Bulls’ Rose participating in non-contact drills

Chicago Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau says star Derrick Rose has been participating in non-contact drills in practice as he tries to work his way back from his second major knee injury.Thibodeau also told reporters at practice Wednesday that the former MVP point guard will not play again this season, something the organization has said several times since he went down. Rose tore the meniscus in his right knee at Portland in November and was ruled out for the remainder of the season by the Bulls. He sat out last year while recovering from surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee.EMBIID ENTRYKansas center Joel Embiid will declare for the 2014 NBA Draft, Adrian Wojnarwoski of Yahoo! Sports reports.Embiid, 7-foot, 250 pounds, has not signed with an agent, but is expected to formally announce his decision soon, according to the report.Embiid will enter the NBA as part of a vaunted one-and-done class that is expected to include his Kansas teammate Andrew Wiggins, Duke’s Jabari Parker and Kentucky’s Julius Randle.Embiid, who spent one season at Kansas, emerged as a lottery pick talent during the course of the season as NBA people recognized his many talents. The future NBA center possesses athleticism, ability and the potential to become a franchise center.Before he can start an NBA career, Embiid will have to prove he has recovered from a stress fracture that ended h419论坛_上海419论坛_新上海419龙凤is collegiate career. Before Embiid was sidelined, Kansas was considered a possible national title winner. Without him, the Jayhawks suffered an early exit.Embiid averaged 11.2 points, 8.1 rebounds and 2.6 blocks in his lone season at Kansas.MUHAMMAD’S FATHERThe father of NBA rookie Shabazz Muhammad was sentenced to more than three years in federal prison and ordered to repay almost $1.7 million in restitution after pleading guilty in a Las Vegas mortgage fraud case.Ronald Holmes apologized Thursday before Senior U.S. District Judge Larry Hicks sentenced him in Las Vegas to 37 months in prison and five years of supervised release.Holmes is due to surrender May 30 to begin his sentence.His defense attorney, Michael Lippman, says Holmes looks forward to putting the case behind him.Holmes pleaded guilty in December to felony conspiracy to commit mail, wire and bank fraud. Prosecutors agreed to drop two bank fraud counts.Holmes’ 21-year-old son played for UCLA before joining the Minnesota Timberwolves.ILYASOVA DONEThe Milwaukee Bucks say forward Ersan Ilyasova is likely to miss the rest of the season because of a sore right ankle.The Bucks say a specialist in Los Angeles examined Ilyasova’s ankle on Tuesday and instead of surgery, recommended rest and rehabilitation starting immediately. The team made the announcement Thursday. Milwaukee says based on that recommendation, Ilyasova is not expected to play the rest of the season.In 55 games this season, 47 of them starts, Ilyasova has averaged 11.2 points, 6.2 rebounds and 1.1 assists in 26.9 minutes per game.Contributors: The Associated Press, DeAntae Prince

