Monday Sports In Brief - NBC Sports

Monday Sports In Brief
March 4, 2014, 3:35 am

NBA

MIAMI (AP) LeBron James clearly isn't ready to concede his MVP award to anyone yet.

Dazzling from inside and out, James put on the best scoring show of his NBA life, pouring in 61 points - a career high and franchise record - as the Miami Heat beat the Charlotte Bobcats 124-107. It was the eighth straight win for the two-time defending champions, who are starting to roll as the playoffs get near.

James made 22 of 33 shots from the field, including his first eight 3-point attempts.

NEW YORK (AP) - Jason Collins played the final minutes of a winning home debut with the Brooklyn Nets, who cooled off the Chicago Bulls with a 96-80 victory.

"It was cool. It was a lot of fun to go into the game," Collins said. "The most important thing was that we got the win. Chicago's been playing really well as of late and for us to come out and really be - I think we played more physical than they did tonight."

Finally playing at home more than a week after returning to the NBA as the league's first openly gay player, Collins checked in to a standing ovation from a sellout crowd of 17,732 that included former NBA Commissioner David Stern with 2:41 remaining. He grabbed a rebound and had one of the Nets' NBA season high-tying 19 steals in their third straight victory.

OSCAR PISTORIUS

PRETORIA, South Africa (AP) - The murder trial of Oscar Pistorius opened in South Africa with testimony from a neighbor who described the sound of what she said were four gunshots and recalled the "blood-curdling screams" of a woman who prosecutors say was the girlfriend slain by the onetime star athlete in his home.

"It's the most helpless feeling I've ever had in my life," university lecturer Michelle Burger said of listening to the screams. "I knew something terrible was happening in that house."

The 27-year-old double-amputee runner, whose stature peaked at the 2012 London Olympics and then plummeted when he shot model and television personality Reeva Steenkamp in the pre-dawn hours of Valentine's Day last year, stood in the dock in a dark gray suit and black tie, writing in a pad and sometimes passing notes to defense lawyers. At one point, he smiled at a person sitting behind him. Steenkamp's mother, June, sat near Pistorius but there was no communication between them.

NFL

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) - Sixty touchdown passes. Fifteen wins. A fifth MVP trophy.

Peyton Manning is more productive than he's ever been, and whether he's deciphering defenses at the line of scrimmage on game day or on his iPad during the week, his love for the game hasn't waned.

The final piece of evidence that Manning is as good as ever came Monday.

As expected, Manning passed the exam on his surgically repaired neck that was required by his contract with the Broncos that will pay him $20 million next season, according to a person with knowledge of the results. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Monday because results of medical checkups typically aren't announced.

CLEVELAND (AP) - Cleveland placed its transition tag on free-agent Pro Bowl center Alex Mack, locking him into a one-year, $10.039 million contract. The Browns had until 4 p.m. to place either the transition or franchise tag on a player and they decided to use it for the first time on Mack, one of the club's best and most reliable players since he was drafted in the first round in 2009. The franchise tag would have earned him $11.654 million.

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Wide receiver Anquan Boldin will be back with the San Francisco 49ers next season.

The 49ers and Boldin agreed to a two-year, $12 million contract with $9 million guaranteed, keeping quarterback Colin Kaepernick's top target from last season from hitting free agency.

MIAMI (AP) - Pro Bowl cornerback Brent Grimes cashed in on his career comeback with the Miami Dolphins.

Grimes signed a $32 million, four-year contract to remain with Miami. The deal, which includes $16 million guaranteed, rewards Grimes for his recovery from an Achilles tendon injury that forced him to miss almost all of the 2012 season.

SOCCER

LONDON (AP) - Newcastle manager Alan Pardew is facing a lengthy stadium ban after being charged by the English Football Association with improper conduct for head-butting an opposing player during a Premier League match.

Pardew already has been sanctioned by Newcastle, accepting a formal warning and a fine of 100,000 pounds ($168,000) following his confrontation with Hull midfielder David Meyler during Newcastle's 4-1 win Saturday. Any FA punishment could prevent Pardew from attending several matches, rather than just being banned from the sideline.

CHICAGO (AP) - It looks as if the U.S. men's national team will get to play Ukraine after all. Wednesday's friendly in Larnaca, Cyprus, appeared to be in jeopardy because of the upheaval in Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula. But the U.S. Soccer Federation said Monday night in an emailed statement that the game would proceed as scheduled.

The friendly is part of the United States' preparation for this summer's World Cup.

FIGURE SKATING

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) - Olympic gold medalist ice dancers Meryl Davis and Charlie White will not compete at the world championships later this month.

The Americans announced that they would not defend their world title in Saitama, Japan, on March 24-30. As far as their competitive future beyond worlds, White said in a news release that "we will leave our options open."

OTTAWA, Ontario (AP) - Olympic silver medalists Patrick Chan and ice dancers Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir of Canada are skipping this month's world championships.

Chan has won the past three world titles, but is uncertain about continuing to compete. Virtue and Moir are two-time world winners and took the gold medal at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. Chan and Virtue and Moir also led Canada to silver in the inaugural team event.

TENNIS

NEW YORK (AP) - Lindsay Davenport was in the middle of another major life milestone when she found out she had been elected to the International Tennis Hall of Fame.

The three-time Grand Slam champion got the call when she was in a hospital about to give birth to her fourth child in early January. With daughter Haven nearly 2 months old now, Davenport can start to reflect on the honor.

Davenport will be joined by five-time Paralympic medalist Chantal Vandierendonck in the recent player category and coach Nick Bollettieri, executive Jane Brown Grimes and broadcaster John Barrett in the contributor category.

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