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Cousins helps Kings beat Cavs to end 4-game skid

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Cousins helps Kings beat Cavs to end 4-game skid

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) DeMarcus Cousins had 26 points, 14 rebounds and six assists, and the Sacramento Kings snapped a four-game losing streak with a 124-118 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Monday night.

Jimmer Fredette and Cousins both scored eight points in the fourth quarter for the struggling Kings, who had allowed nearly 118 points per game during the losing streak and had three losses of 20 points or more.

Marcus Thornton had 20 points and Tyreke Evans added 18 for the Kings. Fredette had 16 points, John Salmons 14 and rookie Thomas Robinson tied a career high with 12 points and added seven rebounds.

Reserve Dion Waiters scored a career-high 33 points for the Cavaliers, who have lost three straight and eight of 10. CJ Miles scored 17 points and Tristan Thompson had 17 points and 15 rebounds. Kyrie Irving had 15 points, but shot 6 of 19 and had six turnovers.

Waiters made two straight 3s, cutting the Kings lead to three points. After the Kings made a free throw, Waiters missed at the other end and Cousins secured the rebound and was fouled. His two free throws sealed the victory.

Irving made two free throws and a jumper to get the Cavaliers within five, but he lost the ball on consecutive possessions and the turnovers led to fastbreak layups byThornton and Cousins, giving the Kings a 116-107 lead with 1:29 to go.

Rumors continue regarding the sale of the Kings. The Maloof ownership is reportedly on the verge of selling the team to a Seattle-based ownership group that would move the team to Seattle next season.

Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson is searching for a local group that will buy the team and keep it in Sacramento.

Evans made his first start since missing 16 games, including 11 straight, with a sore left knee. Evans, who played in a reserve role the previous three games, got going early, scoring seven points in the game's first four minutes.

Evans made all six field-goal attempts, including two 3-pointers, and converted four of four free throws.

Fredette converted a three-point play, then added two free throws following a hard foul near mid-court. Fredette's five straight points put the Kings ahead 106-98 with 5:31 remaining. Fredette was finished. He made consecutive 3-points to give Sacramento a nine-point lead with just over four minutes left.

Waiters scored seven points in a short span to keep the Cavaliers close in the fourth quarter. His driving layup with 6:42 left cut the Sacramento lead to 101-98.

Ineffective in the first half, Thompson was a major factor in the third quarter when the Cavaliers outscored the Kings 30-24. The Cavaliers' second-year forward had 11 points and seven rebounds in helping Cleveland pull to within 93-87 entering the fourth.

Cousins scored 14 points and eight rebounds in the opening half when the Kings led 69-57. Evans had 12 points and the bench contributed 31 points in helping the Kings shoot 56 percent.

Miles had 14 points and Waiters added 12 in the first half for Cleveland.

Notes: Cousins was called for a technical foul in the third quarter after committing his first foul of the game. Less than a minute later, Cousins was called for a controversial flagrant 1 foul against Zeller. ... Making a rare early appearance, Robinson had six points in the first quarter, highlighted by a dunk off a lob pass with one second left in the period. . Former King Omri Casspi had a strong second quarter off the bench, scoring 10 points. . Sacramento had its entire roster available, which hasn't been the case for much of the season due to injuries and suspensions.

Ato Boldon, speakers stress accessibility of youth sports at hearing on Capitol Hill

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NBC Sports Washington

Ato Boldon, speakers stress accessibility of youth sports at hearing on Capitol Hill

WASHINGTON -- About a dozen players from the Howard County TERPS 10U football team ran around Rayburn Lobby at the House of Representatives on Tuesday morning, their red, yellow and black jerseys darting around members of Congress and visitors as the players tossed footballs and swung plastic mini golf clubs.

Earlier that morning, the team sat in the seats of the Ways and Means Committee in Room 2020, a vast change from the suit-and tie-wearing politicians normally behind the microphones. 

The team wasn't there to wreak havoc on politicians but was instead present for the National Youth Sports Day hearing and expo, a joint effort by the National Council of Youth Sports and the Congressional Caucus on Youth Sports intended t0 start a dialogue around youth sports and the NCYS's policy platform. 

The main message: youth sports needs to be accessible to all children and prioritized by the federal and state governments and by coaches.

Youth sports are one of our most valuable assets and teaching tools, implored Clay Walker, the National Fitness Foundation executive director. He emphasized the need for persons at both the state and federal level to make youth sports a top priority. Walker added to four-time Olympic medalist Ato Boldon's message that right now, the most critical issues lawmakers face are those concerning today's youth.

