Wednesday's Sports in Brief

Wednesday's Sports in Brief

NEW YORK (AP) The Knicks-Nets game that was scheduled for Thursday night at the new Barclays Center in Brooklyn has been postponed at Mayor Michael Bloomberg's request after damage from Hurricane Sandy.

Though the NBA had said Tuesday night the game would go on as planned, Bloomberg asked the league that it be called off.

The Barclays Center sits above a subway station and commuter rail terminal and with most of mass transit still out in New York, transportation to the game would have been difficult.

HOUSTON (AP) - James Harden agreed to a five-year, $80 million contract extension with the Rockets, then went out and celebrated with 37 points and 12 assists in a sensational debut in Houston's 105-96 victory over the Pistons.

The Rockets acquired the reigning Sixth Man of the Year in a stunning trade with Oklahoma City on Saturday night.

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) - Golden State Warriors point guard Stephen Curry signed a $44 million, four-year contract extension that will keep him with the club through the 2016-17 season.

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - The Lakers lost guard Steve Nash to a bruised left leg late in the first half their game against the Trail Blazers.

Nash, acquired by the Lakers this summer, collided with Damian Lillard and limped to the locker room. Although the team initially reported he was fine, Nash struggled when he returned for the second half and left the game for good a short time later.


NEW YORK (AP) - The New York City Marathon is a go for Sunday, and while logistical questions persist one thing is certain: The 26-mile route will have a disaster for a backdrop.

Race organizers were still trying to assess how widespread damage from Superstorm Sandy might affect plans, including getting runners into the city and transporting them to the start line on Staten Island. Easing their worries a bit was news that 14 of the city's 23 subway lines were expected to be operating by Thursday morning - though none below 34th Street, an area that includes the terminal for the ferries that go to the island.


HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - Former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky was sent to serve his child molestation prison sentence at an institution in far southwestern Pennsylvania that includes most of the state's death row inmates.

The Corrections Department said Sandusky was transferred to Greene State Prison after being evaluated at a facility outside Harrisburg. Prison officials said he will be housed in protective custody.


NEW ORLEANS (AP) - The attorney for New Orleans linebacker Jonathan Vilma filed a court brief in the bounties case with an email from a former assistant coach who called the Saints a ``dirty organization.''

The email from Mike Cerullo to NFL spokesman Greg Aiello is part of a motion that seeks to block former Commissioner Paul Tagliabue from hearing appeals of the alleged program to pay for injury-producing hits. Vilma claims that Cerullo had a vendetta against Saints interim coach Joe Vitt after being fired.

The motion by Vilma's attorney, Peter Ginsberg, also challenges the NFL's plan to have Cerullo and former Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams testify by telephone at the hurricane-delayed appeals hearing. Ginsberg writes that both men should be at the hearing if it goes forward.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) -Jaguars coach Mike Mularkey said there is no truth to the reports that Jacksonville is pursuing Jets quarterback Tim Tebow.

A local television station reported that the Jaguars and New York were talking about a trade involving the former Florida Gators star.

Mularkey said there are no discussions ``that I am aware of.''


Arguing that ``football has become the site of perhaps the gravest health crisis in the history of sports,'' lawyers for thousands of former NFL players asked a judge to reject the league's bid to dismiss their lawsuits about concussions.

In a brief filed in U.S. District Court in Philadelphia, the players dispute the league's framing of the cases as a labor issue that should be governed by the sport's collective bargaining agreements instead of the legal system.

Among the players' arguments: Relevant CBAs did not address long-term brain injuries, the NFL committed fraud by concealing risks of repeated head trauma, and the league has a common-law duty to protect players.


Rafael Soriano is poised to leave the New York Yankees, Ervin Santana is headed to Kansas City and Ryan Ludwick plans to test the open market.

Soriano opted out of the final year of his $35 million, three-year contract and will likely seek a long-term deal in free agency. The right-hander had 42 saves for the Yankees last season after longtime closer Mariano Rivera tore knee ligaments in early May.

The Royals made their first move toward shoring up their shaky rotation, acquiring Santana from the Los Angeles Angels for minor league reliever Brandon Sisk.

