Wizards

Thursday's Sports in Brief

Thursday's Sports in Brief

NEW YORK (AP) Coach of the month in November, out of a job by New Year's.

The Brooklyn Nets have elevated expectations this season, and a .500 record wasn't good enough. Coach Avery Johnson was fired Thursday, his team having lost 10 of 13 games after a strong start to its first season in Brooklyn.

``We don't have the same fire now than we did when we were 11-4,'' general manager Billy King said at a news conference in East Rutherford, N.J. ``I tried to talk to Avery about it and we just can't figure it out. The same pattern kept on happening.''

Assistant P.J. Carlesimo will coach the Nets on an interim basis, starting Friday night with a home game against Charlotte. King said the Nets might reach out to other candidates, but for now the job was Carlesimo's. The GM wouldn't comment on a report that the team planned to get in touch with former Lakers coach Phil Jackson.

NEW YORK (AP) - Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade was suspended one game without pay by the NBA for flailing his leg and making contact with the groin of Charlotte Bobcats' Ramon Sessions.

The incident happened with 8:12 left in the fourth quarter of the Heat's 105-92 victory over the Bobcats on Wednesday night. Sessions was called for a foul on the play. Wade will serve the suspension Friday night when the Heat visit the Detroit Pistons, and return Saturday night in Milwaukee.

NEW YORK (AP) - Los Angeles Lakers center Dwight Howard was fined $35,000 by the NBA for a flagrant foul against Denver's Kenneth Faried.

Howard was ejected with 5:02 left in the third quarter in the Lakers' 126-114 loss to the Nuggets on Wednesday night. He was called for a flagrant foul 2 when he jammed his hand in Faried's face as the Denver forward drove the lane.

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. (AP) - Los Angeles Lakers forward Pau Gasol has plantar fasciitis in his right foot.

He was examined by a foot specialist and an MRI confirmed the diagnosis. Gasol is listed as probable for Friday night's game against Portland.

NEW YORK (AP) - New York Knicks point guard Raymond Felton won't need surgery on his broken right pinky finger and is expected to be out at least a month.

PRO FOOTBALL

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) - Greg McElroy has a concussion and will be replaced by Mark Sanchez as the New York Jets' starting quarterback in the season finale at Buffalo on Sunday.

Coach Rex Ryan said McElroy, preparing to make his second NFL start in place of the benched Sanchez, was lifting weights and had headaches. He went to the team's training staff and then revealed he was suffering concussion-like symptoms after being sacked 11 times in the Jets' 27-17 loss to San Diego last Sunday.

Ryan says he chose to start Sanchez over Tim Tebow because the team has just two practices and a walkthrough to prepare before the game and he feels ``more comfortable'' with Sanchez.

RENTON, Wash. (AP) - Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman won his appeal of a four-game suspension for use of performance enhancing substances, making him eligible for the NFL playoffs.

Sherman posted ``I won,'' on his Twitter account, followed by teammates tweeting their congratulations.

The decision was made by former NFL executive Bob Wallace.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - A person familiar with the penalty says the NFL has fined Panthers quarterback Cam Newton $21,000 for abusive conduct toward a game official.

The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the league hasn't announced the fine.

Newton shouted at and bumped referee Jerome Boger in the fourth quarter of Carolina's penalty-plagued 17-6 victory over the Oakland Raiders on Sunday.

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) - The San Francisco 49ers All-Pro tackle Justin Smith is unlikely to play Sunday in the regular-season finale against Arizona because of a partially torn left triceps. The injury could force Smith to miss some or all of the postseason.

DALLAS (AP) - Dallas Cowboys nose tackle Josh Brent was driving with a suspended license and had a blood-alcohol content more than twice the legal limit at the time of the car crash that killed teammate and friend Jerry Brown, according to documents released by police.

The 24-year-old Brent was tested after the crash in the early hours of Dec. 8 at 0.189 percent, well above the Texas limit of 0.08. One police report said Brent was intoxicated, driving over the speed limit and swerving out of one lane when he struck a curb in Irving, a suburb of Dallas, causing the car to flip over.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL

SAN DIEGO (AP) - Glasco Martin ran for three touchdowns, Nick Florence threw for two scores and ran for another, and Baylor overwhelmed UCLA 49-26 in the Holiday Bowl.

WASHINGTON (AP) - David Fales completed 33 of 43 passes for 395 yards and two touchdowns as No. 24 San Jose State completed a comeback season with a 29-20 win over Bowling Green in the Military Bowl.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - Duke running back Josh Snead fumbled at the Cincinnati 5 with 1:20 left and Brendon Kay threw an 83-yard touchdown pass to tight end Travis Kelce with 44 seconds to go, lifting the Bearcats to an improbable 48-34 win over the Blue Devils.

