top of his list for several months, however the Wildcats started to maneuver up it after a visit on Nov. 15.

"After I went on my visit, it was nearly a household ambiance," Tabor stated. "They play for each other, and I consider I can provide a spark right away."

With the addition of Tabor, Arizona now has 28 commitments, including 5 ranked in the ESPN 300. Tabor is the workforce's highest-rated commit.

No. 22 OVERALL RECOMMITS TO ALABAMA: Hours after Alabama picked up the commitment from Brown, No. 22 Laurence Jones (Monroe, La./Neville) introduced he again shall be part of the Crimson Tide's class.

"I just talked to my mom about it," Jones stated. "I really admire the way in which Ole Miss tried to maintain recruiting me, and I actually recognize the teaching workers from Ole Miss. They had been like the one school I was nonetheless talking to after I decommitted from Alabama, but I simply felt more at residence at Alabama."

Jones, the No. 2 safety, informed the employees this week that he likely was headed back to the Crimson Tide.

"I informed them there was going to be an amazing chance I used to be going to come back, however I wasn't for certain I was going to come back again. They instructed me to take my time, go wherever I am completely happy at, wished me the best of luck wherever I ended up, however they told me they hoped I got here again," Jones mentioned.

Jones first committed to Nick Saban and his staff Dec. 2, but backed off his verbal commitment Dec. 18.

NO. 3-RANKED SAFETY TO LSU: Jamal Adams (Lewisville, Texas/Hebron), the No. 3-ranked security within the ESPN 300 and the 23rd player general, dedicated to LSU over Florida and Texas A&M during the second quarter.

The 6-foot, 204-pound Adams, a four-star prospect, mentioned his comfort stage with the Tigers was what ultimately led to his determination.

"I just felt extra comfortable there," Adams mentioned. "The opportunity at LSU is there for me. I'm just ready to go win some national championships."

As a senior, Adams had 75 tackles on protection and in addition totaled more than 1,000 all-purpose yards for Hebron.

MOM ONCE MORE DISSATISFIED BY SON'S ALTERNATIVE: Two years after she publicly disapproved of older son Landon Collins selecting Alabama over LSU, April Justin was once more dissatisfied as youthful son Gerald Willis III (New Orleans/Edna Karr) selected Florida over the Tigers.

It was a lot-wanted good news for the Gators, who earlier within the week lost a commitment from No. 20 recruit Dalvin Prepare dinner

Willis III, the No. 3-ranked defensive sort out and the No. 29 participant general, chose the Gators over LSU and Alabama.

"I will take my abilities to Gainesville, Fla.," Willis said when he announced his commitment. "Go Gators."

His mom did not appear as upset as she did two years ago but nonetheless didn't appear thrilled.

"It is what it is," Justin said. "Florida Gators, that's the place we'll be. LSU is still No. 1."

The Gators now have 19 commitments, together with eleven ranked within the ESPN 300.

SEMINOLES LAND NO. 7 WR: Travis Rudolph (West Palm Seaside, Fla./Cardinal Newman) verbally dedicated to Florida State within the second quarter. The No. sixty one player in the ESPN 300 stunned many and committed to the Seminoles over Alabama, which he had named his leader earlier in the week.

"First day on campus, I simply felt like it was the place to be," the nation's No. 7 broad receiver mentioned. "I prayed on it and thought about it and that is where I needed to be."

With the addition of Rudolph, FSU now has 29 verbal commitments, together with 12 ranked within the ESPN 300.

The Seminoles have had an excellent week of recruiting. Earlier within the week, Cook switched his commitment from Florida to the Noles. Lorenzo Featherston (Greensboro, N.C./Web page), the No. 27 participant in the nation, committed to FSU on Wednesday.


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Bortles, No. 15 UCF upset Baylor in Fiesta

Bortles, UCF Slug Baylor In Fiesta Bowl


GLENDALE, Ariz. – Blake Bortles rolled proper, crashed into two defenders and floated a cross to an open receiver just before happening. The 2 gamers who had a bead on Central Florida's quarterback stayed on the bottom, every pounding his palms into the turf because the receiver ran up the sideline.

