Wizards

Weekend Sports in Brief

Weekend Sports in Brief

NEW ORLEANS (AP) Drew Brees set an NFL record Sunday night with touchdown passes in 48 straight games, breaking a mark set by Hall of Fame quarterback Johnny Unitas a half-century ago.

The record-setting scoring strike was a 40-yard pass to Devery Henderson against the San Diego Chargers. After the completion, Brees raced to the end zone to greet Henderson, who incidentally wears the same No. 19 that Unitas wore for the Baltimore Colts.

The rest of New Orleans' offense pursued and swarmed around Brees in celebration. Brees then took the game ball to the sideline where he continued to accept congratulations.

Unitas set the record between 1956 and 1960 and no one had come within 10 games until Brees began to close in late last season. Tom Brady has the third-longest streak, extending his to 37 games Sunday in a victory over Denver.

AUTO RACING

TALLADEGA, Ala. (AP) - Daytona 500 winner Matt Kenseth won Sunday at Talladega Superspeedway, where a last-lap crash turned defending NASCAR champion Tony Stewart upside down.

Stewart was leading the final lap but had no drafting partner as the field closed in on him. He was looking for help when he misjudged how much room he had and turned down in front of Michael Waltrip.

Waltrip hooked Stewart's bumper, and it triggered a massive accident that sent Stewart's car sailing on its side over the field. NASCAR threw the caution and Kenseth coasted to the victory.

Stewart was helped from his car by safety workers and waved to the crowd to signify he was OK. He said he caused the accident.

Jeff Gordon finished second and Kyle Busch was third.

On Saturday, Parker Kligerman picked up his first career victory Saturday in the Truck Series race at Talladega Superspeedway, where he used a push from Johnny Sauter take the lead and hung on as a multi-vehicle wreck ended the race under caution.

BASEBALL

CLEVELAND (AP) - Terry Francona, who won two World Series titles with the Boston Red Sox, was hired as manager of the Cleveland Indians on Saturday and will take over a team that collapsed in the second half this season after a promising first four months.

The 53-year-old will be introduced as Cleveland's 42nd manager during a Monday news conference at Progressive Field, the Indians said in a statement Saturday.

Cleveland chose Francona over Sandy Alomar Jr., who served as the club's interim manager for the final six games after Manny Acta was fired on Sept. 27. Francona and Alomar were the only candidates to interview for the Indians' opening.

DENVER (AP) - Colorado Rockies manager Jim Tracy resigned Sunday, stepping down after the team set a franchise record for losses.

The Rockies said a search for Tracy's replacement would begin immediately. Colorado finished last in the NL West this year while going 64-98.

Tracy was promoted from bench coach to manager in May 2009. He was voted the NL Manager of the Year that season after guiding Colorado into the playoffs.

The Rockies went 294-308 under Tracy.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL

NEW YORK (AP) - South Carolina, Florida and West Virginia moved into the top five of The Associated Press college football poll after a Saturday during which nine Top 25 teams lost.

No. 1 Alabama and No. 2 Oregon held their spots at the top of the rankings. Alabama was a unanimous No. 1 again. The rest of Top 25 got a makeover.

No. 3 South Carolina, off a 35-7 victory against Georgia, moved up three spots. No. 4 Florida jumped six after beating LSU 14-6. No. 5 West Virginia moved up three with a 48-45 victory at Texas.

No. 6 Kansas State, No. 7 Notre Dame and No. 8 Ohio State also moved up. LSU dropped to No. 9 and unbeaten Oregon State is No. 10.

The last time nine ranked teams lost in the same week was the weekend of Oct. 18, 2008.

PRO HOCKEY

NEW YORK (AP) - The NHL and the players' association are expected to resume labor negotiations this week in New York.

The sides are likely to meet Wednesday and Thursday in New York, a union spokesman told The Associated Press in an email. The plans and the agenda are expected to be worked out Monday.

On Friday, the sides held an unannounced meeting in Toronto to discuss where they were and how to move the process forward.