For Boldon, who has served as the lead track and field analyst for NBC Sports' coverage of the Summer Olympics since 2007, his achievements in sports served as a "catalyst" for other opportunities, opportunities that he, and other panelists, said need to be accessible to everyone. 

A rising sophomore at Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School, Nora Fairbanks-Lee was the youngest member of the panel. She explained how playing basketball and softball have helped her develop into a more confident person.

"Sports teaches unforgettable life lessons," Fairbanks-Lee said, adding that sports provide a safe space for children in the community to work through their problems. 

The final message of the main hearing came from Charles Elliot, who said that coaches "have to begin to invest in kids [and] put time in." Elliot, the president of the Maryland Football and Cheer Association, and former football coach, demonstrated the innate power coaches hold over children by blowing a whistle, at which point every Terps player jumped to their feet ready to go.

"Whatever coach says, that's what goes," Elliot explained. He argued that coaches should strive to be mentors and turn players into better human beings, not simply into better athletes.

Elliot's argument carried back to the necessary prioritizing of youth sports and the purpose of the conference as a whole: to greate that dialogue which continues to promote safe, healthy and accessible play for all children.

After the hearing, those in attendance retired to the lobby, where various organizations set up tables and some games to allow both Congressional staff and the children in attendance to play and learn about each organization.

Though only a few staffers and representatives participated in the activities, including a carpet golf set from the Boys and Girls Clubs of America and inflatable basketball hoops from Monumental Sports, those few children filled the air with giggles as they frolicked amongst politicians and event organizers. 

Three Congress members-- Rep. Kelly Armstrong (R-ND), Rep. Rodney Davis (R-IL) and Rep. Marc Veasey (D-TX)--spoke over the course of the day about the positive impact of youth sports on their own lives. 

Both Armstrong and Davis coached little league baseball, which they discussed at the beginning of the hearing; Armstrong was elected to the North Dakota Dickinson Baseball Hall of Fame in 2017, while Davis remembed when he found out he was nominated to the caucus while he was coaching a little league game (he waited until after the game to address reporters, showing his players they were his priority in that moment). 

Davis and Veasey are two of the three co-chairs of the caucus, and Vesey made sure to address specifically the children in the room.

"Comfortable is the most dangerous word in sports," Boldon explained during the hearing. He tells all his athletes that phrase to warn against complacency in training. But that same saying holds true to the panelists' feelings toward the current state of youth sports in America.

"We've made progress," Trish Sylvia, co-founder of the National Center for Safety Initiatives said. "But there's more to be done." 

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Cowboys' Ezekiel Elliott has said privately he will hold out from training camp, per report

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Cowboys' Ezekiel Elliott has said privately he will hold out from training camp, per report

Since entering the NFL in 2016, Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott has established himself as one of the elite rushers in the NFL.

Now, he wants to be paid like it.

Elliott, who has two years remaining on his rookie deal, has privately said he plans on holding out from training camp until he receives a new deal, per ProFootballTalk.

Slated to make just $3.5 million in 2019, Elliott is one of the most underpaid players in all of football. He's set to make $9.09 million in 2020, the final year of his rookie deal.

Dallas has put off extension talks with Elliott simply because he's still under contract for two more seasons, per the report.

Quarterback Dak Prescott and wide receiver Amari Cooper are both free agents after the season, and the Cowboys would like to keep both at all costs, ProFootballTalk said. Additionally, Dallas just signed defensive end Demarcus Lawrence to a five-year, $105 million contract extension this offseason.

Should he not receive a contract extension, Elliott could face a situation similar to what Demarco Murray had with the Cowboys in 2014. Murray set a franchise record for most rushing yards in a season, yet Dallas still chose to let him walk in free agency.

Elliott's not the only star running back threatening to holdout this offseason. Los Angeles Chargers' Melvin Gordon has publicly stated he will skip training camp until he gets a new deal and is not afraid to miss regular-season games, similar to what Le'Veon Bell did last year with the Pittsburgh Steelers. 

Since entering the NFL in 2016, Elliott has led the NFL in rushing twice. His 4,048 total rushing yards over the past three seasons are the most in the NFL, and he has over 600 more rushing yards than Los Angeles Rams' Todd Gurley, the next most rushing yards over that span.

Whether he actually holds out or whether the Cowboys turn their attention to extending their star running back will be seen in the coming weeks.

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