Out of reach all game, the Knights pulled off one of many greatest upsets of the bowl season by outlasting the nation's prime offensive group in a rousing BCS debut.

Bortles stymied Baylor with his arm and legs whereas accounting for 4 touchdowns, Storm Johnson ran for three more scores, and No. 15 Central Florida turned the highest-scoring Tostitos Fiesta Bowl into a giant-play get together by outlasting the sixth-ranked Bears fifty two-forty two on Wednesday night time.

"There's not many exterior of us who consider we had an opportunity, but we did and I feel we confirmed what UCF football is all about," Bortles said.

Central Florida (12-1) wasn't given a lot of a chance, coming into the sport as a 17-point underdog.

The Knights did not care about the spread and certainly didn't back down from the massive, dangerous Bears, racing past Baylor with an array of huge plays.

They took an early 14-point lead and kept rolling, piling up 556 complete yards within the second-highest scoring BCS bowl ever.

Bortles, the junior who could be weighing a jump to the NFL, was the catalyst, throwing for three touchdowns on 20-of-31 passing and working for 93 yards and another rating.

Rannell Hall accounted for among the largest plays, catching 4 passes for 113 yards and two touchdowns. Johnson stored Baylor from ganging up on UCF's passing sport, grinding out 124 yards on 20 carries.

A lot for not having a shot.

"It's an important win, a fantastic feeling for everyone who's been by this system," UCF coach George O'Leary stated.

Known for its offensive prowess, Baylor (11-2) had a hard time maintaining with the Knights.

The Huge 12 champions finished with 550 total yards but were uncharacteristically undisciplined, getting 17 penalties for a hundred thirty five yards.

Bryce Petty tried to maintain the Bears in it, working for 3 touchdowns while throwing for 356 yards and two extra scores. Lache Seastrunk had some big runs in the first half and completed with 117 yards.

None of it was enough, with the way UCF ran through Baylor's protection.

"We caught a football staff that was sizzling," Baylor coach Artwork Briles mentioned. "They performed extremely properly early, obtained into us. We tried to play catch-up the whole recreation, never could flip it round when it wanted turning."

The Fiesta Bowl was the BCS coming-out celebration for Baylor and Central Florida earlier than faculty football's swap to a playoff system next season.

The Bears had been building toward this since Briles became coach in 2009, winding up his high-octane offense to steer the nation in scoring and churn out the second-most yards in Football Bowl Subdivision history.

Central Florida had a slower rise underneath O'Leary.

The coach, who was fired by Notre Dame five days after being hired for lying on his résumé, has built his popularity again up in Orlando, taking a program that went winless in 2004 to the inaugural American Athletic Convention title and computerized BCS berth this season.

The matchup was projected to be just like the 2011 Fiesta Bowl, through which mighty Oklahoma rolled over Connecticut 48-20.

The Knights weren't listening.

They opened with a seventy six-yard scoring drive capped by Johnson's sort out-breaking, 11-yard landing run. Johnson scored again on UCF's next possession, this time on a 2-yard run.

The early 14-0 lead was expected. The staff main wasn't.

Baylor finally revved up its offense late in the first quarter, scoring on a 1-yard TD sneak by Petty, and Central Florida appeared as if it was ready to collapse with turnovers on three consecutive plays.

Baylor turned only a kind of into points: a 30-yard cross from Petty to Levi Norwood. Petty adopted Johnson's fumble with an interception in the long run zone, simply his third of the season.

"Unfortunately, that was the turning point in the sport," Petty mentioned. "We needed that to avoid wasting momentum up for us, particularly after a turnover. Turnovers in the red zone kill an offense."

Then came the spectacular plays, seemingly one after another.

