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- Westbrook a notable omission in voting for All-Star Game
(Reuters) - Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook is averaging a league-best 30.6 points per game this season but was a conspicuous absentee from the starting lineups announced by the NBA on Thursday for next month's All-Star Game. Instead of Westbrook, Golden State Warriors' Stephen Curry and James Harden of the Houston Rockets were selected as the starting guards for the Western Conference in voting by fans, current players and the media. Curry, the league's Most Valuable Player in 2015 and 2016, will make his fourth All-Star appearance while Harden, averaging 28.9 points this season, gets the nod for a fifth time.
- Kaymer holds halfway lead in Abu Dhabi
(Reuters) - German Martin Kaymer stayed on course for a fourth title at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship with a second consecutive round of 66 to seize the halfway lead on Friday. The straight-hitting Kaymer again found the course and conditions to his liking to move one stroke clear on 12 under. Spain's Rafa Cabrera Bello also carded a six-under 66 to move to 11 under for his two rounds.
- Westbrook snubbed for Curry, Harden as All-Star starter
Oklahoma City's Russell Westbrook, averaging a triple double, was snubbed for a Western Conference starting spot in next month's NBA All-Star Game in voting announced Thursday by the league. LeBron James and Kyrie Irving, who led the Cleveland Cavaliers to last season's NBA title, were named to the Eastern Conference starting five while Golden State teammates Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant were voted onto the Western Conference opening lineup.
- Leonard, Murray power Spurs past Nuggets
All-star game starter Kawhi Leonard scored 34 points and rookie Dejounte Murray added a career-high 24 as the San Antonio Spurs defeated the Denver Nuggets 118-104 on Thursday. Leonard, who earlier in the day was named an NBA all-star starter for the second straight year, posted his fifth consecutive game with at least 30 points while Murray, 20, becomes the youngest player in franchise history to score 24 or more points in a game. Hopefully I can keep it going," said Leonard of the all-star nod.
- All-stars James, Irving lead Cavs over Suns
LeBron James and Kyrie Irving celebrated being named NBA all stars by combining for 47 points in the Cleveland Cavaliers' 118-103 rout of the Phoenix Suns. James, who led all players in fan voting, and Irving were named Eastern Conference all-star starters for the game on February 19 in New Orleans. James scored 21 points, matching his season-high with 15 assists and grabbing nine rebounds to fall one shy of a triple-double.
- Oakland Raiders file application for move to Las Vegas
The Oakland Raiders officially filed paperwork with the NFL on Thursday to relocate the team to Las Vegas, the league announced, potentially bringing the US gambling capital its second major sports franchise. Raiders owner Mark Davis has been in talks with Las Vegas officials about construction of a new stadium that would serve as the team's new home. Last week, he updated NFL team owners on the status of those talks.
- Packers play waiting game over wide receivers Nelson, Adams
(Reuters) - The Green Bay Packers face major question marks over the fitness of wide receivers Jordy Nelson and Davante Adams as they prepare for Sunday's NFC Championship game against the Falcons in Atlanta. Nelson, a four-time Pro Bowl selection and the league's receiving touchdowns leader in 2016, has been sidelined by broken ribs since Jan. 8 while Adams injured his ankle during the fourth quarter of last week's divisional playoff win against the Dallas Cowboys.
- Cavs All-Stars shine too brightly for shrinking Suns
(The Sports Xchange) - LeBron James and Kyrie Irving celebrated being named Eastern Conference All-Star starters by shining in the Cleveland Cavaliers' 118-103 victory over the Phoenix Suns on Thursday. James scored 21 points, matched a season-high 15 assists and grabbed nine rebounds to fall just shy of a triple-double as Irving scored 26 points and the Cavs broke out of a rare shooting funk to win for the second time in five games. The Suns' Tyson Chandler scored 22 points and grabbed 16 rebounds after missing one game with stomach problems.