Busch brothers, Gonzo the Muppet share the spotlight at Fontana

Kurt Busch has raced in the top 10 a lot this year but finally got a top-10 finish as he placed third Sunday in the Auto Club 400.Busch battled for the lead with boss and teammate Tony Stewart after the green-white-checkered restart but neither could hold on for the win as Busch’s younger brother, Kyle, got by both of them for the win at Auto Club Speedway. It’s been a tough season for Kurt Busch, who seemed poised for a top-10 finish in four of the first five races before a spin or mechanical problem got in the way.In his first year at Stewart-Haas Racing, he finally had a race where he finished better than where he was running as the team gambled with a two-tire pit stop before the two-lap dash to the finish.“We needed that after this season started as good (as it did) with leading laps and running up front, but it’s been horrible with our finishes,” Kurt Busch said.“So it was nice to race the boss, Tony Stewart, today for the win. You’re excited in one moment. The second moment when it sets in, it’s like, wait a minute, neither the 14 (of Stewart) nor (me in) the 41 won the race today.”But good finishes are always important as points likely will still determine some Chase spots. Stewart improved six spots in the standings to 17th; Busch im419论坛_上海419论坛_新上海419龙凤proved seven spots to 24th.Here’s a look at the best and worst of the Auto Club 400:Best moveKyle Busch and crew chief Dave Rogers took the conservative approach to tire pressures throughout the race and had no problems among the 18 or so that occurred during the afternoon.“The data showed that lower air pressure is more grip, but it’s risk versus reward,” Rogers said. “I think we lacked some speed on the stopwatch and I was pretty confident that I could drop left-side air pressure and pick some of that speed up.“I don’t know if I could have got all of it but I could have got a little bit, but it just wasn’t worth it, it wasn’t worth putting the car in jeopardy, putting Kyle in jeopardy.”Worst moveNASCAR not granting teams an extra set of tires. Teams were allotted 11 sets for the race, but with some having obvious problems and the number of cautions (nine), NASCAR should have given teams an extra set so there would be no decision on whether to pit for tires based on whether a team had enough.Best predictionAfter his wreck because of a flat tire during practice Saturday, Joey Logano predicted there would be more problems on Sunday. “I had two of them go down today and Brad (Keselowski) had two and now I have a new car. I am definitely concerned about tomorrow. I think Goodyear should be more concerned than I am.”Best biting of the tongueKyle Busch was interviewed by ESPN during its Nationwide prerace show and asked three questions about Cup drivers participating in the Nationwide Series. The questions were appropriate considering ESPN had done its entire prerace show on the issue. But Busch, who has 65 career Nationwide wins, tired of such questions a year ago, and while it could be seen in his eyes that he didn’t want to answer them again, he responded respectfully.What we’d like to see againIt was cool to see drivers have multiple lines and grooves to race on. Hopefully the track surface won’t have to be repaved soon.What we will see againKyle Larson in victory lane. He earned his first career Nationwide victory over the weekend and then almost collected his first Cup win. He’ll have more Nationwide victories this year and quite possibly also hoist a Cup trophy. What we don’t want to see againA NASCAR official couldn’t flip the switch on the pit entry light because their uniform got stuck in the fence and they had to reach to turn the light from red to green. Somehow that switch needs to be more easily accessed. Brad Keselowski, Clint Bowyer and Jeff Gordon ended up not coming down pit road because the light was still red even though the pit-road entry official was waving the green flag.We really don’t know what to think about …There was a news conference with Gonzo the Muppet. Yeah it was cute — Dale Earnhardt Jr. posted a photo of himself and the muppet — but actually having the media ask questions in a press conference setting? Let the jokes begin about whether there’s a man behind the curtain for other news conferences at NASCAR events.Last word“Put me in the right spot and give me the steering wheel, Coach.” — Kyle Busch

Bailout? NHL lessens draft-pick penalty against Devils for Ilya Kovalchuk contract

The deal Ilya Kovalchuk signed with the New Jersey Devils back in the summer of 2010 was certainly a landmark moment in the world of NHL contracts. For one, it marked one of the most egregious attempts to circumvent the salary cap structure at the time. Second, the Devils were punished very harshly for it. Third, Kovalchuk abandoned the deal last summer to return to the KHL, leaving all those involved to wonder whether it was all worth it.Today, the NHL didn’t let the Devils off the hook entirely, but New Jersey did receive a bit of a reprieve. After Kovalchuk signed his original 17-year, $102 million dollar contract, the league shuttled the contract, which forced the two sides to agree to a new deal. Then the NHL fined New Jersey a third-round pick in 2011, a first-rounder in one of the next four drafts and $3 million dollars. That seemed a steep price that got even worse when Kovalchuk bolted for the KHL.The third-round pick was lost in 2011, but general manager Lou Lamoriello refused to part with the first-round pick in either of the previous three drafts, including swapping one for Cory Schneider last year. Now, as it appeared that the Devils were going to lose their pick for this season, the league has given them a break, according to Darren Dreger.NHL will award Devils with the 30th pick in the Draft instead of the 1st round pick as usually determined. Also forgiving $1.5 mil of fine.— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) March 6, 2014The fine matters, but for most fans and executives, it’s likely the draft pick that is key. Instead of getting no pick this year, the Devils will get the last pick of the first round. Is it punishment? Sort of. Unless they finished with a top-five pick, dropping in the first round hurts marginally but not as much as you would think. The team will not have the right to trade the pick, as per the league’s official press release.This, combined with the fact the Devils have a small cap-recapture penalty for Kovalchuk’s retirement, only $250,000 per season, certainly makes it seem that the or419论坛_上海419论坛_新上海419龙凤ganization dodged multiple bullets here. Reports are there are plenty of teams upset with that. Others, both teams and media, seem to think this was coming.It was too easy. Lamoriello not forfeiting the second-to-last pick in the first round was the first clue.— Sean Gentille (@seangentille) March 6, 2014Arbitrary penalties and arbitrary removal of penalties are really the only way to run anything— Bruce Arthur (@bruce_arthur) March 6, 2014More reax includes the assessment..teams that didn’t break rules punished retroactively on cap recapture. Team that did, is not punished…— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) March 6, 2014The NHL has made a habit of arbitrary penalties for player discipline, so in some ways it’s fitting that the league extends that random wheel of justice to its teams as well. Throw in the fact the Devils were arguably hit too hard originally, when teams had circumvented the cap before and not faced punishment, and there’s certainly a legitimate rationale behind it.Just don’t expect anyone who isn’t a Devils supporter to be happy about it.

