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Moments of silence around NFL for shooting victims

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Moments of silence around NFL for shooting victims

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) The New England Patriots silenced their ``End Zone Militia'' on Sunday night, taking the muskets away from the Revolutionary War re-enactors who fire into the air to celebrate every score.

The memory of the Connecticut school shooting was still too fresh for the sight of firearms and the smell of gunpowder.

``It just doesn't show the right respect for those that lost their lives,'' said Bob Elliott, the group's sergeant. ``But we're still here cheering (the Patriots) on.''

Two days after 20 children and six adults were shot to death at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., NFL fans gathering in stadiums across the country honored the victims' memory with periods of silence and reflection. Some teams darkened their scoreboards and lowered their flags to half-staff, while others wore helmet decals or black ribbons.

After learning he was the favorite player of one 6-year-old victim, New York Giants receiver Victor Cruz wrote ``R.I.P. Jack Pinto,'' ``Jack Pinto, my hero'' and ``This one is for you'' on his shoes for the game against the Falcons in Atlanta. Cruz said he called the boy's family after hearing he was a Giants fan and was told they planned to bury him in one of Cruz's No. 80 jerseys.

``I don't even know how to put it into words,'' Cruz said. ``There are no words that can describe the type of feeling that you get when a kid idolizes you so much that unfortunately they want to put him in the casket with your jersey on. I can't even explain it.''

The Patriots, the closest team to Newtown that played at home on Sunday, wore a helmet sticker with the city seal and a black ribbon on it; the cheerleaders and mascot wore black armbands, and owner Bob Kraft pledged $25,000 to the community, where he also owns a box-making factory. Before the game, the public address announcer asked for silence while 26 flares were sent into the air.

But each time the Patriots scored in the 41-31 loss to San Francisco, the soldiers in the End Zone Militia clapped their empty hands like the rest of the crowd. Elliott said the Patriots asked the group, which has been standing sentry at home games since the mid-1990s, to skip the ceremonial fire.

``Out of respect for those that were killed, we were asked yesterday not to fire the muskets, which we all agreed with,'' said Elliott, who is a manufacturing manager for a dental implant-maker. ``It was just such a horrific thing. It's hard to put it into words.''

The Sunday Night Football broadcast on NBC was moved to CNBC and the NBC Sports Network while President Barack Obama addressed the nation. The game returned to its regular channel after the president's remarks from Newtown.

The Giants, another popular team in southwestern Connecticut, affixed a decal with the school's initials - ``SHES'' - on their helmets.

``Being close to home, the players were greatly upset about it,'' Giants coach Tom Coughlin said. ``Many of the players have young children so they can empathize with the parents who had young children killed.''

Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt wrote ``Newtown, CT'' on one of the gloves he wore in warmups and on both of his shoes for the game.

``We're playing football, and there's something much bigger going on in this world,'' Watt said. ``I just wanted them to know, and I wanted everyone to know, that our thoughts are with them. Nothing is bigger than that. We played our game today, but honestly our thoughts are with them, the families, the teachers, the friends, the first responders, who had to go see that. My dad is a first responder. They were just kids.''

In St. Louis, the players who wear No. 26 - Rams running back Daryl Richardson and Vikings cornerback Antoine Winfield - joined hands in a circle with their coaches at midfield before their game, surrounded by dozens of children wearing jerseys.

``I have a son that's in kindergarten. It choked me up because I would hate to be one of those parents,'' Rams running back Steven Jackson said. ``You drop your kid off at school and he or she wants to go there and learn and better themselves, and to then go to the school and find that your child will no longer be with you. I couldn't imagine that thing.''

Flags were also at half-staff in Baltimore, where the scoreboards went black as the public address announcer asked the crowd at the game between the Ravens and Denver Broncos to observe ``silent reflection'' in the wake of Friday's ``horrific tragedy.''

``As a parent you drop your kids off at school many times,'' said Miami Dolphins coach Joe Philbin, whose 21-year-old son Michael fell into a Wisconsin river and drowned in January. ``It's hard to put into words what that community and those families must feel like. We obviously kept them in our prayers.''