- Las Vegas Sands pays $7 million to end U.S. criminal bribery case The casino operator run by billionaire Sheldon Adelson on Thursday also entered a non-prosecution agreement, in which it admitted that executives knowingly failed to set up accounting controls to ensure that the payments were legitimate, and were properly recorded in its books and records. From 2006 to 2009, Las Vegas Sands transferred about $60 million to the consultant to promote its business and brands, and paid him about $5.8 million without any "discernable legitimate business purpose," according to settlement papers. The resolution of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act case follows Las Vegas Sands' related $9 million civil settlement last year with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission over its dealings with the consultant.
- High-scoring showdown expected from Packers, Falcons
Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers and Atlanta's Matt Ryan, each guiding a potent NFL offensive attack, are expected to stage a high-scoring showdown Sunday with a Super Bowl berth at stake. The National Conference champion will face either Pittsburgh or New England in Super Bowl 51 on February 5 at Houston. Green Bay, four-time Super Bowl winners with a record 13 crowns overall dating to 1929, last went to the championship spectacle in 2011, when they beat Atlanta on the way to the title.
- Brady's Pats, Big Ben's Steelers chase Super Bowl history
Oddsmakers have installed host New England as a six-point favorite over the Steelers in the American Football Conference championship game. The winner will become the first club to make a ninth Super Bowl appearance, facing either Green Bay or Atlanta in Super Bowl 51 next month in Houston. The Steelers are on a nine-game win streak while the Patriots, who went an NFL-best 14-2 this season, have won eight in a row, neither team having lost since November 13.
- Mickelson pleased with four-under effort in 2017 debut
Five-time major winner Phil Mickelson, back in action after more than three months and two surgeries, was delighted to fire a first-round 68 in the USPGA Tour Career Builder Challenge on Thursday. "I thought it was phenomenal," said Mickelson, who underwent surgery in October and December to repair a sports hernia and only began hitting balls a week ago. "I struck it horrible, but I scored out of my mind, so I'm very happy with it," added the 46-year-old left-hander, who was four shots off the lead of tour rookie Dominic Bozzelli.
- Oakland Raiders seek NFL's blessing for move to Las Vegas
The NFL's Oakland Raiders filed paperwork with the league on Thursday to move to Las Vegas following months of negotiations to build a new stadium in Nevada, officials said. The National Football League said in a statement the Raiders' application would be reviewed in the coming weeks by its stadium and finance committees. Raiders owner Mark Davis, whose late father, Al Davis, helped burnish the team's outlaw reputation, has expressed dissatisfaction with the aging Oakland Coliseum, in the San Francisco Bay Area, and for much of last year pursued a possible move to Las Vegas.
- Golf-U.S. PGA Tour CareerBuilder Challenge scores Jan 20 (Gracenote) - Scores from the U.S. PGA Tour CareerBuilder Challenge at the par-72 course on Thursday in La Quinta, California -8 Dominic Bozzelli (U.S.) 64 -7 Jhonattan Vegas (Venezuela) 65 Harold Varner III (U.S.) 65 Patton Kizzire (U.S.) 65 Hudson Swafford (U.S.) 65 -6 Chad Campbell (U.S.) 66 Ryan Blaum (U.S.) 66 J.J. Spaun (U.S.) 66 Michael Kim (U.S.) 66 Boo Weekley (U.S.) 66 -5 Danny Lee (New Zealand) 67 Brian Harman (U.S.) 67 Nick Watney (U.S.) 67 Sean O'Hair (U.S. ...
- Golf: Surprise package Bozzelli leads by one in California
(Reuters) - American Dominic Bozzelli, in only his sixth PGA Tour start, holed out from 113 yards to eagle the par-four 14th en route to a one-shot lead after Thursday's opening round of the CareerBuilder Challenge in La Quinta, California. Bozzelli upstaged high-profile names such as five-time major winner Phil Mickelson and 2011 champion Jhonattan Vegas as he fired an eight-under-par 64 on the Stadium Course, one of three venues hosting the pro-am event. The 25-year-old from New York state broke clear of a tightly-bunched leaderboard by sinking a 14-foot birdie putt on his final hole, the par-four ninth, to cap a bogey-free day in the California desert.