Corridor darted and dashed via Baylor's protection for a 50-yard landing on a display screen pass, with help from Josh Reese's downfield block.

Petty hurtled himself into the tip zone, flipping over UCF's Brandon Alexander to cap a thirteen-yard run. That gave Baylor 659 factors, breaking the NCAA record for a 13-recreation season set by Texas (652) in 2005.

The momentum was gone shortly after, when Corridor turned a swing cross right into a 34-yard touchdown – assisted again by Reese – to put the Knights up 28-20 at halftime.

Petty scored his third touchdown on 1-yard run within the third quarter and dashed in for the 2-point conversion to tie the game, however Central Florida still wouldn't back down.

Bortles hit Breshad Perriman on a ten-yard landing pass and opened the fourth quarter by scoring on a 15-yard run to place the Knights up 42-28.

Even after Baylor moved quickly for a 9-yard touchdown run by Glasco Martin, UCF had a solution, going up 49-35 on Johnson's forty-yard run by the heart of the Bears' protection.

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Berenson, 74, at center stage in Alumni festivities


Berenson takes the ceremonial faceoff from Nick Lidstrom. (Getty Images)
Berenson takes the ceremonial faceoff from Nick Lidstrom. (Getty Photos)



DETROIT – There have been so many former greats from the Red Wings and Maple Leafs that needed to participate in the Alumni Showdown previous to Wednesday's Winter Classic that they had to make two games. It is a good thing they did because it gave everyone an opportunity to marvel at Red Berenson.

The seventy four-12 months-outdated took the ice and didn't look out of kinds in any respect within the first of the 2 alumni games at Comerica Park, house of the Detroit Tigers. Suiting up for the Red Wings, Berenson fit proper in with players a lot, a lot younger than him.

"I used to be impressed with Red Berenson at seventy four years previous. He's my idol," Leafs alumnus Brad Marsh mentioned. "I hope I can work hard sufficient to play in these alumni classics when I'm seventy four. I am 55 now so you can do the math.

Berenson hasn't performed within the NHL since 1978 when he finished out his career with the Blues, 36 years ago. He fooled everyone on that front.

Berenson, who is now recognized as one of if not the most effective coach in NCAA hockey history just down the street at the College of Michigan, was literally doing it all for the Wings. Even with legendary coach Scotty Bowman on the bench, welcomed to the field by a loud roar from the gang readily available, within the waning mseconds of the sport it was Berenson doing the teaching.

With the Wings holding onto a 5-4 lead and with a timeout on the ice, Berenson was at the bench diagramming the play for the defensive zone faceoff.

"Possibly as a result of my head was into it because I do this day by day as a coach. Scotty put me out there and knew that I might determine it out, wouldn't screw it up," Berenson mentioned. Marsh was actually impressed.

"The final faceoff was massively spectacular how onerous he was on the puck," Marsh mentioned of Berenson. "He simply clamped right down. It's impressive."

The Wings held on but it surely wasn't really in regards to the score. In spite of everything, it is a game for fun and an opportunity to see some legendary gamers taking part in as soon as once more. It was a chance for guys to benefit from the game once extra in front of huge crowd and out of doors with some snow flakes falling every so often. And it was a chance for Berenson to indicate off he's still obtained it.

"I feel I'm fortunate. I have been able to keep within the game and stay round young youngsters playing faculty hockey and I am on the ice with them," Berenson mentioned. "However I can let you know I'm simply lucky. I just feel honored to be able to play in this even with guys who are much youthful than me."

From the sounds of it, all of them felt more honored to play with him.

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Seahawks’ Harvin to practice, eyes playoffs

RENTON, Wash. – Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll stated Monday afternoon that receiver Percy Harvin will observe this week, a shock announcement after Carroll's comments earlier within the day.

In the six hours between Carroll's radio show Monday morning and his afternoon news conference, one thing changed with Harvin's standing.

Percy Harvin

Otto Greule Jr/Getty PhotosPercy Harvin has played in only one game this season resulting from injury however is anticipated to apply this week for the Seahawks.