Officials on both sides were in contact Saturday and Sunday, leading to the meetings.

The lockout reached its 22nd day Sunday. The NHL canceled the first two weeks of the regular season Thursday, wiping out 82 games from Oct. 11-24.

TENNIS

BEIJING (AP) - Top-seeded Victoria Azarenka won her fifth title of the year by dominating second-seeded Maria Sharapova 6-3, 6-1 at the China Open.

Earlier on Sunday, top-seeded Novak Djokovic extended his perfect record at the tournament when he defeated third-seeded Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France 7-6 (4), 6-2 in the men's final.

It was the third time this year that Azarenka won a title by beating Sharapova in the final after the Australian Open and Indian Wells.

Djokovic has four titles this year, including the Australian Open. He won the China Open for the third time.

TOKYO (AP) - Eighth-seeded Kei Nishikori of Japan beat Milos Raonic of Canada 7-6 (5), 3-6, 6-0 on Sunday to win the Japan Open.

The 22-year-old Nishikori earned his second career ATP tour title and first in more than four years.

Nishikori, ranked No. 17, thrilled the home crowd in defeating the sixth-seeded Raonic. Nishikori, a native of Shimane Prefecture in southern Japan, is the first Japanese player to win the tournament in its 41-year history.

GOLF

LAS VEGAS (AP) - Former UNLV player Ryan Moore won the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open on Sunday for his second PGA Tour title, birdieing the 16th hole to take the outright lead and finishing with a 5-under 66 for a one-stroke victory over Brendon de Jonge.

Moore finished at 24-under 260 at TPC Summerlin the Fall Series opener. De Jonge shot a 67.

CARY, N.C. (AP) - Bernhard Langer rallied to win the SAS Championship on Sunday to take the lead in the Charles Schwab Cup points race, shooting a 9-under 63 to beat Jay Don Blake by two strokes.

The German star has two victories this year and 16 overall on the 50-and-over tour.

ST. ANDREWS, Scotland (AP) - South Africa's Branden Grace won the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship on Sunday for his fourth European Tour title of the year, shooting a 2-under 70 at St. Andrews for a two-stroke victory. The 24-year-old Grace finished at 22-under 266. He opened with a 12-under 60 at Kingsbarns.

MARATHON

CHICAGO (AP) - Tsegaye Kebede of Ethiopia set a course record in winning the Chicago Marathon on Sunday morning.

Kebede pulled away late and was all alone, waving to the crowd as he approached the finish at Grant Park and crossing the line in 2 hours, 4 minutes, 38 seconds. That easily eclipsed the previous mark of 2:05:37 set by Kenya's Moses Mosop last year and was more than enough to beat countryman Feyisa Lilesa.

The women's race was also a thriller, with Atsede Baysa of Ethiopia edging Kenya's Rita Jeptoo by about a step.

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Friday's trade for Trevor Ariza was wild, but nothing surprises Scott Brooks or John Wall

Friday's trade for Trevor Ariza was wild, but nothing surprises Scott Brooks or John Wall

Follow the NBA long enough and one learns to expect the unexpected. Participating inside the lines removes the shock value almost entirely.

The three-team trade between the Wizards, Suns, and Grizzlies, an otherwise ordinary deal involving good but not All-Star-level players became social media’s favorite child for a stretch Friday night. The deal died on the vine because of miscommunication over which player with the same sir name was included in the deal.

Unusual, certainly. Awkward because the report broke publicly mere moments after the Wizards’ latest road loss, unfortunately.

“The first time I've ever seen a trade go dead and guys are on a bus talking about it,” Wizards guard John Wall said Saturday. “Kind of devastating for those guys.”

That doesn’t mean the situation moved the needle on Wall’s personal Richter scale of shock.

“Nothing surprises me now, nine years in,” Wall said. “I’ve seen a guy get traded at halftime. Nothing can surprise me now.”

