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Spurrier-Miles tangle in South Carolina-LSU tilt

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Spurrier-Miles tangle in South Carolina-LSU tilt

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) The fireworks between No. 3 South Carolina and No. 9 LSU on Saturday won't just take place on the field.

Expect a show on the sidelines, too, featuring the Gamecocks' Steve Spurrier and the Tigers' Les Miles, two of game's most colorful leaders.

Count on Spurrier to throw a headset or his visor if things don't go his way. Miles might be munching on a few blades of grass at LSU's Death Valley. Their antics aside, both know what it's like to win it all - something they are again chasing this season.

South Carolina (6-0, 4-0 Southeastern Conference) is off to its best start since 1984 after a dominant, 35-7 win over Georgia. LSU (5-1, 1-1) fell to No. 4 Florida 14-6 last Saturday, its first regular-season defeat since 2010.

In an era where more and more coach's keep their personalities inside the locker room, neither Spurrier or Miles is afraid to ruffle feathers.

The two joined forces on Spurrier's idea that only games against divisional opponents should count toward who wins the SEC East and West divisions. The proposal fell flat at league meetings. Still, Spurrier appreciated Miles' backing.

``I like Les,'' Spurrier said this week. ``I really do.''

Though that hasn't kept Spurrier from throwing a few verbal jabs at Miles in the past.

After LSU's mismanagement of the game clock nearly cost them a loss to Tennessee in 2010, Spurrier spoke about coaches who lose games in the SEC are considered dummies.

``And of course, sometimes you can win and still be a dummy,'' Spurrier said with a grin, his needle stuck right at Miles.

Then again, Spurrier can't laugh too loud. He, too, got beat by the Mad Hatter's tricks on LSU's fake field goal in 2007, holder Matt Flynn flipping the ball to kicker Colt David for an easy touchdown in the Tigers 28-16 victory.

Miles has gotten his digs in as well against South Carolina. In 2008, Gamecocks quarterback Stephen Garcia was stopped cold after running into the referee, a play that gained national attention because it appeared official Wilbur Hackett Jr. put his shoulder into the player.

Miles joked that Hackett needed some coaching. ``He didn't wrap up,'' he said.

Miles, 58, doesn't know the 67-year-old Spurrier too well, but has enjoyed following his career. ``He's one of those guys you enjoy seeing at the SEC meetings,'' Miles said.

There are few who don't marvel at what Spurrier and Miles have accomplished through the years.

Spurrier turned the SEC on its ear with his ``Fun-n-Gun'' passing attack at Florida, earning his national title with the Gators in 1996.

Miles may have kept LSU fans on edge with his go-for-broke nature, but it paid off in 2007 when the Tigers went 12-2 and won the national championship.

Spurrier hopes to keep his team on track for another title run this year. The Gamecocks have an FBS-best 10-game win streak that got their coach in an upbeat mood.

This week, Spurrier poked fun at LSU's tiger mascot and even got in a dig at state rival Clemson, who's stadium is also nicknamed Death Valley.

Clemson administrative coach Brad Scott says the barbs are vintage Spurrier, something Scott's learned from his time as offensive coordinator at Florida State and at Clemson. Scott also owns South Carolina's last head coaching win at LSU, with a surprising, 18-17, nighttime victory there in 1994.

``Steve likes to make those kinds of comments when he's got the team to back it up,'' Scott said. ``They have played really well.''

Miles has no time for jokes this week. The Tigers lost for the first time in 18 regular-season games with a 14-6 defeat at Florida a week ago. Miles promised it would be all business as the Tigers prepared for one of their most difficult tests.

``It's been a long time since this program has lost a game in the regular season,'' Miles said. ``I think that is a natural sting felt and a real want to redirect and get back on track.''