On his 710 ESPN Seattle radio present, Carroll gave each indication that Harvin would not return for the playoffs. But he had a very different message later in the day.

"Percy will apply with the intention of playing next game," Carroll mentioned. "It has come to that time. He needs to contribute on this staff."

On Monday morning, Carroll sounded discouraged about Harvin.

"It has been a very difficult struggle for Percy," Carroll mentioned on his radio present. "It's a personal thing proper now.

"He has worked actually arduous to get again however has not been able to make it over the hump. He'll want the offseason to essentially get back to full power. We may have a rare football player able to go next yr. We'll take a look this week and see the place we are and then know more."

By Monday afternoon, Carroll was far more optimistic.

"It is going to be a great thing for him [if he plays]," Carroll mentioned. "This man is a true competitor. To his credit, he has not given up on it. He's at a spot the place he has a chance. We'll see what happens."

Harvin took to Twitter to say he plans to be back for the Seahawks' divisional-spherical playoff sport.

In what has been one of the most successful seasons in Seahawks history, Harvin clearly has been the largest disappointment with a hip injury that restricted him to a couple plays in one game towards his former Minnesota teammates Nov. 17.

Harvin, who signed a $sixty seven million, six-year cope with Seattle in March, had main hip surgical procedure Aug. 1 to restore a torn labrum. He has not played again since returning six weeks ago because of soreness and irritation in his hip.

"It's way more complicated than simply that," Carroll said. "It was main surgery, and people typically take years to get over it. He's trying to do it in months. And not simply to be a normal particular person strolling down the road. It is a very delicate state of affairs. There is no recreation plan here and no strategy. We're simply pulling for him."

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Longhorns ‘shocked, upset’ by resignation

AUSTIN, Texas – Five days after Mack Brown stepped down as Texas coach, the Longhorns' players admitted they had been "shocked" and "upset" by the transfer and never noticed it coming.

Ten players met with reporters Thursday for the primary time since Brown introduced his resignation, and their message was constant: They're disenchanted his 16-12 months tenure is ending they usually wish to send him off with one last victory.

"It's been a long season, a tricky season," middle Dominic Espinosa said. "We wish to exit on top, but there's also that factor that it might be nice for him to type of trip off into the sunset."

It's been a protracted season, a troublesome season. We wish to go out on high, however there's additionally that issue that it could be great for him to form of ride off into the sunset.

- Texas middle Dominic Espinosa
on Longhorns coach Mack Brown

Brown delivered the information to his workforce Saturday afternoon following a follow for the Valero Alamo Bowl. His players say Brown hasn't acted any otherwise in bowl practices, and they're attempting to treat it like any other week.

"It was positively stunning," defensive finish Jackson Jeffcoat mentioned. "Just the timing of it, we did not expect it. You always hear issues floating around, at all times hear rumors, but you never really take note of it until one thing happens.

"It really upset us when it happened. He made his decision and he's still coaching for this recreation, so we have got to prepare for this."

Texas takes on No. 10 Oregon on Dec. 30 in San Antonio. For quarterback Case McCoy and at least 19 of his teammates, that is also their remaining recreation in burnt orange.

They'd like nothing greater than to offer Brown a correct ship-off to a Longhorn career that started in 1998.

Brown has been teaching Texas since McCoy can bear in mind watching school football, and he can't think about the way it'll really feel to see someone else leading this system in 2014.

"It'll be a different world for all of us," McCoy mentioned. "There are your execs and cons to that. You get new power in here and everybody will probably be energized to see what happens. There will be more critiques."

While McCoy acknowledged his teammates were trying to find out the latest about Brown's destiny on Twitter per week in the past, they're making an attempt to not focus on the coaching search and hypothesis about who will comply with Brown.

Junior cornerback Quandre Diggs has a tough time picturing anybody else as his head coach next season. Both he and his older brother, Denver Broncos cornerback Quentin Jammer, bought a chance to play for Brown and are close with him.

