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NEW YORK (AP) Paul Pierce scored 23 points, and the Boston Celtics beat the New York Knicks 102-96 on Monday night in a heated first meeting of the season between the Atlantic Division rivals.

Kevin Garnett added 19 points and 10 rebounds for the Celtics, who even without the suspended Rajon Rondo won their third straight and finally are playing like the team that has ruled the division for the last half-decade.

The Knicks want that title now, but Carmelo Anthony and his teammates were reminded how tough the Celtics can make it.

Anthony had 20 points but shot 6 of 26 while battling his temper, Garnett and foul trouble. J.R. Smith led the Knicks with 24 points.

BULLS 118, CAVALIERS 92

CHICAGO (AP) - Carlos Boozer had 24 points and 11 rebounds to lead the Bulls to a rout of the Cavaliers.

It was the third straight game that Boozer has eclipsed 20 points. This time he did it against the team that drafted him in 2002.

Joakim Noah added 11 points and 11 rebounds while Luol Deng had 19 points and seven assists for the Bulls, who beat the Cavaliers for an 11th straight time.

Chicago (19-13), which posted a season-high in points, moved to 11-1 when Boozer and Noah have double-doubles.

Dion Waiters led Cleveland (8-28) with 18 points. C.J. Miles and Kyrie Irving had 15 points apiece.

WIZARDS 101, THUNDER 99

WASHINGTON (AP) - Bradley Beal made a jumper with 0.3 seconds left after using a pump fake to get open, and the short-handed Wizards beat the Thunder.

Kevin Durant led Oklahoma City (26-8) with 29 points.

The Wizards (5-28), playing without their top two scorers, had lost 13 of their previous 14, but they also beat the Miami Heat earlier in the season. Beal and Martell Webster led the Washington with 22 points each.

Kevin Seraphin added 19 points, and Emeka Okafor had 12 points and 12 rebounds.

The Thunder missed 16 straight shots from midway through the third quarter to midway through the fourth quarter.

HORNETS 95, SPURS 88

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Eric Gordon scored six straight points in a fourth quarter spurt and had 24 overall to lead the Hornets to a victory over San Antonio.

Anthony Davis added 17 points, Greivis Vasquez 14 and Ryan Anderson 13 for the Hornets, who have won two consecutive games for the first time since Nov. 2-3.

Manu Ginobili scored 21 points to lead the Spurs, who had won eight of their previous nine, dating to a 99-94 victory over the Hornets in San Antonio on Dec. 21.

Tony Parker had 16 points, Tim Duncan 13 and Kawhi Leonard 10 for San Antonio. Duncan was 5 of 14, at one point missing five consecutive shots in the third quarter.

The Spurs committed 19 turnovers, leading to 23 points for New Orleans.

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In addition to being an NFL player, Bryce Love can now call himself a Stanford graduate

In addition to being an NFL player, Bryce Love can now call himself a Stanford graduate

Bryce Love hopes he'll have the opportunity to carry many footballs in his NFL career. But this past weekend, the running back picked up something that'll be just as, if not more, valuable than the attempts he'll be getting on Sundays.

How's a college diploma from Stanford sound? Pretty solid, right?

Oh, how about a college diploma from Stanford in human biology? Yeah, probably something worth hanging up on the ol' fridge, huh?

Well, that very hard-earned and impressive degree is what Love is now in possession of:

Drafted by the Redskins in late-April and walking across the stage at Stanford in mid-June, Love is doing well for himself recently. He passed up the chance to enter the draft early to ensure he graduated, and now he has.

His college GPA isn't known, but once you find out his high school GPA was 4.5 (that's apparently possible) and add that to the fact that he was able to finish up school out west while also churning up yards for the Cardinal, you can imagine it was very, very good. And if his yards-per-carry average as a pro matches or exceeds it, then the Redskins will be thrilled.

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Nationals introduce first round pick Jackson Rutledge, who is ready to work

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Nationals introduce first round pick Jackson Rutledge, who is ready to work

WASHINGTON -- Jackson Rutledge may still be years away from the majors, but as the Nationals' 2019 first round pick toured the team's ballpark for the first time on Monday, he sure looked the part as a big leaguer.

At 6-foot-8, Rutledge towers over everyone currently on the Nationals' roster. He's got prototypical pitcher size with a fastball that reaches triple digits.

Like any pitcher recently drafted, no matter the round, there is a good chance Nationals fans will not hear Rutledge's name again for quite some time, if they hear it again at all.

In the previous eight years, the team used their first pick in the draft on a pitcher six times. Only two of them - Lucas Giolito and Erick Fedde - have pitched in a Nationals uniform, and only Fedde is currently on their roster.

Rutledge, 20, will begin his journey with the Gulf Coast League Nationals. He heads there on Friday, hoping it will not be long before he is back in Washington.

"This is my first time in D.C.," Rutledge said. "Amazing stadium."

Rutledge signed his first contract with the Nationals on Monday and passed a physical in the morning. In the afternoon, he walked around the clubhouse and on the field during batting practice, introducing himself to manager Davey Martinez and players who could be his future teammates.

Rutledge has said in various interviews since being drafted earlier this month that he looks forward to playing with Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg and Patrick Corbin, the Nationals' three ace starters. 

This was his first glimpse at them in-person.

"Meeting all the big league guys was really cool," he said. "I just want to be one of those guys that has that success."

If there was any impression Rutledge left on Monday, beyond his height, it was his eagerness to learn. He cited several of his mentors over the years, former big leaguers like Andy Benes who coached him in summer ball and Woody Williams, an assistant coach at San Jacinto Community College. He mentioned Tom Arrington, head coach at San Jacinto, and his attention to detail.

Rutledge even had praise for Ross Detwiler, a former Nationals pitcher whom they took in the first round of the 2007 MLB Draft. He explained how Detwiler taught him a changeup grip during an offseason workout that he has continued to use.

Those are the people, he says, who helped him arrive at this unexpected place in his life as a first-round draft pick.

"If you asked me a year and a half ago where I would be, I probably wouldn't say the first round. It worked out really well because of how hard I worked," Rutledge said.

His college numbers were certainly impressive. Rutledge held a 0.87 ERA with 134 strikeouts in 13 starts. As a freshman at Arkansas before transferring, he posted a 3.45 ERA in 12 starts.

Rutledge is now looking forward to taking the next steps in his development. He said working on his curveball and changeup will be the focus while he's in the GCL. He wants to add weight and muscle to prepare for next year, his first full pro season. 

Assuming he does someday return to Washington as a big league pitcher, Rutledge said to expect a guy who likes to work fast but without a lot of emotion.

"When things are going well, I really feel in control of the game. I feel like I'm setting the game at my own pace and hitters feel uncomfortable because of that," he said. 

"I'm not a guy that's going to get up and start yelling and give energy like that, I'm more of a consistent kind of flat body language sort of guy."

Nationals fans will hope to get to know him better someday. For now, it's down to the minors to learn the ropes as a prospect.

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