A moment of silence was observed at all 14 NFL games on Sunday; in Houston and in Arlington, Texas, the scoreboard went black. Members of the Buffalo Bills and Seattle Seahawks stood quietly with their heads down on their sideline while fans stood silently at the Rogers Centre in Toronto.

The Bills did continue their pregame habit of playing U2's ``Sunday Bloody Sunday,'' which they've played before every home game this season. The song is in reference to British troops shooting and killing unarmed protesters in Derry, Northern Ireland in January 1972.

In Chicago, Green Bay wide receiver Donald Driver retweeted the names of the victims. St. Louis defensive end Chris Long said after the 36-22 loss the Vikings that it was hard to feel sorry for himself.

``As we sit here and feel sorry for ourselves after losing a football game, it really helps put things in perspective,'' he said. ``I was watching TV last night and saw a victim's parent and I was really moved by that, the strength that they were showing up there. If we can all show that strength, we'll be all right as a team and as people.''

---

AP Sports Writers R.B. Fallstrom in St. Louis, David Ginsburg in Baltimore, Nancy Armour in Chicago, Paul Newberry in Atlanta, John Wawrow in Toronto, Kristie Rieken in Houston and Brett Martel in New Orleans contributed to this report.

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Wizards at Heat Game: TV Channel, Live Stream, how to watch

Wizards at Heat Game: TV Channel, Live Stream, how to watch

Thursday’s 119-113 victory over the 76ers was by far the best victory the Wizards have had this season.

Davis Bertans was hot shooting 7-for-10 from three. He even set a career high of 25 points in 27 minutes.  

Miami, on the hand struggled Wednesday night and fell short to Boston 112-93. 

Who will get the victory Friday ngiht? Tune in to find out. 

WIZARDS at HEAT HOW TO WATCH

What: Washington Wizards at Heat, Game 21

Where: American Airlines Arena, Miami, FL

When: Friday, December 6, at 8:00 p.m. ET

TV Channel: Wizards at Heat will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington (NBC Sports Channel Finder)

Live Stream: You can live stream Wizards at Heat on NBC Sports Washington's live stream page and on the NBC Sports App.

Radio: Wizards Radio Network, 1500 AM

WIZARDS at HEAT TV SCHEDULE

7:00 PM: Wizards Outsiders (LIVE)

7:30 PM: Wizards Pregame Live (LIVE)

8:00 PM: Wizards at Heat (LIVE)

10:30 PM: Wizards Postgame Live (LIVE)

11:00 PM: D.C. Sports Live (LIVE)

11:30 PM: Wizards Talk (LIVE)

WIZARDS at HEAT INJURY REPORT:

Wizards: John Wall (OUT, Left Achilles rehab), Ian Mahinmi (OUT, Right Achilles strain), C.J. Miles (OUT, Wrist), Thomas Bryant (OUT, foot), Isaiah Thomas (OUT, Calf)

Heat: Justise Winslow (OUT, Back), Goran Dragic (OUT, Groin), KZ Okpala (OUT, Achilles), Udonis Haslem (OUT, Illness)

WIZARDS at HEAT PLAYERS TO WATCH

Davis Bertans, PF, (13.6 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 1.7 app, ): Bertans went off in the first half against the 76ers shooting 6-for-6 from deep to get 22 points going into halftime. Bertans finished Thursday nights game with a season high of 25 points, one rebound, one steal and seven 3 pointers within 37 minutes.

Ish Smith, G, Wizards (8 ppg, 3 rpg, 3.9 apg): With IT out Ish Smith stepped up to the plate dishing out a season high of eight assists with 19 points and one rebound in 34 minutes in Thursday nights win over the 76ers. Smith is averaging

Jimmy Butler, G, Wizards (20.1 ppg, 6 rpg, 6.5 apg): Jimmy Butler was on fire in Miami’s 112-93 loss to Celtics on Wednesday. Butler made 12-of-18 from the field and set a season high of 37 points.