Kurt Busch making plans to run — and win — Indy 500

Kurt Busch, the first driver in 10 years to attempt the Memorial Day double of running both major auto races on the same day, thinks he could win the Indianapolis 500 and still get to Charlotte in time for the Coca-Cola 600 that night.Some might say, “in your dreams” as Busch would want to soak up the atmosphere and fulfill all the postrace commitments of an Indy 500 winner before making the 90-minute trip between Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 25. But even Busch knows the “dreams” are more about winning the Indianapolis 500 in his first IndyCar Series race.“I have zero experience in an Indy car and this will be the toughest challenge, especially when they drop the green flag,” Busch said Saturday during a news conference in Las Vegas. “Single-car runs when I’m coming up to speed and doing qualifying runs, all that should handle itself.“But when they drop the green at Indianapolis and 33 cars barrel down into turn one and all that dirty air and the movements of the cars and being able to digest closing rates at 220 (miles per hour) versus our stocks cars that average around 185, everything is different.”Busch tried to find a way to race at an IndyCar event last year to be prepared, but never could make the logistics work where he would also have enough time to focus on his NASCAR ride.“Sometimes you get that young dumb luck,” Busch said. “Maybe we’ll bump into that and419论坛_上海419论坛_新上海419龙凤 that will help us, being naive and not having bad patterns. But those are some of those things that will bite you very quickly and that is the amount of respect you have to have for an Indy car.“Those cars have all that rear weight with the engine in the back, that’s very different than our Cup cars that have the engine in the front with the weight distribution.”In doing his rookie orientation at Indianapolis last year, Busch learned about throttle position and steering input, getting advice from team owner Michael Andretti, who will field a car for Busch this year.“You have to drive that car at 90 percent and then you have to trust it to go to that 99 percent level and that’s done by the best, that’s done by the guys that are champions in that sport, the guys that have won the Indy 500 before,” said Busch, who plans to use his participation to bring awareness to his post-traumatic stress disorder project for military veterans.“There’s still those nuances that will pop up and you have to respect and understand and that will be the big challenge of the day is to stay mentally sharp and as focused as I can be during that full 500 miles.” As part of that quest to stay mentally sharp over 1,100 miles in one day, Busch said he is beginning a training regimen that is part boot camp, part martial arts and part yoga. The will train Monday-Wednesday with Thursday as a travel day, and he plans to go on long runs on Friday and Saturday. He will have a doctor travel with him to races.Fans will be able to follow his training online at kurtbuschdouble.com through one of his sponsors, Basis watch.“It’s an exciting moment to have these next three months to lead into Memorial Day weekend and just all the different challenges that come with trying to do 1,100 miles in one day, and obviously the fatigue factor and the mental preparation is part of it,” Busch said.

Michigan says no alcohol sales at The Big House

The Big House will remain dry: The University of Michigan isn’t planning to open up its football stadium for alcohol sales.Athletic director Dave Brandon told The Ann Arbor News that Michigan Stadium will remain alcohol-free. The liability and risk of serving alcohol at a stadium where many fans are under the legal drinking age are among the factors that drove the decision. “You’ve got to set up places to vendor this stuff and you’ve got to make sure you’re selling it to the right people, not the w419论坛_上海419论坛_新上海419龙凤rong people, and then you’ve got to deal with all the ramifications of alcohol being served in an area where you’ve got a lot of young people and a lot of underage people,” he said. Supporting new infrastructure at the Big House in Ann Arbor and managing alcohol sales would also be costly, he said.”Sometimes people lose track of the fact that we have to organize and manage 110,000 to 115,000 people all in one tight space, and get them in there and out of there safely,” he said. “I don’t think serving alcohol is going to make that job any easier.”Alcohol was sold at Michigan Stadium under a special arrangement for the NHL’s Winter Classic game Jan. 1 between the Detroit Red Wings the Toronto Maple Leafs. That move required approval from state lawmakers.