Kay threw for 332 yards and his four scoring passes were a Belk Bowl record.

EL PASO, Texas (AP) - Matt Barkley's career at Southern California is over, a shoulder injury bringing a disappointing end to his record-breaking, four-year run as the Trojans' quarterback.

Coach Lane Kiffin announced that the senior quarterback won't play in the Sun Bowl against Georgia Tech because of an injured shoulder. Instead, redshirt freshman Max Wittek will make his second career start.

BASEBALL

NEW YORK (AP) - Free agent slugger Hideki Matsui retired from professional baseball, saying he is no longer able to perform at the level that made him a star in two countries.

The 2009 World Series MVP with the New York Yankees and a three-time Central League MVP with the Tokyo Yomiuri Giants struggled in a brief stint with the Tampa Bay Rays last season and recently made up his mind to call it a career after 20 years - the first 10 in Japan.

JOLIET, Ill. (AP) - Hall of Fame baseball catcher Carlton Fisk pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor drunken-driving charge, two months after police found him asleep in his pickup truck in a suburban Chicago cornfield.

Fisk, 64, was sentenced to one year of court supervision and must pay $1,250 in court costs. He also must undergo a drug and alcohol evaluation and counseling.

TENNIS

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates (AP) - Andy Murray's 2013 season got off to a shaky start with a 6-3, 6-4 loss to Janko Tipsarevic in the opening match of the World Tennis Championship exhibition tournament.

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Otto Porter's status in doubt for Game 6 against Raptors

Otto Porter's status in doubt for Game 6 against Raptors

There appears to be at least some chance the Wizards will be without starting small forward Otto Porter when they host the Toronto Raptors in Game 6 of their first round playoff series on Friday night in Washington.

Porter, 24, continues to deal with a right lower leg strain. The injury is located on the outside of his calf and will require further testing from the Wizards' medical staff to determine his status.

Head coach Scott Brooks addressed the media on Thursday and did not rule out an MRI.

"We don't know as of yet, but he's banged up. So, hopefully we will find out some good news and see how he feels tomorrow," Brooks said.

Porter first suffered the injury on April 10 against the Celtics in the Wizards' penultimate regular season game. He missed the regular season finale, but has appeared in all five games of the Wizards-Raptors series.

Brooks did not make it seem likely that Porter will miss Game 6, but expressed uncertainty.

"Anything is possible," he said. "We hope for the best."

Porter appeared hobbled in Game 5 and has at other times this series as well. After the first two games of the series, Brooks was asked about Porter's health and said that he was "100 percent." It's unclear if Porter suffered a setback in the time between, but clearly that isn't the case anymore.

Porter is averaging just 10.0 points in this series, down from his 14.7 per game season average. Ideally, the Wizards would be getting more than that from their third scoring option.

"We need Otto," Brooks said. "We need Otto to be more of a nine or 10-point scorer for us to win this series."

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If this year is going to be different, the Caps cannot go down 0-2 in the series again

If this year is going to be different, the Caps cannot go down 0-2 in the series again

In last year’s playoff series against the Pittsburgh Penguins, the Capitals won two out of the last three games and three out of the last five…and still lost the series. That’s because they lost both Game 1 and Game 2 to fall into a 0-2 hole, much like they did against the Columbus Blue Jackets in the first round this season.

The Caps know if this year is going to be different, they cannot afford to fall into a similar hole again.

“It's always harder to dig yourself out of a hole,” head coach Barry Trotz said after Thursday’s morning skate. “You're room for error is a lot less and it wears on you.”

“If we've learned anything from last year, you lose two it's tough to climb out of that,” Jay Beagle said. “Then this year first round, lose two, it's tough to climb out. It makes the series really hard. You always feel like you're chasing and no room for error.”

It did not cost them against Columbus as Washington was able to rattle off four straight wins to advance to the second round. Overcoming a two-game hole against the two-time defending Stanley Cup Champions, however, is a taller task.

For only the second time in franchise history, the Capitals were able to overcome a 0-2 series deficit when they did it against the Blue Jackets. That means it doesn’t happen very often.

Chances are you won’t be able to overcome a deficit like that against Sidney Crosby and Co.

And that’s what makes Game 1 so important.

Washington is at home, opening a series against their arch rival, the Penguins will be without both Evgeni Malkin and Carl Hagelin and the game will be played with the memory of how a 0-2 hole cost the Caps the series last year.

To call it a must-win would perhaps be an overstatement. It is a best of seven after all. But it’s still not that far off.

“We've got to just make sure we're looking at game one, we're not looking ahead,” Beagle said. “We've got to go after them in this first game and really try and take it to them in our rink.”

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