Ravens

Lakers beat Jazz 102-84 to snap 4-game skid

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Lakers beat Jazz 102-84 to snap 4-game skid

LOS ANGELES (AP) Metta World Peace hit five 3-pointers on his way to scoring 17 points and the Los Angeles Lakers pulled away in the fourth quarter to beat the Utah Jazz 102-84 on Friday night, snapping a four-game skid.

Dwight Howard had 17 points and 13 rebounds, Steve Nash scored 15 and Pau Gasol added 15 points off the bench. Kobe Bryant had 14 points, a season-high 14 assists and nine rebounds to help the Lakers beat the Jazz for the first time in three meetings this season. Utah's four-game winning streak came to an end.

Howard aggravated his right shoulder in the second quarter of the Lakers' loss at Memphis on Wednesday, the same injury that caused him to miss three games two weeks ago. But he showed no ill effects from the start, scoring six points in a 15-4 spurt that opened the game and gave the Lakers the lead for good.

Derrick Favors led the Jazz with 14 points off the bench. Fellow reserve Gordon Hayward scored 13 and Al Jefferson had 12. Paul Millsap and Randy Foye added 10 points each. Utah had won six of its previous seven.

Utah cut its deficit to 78-69 early in the fourth before the Lakers began dominating the final 10 minutes. World Peace hit his fifth 3-pointer and Bryant scored four points during a 14-5 spurt that pushed Los Angeles' lead to 92-74. The Lakers were 9 of 21 from long range.

The Lakers had lost 10 of their last 12 and remain seven games below .500.

The Lakers led by 12 points early in the third before Utah closed to 61-58, capped by Favors' alley-oop dunk off a pass from Earl Watson. The Lakers fought back from 3-point range. Chris Duhon and World Peace combined for three 3-pointers and Jodie Meeks dunked to keep them ahead 72-63 going into the fourth. Gasol and Millsap got into it verbally and received double technicals as the quarter was ending.

Utah closed to 47-37 at halftime.

The Lakers' 15-4 run to start the game was helped by World Peace and Nash combining for three 3-pointers. The Jazz quickly closed within two before the Lakers stretched their lead to 26-19.

NOTES: World Peace was one 3-pointer shy of equaling his career high of six set on Feb. 28, 2009, against Chicago. ... Bryant's assists were three off his career high of 15 set on Feb. 12, 2002, against Washington. ... Utah fell to 9-16 on the road.

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Ravens reportedly agree to a deal keeping John Harbaugh in Baltimore long term

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USA Today Sports

Ravens reportedly agree to a deal keeping John Harbaugh in Baltimore long term

The Ravens have reportedly agreed in principle to a new contract extension with head coach John Harbaugh, a move already being praised by national pundits everywhere. 

It was nearly a month ago that the Ravens announced Harbaugh would be returning as the team’s head coach in 2019, which was noteworthy considering his status as a potential lame duck head coach.

In the same release, the team announced they were working towards a contract extension with Harbaugh, whose current deal was set to expire next year.

Despite reports from national NFL insiders, including Jason La Canfora and Peter King, that Harbaugh might prefer to hit free agency as a highly sought-after head coach after the 2019 season, it appears the Ravens will keep him in Baltimore for the foreseeable future. 

This news comes on the heels of a busier-than-usual coaching carousel, with a quarter of the 32 NFL teams changing head coaches in the last month, including two AFC North rivals. Harbaugh almost certainly would have been the cream of the crop among coaching free agents no matter when he became available, so the Ravens were looking to lock him up long term.

After a tough November home loss to the Steelers that put the team at 4-5, Harbaugh was asked about his job security, and he remained steadfast and confident.

"I've never been someone who's worried about keeping a job," Harbaugh said. "It's always been, for me, [about] doing the job. I've got a bunch of great coaches and a bunch of great players that bust their tails every day to do the best job they can. I feel really good about the way this team has been coached for the last 11 years, and for the last number of weeks we've been in the season. So, there are no regrets. Never been any regrets here with me."

After that game, the Ravens rattled off six wins in seven games to make the playoffs, and many players credited Harbaugh with keeping the team together. It was prior to Week 16 when the front office announced Harbaugh would be returning no matter how the season ended, but the strong finish and AFC North title certainly made the decision easier.

A coach with a special teams background, Harbaugh is an anomaly in the current era of young, offensive-minded head coaches. He won Super Bowl XLVII in 2013, and holds a 104-72 career record in Baltimore.

The terms of the new deal have not yet been released, but it will be interesting how many years the team is committing to Harbaugh.

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Bradley Beal's agent says guard's not looking for a trade: 'He wants to win'

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Bradley Beal's agent says guard's not looking for a trade: 'He wants to win'

Bradley Beal, his agent Mark Bartlestein told Bleacher Report, would like to stay in Washington - even as he's a hot topic among front offices as the trade deadline approaches.

From Bleacher Report:

His agent, Mark Bartelstein, is not looking for a trade. "Brad wants to win, Bartelstein told B/R. "He wants to win at the highest level, and he wants to compete for championships. I think he's seeing progress, and he's going to do everything he can to lead this team. They got themselves into a huge hole, and he's going to do his best to get them out of it.

The Wizards are facing tough decisions when it comes to the future of the franchise as this season's trade deadline approaches. Beal, as NBC Sports Washington's Ben Standig detailed this week, is among the most tradable assets they have, especially when it comes to their three major contracts. But owner Ted Leonsis took a firm stance against tanking while speaking to reporters in London, and Beal is integral to their playoff hopes with John Wall sidelined. 

This isn't the first time this season that Beal has denied wanting to be anywhere but DC. When drama swirled around the team earlier this season, Beal denied a report that he had requested a trade.

"That's nonsense," he said at the time. "I heard it earlier before the game and I was like, 'If it didn't come from the horse's mouth, it wasn't me.' I got this Washington jersey on and I come here and work everyday, you know, until otherwise. This is where I wanna be."

Earlier this season, it was reported that the Raptors were interested in Beal but couldn't afford what the Wizards were asking for him. According to the latest report on Beal from Bleacher Report, there are a number of teams who may still be interested. 

Again, from Bleacher Report:

There are so many teams in the mix trying to make that extra push that want Beal," a Western Conference executive told B/R.

But even if some fans are clamoring for a big trade at the deadline, the price tag for Beal - who had 26 points in the Wizards' comeback win over the Knicks this week - only seems to be rising. 

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