- Pudge says hard work, not PEDs, led to Cooperstown
By Larry Fine NEW YORK (Reuters) - Ivan Rodriguez, the second catcher ever elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility, said on Thursday hard work, not steroids, carried him to the Cooperstown, New York, shrine. Rodriguez denied using steroids during his Major League Baseball career as alleged by former Texas Rangers teammate Jose Canseco, who wrote in his 2005 book, "Juiced," that he personally injected the catcher. When pressed at a news conference in New York marking Wednesday's election of Rodriguez, Jeff Bagwell and Tim Raines to the Hall of Fame, on whether he used performance-enhancing drugs, the 45-year-old Puerto Rican said: "No I didn't.
- Kings's Gay out for season with ruptured Achilles
An MRI exam on Thursday confirmed the Sacramento Kings' fears that forward Rudy Gay ruptured his left Achilles tendon and will miss the rest of the NBA season. Gay was hurt in the third quarter of the Kings' loss to the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday. The Kings said Gay would have surgery in the near future, but did not specify a date.
- My 68 was phenomenal, says post-surgery Mickelson
(Reuters) - "Phenomenal" was how Phil Mickelson described his first round of golf since recovering from a pair of offseason surgeries after he carded a four-under-par 68 on Thursday at the CareerBuilder Challenge in La Quinta, California. Mickelson, who had surgeries for a sports hernia on Oct. 19 and again on Dec. 12, mixed five birdies with a lone bogey at La Quinta Country Club to end the opening round of the pro-am event three strokes off the early pace. Asked to assess his round, the five-time major champion told Golf Channel: "I thought it was phenomenal.
- League, union sign new collective bargaining deal
The NBA and the National Basketball Players Association announced Thursday they have signed the new collective bargaining agreement that was ratified last month. The seven-year agreement will begin on July 1 of this year and run through the 2023-24 campaign, ensuring several years of labor peace as a rich new television deal begins. NBA players union members and league club owners voted to approve the contract last month, leaving only the completion of complex contract wording and an official signing to complete the deal.
- Oakland Raiders seek NFL's blessing for move to Las Vegas
The NFL's Oakland Raiders filed paperwork with the league on Thursday to move to Las Vegas following months of negotiations to build a new stadium in Nevada, officials said. The National Football League said in a statement the Raiders' application would be reviewed in the coming weeks by its staff and stadium and finance committees. Raiders owner Mark Davis, whose late father Al Davis helped burnish the team's outlaw reputation, has expressed dissatisfaction with the aging Oakland Coliseum and for much of last year pursued a possible move to Las Vegas.
- Exclusive: Lingerie maker Victoria's Secret looks to uncover supply chain issues
By Ellen Wulfhorst NEW YORK (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Lingerie giant Victoria's Secret, famed for its racy bras and thongs, has pledged to trace the sources of its wood-based fabrics, joining the ranks of fashion companies addressing human rights and deforestation, its parent company said. In a new policy statement, parent company L Brands said it aimed to eliminate sources of wood pulp, used to make rayon, viscose and modal, that contribute to rainforest destruction or violate the rights of local people. L Brands is the latest in a growing number of U.S. fashion companies to commit to investigate its supply chain for products from destructive regions and stop using those sources by the end of 2017, according to Rainforest Action Network (RAN).
- Steelers' Roethlisberger heaps praise on offensive line
(Reuters) - Ben Roethlisberger has played a key role in getting the Pittsburgh Steelers one win away from a Super Bowl berth but the quarterback is quick to deflect the praise toward an offensive line that wants to "pound people." Roethlisberger was sacked a career-low 17 times during the regular season and that has the Steelers signal caller feeling good going into Sunday's AFC Championship clash in Foxborough against a New England Patriots team that are 5-1/2 point favourites. "I feel good," Roethlisberger said in a report on the team's website.
- Seahawks could face sanction over Sherman injury
The Seattle Seahawks' failure to disclose a knee injury to defensive star Richard Sherman could cost the NFL club a draft pick, US media reported Thursday. ESPN cited league sources in reporting the Seahawks could lose a second round selection in the June draft. Seahawks coach Pete Carroll revealed in an ESPN radio interview on Monday that Sherman was troubled by a left knee ligament injury in the second half of the season.