AP Top 25: Undefeated Wichita holds second behind Florida

Florida, which finished an unbeaten season in the Southeastern Conference, and Wichita State, which completed an undefeated regular season, are the top 419论坛_上海419论坛_新上海419龙凤two teams in the AP college basketball poll for the third straight week.The Gators (29-2), who received 50 first-place votes from the 65-member national media panel Monday, open play in the SEC tournament Friday. The Shockers (34-0) got the other 15 No. 1 votes. They won the Missouri Valley Conference tournament Sunday, the first team to enter the NCAA tournament without a loss since UNLV in 1991.Villanova moved from sixth to third, while Arizona dropped one spot to fourth. Louisville jumped from 11th to fifth, followed by Virginia and Duke. San Diego State and Michigan tied for eighth and Kansas was 10th. Kentucky, which has lost three of four, dropped out from 25th, the fourth preseason No. 1 to fall out of the poll in the same season.Top 25The top 25 teams in The Associated Press’ college basketball poll, with first-place votes in parentheses, records through March 9, total points based on 25 points for a first-place vote through one point for a 25th-place vote and last week’s ranking:Record Pts Prv1. Florida (50) 29-2 1,610 12. Wichita St. (15) 34-0 1,574 23. Villanova 28-3 1,454 64. Arizona 28-3 1,435 35. Louisville 26-5 1,237 116. Virginia 25-6 1,186 57. Duke 24-7 1,185 48. Michigan 23-7 1,143 128. San Diego St. 27-3 1,143 1010. Kansas 23-8 1,087 811. Syracuse 27-4 1,055 712. Wisconsin 25-6 973 913. Cincinnati 26-5 922 1514. Creighton 24-6 752 1315. North Carolina 23-8 709 1416. Iowa St. 23-7 572 1617. Oklahoma 23-8 472 2318. Saint Louis 26-5 433 1719. Memphis 23-8 367 2020. New Mexico 24-6 344 2121. UConn 24-7 330 1922. Michigan St. 23-8 318 2223. VCU 24-7 205 —24. Ohio St. 23-8 165 —25. SMU 23-8 152 18Others receiving votes: Gonzaga 82, Stephen F. Austin 56, Oregon 39, Texas 31, Harvard 27, Kentucky 19, Baylor 18, UCLA 14, Nebraska 8, Iowa 4, Tennessee 2, George Washington 1, NC Central 1

RPM crew chief skips practice to attend Lynda Petty funeral

MARTINSVILLE, Va. — Aric Almirola crew chief Trent Owens, the nephew of Lynda Petty, will miss Sprint Cup practice and qualifying Friday at Martinsville Speedway as he attends the funeral service for his aunt.Owens is expected to return to the track Saturday. In his absence, Richard Petty Motorsports’ research and development main engineer Scott McDougall will help the team and work with car chief Greg Ebert and team engineer Jason Stockert to lead the team throughout Friday. Lynda Petty, wife of seven-time Cup champion Richard Petty and whose children include form419论坛_上海419论坛_新上海419龙凤er NASCAR driver Kyle Petty, died Tuesday at age 72. Several NASCAR dignitaries, including NASCAR Chairman Brian France, are expected to attend the funeral today, which is being limited to friends and family.Memorial decals arrived at the track Friday and were placed on the Richard Petty Motorsports cars as well as be available to other teams. Ribbons in the “Petty blue” color will be distributed by race sponsor STP, a longtime sponsor of the Pettys. Teams began placing the decals on their cars Friday morning.  Hendrick teams and others already have added Lynda Petty memorial sticker to cars. #nascar http://t.co/2ujzS3Ifn1— Bob Pockrass (@bobpockrass) March 28, 2014Almirola drives Petty’s famous No. 43 car while teammate Marcos Ambrose drives the team’s No. 9.