That guy wasn’t Wall’s current head coach, Scott Brooks, but former Wizard guard Kirk Hinrich. Turns out Brooks has his own personal traded-at-halftime tale from his playing days. He’s also been on teams that entered a season with high expectations only to struggle with reaching those forecasted heights. That’s happening now for the 11-18 Wizards.

Friday’s failed trade resurrected Saturday morning as Washington traded Kelly Oubre Jr. and Austin Rivers to Phoenix for ex-Wizard Trevor Ariza.

Some crazed situation that left Brooks speechless? Actually at the moment, yes, but only because the coach was not at liberty to discuss the transaction. The trade remains unofficial until the league office reopens Monday.

It’s unclear what level bombshell must occur to astonish Brooks. Even the current frustrations, while disappointing, aren’t revelatory for a man now in his 25th NBA season as a player and coach.

“I've been in the league long enough. Nothing surprises me,” Brooks said moments before his point guard uttered almost the exact same phrase. “That's part of being in this league. You have to expect things not to always go your way. I know one thing. The only way to get out of it is doing it together, figuring it out together. Nothing surprises me. It's just part of the business.”

The Houston Rockets conducted some business on Feb. 23, 1995 by trading Brooks to the Dallas Mavericks for guard Morlon Wiley and a second-round draft pick. Deals happen. This one stood out for the timing.

“That was one of the bad days of my life in the NBA,” Brooks revealed on a radio show last year. “At halftime of the game, we go back, Coach [Rudy] Tomjanovich makes some halftime adjustments. … We come onto the court and we’re in the layup line, and all of a sudden the general manager grabs me out of the layup line and says, ‘Hey, Scott, I gotta talk to you.’ So he pulls me out of the line, brings me back to the locker room and he says, ‘Hey, you’ve been traded.’ I was like, ‘What?’ ”

That personal experience altered Brooks’ surprise quotient going forward.

“I look at things different,” he said Saturday. “There a lot of tough things in the world right now. I was traded at halftime. That was tough on me, but that’s really not tough on me. I was still making a lot of money and the next team, Dallas, still paid me in cash.”

Brooks keenly remembers his halftime trade. Wall didn’t have the exact details correct on Hinrich’s departure; he recalled his backcourt partner playing in the first half of the Feb. 23 contest against the Philadelphia 76ers but the box score says otherwise. Hinrich did learn about the trade to the Hawks between the second and third quarter. That’s wild enough.

“I’ve seen everything you basically can see,” Wall said.

That now includes a trade falling through in such a public and awkward way. Once Ariza joins the squad, all that matters is whether his old/new team turns around this clumsy season that began with high hopes. It won’t surprise anyone if Ariza’s veteran presence sparks a rally. After watching the opening 29 games, who can say for sure.

“We're not playing nowhere near what we're capable of,” Wall said. “Maybe that's the move we should have made to make it happen, I don't know. We don't know until we get out there.”

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A must-win? Looking at the Ravens' playoff picture

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A must-win? Looking at the Ravens' playoff picture

The Baltimore Ravens come into Week 15 hanging on to the final playoff spot in the AFC by the slimmest of margins.

Baltimore, Indianapolis, Tennessee and Miami all sit at 7-6 with three games remaining. The Ravens hold the tiebreaker by virtue of win percentage in common and conference games. With the resurgent Cleveland Browns lurking just a game behind at 6-7-1, the Ravens can’t afford a let up today against the struggling Tampa Bay Buccaneers. 

Rookie quarterback Lamar Jackson gets the start once again Sunday with Joe Flacco slated as the backup.

Having won three out of four and a play or two away from a win last week in Kansas City, the Ravens are counting on riding the momentum Jackson has sparked to earn a very important win today at M&T Bank Stadium to stay in the drivers seat for a playoff berth. And with division leader Pittsburgh all of a sudden hitting a bump in the road of their season, and facing the New England Patriots later today, the Ravens have a chance to take the lead in the division, something that was unthinkable a few weeks ago. 

None of these scenarios will matter if business is not taken care of today against Tampa Bay. The coaching staff has put their trust in Jackson, and now he must respond by leading the team to victory in must-win games. 

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