MORE WIZARDS NEWS:

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Davis Bertans reinforces status as Wizards' best offseason addition in win over 76ers

Davis Bertans reinforces status as Wizards' best offseason addition in win over 76ers

WASHINGTON -- The Washington Wizards beat the Philadelphia 76ers 119-113 on Thursday night at Capital One Arena. Here are five takeaways from what went down...

1. The Wizards entered this season with the understanding they probably wouldn't make the playoffs. They wanted to play hard and be a team capable of pulling off upsets on nights their effort and scrappy play caught opponents off guard.

They wanted to have games like they had on Thursday night. For the first time this season, the Wizards jumped all over a very good team and held on for a victory.

The Wizards took out the Sixers 119-113 for what is so far their signature win of the season. Philly is one of the best teams in the East at 15-7 and it was mostly healthy, unlike the Wizards.

Washington snapped a three-game skid as it now flies to Miami for battle with the Heat, who may be the surprise team of the NBA so far this season with a 15-6 record.

2. Though it's not showing in the standings, the Wizards did a nice job in the offseason in flipping their roster and creating long-term financial flexibility. Their most impressive move may have been trading for Davis Bertans.

Bertans was essentially stolen from the San Antonio Spurs for Aaron White, who was likely to never play for the Wizards. And all Bertans has done is thrive in an expanded role with the green light to shoot as often as he wants.

Bertans was lights-out on Thursday with 25 points on 9-for-16 shooting. He set a career high with seven threes, going 7-for-13 from the perimeter. Bertans had 20 points and was 6-for-6 from three in the first half, tying his previous career high for makes.

As I've mentioned before, Bertans is going to be a commodity come the trade deadline and that is going to force a tough decision for the Wizards, whether to trade him or keep him and try to work out an extension in the offseason. If they are offered a first-round pick, it will be hard to pass up.

But there is an argument either way to hold on to him because he is such a good shooter. Just imagine how well he would fit with John Wall.

3. Rookie Rui Hachimura also had a huge game in what was his first career meeting with the Sixers. He popped off for 15 points in the second quarter and ended up with 27 points and six boards.

Hachimura did all of this while dealing with Al Horford and Joel Embiid down low and guarding those guys on the other end. He also spent some time checking Tobias Harris, so there was a lot on his plate.

Hachimura got many of his points with his bread-and-butter midrange game. He made one three and found trouble getting around Embiid at the rim. 

Hachimura took what the defense gave him and it worked. There were several occasions where defenders just let him take long twos and he made them.

Head coach Scott Brooks was just talking pregame about why the Wizards are okay with him living in the midrange, if that's what he is most comfortable with at this point. Good timing with those comments.

Hachimura, by the way, is averaging 22 points over his last four games while shooting 54.4 percent from the field (37-for-68).

4. The Wizards shared some good news on the injury front before the game as both of their backup centers returned. Moe Wagner, who was nursing a left ankle injury, came back after missing two games. And Ian Mahinmi made his season debut after missing two-plus months with an Achilles strain.

Wagner was put in the starting lineup due to Thomas Bryant's absence and, though he did not have his usual scoring numbers, he did what he could to bother Embiid and give the Wizards energy. Wagner finished with five points and 11 rebounds.

Mahinmi played surprisingly well, all things considered. He had some bad moments, some due to rust. Be he did a solid job guarding Embiid, which is no easy task. The Wizards also helped him out with double teams.

The best part of Mahinmi's night, though, was right when he checked in. He has developed a reputation for getting in foul trouble and, sure enough, he got one on his very first play.

5. Though the Wizards got two players back from injury on Thursday, they also lost two. Jordan McRae will be out a few weeks after having a second surgery on his right ring finger. And, in a bigger surprise, starting point guard Isaiah Thomas was a late scratch with a left calf strain.

The Thomas one is a newly disclosed injury and at this point it's unclear if he will miss any more time. But it was enough for him to sit after he had played in 17 straight.

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