Kentucky gives Make-A-Wish visitor OT win, ‘perfect’ weekend

For 16-year-old Josh Fleming, Saturday was the best day of his life.This Make-A-Wish child who’s battling a life-threatening heart condition saw his favorite team, the Kentucky Wildcats, overcome LSU 77-76 in overtime at Rupp Arena. His wish come true capped a weekend of great memories that started Friday when he watched the team practice and shot hoops with the players. “It was truly amazing for me and moreso for Joshua,” said Josh’s mother, Lisa Fleming. “He’s been overwhelmed with goodness today. That makes me really happy.”.@KentuckyMBB is giving one Make-A-Wish boy the weekend of a lifetime. http://t.co/i0KZVXZF9g / pic.twitter.com/BllJ2Mxzh5— Sporting News (@sportingnews) February 21, 2014Saturday’s game was the highest point of a day filled with nonstop joy. He watched the team go through a final walkthrough at the team’s practice facility, ate lunch with the team, went on a shopping spree at Fan Outfitters for UK gear before heading in a limo to Rupp Arena, where he sat behind the bench for the game.After Kentucky got the defensive stop it needed to seal it, and the team headed for the locker room, Josh was invited back to join the fun. That was Josh up on the interview podium with his hat on backward, next to Wildcats coach John Calipari, for the coach’s postgame media shakedown.Coach Cal w419论坛_上海419论坛_新上海419龙凤ith Josh. Visited the team as apart of the Make-A-Wish foundation. Cal credited him w/ winning play call. pic.twitter.com/dwTQUvbNun— Evan Williams (@AllMetroEvan) February 23, 2014Until this weekend, trips to Lexington meant pain for Josh. All four of his open-heart surgeries have come at UK Hospital.“This experience has changed all that,” Lisa said.It’s possible Josh needs a heart transplant, his mom says, but she’s just not certain how doctors will proceed. But for two days, Josh had no worries. And considering his first UK game ended in such thrilling fashion, the script had the happiest of endings.“It couldn’t have been no better,” Lisa said, unaware of all that was in store for her son. “It was perfect. It was above that. It was way more than I ever thought that it would be.” Lisa’s hope is that all families with ill children can go through what she and her son experienced, so she urged people to help support Make-A-Wish’s cause.“If you can, then you need to,” Lisa said.To support Make-A-Wish, make a donation through its website.

Bucs’ WR Vincent Jackson buys 400 tickets to Lightning game for troops

Bucs’ wide receiver Vincent Jackson is a well-known supporter of deployed troops and military families, particularly through his “Jackson in Action 83” Foundation.He extended that charitable reach even further on Monday night by inviting 400 military members and their families to the Tampa Bay Lightning game on his dime. Jackson, who was acting as the Bolts’ “Social Captain” of the evening, purchased 400 tickets and donated them all to military members for the second year in a row.Supporting the troops is a mission dear to Jackson’s heart as both of his parents served in the Armed Forces.Couple of our guest military members in the penalty box checking out warm-ups!! #SupportOurTroops #BoltsSocial pic.twitter.com/q7XKCBmFVr— VJ (@VincentTJackson) March 24, 2014Scores of Twitter users both in attendance and watching from home took to the site to share their appreciation for Jackson’s gesture.@VincentTJackson as a former Airman in the USAF I applaud your generosity in giving our troops a nice night out. #GoBolts— tomehedge (@tomehedge) March 24, 2014Thank you @VincentTJackson for your extreme generosity from my dad LTC USAF Ret AE McEwen. #class— Kirkster (@KirkMcEwen) March 24, 2014@VincentTJackson Thanks for your gift of tickets #Support419论坛_上海419论坛_新上海419龙凤OurTroops!— Kiki (@KIKI_SRQUS) March 24, 201@VincentTJackson it is my honor to serve, love the work u do on and off the field.— Brendan Hickey (@reeltimevideo64) March 24, 2014Jackson didn’t just donate the tickets.He was also a presence in the arena throughout the game, stopping to pose for pictures with fans (or, in this case, photobomb them).Photobomb!!!! Hahaa #BoltsSocial @TBLightning @JIA83Foundation pic.twitter.com/21tBF2K1su— VJ (@VincentTJackson) March 24, 2014As part of his Social Captain duties, Jackson was in the tunnel to wish the team good luck before they took to the ice. He was also down on the ice overseeing the night’s rendition of the national anthem.(Photo courtesy Tampa Bay Lightning)

Fantasy sleepers: Santos offers relief

Casey Janssenhas served as the Blue Jays’ ninth-inning man for the majority of the past two seasons. In that time, he has converted 56 of 61 saves chances and compiled a 2.55 ERA, 0.92 WHIP and 9.1 K/9 ratio. Few closers have been better.So, there’s really no reason to expect him to lose his job anytime soon. Fortunately,setup manSergio Santos canstill have plenty of fantasy value. Santos closed for the White Sox in 2011, saving 30 games and wowing with a 13.1 K/9 ratio. He was traded to Toronto the following offseason, but he lasted just six games before a shoulder injury ended his campaign. Last year, shoulder and elbow problems limited him to just 29 games, but he showed no ill effects from his various ailments when he returned in August. Santos posted a 1.69/0.52 line with a 9.3 K/9 ratio, dominating hitters with his mid-90s fastball and mid-80s slider. He has been healthy this spring aside from some intestinal issues. Going back to Janssen: He isn’t exactly a beacon of health either, which is why Santos carries more upside than the average RP handcuff. Janssen is already dealing with a sore shoulder this spring, which is nothing new for the 32-year-old righty. He had shoulder surgery in November 2012, and going back further, he missed all of ’08 because of a torn labrum and had a DL stint in ’09 because of shoulder inflammation.It wouldn’t be a shock if Janssen missed time, and the added bonus with Santos is that he’ll be a forgotten man in most drafts because of t419论坛_上海419论坛_新上海419龙凤he past injuries.Every year, around two-thirds of teams change their closer at some point in the season. There’s no guarantee the Blue Jays will be one of them, but if they are and Santos is pitching well, he has the potential to finish as a top 10 RP.Download the 2014 Draft KitJoin Fantasy Source for $4.99/month