Santana was an All-Star in 2008 and threw a no-hitter in 2011, but struggled with the long ball this year.

The Royals declined their $8 million club option on closer Joakim Soria after he had elbow ligament-replacement surgery and missed last season. Soria will receive a $750,000 buyout.

All-Stars David Wright ($16 million) and R.A. Dickey ($5 million) had their contract options picked up by the New York Mets.

Tampa Bay exercised options on pitcher James Shields ($9.5 million), closer Fernando Rodney ($2.5 million) and catcher Jose Molina ($1.5 million). The Rays declined a $6 million option on designated hitter Luke Scott, instead paying him a $1 million buyout.

Ludwick and Cincinnati Reds teammate Ryan Madson became free agents when they declined mutual contract options.

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - A Halloween treat came hours early for San Francisco Giants baseball fans who turned out by the thousand - many climbing trees and rooftops - to cheer on the World Series champions during a confetti-drenched parade through the heart of town.

Fans in the team's holiday-appropriate orange and black stood 30 deep for a chance to see their favorite players wave from convertibles and get serenaded by Tony Bennett singing ``I Left My Heart in San Francisco.''

Series MVP Pablo Sandoval, who swatted three home runs in his first three at bats in Game 1, and second baseman Marco Scutaro, who batted in the winning run of the game that clinched the title, addressed the throngs at the rally in Spanish.

Clouds of black, orange and white confetti were shot from cannons positioned on roofs and along the canyon-like, skyscraper-lined street. Spectators and parade participants, who included legendary Giants alumni Willie Mays, Willie McCovey and Juan Marichal and politicians such as House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, reveled in the showers.

The unifying energy of the Giants' latest victory was evident as San Francisco 49ers quarterback Alex Smith drove the car carrying Giants pitcher Matt Cain and his family, while 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh did the honors for first baseman Brandon Belt.


LONDON (AP) - Disgraced American cyclist Lance Armstrong has been chosen as the latest celebrity to be burned in effigy during an English town's nationally famous Bonfire Night celebrations.

Edenbridge in southeast England has built a 30-foot model of Armstrong, who was stripped recently of his seven Tour de France titles for doping offenses.

The effigy, to be burnt Saturday, sports a sign saying ``For sale, racing bike, no longer required.''(backslash)


PARIS (AP) - Sam Querrey recovered from a humiliating first set to beat second-seeded Novak Djokovic 0-6, 7-6 (5), 6-4 in the second round of the Paris Masters on Wednesday.

It was the first time since the Miami Masters in March 2010 that Djokovic has been eliminated so early in a tournament.

SOFIA, Bulgaria (AP) - Caroline Wozniacki defeated Roberta Vinci of Italy 6-3, 6-1 to advance to the semifinals of the Tournament of Champions.


LONDON (AP) - Chelsea came from behind three times against Manchester United and advanced to the League Cup quarterfinals behind Ramires' goal in the 116th minute.

Three days after losing an acrimonious Premier League match to United 3-2, Chelsea was on the verge of elimination before Eden Hazard's penalty kick tied the score 3-3 in the fourth minute of second-half stoppage time.

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Wizards lose again, this time to Nuggets as offense falls flat

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Wizards lose again, this time to Nuggets as offense falls flat

The Washington Wizards lost to the Denver Nuggets 108-100 on Friday night. Here's analysis of what went down...

Another loss: It is becoming more and more clear that the Wizards need a shot in the arm, something to change the direction of where they are currently heading.

Whether that will come in the form of All-Star point guard John Wall returning from his months-long absence, an adjustment to their lineup or strategy, or something else entirely, the losses are piling up and at a tough time in the season.

With another loss on Friday night, their seventh in their last 11 games, the Wizards are now 40-32. They have plenty of room to still clinch a playoff berth, as their magic number stands at two, but they only have 10 games left to secure their all-important playoff seed.

Both the Pacers and Cavaliers, two teams just ahead of them in the playoff race, won on Friday.

The Wizards lost their second straight game and again offense was their problem. They scored 100 points, six below their season average, and committed 17 turnovers.