- Cowboys' Garrett takes coaching honor
Jason Garrett, who guided a young Dallas Cowboys team to the best regular-season record in the NFL, was named coach of the year by the Professional Football Writers of America on Thursday. The coach of the year honor was a first for Garrett and the third for the Cowboys, whose legendary coach Tom Landry was the PFWA's first honoree in 1966. Garrett's Cowboys overcame the pre-season loss to injury of veteran quarterback Tony Romo, with rookie quarterback Dak Prescott and first-year running back Ezekiel Elliott propelling the club to a franchise-best 11 straight wins in the regular season.
- Ex-president George H.W. Bush had good night's rest, remains in ICU
Former U.S. President George H.W. Bush remains in stable condition with pneumonia in the intensive care unit of a Houston hospital and his wife, Barbara Bush, is making progress for treatment of bronchitis at the same hospital, a spokesman said on Thursday. Family spokesman Jim McGrath said in a statement that Bush's doctors were determining whether his breathing tube can be removed and that he had a good night's rest. George Bush, who at 92 is the nation's oldest living ex-president, has been at Houston Methodist Hospital since Saturday after experiencing shortness of breath, McGrath has said.
- Trump taps NFL owner Woody Johnson as ambassador to UK
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President-elect Donald Trump said on Thursday that National Football League team owner Woody Johnson was "going to St. James," indicating he would assume the plum diplomatic post of U.S. ambassador to the United Kingdom. Trump referred to Johnson, owner of the New York Jets, as "ambassador" during remarks at a luncheon in Washington honoring supporters on the eve of his swearing in as the 45th U.S. president. (Reporting by Ayesha Rascoe and Steve Holland, writing by Doina Chiacu, editing by G Crosse)
- Colts quarterback Luck undergoes shoulder surgery
Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck has undergone surgery on his right shoulder to repair a two-year old injury, NFL team owner Jim Irsay announced Thursday. Irsay said in a Twitter posting that the 27-year-old quarterback would be ready for the start of the 2017 regular season next September. "Andrew recovering from successful outpatient surgery to fix right shoulder injury that had lingered since 2015.
- NY Giants co-owner Steve Tisch on creating a Super Bowl life
By Chris Taylor NEW YORK (Reuters) - It is hard to know which business is trickier: Hollywood, with its cinematic hits and misses, or the National Football League, where Super Bowl success is so elusive. There is one person one could ask: Steve Tisch, the producer of iconic films like "Forrest Gump" as well as co-owner of the New York Giants. For the latest in Reuters' Life Lessons series, Tisch spoke about what he has learned from a unique lifetime spent among giants of the football and entertainment worlds.
- Durant's 40 points help Warriors silence Thunder
Kevin Durant took it to his former team on Wednesday, erupting for 40 points to propel the Golden State Warriors to a 121-100 NBA triumph over the Oklahoma City Thunder. Durant, who scored 39 points in the Warriors 26-point win over the Thunder in November, was brutally efficient, connecting on 13 of his 16 shots from the field, including five of seven from three-point range. Durant downplayed the significance of facing his former club.
- Westbrook vows retribution after hard foul
(Reuters) - Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook offered a warning that he will seek retribution for a hard foul on him on Wednesday by Golden State's Zaza Pachulia. Pachulia delivered a flagrant foul on Westbrook late in the second quarter of the Warriors' 121-100 rout of the Thunder, striking the guard in the face as he attempted a shot then appearing to stand over him as he lay on the court. "I'm going to get his ass back," Westbrook told reporters.
- Durant propels Warriors to rout of Thunder
Kevin Durant again came up big against his former team, pouring in a season-high 40 points to lead the Golden State Warriors to a 121-100 NBA victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder. Durant, who departed Oklahoma City as a free agent in the off-season, had scored 39 against the Thunder when the teams met for the first time this season in November. On Wednesday he provided 13 points in a third-quarter surge that saw the Warriors seize a 93-78 lead in a game that was knotted at 56-56 at halftime.