Sunday’s storylines start with Wichita State, Kentucky

ST. LOUIS — The eight remaining trips to the Sweet 16 are on the line Sunday. If those aren’t enough motivation to watch, here are five more reasons:1. The Midwest region game between No. 1 seed Wichita State and No. 8 seed Kentucky should be awesome, for so many reasons. You already know why, and you already know you’ll watch. Tip is set for 2:45 p.m. ET-ish (half-hour after the Stanford-Kansas contest in St. Louis). 2. It’s hard not to love a game where double-digit seeds battle for a spot in the Sweet 16. Feels odd when one of them hails from a “power” conference, though. Still, the game between 11th-seeded Tennessee and 14th-seeded Mercer should be entertaining. The Volunteers rallied to get past Iowa in the First Four, then crushed UMass in a game that was never really close. Mercer became the nation’s darling when it upended Duke, the team everyone outside of Durham loves to hate. If you don’t have an em419论坛_上海419论坛_新上海419龙凤otional attachment to either team, cheer for Mercer in hopes of getting more dancing like this. 3. Will the magic continue for Stephen F. Austin? Will UCLA avoid the late-game brain lock that plagued VCU and helped the Lumberjacks earn an overtime victory? Stephen F. has the feel of a Cinderella that could stick around into the second weekend.4. The other two No. 1 seeds that play Sunday, Arizona (West) and Virginia (East) didn’t exactly look dominating in their opening victories. And they’ll both play teams that have talent — but not resumes — that exceed that of typical No. 8 seeds. If the four senior Memphis guards play like seniors — that’s been a hit-or-miss proposition all season — the Tigers could score with Arizona. If Virginia struggles to find its offense early, as was the case against Coastal Carolina, Gonzaga has the shooters to build a more sizable lead than the Chanticleers did in the 16-vs-1 game.5. The North Carolina-Iowa State game should be entertaining, even though the Cyclones lost big man Georges Niang to a broken foot — easily the worst injury of the tournament thus far. First team to 85 wins. Probably.MORE: Kentucky wants what Wichita State hasWhat they know about each otherVIDEO: More on Shockers-Wildcats matchup

Mark Cuban much happier with Adam Silver, not David Stern, calling NBA shots

NEW YORK — Even Mark Cuban thinks NBA officiating is moving in the right direction.New Commissioner Adam Silver’s policies have won419论坛_上海419论坛_新上海419龙凤 over the Dallas Mavericks owner, who had a long-running and costly feud with former commissioner David Stern. “I think he’s taken some great steps on the officiating. There’s been more changes in 15 days or whatever it is than I saw in 14 years. So I like what he’s doing there,” Cuban said Monday.Cuban said the league is sending teams more examples of plays that were called incorrectly and other data to help them understand how the games will be officiated.”Those are things that never would have happened” under Stern, Cuban said.The NBA did not comment on the changes.Cuban was fined more than $1.5 million by Stern, often for his public criticisms of referees. That included a $500,000 penalty in 2002 when he said he wouldn’t hire former director of officials Ed Rush to manage a Dairy Queen.Cuban said he always found Stern to be open to new ideas on most areas, but was “closed minded” on one. Silver said during his first press conference at All-Star weekend that he planned to bring more transparency to the league, and the officiating policies apparently represent a noticeable change.Cuban used as an example a play late in Houston’s victory over Phoenix on Sunday night, when Dwight Howard appeared to bolt into the lane early during a Rockets free throw attempt but wasn’t whistled for a lane violation.”My expectation is that they’ll say something proactively to the teams, maybe not publicly, so that we know A, are they going to allow that, or B, they’re not going to allow it, it should’ve been called and next time it will be called,” Cuban said. “In the past, you found out the hard way.”

