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With diet back to normal, Anthony helps Knicks win

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With diet back to normal, Anthony helps Knicks win

LONDON (AP) If Carmelo Anthony keeps eating right, the New York Knicks might just be a contender for the NBA title.

After ending a two-week fast that caused him some sluggishness on the basketball court, Anthony has resumed eating normally, and it showed Thursday.

The star forward scored 26 points - 18 of them in the first half - to help the Knicks beat the Detroit Pistons 102-87 in the third regular-season NBA game to be played in the O2 Arena.

``I felt better than I was the last couple of games,'' Anthony said. ``I'm back eating right. Eating what I'm supposed to be eating.''

Although it was an away game for the Knicks (25-13), they certainly had the crowd behind them while playing at the same venue in which Anthony helped the United States win the Olympic gold medal in August.

Just playing the Pistons (14-25) at the O2 brought back some happy memories.

``It felt good out there,'' Anthony said. ``I definitely had some flashbacks out there. Running out there on the court, just being in the O2 Arena.''

And with the gold medal already in his possession, he's now thinking about an NBA title.

``I've been on some good teams ... but as far as being a complete team from top to bottom, this is the best team I've ever played on,'' said Anthony, who has now scored at least 20 points in 25 straight games, extending the longest such streak of his career.

He almost managed to hit the 20-point mark in the first two quarters alone.

``He got off to such a hot start, and then he just kind of played as the game came to him,'' Knicks coach Mike Woodson said. ``He was getting double-teamed and I thought he did a great job in sacrificing the basketball, which he has to do.''

Even Pistons coach Lawrence Frank wasn't surprised.

``You know going in, there's no secrets, he's the best first-quarter scorer in the league,'' Frank said.

Amare Stoudemire added 17 points for the Knicks and J.R. Smith scored 16. Will Bynum led the Pistons with 22 points.

After Tayshaun Prince netted a pair of free throws for the opening points of the game, the Knicks went on tear.

Tyson Chandler started it off with a dunk, and Anthony soon followed with a pair of 3-pointers sandwiched between Jason Kidd's 3-pointer and Chris Copeland's layup.

Iman Shumpert, in his season debut after recovering from knee surgery, nailed another 3-pointer soon after to complete the 16-0 run and put the Knicks in control.

``The Knicks got off to a great start,'' Bynum said. ``We were kind of playing catch up from then on.''

Trailing 56-41 at the half, the Pistons mounted a third-quarter comeback. They scored 10 straight points midway through the period amid a 16-2 run to cut the lead to 67-63.

Anthony ended the run with a pass rather than another basket.

The Knicks forward drilled a pass across the baseline to Steve Novak, who nailed a jumper. Stoudemire then sank a free throw before Smith hit a jump shot after running the court after a rebound. Anthony finished off the third quarter with a lay-in to make it 75-63.

In the fourth, the Pistons briefly cut the lead to single digits when Bynum scored seven straight points to make it 83-75, but the Knicks pulled away again - this time for good.

``We came here to win a game, so it's very, very disappointing,'' Frank said. ``This is not a vacation. We're not tourists. We came here to play a competition ... on an international stage, which is a privilege and an honor to be selected, so it's disappointing that we came up short and didn't play our best.''

The Knicks had won only three of their last eight games heading into Thursday's action, but they now have won two straight and next host the Brooklyn Nets on Monday.

For the Pistons, who next host the Boston Celtics on Sunday, it's their second loss in a row. But they have still won five of the last eight.

The crowd at the O2 cheered loudly at times, but there were stretches of silence during some portions of the game. There was even a quiet moment before the game started, though it appeared to be an accident.

With Stoudemire and Prince on the court before the game speaking to the crowd with a microphone, the sound went out just as Prince was thanking the fans for their support.

The fans let out a round of boos, but they soon started cheering again as the game got under way.

In the second quarter, the referees had to resort to the video replay to make a flagrant foul call on Pistons forward Austin Daye. With Chandler driving toward the hoop, Daye hit him hard and knocked him to the court.