Big third quarter: The Denver Nuggets have emerged as a team on the rise, a young squad with burgeoning stars that could someday soon make some noise in the Western Conference. The reason is because they are very good on offense. Defense is a much different story.

That was not the case on Friday night, as the Wizards had all sorts of trouble scoring in three of their four quarters. They managed just 43 points by halftime, the fewest the Nuggets have allowed in a first half since Jan. 27.

The Wizards, though, did get cooking in the third quarter. They erupted for 33 points in the frame while shooting 63.2 percent from the field and 58.3 percent from three. Markieff Morris, who finished with 17, had 11 points in the third quarter and Bradley Beal (24 points) hit three threes.

The Wizards also found a solution for Jamal Murray, one of the Nuggets' brightest young stars. He had 20 points at halftime, but went scoreless in nine minutes in the third quarter. Kelly Oubre, Jr. (15 points) was among those who gave him trouble. Murry finished with 25.

The big third quarter reflected well on the Wizards' ability to make adjustments, but their 24-point fourth quarter flipped the script again.


Didn't force mistakes: The first time these teams squared off back in October, the Wizards forced the Nuggets into 23 turnovers. This game was a very different story. 

The Nuggets didn't commit their first turnover until midway through the second quarter and had only three by halftime. They had just 10 turnovers for the game.

Denver deserves some credit for limiting their mistakes, but all of it did not reflect well on the Wizards' defense. They didn't put enough pressure on the ball and failed to disrupt passing lanes like they usually do. It was uncharacteristic, as the Wizards entered the game 10th in average turnovers forced.

Not creating mistakes allowed the Nuggets to get way to many field goal attempts. Though they shot just 43.5 percent, Denver managed 108 points. And not getting turnovers offered the Wizards few opportunities for easy transition buckets.

Turnovers were one issue with the Wizards' defense. So was defending the perimeter, as the Nuggets shot 17-for-34 (50%) from long range.


Special night: Halftime offered a memorable moment in franchise history as legendary player and broadcast Phil Chenier had his No. 45 jersey retired by the team. His longtime broadcaster and friend Steve Buckhantz hosted the ceremony with about 20 friends and family members of Chenier's seated behind him. Buckhantz had opening comments, then majority owner Ted Leonsis spoke as everyone in the crowd stood and cheered.

Then, it was Chenier's time to talk. He thanked his former teammates, members of the organization and those close to him. He kept his composure until the very end when he brought up his mother, Peggy, who could not make the event. Chenier choked up and wiped away tears as he described what she has meant to him in his life.

It was a powerful moment and a great ceremony to honor a guy who has impacted the lives of many in the D.C. area. Now, his No. 45 will hang up in the rafters forever. That banner, by the way, features a picture of a microphone and the phrase '33 years,' signifying how long he was the color analyst for Bullets and Wizards games.


Up next: The Wizards do not have a game Saturday, though they are going to practice and Wall is expected to take a big step forward in his rehab. Their next game is Sunday at 6 p.m. on NBC Sports Washington when they host the Knicks. That will also be a special game, as the Wizards are set to honor the 40th anniversary of their 1978 NBA championship.

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Eagles' Michael Bennett allegedly injured elderly worker; arrest warrant issued

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Eagles' Michael Bennett allegedly injured elderly worker; arrest warrant issued

Philadelphia Eagles lineman Michael Bennett has been indicted on felony abuse for allegedly pushing an elderly NRG Stadium worker during Super Bowl LI.

Bennett was indicted by the Harris County, Texas district attorney's office for injury to the elderly — which is intentionally and knowingly causing injury to a person 65 years or older, according to a press release from the Harris County Sheriffs' Office.

A warrant has been issued for Bennett's arrest.

The 66-year-old paraplegic stadium worker was attempting to control field access when Bennett allegedly pushed her. 

The maximum penalty Bennett faces is ten years in prison in addition to a $10,000 fine.


Bennett — whose brother Martellus played in that Super Bowl for New England — was a member of the Seattle Seahawks during the incident and was in attendance as a noncompetitive player.

The NFL has been made aware of the situation and is looking into the matter, according to Pro Football Talk.

The 32-year-old 10-year NFL veteran could potentially face NFL discipline under the league's personal conduct policy.