Boxing schedule: Danny Garcia meets Mauricio Herrera; two titles on line

Danny Garcia claims Philadelphia as home, but his roots are in Puerto Rico — where he puts two boxing titles on the line Saturday.Garcia is 27-0 with 16 knockouts. He faces said he hopes people will see him as that if he defeats Mauricio Herrera in Bayamon’s Coliseo Rubén Rodríguez. Herrera, 20-3 with seven knockouts, is a 33-year-old Mexican American. A millionaire, Garcia is far from the life his father lived as a lad in Puerto Rico, one of poverty, suffering and want. The Philadelphia News presents the story of the family’s flight and its flight to the United States.Garcia has a track of fights that could lead him to a bout against Floyd Mayweather Jr. in Spring 2015. He holds the World Boxing Association and World Boxing Council light-welterweight titles.”I have the best of both worlds,” Garcia told The News. “I have the Puerto Rico power and the Philadelphia toughness.”Herrera is from Lake Elsinore, Calif. BoxingNews24.com compares Herrera to Alfredo Angulo, who was pummeled last weekend by Canelo Alvarez — a mediocre fighter offered up to please fans.Puerto Ricans will get to see a man with island roots in a title fight he should win.The fight card will be carried on Showtime Extreme beginning at 7 p.m. ET.Here is the schedule of upcoming major fights.March 15At Coliseo Ruben Rodriguez, Bayamon, Puerto Rico (SHO), Danny Garcia vs. Mauricio Herrera, 12, for Garcia’s WBA Super World and WBC super lightweight titles; Deontay Wilder vs. Malik Scott, 10, heavyweights; Juan Manuel Lopez vs. Daniel Ponce de Leon, 10, for Lopez’s WBO International junior lightweight title.At Sands Casino Resort, Bethlehem, Pa. (NBCSN), Tomasz Adamek vs. Vyacheslav Glazkov, 12, IBF heavyweight eliminator; Isaac Chilemba vs. Den419论坛_上海419论坛_新上海419龙凤is Grachev, 10, light heavyweights; Ronald Cruz vs. Kermit Cintron, 10, welterweights.March 17At The House of Blues, Boston (FS1), Julian Williams vs. Freddy Hernandez, 10, middleweights.March 21At Villa La Nata Sporting Club, Buenos Aires, Argentina, Juan Carlos Reveco, vs. Manuel Vides, 12, for Reveco’s WBA World flyweight title.At Morongo Casino Resort & Spa, Cabazon, Calif. (ESPN2), Vanes Martirosyan vs. Luciano Cuello, 10, super welterweights.March 22At Roberto Duran Arena, Panama City, Panama, Anselmo Moreno vs. Javier Nicolas Chacon, 12, for Moreno’s WBA Super World bantamweight title.March 26At Tokyo, Denkaosen Kaovichit vs. Kohei Kono, 12, for the vacant WBA World super flyweight.March 28At 4 Bears Casino & Lodge, New Town, S.D. (ESPN2), “Boxcino” lightweight tournament semifinals: Chris Rudd vs. Petr Petrov; Miguel Gonzalez vs. Fernando Carcamo (8 rounds).March 29At Berlin, Yoan Pablo Hernandez vs. Pawel Kolodziej, 12, for Hernandez’s IBF cruiserweight title.At Newcastle, England, Stuart Hall vs. Martin Ward, 12, for Hall’s IBF bantamweight title.At the Ballroom, Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City, N.J. (HBO), Sergey Kovalev vs. Cedric Agnew, 12, for Kovalev’s WBO light heavyweight title; Thomas Dulorme vs. Karim Mayfield, 10, for the vacant NABF junior welterweight title; Lionell Thompson vs. Radivoje Kalajdzic, 10, cruiserweights.April 4At Liacouras Center (NBCSN), Philadelphia, Amir Mansour vs. Steve Cunningham, 10, for the USBA heavyweight title.April 5At Stadthalle, Rostock, Germany, Juergen Braehmer vs. Enzo Maccarinelli, 12, for Braehmer’s WBA World light heavyweight title.April 6At Tokyo, Akira Yaegashi vs. Odilon Zaleta, 12, for Yaegashi’s WBC flyweight title; Adrian Hernandez vs. Naoya Inoue, 12, for Hernandez’s WBC junior flyweight title.April 12At MGM Grand, Las Vegas (PPV), Timothy Bradley vs. Manny Pacquiao, 12, for Bradley’s WBO welterweight title; Bryan Vasquez vs. Jose Felix Jr., 12, for the interim WBA World super featherweight title.April 19At Moscow, Russia, Denis Lebedev vs. Guillermo Jones, 12, for Lebedev’s WBA World cruiserweight title.At Manchester, England, Scott Quigg vs. Nehomar Cermeno, 12, for Quigg’s WBA junior featherweight title.April 23At Osaka, Japan, Shinsuke Yamanaka vs. Stephane Jamoye, 12, for Yamanaka’s WBC bantamweight title; Kiko Martinez vs. Hozumi Hasegawa, 12, for Martinez’s IBF junior featherweight title.April 24At TBA (ESPN2), Josesito Lopez vs. Aaron Martinez, 10, light welterweights. April 26At Oberhausen, Germany, Wladimir Klitschko, vs. Alex Leapai, 12, for Klitschko’s IBF-WBO-IBO-WBA Super World heavyweight titles.May 3At Las Vegas (SHO), Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Marcos Maidana, 12, for Mayweather’s WBC/WBA Super World welterweight titles.Contributing: Associated Press