Chandler made both free throws and Smith added a 3-pointer about 10 seconds later to make it 44-24 midway through the quarter.

NOTES: Knicks fan and movie director Spike Lee made the trip to London and sat courtside as usual, wearing a blue suit with an orange tie. ... The Knicks' game against the Nets on Monday - Martin Luther King Jr. Day - at Madison Square Garden will mark the 14th consecutive year in which the team is playing on a holiday, and 27th overall. ... Several soccer players came to the O2 to watch, including former Arsenal great Thierry Henry. ... Former NBA players Bill Laimbeer and John Starks also were at the game.

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Term, not money, was the main sticking point in Brian MacLellan's negotiations with Barry Trotz

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USA TODAY Sports

Term, not money, was the main sticking point in Brian MacLellan's negotiations with Barry Trotz

Despite winning a Stanley Cup less than two weeks ago, the Capitals found themselves without a head coach on Monday with the stunning news of Barry Trotz’s resignation.

At Wednesday’s breakdown day, Trotz told the media he wanted to be back in Washington. General manager Brian MacLellan said he wanted Trotz back. But both alluded to possible issues that had to be sorted out in any contract negotiations.

Obviously, those issues were not resolved.

“[Trotz’s] representative wants to take advantage of Barry’s experience and Stanley Cup win and is trying to negotiate a deal that compensates him as one of the better coaches in the league, a top four or five coach,” MacLellan said in a press conference with the media on Monday. “He’s looking for that kind of contract.”

But if you think money was the main sticking point between the two sides, that’s not the case. Money was a factor, but there was a bigger factor that held up negotiations, according to MacLellan.

“I think the five-year term is probably a sticking point,” he said. “We have a coach that's been here four years. You do another five, that's nine years. There's not many coaches that have that lasting ability. It's a long time and it's a lot of money to be committing to that, to a coach.”

Of the head coaches currently employed in the NHL, only Joel Quenneville has been the head coach of his current team, the Chicago Blackhawks, for over nine years.

Trotz’s contract included a clause that would extend his deal a further two years if the team won the Stanley Cup. While the team was comfortable with that clause and did engage in talks on renegotiating the contract after the season, they were not willing to sign him to a deal as expensive or, more critically, for as long as Trotz sought.

“I don’t think all teams pay that type of money and years," MacLellan said. "Certain teams are open to it and the rest of the league isn’t.”

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Nats rookie Juan Soto makes second MLB debut, retroactively hits HR on first-ever MLB at-bat

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USA Today Sports

Nats rookie Juan Soto makes second MLB debut, retroactively hits HR on first-ever MLB at-bat

The Washington Nationals hosted the New York Yankees to finish a once-suspended game, tied at 3-3 in the sixth inning. Though it seemed like just a makeup, it was anything but for rookie Juan Soto.

It’s true that Soto struck out as a pinch hitter in his first-ever game on May 20. Since then, the 19-year-old has caught fire, batting .312 with five home runs and 12 RBI in 23 games this season.

But the makeup of the suspended game took place on May 15, five days before Soto was called up from Double-A to give the Nats an extra bat. Soto would make his major league debut once again.

Though it’s uncommon for a player to compete in a game prior to his major-league debut, it’s been done before. Barry Bonds hit a go-ahead single in a suspended game that dated a month before his debut. Closer Jeff Reardon threw a scoreless inning and picked up a win in a suspended game nearly two months before his debut, as well.              

After Anthony Rendon hit an opposite-field single in the bottom of the sixth, Soto pinch hit for Matt Adams who has missed the previous two games with a hand injury.                                                  

And Soto, with a chance to change his first career at-bat from a pinch-hit strikeout to anything but, did just that. He turned on a fastball and sent a rocket to right field. Aaron Judge took a few steps before looking up toward the bleachers. The ball landed in the second deck.

Talk about a first career at-bat. A no-doubt, two-run shot to give the Nationals the lead in a game that took place before his first major-league debut.

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