"It will be strange, man," Diggs stated. "Simply not having him on the sideline with us, not having him working to practices and simply seeing him round shall be completely different. But that is what Coach Brown felt like was one of the best thing to do. We've simply received to adjust to it and prepare for it, I guess."

Fellow junior Cedric Reed stated he's still considering getting into the NFL draft but won't touch upon his plans until after the bowl. The defensive end finished with 9 sacks and 18 tackles for a loss in the common season.

PhillipsWe love Coach Brown. We're just going to combat with Coach Brown to the last straw, and that'll be against Oregon. We have got to send him out right.

- Texas security Adrian Phillips

To some extent, the gamers had been making ready for this news all season; they've heard the rumors since Texas started the season 1-2 with losses to BYU and Ole Miss.

Senior offensive guard Trey Hopkins mentioned he and his fellow gamers can not help but feel responsible. The Horns' eight-four record is on them, he mentioned, and not their coach's fault.

"We're the people truly on the sphere," Hopkins said. "There's solely a lot a coach can do, whether or not it's in success or in losses, that basically contribute to the season. We're the guys out there between the white traces. The losses were on us."

Hopkins and his teammates cannot change Brown's determination, however they can send him off a winner.

"We love Coach Brown," safety Adrian Phillips mentioned. "We're simply going to combat with Coach Brown to the final straw, and that'll be towards Oregon. We have to send him out proper."

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Blazers weather Paul’s 34, edge Clips in OT


PORTLAND, Ore. – LaMarcus Aldridge wasn't even sure he was going to play in opposition to the Clippers.

Portland's high scorer and rebounder had his knowledge tooth eliminated Sunday. So on Thursday night, he was nonetheless in some ache. Worse, he hadn't had a lot to eat. However Aldridge got here out and had 32 points and 10 rebounds for the Path Blazers in a 116-112 additional time victory over the Clippers.

"I've had nothing but soup for the last 4 days," he mentioned. "So I used to be a little bit fearful about my vitality ranges."

Ultimately, he didn't actually have a turnover as the shocking Blazers upped their report to an NBA-greatest 24-5. Portland has received seven of its past eight video games, and the Blazers have dropped just two at residence this season.

The Clippers, enjoying the second sport of a back-to-again, mounted a challenge after trailing by as many as 11 factors within the fourth quarter. Blake Griffin had 35 points and eleven rebounds, while Chris Paul finished with 34 factors and sixteen assists.

Aldridge hit a fadeaway with 39 seconds left in extra time, and Portland went ahead 110-109.

Griffin missed a layup on the opposite finish earlier than Nicolas Batum made a pair of free throws to make it 112-109 with 26.5 seconds to go. After Griffin dunked to narrow it again, Damian Lillard made two free throws for Portland.

Portland clung to a 114-112 lead with thirteen.4 seconds left and padded it with Wesley Matthews' foul shots. Paul missed a three-level attempt as time ran out.

Aldridge scored all of Portland's discipline goals in extra time, and completed along with his ninth recreation this season with not less than 25 factors and 10 rebounds, second only to Minnesota's Kevin Love.

As for his enamel? "It is a bit of bit throbbing," he mentioned, shrugging.

It was the second of again-to-back losses for the Clippers. Earlier Thursday, the NBA stated its referees made a mistake once they ejected Griffin within the staff's one hundred and five-103 loss to the Warriors on Wednesday night.

Griffin bought his second technical with 10:forty three left after struggling with Andrew Bogut, following Warriors ahead Draymond Green to the showers after they acquired into it at the end of the third.

"A typical foul should have been known as on Griffin for initially making an attempt to dislodge the Warriors' Andrew Bogut and a technical foul should have been assessed to Bogut for grabbing Griffin by the shirt and wrestling with him," Rod Thorn, the NBA's president of basketball operations, said in a press release.

Clippers coach Doc Rivers said he thought Griffin handled the state of affairs nicely.