Texas boss Eddie Gossage calls F1 ‘arrogant’

Formula One boss Bernie Ecclesto419论坛_上海419论坛_新上海419龙凤ne says his series and NASCAR won’t be competing for the same motorsports fans in Texas when they hold races 190 miles apart in November.Ecclestone dismissed on Wednesday any clash between the series, after the top executive at Texas Motor Speedway called F1 “arrogant” for scheduling the United States Grand Prix in Austin on the same weekend that his track hosts NASCAR in Fort Worth. “I absolutely think it’s foolish,” said Eddie Gossage, the track president and general manager. “It’s a shot fired by Formula One at NASCAR. I can’t say I was surprised because Bernie Ecclestone does a lot of foolish things. The thing he unfortunately doesn’t recognize is there is an 800-pound gorilla when it comes to major American motorsports. The 800-pound gorilla is NASCAR.”Texas Motor Speedway will host NASCAR’s Texas 500 on Nov. 2, the same day F1 will hold its only race in the U.S. this year. Fort Worth is about a 3-hour drive from Austin.While Gossage thought a stronger stance by the management at Circuit of the Americas would have prevented the scheduling issue, Ecclestone believed it was a non-issue.”I’ve also spoken to the people that run the race at COTA and their position is that they believe the NASCAR crowd is a different crowd to Formula One, different people, different customers,” Ecclestone said. “At the end of the day, they run a domestic series in America — we run a world championship.”F1 requires considerable logistical planning by the teams, he said.”We’ve a small problem they (NASCAR) don’t have — we have six jumbo jets to move around all our equipment, and we have to find the most sensible way to use them to do that,” Ecclestone said. “We have to be efficient and bear in mind we may also encounter problems at an airport. “There are issues that can occur, but (Gossage) and other people do not realize these things. The race prior to the one in the U.S. is in Russia, in Sochi. We’ve never been before, and we have to get out of there and into Austin. That is probably a lot easier than trying to get into Brazil, and then we have to get out of there (Sao Paulo) to go to Abu Dhabi.”Gossage said F1 could have found another weekend to race in the U.S.”It’s just not smart,” he said. “There’s 52 weeks in the year. But that was the only weekend that Formula One could make it work in Austin, Texas. Give me a break.”

Kobe starts own company, invests in BODYARMOR sports drink

Perhaps feeling the weight of his own mortality for the first time in his career, Kobe Bryant has begun a new initiative that involves his life off the court —  his own company.The company, Kobe Inc., aims to help aid fledgling businesses within the sports industry that are intent on stretching the boundaries of innovation, according to ESPN’s Darren Rovell. “We want to own and help grow brands and ideas that challenge and redefine the sports industry while inspiring,” Bryant said. “If it doesn’t have the limbs of the sports industry, which I understand extremely well, then I probably won’t touch it.”He shunned the idea of taking on more endorsement deals at the age of 35, instead preferring the freedom of being able to put his own fingerprint on the business aspects of a new company.”I want to be a part of something and if you want to be a true entrepreneur you have to put skin in the game,” Bryant said. “At this stage in my life, I don’t have the interest in taking on any more endorsements.His first investment will be in the recently-launched sports drink, BODYARMOR.Unlike Gatorade and Powerade, BODYARMOR claims to fuse more potassium and electrolytes than its competitors while also decreasing the amount of sodium its consumers drink.NBA players Jam419论坛_上海419论坛_新上海419龙凤es Harden and Kevin Love currently endorse the product.Bryant knows the sports drink industry is somewhat of a monopoly. But he’s undeterred, reportedly investing millions of his own money into the company.”From a standpoint of innovation, if you look at the category, the category itself has been a dormant one for years,” Bryant said. “They have become accustom to drinking one product because that’s been the only one available to them. There hasn’t been a product that has come to them and said, ‘There’s another way to upgrade your sports drink.’ ” For as relentless as Bryant has been off the court, he’s hoping to equal that intensity in establishing his company in the business world as well.”I can only imagine It’s basically the same stressful, miserable, joyful, blessed journey,” he said.[via ESPN]