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Wizards vs. Hornets: TV, live stream and radio info, things to watch

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USA TODAY Sports

Wizards vs. Hornets: TV, live stream and radio info, things to watch

Bradley Beal, Otto Porter, Kelly Oubre, Jr. and the Washington Wizards battle Kemba Walker, Dwight Howard, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and the Charlotte Hornets on Friday night.

Here is all you need to know: TV, live stream and radio info, tip-off time, plus three things to watch:

WASHINGTON WIZARDS VS. CHARLOTTE HORNETS

Where: Capital One Arena
Tip-off: 7 p.m.
TV: NBC Sports Washington (coverage begins at 6 p.m.)
Live stream: NBCSportsWashington.com
Radio: 1500 AM

On a roll

The Wizards have some serious momentum going right now. With an impressive win over the Cavs on Thursday, they have now won three straight games and eight of 10 since John Wall went down with a left knee injury. They had a week off due to the All-Star break, but didn't show any rust at all in their first game back.

The Wizards are now 34-24, 10 games above the .500 mark. They are fourth in the East and could move into third on Friday if they win and the Cavaliers lose. Even with Wall out, things continue to look up for Washington.

PODCAST: BIGGEST STORYLINES COMING OUT OF ALL-STAR BREAK

Hornets have had their number

The Wizards haven't done so well against the Hornets so far this season. Charlotte has taken both meetings and that includes a 24-point win on Jan. 17. That game featured Dwight Howard taunting the Wizards late in the fourth quarter.

Howard has killed the Wizards through two games with averages of 22.0 points and 14.0 rebounds. Jeremy Lamb (20.0 ppg vs. Wizards) has been a big factor as well as All-Star Kemba Walker (21.5 ppg vs. Wizards).

The last time these teams played about a month ago frustrations boiled over in an incident that got Tim Frazier ejected. Michael Carter-Williams picked a fight with Jason Smith and Frazier went off:

RELATED: BEAL IMPRESSED BY LEBRON AT ALL-STAR GAME

Hornets coming in hot

The Hornets are outside the playoff picture at the moment at eight games below .500, but they have won two straight games and Walker and Howard are coming off huge games. In a win over the Brooklyn Nets on Thursday, Walker dropped 31 points and Howard grabbed 24 rebounds.

Those guys will be riding a high coming into Washington on Friday. But it should be noted that Howard complained after the game how tired he is at this point in the season. That exhausion could affect him more in the second game of a back-to-back.

RELATED: LATEST NBA POWER RANKINGS

 

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5 must-see moments from Wizards' huge road win over Cavaliers, including Markieff Morris' alley-oop

5 must-see moments from Wizards' huge road win over Cavaliers, including Markieff Morris' alley-oop

Here are the five best plays or moments from the Washington Wizards' 110-103 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Thursday night...

1. The Wizards didn't start out well, as they trailed by nine points at the end of the first quarter. Kelly Oubre, Jr. stumbled early by missing four of his first six shots and it looked like a carryover of his slump before the All-Star break.

But Oubre got hot in the second quarter and helped the Wizards turn the game around. This was one of his best plays, a two-handed slam that he celebrated with an emphatic scream to the crowd:

RELATED: BEAL IMPRESSED BY LEBRON AT ALL-STAR GAME

2. Tomas Satoransky was one of the stars of the game. He had 17 points to go along with eight assists, four rebounds and two steals. 

Here's one of his dimes, a perfect alley-oop lob to Markieff Morris, who finished with nine points and eight rebounds:

3. Satoransky has reached double-figures in six of the 10 games since John Wall went out with an injury. This was a very impressive move, a stepback fadeaway that was super smooth:

RELATED: GET TO KNOW NEW WIZARDS FREE AGENT SIGNING

4. Ian Mahinmi made some key contributions including four offensive rebounds and a steal. This was his best basket, a powerful slam that came at a key time:

5. This play helped seal the victory. It was a smart after-timeout set drawn up by head coach Scott Brooks and it worked to perfection:

RELATED: LATEST NBA POWER RANKINGS