- Torn Achilles may have ended Gay's season
(Reuters) - Sacramento Kings forward Rudy Gay is believed to have suffered a season-ending torn left Achilles on Wednesday, the team announced. Gay went down in the third quarter of Sacramento’s 106-100 loss to the Indiana Pacers. The Kings will perform an MRI on Gay on Thursday.
- Kings' Gay suffers suspected torn Achilles
The Sacramento Kings' 106-100 home loss to the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday was made even more painful when Kings forward Rudy Gay exited with a suspected torn Achilles tendon. Gay was injured late in the third quarter, and the team said a preliminary report indicated the torn tendon. Gay was hurt as he tried to drive the baseline and went down with 14.3 seconds remaining in the third quarter and the Kings leading 79-69.
- Rampant Durant helps Warriors silence Thunder
(The Sports Xchange) - Kevin Durant terrorized his former team for the second straight time on Wednesday, pouring in a season-high 40 points in the Golden State Warriors' 121-100 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder. Durant, who left the Thunder as a free agent in the off-season and dropped 39 points on them in November, contributed 13 points to a third-quarter flurry as the Warriors (36-6) exploded into a 93-78 lead after having been tied at 56-56 at halftime. Durant's big scoring night, the 47th 40-point game of his career, helped the Warriors overcome Thunder guard Russell Westbrook's 21st triple-double of the season.
- Wizards still hot at home, down Grizzlies 104-101
John Wall and Otto Porter scored 25 points apiece on Wednesday as the Washington Wizards notched their 13th straight home NBA win, 104-101 over the Memphis Grizzlies. The Grizzlies beat Washington earlier this season after forcing overtime with a long-range basket.
- Rose fuels slumping Knicks to win over Celtics
Derrick Rose scored 12 of his 30 points in the fourth quarter on Wednesday as the New York Knicks pulled away for a 117-106 victory over the Celtics in Boston. The win was a needed boost for the beleaguered Knicks, who came into the contest having dropped 11 of their last 13 and without injured Kristaps Porzingis and Joakim Noah. Star forward Carmelo Anthony, caught up in speculation over his relationship with Knicks president Phil Jackson and his future with the club, had a relatively quiet night with 13 points.
- Brutal workout injuries highlight US college football flaws
The hospitalization of three US college American football players after a grueling workout has exposed failings in safety standards at university athletic programs, experts say. Three members of the University of Oregon's football team were left in hospital last week following the punishing fitness session, which was described in media reports as military-style training that had included one hour of continuous push-ups. At least one of the three, lineman Sam Poutasi, was diagnosed with rhabdomyolysis, a potentially deadly condition which occurs when broken down muscle tissue leaks into the blood stream.
- Bonds, Clemens move closer to baseball Hall of Fame welcome
The Baseball Hall of Fame announced three new members to its fraternity on Wednesday but a spike in voting for Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, two of the most controversial candidates ever, was creating just as much buzz. Bonds and Clemens, whose MLB career achievements would ordinarily have earned them landslide entry into the Hall of Fame, have yet to reach the necessary 75 percent threshold for election with both linked to performance-enhancing drugs. Clemens, a seven-time Cy Young Award winner, registered 54.1 percent of the 442 votes cast, a jump of nearly nine points, while Bonds, a seven-time MVP and baseball's home-run king, came in at 53.8 percent compared to 44.3 percent last year.
- The heat is on for Atlanta's 'Matty Ice' in NFC title game
Matt Ryan will be playing for more than a Super Bowl berth on Sunday as his performance in the NFC Championship will go a long way in determining if the Atlanta Falcons quarterback can be rated among the game's greats. The other three quarterbacks competing in Sunday's two NFL conference championships -- New England's Tom Brady, Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers and Pittsburgh's Ben Roethlisberger -- all possess undisputed Pro Football Hall of Fame credentials.
- Love skips Cavaliers' contact drills, in doubt to face Suns
Kevin Love missed full contract drills for the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday and could be sidelined when the reigning NBA champions play host to Phoenix on Thursday. Kyle Korver, Cleveland's newly acquired 3-point specialist, could make his first start for his new club if Love's sore back keeps him out of the lineup against the Suns. "He went through half the practice," Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue said.