"Everyone seems to be a target at some point of their profession," Rivers mentioned. "You simply have to play by means of it."

It was the second ejection for the Clippers in as many games. Forward Matt Barnes was ejected with fifty six seconds left within the third quarter of a 120-116 OT win over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Sunday evening. Barnes fouled Love.

"It is a long season. We're in a nasty ejection rut proper now," Rivers stated. "We'll get out of it."

Nobody acquired tossed Thursday.

Mo Williams made back-to-back 3s to give Portland a 34-22 lead within the first half. The Clippers responded with a 9-0 run to close to 34-31, but Aldridge scored six straight factors in an 8-2 run and Portland stretched the margin to forty two-33.

Paul's 3-pointer closed the Clippers to within forty seven-46 at the intermission.

Dorell Wright hit a 3-pointer that gave the Blazers an 84-seventy five lead early in the fourth quarter.

But the Clippers clawed back in, and Paul's pull-up jumper made it ninety seven-96 for Los Angeles' first lead of the second half. After Aldridge's tip-in, Paul added another jumper to provide the Clippers a 99-98 lead, then nailed a step-again 21-footer from the corner with 9.three seconds left.

Undaunted, Batum hit a three-pointer to tie it at 101 with 5.3 seconds to go. Paul missed a 17-footer to send the sport into time beyond regulation.

"I obtained proper where I wished to – I probably tricked myself an excessive amount of, I do not even know if they'd a foul to provide," Paul mentioned. "And with 5 seconds left, I believe I went slightly too quick as a result of I believed they were going to try to use one in all their fouls. I didn't assume I might end up as extensive open as I was – I've got to make that shot. "

Recreation notes

The sport was the primary of three meetings between the two groups this season. The Clippers claimed final season's series three-1… The Clippers' 14 first-quarter factors are the fewest they've scored in the first quarter…

DeAndre Jordan

completed with 19 rebounds earlier than fouling out in extra time… Barnes additionally fouled out in OT.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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Premier League: Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers insists there is no talk of winning the title

Brendan Rodgers looks on as Liverpool run riot at the Lane

Brendan Rodgers looks on as Liverpool run riot on the Lane

Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers has played down speak of ending the club’s title drought this season following their demolition of Tottenham on Sunday.

Objectives from Luis Suarez (2), Jordan Henderson, Jon Flanagan and Raheem Sterling earned the visitors a 5-0 victory at White Hart Lane, a outcome which ultimately price Spurs manager Andre Villas-Boas his job.

The win leaves Liverpool just two factors off prime spot after 16 matches however Rodgers is refusing to be drawn on returning the highest-flight title to Anfield for the primary time in 24 years.

“We’re not even desirous about that to be sincere,” he mentioned. “We’re working on our type of soccer going ahead.

“You might be looking to finish fourth, or third or second, however eventually you need to be winning the league.

“The 12 months before I got here it was eighth, then final season we completed seventh.

“However realistically we simply need to keep fighting while you look at the depths of some of the squads.”

And Rodgers discovered time to heap praise on young defender Flanagan who has shone at left-back because the enforced injury absence of Jose Enrique.

“He’s a terrific boy who has performed for the beneath-21s, in practice games with about two individuals watching,” he mentioned.

“And whoever he’s up in opposition to, he does not change. I assumed when he came in for a couple of video games this was a child that can deal with it.

“And since he got here in and played in the derby, where he was man of the match in opposition to Everton, he is been implausible. His confidence has grown and grown over time.

“A younger participant like that, in all probability a couple of years ago, may not have had an opportunity. Or maybe somebody is available in, does properly for a couple of games then drifts away.

“So I’ve said to him, ‘simply play every sport as if you have not cracked it, exit and be the most effective you might be’, and that’s what he is executed.

“His purpose was a superb end. I’m delighted for him, he’s an actual good boy and you’ll see how a lot it means for him and the supporters.”

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